Neato Botvac D3
Robot Vacuum Review
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The Neato Botvac D3 is a robot vacuum designed with smart laser navigation and the ability to connect wifi-enabled devices. The unique shape of this Neato robot vacuum allows it to slide into corners and crevices much easier than a circular-shaped robot vacuum.
- Wifi connectivity allows you to control it from your phone
- Also pairs with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Facebook Chatbot
- A bit taller than other robot vacuums
- Relatively small battery
- The Neato Botvac D3 has a D-shape design which allows it to clean the corners and edges with ease.
- Setting up the wifi was a bit of a challenge at first, but ran well after fully configured.
The body of this robot vacuum is a bit of a matte gray with a simple control button near the back of the unit. This button is used to start cleaning cycles. There is also an info LED that provides alerts and notifications.
Unlike many other robot vacuum designs out there, the Neato is also unique in the way that it drives. Instead of docking at the front of the vacuum, the Neato Botvac D3 actually docks at the rear. When it’s time for a new cleaning cycle, it simply drives forward and gets to work.
Due to the position of the roller brush it is the Botvac’s first point of contact. In many comparable models, the roller brush is at the back, which means that sucking up the debris may actually be the last thing the robots do before driving away.
- On / Off and info buttons
- Dust bin
- Botvac cam
How It Cleans
To begin cleaning with the Botvac D3, Neato recommends pairing with a smart phone or tablet and connect to wifi. There is a Neato app that allows users to start, stop, or schedule cleaning cycles. You can even receive notifications or alerts about how your Neato is doing. While you can run simple cleaning cycles by just pressing the start button, connecting to the app allows greater control and flexibility with your robot vacuum.
Once the D3 is ready to clean, it uses infrared light to help navigate around the room. With bumpers around the end of the robot, it is able to softly bump into walls, edges, and furniture, and then continue around the obstacle.
Drop sensors at the front of the unit help prevent the Neato Botvac D3 from falling from stairs or lofted areas.
Note: Shiny surfaces and black floors might cause navigation issues.
The Neato exclusively uses rolling brushes and suction to help guide dirt, dust, and debris into the dust bin. Some comparable models (Roomba 650 and Ecovacs Deebot N79) offer a spinning brush to help collect debris around edges, but because of the Botvac’s unique shape, these brushes aren’t really required to still get a good edge clean.
If you look closely at the underbelly of the Botvac D3, you’ll notice the roller brush is not quite centered. It is aligned more to the left, which allows this side to provide edge-cleaning capabilities.
For a normal cleaning, the Neato Botvac D3 cleans in sections, approximately 15’x15′ at a time, before moving on to other areas. If the D3 battery gets too low during a cleaning, it will automatically return to the dock to recharge. After the charge, it will return the last place it has cleaned and resumed the cycle. According to Neato, a complete cleaning includes three cleanings and two recharges.
- Rolling brush
- Charging pins
Size & Dimensions
The Neato Botvac D3 is 12.7″ x 13.2″ and 3.9″ tall. It weighs approximately 8 pounds. Its weight is about average; however, it is a bit taller than other robot vacuum models we’ve tested. That said, a larger vacuum doesn’t necessarily mean more suction or longer run time, it’s more of a potential maneuverability issue (which we discuss below).
Accessories & Parts
The Neato Botvac D3 includes the following parts and accessories:
- Charging base and cord
- High efficiency filter
- Roller brush
This specific Neato Botvac robot vacuum does not include any extra accessories. Everything is already put together, with the exception of plugging the power cord into the charging base.
Parts & Accessories
- Charging base
- Charging cord
The following vacuum cleaner tests are designed to show how the Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum performs on different surfaces, picking up a variety of debris types. We test on three different floor types, including hardwood floors, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet. For each floor type we test the vacuum cleaner against:
- Rice – 3 ounces
- Dry Cereal – 1 ounce
- Kitty Litter – 3 ounces
- Sugar – 3 ounces
Each of the aforementioned debris types were spread across our testing lane. The base surface of our testing lane is an engineered hardwood floor. For our carpet tests we slide in a low pile and high pile carpet insert on top of the hardwood floor.
