Neato Botvac D6 Connected Review
- Excellent navigation
- Top cleaning performance on hard floors and carpet
- Intelligent no-go areas
- Handle in annoying place
- Large footprint makes narrow gaps hard to navigate
- Review Price: £649
- Eco and Turbo modes
- Integrated filter
- Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
- IFTTT channel
- Wi-FI and app connectivity
- Up to 120-minutes run time
- 0.7-litre bin
What is the Neato Botvac D6 Connected?
Neato is rapidly expanding its range of robot vacuum cleaners. The Neato Botvac D6 Connected is a small step down from the company’s flagship Botvac D7 Connected, but a considerable step up from the older Botvac D5 Connected.
With multiple floorplans, virtual no-go areas and a brand-new brush bar, the D6 Connected is a powerful and feature-packed robot vacuum cleaner.
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Neato Botvac D6 Connected – Design
Neato vacuum cleaners all sport a distinctive D-shaped body, which is designed to allow the robot to get right into the corners of room for powerful cleaning. The D6 Connected is exactly the same size and weight as the D7 (319 x 336 x 100mm). Short, yet wide, it can fit under some bits of furniture – such as sofas – although its wide body means that it can struggle with tighter gaps, such as dining chair legs.
Ultimately, using any robot vacuum cleaner requires you to move some furniture and work within the robot’s capabilities to clean as much floor space as possible.
Turn the Neato Botvac D6 Connected over and you can see its core brush, which is larger than that in the older D5 Connected. As a result, Neato claims that it will pick up way more dirt than the older model, particularly pet hair. The brush can be popped out for cleaning, and there’s even a tool in the box to help you cut away any hair that becomes wrapped around it.
A side brush sweeps in dirt from the side, helping pull dust away from edges and corners. Brushes should be replaced every six months or so, with replacement kits costing around £30.
Opening the flap on top of the robot provides access to the 0.7-litre bin. Once again, Neato has put the pin in the same recess as the carrying handle, making it all too easy to open the compartment rather than lifting the robot. The Ultra Performance Filter captures allergens and dust, and requires replacing every one to two months, although the app will tell you when. Replacement filters cost around £10 for two.
Neato Botvac D6 Connected – Features
As with previous Neato Botvacs, the D6 Connected has a single button on top. One press sets the vacuum off to clean the entire house, going as far is can before obstacles and stairs block its path. A double-tap initiates spot-cleaning mode, which does a seven-foot-square area. The latter is handy if you manually relocate the robot and want to clean up a specific mess – say, after cooking in the kitchen.
It’s when you hook up the robot to your home Wi-Fi and use the app that you start to unlock the D6’s full power. Connection to a wireless network is fairly straightforward, and you can have multiple robots in the Neato app.
Before you start cleaning properly, it’s best to create a floor map. This is an exploratory clean, where the D6 sets out from its charging dock and maps out the area. You can store up to three maps on the robot, although each one must start from a charging dock, which means moving that around the home, too.
Once the map is in place, you can mark no-go areas to bar the robot from entering certain areas. It’s accurate enough to, say, stop the robot entering a room, but not quite so accurate as to prevent the robot mounting a precious rug. For more detailed blocking, there’s some magnetic tape in the box, which acts as a virtual boundary for the robot.
No-go areas only work if you start a clean from the app, and the robot is located on its charging stand. If you want to use an alternative floor map, you must move the charging stand back to the position it was in for creation.
If the robot can’t locate itself, then it ignores the floor map and no-go areas, simply venturing out, going as far as it can until obstacles get in the way. Since the Neato Botvac D6 Connected uses laser navigation, it can work in the dark.
There are two cleaning modes available through the app: Eco and Turbo. The latter ups the D6’s suction power and brush speed to pick up more stubborn spills. On Eco mode, I measured the vacuum at 67dB. This isn’t too loud; you could easily take a phone call while the Botvac was ambling around. On Turbo, noise increases to 69.3dB, which is significantly louder, and the vacuum is far more intrusive.
You can also schedule the vacuum cleaner for a regular clean. This is handy if you want to keep your home clean with no bother, although you may still need to move some furniture to get the best possible clean.
Neato Botvac D6 Connected – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT
Amazon Alexa support is available via the Neato skill. Using your voice you can ask the robot to start a clean, stop or return to base. It works perfectly and, if you’ve got multiple Neato cleaners, you’re asked which one you want to apply the command to.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
Google Assistant support is available, too, although you’ll find the skill in the Google Assistant app rather than the Google Home one. Adding Neato gives you a similar level of control as for Alexa.
Neato continues to support IFTTT, which massively changes what you can do with the D6 Connected. For example, you can set the cleaner to come on when you go out, or to pause cleaning when you receive a phone call. There are no triggers, but you can control the D6 Connected using the available actions: start or stop cleaning, pause and resume cleaning, and return to dock.
Neato Botvac D6 Connected – How well does it clean carpets and hard floors?
Smart navigation and powerful suction mean that the D6 Connected is great cleaner on hard floors and carpet. I used a combination of flour and carpet-freshening powder on hard floors, placing an X in the middle of a room, and another one by a wall.
Edge performance was impressive, with the Neato Botvac D6 Connected sucking up most of the spill. At the centre of the floor, there were just a few small sprinkles of dust left, which is impressive.
Carpet performance was excellent, too, and there was barely a trace of powder left on my sample carpet, with the Neato Botvac D6 Connected getting most of the mess.
In truth, most people won’t deal with such spills on a daily basis, and the Neato Botvac D6 Connected is a maintenance cleaner that will keep your house looking and feeling clean in-between using a full vacuum cleaner.
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Battery life is up to 120 minutes on Eco mode, although the Neato Botvac D6 Connected can also return to its charger, top up and complete larger cleans. A full charge takes up to 150 minutes, but when using the floor map, the robot can calculate how much charge it needs to finish a clean.
Neato Botvac D6 Connected – How well does it manage obstacles?
Navigation, thanks to the floor map, is excellent. The Neato Botvac D6 Connected uses laser navigation, so it can ‘see’ in the dark, too. It can be a little bit indelicate, charging into furniture at times. There’s a Gentle Navigation mode that can help with this.
The low-profile cleaner managed to get under my sofa to clean, but it struggled a little with my dining chairs. To clean under the kitchen table, I had to pull the chairs out a little to give the robot extra room.
The Neato Botvac D6 Connected coped well with my front door mat, climbing up on to it without issue and pushing through cleaning. Its drop sensor worked well, too, and the robot stopped at the small step leading from the hallway into the kitchen.
Why buy the Neato Botvac D6 Connected?
The Neato Botvac D6 Connected is a big improvement on the Botvac D5 Connected, adding floorplans, better cleaning and more cleaning modes. Although the D5 will be getting floorplans soon, there seems little reason to buy the older model.
The next step up is the Neato Botvac D7 Connected. The main difference here is that the top model will also get zone cleaning in an update, letting you choose which rooms you want to clean. The flexibility and power of the top-end cleaner mean that it’s a great choice for those who want the best; the D6 Connected isn’t much of a step-down and its lower price makes it an attractive buy.
Other competition at this price is the Dyson 360 Eye, which has slightly more powerful cleaning action, and a smaller body that can squeeze through gaps (although not under furniture).
Powerful, flexible cleaning – the Neato Botvac D6 is everything you need from a smart vacuum cleaner.