Update 5/3/14: The Neato XV-21 is no longer a favorite thing. After 18 months our Neato experienced “error 3000” which is a very common occurrence for many Neato owners. At a cost of over $400 I would expect this unit to last longer than a year and a half. Neato recommends a repair that will cost almost $200 and by all accounts lasts only a few months. Be warned! Do not buy any product from Neato!!! Neato xv-21 error 3000 stinks! Following is my review based on a working product. Loved it when it worked…but didn’t work long enough.
Welcome back to “Favorite Things Friday”! This week I’m covering our automatic vacuum – we call her Rosie the Robot. Officially she is a Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner.
I feel it is important to note that all opinions about our Neato are mine, the unit was purchased with our own money and we are not being compensated for this review. All opinions are based on experiences in our house over the last 5 months.
With all those disclaimers out of the way, let me say that Rosie rocks! We first started looking at a robot vacuum knowing that we were going to have a crawling baby in the house. Our floors could always use a bit of help. Between having a 5 year-old, a man who always trudges through the house with dirty shoes (who could that be?), and a steady flow of friends and family in the house – it is a challenge to keep the floors ready for a crawling baby.
I purchased Rosie on Amazon back in August 2012. These little units can be pretty pricy but if you watch for a good deal you can get them for 30-40% off the suggested price. Some research had been done among the various robot vacuums on the market but the Neato XV-21 seemed to be the best fit for our house.
The initial setup was very easy. Finding a good place out of the way to plug in the charging station has been a bit of a challenge. In a central location, Rose’s lights and buttons are hard for a 1 year-old to resist. We have finally found a place in our back room where Rosie can blend in but still automatically find her charging station.
So how does a robot vacuum work? Rosie is guided by lasers! When she pulls out from her charging station a scan of the room is done. She follows along the walls and around the various items in the room to establish a perimeter and look for open doors and pathways. She then begins to work her way back and forth across the room in a very efficient manner. Her lasers do a surprisingly good job of recognizing objects that she needs to avoid. She has a front bumper that tells her to change direction when she bumps into something. Rosie has a powerful brush and a surprising amount of suction for such a small unit. Most of the time she can figure out how to navigate from room to room.
Here are some of my favorite things about Rosie:
- She works while we are gone or asleep. With small children in the house it can be a challenge to get the vacuuming done. Our youngest still naps twice a day and sometimes wakes up with the loud noise of our full-size Oreck vacuum. A lot of times we set Rosie to work while we are away at church, asleep or going to be gone for several hours.
- She works while we work. Many times my wife and I will be cleaning in one part of the house while Rosie is busy cleaning in another part of the house. Instead of two people cleaning the house it is like having 2.5.
- She cleans in places I wouldn’t usually clean. Because of her low profile, Rosie will get herself in some surprisingly tight places – this can be good and bad. She runs under the beds in our room, the guest room and our older daughter’s room. Anyone who has a cat knows that this is GREAT because that is where the fur and dust bunnies hide. Rosie also does a very good job of cleaning in the toe-kick area of our kitchen cabinets. She fits right into that area and gets all those crumbs and other things that get up under there that usually require a broom to get out.
- She pulls up an astounding amount of cat hair. As mentioned already, Rosie goes under the beds and that is probably where she collects a lot of cat hair. It is worth noting that our cat really doesn’t shed that much hair. Rosie does a good job of pulling cat hair out of our carpet. Speaking of the cat, she is not as scared of Rosie as she is the big vacuum. Probably because Rosie is about half as loud as our Oreck and possibly because of the smaller size of the Neato.
- Rosie is easy to clean out. By now anyone who reads my blog recognizes that I am a pretty
nerdy guy. Rosie has a clear plastic dirt bin that collects dirt, hair and other debris. There is a hepa filter that allows the air to pass through while filtering out fine dust. Many times I have taken the dirt bin out of Rosie and been so impressed by her ‘haul’ that I go show it to my wife. The brush is easily removed as well although the small brass bearings seem like they would be very easy to lose.
- Rosie is fun to watch. In reading reviews for this product on Amazon, I noted that many people gave their Neato vacuum a name. I now understand why. It is as if this little gizmo has a personality all it’s own. Watching the robot try to figure out how to get around things, or get out of the maze of chairs around the kitchen table is always entertaining. It is a bit like watching a toddler try to figure things out.
A few items for a reality check:
- Rosie is expensive. No matter the discount you get when you buy a Neato, these little robot vacuums are expensive. In our situation, using a discount and some Amazon credits I had earned, I think Rosie has been a good purchase – but definitely a luxury. It is really nice to have a helping hand in some of the chores around the house.
- Rosie makes mistakes. As impressive as the technology is inside this little vacuum, it is not perfect. Many times we have come home to find Rosie stuck somewhere. She can do a good job getting herself out of a pickle but sometimes the wheels get off the ground, something gets tangled in her brush, or she gets lost under a bed. When she gets stuck she sounds off a beeping signal every couple of minutes to let you know she needs some help.
- Rosie vacuums like a teenager. A reviewer on Amazon made this observation and I have found it to be true. Rosie rounds inside corners instead of getting right up into them. She has trouble cleaning around the legs of things like tables or beds. Sometimes she just misses a room altogether. Just remember, this is a little robot not a grown adult.
Robot vacuums like Rosie are definitely not for everyone. We have benefited by having floors that stay cleaner longer without our direct interaction. Knowing that Rosie will be coming around also helps remind us to pick things up off the floor and put them away. I would think Rosie would be a good purchase for families with shedding pets, crawling children and perhaps older people who could use a hand with chores but aren’t scared of technology.
Think you might be interested in getting your own Neato XV-21? Check out my Amazon Affiliate link on the right side of the page. Your interest in any of those ads help to fund dadislearning.com! If you buy your Neato through my link it helps support the site.
Speaking of being scared, if you are going to have house guests you might let them know about your vacuum. Over the holidays, my wife’s nieces were staying in our guest room. About 1a.m. they were awoken to the sound of Rosie’s motor and some banging and bumping at their door. Rosie was navigating around the edge of their door and startled them since they weren’t used to having a robot vacuum around.
As seems to be my nerdy custom, I have made a silly little video to go along with this post. I strapped a little camera that I have onto the top of Rosie to go for a ride as she cleans our floors. The video runs at 8x speed. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
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