Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner

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I’ve said it many time before but I have a strange obsession with vacuums.

I look at vacuums the way some men look at cars.  The way some women look at clothes.  I don’t know what it is but my entire house could be cluttered and messy but if I have clean floors I’m happy.

As far as obsessions go, it’s fairly harmless and actually might be helpful, specially in a house full of people with allergies.

This sign adorns our foyer:

Nothing fancy, one day I hope to have it made into an actual sign.

But it illustrates my obsession with clean floors.

It’s this obsession that led me to be fascinated with the Neato Robot Automatic Vacuum.  You mean a vacuum that doesn’t require you to push it around the house?  Hello, this is the holy grail for vacuum obsessed folks like me.

Needless to say, I was extremely excited by the opportunity to get to test one out.

Neato Automated Robotic Vacuums are real vacuum cleaners, not simply floor sweepers that push the dirt around and suck up some of it. Neato vacuums clean up all sorts of dirt and debris from carpet and hard floors, and it does it automatically with a touch of a button or by programming it to vacuum on a schedule.  The Neato does it all without any help from you including returning to its base to charge when it is finished.  The only thing you have to do is empty the collection bin.

Take a look at some of the additional features of a Neato Robot:

The Neato XV-21 is specially designed for pet owners and allergy sufferers.


New! Neato XV-21 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner is specially designed for pet owners and allergy sufferers. With the most powerful suction of any automatic vacuum cleaner, the Neato XV-21 picks up dirt, debris, and even the toughest pet hair. It vacuums your floors so you don’t have to do it.

  • The Neato XV-21’s special filter retains more than three times the amount of fine dust particles of standard filters, which is perfect for those with allergies.
  • A new bristled brush improves the pick-up of pet hair, dander and fibers.

Setup and assembly:

The Neato XV-21 requires no assembly.  It comes with a base/charger, a roll of boundary marker, and an original style vacuum brush (no bristles) in addition to the already installed pet hair brush.  Setup requires finding a proper location for the base unit, plugging it in and allowing the Neato to charge.

How to use:

The Neato Robot is easy to use.  You can follow the instructions on the small screen to start the vacuum or you can set it to schedule at a specific time or day.  You can also stop it at any time and send it back to its base.  Once the Neato completes the vacuuming it will return automatically.  The boundary marker allows you to set certain areas off limits for the Neato in case there is an area or room you don’t want it to enter in its cycle.  It will keep going from room to room until it finds itself back where it started.

If you want to clean just a small area (4’x6′) you can position the Neato centered and facing the area to be cleaned and select “spot clean” and it will clean just that small area.

The Neato uses laser based tracking and positioning and maps the rooms locating walls and furniture.  The map is constantly updated as it vacuums to ensure it doesn’t miss a spot. It is super smart and senses stairs and does not fall down them.

How it performs:

I was pretty impressed by the Neato XV-21.  It’s smart and actually cleans very well.  It moves slowly and methodically covering every inch of the floor.  It picked up a lot of dirt and a lot of dog hair.  I feel confident my floor is clean after it vacuums.

I really like the idea that I can do other things while the Neato does the vacuuming, but it doesn’t eliminate my work all together.  Because I am not there doing the vacuuming, I have to do a cursory walk-through of the house to make sure there is nothing it will suck up that will clog it or break it such as a doll with long hair or water from the dogs bowl that dripped all over the floor.  But really this is such a short exercise that it’s a small price to pay for having your floors cleaned while you get other things done.

Also, while the dirt compartment does seem to hold quite a bit for its size, it is nowhere near the size of a traditional vacuum.  This means you have to empty it frequently and the unit doesn’t seem to indicate when it is full while in use.  I wish the unit would stop and beep when the collection cup was full.  There is an indicator light that claims it will turn from green to amber when full, and the screen is supposed to tell you it is full but the unit does not stop, it will keep running even though it is full.  Plus the indicator light stays green and I do not get a full notice on the screen when the cup is full.

The noise level of the Neato is pretty great.  It’s much quieter than my regular vacuum.

The Neato does very well between rooms, over thresholds and on small bathroom rugs.  It doesn’t get stuck, even if it seems like it might, it manages to get itself corrected.  I also like that it cleans under the beds and tables without me having to move them.

Finally, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you can actually tell the carpet was cleaned when you look at it.  It leaves those streaks that leave you feeling satisfied and sure your carpet has recently been vacuumed.

One annoyance I have found is that on manual use, if the unit runs out of charge, it returns to the base but doesn’t give you the option to pick up where it left off.  When you schedule cleanings, however, the unit will stop to charge and return to where it left off to complete the cleaning.

Overall I give the unit a thumbs up.  Simon, however, keeps letting it run over his tail and more than once has stood up with it attached, so he is not a big fan.  Toby follows it around like it is another animal and is intrigued by it.  I wouldn’t use it for full blown cleaning of an entire house with dogs if you haven’t vacuumed in a few days or so.  I would probably vacuum with my regular vacuum then set the Neato to perform all my future daily maintenance because of the dirt collection volume.

See it in action:

The video below was taken as I told the unit to return to its base (sorry for the dogs barking).  It’s fairly long but gives you an idea of the speed and smartness of the Neato XV-21.  Please note that it hadn’t run a full cycle so you will still see some stuff on the floor.

Where to buy:

You can purchase the Neato XV-21 on for $429.99 or on the Neato Robotics website.

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