Neato vs Roomba: Robot vacuum comparison

neato vs roomba

iRobots Roomba is the best selling robot vacuum in the world. The brand takes pride in their high quality and innovative approaches to building and upgrading their Roombas with cutting edge technology. Sometimes it can be easy to see a brand like this and default to purchasing it. The robot vacuum market is highly competitive and there are some technically robust and high-quality devices available from other brands. This comparison will have a look at iRobot against one of its top competitors.

In many instances of comparison between Roombas and other robot vacuums, it is often the story that Roomba provides the deluxe quality option and the other offers an OK device that may be a good budget option. Far too often their features are not a match for those of Roombas. However, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is a genuine threat to even the top of the range Roomba 980. We will break down two of the best robot vacuums you can get help you decide which is best for you. For a complete over of Roomba, check out our comparison of Roomba models.

Neato vs Roomba Comparison Chart

AVAILABILITYDESIGNMODELNavigationClean in darkCarpet ModeBin SizeBattery Life (mins)LCD DisplayApp & Voice ControlSelf Resume
Check Priceroomba 980Roomba 980Smart Mapping & VSLAM✔️600 ml120✔️✔️
Check Priceneato botvac d7Neato BotVac D7 ConnectedLaserSmart Mapping & Navigation✔️✔️700 ml120✔️✔️✔️

Related: iLife vs Roomba

From glancing at the table you can clearly see that these robot vacuums are pretty evenly matched. We will break down for you each feature and their importance in this Neato vs Roomba comparison.

1.Design of Neato & Roomba

Roomba 980
Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 upholds the classic circular look found in all of its models, along with a minimalistic dark robotic like color scheme. The Roomba 980 is a brown and black glossy color and has just 3 buttons placed on it which include power, start cleaning and return to Home Base.

It may seem limiting to just have a few buttons on the device, but this is due to iRobot encouraging the use of their iRobot Home app as the the user interface.

The Roomba 980 is 3.6 inches tall and 13.9 inches in diameter. It weighs around 8.7 pounds or 4 kg. This officially makes it the widest and heaviest Roomba, although they are all the same height. This is neccessary to fit in new hardware such as the motor and navigation technology.

  • Circular shape
  • Black glossy color scheme
  • 3 buttons: power, start & return to Home Base
  • Height: 3.6 inches
  • Diameter: 13.9 inches
  • Weight: 8.7 lbs

Related: Bobsweep vs Roomba

Neato botvac D7 Connected
Neato Botvac D7 Connected

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for improved pick up performance;...
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with VSlam technology allows the robot to map its...
  • Ideal for homes with pets; Premium 3 stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair...

Whilst the Roomba 980 has the typical circular shape of most robot vacuums, the Neato D7 Connected has an alternative “D” shaped chassis. This is there chosen design due to its effectiveness in cleaning corners and alongside furniture edges. The color scheme is similair to the Roomba; a glossy black and siver color.

The Neato Botvac is 13.2 inches wide and 3.9 inches tall, which means it ’s one of the tallest robot vacuums on the market. The extra 0.3 inches is unlikely to make a huge impact but in some cases, there is a possibility that the Roombas 3.6 inch of height may allow it to get under furniture that the Botvax can’t.

It weighs 8 pounds so is unoticeabley lighter than the Roomba 980. On top of the Neato Botvac, there are two buttons: one to spot clean, and another to tell the device to return to its base. There’s also a color LCD panel in the upper right corner with four touch-enabled navigation buttons on the side. There is a turret on the top which holds the laser technology.

  • D shape
  • Gossy black
  • Width: 13.2 inches
  • Height: 3.9 inches
  • 2 buttons & LCD panel
  • Turret houses navigation technology

Neato Robotics D7 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum Featuring Multiple Floor Plan Mapping and Zone Cleaning, Works with Amazon Alexa, Silver/Black
  • Corner-cleaning ‘D’ design -- round robots can’t reach corners, and corners are...
  • Intuitive & Easy. Neato’s advanced engineering is all under the hood. What you get is...
  • Laser-guided mapping -- D7 technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning...


