Automatons For Cleaning

Here is an in-depth review of the Neato XV Signature Pro:

c|net loved and recommended it even when compared with higher priced models from competitors.

Love the Neato when it works but only lasted about 9 months before the laser turret eye quit spinning. Neato sent us a refurbished replacement that didn’t seem to have as much suction as the original. That one only lasted about 5 months before the laser turret eye quit spinning again…
This seems to be a very common problem for these and I have yet to find a way to fix it on my own.
Until they can fix this severe flaw, I cannot recommend buying a Neato product.

I still have my orig unit that’s over 4 years old. Other then the battery doesn’t hold much of a charge (does about 5 minutes of vacuuming then heads back to the farm for a charge). Was going to get a battery for it back when it started charging more often but ended up buying a new 21 model instead (pet version). It’s about 2 years old. I’ve updated it’s software but I think there’s a newer version out. Never had the turret issue, just sometimes it has a moment and gets lot and thinks there’s something in front of it but it’s not. I think the cats are screwing with it myself but never been home to witness it. I also have the scooba which is in need of some rubber suction parts. I have about 1200 sq ft of hard wood floor on my 1st floor and a few area rugs so it gets a work out. I do blow it off every couple of months to make sure no dust builds up inside and on the laser area.

edit: the older unit was put out to pasture in the basement which is all carpet and runs once a week. Takes all day to do the job due to the battery. Waiting for it to die so I will transfer the upstairs unit’s battery to it and get a new one for the 1st floor unit. The batteries look the same and have the same model number. Just one unit is the 11 and the other is the 21.

Here’s what Yahoo Tech had to say about choosing a robot vacuum:

I strongly recommend that you avoid buying Neato products through Woot! at any cost. The Woot! return policy is garbage, they are zero help in trying to get a response or escalation through Neato. If you want to roll the dice, buy it through Costco or Bed Bath & Beyond or some other company that will take the busted unit back.

We loved ours while it worked. For less than a month. Then the nightmare of Neato customer service began.

For those few of you who do have a working Neato vacuum, congratulations. You are in the minority. And you’ll get to join the hordes of angry defrauded consumers shortly.


We had roughly the same experience with our XV-21. It worked great for a few months, then had the turret problem.

As the Botvac is a new generation, I’m wondering if they have fixed the problem and I should try another one.

Apparently not. The design is almost exactly the same and the customer reports are nearly identical. Here’s one of the first collections of complaints we found (unfortunately AFTER we bought ours…)

I guess when it works the BotVac is better than the prior models. But when (not if, WHEN) it breaks you still have to deal with the absolute WORST customer service experience you’ll likely ever have in your life.

By way of comparison, Comcast is more straightforward in their dealings. I would even prefer to talk to the rude, rigid and confrontational Verizon customer service rather than any of the support people at Neato.

All I wanted was a working robot vacuum. Now we’ve got a Roomba through Costco. Seems to be working well so far, even if the cleaning pattern isn’t as efficient. The biggest reason we got it from Costco is so that if it breaks we can take it back to the store for a full refund, although I understand iRobot does a far, far better job of taking care of their customers…

While I don’t doubt what you’re saying is true at all, it does also seem to be the way for all successful products to accumulate their year in reviews, and as such that’s how roombas have evolved into the easy to maintain machines they are now with every piece of it having a drop in replacement.

I remember when I purchased my roomba (a 560), I went ahead and bought a three year warranty with it, thinking it would conk out like everyone said it would. I ran right through that warranty and I’m still on the same battery.
As such I’ve never had to deal with the company.

It’s tough. These products are going to fail. They’re like cars.
I can’t imagine not buying another when mine (and it will) dies.
It just hasn’t yet.

I say hedge your bets with a big warranty, (woot offers the 2 year add on warranty, right?).

For me the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that this could just be a gimmick was my main reason for holding back, and that was blown away when I first used my roomba.
So, I say, if you think this will help your life, it probably will, and you should dive in.

I have purchased 4 Neato from Woot. All have quit within 90 days. Woot refuses an exchange or refund. The manufacturer will not refund, repair, or exchange. I really just wish they would work! (I have tried the Roomba brand (x5) as well and purchased from Woot. Same unreliable product experience and no exchange or refund options.)

Why would you keep purchasing them if they keep failing?

Seriously, that’s just a stupid consumer.

I have to also report the negative experiences I had as well. It was only until I replaced the capacitor on the board that the Neato stopped it’s “dim green light” and worked like normal.

