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Neato vs. Roomba

Last Updated on 11/30/2017 by Derek Hales

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For this comparison, we’re going to be looking at Neato vs. Roomba robot reviews. Both Neato and Roomba have a strong following and offer a high quality robot vacuum for the modern home. For this comparison review we’ll be looking at the Neato Botvac D3 vs. the Roomba 690 model.

Both of these models are a bit older and lack some of the extra bells and whistles you would find with the advanced models, like the Neato Botvac D5 or the Roomba 890 or 900 series. However, they continue to be popular choices due to their price.

This review is going to analyze everything about these models including design, usability, value, features, battery power, price, company, returns, warranty and so much more. We have a lot of ground to cover so let’s go ahead and dive into Neato vs. Roomba.

Don’t have time for the full breakdown? Click here and jump right to the end summary where we’ll help you decide which robot vacuum is best for you- the Neato Botvac D3 or the iRobot Roomba 690.

Roomba 690 robot vacuum review

Roomba vs. Neato – Which is Better?

The Roomba 690 was a clear winner in our side-by-side comparison to the Neato Botvac D3. Roomba performed better in all but one cleaning test, was dramatically less expensive to maintain, came with more accessories, and was less expensive to purchase.

Neato Review

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.

neato botvac d3 robot vacuum review

Pros

  • Wifi connectivity allows you to control it from your phone
  • Also pairs with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Facebook Chatbot

Cons

  • Is a bit taller than other robot vacuums.
  • Has a relatively small battery at 2,100 mAh.

Bottom Line

  • The Neato Botvac D3 has a D-shape design which allows it to clean the corners and edges with ease, while still maintaining increased maneuverability that the round shape provides.
  • Setting up the wifi was a bit of a challenge at first, but it ran well after fully configured.

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Score

Roomba Review

The Roomba 690 is a robot vacuum designed with built-in sensors that help the robot navigate new environments, detect dirt, and sense (and avoid) stairs. Side brushes help sweep dirt and debris to within range of the Roomba’s agitator and cleaning suction.

iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum review

Pros

  • Wifi connectivity allows you to control it from your phone
  • Dirt detection and drop detection help this vacuum to adapt to different environments

Cons

  • Is a bit wider at 13″.
  • Has longer cleaning cycles.

Bottom Line

  • The Roomba 690 is a nice value if you want the Roomba name, but don’t want the high price tag.
  • Uses an older model of filtration, the AeroVac, which offers a smaller dust bin capacity compared to newer models, that use the AeroForce system, like the Roomba 870.

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Score

Neato Design

Unlike many completely round robot vacuums on the market, the Neato Botvac offers something different from first glance. The shape is rounded at the rear and squared off for the front half.

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.

  1. On / Off & Info buttons
  2. Handle
  3. Dust bin
  4. Botvac camera
neato botvac d3 top view

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum – features

Roomba Design

The design of the Roomba 690 brings a simple aesthetic with easy to use features. The two-tone color palette alternates between a matte black and a silver for a varied look. Hints of bright green are also used to highlight special nooks and crevices, like the dust release latch and the handle.

The Roomba 690 has a simple ‘CLEAN’ button located in the center of the vacuum for great usability. You can use this button to start a cleaning cycle or use the wifi capability and start a cycle with your smartphone or tablet.

  1. On / Off Clean
  2. Handle
  3. Bumper
  4. Dust bin release
iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum features

iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum – features

How Neato Cleans

The Neato Botvac D3 uses a combination of rolling brush and suction to help agitate and suck up dirt, dust, and debris. Neato doesn’t have the spinning brushes like the Roomba, for edges, but its unique shape and roller brush placement, help to ensure that it can still provide a nice edge clean.

Neato cleans in approximately 15′ x 15′ sections before moving to new areas. When the battery gets low, the Neato Botvac D3 will automatically recharge itself and then resume cleaning when the charge is complete. Neato considers a full cycle to be three cleanings and two recharges.

  1. Wheels
  2. Rolling brush
  3. Charing pins
Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum - how it cleans

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum – how it cleans

How Roomba Cleans

The Roomba 690 cleans using a combination of rolling brush, spinning brush (for edges) and suction. There is also dirt detection and drop detection to help the Roomba identify especially dirty areas or fall risks.

To navigate, the Roomba 690 uses infrared light to bounce around the space and identify obstacles. Unlike more advanced models, like the Roomba 890, the 690 does not have a memory feature so you may find it bumping into the same objects from time-to-time.

