Now we've all heard about the Roomba, Neato, Mint Plus, and Mint. But which is the best? Most efficient? Affordable? After reading so many reviews I haven't seen A SINGLE ONE that shows all of each robots' features and capabilites so I decided to write my own.
Design and Shapes and Colors-
The latest iRobot Vacuum Robot, Roomba 780 (Left) features a touchscreen control panel that replaces boring traditional buttons and has blue LEDs, now has a more "modern" look and feel and a newly designed dust bin. It cleans with a sidebrush, a rubber beater brush and a bristle brush which counter rotate, and a powerful vacuum. It has something called the AeroVac Bin2 which features dual HEPA filters. The Roomba 780 is colored of 2 shades of gray so you can't see scratches (if it even does get scratched) as easily. Roomba is in the middle when it comes to height. It's just short enough to fit under most furniture and all cabinets. The Roomba 790 (top model) is basically the same but just a bit different than the 780. The only difference is that its OS is more advanced and it comes with a stylish blue face plate. It also features more accessories.
On the other hand is the Neato (Middle). It boasts the most powerful (and noisest) vacuum and the largest dust bin of all robotic vacuums, controlled by 5 buttons and cleans with a rotating silicone brush so it does not trap hair and fur around it allowing you to clean it less. It is green and you can tell that its outer shell is made of cheaper plastic when compared to the Roomba because it gets scratched alot when it gets stuck and tries to free itself. Neato is the tallest of the three. This means it probably won't fit under some furniture but it still works under cabinet edges.
Next is the Mint (White, Left), capable of BOTH sweeping and MOPPING. Over the years, Mint Evolution hasn't made any new software updates much to our disapointment but probably because they released the Mint Plus (Black). Now remember, it IS a sweeper NOT a vacuum so don't have high hopes for a completely dust-free floor if you buy it. But this also means it's whisper quiet. The Mint is white overall and black on the sides. White is not a color you want if you know it will get scratched. But since it navigates the best, it shouldn't get scratched that much. Mint is the shortest of all. It's like a little mouse, it can fit under anything.
Mint Plus is a black colored successor of the previous version, Mint. It looks the same but has new features.
Winner-Draw: The Roomba 790 may have better cleaning techniques and filters, but Neato has a bigger bin and a stronger suction. The Mint and Mint Plus doesn't have any of that but they make it up with their mopping ability and after all, they are indeed whisper quiet. If you like something that's fancy with glossy looks you'd pick the Mint, Mint Plus, or the Roomba 780 instead of the Neato which looks some-what like an army tank. But don't forget: Don't judge a book by its cover.
The Mint and Mint plus doesn't offer any scheduling so if you're always on the go or/and don't have time to start it yourself you'll most likely turn to the Roomba 780 or the Neato.
The Neato has scheduling alright, but is it as good as the Roomba's? Nope. Neato only has a limited scheduling function which means you cannot set it to random times. You can only set it to: _:00 / _:15 / _:30 / _:45 . The Roomba however, doesn't have any limits when it comes scheduling. You can schedule it to any time of the day so it can clean even when you're not at home.
The Roomba 790 comes with an exclusive Wireless Command Center. The Wireless Command Center was first introduced in the iRobot Roomba 570, but now it features a new design and its connection range with Roomba is even stronger. The Wireless Command Center is a remote that allows you to drive the robot around, turn it off, turn it on, select cleaning modes, telling it to go dock, and even allows you to schedule Roomba without bending down (the elderly would love this feature).
Winner-Roomba 790: Roomba has the best scheduling of the three so if you are constantly traveling, Roomba might as well be your next BFF. And with the Wireless Command Center, bending down or going across the room is no longer required. The Wireless Command Center can schedule Roomba for you no matter what room you're in!
The Roomba 790/780 and Neato XV-11/12/15/21 can both charge itself when when its battery is running low or when its mission to clean the house is completed. I own both and the Neato only finds its dock about 75% of the time. It usually gets stuck in under my coat hanger rack (the kind with wheels) or got trapped under my desk & between the legs' of my steel chair and the wall. But it does find the dock quicker than the Roomba though. Mint and Mint Plus doesn't even dock itself so you have to bend down and do it yourself; something the elderly/disabled ones/those with arthritis wouldn't like at all. But Mint Plus (not Mint) does have the fastest charging. It gets fully charged in just a mere 2 hours. Roomba always finds the dock because it communicates with its Virtual Wall LightHouse which also communicates with its dock. The Virtual Wall LightHouse(s) will then tell Roomba how to get to the dock IF Roomba cannot find it.
Winner-Roomba 790/780 and Mint Plus: The Mint and its brother Plus can't charge itself. If you want a robot to clean your floors, you expect it to put itself away and be ready for its next job, DUH. But Mint Plus gets ready in just a mere 2 hours, an hour less to fully energize a Roomba. Sure the Neato docks faster but it doesn't always find the base and runs out of battery relocating itself and stuff.