Our vacuum cleaning process strives to be as consistent, fair, and true to real world use as possible. Our tests utilize the following procedure:
- Measure the weight of the testing debris and the weight of the empty vacuum debris container
- Spread the respective debris type evenly across the central portion of the testing lane
- Run the vacuum cleaner over the testing lane
- Measure the weight of the now filled container and take notes on the cleaning performance
After testing the Botvac D3 on the hardwood floor, we were able to see how the vacuum completes its cleaning cycle. The Neato started by running around the edges, making a full lap around the testing lane. After doing so, the vacuum made its passes through the middle of the lane, attempting to clean up the remaining debris.
Each debris tested on the hardwood flooring was cleaned up at a level of 88% or higher. That said, the path the Neato Botvac D3 took was a bit odd, considering it did not back its way back to the edges to clean up any extra debris.
- Hardwood – Rice 88%
- Hardwood – Cereal 100%
- Hardwood – Kitty Litter 97%
- Hardwood – Sugar 95%
Low Pile Carpet
As we moved onto low pile carpet, we noticed a decline in performance. The Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum cleaned in the same way it did while on the hardwood floor, but the friction on the carpet caused more debris to stick and not get sucked up. Rice was the only improvement, moving from 88% cleaned to 95%. Cereal and kitty litter dropped slightly while sugar dropped quite drastically. 50% of the sugar remained on the low pile carpet after this Neato vacuum made its way through the testing lane.
- Low Carpet – Rice 95%
- Low Carpet – Cereal 99%
- Low Carpet – Kitty Litter 92%
- Low Carpet – Sugar 50%
High Pile Carpet
The high pile carpet test was similar to the low pile carpet, as we saw a drop in the amount of kitty litter and sugar cleaned up. The Neato Botvac D3 made its passes through each debris field but it seemed as if the suction power was not strong enough to get deep into the carpet for both kitty litter and sugar. Granted, kitty litter was cleaned up at 87%, so it was not a failure by any means. On the other hand, the sugar test did prove to be a tough task for the Botvac D3 robot vacuum, as it only cleaned up 47% in total.
- High Carpet – Rice 99%
- High Carpet – Cereal 99%
- High Carpet – Kitty Litter 87%
- High Carpet – Sugar 48%
The usability of the Neato Botvac D3 was okay. Once the robot vacuum has been setup and you understand the basic controls it’s fairly easy to use. However, I will say setup is a little less than intuitive. Without the manual in hand it wasn’t always clear what the various button presses and audio indicators were actually doing.
Setting up the wifi was easy enough. However, my phone was unable to maintain a persistent connection. As a result, I had to reconnect my phone every time I wanted to use the vacuum. I would hope that my experience is more of an isolated issue; however, I have seen other complaints of similar connectivity problems on Amazon reviews.
Once everything is setup and you understand all of the controls, the usability is fine. However, it does take a bit to get to that point.
You could also connect it to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Facebook Chatbot. Having the ability to control the vacuum from a device other than the actual unit keeps you from having to get on the ground to adjust settings or run cleaning cycles.
The power button sits next to the “info” LED light and “battery” LED light. Both lights provide information on the current status of the vacuum.
The unique shape of the Neato Botvac D3 allows it to maneuver around with ease. Instead of being built in a complete circle, the Botvac D3 utilizes half of a circle and half of a square. By doing so, the vacuum is able to rotate 360° while also being able to scoot into corners. The vacuum will drive with the square end facing forward, meaning it is able to work its way into corners and fill those 90° that some corner walls make.
Additionally, the vacuum offers a sturdy weight, totaling 8 pounds. The smart laser navigation allows the vacuum to scan walls and furniture, creating a softer bump up against these objects. By doing so, the vacuum avoids knocking items off of tables or other furniture pieces, minimizing how often objects may fall on top of the unit.
Finally, the Botvac D3 is able to spot ledges, meaning it will not drive off of stairs or other ledges that may be present in your home.
360° turning radius
The following table indicates the frequency at which you will likely want to replace the various parts and components of the vacuum. The following replacement frequencies are what the manufacturer recommends. However, your individual experiences may vary.
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency*||Replacement Cost||Buy|
|Filter||1-2 months||$3.75 / per||Buy Here|
|Rolling brush||6-8 months||$40 / per||Buy Here|
|Battery||1-2 Years||$36 / per||Buy Here|
Maintaining the Neato Botvac D3 is fairly easy, with regards to the amount of time required. The only tasks to complete are emptying the dust bin and freeing the rolling brush of any tangles. Aside from these two items, there is no arduous maintenance that needs to be completed.
