Neato XV-25 robotic vacuum cleaner review

By Naomi Mackay,

Sweep away hair and allergens without lifting a finger

This is like a dream come true – as I write this, a small robotic vacuum is navigating its way around the ground floor of my house doing the vacuuming.

I will do anything to get out of housework, so when the ed suggested I try out a robotic vacuum cleaner, designed especially to pick up allergens and pet hairs, how could I refuse? The house is generally covered in cat hairs from dawn to dust, so I figured it would certainly get a good workout.

Neato-XV-25

The Neato XV-25 might sound like something from a 1960s sci-fi cartoon, but looks like a chunky set of bathroom scales in shape. It comes with a charging unit that plugs into the wall, and the vacuuming unit itself is low, so could sit beneath a chair or table if you wanted to keep it out of the way.

It’s incredibly simple to set up – a few buttons are all that stands between you and getting it to do a spot clean – and programming it to clean the whole house at a certain time on any day of the week is as simple as setting a digital alarm clock or setting the time on the central heating.

When it starts up, it does sound alarmingly like a plane getting ready to take off, but as it’s actually vacuuming it’s not too bad. I often can’t hoover because my other half works shifts and is asleep when I might do housework (another great excuse for not doing it!), but I could happily let the Neato do its job without disturbing him (not in the same room though!).

Watching the XV-25 navigate its way around the rooms (it has sensors in the front that can detect objects such as chairs and tables), the Neato looks pretty haphazard in where it goes, but it does manage to get pretty much everywhere. Being slim, it fits under chairs that my usual upright vacuum can’t. My only bugbear is that it doesn’t go close enough to the edges, and after a few days of vacuuming, I’ve noticed that there’s a building edge of dust along the sides of the couches that it just can’t reach.

It also does a far better job on carpet than it does on hard floors. Mind you, because I don’t have to do the vacuuming, I can happily set it off a couple of times a day to vacuum while I get on with other things.

Time-wise, I’m quicker – it takes about 30 minutes to do what would take me about 15 – but then I can get on with something more interesting – liker writing reviews for this website.

There’s a lot I like about the Neato – we’ve had a few visitors this week and everyone has been fascinated to watch it go around the room, avoiding chairs, tables and other obstacles (although it doesn’t seem to think anything of running over feet!) I like that it is simple to use, and that you can time it to vacuum when you want – great if you set it to have a vacuum round while you’re putting the kids to bed, or once you’ve gone to bed yourself.

And I love the way it posted a message on its screen saying ‘please put me on the floor’ when I picked it up. It’s got quite a character. It also tells you when it’s finished and is heading back to its charging station.

It has also proved itself pretty efficient at picking up cat hairs (never an easy task) – although I have to say the cats were pretty alarmed by it at first, although they’re getting used to it now. And as we’re in the middle of some decorating work, it has managed to keep the dust at bay far better than I and my usual vacuum cleaner would have done.

Despite that, I think it is far more suited to some homes than others. If you have a minimal house, with very little on the floor, it will work far better than it does in our, admittedly cluttered, home. In fact, it is far more suited to a flat, as it can’t do stairs – we’d love to see it sprout little legs and go up each stair, vacuuming as it goes! If you need to keep it away from certain areas (an area full of wires for instance), special barrier tape is included, which the Neato will detect and keep away from.

The other thing I’m not so keen on (but then regular readers of Latest Gadgets will know I am a skinflint!) is the price – £429 is quite a lot to pay when you’ve still go to go round and dust the edges!

The Neato XV-25 is available from www.amazon.co.uk now