After 7 months I STILL LOVE THIS LIL MACHINE
I've been meaning to write a review on the Neato XV-21 pet vacuum since I got it but never got around to it. It's been 7 almost 8 months since I got him and I still love him its the best household appliance I have ever gotten and that includes my kitchen in stand mixer which comes in at a close second. Now for some details:
I got Neato because I fractured my back and could not push the vacuum around or sweep easily. I would recommend him ( yes mine is a he yours might be a she but you'll have to get to know yours to find out. Ask nicely and maybe it will tell you.) for elderly or disabled people that have issues with those kind of tasks.
I have 5 yes you heard right FIVE Pug dogs. If you have a Pug you know they shed enough fur each week to make up whole new Pugs, my husband jokes that that is how we've ended up with 5 they keep multiplying via furball reproduction.
My house is 4200 square feet give or take. It's all either hardwood floors or porcelain tile I have NO carpet or throw rugs so can't speak to how it would do on carpets. My layout is mostly open concept but is divided among 3 floors. The main floor which neato does every day is about 2400 sq ft. Neato does an excellent cleaning all of it. It does take about 3 charging cycles to do the main floor but that is okay with me he basically does about 800 square feet per charge. To do the other levels I simply carry him to that floor set him down and start him up and off he goes. On those levels he of course can't get back to his charger on his own so I put him down in the middle of a room so I can find him easily once he has finished and is asking to be charged up. Yes I lost him one day when i forgot I had carried him upstairs so learned leave him right in the middle of an easily visible room. I have him run EVERYDAY seven days a week for at least 2 cycles but mostly 3 so he can do the whole main floor or the other 2 floors combined.
I love neato BUT he does have his quirks and somedays his nickname is dumdum but here are a few things I have discovered that help and or that you might have to do to help him out at times.
1) During the winter when he was doing most of his cleaning in the dark I found that after about a month he started getting really stupid and chirping, bumping, circling and acting like a complete idiot. I swear he got dyslexic there for awhile attempting to turn right and go through a wall rather than left through the door. BUT I realized it was like his internal map of the house was getting corrupted. I think he has a harder time in the dark and if he cleans in the dark week after week with no daylight or lights on his internal map gets jumbled especially say if he encounters changes like say Christmas decorations that he has to account for. I solved his issues by making sure at least once a week to let him clean during the day this seemed to keep his map updated and his brain clear.
2) He has only tumbled off a step twice once right after we got him and then just this week, it was maybe a 4 inch step and he survived with no issue other than maybe his pride. My husband said the first time he did it was because he took one look at five Pugs and tried to make a run for it. To solve this problem I just gently clean his drop sensor with a q-tip, the manual tells you where and how it takes 30 seconds and he's all bright eyed and chipper ready to get back to work.
3) he hated my breakfast nook and consistently got hung up around the table until I made a slight adjustment by sliding the table out a few more inches from the wall. That tiny change which did not affect the room or table made all the difference and now he zips around in there with no issues.
4) my living room furniture was a hair too short for him to go under so simply bought a set of those rubber glides and put them under each leg. You can't see them, neato gets under them now and a bonus they don't slide around so much on the wood floors anymore.
5) I had to gather up all the cords dangling around my entertainment console because he kept finding that one tiny cord that would pull all the others free. I think he's very smart and felt up to the riddle of unwinding all those cords my husband had other opinions. All I had to do was get some of the plastic zip ties bundle the cords up and shove them behind the console. On a good note it looks way better than before and neato is happy as well. Easy thing to solve.
6) locating his charging stand or should I say "bedroom" since he also sleeps there. My homes layout did not works for it to be right in the center what with everything being open there simply were no wall or outlets. I also did not want him to be the first thing people saw when they came to visit. I put him along one wall in my breakfast nook. It's about 3 feet from either corner and has about 4 feet in front of him from the table, most of the time he finds it no problem BUT.... sometimes he does not and kinks out and then goes waa waa waa please charge me in a very sad tone. I have found it to be an issue mostly when he has been cleaning the far side of the house and simply gets too tired to make it all the way back to his bed. I simply pick him up and tuck him in his charger and everyone is happy.
7) climbing things. He will at time try to climb the strangest things, like the corner of a room or a bench or BEHIND the toilet (how he manages THAT I have yet to figure out) why I do not know but usually he rights himself and continues on. Rarely he will get himself hung up and then cry for attention and have to be rescued but this is only rarely and to not have to vacuum the floors everyday myself I will rescue the lil critter every now and then.
