If you’re looking for a mid-range robot vacuum with wifi-connectivity and some bells-and-whistles, but at a price you can afford, you may have run across Neato Botvac D3 vs. D5 robot vacuums.
The Botvac D3 comes in at the lower end of Neato’s offerings, while the D5 floats somewhere in the middle between the D3 and Neato’s newest Botvac D7 Connected.
Wondering what the similarities and differences are? Let’s jump in and see how these vacuums compare.
Neato Robot Vacuums: D-Series
The Neato name has been around since 2005, with its headquarters located outside of Newark, California, and they’ve been manufacturing robot vacuums since 2010.
The XV-series was the first robot vacuum to launch, which slowly developed into the Neato Botvac. The Botvac hit the market in 2014 with eight models being produced before the Botvac Connected series came out.
- Neato Botvac 70e
- Neato Botvac 75
- Neato Botvac 80
- Neato Botvac 85
- Neato Botvac D75
- Neato Botvac D80
- Neato Botvac D85
The Botvac Connected line was later introduced as a collection of advanced robot vacuums that boast wifi-connectivity for convenient smartphone control. The Connected series includes the:
While exact features and capabilities vary from each series, the robots certainly got progressively more impressive with each new launch.
This comparison, in particular, is going to look at the Neato Botvac D3 vs. D5 and see how they compare.
Neato’s D-series Connected line offer three distinct models of wifi-enabled (Connected) robot vacuums.
|Model||D3 Connected||D5 Connected||D7 Connected|
|Auto-charge & Resume|
|Not Included; Optional||Markers Included||Digital 'No-Go' Lines|
|Run Time||~60 minute||~90 minute||~120 minute|
|Weight||8 lbs.||8 lbs.||8 lbs.|
|Dust Bin Capacity||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown|
|Maintenance Costs||$138 / year||$174 / year||$174 / year|
The design differences between the Neato Botvac D3 and Botvac D5 are very subtle. Aesthetically, they are nearly identical, both having the same feature buttons and stylings.
The central Neato “Botvision” camera helps the Botvacs to navigate smoothly. Both the D3 and the D5 are designed to navigate in straighter, more methodical patterns compared to the somewhat random, zig-zag pattern of many competitive models.
There are three buttons at the lower left. the functions of each of these buttons includes:
- Starting/pausing a cleaning
- Checking battery life
Along the side, there is a rubberized bumper that helps to protect your furniture, as well as the vacuum body, in case it bumps into something it shouldn’t.
How it Cleans
The Botvac D3 vs. Botvac D5 are also similar in how they clean. They both use a nearly edge-to-edge combination brushroll that combines soft bristles with rubberized blades to help agitate and suck up debris, without causing tangles.
They both also use two large wheels to seamlessly transition from various floor types and over cords, etc. One difference between these two models is that the Neato Botvac D5 has a side spinning brush on the underside of the vacuum, while the D3 model does not.
Another note, none of the current Botvac models (D3, D5, or D7) have a “full” dust bin indicator. While this doesn’t directly effect how it cleans, it may be important for some users.
Size & Dimensions
Both the Neato Botvac D3 and D5 have the same dimensions. They are both:
- Length – 12.7″
- Width – 13.2″ (at the widest point in the back)
- Height – 3.9″
- Weight – 8 lbs.
COMBO BRUSHROLL | As mentioned above, this brushroll helps to agitate and capture dirt, dust, and debris from all floor types.
STANDARD FILTER | The Standard filter is the most basic filter that Neato offers, but is one of the most affordable one to replace as needed.
ULTRA PERFORMANCE FILTER | The Neato Botvac D5 comes with the “Ultra Performance” filter, one step up from the “High Performance” filter that comes with the Botvac D80 / D85, but two steps up from the “Standard” filter with the Botvac D3 vacuum.
LITHIUM-ION BATTERY | The standard Lithium-ion battery on the Botvac D3 provides up to a 60-minute run time while the high-capacity Lithium-ion battery on the D5 provides up to a 90-minute run time.
SIDE BRUSH | The Neato Botvac D5 also come with one spinning side brush which helps to capture debris up against edges or in tight corners.
CLEANING TOOL | Use this tool to clean the brushroll or filters, as a form of regular maintenance for your Neato Botvac.
The following section is a summary of cleaning performance of the Neato Botvac D3 and D5 robot vacuums, based against a variety of debris, including cereal, kitty kitter, rice, and sugar.
We test on three different floor types, including hardwood floors, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet.
Overall Cleaning Scores
- Neato Botvac D3 89% 89%
- Neato Botvac D5 89% 89%
Neato Botvac D3 Cleaning
- Hardwood – Neato Botvac D3 95% 95%
- Low Carpet – Neato Botvac D3 84% 84%
- High Carpet – Neato Botvac D3 83% 83%
Neato Botvac D5 Cleaning
- Hardwood – Neato Botvac D5 95% 95%
- Low Carpet – Neato Botvac D5 84% 84%
- High Carpet – Neato Botvac D5 83% 83%
Cleaning results for the D5 are estimates based on our D3 tested results. We have not yet completed the D5 cleaning tests.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning
The performance of the Neato Botvac D3 Connected was excellent on hardwoods. For all debris types, the D3 was able to capture 88% or more. With large debris, like during our cereal test, the D3 captured 100%.
