Neato vs. Roomba: May the Best Robot Win

Best for Efficiency
Neato D7
 
$699.99*
Pro Bullet Better corner cleaner
Pro Bullet Manual and app boundaries
Con Bullet More maintenance
Best for Ease of Use
Roomba i7
 
$685.95*
Pro Bullet Better for thick carpets
Pro Bullet Less likely to get stuck
Con Bullet Not as good with corners
*Amazon.com prices as of 10/18/19 11:45 a.m. MST

Overview

Simply put, the Neato D7 is more effective in terms of battery and general suction and the Roomba i7 is easier to maintain.

The Neato's design features give it an extra edge in cleaning power, including laser-based navigation that works in the dark, stronger suction power, and better corner cleaning.

The Roomba’s suction works better on thick carpets and the vacuum is easier to maintain—and isn’t low maintenance the goal of home automation?

Both models are strong contenders in the robotic vacuum world because they can both learn the layout of your home as they clean. Both models run on carpet and hardwood floors.

They’ll both also run with any smart home protocol or smart home hub you use.

Roomba i7+
Take Note
The i7+ kicks up the low-maintenance feature on the i7 with a self-emptying bin linked to the charging station. Otherwise, the i7 and i7+ are practically identical.

Compare Neato vs. Roomba robot vacuums

Data effective 7/23/2019. Offers and availability subject to change.
*Amazon.com prices as of 10/18/19 11:45 a.m. MST

Price

The price difference between the Neato D7 and the Roomba i7 is only about $30. With their smart home figures, both vacuums run several hundred dollars, so it’s worth digging into the features of each to get what you want.

A robotic vacuum is sure to cost more than a manual vacuum. The idea is to save on time and hassle.

Features and equipment

Both models come with parts and accessories you’ll need to replace eventually. Fortunately, a few of these are included with your initial purchase.

* HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air)
Additional replacement filters, brushes, batteries, and even wheels can be ordered online from the manufacturers or third-party vendors.
Neato Equipment

Neato Equipment from Amazon:
Main brush, side brush, and cleaning tool

Roomba Equipment from Amazon:
Side brushes, filters, and main brushes

Replacement info
Protip
Sites like eBay offer free shipping and some good deals on replacement parts/accessories. Replacement parts are available through iRobot, but they’re pricier.

Neato vs. Roomba boundary markers

Both models have sensors on the bottom that will keep them from taking a tumble down a flight of stairs. Once your robot has learned the layout of your home, it will always know where the stairs are and how to avoid nose-diving off of hardwood or carpeted stairs.

But those sensors won’t keep your robotic cleaner away from the china cabinet, out of the kids' play area, or anywhere else you don’t want it to go. That’s what the boundary markers are for.

Neato D7 and Roomba i7 have slightly different features in their boundary marker systems.

Neato D7 boundaries

Neato may be what you need if you have a high-traffic living space, with kids, pets, and guests constantly coming through.

The Neato D7 provides two great options for boundaries.

  • The Neato comes with one magnetic strip. You can break it into separate lengths and lay the pieces across doorways, in front of pet food bowls, or before the minefield of Legos in the kid’s play area.
  • The Neato app lets you draw “No-Go lines” as soon as the Neato has mapped out your living area. So if you run out of magnetic strips and someone left a half-finished puzzle on the bare floor, all you have to do is open up the app and draw some No-Go lines before the Neato’s next scheduled cleaning.
Roomba i7 boundaries

The lower-maintenance Roomba comes with one wireless, battery-operated wall boundary with a battery life of about six months. It’s like a little block that you can set up wherever you like. It has two modes: Circular and Linear.

  • The Circular mode will send out a signal in all directions. Think of it like a little force field around the Roomba. Put it at the base of your china cabinet or near whatever you don’t want the Roomba to touch, and the Roomba will clean in a circle around it. Remember to switch out the battery in six months though!
  • The Line mode will project a line across a doorway, before the hall, or wherever you like and the Roomba won’t cross that line. If only it worked for your pets too!

Also, the Roomba mapping system on the app will let you vacuum select rooms according to your floor plan. It’s not as sophisticated has Neato’s No-Go lines, but it is a pretty good system for having your vacuum clean the rooms that need it most.

If you live in a low-traffic home where you aren’t worried about boundary devices getting accidentally knocked over or misplaced, the Roomba boundary system should work great.

Neato vs. Roomba brushes

Could the Neato vs. Roomba debate come down to a battle of the brushes? There are pros and cons to both models’ brush designs.

Neato brush

The Neato brush is longer so it will cover more floor space in less time, which will extend the battery life of your vacuum. Also, the brush’s position at the front of the robot unit allows it to get the dirt hiding in the corners of your living space.

Corner cleaning is important because while testing, we saw that the side brush (both models have them) can sometimes push dirt and crumbs to the side rather than picking them up. The powerful suction of your Neato can get to the corners and edges of your hardwood floors and carpets.

But suction power is only half the battle. The Neato has one bristly brush, which makes it more likely to get tangled up by hair. Once the brush is stuck, the suction can’t do so much on its own and the cleaning power is reduced.

Roomba brush

The Roomba uses two rubber brushes. One brush loosens the dust and dirt from the floor. The other brush literally does the dirty work by sucking all those loosened crumbs, dirt, fluff, and pet hair up into the dustbin. The rubber brushes use floor-hugging ridges that won’t get stuck easily as the Neato brush bristles.

The Roomba’s rubber brushes still work well on carpet, in part because the robot recognizes when it has moved from hardwood floor to carpet and begins picking up dirt with greater suction power.

