The $1,399 iRobot Roomba S9 Plus has a sky-high sticker price, but for a it offers an impressive set of features and capabilities. One in particular, a self-emptying dustbin, is a trick only a few vacuums can match. For half the Roomba's price though, the $599 Neato Botvac D7 Connected is also an effective robotic floor cleaner.
Both machines. They both clean quickly and efficiently too. Both work with Alexa and Google Assistant. You can control and schedule their cleaning sessions for the Roomba and Botvac D7 from your phone as well.
And while the Roomba S9 Plus is brand-new, the Botvac D7 has been on the market for a few years, and has steadily improved thanks to multiple software upgrades. That makes both robots strong competitors, and tempting choices for your hard-earned cash. Let's find out how they really stack up, and which one is the better vacuum buy.
Easily the most expensive robot vacuum on the market, the $1,399 Roomba S9 Plus is far from budget-friendly. What you get for this tidy sum though are truly next-level features. The standout is its CleanBase dock. It both charges the Roomba's battery and empties the robot's dustbin.
Inside the dock is a bag that holds enough dirt for about 30 typical cleaning runs. When it's full, just open the base, remove the bag and discard. That's way more convenient than the Neato Botvac D7. The D7 comes with a standard center-mounted dustbin. So the Roomba S9 Plus is the clear choice, if you want to spend less time getting your hands dirty.
The Roomba S9 Plus does a good job getting around rooms and obstacles as it cleans. Its optical sensor-based navigation system covers less ground than the Neato D7. It also took longer to vacuum the same amount of space. The Roomba creates maps too, and you can label rooms in the iRobot app. That's something Neato robots can't do. And thanks to a recent software update for the S9 Plus, you can also designate off-limit areas like you can with the Neato D7.
As far as raw pickup power, the Roomba S9 Plus has a slight edge over the Neato D7. Both are great at removing dirt, but the Roomba does a better job of dealing with pet hair.
If you want the most robot vacuum for the least amount of money, Neato's Botvac D7 is the way to go. Thanks to built-in lidar laser mapping, the D7 wins the floor coverage and navigation prize. On our tests it covered more ground and consistently cleaned faster than the Roomba S9 Plus.
It also came close to matching the Roomba's soil pickup performance. Keep in mind, the Roomba removed more pet hair from our test floors than the Neato D7. So if you're a pet owner, the D7 isn't your best choice.
The Neato D7's app experience is on par with the Roomba S9 Plus'. The Neato's "no-go lines" feature is especially useful. It allows you to custom-edit saved maps, and create virtual sections of your home for the robot to avoid.
The Neato app displays vacuum battery status with a specific number for percent charge remaining. The Roomba app communicates this via a less-helpful battery icon.
So while the Neato Botvac D7 isn't the ultimate in robot vacuum performance and features, for the price it offers quite a bit.
Originally published earlier this year. Updated to note that the Roomba S9 Plus can now designate off-limit areas.