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Neato XV-21: Hits and Misses of the Robot Vacuum

Oct. 22, 2015
Neato XV-21: Hits and Misses of the Robot Vacuum
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Robot vacuums can help homeowners say goodbye to labor-intensive cleaning. But with so many options out there, it’s hard to know which one is the right choice.

Before you buy, check out our analysis of the Neato XV-21 and see if it will fit into your cleaning routine.

The vacuum

The Neato XV-21, from Neato Robotics, features a large dirt bin, automatic charging and a combo brush specifically designed for picking up pet hair. Users can schedule the device to perform daily cleanings or initiate spot cleaning.

The XV-21 comes with a charge base, charge cord, combo brush, blade brush, high-performance filter, batteries and boundary markers — to designate where the vacuum shouldn’t clean.

This vacuum has a suggested retail price of $429, according to the Neato website, but you can get it for less on Amazon.

Compare the Neato XV-21 with other top vacuums in NerdWallet’s Best Robot Vacuums of 2015.

The reviews

Although we didn’t test the Neato XV-21 ourselves, we did analyze data to determine how this and other popular robot models on the market perform.

First, we narrowed down the expansive variety of robot vacuum models out there by evaluating expert opinions from well-known review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. Next, we analyzed user reviews to see what shoppers had to say about each device.

So what did we find out about the XV-21?

Based on our analysis, this Neato earned a 6.6 overall score compared to an average 8.6 rating among other robot vacuums we studied. Despite this lower-than-average overall rating, it excelled in carpet cleaning (8.8 compared to 8.7 average), pet hair pickup (9.7 compared to 9.2 average) and ease of cleaning (9.2 compared to 8.7 average).

The vacuum’s overall score took a hit after some lackluster reviews with regard to maneuverability (5.4 compared to 8.0 average), battery life (2.9 compared to 7.0 average) and durability (6.6 compared to 9.0 average).

The pros

The reviews are clear: The XV-21 cleans up well in several significant categories. For instance, it got a near-perfect score on picking up pet hair. And users touted how easy it is to clean the device.

Additionally, unlike some robot vacuums that perform well on hardwood and not carpet, the XV-21 is a consistent performer across floor types, earning strong scores on carpet (8.8) and hardwood (9.0) performance.

The cons

Buyers report that the robot’s battery life is too short, making it difficult to clean the entire house at once. The vacuum also has a propensity to miss areas of dirt and debris in the corners of rooms, so you may need to go back and pick up what it left behind.

And durability is a concern. Some consumers have received software error messages from their vacuum after continued use, while others have had to contact Neato’s customer service department for a replacement.

The verdict

If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that scores high in every important user category, the Neato XV-21 likely isn’t for you. But if you care most about a few key performance areas — namely, performance on carpet and pet hair pickup — this model may be a good option.

We’d especially recommend this device to homeowners with an equal mix of hardwood and carpet in their homes, as this vacuum can deliver a consistent performance across floor types, according to users.

Check out our reviews of other popular robot vacuums:

For more vacuum buying advice, see:

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

Image via iStock.