Product Review: Neato XV Signature Pro
Oscar and I have many things in common. We both have long, luxurious hair and we both have an aversion to vacuuming. Unfortunately, only one of us can hide under the couch when it’s time to tackle that chore. The noise of the vacuum doesn’t scare me as much as it does Oscar, because if it did, we’d be knee-deep in fur tumbleweeds.
Oscar is terrified of my old standup vacuum. I could say it was the noise or the sucking action, but then again, he’s just as scared of the broom and the Swiffer Sweeper. I guess it’s safe to say that Oscar is just afraid of dirt and dust (just like his mom). What I need is something that does the work of all the broom and the vacuum that allows me to do as little as possible while picking up all the mini Oscars hiding under the furniture and doesn’t freak out him out… too much (let’s face it, I’m not expecting a miracle). It was like a sign from the heavens when the Neato XV Signature Pro landed on my desk for review.
The Neato XV Signature Pro is made for pet owners in mind and retails from $449.99. It promises to help you do the chores you don’t have to. The company says that their robot vac is smarter, more powerful and more effective than any competitive product in the market. Here are a few of its key points:
Smart: Its laser-guided system maps a room and tells it to move in logical, straight lines. It can navigate and clean multiple room, returns to its base to recharge and the returns to where it was to where it was to finish the job.
Powerful: It was built to be a power vacuum, not a sweeper. It’s especially good at picking up pet hair, dander and other debris that is overlooked by less-powerful vacuums. Neato’s high-performance filters pick up allergens, which makes homes healthier. These filters remove particles from the airstream down to 0.3 microns in size, including mold, spores, dander, dust mites, pollen, textile and carpet fibers.
Easy to use: You can easily schedule cleanings, instant multi-room or spot clean with one-touch control. Plus, its easy-to-customize brush system offers superior performance on all floor types. The combo brush is best for picking up pet hair, as it traps and removes it from the floor’s surface. Neato works on all types of floor surfaces including carpet, hardwood, Pergo®, linoleum, vinyl, and tile. Neato can automatically move from one surface type to another.
Here’s what the Neato XV Signature comes with:
- Two high-performance filters that reduce dust and allergens
- Combo Brush: Great for picking up pet hair and easy to clean, perfect for hardwood floors
- Blade Brush: Perfect for general use and carpet
- High Performance Filters: Pick up particles up to 0.3 microns
- Boundary markers: Tell Neato where not to go.
- Charge Base: Plugs into wall and lets Neato charge effortlessly
- Instruction manual
I trained like an Olympian for the Neato XV Signature Pro’s arrival. I didn’t sweep, vacuum or mop or three weeks leading up to the big test. There were furball tumbleweeds rolling around everywhere.
I have an urban townhome – two floors, loft style, 1,500 square feet. Because it doesn’t go up the on its own stairs (unless I took it up there), it was only going to tackle the main area of my home, which is 1,100 square feet. This includes a large main hallway, an open concept great room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, master bedroom and ensuite. The floors consist of hardwood, ceramic tiles, and a few area rugs.
The great thing about the Neato is that you can program it for the day, if you’re out at work or running errands and won’t be around for a few hours, or you have other work you have to do, like write a review for a robot vacuum and don’t have time to clean. It’s stupid simple to set up. In fact it’s so simple, it doesn’t tell you how to do it in the instructions, so I put in a call to the PR company. They were very patient with me, explaining to me that I just had to either: 1. Press Start and it would clean my place or; 2. Follow the menu instructions and set up a timed schedule. (*Slap forehead). I tried both starting methods and both worked equally well.
Starting up, it sounded like a jet plane taking off. The company wasn’t kidding that this was a powerful vacuum! Once it got going, it quieted down or I just got used to the noise. Either way, it still wasn’t half as loud as my regular vacuum and my neighbors downstairs couldn’t hear it running.
Since I have hardwood and ceramic floors, I went with the Combo Brush. I did switch out the brushes to see how easy it was, and found they were simple to swap out when it came time to vacuum the area rugs.
There is some prep work involved. Just like mom used to say, you’ll have to pick up after yourself. This is because the Neato will simply vacuum around items on the floor, and you want it to get as much dust and fur as possible. So I moved all of Oscar’s toys, his bed, my clothes, plus other odds and ends out of the way. As well, you need to move all the wires off to the side.
The way the Neato cleans reminds me of mowing the lawn for my dad. It’s methodical; it plans and maps out the room, analyzing it before it starts. It does a boundary cleaning of the area (just like my dad and his mower) and then it cleans the interior of the segment using a back and forth straight-line pattern (just like my dad – seriously, did they consult with my dad when they designed this robot?). It will move in a straight line until it senses something in its path, then it deftly moves around it, cleaning as it goes.
When it came to my stairs, I got a little worried. It was like the Neato went over to take a look at what was going on at the staircase, decided it didn’t want to clean it, and went back to work. It was pretty cute to watch.
Going around the room, the Neato got tight under the stairs, furniture and chairs. It doesn’t haphazardly bang into things, but its smart laser allow it to really get into tight corners. However, around smaller furniture legs, like on my sectional, you may need to pull it apart so it can get in between the legs of the lounge and the sofa.
