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Neato Botvac 80 review: Better than Roomba, especially for pet owners

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | July 31, 2014
I have two puppies, which means I live in a fur factory. One is a dark brindle French bulldog, who sheds short, coarse hairs relatively infrequently; the other is a sable Pomeranian who sheds long, thin hairs constantly. Everywhere. On everything. Needless to say, I'm definitely at a point in my life where a robotic vacuum that's specifically designed to pick up pet hair is basically a dream come true.

Bottom line

If you're looking for a robot vacuum that's easy to use and that will pick up tons and tons of pet hair, you're looking for the Neato Botvac 80. Its large combo bristle-and-blade brush, unique semicircle shape, and larger-than-average dirt bin make it particularly effective at picking up pet hair and dander along with other debris. It's also quieter than most vacuums, good at maneuvering around obstacles, and you can easily keep it from going into unwanted areas with magnetic strips — unlike the Roomba, which requires you to set up a "virtual wall" with battery-powered infrared sensors.

But the Botvac 80 does have its downsides. For one thing, while it has an intuitive touch interface located on the robot's face, it doesn't have a remote control for extra-lazy people such as myself. The vacuum's dirt bin, while large, is not that large (I found myself having to empty it at least once a day — or maybe my dogs just shed that much), and the filter gets dirty very quickly. Ironically, the easiest way to clean the filter is to use a handheld vacuum, which means you still have to be a multi-vacuum household. It's OK. My pups are worth it.

 

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