You can see the other rounds, and the individual navigation tests for each vacuum in the description, or on the screen at the end of this video.
This round is all about navigation and obstacle avoidance.
Links in the description to the Amazon listings for the Roomba 980 and the Neato D7 and lets get started.
Both of these robot vacuums represent major advances in Robot vacuum navigation systems though they accomplish the same thing in very different ways.
The Roomba 980 has a top mounted camera that faces the ceiling at an angle and uses the shape of a room to develop a cleaning map. The Neato D7 uses invisible lasers at ground level to create its map.
We tested them on a bare floor, bare floor with minor obstacles and in a living room setting to see if one method was better than the other.
Though there were a few notable issues, which we will talk about in a second, for the most part I think these two methods for smart navigation and room mapping were equal and excellent.
They both covered the entire area and did so in an incredibly efficient way, navigating around obstacles using a combination of their map and their various sensors. At least with regard to pure navigation I have to say both of these bots are equal, and so much better than cheaper random navigation robot vacuums
The differences we noticed were mostly about hardware. For example the Neato D7 has a slightly larger clearance because of its larger wheels. It was able to climb the ¾” board on the floor with little trouble where the Roomba 980 only was able to climb it if it hit it at the correct angle. This means that the Neato D7 is much better at clearing high threshholds, something that could be all the difference depending on the threshold height in your home.
Also because of the higher clearance the D7 was much better at clearing small rugs than the Roomba 980 which tended to disturb the rug in our test though it never actually got stuck on it.
The D7s higher clearance did come at a price though, since it makes it slighty taller at 3.9” to the Roombas 3.6”, while its only about 7.5 mm difference, on our living room test, it was just able to squeeze under the couches, which effected its general performance, while the Roomba, which had a lot more room to maneuver ended up being more efficient in the real world test.
One other point about the navigation before we score this round. Even though I think the laser navigation and the camera navigation performed equally in optimal conditions. The Neato’s laser navigation has one important advantage because it does not require the lights to be on in a room in order to function optimally, where the Roomba 980 with it camera does. This could be an issue if you are scheduling cleanings while you will be away from the house with the light off.
So although this was the closest round yet and although they both are absolutely amazing with their navigation systems, the Neato D7 is just a little better at obstacle avoidance and I think its enough to give it the point for this round.
Links in the description and be sure to subscribe because the next round will include battery life tests, noise level tests and bin volume tests.
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