8) closets, oh my walk in closets can be a challenge for neato. My husband claims he is a cross dresser since he seems to like my dresses better than his pants. I think he just has better taste in clothes. But really it's my fault since I do occasionally leave something hanging a little too low and neato is just doing his job. Having him around has made me keep my closet much more nicely organized.
9) shoes... Do not leave shoes laying about, neato has a thing for shoes we caught him... Ehem... Having his way with one of my husbands shoes. We blushed and Neato beeped and we simply don't talk about the incident preferring to pretend we didn't see what we saw. Neato has helped teach my husband to put his shoes on the shoe shelf in his closet something 30 years of marriage I have never been able to do. I secretly think its because he is afraid neato might overpopulate the house with vacuum/shoe hybrids. It could be worse at least they would clean up after themselves.
10) the beeping is annoying. I mean ANNOYING. when he gets lost, hung up, confused, tired, or just plain ornery somedays and goes beep beep beep waa waa waa beep beep beep I want to smack him silly. Somedays it seems as if he doesn't want to work and just sets out to annoy the heck out of us until we put him back in his charger base. On the other hand when he gets lost, tired, stuck, what have you and you can't see him the beeping leads you to where he is and 2400 sq ft is a lot of space to search without his little cry.
11) the filter and dirt container could be bigger. I run him every day and most of the time only have to clean it out once a day. He does not tell me while in the middle cleaning Hey lady my tummy is full please empty it. I have to remember to check it. He does ask once he is in his charger to please check his bin to see if it needs emptying. He is VERY polite and thanks you once you have done so though. Neato has manners. If he encounters a large furball his little mouth will get clogged and he will keep trying to clean even though he isn't getting anything through. That is irritating you'd think he could have a sensor that would stop him and have him ask you to clear his throat. This does not happen often since I run him every day but occasionally he will encounter something under the recesses of the furniture and get more of a mouthful than he can handle.
12) The filter lasts a LONG time. I am in fact still using the same one I started with. I clean it regularly by vacuuming out the pleats and every couple of months rinsing it out with water. If you rinse it out make sure it is completely dry before you put it back in; Neato does not do water. I plan to purchase a new filter and most likely a battery shortly just to be sure I have them on hand since he will most likely need a new battery around his birthday any way. I think a new battery and filter would make a nice birthday gift for him.
13) I have only had a stuck brush message once when yes his brush was stuck he tried very valiantly on his part to suck up a sock. I think he is a hero for trying so hard that he tied himself in knots doing it. I simply removed the sock from his roller bar and sent him on his way with an apology for not being a better house keeper.
14) He will sometimes bump into stuff but as he learns the layout he does so less and less UNLESS you have a little Pug that sees him a competition and purposely stands in his way to make him stop start and jerk about trying to find his way around her. I have tried to teach her not to do this as it just confuses neato but I can always tell when she's been torturing him because when I come into the room and neato is toddling across the open floor like a drunken sailor I know it's because he has been trying to dodge her and his temporary memory is holding all the the places he remembers bumping into her at. No permanent damage is done though since the next time through he recaps the area and goes back to a nice neat grid pattern.
15) I have updated his software twice since getting him and it is VERY easy. You just need a min USB cord and your computer. You plug him in and Neato does the rest.
I hope I have answered some of the questions you might have and maybe even some of your concerns. I would buy Neato again in a heartbeat. I did buy the extended warranty protection plan from OnlineShopDealer for him so if anything goes wrong with him for the first 3 years they will replace him, after that I figure it'll be time to buy a new one anyway. If I get 3 years out of him it will be one of my longer lasting vacuums as Pug fur is notoriously hard on vacuums and the only one I have had last longer than that is a shop vac, yes I used it to vacuum the whole house since every other vacuum died within months of getting them. Neato is not a Jetsons vacuum, I don't think the technology is there yet for a completely independent cleaning machine. If I could get one that would mop wood floors and another one that would climb shelves to dust I would be in homemaker heaven, sigh maybe someday they will invent those as well.
I hope you too will one day have a neato in your life I know mine has changed mine for the better.