Once you remove the dust bin from the unit, there is a sticker that shows Neato’s recommended replacement parts and its specific replacement time frequencies. This includes the filter, rolling brush, and battery. Bear in mind, these are the manufacturer’s recommendations. How often you use your vacuum will determine the frequency at which you will need to make these replacement changes.
Based on the manufacturer’s recommendation, it will cost around $138 annually to maintain the Neato Botvac D3. This includes six filters and two rolling brushes every year, and one new battery every 18 months.
This is without question the biggest detractor to the Botvac D3, in our opinion. Most other robot vacuums we’ve tested have been between $15-$30 / year to maintain. In addition, I found it more difficult to locate the correct replacement parts online for the D3 model.
All vacuum cleaner reviews on Modern Castle are put through our standard noise test. For this test, we use a sound meter to measure noise in terms of decibel level approximately 3 feet away from the vacuum.
All robot vacuum reviews on Modern Castle are put through a standard assessment of battery size, run-time, life, and replacement cost (by manufacturer or generic brand).
|Charging Time||5-6 hours|
|Run Time||60 minutes|
|Replacement Cost (manufacturer)||$36 - Buy Here|
|Replacement Cost (generic)||Not available|
Neato notes that the 2,100 mAh battery included with the Botvac D3 should last 1 – 2 years. The lithium-ion battery is able to run for 60 minutes at a time before it heads back to the charger to juice up again. Once it has recharged, it will move back to where it left off and continue cleaning. The Neato battery allows the vacuum to continue this cycle for 180 minutes, broken down into three separate 60-minute intervals.
The biggest complaint I have about this specific Neato battery is the cost to replace it. With the price of the vacuum already being higher than others, such as the Eufy Robovac 11, a $36 battery seems a little overpriced, in my opinion. When paying $400, I would expect the battery to last longer than 1-2 years and I would also expect something larger than a 2,100 mAh.
The Neato Botvac D3 can run for 60 minutes
While the cleaning performance of the Botvac D3 robot vacuum was strong overall (excluding the sugar tests), the price of the unit is a little high at $400. Since it’s sold at this high of a price, I would have liked to see the vacuum perform better throughout some of the cleaning tests. Sugar posed a problem for this Neato Botvac, as the suction didn’t seem to be strong enough to remove more than 50% of the field from our testing lane.
There are other robot vacuums sold at a price below $400 that have met or exceeded the cleaning capabilities of the Neato Botvac D3 vacuum.
Included with the purchase of the Botvac D3 is Neato’s 1-year limited warranty and a 30-day return policy, via Amazon. Neato’s warranty seems to be in line with most other robot vacuum companies, stating it will repair or replace the vacuum if it is defective due to poor workmanship.
Overall, I would say the value of the Botvac is passable. It’s certainly not a bad robot vacuum. However, the lackluster cleaning performance on the sugar debris tests and high cost to maintain leave me disappointed with the overall value.
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the Neato Botvac D3.
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Returns||30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer|
The Neato Botvad D3 is a modern robot vacuum designed to offer hands-free cleaning to those who would rather stay away from the manual labor side of vacuuming. Whether you want to use wifi or simply click the power button, vacuuming is made easier with the Botvac D3.
I would recommend the Neato Botvac D3 if you’re looking for the following features in a robot vacuum.
- Want a robot vacuum that can clean corners – Built with a unique square / circle design, the Neato Botvac D3 is able to slide into corners that most circular robots cannot reach. If corners in your home are constantly needing to be vacuumed, this Neato robot vacuum could be a fine choice.
- Like the idea of having a wifi-enabled vacuum – The ability for this vacuum to connect to wifi allows users to control the Boptvac D3 with the Neato robotics app on a smart phone, tablet, or another wifi enabled device.
- Don’t consider budget to be an issue – Priced at $400, the Botvac D3 is not an inexpensive unit. You will want to be sure you’re comfortable spending the extra money for this vacuum before sealing the deal.
For more information on the Neato Botvac D3, visit Amazon.com.
Good Corner Cleaning, High Maintenance Costs
The Neato Botvac D3 is a robot vacuum that combines infrared navigation with the convenience of wifi for a powerful clean. The Neato app allows you to start, stop, schedule, and receive alerts about each cleaning cycle. Once it’s done cleaning, the Botvac D3 will drive itself back to the charging station to recharge.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.