Caveat Emptor - Neato Connect

In November 2016, I bit the bullet and paid the "Neato premium" price for one of their top-of-the-line "Connect" models.

We were huge fans of the device for about six months.  We then noticed that she "Hilde" was sorta losing her mind, spinning in circles, constantly getting stuck and would never consistently clean our 1300sf area of hardwood floors and some carpet.  We reached out to Neato Support and found them to be surprisingly helpful.  After some troubleshooting and end-user remedy attempts, Hilde was declared dead.  We boxed her up and sent her back to Neato.

About six weeks later, we got "Hilde 2" in the mail.  Within days, poor Hilde 2 was showing signs of distress.  She would stop for no apparent reason with the "Clear my path" message.  After a few weeks without more than 2 successful cleanings, we were back on the line with the helpful support folks.  More troubleshooting, more end-user remedy attempts ensued, but it was back in the box for Hilde 2.

Another 6 weeks pass and "Hilde 3" arrives.   Much like Hilde 1, she ran like a champ.  About 60 days into her job, her "alarm horn" quit working, but in many ways, that was a bit of a blessing.  Other than the difficulty in finding her when she did legitimately get stuck, it was nice not hearing her report her every move.

Life was good for another few months.  The performance of the device was quite impressive.  Then one day about 6 months into her life, Hilde 3 also gave up the ghost.  This time, it appeared to be her brush motor.  Back on the line with support.   Again, we found them to be most helpful, however, since it had been more than 1 year since the original purchase of Hilde 1, we were told that Neato was washing their hands of us, and of Hilde.  They did offer contact information for a 3rd party service company out of another state, but all costs were on us.

So in recap, for our $700 initial investment plus another $150 in replacement filters and brushes, we receive approximately 74 cleanings of our 1300 square-foot upper floor. That comes to about $11.50 per cleaning. This does not take into account the average 5-10 minutes/day we spent cleaning the cleaner (empty dust bin, clean-out brush, clean laser, etc.).

All-in-all, in our experience with the Neato product, we would have to recommend hiring someone to vacuum your floor if you really don’t want to do it yourself.   The Neato robotic vacuum is simply a very expensive novelty and in my humble opinion, NOT a production ready appliance, even on a home-use standard. In contrast, our Kirby is now 30 years old, gets used 5-6 days per week in the other 1500 square foot, high-traffic areas of the house and we have never had to do anything other than replace the bags.

If you are in the market for a robotic vacuum, I simply have to suggest that you lean toward one of the less expensive vendors and stay away from the "Neato premium".

 

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