Want to know why there is such a constant source of refurbished Neato products? BECAUSE SO MANY ARE RETURNED DUE TO FAILURE!!! Woot and Meh are both churning these out constantly due to this reason. Please don’t be a stupid consumer.

I know you are right, but I hate vacuuming! The delightful thought of some little machine doing it for me, is beyond tempting. I just want it to be true, but I know it"s not real. More vacuuming for me, sigh…

We’ve had our Neato XV-21 for over a year now and we love it! It runs a couple times a week while we’re at work and I come home to floors with no more dog hair. It’s great! Every couple weeks, I do have to go around with the normal vacuum to go around the edges of all the rooms because the Neato can’t get that close, but still. We’re huge Neato fans! We did have the big red start button get stuck a couple times, but luckily, if you have a bit of DIY know-how, the Neato is easy to take apart and put back together to fix most anything.

I’ve had a Neato XV-11 for about 4 years now. I’ve replaced the battery twice in that time. Still working like new otherwise. It’s a good little vacuum, and I let it clean 3-4 times a week. Nothing bad to say about it.

Still, there are things that could be improved:

  1. The firmware update process is stupidity. I’ve never had it just work.
  2. It leaves a 2" swathe of dirt along walls.
  3. It has real problems trying to move from tile to carpet… will often spend 5 minutes trying to get over the carpet trim strip. This has to do with the driving wheel design.

Otherwise, it just works. A very good purchase.

We’re on a second Neato Xv-21 that was replaced while under warranty. Two years later it still runs great, never gets stuck (now that we’ve got the magnetic border tapes in appropriate areas)and keeps the cat dander WAY down.

I’m incredibly perplexed about the customer service issues people are reporting because in the MULTIPLE times I’ve called them for minor issues they’ve been nothing but helpful and prompt. I think the only thing I paid for was the shipping when they sent me a new unit (battery failure right before the 1 year warranty ended on the first one.) Unless it’s gone downhill dramatically since the last time we had to call tech support in April of last year…

Edited to add: ours runs daily, so that’s a lot of miles on a little robot.

Same here for my Roomba.
Do you clean yours a lot? I find I keep mine pretty clean, and I wonder if the continuous failures are sometimes because they’re only emptied and run and basically turn into an electronic dust bunny.

I’m not a clean freak with it or anything, but I do clean the bearings and dig out the pet hair every week or so.

I have had experience with 5 of these Neato (XV 11)vacs. They were great for up to the first year. Two of them were replaced. The displays quit. One of the replacements had bad batteries and I had to fight with “support” to get them to send decent batteries under the warranty period. The display has quit working on one of the replacements and another has an RPS (room positioning system) error and won’t run. So, of the 3 originals and or replacements, 2 are completely inoperable and the 3rd will run, but has no display, so you can’t set a time to run while you are away or tell if there is an error problem.

It WAS really neat to have them go under coffee tables and beds, places difficult to reach…even behind my couch, where it had to leave from the same end of the couch it entered at.

I am about two+ years into the ownership of these door stops.

I really wanted these to work…for longer than they did.

You be the judge of whether it is worth it.

Wow. Lot’s of neato hate in here.

Guess I’m one of the lucky ones. knock on wood Two and a half years and one battery change, and still going strong.

Here’s some tips I’ve learned though. You do have to take care of it.

1) You have to keep it clean. Once hair gets in the brushes it moves to the bearings, and then you are basically killing the unit. You have to clean it every week at least.

Fully take it apart, all the way to the bearings, and remove hair from every thing; don’t forget the belt. Vacuum the filter to keep suction up.

2) Really important! When you change the battery, You must select the “New Battery” option in settings, or the neato will never stop charging and ruin your new battery.

3) The bearing design leaves too much space on the sides, which causes all sorts of problems. ake small washers and put them on the shaft before putting on the brass bearings.

There are washers that fit the shaft exactly,at your local hardware store. You want the brush assembly to fill out all the space in the body, but you don’t want it to be tight. One washer per side worked for me. Every so often you can add a drop of oil to the shaft using a Q-tip.

It looks like the new version has fixed this problem. But no promises until I finally buy one.

4) Empty the bin every time it goes to charge.

5) IMO, it’s better to run neato daily, and keep hair and dirt down, than to run it only once a week. It keeps hair from overloading the dust bin.

6) Sounds like refurbs are a no-buy. Make sure to buy new!