The Neato makes the chore of vacuuming suck, in the right way

Neato robotic vacuumTake three crumb-dropping kids, a big shedding dog, and a house without air conditioning, and you’ve got one mama who breaks out in a sweat just thinking about vacuuming. But lately, this chore hasn’t required me to do too much more than push a button.

Like its predecessor, the previously reviewed Neato XV-11, the new Neato XV-21 robotic vacuum is a suction powerhouse with a motor that lets you know it means business as it revs up like a diminutive jet in my living room. No, it will not achieve lift off. 


What makes this newer Neato XV-21 so ideal for my home is its special filter and improved bristle brush that are made specifically to sweep up pet dander, pet fur, and all the dust and gunk in its path. I could stuff a pillow a week with the amount of black-lab fur I dump out of the filter. Ick. And yay!

For those of you current Neato XV-11 owners who are feeling a little envious of the improved pet-dander and allergen-sucking capabilites of the XV-21, get this: You can purchase an upgrade kit. So great. 

Now while my Neato works pretty smoothly most times, I have to say sometimes it behaves like a stubborn toddler who keeps doing exactly what you ask it not to do. In these instances, I find my robot stuck in a corner asking for assistance, only to have it go directly back to that same corner to get stuck again. (If you’ve never had an argument with a robotic vacuum, it’s not entirely satisfying.) Thankfully, if I just abort the mission and recharge the Neato, it seems to clear up any confusion but, when company is coming and I need the floor done now, this can be frustrating. 

But, I so appreciate that the company works to improve their robots, even posting software updates that let Windows users upgrade their model to the latest operating system. I’m hoping the next update includes a “Let’s Not Get Stuck in the Corner Again” fix. And let’s hope they make these updates for those of us running iOS too.

One of the more satisfying things about the Neato robotic vacuum, as compared to my adorable, whirring-in-circles Roomba, is the straight lines it leaves in carpeting as it methodically goes back and forth across the floor. Plus, the low clearance of the Neato means it gets under couches and end tables so your floors will feel clean even when you reach under the couch to grab that toy the baby threw. 

This back-and-forth cleaning pattern means that it finishes a single room so quickly (when it’s on track), so it has the power to keep going on to other rooms. But if the Neato starts to get low on power, it will make its way back to its charging base, re-juice, and then finish the job. Though personally, I find that in my cluttered colonial, it makes more sense for me to do a room or two at a time; open-layout homes or city-sized apartments should be no problem for the Neato to handle. 

And it is smart to walk around and pick up little obstacles that might pose a problem for a robotic vacuum, like hair ribbons, Barbie shoes, and loose LEGO bricks. I just warn the kids that our robot is about to suck up their toys and then sit back and watch how quickly they get moving. I only feel a little bit guilty if they work up a sweat. -Christina

Purchase the improved allergen-capturing Neato XV-21 robotic vacuum, or an upgrade kit for the Neato XV-11, at neatorobotics.com. Thank you to Neato for providing us one for review.






Christina

Senior Associate Editor Christina Refford loves homeschooling, running, cool kids’ music, and coffee. Not in that order.

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