Neato D9 Review

After a mixed experience with Neato’s D8 robot vacuum, I was hoping for a big step forward with the Neato D9 ($699.99). And in some instances, the D9 indeed outshines its predecessor—it ran for 171 minutes in testing, the longest result we’ve seen to date. But the D9 falters in many of the same areas as the D8—it got stuck on many test runs, and often failed to automatically dock after completing a job. In addition, the price remains high for a robot vacuum with no self-emptying or mopping abilities. Thanks to its class-leading battery life, the D9 is a fine option if you have a large home (1,000 square feet or more), but for even less money, you can get a model that empties its own dustbin, like the $599 Shark IQ. And for just $249.99, the Wyze Robot Vacuum offers similar vacuuming performance, ample customization options, and better navigation abilities at a much lower price.

Neato’s Trio of Vacuums

Neato offers several different vacuum models at a range of prices, including the $599.99 D8, the $699.99 D9, and the $799.99 D10. I reviewed the D8 in 2021 and expect to review the D10 soon.

The flagship D10 offers the longest battery life and the most suction power of the three, followed by the D9, and then the D8. I detail its performance later in this review, but the D9’s 4,200mAh battery promises to provide enough power to clean spaces of up to 1,600 square feet per charge.

Like iRobot, Neato doesn’t specify the suction power of its vacuums in pascals (Pa). Instead, the company says the D8, the D9, and the D10 respectively offer 20%, 40%, and 60% “greater dirt pickup” capabilities than the Neato D5, which is no longer available.

All three models feature Neato’s signature D shape, which the company says allows its robots to better clean in corners and along the edges of walls than round models. The D9 measures 12.71 by 13.22 by 3.99 inches (LWH) and weighs 8.07 pounds. On top, it has a power button, battery and Wi-Fi indicator lights, and an information button that you can tap to hear the robot’s status and any error notifications.

 

On the bottom, it has an 11-inch brush roll along its flat edge and one side brush. The D9 and D10 feature a Helix multi-surface brush roll, which Neato says is 50% quieter on hard surfaces than the D8’s Spiral Combo brush roll.

Setting Up and Using the Neato D9

As with the D8, unboxing the D9 is a pleasure. Fabric dust covers protect the unit and the charging base instead of the plastic bags you get with most other vacuums. In the box, you also get a cleaning tool, which conveniently slots into the back of the base.

To set up the D9, simply insert the plug into the back of the charging base, select a spot for the base with good Wi-Fi coverage, and plug the other end of the cord into the wall. You can wrap any extra cord around the recessed part on the back of the base. Neato recommends placing the base against the wall in a spot with at least one foot of free space on all sides.

The D9 doesn’t come with a physical remote. You can control it with the power button on the unit, with your phone via the MyNeato mobile app (available for Android and iOS), or with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands.

To set up the mobile integration, download the MyNeato app and create an account. Then, follow the instructions to connect the robot to the app. In testing, the process took only a few minutes. After you accept the Bluetooth pairing request and the app finds the robot, press the information button on the unit for three seconds to authenticate the connection. From there, just enter your Wi-Fi password in the app to complete the setup. After I paired the robot, the app took about 15 minutes to downloaded and install a firmware update.

Neato D9 Battery Life and Cleaning Performance

In testing, the D9 delivered strong suction power and excellent battery life, but often got stuck and failed to return to its dock.

The D9 was cleaned for 171 minutes in Eco mode before its battery ran low, narrowly beating the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo T8 AIVI (170 minutes) to take the crown as the longest-lasting robot vacuum I’ve tested. It fell a bit short of the manufacturer-stated 200-minute maximum, but a battery life of close to three hours is very rare, making this robot a good choice for large homes, as they take longer to clean. In Turbo mode, it ran for 101 minutes, which is still a solid result.

Regardless of the mode, the D9 vacuumed my roughly 1,000 square-foot main level on a single charge with battery life to spare. That said, if you have a larger home and the D9 runs out of battery before completing a job, Neato says the robot can recharge and then automatically resume where it left off.

Long Battery Life, But Lacking in Innovation

While Neato’s earlier vacuum efforts were quite impressive and earned high marks in our reviews, the latest models fail to keep with the quick pace of innovation in the market—none them offer a self-emptying dustbin, for example. The Neato D9 delivers strong suction power and exceptional battery life, but navigation and connectivity shortcomings detract from the experience. And considering you can find self-emptying models—such as the $599 Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL R101AE and the $549 iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO—for less, the D9 simply isn’t as strong a value. That said, if you find it on sale (we’ve seen it as low as $449.99) and you own a large, uncluttered home, it might serve you well.

Read More: https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/neato-d9

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