After an hour, the Neato has cleaned the main hallway, the great room, bath room and was halfway through the spare bedroom. It was time to recharge. The Neato automatically returned to the charging base and twerked its way in for a break (it really did!). I was afraid that it wouldn’t remember where it left off and it would start from the beginning starting back up again… but it didn’t. In fact, it went right back to where it left off – under the bed of the spare bedroom.
I left one room full of stuff – framed pictures stacked on the floor, a stability ball, a rolled-up yoga mat, hand weights, an outdoor lounge cushion, a gym bag full of clothes and a little step ladder. I wanted to see what the Neato would do with a room of obstacles. It was no challenge at all. Neato simply maneuvered its way around them while cleaning the open areas of the room, circling its way through a few times before moving onto the next room.
There’s another really cool thing I have to mention. I was in the kitchen when the Neato came by to clean it. My kitchen is small and it’s not big enough for the two of us. This wasn’t a problem for the Neato XV Signature Pro – it went off to clean another room. Later on, when I had finished cooking, it came back and cleaned it. I was very impressed!
In terms of time, the Neato took 1.5 hours to clean and 1.75 hours to recharge. It took it’s time cleaning, which I don’t mind at all. I was busy working so I just let it do its thing. And if I was at work, it wouldn’t matter at all. Now that I know that Oscar doesn’t mind it, there’s no obstacle scheduling it while I’m away for the day.
And more good news – Oscar isn’t scared of it. When it’s on, he’ll eye it warily for the first five minutes or so from the couch, but forgets it after that. When it’s off, he’ll go lie down next to it, as it’s right next to his favorite sunbeam.
There were a few issues the Neato encountered. One was with furniture with a cylindrical base. In my house, these included a standing lamp and bar stools, all with a stainless steel base. The robot went over the base to clean it of dust and fur, but ended up getting stuck. When it got stuck, it automatically turned off until I could clear its path. In the future, I would have to move these items upstairs if I wanted the area cleaned properly. Is it a huge deal? To me, not really. There aren’t heavy, and it will take me all of a minute to rearrange the furniture. The effort is worth the clean floor.
The other issue was Oscar’s dog food bowls. For whatever reason, the Neato kept bumping into them. Perhaps it’s because the dishes are only 1.5″ high. It didn’t hit them so hard that the water and food spilled out – even if it did, the dishes are on a mat, so it would have been contained. The dishes ended up being a couple of inches from where they were supposed to be. But that’s beside the point. The Neato is supposed to clean up, not make a mess. For all of these issues, I can use the boundary markers to wrap around the items I don’t want the Neato to go near, but I would have to order a few more coils (about $29 each) to cover all of these items – and that’s not really cost effective. It would just be cheaper to move them to another location until the Neato had finished its business.
I love this vacuum! Since I have been using it, I have been raving about it to everyone I know. It’s cut down my vacuuming duties to about 80 percent. Yes, I still have to go around to get behind doors, into tight spaces, under the bed and up the stairs, but the bulk of the work is done for me. Plus, I could never get under the sectional and other pieces of large furniture properly. That part of the floor hasn’t been that clean since I’ve moved in. And my sinuses are clearing up now that the Neato XV Signature Pro is going around every other day, picking up fur balls and dust bunnies.
It doesn’t get into all the nooks and crannies as I would have done (on my hands and knees), but on the whole, I’ll take it. I’d rather be hanging out on the couch with Oscar than busting my hump on a chore I’ve been dreading all week.
I also loved how it sucked up those huge, floating furballs… and left Oscar alone. He still eyes it from the safety from the couch, but at least he’s not scared and doesn’t have to hide from it all day while it’s performing its duties.
The company recommends that you’ll have to run it 3 to 4 times before you see optimal results, but even after just one run, I saw a huge difference. And when I emptied the dirt bin, I could see what three weeks of dodging vacuuming duties looks like – gross! I did run it a second time and it picked up even more dirt and fur I didn’t even see. I plan on scheduling the Neato twice a week to make me look like a cleaning superstar.
I didn’t like how it knocked around Oscar’s water and food dishes when it was so careful with everything else. Perhaps it was the height of the dishes that threw it off – they are only 1.5″ high.
I would recommend staying home with it the first few times you run the Neato XV Signature Pro. This is so you can see where it gets stuck, the places you need to move wires, how your dog reacts to it and other things you may have failed to pick up around the house the first few times it went around.
We’ll be back in a couple of months to recap how the Neato XV Signature Pro is performing, how often I’ve had to change the filters out and there have been any issues with the battery.
- My vacuuming chores are cut by 80 percent – just a touch up is required.
- Oscar wasn’t scared of it.
- 90-95 percent of fur and 80 percent dust/dirt picked up.
- No messy vacuum bags to replace – just empty out the built-in dust bin.
- Took its time to get the job done right
- Cheaper than other robotic vacuums
- Easy scheduling/starting
- It doesn’t transform to get in behind doors or under/in tight small spaces.
- Knocked around dog food bowls
- Not for impatient people
Note: PetGuide.com was NOT compensated for this review. We received Neato XV Signature Pro a to review. The opinions expressed in this post are the author’s. We provide unbiased feedback of the products and share products we think our readers would enjoy using and learning more about.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
More by Amy Tokic