Love this vacuum
As someone who has owned many models of the Roomba over the years it was time for another Robotic Vacuum. I have 3 dogs and 4 cats so I have constant fur balls and toy shreddings around my house. I have not been impressed with some of the newer Roombas compared to the older ones as believe it or not the newer versions would get stuck on rugs easier. I did some research since there are now many brands of Robotic vacuums on the market to choose from.
I have tile throughout with occasional area rugs. I got my Neato last night and already I'm in love! Compared to the Roomba, it is smart! it scans my rooms, knows where to go, when it's time to charge it returns to it's base remembering where it left off. All the while it hasn't gotten stuck on anything and it's not constantly banging against my furniture and cabinets. It has suction which none of my roombas have ever had. Already between playing with it last night, and then again this morning I can see what a superior job it's doing at picking up the furballs and toy shreddings and navigating through my house. And as far as cleaning the machine it's a snap compared to keeping the Roomba clean and fit. I think even my dogs are appreciating the fact that it's not constantly running into them!
Absolutely love this vacuum!
The combination of an upright vacuum's beater bar with robotics
I did not realize how big my XV-21 would be until the package arrived from OnlineShopDealer. Unpacking it, I realized that the robot is essentially the base of an upright vacuum cleaner combined with suction pump, sensors, computer, and battery. The beater bar is as large and powerful as any upright vacuum cleaner. I think this explains why previous generation XVs got such great reviews, and those reviews drove me to pre-order the XV-21.
Startup was fast; I just plugged in the dock to an wall A/C outlet, brought the robot near the dock, and discovered that the robot's batteries charge wirelessly. Very cool.
After fully charged, I pushed a button on the robot, and it proceeded to clean one floor of my house, requiring several re-charges (it automatically returns to base when it needs to recharge).
The robot is very user friendly. It tells you when it needs its dust bin cleaned, its brushes unclogged, when it is blocked, etc. It emits chirps to tell you when something is amiss.
It is much quieter than a conventional corded upright vacuum or a central vacuum that has a power beater bar. Turn the TV on the volume a little higher and you can watch TV while it works.
As heavy as the XV-21 is, it isn't as heavy as an upright vacuum nor as bulky as the hose and attachments for a central vacuum system. So it is easier to carry up and down stairs to clean other floors.
I bought the robot because I don't wear shoes in the house and was tired of stepping on crumbs or food scraps in the kitchen. The robot keeps the kitchen floor clean, and does just as well in other parts of the house.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Allow for plenty of clearance between the base and and any obstacles. The manual says 3 feet; I've had better luck with 5 feet. Otherwise the robot will have trouble returning.
- The beater bar is very effective, and on a new carpet or rug it will be picking up lots of carpet fibers. This requires frequent cleaning of the dust bin. The first time you use the robot on a carpet, I suggest pausing the robot once in a while to inspect the dustbin, and empty if needed.
- Related to the above point, I wish the passage way from the beater bar to the dust bin was wider; hair often gets clogged in the passage way. I have found that this problem diminishes as the robot cleans a floor each time. Frequent cleaning is goodness.
- Place your base as close to center of the floor the robot will be vacuuming so that it has a higher chance of finding base when it is done, or it needs to re-charge. Note that the robot does not get a "fix" on the base until it swings by the base on a cleaning run, so this is another reason to aim for center.
- Whenever the robot gets stuck or can't find its way back, if a human doesn't attend to the problem after a few hours (such as when setting the robot to vacuum a large area over night or while at work), the battery will drain. The robot will then forget the time of day and how much of the area it vacuumed. In addition, after bringing the robot to the dock, I've yet to master the trick for getting the robot to reliably sense the dock and start charging.
- Yes you need to pick up off the floor stuff like socks that might get jammed in the brush. Well dirty laundry belongs in a washer or bin, so think of this as discipline, at least until engineers invent a robot that picks up laundry. That the robot drives you to keep your house tidy is a good thing.
Despite the above, providing both minimal supervision over the robot and cleaning its dustbin between charges or cleanings together beat vacuuming manually. Overall, I think the robot does a better job than manually vacuuming since the robot is designed to clean every surface it can see and access. You can be doing something else, whether it is another chore that engineers haven't yet figured out a robot for (e.g. vacuuming stairs), or something fun. And it is simply fun to watch the robot do its thing, whether it is setting up for a series of parallel cleaning runs, finding and turning corners, avoiding obstacles, extricating itself from a tangle of chair legs, or returning to home base.