  1. Wheels
  2. Spinning brush (edge cleaning)
  3. Charging pins
  4. Roller brush
  5. Dust bin release
irobot roomba 690 how it cleans

Roomba 690 robot vacuum – how it cleans

Neato Size & Dimensions

The Neato Botvac D3 is slightly taller than other models we’rv reviewed. If you have low furniture to clean under, this taller style may make it more difficult to maneuver.

  • Width: 13.2″
  • Depth: 12.7″
  • Height: 3.9″

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum size dimensions

Roomba Size & Dimensions

The Roomba 690 is slightly shorter than the Botvac D3, which may mean increased maneuverability, depending on your home. With a diameter of 13″ all around, the 690 model is a tad bit shorter on one side and tad wider on the other.

  • Diameter: 13″
  • Height: 3.6″

Roomba 690 robot vacuum size dimensions

Neato Accessories & Parts

The Neato Botvac D3 comes with the following parts and accessories:

  1. Charging station: Neato will return to the charging station automatically when the battery gets low.
  2. HEPA filter (not shown): Helps trap fine particles and allergens.

Regarding accessories, the Roomba 690 comes out ahead with the added technology (virtual wall barrier) and maintenance considerations (cleaning tool).

neato botvac d3 robot vacuum parts

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum – accessories

Roomba Accessories & Parts

The Roomba 690 comes with the following parts and accessories:

  1. Virtual wall barrier: Prevents the Roomba from entering rooms it shouldn’t.
  2. Charging station: Roomba will return to the charging station automatically when its battery gets low.
  3. HEPA filter: Helps trap fine particles and allergens.
  4. Cleaning tool: Used to clean out small crevices of the Roomba and general maintenance.
iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum accessories

iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum – accessories

Cleaning Tests

The following vacuum cleaner tests are designed to show how both the Neato D3 Botvac and iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum cleaners perform 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
Cleaning test debris types

Testing Debris – From left to right: Rice (3 oz.), Kitty Litter (3 oz), Cereal (1 oz), Sugar (3 oz)

Neato Hardwood Floor Tests

The Botvac D3 started the hardwood cleaning by cleaning the edges and working its way inward. Overall it did a solid job cleaning on the hardwood floor, sucking up at least 88% of debris for every test.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 88%
  • Cereal 100%
  • Kitty Litter 97%
  • Sugar 95%

Neato Low Pile Carpet Tests

On the low carpet, Neato struggled a bit more, especially with fine debris. For the sugar test, the Botvac D3 only sucked up 50% of the debris.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 95%
  • Cereal 99%
  • Kitty Litter 92%
  • Sugar 50%

Neato High Pile Carpet Tests

The high carpet test was similar to the low carpet test. Again, Neato performed well with some debris, but it failed the sugar test, leaving over 52% of the sugar behind.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 99%
  • Cereal 99%
  • Kitty Litter 87%
  • Sugar 48%

Roomba Hardwood Floor Tests

The Roomba 690 dominated the hardwood floor test, capturing 95% of debris or more in every test we set up. Each test was also completed within a 7-minute span, for edges, corners, and the main pass.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 99%
  • Cereal 100%
  • Kitty Litter 96%
  • Sugar 95%

Roomba Low Pile Carpet Tests

The Roomba also did pretty well on the low pile carpet. The biggest struggle seemed to be the sugar, where it only captured 72% during the test.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 100%
  • Cereal 100%
  • Kitty Litter 98%
  • Sugar 72%

Roomba High Pile Carpet Tests

Similar to the low pile carpet test, the Roomba struggled a bit with the sugar test, leaving over 30% of sugar in the carpet, but the other debris tests were excellent.

See before and after test images

  • Rice 99%
  • Cereal 99%
  • Kitty Litter 99%
  • Sugar 66%

Neato Usability

Neato’s usability was just okay. Setup was a little vague and I really had to rely on the manuals to get going. Also the app control is a little spotty. I had to reconnect my phone each time I wanted to run a cycle. 

Once set up, it is nice that you can connect to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Facebook Chatbot, as well as the traditional app.

 

neato botvac d3 robot vacuum usability

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum close up

Roomba Usability

Setting up the Roomba was very easy- simply unbox it, charge it, and let it clean. You can also press the center “CLEAN” button to start a cycle or use the app to schedule cleanings for added convenience.

Setting up the app to use took only 2 minutes and I was ready to start or schedule a cycle.

iRobot Roomba 690 - close up shot of the top

Roomba 690 robot vacuum close up

Neato Maneuverability

The Neato Botvac D3 can make 360 degree turns as well as scoot into tight corners, using the squared off edge.

It’s a bit larger than the Roomba, in height, width, and weight. If you’re looking for a more compact robot vacuum this could be an issue for you, but may be less important for others.