Neato vs. Roomba app

Both apps come with the same basic things:

  • A temporary robot-generated Wi-Fi for your initial setup
  • Scheduled cleaning options
  • Eco mode (quieter) and Turbo mode (louder) options
  • A chance to name your robotic vacuum

With the Neato app, you can make a floor plan and draw No-Go lines.

With the Roomba app, you can make a floor plan, cut that floor plan into distinct sections or rooms, and order your robotic vacuum to clean specific rooms at specific times. If you want your Roomba to clean only the rooms with carpet, you can select those rooms through the app.

Neato App Screenshot

Neato app screenshot

Roomba App Screenshot

Roomba app screenshot

Both vacuum apps will allow you to schedule and manage your robot remotely.

Neato vs. Roomba setup

With reliable Wi-Fi, the set up process takes only about 10 minutes. The setup process is similar for both sides of the Neato D7 vs. Roomba i7:

  • Unpack the robotic unit and plug in the charging station
  • Set the unit on the charging station so the charging ports line up
  • Download the app and create an account
  • Accept the user agreement and select your unit on the app
  • Make sure your robotic vacuum is turned on
  • Connect your robot to your home’s Wi-Fi
  • Connect your phone to the robot Wi-Fi so you can access your Robot from anywhere
  • Name your robot

The Neato has a little screen and menu on the robot unit that you’ll use for the Wi-Fi setup.

The Roomba uses just the smartphone app to set up the Wi-Fi.

Neatos App Setup

Neato app's guided setup

Roomba app setup

Roomba app's guided setup

Both apps are very intuitive and will guide you through the setup process. And don’t worry, both robots come with a charged battery so you won’t have to wait to get it started.
Charging station
Take Note
Make sure you set up your charging station right where you plan to keep it most of the time. Your robot will begin mapping out the area dimensions of your home right away and if you switch the power base location your robot will get confused.

Neato vs. Roomba customer service

Customer service is going to be important, no matter which brand you buy. Reviews for both brands show customers who had a hard time getting their vacuum set up and running properly. They both work great once you figure out how to use them and once the vacuums map out your living space.

Need a doctor for your Roomba? You can get online support through email, chat, or the helpline. Call Roomba on business days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST as well as Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m EST.

Neato has the same customer service options as Roomba, but with extended helpline hours from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m PST on Sundays.

Neato vs. Roomba warranties

Roomba offers a one-year warranty period. The warranty does not extend to products from third parties, such as replacement parts from Home Depot, or to any of the accessories.

Neato offers a one-year warranty period for the hardware, but the warranty lasts only six months for the lithium-ion battery and three months for a refurbished product. The warranty also does not apply to the consumable products of the vacuum, such as the brushes or the filter.

Also, Neato doesn’t travel too well. Once you’ve taken your Neato out of the country where you bought it, you’ve lost your warranty.


What they both do

Here is where the Neato D7 vs. Roomba i7 debate ends in a tie. They both run on a lithium-ion battery to pick up all the tiny eyesores on your floor, including pet hair. Just give your pets a little time to get used to their new dirt-eating, robotic friend.

They both map out the floor of your home and will clean it according to the schedule you set up through your app. And they both move well between hardwood floors and carpet.

Both models take two or three hours to recharge.
At the end of each cleaning cycle, or when their batteries need to recharge, both models will return to their charging stations. If your robot’s cleaning cycle was interrupted by the need to recharge, it will return to finish the job as soon as the battery is charged. Both models take two or three hours to recharge.

What neither of them does

Wherever you fall on the Neato D7 vs. Roomba i7, keep in mind that both of the models are vacuums, not brooms and dustpans. The sensors on the bottom of these vacuums will have a hard time with larger objects like shoes, books, toys, and larger pieces of food. In some cases, the sensors will think that they have hit a stair edge or a piece of furniture and choose to go around it.

Both models are set up to avoid stairs. Some buyers get one robotic cleaner for the dirt upstairs, and another for the dirt that gets tracked into the carpet in the basement.


Neato D7 vs. Roomba i7+

The Roomba i7 is cheaper than the Neato D7 model if you get it without the new self-emptying dust bin. If you get the Roomba i7+ with the self-emptying dust bin, it’s more expensive than the Neato D7 by about $200.

The self-emptying bin sure is convenient but kind of noisy.


Neato D7 vs. Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 is no longer in production by iRobot. If you’re still interested though, you can find it on Amazon and eBay.

The Roomba 980 has a battery life equal to the Neato D7 and almost doubles the bin size of the Roomba i7. It comes with two boundary markers instead of one and is a little heavier than the i7.

The Roomba 980 isn’t quite as smart at the Roomba i7 about mapping out your home, but it gets the job done. It is also louder than either the D7 or the i7 and doesn’t come with a self-emptying bin.

The price of the Roomba 980 is right between the Roomba i7 and the i7+.

In all other respects the Roomba 980 and Roomba i7 are about the same.


Our recommendation on Neato D7 vs. Roomba i7

If you’re looking for a better price and lower maintenance, go with the Roomba i7.

The Roomba i7 will need to go back to the charging station more often, but they will both be easier to maintain. Enjoy the Roomba’s reliability and cost effectiveness.

If you want a more efficient vacuum with a better battery, go with the Neato D7.

Those extra bucks are worth something. The Neato is an excellent option for those who want the most efficient vacuum paired with their top-notch home automation. If you clean out the Neato D7’s brush every once in a while, you’ll have it made.

What if you’re still not sure? If you’d like to look at some other options, you can browse other robot vacuums.