So far, so good!
Just got our XV-21 today -- its the first robot vacuum we've ever owned. I was sitting by the door waiting for FedEx like a kid on Christmas, only to be vaguely disappointed when I had to charge it for an hour before I could run it :( At any rate, the first run went well -- it stopped on two occasions: once on a VERY large and thick frayed thread from one of our carpets (the rest of its tasseled edges gave it little problem) -- I just picked the robot up and the tassel unspooled on its own, and placed it right back and started it up again, and the second time when it managed to get a bit lost between a large planter and the base of a spiral staircase-- it stopped because it couldn't navigate -- nudging it a few inches got it back to work. After finishing 3 1/2 of the 4 rooms it had access to, it returned to its base successfully, recharged, then finished up a tiny bit it had missed.
I did try out the spot cleaning (easy as pie) and the barrier (worked fine). The robot has a remarkable ability to get itself extricated from tangles by backing up and raising its chassis up (fairly entertaining to watch). The bee-dance back to its charger is also fun.
The vacuum isn't terribly loud (I've heard complaints that the XV-11 sounds like a jet engine), certainly not compared to a standard upright. It did the entire first floor (not including charging) in about an hour and a half. The charging adds about 1-2 hours to the process, as a heads up.
Happy with the purchase, thus far!
Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner
Oh Em Gee!!! I have no idea how I survived before this little robot came into my life. I have 3 cats and felt like the vacuum cleaner was an extension of my right arm.
Neato arrived to my home very tightly packaged. The box and packaging were easy to open and no fingernails were sacrificed in the process.
My children must walk me through how to include a photograph in an email and how to operate my smart phone, but I'm here to tell you, ANYBODY can program this robot.
First you must set the clock mode on the robot in either civilian (12 hour) or military (24 hour) time. Next I chose my preferred language for the remainder of my programming choices. Now I had to program on which days, Sunday through Saturday, and at what time on those days, I wanted my robot to work. This was all accomplished with an up, down, and backward arrow, which are very clearly marked. Eazy, peezy, lemon squeezy!!! Now the hard part.......waiting for Neato to charge.
The directions state that the charger must be placed 3 feet from a corner and they are not joking about this. I initially decided my robot would charge under a bench in the hallway. There is a 3 foot clearance under the bench, however the robot interpreted the legs of the bench as corners and it would power down about 2 feet from the charger instead of backing up to it to make the charging connection. After I relocated the charger, the problem was solved.
I encourage everyone to view the short video of how this robot operates. It moves back and forth across the floor much like an old dot matrix printer, whereas the Roomba brand bounces around the room like the old Pong video game. (I suppose I've just dated myself big time!!!)
Now, let's talk about performance. My little robot friend picks up dust and pet hair as well as my Oreck vacuum! Sorry Dave(Oreck). If I had to find a fault, it would be that Neato is higher profile and cannot fit under my coffee table or sofas. This is a very small inconvenience given it's ability for suction. What the heck, we still have to do the job for real a couple of times per month anyway. I just want to get the cat hair tumbleweeds off my hardwood floors.
The cost for Neato is a bit higher than the other brands. If this is a problem, I can suggest ordering from OnlineShopDealer which would qualify you for free shipping. Another option would be to order online from Bed Bath and Beyond. It is not available in the store. You can still use your 20% off coupon to make up for the shipping cost and take comfort in knowing that this company allows their customers to return anything if you are not satisfied.
If I had to choose between Neato or my dishwasher, Neato wins hands down every time. The only thing that would make my robot perfect is if it would actually vacuum the cats!!!
Love my neato
I only bought it because I saw it working at my friends' house, their baby started crawling and they have pets so they have it running everyday to keep their floors clean. When I saw how much pet hair and dirt it picks up I had to get one and it wasn't bumping all over, it was pretty smart getting around things. My friend told me about some hiccups that happen once in a while but we are both Software Engineers and I guess we appreciate all the things that it does compared to the occasional bugs so no big deal for us.