  • Weight – 8 pounds
  • Width – 13.2″
  • Height – 3.9″
  • Turning – 360 degree

Roomba Maneuverability

The circular design of the Roomba 690 allows it to make 360 degree turns, for easy U-turns and maneuvering through tough obstacles, like under chair legs or tables.

As with all of the iRobot Roomba robot vacuums, corners may be a struggle since it’s round, but the spinning brushes are nice for sweeping the edges.

  • Weight – 7.8 pounds
  • Width – 13.4″
  • Height – 3.6″
  • Turning – 360 degrees

Neato Maintenance

Maintenance for the Neato Botvac D3 is pretty straightforward. Although the frequency is nothing out of the ordinary, the replacement costs really start to add up.

Accessory / PartReplacement Frequency*Buy
Filter 1-2 monthsCheck Price
Rolling brush6-8 monthsCheck Price
Battery1-2 YearsCheck Price

A $40 brush that needs replacing every 6-8 months and a battery that may only last a year (per the manufacturer’s recommendations) makes the annual maintenance costs almost a third of the cost of the unit. The cost to maintain the unit is around $138 / year.

Roomba Maintenance

Maintenance for the Roomba 690, is pretty light and easy to do. The HEPA filter needs to be replaced the most often (every 2 months), while the brushes and rollers have a noticeably longer lifespan (up to 24 months, depending on use.)

Accessory / PartReplacement FrequencyReplacement Cost
HEPA filter2 monthsCheck Price
Spinning brush6 monthsCheck Price
Front wheel12 monthsCheck Price
Brushroll12 monthsCheck Price
Battery18-36 monthsCheck Price

The Roomba has much less frequent (and less expensive) maintenance than the Neato Botvac D3, but is pretty comparable to other Roomba robot vacuums. The cost to maintain the Roomba is around $26 / year (using generic parts).

Neato Battery

The Neato battery is only 2,100 mAh and takes 5-6 hours to charge. However, the Neato does have the ability to recharge itself, up to two times, during a cleaning cycle. This allows up to a 180 minute run-time, but based on the charging time, it may take 15-18 hours for the Botvac D3 to complete a clean.

BatteryDetails
Size2,100 mAh
Charging Time5-6 hours
Run Time60 minutes
Replacement CostCheck Price

Roomba Battery

The Roomba battery is 3,000 mAh and takes around 2 hours to charge. Compared to the Neato, it has the same 60-minute run-time, but the Roomba 690 cannot resume a cleaning after charging, like the Neato. In order to get this feature in a Roomba, you’d need to step up to the Roomba 960 or Roomba 980 model.

BatteryDetails
Size1,800 mAh
Charging Time2-3 hours
Run Time60 minutes
Replacement CostCheck Price

Neato Noise

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′ away from the vacuum. Compared to the Roomba 690, the Neato Botvac D3 was slightly quieter.

Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum noise test

At 3′ away, the Neato Botvac D3 robot vacuum emits 64 dB of sound.

Roomba Noise

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′ away from the vacuum. Compared to the Neato Botvac D3, the Roomba 690 was slightly louder.

Roomba 690 robot vacuum noise test

At 3′ away, the Roomba 690 robot vacuum emits 68 dB of sound.

Neato Value

The Neato Botvac D3 is priced a little high, in my opinion. I think there were some struggles during the setup and fine debris cleaning tests, as well as high maintenance costs. According to the manufacturer’s guidelines, in just over 3 years you would have paid more in maintenance costs than you put into buying the vacuum.

These points aside, Neato picked up most of the debris in the test. Neato offers a warranty and standard return policy. As a company overall, I did not find any red flags.

  • Warranty – 1 year
  • Returns – 30 days
  • Company – Great
  • Value – Average

Roomba Value

The Roomba 690 is a better value than the Neato, in my opinion. It has a lower price tag, outperformed Neato in nearly all of the cleaning tests, had an easier setup, and comes with fewer maintenance costs. As an added bonus, Roomba also has a larger capacity battery, which could mean longer cleaning cycles or a longer lifespan, in general.

As a company, iRobot also did not have any questionable behavior, that I found, and it offers a warranty and 30-day return policy via Amazon.

  • Warranty – 1 year
  • Returns – 30 days
  • Company – Great
  • Value – Great

Neato Specifications

Specifications 
TypeRobot
ManufacturerNeato
ModelBotvac D3
Length (inches)13.2
Width (inches)12.7
Height (inches)3.9
Weight (pounds)8
Floor TypeAll (indoor)
Battery2,100 mAh
CordlessYes
BaglessYes
Returns30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceBuy Here

Roomba Specifications

Specifications 
TypeRobot
ManufactureriRobot
ModelRoomba 690
Length13"
Width13"
Height3.6"
Weight7.8 lbs
Floor TypeAll (indoor)
Battery1,800 mAh
Dust Bin Capacity0.3 liter
CordlessYes
BaglessYes
Returns30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceCheck Price

Neato vs. Roomba, Which Should You Buy?