Neato is the Hercules of the robotic vacuum world. Its suction power rivals with upright vacuums! Mint and Mint Plus don't really need any suction power since they rely on static and the cleaning pads to grab dirt and dust. Roomba has strong vacuum too, and now combined with the better-air-flow AeroVac Bin II it's even stronger but I don't think it is as power as the Neato's because its not as loud. But it's counter rotating brushes and patented Dirt Detection and Persistent Passing make up for this weakness.
Winner-Neato: Sorry, Mint Evolution and Roomba fans, but raw power is indeed the answer to this question.
Time and Speed-
We all love a clean house and we want to do the dirty work faster. So which of the three is Lightning McQueen? Well Roomba cleans the same spot multiple times so it takes its time to make your floors spotless.
Neato is much faster than the Roomba at cleaning---and at getting stuck too. It's rotating infared laser allows it to navigate throws rooms and hallways but it is no where as fast as the Mint Plus/Mint.
Winner-Mint and Mint Plus: Mint and Mint Plus may not be vacuums, but they certainly are fast. A++++ on light duties.
Brushes, Maintainence, and Cleaning Techniques-
Mint and Mint Plus:
Mint and Mint Plus uses Swiffer Pads (both for mopping and sweeping) or if you're a miserly cheapo, you can use the Reusable Microfiber Cleaning Pads that come with the robot. These two can also mop, something that Roomba and Neato can never do. So buying the Mint/Mint Plus is like a 2 -in-1 deal. Now we've all heard of recycling and global warming and how there're no space in the dumps and landfills; so do you want to help kill our beloved planet every time you use and throw away the Swiffer Pads? No! But then you guys will just say, " Then use the reusable ones". 0_0 FYI: The resuable ones get cleaned in the WASHING MACHINE where we wash our clothes and stuff. Now do you really want what's been on the floor and what you've been stepping on to be washed in a machine that we use to wash our clothes?! Hell no! If you have cat(s) or dog(s) and intend to use the Swiffer Pads you'd probably need to change it after every use (this applies for mopping and sweeping). If you don't have pets, then you'd have to replace the pads for about every 3-4 uses, depends on how dirty your floors are and how much space you want it to cover. Mint and Mint Plus can clean the corners and wall edges the best. It's cleaning pad touches the edges as it quietly moves forward, guarranteeing that your dust bunny collection that's leaning on the wall will be gone. Mint Plus has an improved cleaning pad called the Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad(Exclusive for Plus) which allows Mint Plus to replenish its cleaning pad (disposable & reusable) with fresh cleaning liquid to maximize cleaning performance. Mint and Mint Plus have the best navigation of ALL robotic vacuums. The NorthStar Navigation(Mint)/NorthStar Navigation 2.0 (Mint Plus) which is basically an indoor GPS for the Mint series. Just insert batteries (included, 2 C Batteries), turn it on, leave on the table and it's good to go. When you turn of the Mint/Mint Plus to sweep or mop, the NorthStar Navigation will allow Mint to navigate through even the most complicated households. When the Mint is done, it returns to the stop where it started and waits for you to pick it up to charge it. Mint does not do carpets or rugs, not even in Sweeping Mode. it will not fall of stairs.
(Above) The NorthStar Navigation System
Roombas can actually detect areas that are extra dirty. iRobot calls this patented ability Dirt Dection. In the 500 series, Roomba would go in that spot in a few circles and rounds until that spot is fully clean. In the 700 series (excluding 760), Roomba goes back and forth, like you do, when it detects dirt. This movement is called Persistant Passing. All Roombas feature 2 brushes: a Rubber Beater Brush and a Bristle Brush. These brushes counter rotate that clean much better than a normal upright or canister vacuums with raw power and bulk. Roomba also has a side-brush, something that plays a huge role in cleaning and Roomba is the only robot of the trio to have one. Roomba will gently nudge itself against walls or simply just move forward really close to the wall/edges, allowing the side brush to sweep all those furballs and dust bunnies away. Roomba's AeroVac Bin II has major improvements; it is larger than the previous AeroVac Bin, has dual HEPA filters which prevent dust circulation, traps finer dust particles that are 30% smaller than regular fine dust particles. The AeroVac Bin II (and the first Ver.) pull the hair off the brushes and strengthens the suction power with better airflow. The AeroVac Bin II is large enough that you only need to clean it out once a week if you use it daily(depends on the size of your house. Mine runs daily and cleans 2 living rooms, a kitchen, & my master's bedroom). All Roombas can clean all types of INDOOR floors. Roomba uses Virtual Wall Lighthouses to help it map the room and break the room down in to small sections to make sure that it cleans every millimeter in the room is vacuumed at least 3-4 times. Not only that, it also works as a boundary marker, blocking Roomba from infiltrating off-limit areas in your house. The best thing about it is that you will NEVER need to turn the Virtual Wall LightHouse on! it turns on when Roomba begins cleaning, and turns off when Roomba is done. Its infared range goes up to 14 ft. All Roomba models will not fall of stairs. Roomba 790 comes with 3 Virtual Wall LightHouses while the 780 only comes with 2.