I live alone and in a one three bedroom, two bathroom house mostly tile floors here in Florida, I have two cats and I hate cleaning, I usually wait until all the cat hair rolls up in balls and waves like a wheat field before I clean or when people come to visit and make me. The neato cleans the whole house's floors in about 4 hours, it takes a about 2 of those to recharge in between and I have it running while I'm at work. I vacuumed first before setting it up to start clean and it's been picking up a full load of cat hair and dirt every day for the last month and their container is not small. The body is pretty simple and I only see the roller with brushes that you can exchange with one that came with without brushes, not sure why you would use that one, and the belt that attaches to the roller. The dirt container is really easy to remove and to empty. It comes with a strip that you can put in places to block the Neato from going there but I didn't need to use it.
Now about the hiccups... the Neato is pretty smart and it seems it can go over and around anything, I watched it in amazement how it does this even in really tight spots, and going over or around cables, clothes, cats, or me, but sometimes maybe once a week it would stop and show its message that it got stuck in a spot that doesn't seem hard to get out of, other times it seems it overestimates its batteries and it runs out before it can get back to its charging station, one time I saw it going to charge and it ran out of juice so close to the charging station that it made me laugh, when this stuff happens I just grab it and put it in the charger. After a hiccup sometimes it remembers it didn't finish and it goes back to clean after is charged, and other times you have to restart it manually, I just leave it because I have it set to run everyday anyway. Also it doesn't get too close to the wall so in my only carpeted room I can see the edge it never cleans but considering how clean the rest is I don't mind touching up the sides once in a while. One day something spooky happened, I watched it stop and start chirping, which it does when it needs help, when I went to check in the little screen said "my view is blocked please clear my view and press OK" or something like that, but it was in the middle of a room, so I just clicked OK and it restarted and finished cleaning as normal, maybe I have a ghost in the house I don't know. That's about all the hiccups so far, setting up the schedule and clock is really easy and it has another option to spot clean but I haven't used it and the cats don't get scared since is not really loud and it shuts off it's vacuum when is coming back from a room or going to charge, some people might find it annoying that it makes noises over tile because some of its wheels are solid and not rubbery so every time it goes over the tiles you hear it click-clack but that's if you are there when it cleans. Even if it breaks in a year to me it was worth it and I would probably get another one.
~~~ Update following 3 months of continuous use ~~~
After using Neato XV-21 for about 3 months, we continue to be very happy with it.
To show how effective it is, I've put together the attached video of Neato cleaning our 1.5" pile carpet. Note that there are three occasions in this video where Neato appears to give the carpet extra attention. Two of these are directly below where chairs are normally placed, while the 3rd frequently has other heavier items. When Neato gets 'bogged down' by areas like these it does a great job of working on it from different angles, to ensure it still gets a good clean.
Following this type of clean, the carpet is noticeably cleaner to touch and I feel much more comfortable with my two young girls rolling around on it.
The magnetic strip seen under the edge of the carpet remains there permanently, keeping the strip right near the edge works very reliably. During daily cleans it stops Neato going onto the carpet, while during the focused carpet clean it stops Neato coming off (the carpet). Note: For deeper pile carpets like ours it's important not to place the strip too far from the edge or Neato may not reliably detect it (due to the pile depth).
One minor concern has been that the 'bushes' on which the main brush rotates appears to have slightly too much lateral (sideways) movement. When working on particularly heavy areas of the carpet the brush sometimes moves sideways enough that the belt slips (less than 1/8"!), causing a mild knocking sound. I am concerned that if this occurs too much, it could cause premature wear on the belt.
Overall, we are very happy with this product. Everyday, while we are still sleeping, Neato automatically 'wakes' and does it's early morning patrol and by the time we are up and about the floors are freshly vacuumed. We have two wonderful Golden Retrievers and this takes away the negative aspect of their daily fur drop.
~~~~ Original review from 11th July 2012 follows ~~~~
We've only been running our XV-21 for a few days, but I feel compelled to provide early feedback & first impressions. Jumping to a conclusion, it works great; my wife and I have both remarked how the floor feels cleaner now with Neato doing it's 5.30 am "patrols". For proof, I give you the distinctly cleaner mop water we now have at the end of floor mopping sessions. Interestingly, this represents savings in water, detergent and mopping effort!!!
To some other observations:
- Putting up chairs (and similar items) can accelerate the cleaning rate and consequently, extend battery life versus area to be cleaned.
- Tiled floor areas: The pickup is impressive on our tiled floor areas, with a clearly superior clean versus our large (and more expensive) Dyson. And remember we are sleeping at the time! ;-)
- Carpet floor area: Pickup is impressive but our slightly deeper pile is probably on the limit for it, with progress clearly slower.