So Neato vs. Roomba, who is the winner? While the Botvac D3 did have some worthy traits and offered a good clean, the Roomba 690 stole the spotlight and is the clear winner, in my opinion.

Check Roomba Price on Amazon

Check Neato Price on Amazon

Roomba comes with better cleaning performance, more accessories and parts, lower cost maintenance of those parts, quicker and easier setup, a larger capacity battery, and a lower price tag.

The virtual wall barrier is one feature that was especially nice with the Roomba 690 model. In comparable vacuums, this technology may be an upgraded accessory option, but including it with the purchase makes the Roomba a little more tuned to your specific home.

The Roomba out cleaned Neato in 58% of the cleaning tests and was only outperformed by Neato in one test. where Neato captured 1% more kitty litter on the hardwood test. This 1% difference is minute, in my opinion, and does not compensate for Neato’s inferior performance on the fine sugar test compared to the Roomba 690.

Roomba 690 robot vacuum review

Neato vs. Roomba Winner? Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 nearly completed a perfect sweep over the Neato D3 Botvac in our comparison. The Roomba was less expensive, showed superior cleaning performance, came with more accessories, is less expensive to buy replacement parts, and comes equipped with a larger capacity battery. The Roomba 690 is the clear winner.

Winner by Category

CategoryWinner?Explanation
Accessories
Roomba comes with everything the Neato has, plus, it also includes a virtual wall barrier and maintenance cleaning tool.
Cleaning
Roomba performed better than the Neato across all floor types and debris types (with the exception of hardwood kitty litter clean up, where Neato was 1% better).
Usability
The Neato was more difficult during setup and we also had to reconnect to the smartphone each time we wanted to run a cleaning cycle. Roomba’s setup was more intuitive and we did not experience the same type of issues.
Maintenance
Rooma’s annual cost to maintain is around $26, whereas the Neato is around $138. Much of this cost difference is due to the availability of generic replacement parts for the Roomba, whereas we could not find generic parts for the Neato.
Battery
Roomba has a larger 3,000 mAh battery compared to the Neato’s 2,100 mAh. Replacing the battery is also less expensive on the Roomba due to the availability of generic battery options.
Noise
Neato was slightly less noisy at 64 decibels compared to the Roomba 690’s 68 decibels.
Value
The combination of superior cleaning performance, a larger capacity battery, less expensive annual maintenance, and a less expensive total cost make this one a no brainer. Roomba’s value is clearly superior, in our opinion.

Should You Buy the Neato?

The Neato Botvac D3 is a little more expensive than the Roomba, but performance was still good, compared to other robot vacuum reviews.  The unique D-shape did a nice job for the corners and the overall approach of the Neato is a bit more systematic (Neato rows vs. Roomba random.)

You Should Buy If…

  1. You want better corner performance – Due to Neato’s unique shape, corners are a little easier than they would be for the Roomba’s round body.
  2. You want a vacuum that can recharge and resume – The ability for the Neato robot vacuum to clean, automatically recharge, and then pick up where it left off is a nice feature. The Neato does have a 5-6 hour recharge, so it may take some time. But as long as you’re not in a hurry, the D3 will get the job done.
  3. You want a quieter robot vacuum – At 3′ away, the Neato Botvac D3 was 4 decibels quieter than the Roomba 690 model.

For more information or to buy check out the Neato D3 Botvac on Amazon.com.

Should You Buy the Roomba?

The Roomba 690 model is a better value, overall, compared to the Neato Botvac D3. During our cleaning tests, it had great performance and was more user-friendly and intuitive, as well as the fact that the virtual wall barrier was included was an added bonus. The 690 certainly isn’t the newest Roomba model, but if you’re looking for a robot vacuum at a reasonable price with great performance, it’s hard to beat this robot.

You Should Buy If…

  1. You want lower maintenance costs – This vacuum has minimal parts that need replacing and the ones that do are affordable and accessible.
  2. You want better cleaning performance – The Roomba 690 did a great job of finding and eliminating most of the debris during our cleaning tests.
  3. You want better app performance – While both robot vacuums have app control, the Roomba 690 did a better job of initial connection and staying connected, even after a cleaning cycle.

For more information or to buy check out the Roomba 690 on Amazon.com.

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Editor-in-Chief

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.