One note about the cleaning path on hardwoods, is that it didn’t back up all the way into the corners to clean those tight edges, like it is advertised to do. This may have been a fluke, but certainly something to note.
Although we have not performed cleaning tests with the Botvac D5, we can expect similar results, and probably a little better, since the D5 boasts more power and an advanced filtration system for ultra-fine debris and particulate.
Low Pile Carpet Cleaning
The low carpet cleaning performance was still top notch for most debris types, and only really struggled with the fine sugar debris test.
When testing with sugar, the Botvac D3 only collected about 50% of debris. Since the Botvac D5 has the same brush, it is likely that it would struggle with the ultra-fine debris as well.
High Pile Carpet Cleaning
The results of the high pile carpet test were similar to the low pile carpet test. Again, we saw excellent performance during the rice, cereal, and kitty litter test.
Performance during the sugar test took a drastic dip, only collecting 48% of debris sprinkled on the carpet.
Again, we would likely suspect that the performance of the Neato D5 in this situation would yield similar results since it uses the same brushroll and has a similar level of power.
One thing that might help the D5 is the 2X Spot Clean feature, where the D5 may be able to use a stronger degree of suction for a small area.
Are Botvacs Easy to Use?
The power button is on the far left and is the largest. The “info” LED light and “battery” LED light are situated just to the right of the power button and help to provide additional information about the vacuum and its current status.
The control the D3 Connected, you can use:
- Physical buttons on the vacuum
- Your smartphone or tablet, via the Neato app
- Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Neato Chatbot
To control the D5 Connected, you can use:
- Physical buttons on the vacuum
- Physical remote control; wireless
- Your smartphone or tablet, via the Neato app
- Voice control via Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Neato Chatbot
One issue that we did notice when we tested the Neato Botvac D3 Connected is the inability for the wifi to stay connected to the vacuum. As a result, I had to reconnect my phone to the vacuum every time I wanted to run a cleaning. It’s unclear if this is a wide scale problem, or just an oddity within my home’s wifi.
It is not confirmed whether or not the D5 has similar connectivity issues, but it certainly is possible based on the fact that these two robots use the same app and software.
The maneuverability of each of these models is also basically identical, since they have the same D-style body, weight, and height. At 3.9″ it is pretty easy to it to squeeze under most furniture.
Maintenance is probably the area that takes the biggest hit in this comparative review. Between the D3 vs. D5, it doesn’t necessarily make the decisions any easier between the two since both have excessively high annual maintenance costs.
To determine annual maintenance costs, we look at the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule as well as pricing for parts. In some cases, these parts are sourced directly from the manufacturer, but some times there may also be third party alternates available at a lower price.
The table below details out the projected annual maintenance costs for the Neato Botvac D series:
|Replacement Part||Replacement Frequency||Neato D3||Neato D5||Neato D7|
|Filter||1-2 months||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Combo Brushroll||6-8 months||Check Price||Check Price||NA|
|Battery||1-2 Years||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Spinning Side Brush||6-12 months||NA||Check Price||Check Price|
|Boundary Marker||Optional||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
In my opinion, the replacement frequencies Neato recommends are beyond excessive. This is perhaps the most aggressive replacement schedule we’ve seen from a robot vacuum manufacturer.
If you were to follow Neato’s replacement recommendations you can expect to pay $138 / year for the D3 and $174 / year for the D5.
CONSERVATIVE REPLACEMENTS | However, we do feel that you could keep your Neato well maintained for much less. If you replace the filter every 3-6 months, brushroll every 2-3 years, battery every 2 years, and spinning side brush every 6 months, your costs drop dramatically.
Following the above conservative replacement schedule the D3 will cost you around $71 / year and D5 will cost you around $76 / year. Granted, this is still fairly expensive compared to other robot vacuums (Roomba 690, iLife A4s, and Ecovacs are all around $30 / year), however it’s a much more reasonable price than $138-$174 / year.
The Neato Botvac D3 uses a standard Lithium-ion battery which has a run time of up to 60 minutes. per cycle. By comparison, the Neato Botvac D5 uses an advanced high-capacity Lithium-ion battery which has a run time of up to 90 minutes, per cycle.
Both batteries enable the vacuum to automatically charge up in the middle of a cleaning cycle and resume where the vacuum left off. The Botvacs can recharge twice, for up to three full run time cycles.
Concerning lifespan, both batteries should last between 1-3 years, depending on use. The table below provides additional details about the batteries with these vacuums:
So the big question… which Neato is the better value?
Difference between these models include:
- overall run time
- boundary marker
Depending on how important these features are to you, the value between each model may vary.
One note, the D3 does have a certain level of upgradability. The “Ultra-Performance” filters that comes with the Botvac D5 can also be used with the Botvac D3, even through the D3 comes with “Standard” filters. The same can be said for the boundary markers. Since they have the same software, the D3 can recognize these markers, it is just not included in the initial purchase of the D3.
