Neato Robotics Botvac D6 Connected Robovac review
- By: Ashley Saunders
- October 2019
Sporting a unique D-shape design, Neato Robotics Botvac D6 Connected is one of the most advanced robotic vacuum cleaners on the market. This also means it sits at the more expensive end of any of the best robot vacuum cleaners we’ve reviewed.
The interesting design of this robot vacuum allows for a longer brush, enabling the unit to vacuum a larger area in less time. The shape also means the unit can buff right up to the wall.
Using three brushes and optimised ultra-performance filter, the D6 can handle a range of flooring, dust and can even clear up pet hair.
The Neato Robotics D6 Connected is both Alexa and IFTTT ready and also has its own app. So offer a range of control options.
When low on power, it automatically heads back to the dock and starts to recharge its battery.
Overall the Neato Robotics Botvac D6 Connected scores high with an 8/10!
- Multiple control methods including Neato app and IFTTT
- Intelligent navigation including no-go areas
- Two different brush types
- Large footprint which makes cleaning tight spaces tricky
- Some users report issues with getting the unit to follow maps
- Google Home integration doesn’t support no-go lines, so you need to use the app
The first thing that hits you about the Botvac D6 Connected is its unique shape. While the standard shape for robovacs is circular, the D6 Connected is completely different.
This innovation in design creates more space for the central brush as well as allowing the unit to tuck into corners with ease. Both of these elements allow for a deeper, more thorough clean.
Neato has built the body from plastic to ensure it’s strong and durable yet lightweight. It’s also under 10 cm tall, so can easily roll under furniture and objects.
Starting at the top of the unit, the Neato Botvac D6 has two status LED and start button built into the bottom left. A useful handle runs along the unit’s bottom.
In the middle of the top is the large 0.7-litre dustbin. Most robotic vacuums have a rear loading dustbin, so by moving it to the centre, Neato has created a larger space, hence the larger than average dustbin.
Moving down the unit, the front contains a bumper which is used for navigation. On the rear are the charger contacts.
Finally, time to turn the unit over. You’ll notice straight away the two brushes and wheels. However, the three sensors are less obvious yet critical.
There’s also the battery compartment, which can be opened with a screwdriver.
We’ll start with the Lithium-Ion battery, which has a run time of up to 120 minutes when fully charged. It has a relatively good charging time of 150 minutes.
The charge to use ratio is 5:4, which is one of the best. This ratio matters because no one wants to wait for a unit to charge only to find that it provides a short operation time before needing to recharge.
As you’d expect the Neato Botvac D6 Connected robot vacuum is designed to automatically locate its dock and start recharging when it’s running low on battery.
The battery powers a motor which provides the suction needed to clean. Neato is tight-lipped about just exactly how powerful the D6 is but we estimate it to have around 2000 Pa of suction.
All the suction in the world isn’t worth it without the right brushes. Luckily the Neato D6 uses two to ensure a thorough clean. The side brush sweeps debris and dirt into the suction path, where it passes to the dustbin.
In addition the side brush, the unit uses a spiral combo brush, which runs along the front provide wider coverage than most robovacs. The combination of these two brushes, ensure that your surfaces are fully cleaned.
All of the debris that is collected makes it way to the large 0.7 litre dustbin. This size matters as you don’t want your robotic vacuum cleaner to stop working due to a full bin requiring you to empty it.
When it comes to navigation, the Neato D6 has some interesting features including multiple sensors and on board mapping technology. It also offers several control methods. We’ll explore these aspect in more detail shortly.
Thankfully you don’t need to do much to get the Neato D6 Connected ready to use. You do need to set-up the dock, plug in the mains power cable and clear a metre each side of it.
With the dock ready, place the D6 on top to enable it to charge. Once the battery is full, then you start it on its first vacuum.
There are two main control methods, the first is using the buttons on the unit. You could control your D6 using the Neato app.
If you decide to use the controls on the unit, then you’ll miss out on some of the advanced features of the app. You’ll also need to use the supplied boundary marker tape to block the Neato D6 from entering rooms you don’t want to be cleaned.
The app has a floor plan feature which allows you to block certain rooms with a few clicks. Using the app you can start the Neato Robotics D6 remotely, pause it at any point and check the battery status, plus a lot more.
Regardless of which method you use, Neato recommends watching the D6 during its first few vacuums to ensure it operates efficiently.
As you watch your device, you’ll notice it navigates in a fairly smart way. It uses 3 sensors to feel it’s way around the room and avoid bumping objects and falling down any steps/stairs.
