Robotic vacuums have come a long way since the first models hit the market. Not only is the performance much improved, but the way you interact with the machine has greatly changed. Today, we are going to focus on two top-of-the-line robotic vacuums. Both Roomba 980 and Neato Botvac D7 are powerful models that can be completely controlled via apps. Let’s look at each model in more detail.
Quick Comparison Table of 980 and D7
|FEATURES||Roomba 980||Neato Botvac D7|
|Dimensions||13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 in.||12.5 x 13.2 x 3.9 in.|
|Weight||8.7 lbs.||8 lbs.|
|Run time||120 min.||120 min.|
|Dust bin capacity||0.7 L||0.7 L|
|Virtual wall/No-go lines||Yes||Yes|
|Deep cleaning function||Yes||Yes|
Roomba 980 is an impressive robotic vacuum, even without considering the easy-to-use app. Its navigation ability and AeroForce cleaning system ensure that every corner of your home gets cleaned. Unlike older models, the 980 comes with an automatic power boost feature, which means the vacuum automatically increases its suction and pays extra attention to those areas of your floors that are dirtier than others.
The Roomba 980 offers 10 times the suction power as compared to the Roomba 960 or 690, for example. The great thing is that this extra suction boost does not greatly decrease the battery charge. At normal suction, the 980 ran a little over 2 hours on one battery charge. When I made use of the power boost, the run time was only 13 minutes shorter. That’s not bad for a family with kids and pets that require lots of power vacuuming.
Unlike older models, the Roomba 980 comes with a deep clean feature that makes it more effective when vacuuming carpets. It is usually a given that even if your robotic vacuum runs daily, it is still necessary to vacuum the home with a regular vacuum to get the rugs clean all the way. While I would still encourage you to have a regular vacuum in your house, the Roomba 980 definitely performs better on rugs than previous models.
Navigation has also improved. The Roomba 980 can easily map and clean the entire level of a home. You can track the level coverage via the app, which I will discuss in more detail below. The 980 is also particularly well suited for larger homes, because even if the vacuum cannot clean the entire level on one battery charge, it is able to return to its base, recharge, and then pick up the cleaning where it left off. So even though the cleaning run might be interrupted, you can be sure that the 980 will return to complete the job once the battery is charged again.
The iRobot Home App takes the performance of the vacuum to the next level. With the app, you can schedule cleaning runs, check the progress of the vacuum, view cleaning maps, and get push notifications on your smartphone. If you decide you want the Roomba 980 to make two passes across your floors, pay special attention to the edges in your rooms, or focus on particular areas of your home, you can tell the vacuum to do just that via the app. Additionally, you get access to FAQs, troubleshooting advice, and customer service through the app, and you can use it to order replacement brushes and filters.
You can also set up your Roomba to sync with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, which gives you voice-activated control, too. While the Roomba 980 can be controlled via
The Roomba 980 is advertised as a vacuum particularly suited for homes with pets. I am the owner of two dogs, so I was eager to test the Roomba 980 in my home. It performed even better than I had expected. It sucked up lots of pet hair, from the tile floor in my kitchen, the hardwood floor in my dining room, and the carpet in the family room. The dust bin was filled with pet hair after every single run, and I can say with certainty that emptying the bin is a foolproof process. It is easy to remove and easy to return to the vacuum. Throughout the many test runs, I never had a problem with the pet hair tangling up or clogging the vacuum. All the dirt was consistently sucked into the dust bin. Remember, though, that regular maintenance is still importance for consistently high performance!
Overall, this is definitely a vacuum I can recommend, although the high price tag might be hard to swallow.
- The carpet booster makes vacuuming rugs very efficient.
- The app allows you to customize your vacuum’s cleaning routine.
- The multi-surface brushes can tackle everything from pet hair to large pieces of dirt.
- Like other Roomba models, it has trouble with shaggy carpets.
- It’s expensive.
- If you don’t have a smartphone, you won’t be able to use some cleaning features.
Neato Botvac D7
In many ways, the Neato D7 is very similar to the Roomba 980. The power and suction capability are comparable, and the run time is almost identical. The D7 has a turbo boost feature, which is meant for those high-traffic areas of your home that get dirty quickly. This is an improvement over older Botvac models. Like Roomba 980’s power boost, the Neato’s turbo boost slightly affects the run time, but not to the extend that it becomes a negative.
The Roomba 980 uses virtual walls to keep away from certain areas, and the Neato D7 uses no-go lines to the same effect. Both work equally well, although there is a small design flaw with the D7. If you remove the no-go lines after the vacuum has mapped the floor plan and then manually start the machine, it “forgets” about the no-go areas and vacuums them anyway. This can be a problem if the no-go lines were meant to keep the vacuum away from cables or carpet
There are three features that elevate the D7, compared to older Botvac models. One, the D7 has a spiral combo brush. It is a large, 11-inch central brush that ensures the dirt gets swept up into the dust bin. The spiral design prevents the dirt from skittering away. Unlike the D4, for example, the D7 also has additional side brushes that ensure nothing gets away. Two, the D7 offers the option of zone cleaning. So, not only can you have the D7 save different floor plans (upstairs and downstairs, for example), you can also set up different zones within each floor plan. Let’s say you want the kitchen to be clean in time for dinner, so you can schedule the D7 to clean the kitchen zone at 4 p.m. Then, while you’re eating dinner, you can schedule the D7 to clean the bedroom zone, so that room is clean when it’s time to go to sleep. Lastly, the D7 has an “extra care” navigation feature for those areas of your home that have particularly valuable furniture or decorations. Once the vacuum has mapped your home, you can program it to be especially careful when it’s cleaning around your valuables.
