Product Review

Product Review: Labor Less on this Labor Day

Clyde in action

Out of frustration with my dark tile floor and the amount of attention it requires, I bought a Neato BotVac Wifi Enabled robotic vacuum cleaner from Amazon on the recommendation from another friend who, like me, has nothing but tile on her main floor, and has a hairy family pet.  My floors are mostly tile but also include some area rugs in various rooms, and I have 3 hairy family members!

I’ve owned the Neato for a little over 2 months and I can say that I really love it.  Of course it has some drawbacks but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed having the little guy help me with the cleaning.  I run it every other day but because of the amount of hair my dogs and cat shed, I should run Neato every day.  When I clear his dust bin, it’s frequently overly full and I have to dig out hair from the intake hole (this not only sounds sexual but gross at the same time 😉

Neato is unusual in the bot vacuum cleaners industry because it has a flat (square) front rather than the usual round shape.  The makers of Neato call it D-shaped.  Think about this for a second, why in the world would a robot vacuum cleaner have a round head??  Walls are square so if the robot cleaner is not, it’s probably missing a whole lot of hair, dirt, and dust from each one of the corners of your house.

Neato (we named him Clyde) interacts with Alexa (a bot leading a bot).  I say to Alexa, “Alexa, tell Neato to clean the house,” and she replies with, “Ok, starting Clyde.”  I hear the chimes of Clyde starting up from the other room where he is stored with his charging station, and he immediately gets to work without the slightest hint of protest (Again? Didn’t I just clean yesterday?  Can’t you, for once, clean the floors yourself?).

How freaking cool is that?

I still have to do the prep work like moving the barstools and small area rugs he gets caught on out of the way, but that’s a minor hassle, and so worth not having to pull out the Dyson Animal every single day.

The other downside is that it takes Clyde about an hour and a half to clean the downstairs so I have to listen to him for an hour and a half if I’m home.  Our downstairs is about 1100 square feet.  He’s not super loud — imagine an ancient portable fan on ‘high’ and you’ll get the approximate decibel level he’s at but it’s still slightly annoying.  He also has an Eco-mode where it’s quieter but he takes longer.  I believe the eco mode is so that Clyde can be run at night.  We have not yet run Clyde at night out of fear that he will get stuck, send out his SOS signals, and wake us up.  I already have problems with sleeping so god knows I don’t want to add any fuel to the fire.

I have not let Clyde vacuum the upstairs because we have carpet that is very thick.  It would be interesting to see how often he’d have to stop cleaning to take himself back to his charging station in order to charge his battery so that he could clean the carpets upstairs.

One additional annoyance is that while he is cleaning, he is blowing air which means that sometimes he’s blowing dog hair away from him, and if he has finished an area and blows a big wad of hair over to the newly cleaned area, he doesn’t go back to pick it up so even after finishing your house, you may have to go around and pick up dust bunnies.  Again, not a huge deal but it’s something to note if you expect perfection from your appliances.

Now that more than 2 months have passed, it is time to replace the filter in Neato.  It’s a filter that captures particles and fine dust as small as .3 microns.  I’ve managed to extend the life of the filter by about a month to a month-and-a-half depending on which manufacturer’s recommendation you follow.  The manufacturer suggests that the filter be changed every 1-2 months.  After seeing what the filter looks like after over-the-2-month mark, it’s easy to see why they make their suggestion.  I’ve extended the life of the filter by taking the filter outside and banging it on the inside of my large trash cans.  There’s lots of wind on the side of the house where the trash cans are so I’m not typically banging dust up my nose.  After using the Neato yesterday, however, I decided it was time to buy a new filter.  I bought a 2-pack from Amazon for $22 delivered.  I suppose if I decide to change the filter in Clyde every month, I can expect to pay $11 for Clyde’s maintenance.

What I love about the Neato is it can be programmed via an app on my SmartPhone (iPhone) or on an iPad.  I can program it to clean while I’m away from home.  We even told Neato to clean while we were on vacation!

I also love the fact that Neato is very easy to set up and easy to use.  It’s also insanely easy to empty the dust bin and the filter.  What I have hated about other vacuums is it can sometimes take a while to figure out all the features of the appliance (I’m talking to you, Dyson Animal).  The Dyson Animal was such a steep learning curve that I found myself not wanting to use it.  The Neato suffers from none of that–it’s very simple.  Even the app is simple and not difficult to master.

If Clyde runs out of battery before he’s done, he’ll alert you with a chime and then drive himself back to his docking station.  When he’s all charged up and ready to go, he’ll go back to where he left off.  The first time he did this, it was comical because he stopped in the middle of my couch, rushed back to charge himself, and then he drove back to where he had stopped.  He vacuumed for approximately a minute and then he was done.  He rolled back to his charging station, emitting a chirp to let me know he was done, and that was it.  He charged himself for 3 hours to vacuum approximately a 3 foot section of rug.  But, at least he follows through on his commitment to clean!

When Clyde is done, like I said, he takes himself back to his charging station and waits for when you need him again.  He sends a notification to the app and it shows you a map of everywhere Clyde cleaned.  No need to pick him up and put him back where he belongs; he takes care of himself.  I like that in a person as much as an appliance.

One unexpected bonus is that because Clyde is kind of fun to operate, many more of my family members are willing to vacuum the floors.  While my husband and I were out of town, I asked the girls to use Clyde every day.  Because of the app, we could see if the vacuuming was getting done and how often.  Even my husband will vacuum and here’s a man who hasn’t cleaned anything in about 25 years.  Yes, it’s not really cleaning but he thinks it is.

Please note that running Neato, even daily, does not replace using a full-sized vacuum cleaner a couple times per week especially if you have pets.  I used Neato approximately 4 times last week and when I vacuumed yesterday (after using Clyde on Saturday), my Dyson Animal dirt bin was very full.  Clyde is getting some of the dirt but definitely not all.  If you’re someone with allergies or live with someone who has allergies, you may have to vacuum with a real vacuum between 1-2 times per week.

All-in-all, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Clyde (Neato) and not only would I recommend the vacuum cleaner, I’d buy the product again if this one dies and there’s no fix.

On this Labor Day 2017, vow to do more fun things and less cleaning, buy a Neato!  Happy Labor Day to you.

Please note:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  It is strictly my opinion; however, if I’m ever paid for my opinion, I will always give you the honest truth even if it stinks for the company.  Pinky swear.



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