Neato XV-11 – a robot vacuum cleaner ready for (light) duty

You’re here because you’re into home automation, right? It’s now the future, so why aren’t our homes solving all the world’s problems, and where are our robot butlers and maids?

I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that. But I do have a several-year-old Neato XV-11, which I got after my old iRobot Roomba finally gave up the ghost. (It looks like there are newer XV-12 and XV-21 models, but I haven’t been in the market for a while).

I have to admit: this thing is pretty neat(-o). Rather than the old pattern that the Roomba had (randomly bouncing around in circles), the Neato uses laser positioning to build a more structured route around a room, vacuuming in neat rows across the room, doing one room at a time. It’s a decently functional vacuum that can be scheduled to run daily and operate mostly autonomously, returning to its base when done – like pretty much any other robot vacuum cleaner on the market. But, despite what the manufacturers would have you believe, I don’t find the scheduling feature all that effective because I’ve gotten about a 50% “success rate” of the vacuum (either Neato or the older Roomba) actually finishing a job and getting back to base. The rest of the times I’d come home to find it “crying” somewhere about being stuck, and it’d require a little kick to put it back in action.

I won’t dwell on doing a full review here; there are plenty of reviews out there – Gizmodo did one a couple of years ago (my favorite comment: “F-bombs in a vacuum cleaner article – necessary?“), and more recently there was this Neato vs Roomba Suction Shoot-out showing the Neato sucked way better (!):

If you’re trying to automate as much as you can you should consider adding a robot vacuum cleaner to your arsenal, but keep in mind that it likely won’t replace a full-sized vacuum cleaner for heavier duty (I’m partial to the Dyson vacuum cleaner for those needs).

Posted by Matt Chiste
August 11
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