A robot vacuum isn’t an everyday purchase, so knowing what to look for when shopping is often uncharted territory.
To wade through the confusion, NerdWallet ranked the best robot vacuums on the market, based on 7,882 analyzed reviews. We took into account the opinions of trusted review sites and users just like you. After all the analysis, two robot vacuums came out on top — the iRobot Roomba 650 and the Neato Botvac BV85.
So which high-performing robot is right for your home? We did the research to make your decision easier.
At a glance
What we found: The Neato Botvac BV85 is over $120 more expensive than the iRobot Roomba 650.
What you’ll learn: Both vacuums excel at cleaning hardwood floors and picking up pet hair.
|Roomba 650||Neato Botvac BV85|
|Weight||7.9 pounds||9 pounds|
|Boundary markers included||Yes||Yes|
|Buy on Amazon|
iRobot Roomba 650
Designed to wipe away hair, pet fur, lint and carpet fuzz alike, the iRobot Roomba 650 is an efficient robot vacuum cleaner that’s suitable for use on carpet, hardwood, tile and laminate floors.
The Roomba 650 features a bin for collecting dust and hair, a spinning side brush for cleaning edges and walls and virtual wall (infrared beam) technology to identify areas where you don’t want the vacuum to go.
The 7.9-pound circular device is the ultimate in convenience with its scheduling ability, which allows users to preset up to seven cleanings per week. Vacuum owners can also start the robot with the push of a button.
You’ll receive accessories with purchase. In addition to the device itself, the robot comes with a self-charging home base, a battery charger, an extra AeroVac filter and an auto virtual wall (to mark off-limit areas).
» MORE: Roomba 650 review
Neato Botvac BV85
Intended specifically for homes with pets, the Neato Botvac BV85 touts itself as a “high-performance robot vacuum with all the extras.”
The bagless robot features a large dirt bin, extra-large filter and a cleaning brush for reaching edges.
Also, similar to the Roomba, this one offers scheduled cleanings. Users can choose to set daily cleanings ahead of time or push a button to clean whenever the need (or the mess) arises.
Here’s what you’ll get with purchase: the robot, a charge base, a charge cord, a combo blade/brush, two high-performance filters, a side brush, a battery and boundary markers (to restrict the areas where the vacuum can go).
» MORE: Neato Botvac BV85 review
Specs aside, what do users think of these vacuums?
We did a thorough analysis to find out, looking at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping before moving on to individual reviews from actual robot vacuum users. We used these reviews to rank top vacuums according to the features that matter most to shoppers, such as performance on specific floor types and battery life, among a handful of others.
In NerdWallet’s analysis of the best robot vacuums, the Roomba 650 earned an 8.8 overall score, an 8.3 score in ease of use and a 9.3 score in how well it cleans.
The Neato Botvac BV85 came away with an 8.7 overall score, an 8.0 score in ease of use and a 9.6 score in how well it cleans.
Reviewers said both robots perform well on varying floor types, and each is capable of proficiently picking up pet hair. However, both have a tendency to get stuck, and the Roomba model can be fairly noisy while it’s in use.
The BV85 earned perfect 10.0 scores in hardwood floors and pet hair, while the Roomba 650 earned a 9.8 and 9.7, respectively. The BV85 was also triumphant in maneuverability (7.7 compared with 6.1), but the Roomba 650 was the clear winner in ease of cleaning the machine (10.0 compared with 7.3) and battery life (7.5 compare with 5.0).
Price will likely be a large consideration in your decision, as there’s more than $100 separating these two.
The Roomba 650 is sold for $374.99 from the iRobot Store, while the Neato Botvac BV85 has a regular retail price of $499. You can’t purchase this one directly from Neato’s website, but it’s available from third-party sellers.
Regardless of which model you pick, try shopping at Amazon, where you may be able to buy your robot at a discounted price. And don’t forget to make your purchase with a relevant credit card that can earn you rewards or provide price protection.
» MORE: The best robot vacuums
Ready to rumble
For a first-time robot vacuum purchase, go for the iRobot Roomba 650. Rest assured it has positive customer reviews to accompany its reasonable price. And despite spending more than $100 less, you’ll still enjoy plenty of the same features as the Neato model.
However, if you’re willing to shell out extra cash, the Neato Botvac BV85 excels at quiet operation, reliable pet hair pickup and excellent hardwood floor cleaning.