The only thing I love more than having a clean apartment is having someone else do the cleaning.
Lately, that someone else is the Neato XV-21, a robot vacuum cleaner devoted to keeping your house free of dirt, dust, and pet hair.
Neato is a robotics company based in Newark, California, and the XV-21 is its latest offering, a vacuuming robot specially designed for pet owners.
I don’t own any pets but I tend to live like an animal, so I got to spend some time with this vacuum cleaner while it whipped my house into shape.
Unlike its better known competitor, the Roomba, the XV-21 costs much less. It’s only $430, versus the Roomba 790 at $700.
Does sacrificing price mean sacrificing quality? Read on to find out.
The Neato XV-21 is the successor to Neato’s XV-12, offering improved airflow and suction for improved vacuuming abilities. While operating, it sounds much more like you’d imagine a vacuum cleaner should sound.
Instead of moving in algorithmic diagonals with occasional edge-following like the Roomba, the XV-21 operates completely differently by sectioning off your house into rectangular portions, finishing the vacuuming one chunk at a time.
A major difference from the Roomba is that the Neato has a spinning laser array on top of it, constantly detecting how far away it is from the wall and other obstacles. As such, it can navigate right up to a chair or desk leg without touching it.
Of course it offers scheduling capabilities so that it can automatically vacuum your house at a given time on any day of the week, returning to its docking station when finished to charge up for the next cleaning.
In a very unscientific study (I let the Neato vacuum my apartment a few times during the week, then took a quick look to see how well it did), I can say that the actual vacuum performance is pretty good, on par with Roomba.
This seems to be the point with robot vacuums — they do an average to above-average job of cleaning, but it’s cleaning that you don’t have to do on your own. And seven of these automatic cleanings a week are much better than one intensive handheld vacuuming operation.
The Neato is almost spooky to watch. It moves around and vacuums a room in sections, the same way a human would. It’s downright graceful compared to the Roomba’s diagonal bump-and-go movement.
It vacuums hardwood as well as carpets, smoothly navigating between the two.
This is pretty common sense stuff. You’ll have to empty the dustbin. You’ll have to keep the floor pretty clear of obstacles for the robot to vacuum as much space as possible. Keep an eye on the roller and clear any leftover fibres and dust from it. It takes minimal time and effort to keep this thing running well.
Should you buy it?
If you want a $430 robot vacuum that can perform as well as a $700 Roomba, this is the ticket.