The Roomba 980 has the best of iRobots navigation technology implemented into it. Smart Mapping & VSLAM quite drastically improved upon the previous iAdapt 1.0 to provide logically thought out and quick routes. These new navigation technologies make up iAdapt 2.0 which is a rather state of the art piece of tech for robot vacuums, which builds up a map of your home to generate Clean Map Reports available on the iRobot Home app.

It uses various sensors, lasers and a camera to build up an image of your home it remembers so when it comes to cleaning again it can crack on. It uses Cliff Detect technology to identify fall off points, mostly stairs, and therefore prevent damage to the robot vacuum and you.

Dirt Detect technology identifies areas with high concentration of dirt that need more attention. Once it has been identified, the Roomba will spot clean the area in a zig zag motion until the job is complete.

  • Smart Mapping & VSLAM is new technology
  • iAdapt 2.0 is far better than 1.0
  • Clean Map reports available on Home app
  • Cliff Detect avoid stair falls
  • Dirt Detect spot cleans areas with high dirt concentration

The Neato Botvac D7 Connected uses impressive navigation technology that matches the quality of the Smart Mapping & VSLAM used by Roomba. The D7 Connected uses Neatos own patented LaserSmart Mapping & Navigation tech, that utilizes 360-degree scanning to map the users home and find the most efficient cleaning routes. 

This technology is in the slightly elevated turret of the Neato BotVac D7, found on the top side of the device. According to Neato, this speeds up cleaning to 4 times compared to the previous navigation systems.

Overall, all of this tech and the results it produces are of a top quality that you can find in robot vacuum. This laser system also lets your Neato Botvac D7 clean in the dark, something that even the Roomba 980 can’t do.

  • LaserSmart Mapping & Navigation on same level as iRobots
  • 4 times faster than Neatos previous navigation technologies
  • Lasers housed in the turret
  • Cleans in dark

botvac 360 laser scan technology


home app

The Roomba 980 also comes with Wifi connectivity and the advanced iRobot Home app, available for Android and IOS. This is the bridging point of robotic vacuums and smart home technology, where things get exciting (well for us at least)! The Roomba 980 main user interface is intended to be through the app although you can still use it independently.

Effectively it is a remote control that lets you start and pause cleaning, arrange to schedule, view Clean Map Reports and various cleaning metrics, and customize your cleaning to a more precise level. The app also notifies you of any issues or specific events, and lets you see the mapped and covered area for the device.

It is a well-designed tool for tracking your robot’s performance. It also has a manual drive option, making it easy to control your robot should you want to target certain areas of dirt or perform small cleaning tasks.

Taking Wifi connectivity one step further, you can use the Alexa iRobot Skills to control the Roomba 980 (as well as the Roomba 690, 890 & 960 models) with your voice. iRobot has also worked with IFTTT protocols to develop applets which link up Roombas to a self autonomous smart home system. Find out more about this here.

  • Wifi connectivity and iRobot Home app included
  • App is the user interface for Roomba 980
  • Roomba functions controlled there
  • View Clean Map Reports to see information
  • Manual drive option for small jobs
  • Control with voice via Alexa
  • Compatibility with IFTTT

The Neato Botvac Connected comes with Wifi connectivity and the Neato Robotics app, available for Android and IOS. This app serves the same purpose as iRobots one for Roombas. It is the principal user interface of the Neato Botvac Connected devices and provides the gateway for voice control and IFTTT programming.

Through the app you action cleaning or pause it, receive push notifications, scheduling, use a spot clean feature and view reports of cleaning. It is the basis for programming your cleaning too where you can acess Eco and Turbo Cleaning modes.

There is the option to manually drive the Neato Botvac D7 too. The set up of all this is very straightforward too, as you would expect with a modern connected device.

Your Neato Botvac Connected is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Neato Chatbot for Facebook, and IFTTT. All of this provides very solid grounding for the Neato Botvac D7 connected smart home capability.

  • Wifi connectivity and Neato Robotics app included
  • Same purpose as iRobot app – control, notifications & programming
  • Cleaning reports available
  • Manual driving
  • Voice control with Alexa, Home, IFTTT & more

5.Cleaning Capabilities

3rd gen motor 3 stage cleaning system

The Roomba 980 is a market leader when it comes to cleaning performance. The Roomba 980 actually has two brushes rotating in opposite directions on the underside of the devices which minimizes maintenance through tangle free brushes. There are also angled side brushes which push dirt by corners into the path of the Roomba.