While it occasionally and lightly knocks objects, the front bumper cushions the blow and enables the unit to quickly redirect. Your D6 builds up a picture of your home’s layout and keeps adapting it’s path, ensuring efficiency.
It’s always worth checking the dustbin after the fist vacuum, even for curiosity’s sake! You’ll probably be surprised how much dust the Botvac D6 collects.
In terms of modes, using the app, you can select from 4 different settings.
As the most basic mode, your Neato Botvac D6 will start by exploring the room and then will begin to vacuum the floor collecting dust, dirty and pet hairs. The on-board software breaks the room into 4.5 by 4.5 m sections.
The D6 will keep vacuuming sections until the entire area is cleaned. Once the room is completed vacuum, assuming the D6 can detect doorways, it will move on to the next room.
If the D6 only partially cleans a room, then it will return to finish the job before moving on.
If you have a particularly tough stain, then you’ll be able to remove it using the Spot Cleaning mode. You’ll need to start this mode using the app. Your Neato robot will clean a 2 by 2 m area.
Single Room Cleaning
This mode is ideal for tackling a single room. Place your D6 in the room, press the start control and ensure the door is shut. Your Neato will clean the room, then will return to where you originally placed it.
When the robot has finished cleaning, you will need to manually replace it on the charge base and empty the dustbin.
Quick Boost Charging
If you’re trying to clean a very large area and estimate that your D6 will need to recharge, then Quick Boost is the best mode. In this mode, your Botvac D6 will calculate how much battery is needed to complete the job.
It will then return to the dock and charge up to that amount. When charged, it will start and complete the job.
Setting up and completing the first clean are both very simple. And, while the navigation is superior to other robovac, it’s still a little clunky. So, you’ll want to move any valuables out of the way or mark the surrounding floor with the magnetic tape to stop the D6 from interfering.
You’ll need to move it between floors but that’s to be expected with robotic vacuums! Unlike other robot vacuums, the Neato D6 is quite heavy.
The app is easy to use, even if you’re not a home automation system enthusiast! It can be as complex as you wish, ranging from glorified remote to sophisticated control centre worthy of any smart home!
After the first few cleans, you probably won’t hear it as it’s super quiet and moves around efficiently. You will need to empty the dustbin from time to time, but that requires hardly any effort!
In terms of the clean, it handles carpet with easy, likewise wooden and hard flooring is a breeze. Transiting between the two is fine as is moving from carpet to a rug. That said, it doesn’t like tassel, so you might want to change it or mark the area with tape.
Spot cleaning and single room mode, while good require you to intervene. We don’t understand why you can’t, using the app, send the D6 to a certain room on the floor plan and ask it to clean that space. Hopefully, Neato will develop this feature in the future.
Is the Neato Robotics Botvac D6 worth buying?
Even though we’ve just scratched the surface of the Neato Robotics Botvac D6 Connected, hopefully, you have a taste of how excellent the unit is.
But first, a disclaimer, if your unsure if a robovac is for you, it might be better to start with a cheaper unit. After a few months, you can run out and spend £500 plus on buying a Neato D6!
As Neato does not provide a number for the suction, we can’t fairly compare it to other robotic vacuums we’ve reviewed. Of course, we’re happy to update if/when we get a figure.
That said, it has plenty of suction and a larger than average rotating brush underneath. This coupled with the 0.7 litre dustbin makes for a powerful unit. You will need to empty the dustbin now and again but far less than other robovacs.
Battery charging speed
Another positive aspect is the battery charging speed and the amount of power each charge provides. As already mentioned, it’s best to choose a tool with a low ratio as this means your unit spends more time working and less charging. Plus it offers a good battery life.
Ground control to major Tom
A slight negative is control. There’s a single button on the unit and no remote, so you have to use the app to get the best from your Neato D6. That’s fine if your used to home automation or willing to spend the time figuring it out.
However, you can simplify the app, ignoring most of the controls and just set your D6 to run while your at home.
A feature that is quite irritating about all robotic vacuum cleaners is navigation. They all claim to be smart, yet in the real world are quite clunky. Sadly the Neato D6 is the same.
So while it can scan and build virtual floor plans, it still struggles to navigate it’s own plans and can push into objects.
What the D6 does with ease, is move under objects and furniture. As long as the item has a gap of at least 10cm, it will happily glide underneath it and clean.
Overall, the Neato D6 is good value for money given the amount of features you have at your fingertips and the excellent performance of the unit. 8/10