With the cost of upgraded filters and boundary markers, that narrows the gap in price between these two products. This basically equates to the value of the longer run time. Is an extra 30 minutes of run time and larger overall square footage coverage worth the extra cost?
If so, the Neato Botvac D5 may be right for you. If you have a smaller footprint and don’t need the extra run time, the D3 would likely be the better value.
Neato Botvac D3 Robot Vacuum
12.7 x 13.2 x 3.9″
~$138 / year
The Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum is the base model in the Connected series, which includes all of Neato’s wifi-enabled vacuums. During our cleaning tests, it offered excellent performance on hardwoods for all debris types and struggled a bit with ultra-fine debris on hardwoods (i.e.: see results of sugar test).
This vacuum has a sleek D-style design, has a simple user interface, and limited extra parts and accessories. With that in mind, the parts that it does need do add up to pretty substantial annual maintenance costs.
RELATED – See our Neato Botvac D3 vs. Roomba comparison for a complete side-by-side robot battle.
- Lower price tag than the Botvac D5 robot vacuum
- 60-minute run time (can clean up to ~1800 sf.)
- Voice control compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Neato Chatbot
- No included boundary markers limits capabilities for custom cleaning.
- No remote control so it must be controlled via smartphone / tablet or physical touch button on the vacuum.
- Standard filter may leave behind some smaller particulate that the D5’s advanced filter would otherwise capture.
Neato Botvac D5 Robot Vacuum
12.7 x 13.2 x 3.9″
~$171 / year
The Neato Botvac D5 robot vacuum is the mid-range model of the Connected series. It is the same overall size, uses the same combo brushroll, and has many of the same parts and accessories as the Botvac D3. On top of these similarities, the D5 robot vacuum also had a few newer bells-and-whistles.
In addition to the combo brushroll, the D5 also uses a small side spinning brush to help capture small debris in corners and along edges. It also features an advanced Ultra-Performance filter, which is able to capture particulate as small as 0.3 micros (the same level that many Dyson vacuum cleaners filter at with their patented cyclone system). It also comes with a remote control, for enhanced cleaning options.
The Botvac D5 also includes physical boundary markers, for custom cleaning runs, similar to the boundaries used with the Shark Ion robot vacuum series.
- Longer run time over the D3, up to 90 minutes (can clean up to ~4500 sf.)
- Advanced filter can capture debris as small as 0.3 microns
- Includes a physical remote control and physical boundary markers.
- Higher price tag than the Botvac D3 Connected.
- Does not include digital boundaries, like the D7 Connected.
- High annual maintenance costs are certainly a cost factor as well.
Depending on what exactly you’re looking for, the D3 and D5 both offer many great features and options.
As we’ve discussed above, there are many similarities between these two robots.
Below we’ll be looking at the 4 primary differentiating factors.
The Neato D3 only has about a 60-minute run time, while the D5 can run up to 90 minutes. Of course, keep in mind, that both of these models have the ability to recharge mid-cycle and return to finish the job after juicing up. This feature makes the initial run time a bit of a moot factor since ultimately, both vacuums will stay at the task until the job is done.
The battery on the Neato Botvac D3 is a standard Lithium-ion, while the D5 features a high-capacity Lithium-ion battery. This contributes to the overall run time, but also to the amount of area that each vacuum can clean in a give cycle. The D3 is expected to be able to clean up to 1800 sf, while the D5 can cover up to 4500 sf per cycle. (Note: A full cycle can include up to 3 cleaning runs, with 2 charges in between.)
The Botvac D5 uses an advanced “Ultra Performance” filter, versus the standard filter that is provided by the Botvac D3. The Ultra Performance filter is best for people concerned with allergies and minimizing pollutants in the air. The advanced filter has a new latch design to make it easier to take in and out as well as a new filter screen, for capturing debris. With that in mind, the Ultra-Performance filters will cost you notably more than the standard filters.
The Botvac D5 comes with boundary markers included, while markers for the D3 are sold separately. If dividing space and keeping the Botvac out of certain areas is highly important, the D5 may be the better choice. Furthermore, you may also want to check out the Neato Botvac D7, which features unlimited barriers, using digital “No-Go” lines that you can draw with your finger, using your smartphone or tablet.
Final Decision – Buy the Neato D3 or D5?
Differences aside, both of these Neato models offer similar features with just a few notable differences. Read below to quick see which model might be right for you.
Should You Buy the Neato Botvac D3 Connected?
I would recommend the Neato D3 to people who:
- Want a lower price
- Don’t need an extra long run time (up to ~60 minutes)
- Do not need to clean more than 1800 sf. at a time
- Are interested in upgrading certains parts over time (if desired)
To learn more about the Neato Botvac D3 Connected, check it out on Amazon here.
Should You Buy the Neato Botvac D5 Connected?
I would recommend the Neato D5 to people who:
- Don’t mind spending a little extra for bells-and-whistles
- Want a longer run time (up to ~90 minutes)
- Want the ability to clean larger spaces, up to 4500 sf. at a time
- Want advanced filtration for allergy sufferers.
To learn more about the Neato Botvac D5 Connected, check it out on Amazon here.
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, son, and poodle, Tibbers.