Overall, the D7’s cleaning performance was as satisfying as the Roomba 980’s. The D7 sucked up pet hair from all flooring in my home and also mastered the mess my children manage to leave under the kitchen table after every meal. The dust bin on the D7 was also easy to empty and put back into the vacuum. Overall, I was impressed with the D7’s performance as well.
With the app, you can schedule cleaning runs, troubleshoot any problems you might have, and review your vacuum’s progress. You also have the option to voice-control the appliance, if you connect it to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Additionally, you can sync it with your Apple devices or Amazon Echo. So, you have lots of options to control your vacuum, even if you are not at home. Regular software updates ensure that the D7 continues to perform at the highest level.
The one difference between the D7 and the Roomba 980 is the way they operate. The Roomba 980 works seemingly erratically. The D7 is laser-guided and moves in predictable, straight lines. I find it a little more reassuring to see the machine move in such a precise way. The fact that the D7 operates with lasers, rather than sensors, seems to make it a little more reliable when it comes to problem-free returns to the charging base. The lasers also allow the vacuum to operate in the dark. While I checked the feature to make sure it works while I was testing the vacuum, I did not let it vacuum at night. I am a light sleeper, and while quieter than other models, the motor of the D7 is still noisy enough to keep me awake at night.
The shape of the Neato D7 might strike you as a bit odd. Unlike most other robotic vacuums, it is not round, but rather D-shaped. I had thought that perhaps this shape would be better suited to cleaning in corners, but it turns out that round vacuums perform just as well as the D7.
- You have the option to use ultra-high-efficiency filters, which remove all allergens.
- The app lets you see how much battery charge is left.
- It can clean in the dark.
- The filter is surrounded by mesh; you can clean the filter, but not the mesh.
- If the no-go lines are removed after mapping, the D7 enters the area.
- Its wide body may prevent it from going into all corners of your home.
Q: How often do I need to clean the Neato D7?
A: The manufacturer recommends that you clean the filter and brushes and empty the dust bin after every run. This will help maintain the performance of the vacuum. It is also recommended that you replace the filter every two months, which is especially important if you suffer from allergies.
Q: Do I need to use my smartphone to control the Roomba 980?
A: The Roomba 980 has three on-board buttons that let you control it manually. You can start and stop it, send it to its base, and restart the cleaning once the battery is fully charged. However, functions like scheduling cleaning runs are only available via the app.
Q: I heard that some robotic vacuums have trouble with dark carpets. Is that a problem with the Neato D7?
A: In my trials, the Neato D7 has consistently performed very well on my black-and-white carpet.
Q: Every now and then, my D7 seems to disregard the no-go lines, and I can’t figure out why.
A: After some trial and error, I realized that you need to start the D7 via the app for it to “obey” the no-go zones. If you use the on-board buttons, the vacuum does not recognize the boundaries you set up.
Q: My son suffers from allergies, so it is extremely important to keep my home clean. Is either of these models able to do the job?
A: I think both the Botvac D7 and the Roomba 980 would be a great choice for you. First, both models come with high-efficiency filters that trap 99% of all dirt, dust, and allergen particles. (The D7 gives you the option to purchase ultra-high-efficiency filters, to increase this number even further.) Second, both models have the suction power to deep clean carpets and hardwood floors. And third, both models are able to resume cleaning where they left off, if they need to recharge in the middle of a cleaning run. So you can be sure that no inch is left uncleaned.
Q: Do I really need such an advanced robotic vacuum as the Roomba 980 or Neato D7?
A: The answer depends on your needs. Wi-Fi connectivity, app control, and Amazon Alexa and Google Home give you great flexibility in when and where to run your vacuum and view which parts of your home are newly cleaned. If you don’t need these features, you can find equally good robotic vacuums without them, like the Roomba 650 or the ILIFE V5s Pro.
For the first time, I have no clear favorite in my side-by-side comparison of two models. Both Roomba 980 and Neato D7 performed extremely well, sucking up pet hair, cereal, crumbs, and other dirt at a comparable rate. While both robotic vacuums had some trouble getting onto my slightly thicker area carpet in the living room every now and then, when they made it, they worked like a charm. They also very reliably returned to their charging bases when the battery was running low, and the one time the Neato D7 got lost, the app quickly alerted me of the fact and let me know where to find it.
You will need to consider the shape when deciding which of these two vacuums will be better for you. If your home has lots of corners, especially tighter ones, then the Roomba 980 with its side brushes might be the better fit for you. If your home has standard-shaped rooms, then the D-shape of the Neato D7 will make up for its lack of side brushes and clean equally well as the Roomba 980.