The 3rd Gen Motor is iRobots most powerful motor and it is only currently found in the Roomba 980. This comes into play with iRobots patented Carpet Boost Technology which identifies areas with concentrated dirt and debris on carpets and rugs. This motor is 10 times the power of the traditional Aerovac 3-Stage Cleaning System found in the likes of the Roomba 690 and 650.

Carpets, especially those with thick and dense carpet pile is one area where the Roomba outperforms the Neato Botvac Connected. Dirt Detect technology automatically identifies the areas with high concentration of dirt which the Roomba will spot clean.

For pet owners and sensitive, allergic people, both vacuums have high-performance filters, though only the 980 one is HEPA certified. The 980 has a 600ml dustbin is which is large although 100 ml less than the Neato Botvac.

  • Tangle free bushes are low maintenance
  • Side brushes angled at 27 degrees for corners
  • 3rd Gen Motor is iRobots powerful
  • Carpet Boost is effective on high pile carpet
  • Dirt Detect identifies and give extra attention to areas that need a spot clean
  • HEPA certified filters
  • Large 600ml Dustbin

The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is a solid choice when it comes to its vacuum related features and cleaning performance. It operates a Spiral Combo Brush on the undercarriage which is easy to remove and maintain. It doesn’t promise being tangle free like the two brushes of the Roomba 980, but is nonetheless easy to remove and clean

The D shape of the Neato Connected series optimizes the brush width which can be up to 50 percent longer than some of the brushes found on circular shaped robot vacuums.

The shape also allows for the main brush to get closer to the corners rather than relying on the side brushes to push it into the path of main brush, such as the Roomba does.

Easy cleaning jobs such as those with light debris on hard floors would likely see the Neato D7 Connected perform the task quicker due to beign able to cover more area in one sweep. Just like the Roomba 980, there is a side brush to deal with dirt placed on corners.

The Spot Clean mode of the Neato Botvac D7 Connected has to be manually started by placing the device on the area that needs cleaning and pressing the Spot Clean on the robot vacuum. This is a disadvantage compared to the Roombas automatic Dirt Detect. 

There are two modes which are ECO and TURBO. ECO is a standard mode which conserves energy and does a lower power clean. The TURBO mode is designed for carpets. Although the Neato will struggle relative to the Roomba 980 on high-pile carpets it can deal with less challenging low-pile to a satisfactory standard. The  Neato has a slightly larger 700ml dustbin compared to the Roombas.

  • Spiral Combo Brush 50% wider than most robot vacuums
  • Easy to maintain although not tangle free
  • D Shape gets brush closer to the corners
  • Side brush for corners
  • Spot Clean manually activated
  • ECO mode for standard cleaning
  • TURBO for carpet cleaning
  • Good for low pile but not high pile carpets
  • Large 700ml dustbinNeato D shape has a wider brush

6.Battery Life

roomba 980 battery

The iRobot Roomba 980 has a 3000mAh battery which lasts for around 2 hours. When the Roomba is down to low battery it will navigate its way back to the Homebase to fully charge.

The 980 has the ability to resume cleaning automatically after charging and even heads to the exact same spot it left off, due to Smart Mapping tech. This resume cleaning technology reduces the importance of battery life although it is ideal to complete the job in one cleaning cycle. The Roomba 980 usually charges in 3 – 3.5 hours.

  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Charge time: 3-3.5 hours
  • Recharge and resume cleaning

The Neato D7 Connected battery stats are almost identical to the those of the Roomba 980. This includes a battery life up to 2 hours and around 3 hours of charge time.

The ability to self recharge and resume cleaning of the D7 make these numbers less important. The D7 Connected has a Quick Boost charge feature where the robot vacuum will calculate exactly how much more charge is needed to finish the job rather than full recharging. 

  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Charge time: 3
  • Recharge and resume cleaning
  • Quick Boost speeds up the recharge and resume cleaning function

Roomba 980 vs Neato Botvac D7

When you think of robotic vacuums, the name that comes to mind almost immediately is “Roomba.” Roomba has been synonymous with robotic vacuums and a household name for a long time, since the early 2000’s. In more recent times, Roomba has come under threat from both big names such as Dyson and Samsung as well as smaller dedicated robotics companies such as Neato. 