- Became lost once: I think a contributing factor on that occasion was the 'base' being too close to a corner (they recommend 3' from corners, but that's a little difficult in our house). We moved it out a bit further (still less than 3' though) and it's been fine since.
- Filter cleaning: For longevity I use my hand held on the filter after alternate 'patrols', to maintain suction and (hopefully) extend life.
- Dust bin capacity: Though it hasn't complained of a full dust bin, I make a habit of clearing it daily. I believe this will help maintain it's cleaning effectiveness and maximize operating time for each battery charge.
- Helix Brush is not immune to hair getting caught: After 3-4 runs, the main forward brush needs cleaning. This is not too difficult thanks to a good design which allows for easy 'tool-less' removal. Note: Scissors are useful to cut through the hair which became wrapped around the middle of the brush (easy enough to do, but be cautious not to damage the brush).
- Helix Brush 'bushes' must be handled with care: Either end of the Helix Brush is a plastic cap which houses a metal bush on which the Helix Brush rotates. These can be easily removed, and care must be taken that they don't fall and separate. I feel it's better to remove it before cleaning but watch carefully for the metal insert.
~ It's not perfect.
Within minutes of starting up it gave us an RPS error which made me think I had received a dud. However, after browsing the Internet a little, I used my hand-held vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the top raised area at the rear. Some posts I found mentioned this as a way to correct this error by clearing obstructions to the Room Positioning System's laser. It worked and I've not had the problem again.
~ While not perfect it is CLOSE TO PERFECT.
Despite our early RPS scare, it's worked reliably during these initial few days and produced consistently excellent results.
~ I feel good about buying it and am optimistic that it'll continue to work effectively for some time. Is it a good buy? If it gives us a reasonable operating life, then yes ... check back for an answer later! :)
Amazing so far!!!
Did a ton of research on robot vacuums and decided to go with Neato...then thought I might as well get the latest one. Previous models had some bugs to work out and hopefully the xv-21 won't have any. I have only had it two days but I LOVE it. Amazed at the amount of dirt and dog/cat hair it picks up.
Doesn't totally replace "human" vacuuming only because it leaves about an inch around baseboards but who cares?!? The first run we couldn't stop watching her (yes, I've named her) make her way around and UNDER the furniture.
So far I'm a huge fan.
It's December 30 and just thought I'd update my review. Had a couple of times she couldn't find her way back to charge and one time she just went a little crazy and kept cleaning the same spot but customer service walked me through the problem and still LOVE my xv-21 and now it's even cheaper than what we paid. My husband wants another one for upstairs.
Very capable and consistent
I'll start off by saying I had 2 second generation Roombas. One claimed to be a pet cleaner. They don't even compare to the Neato. They both failed very quickly and was apparent that they would after a few uses. Hair would clog up the brush and wheels badly and eventually ruined the motor or bearings.
This one methodically cleans, just like the videos show. The vacuum is powerful and a little loud, quieter than any plug in vacuum though and even quieter on carpet.
The Roombas, at least at the time they were made, would wander aimlessly about the room and constantly miss areas. I was considering yet another Roomba, only to find they seemed to have the same issues, inconsistent cleaning. The cost is much higher and this Neato fit the bill instead so I took the plunge.
To me, the whole point of vacuuming is that it touches every nook and cranny possible. It definitely does do that, reach into spots I haven't cleaned in a long time. I have 3 dogs, all that shed. The brush does get a little mucked up, but the design seems solid so it doesn't become a problem or quickly become worse, like the Roomba. The vacuum suction is great, and moves a lot of air. The vacuum bin fills up all the way without clogging the filter. The filter seems to be adequate, there is no dirt behind the filter.. yet?
It does come with a brushless sweeper, I'm guessing for those not wanting to clean a brush? If you were cleaning only hard floors then this would be great. I have a mixture of pergo and carpet so the brush does the trick.
The Neato cleans about 3/4 of the house before it recharges. It has always recharged and continued, never failed. Sometimes it does it in one charge. The only thing that needs improvement, is navigation. While it does have great coverage, sometimes it seems to go back over spots, sometimes a few times. This could be the laser/infrared mapping, needing improvement. I think this is not an issue because the Roomba simply had none at all. The only downside would be additional wear on the battery.
It has only gotten stuck a couple times, from me not moving something out of the way. I will definitely update if there are problems.