Neato doesn't clean corners or edges like the Mint or Roomba sadly, but its dust bin is the biggest which means it has a pretty good appetite for eating dust. That's not all, Neato also boasts the most powerful, strongest suction power of all robotic vacuum cleaners. If you have cat(s) or dog(s), you'd most likely clean out the bin daily, especially when their shedding. If you don't have pets or anything, then you would have to clean out the bin weekly. It's pretty surprising at how a larger bin (a liter almost) needs to be cleaned weekly, the same as Roomba's Bin?! WTF?!!!! Here's why, the dust builds up on the filter, lowering the suction power bit by bit. When Neato's sensors detect that its suction is too weak, it tells you to clean the bin and filter by sending you a messege on its LCD screen which is located on the top right side of the robot. If you DON'T clean its bin and filter, you'll pay the price. Neato will punish you by spreading dust balls around the room; especially if you have carpet or area rugs. Neato uses a smooth, sleek, silicone beater brush which lower's its maintainence allowing you to almost never clean it. Neato navigates using its laser, built on the top of the bot which scans the whole room and maps it simultaneously. It scans the room constantly, updating its map if there are any changes going on in the room. Neato is very smart, it recognizes doorways and hallways so it won't leave the room if it hasn't cleaned the room 100%. Neato cleans the perimeter of the room first then vacuums in parallel lines. There are only 5 major flaws though, as stated before it can't do corners/edges. The 2nd flaw is that it doesn't clean the area multiple times like the Roomba meaning that if the floor (especially carpets or rugs) is extra dirty and Neato didn't get it fully cleaned in the first pass, it won't go back and clean it again. Flaw number 3, the port that lets the air from the vacuum out at the back of the robot sometimes blows dust away from the edges or corners onto the spot Neato has already gone over so in other words, Neato won't clean that cause it thinks it already has. Flaw #4, Neato is very loud so if you're on the phone, reading a book, listening tomusic, watching TV, sleeping, you would turn it off ASAP. #5, If you don't clean the sensors and lasers every 5-7 uses, the dust will block them and it will malfunction. Neato uses black magnetic strips as boundary markers to prevent Neato from going on to off-limit areas. Dogs have also discovered that the strips are also a good chewing toy. This item is good on almost anything except carpet because you'd have to glue or tape it on. The strips do not have any sort of glue or adhesive on them so you need to provide your own. Neato (all models;even with the earliest software) will not fall of stairs.
Winner-Roomba 790 & 780: Yeah, yeah, Neato has the biggest bin but you'll have to maintain it just as much as the Roomba. Mint/Mint Plus doesn't get stuck, but it doesn't clean as well and you gotta change the pads. Roomba may not navigate as well as the Mint/Mint Plus or have the ability to mop, be as powerful (and loud) as the Neato. But it's much more reliable and thorough and it gets the job done right. Well equipped with dual HEPA filters, Virtual Wall Lighthouses, sidebrush, Dirt Detection, and counter rotating brushes, Roomba triumphs this round.
Now I've heard about many Roomba owners saying that they tried letting Roomba clean (through scheduling it) their house at night when their asleep. Some say it's too loud, some say they loved it. So who's advice are you gonna listen to? If you have carpet, Roomba 780 won't be much trouble, but on hardwood, tile, etc it depends if you're a heavy sleeper or a light one. If you're a light sleeper and you wanna try it at night then you'd might want to keep it in another room unless you have carpet.
The Neato is not nocturnal so don't use it at night. It is just plain loud and I mean LOUD. It's like a helicopter flying directly above your house! You most definitely do not want it to clean during sleep-time. Carpet flooring covers the noise up by about 20% (depends on what type you have) but you'd still choose to use it during the day though. The only good thing about the noise Neato makes is that it can replace your alarm clock. I use the Neato and Roomba to wake me up everyday.
Mint/Mint Plus is very, very, very quiet. If Mint/Mint Plus was a burglar, you'd be robbed in 3 seconds flat and not notice at all. You'd let it clean anytime and anywhere. Unlike Neato or the Roomba, you can still have a clear conversation on the phone or enjoy a good family movie while Mint cleans your house. In fact, it was so quiet I forgot about it for 2 days until I found it next to the coffe table where I turned it on!
Winner-Mint/Mint Plus: Mint/Mint Plus may not have all that fancy smancy gear but it's nice and quiet, letting you get dust-free, good night's sleep.
All these robots are great, all with different functions and designs, I prefer the Roomba 790. The Roomba 790 & 780 are about the same but I prefer the latest models when I buy electronics. I don't want to pollute the world with non-recyclable pads or wash those reusable ones in my washing machine or have a loud robot marching in the house for about an hour just for the price of a clean floor. Roomba is reliable, unique, stylish, and high-tech, all at the same time. I've owned all three and I can tell you that Roomba is my favorite so far. xD Now lets see if the Mint/Mint Plus mops better or worse than the leading iRobot Scooba 390 and 230...