The Roomba 980 and Neato Botvac D7 Connected represent the top tier of robot vacuums. This reflects superior navigating systems and the Wifi connectivity with smart home integration.

Overall, the features that assist the cleaning process are pretty even across both of these robot vacuums. This includes the quality of the apps which act as the remote control for these devices, but also the navigation technology used. Have a look below at our verdicts of this Neato and Roomba comparison!

Design: The aesthetics of the robot vacuum is a matter of preference but this shouldn’t weigh too much into your decision.

Verdict: Equal

Navigation: The mapping technology of each of both the Botvac D7 and the Roomba 980 are on an equal footing. They both do a far better job than older versions of random sensor driven navigations and cut down the total clean time quite dramatically. Although the map reports and stats are a little gimmicky it is still impressive.

Verdict: Equal

App: The dedicated apps of each brands offer the same perks; a remote control, a programming function and a report mechanism. The iRobot Home app is more reliable than the Neato app on the whole, although in most instances they are both fine. There seem to be a larger volume of complaints and mapping issues with the Neato app.

Verdict: Roomba 980

LCD display: Only the Neato D7 Connected has an LCD screen but this is outdated by the dedicated apps anyway.

Verdict: Neato Botvac D7 Connected

Brushes: The Neato D7 does have a wider brush which can cover more area but Roombas have a tangle free brush and very effective cleaning mechanism.

Verdict: Equal

Maintenance: Roombas brushes are tangle free whilst Botvac D7 Connected brushes will therefore require more maintanenece. The chance of them ever getting clogged up is very little. For people with long haired pets or a lot of debris, perhaps some workshop material leftovers this system is perfect.

Verdict: Roomba 980

Motor strength: The Gen 3 Motor of the Roomba 980 is one of the strongest you can get, maybe even the strongest. If you have many carpets and rugs which have thick and high carpet pile, you will undoubtedly want to go for the Roomba 980. On hard floors they will both be capable of doing a solid job.

Verdict: Roomba 980

Corners: The D shape of Neato vacuums lets the D7 do a more effective job at picking up dirt more consistently in the corners than the Roomba 980.

Verdict: Neato Botvac D7 Connect

Cleaning in dark: Roombas don’t work in the dark as the navigation and mapping is driven by images from a camera. The laser technology of the Neato Botvac D7 Connected enables the robot vacuum to operate in the dark. This may be useful depending on when you plan to clean and how dark your home is.

Verdict: Neato Botvac D7 Connected

Bin size: They both have pretty large dustbins although the Neato Botvac D7 takes the edge with 700ml over the 600ml of the Roomba 980.

Verdict: Neato Botvac D7 Connected

Spot mode: Both the Roomba 980 and Botvac D7 have spot cleaning capabilities that work in different ways. Roombas use Dirt Detect technology to identify areas of dirt and pay extra attention to them. The Botvac D requires you to take the robot vacuum to the spot and manually ypress the SPOT CLEAN button to engage the robot in cleaning.

Verdict: Roomba 980

Carpet Boost: The Roomba 980 has a Carpet Boost function and the D7 Connected has an equivalent called TURBO mode. The Roomba takes the win on cleaning carpets. The Botvac D7 Connected will do a decent job on low pile carpet, but the Roomba 980 will do a better job on high pile carpet.

Verdict: Roomba 980

Boundary marking: Both these models can mark boundaries to limit the path of the robot vacuum in different ways. Neato uses marker strips and Roomba uses virtual wall barriers.

Verdict: Equal

Final Word

Weighing up the robot vacuums and who holds the best of each feature shows that the Roomba 980 just takes the edge. This comparison is a very tight comparison and the Botvac D7 Connected is the closest competitor to the Roomba 980 that we have seen yet.

For high pile carpet go for the Roomba 980 as the D7 Connected may struggle to deal with the dirt in some instances. The Roomba 980 delivers such solid and consistent quality with all of its features and although there are a few instances where they could be a little better, the most relevant and important functions are there.

Thanks for reading this Neato vs Roomba comparison, we hope you have learnt what you feel you need to make a purchase decision. Another great brand to compare against Roomba is Shark ION.

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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