Update: I love this thing, it's still going strong after 3 months of use without a single hiccup. It continues to run on a schedule daily and hasn't missed a beat. I've replaced the allergy filter once because the bin holds less, not an issue, just more maintenance. As far as maintenance, it has been zero to date. Every once in awhile I take out the brush to clean it, but it hasn't needed it. It spins freely still while there's hair in it. Not to knock the Roomba some more, but again it would require brush cleaning every time or else it wouldn't spin fast enough to clean. Honestly I would love buy to another one, but there's simply no point. It remains very consistent and cleans the entire house, every time. My floors have never been this clean.
A huge tip for use, if it jams on a loose piece of clothing or cabling that you forgot to pick up; make sure you put the Neato back in the exact same spot once you clear the jam. This seems to greatly help navigation so it doesn't get lost.
Neato has earned a permanent place in my home!
I've owned my Neato XV-21 for exactly a year, and thought some people might like to read the opinions and experiences of somone who has had one long enough to run it out of warranty. I can honestly say, if it had some sort of meltdown and stopped working today, I'd order another one right away.
As a disabled veteran, I need a robotic vacuum to help keep my house clean. Before buying, I read lots of reviews and ratings and decided I liked the idea of a robotic vacuum that mapped out a room and knew where it had and had not yet vacuumed. As claimed, instead of wandering aimlessly and bouncing off walls and furniture, this robo-vac makes nice straight lines as it methodically and efficiently cleans every room in my house. Even after a year, I'm amazed at the technology and reliablity. It simply works!
I have a golden retriever who seems to be a fur fountain, and by running this robo-vac three times a week, the Neato XV-21 is able to keep up with her constant shedding. All I need to do is empty the dust-bin after it has finished vacuuming and clean the long dog hair from the helix brush about once or twice a week. If I pop out the dust-bin out while the Neato is running, it will stop where it is and wait for me to replace the bin, then keep right on going once I replace the empty bin. Every few days, I'll use my manual vacuum to clean the dust-bin and the filter.
The vacuum has no problem transitioning between tile and carpet and even vacuums small bathroom rugs. Mine have a heavy rubber backing and don't slide around, so the Neato cleans the bathroom tile floor while moving onto and off of the rugs easily. I can't say how it will clean light-weight bathroom or area rugs as I don't have any. It waltzes around the dinner table and chair legs, reaching every spot possible.
When the Neato is done, the dust-bin is usually full of a combination of dog hair, carpet fibers, assorted dirt and lots of dust. It does a good job on the copious amounts of dust the Mojave desert seems to get into my house, and vacuuming the filter with a manual vacuum crevice tool cleans it nicely. About once a month I clean dust and pet hair from the "axles" of the brush to keep it spinning smoothly.
After a few charge cycles in the beginning to reach full capicity, I got about 60 to 70 minutes of run-time over a combination of thick wall-to-wall carpet and tile floors. It kept this life for about a year, but now the charge has suddenly dropped to lasting about 15 to 20 minutes. I think this is not unusual for Nickle-Metal Hydride rechargable batteries, so I recently ordered a set of aftermarket replacement batteries, along with a multi-pack of replacement filters. The vacuum has perfomed so well over the last year, that I consider the purchase of a set of replacement batteries and filters acceptable as maintenance items.
It seems that different people report different run-times for their Neato vacuums. I think it has to do with the surfaces cleaned, navagation, etc. Note that the Neato will only clean 3 times (clean/recharge cycles in a scheduled cleaning) before returning to the charger to say "finished" even if it hasn't cleaned every area. If you have a very large house, you may have to use the included barrier to section off your house to ensure every area is cleaned. Also, consider buying more than one for multi-level houses, if you don't want to bother with carrying it from level to level, etc.
When battery life gets short, it's time for a replacement battery as in my case, since the Neato can no longer clean the entire house in three tries. When running with a good battery, I saw about 800 to 1000 square foot of cleaning per charge, with about two hours of recharge time before it would go back to continue cleaning. For my 1700 sq ft house, incuding recharge times, it took about 3 1/2 to 4 hours before it said "finished" and returned to the base to recharge and await the next scheduled start time. The longer run-times lasted for about a year, with the shorter run-times comming only in the last couple weeks, all at once. Resetting the battery info with the "New Battery" setting, made no difference, for those wondering. I don't have a lot of clutter and the Neato is able to vacuum most rooms without a great deal of slow navigation.
Reading through the reviews, I'm amazed that some people actually complain that the Neato gets stuck on socks and other clothing items laying on the floor. Personally, I can't imagine why anyone would try to vacuum their house when the floor is littered with clothing, whether it's a robotic or manual vacuum. Seriously... it's a robot vacuum, not a housekeeper. I'll mention that I have both, and I don't expect either one to pick up clothing from the floor: I believe dirty clothes belong in a clothes hamper. So take note: If your floors are littered with clothing, pet toys, children's toys or any other small items and you don't plan on picking it all up before the robo-vac runs, the Neato will not clean your floors. Simply put: Neato WILL NOT CLEAN CLUTTERED FLOORS! For me, that means making sure my dog's toys are off the floor on days when the Neato is going to run. If I forget, the Neato will go around some items, push others around for a while or run over others and possibly suck them up and stop working, then sit there and beep a "help me" tone.
Also, I wouldn't recommend getting rid of your manual vacuum: Even with the Neato running regularly, about once or twice a month, you'll probably find it necessary to use a manual vacuum to clean along the walls and some corners where the Neato can leave dirt, dust and pet hair.
- Vacuums the house on whatever schedule I set
- Navigates around or under furniture and obsticles perfectly
- Returns to the base to recharge when needed (about 2 hours to full recharge)
- Great suction, cleans well, straight lines - does not miss any spots
- Once "hang spots" are fixed, only needs dust-bin emptied and brush cleaned
- Cleans places a regular vacuum may not reach, like under a large bed
- Dust-bin can fill up with no audible warning. If full, it will keep vacuuming with the dust-bin overflowing into the brush area
- Occasional "RPS" errors leave robot confused/lost (clean laser lenses)
- Does not clean very well directly along walls
What would I change or add? Since the Neato "maps out" the house, it would be nice if that info was stored somewhere, like a home PC or tablet, and could be verified/improved over time for accuracy. What would then be great, would be to use the tablet, click on a room and have the Neato vacuum a particular room or rooms on demand. Such an interface could allow a user to set up areas for the Neato to vacuum on a schedule, without using the barrier. Kitchen floor seems dirty? Send the Neato to clean just that area from your phone or tablet! That would really be Neato! It seems with bluetooth everwhere these days, it should be possible, even as an upgrade package. Another improvement I would like for the vacuum is a larger dust-bin or a docking station that would empty the dust-bin, allowing longer times without intervention. Every time my vacuum cleans the house, the bin is full, even running three times a week. It would be nice to empty a bin once a week or monthly, even with frequent usage. Finally, one side of the vac should have something to better clean along walls, maybe a tube that directs suction along the right side, etc. I could also add something about the ability to clean stairs since the Neato cannot do this, but this seems like a job for a whole other robot... and I live in a single story house, anyway. But if you were wondering, it will not climb your stairs (or fall down them, either) However, you can place it on a landing and it will clean that area.
I'll mention that when my vacuum first arrived, the snap-on plate covering the helix brush had a cracked fastener. It worked, but I did not want a broken part on my new vacuum. Neato Robotics would not send me a replacement cover. Instead, they sent me another XV-21. It's worth mentioning that their customer service is very helpful and friendly. Since I knew the vacuum I already had worked great, I simply swapped out the cover from the new vac and sent it right back.
Also, once every few months, I may get an RPS error. This seems to mean the spinning laser on top of the vacuum has dust accumulating on the two optic windows. This has only happend a few times and the probem was solved by using a manual vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool and vacuuming the entire Neato vacuum all over, including the 2 lenses on the laser tower. Seems like there is no way to prevent this, except with occasional cleaning in dusty environments.
Overall, I'll say the Neato XV-21 works great and I would recommend it, especially to people who have limited mobility or other issues with disability where using a regular type of vacuum cleaner is not possible. If you like clean floors, I think the Neato is easily worth the cost, helps maintain a higher quality of life as well as household cleanliness... and really, who doesn't want their own space-age robo-vac?
Of course, this rating is just a collection of my own personal opinons, observations and experiences over the last year while using my Neato XV-21 robo-vac. Maybe it will help you choose the right one for your situation. Good luck with your vacuum purchase and may whichever one you buy make your life easier, and perhaps bring a smile to your face :)