Efficiency is king

Roborock S4

Love the shape

Neato Robotics Botvac D4

The Roborock S4 is the first robot vacuum Roborock is shipping without a mopping attachment, but the laser-focus on vacuuming performance makes up for the lack of a mop. With a powerful new drivetrain to help it get out of difficult places and 150-minute battery life, the Roborock S4 is ready to clean your entire home without issue and, thanks to Roborock's advanced navigation, without getting lost.

$399 at Amazon

Pros

  • Washable filter
  • Main brush is easier to clean hair out of
  • Per-room and zone cleaning
  • Real-time location
  • Four suction levels
  • Powerful drivetrain keeps it from getting stuck
  • 150-minute battery life

Cons

  • Round shape can be less effective in corners
  • No Apple integration

As one of Neato Robotics' most affordable robot vacuums, the Botvac D4 doesn't sacrifice the precision laser-guided navigation that Neato is known for. In fact, it offers the most gentle navigation you'll find of any brand of robot vacuum and a wide roller brush that'll pick up anything in its way.

$529 at Amazon

Pros

  • D-shape can be better for corner cleaning
  • Extra care navigation can be easier on furniture
  • Ultra-wide main roller brush

Cons

  • 75-minute battery life
  • No side brush
  • No per-room cleaning function
  • Doesn't have no-go zones

Robot vacuums come in many forms and from many different companies, but Roborock and Neato Robotics are two of the most reputable brands in the industry. Both of these companies offer many different models of robot vacuums, and it's the company's mid-range options that we're looking at today. So, which is better for your home? Let's break it down.

Roborock S4 Neato Robotics Botvac D4
Robot dimensions 13.9" x 13.8" x 3.8" 13.21" x 12.56" x 3.92"
MSRP $399 $529
Rated suction 2000Pa 1400Pa
Rated runtime (in minutes) 150 75
Navigation Laser Laser
Real-time mapping Yes No
Virtual barriers No-go lines, no-go zones No-go lines
Zone cleaning Yes No
Scheduled cleaning Yes Yes
Mopping attachment No No
Virtual Assistant compatibility Google Assistant, Alexa Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri

Neato and Roborock offer two very different looking robot vacuums on the surface. Still, these two robots have a surprising number of similarities that will certainly make your daily life easier and cleaner. Despite outward appearances, both vacuums utilize an extremely similar laser-guided navigation array up top. That cylinder protruding from the top of both vacuums houses the laser array and offers ultra-precise mapping of your home, day or night.

Similarities a plenty

Botvac D4 vs Roborock S4Source: Android Central

Honestly, these two options have a ton of similarities. Both the Roborock and Neato apps store a floorplan of your home. The vacuum generates it as it roams around and cleans. After the first cleaning, this map can be used to mark the locations of all the rooms in your home, as well as areas that the vacuum shouldn't clean. No-go lines can be placed anywhere on the map and act as a virtual wall.

You'll also find a detailed cleaning history provided by both vacuums, which will help you identify any areas in the home that the vacuum was unable to reach. Scheduling cleanings is easy with either option, and you can ask Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to vacuum as well. If neither vacuum's battery is able to clean in a single charge, both vacuums can head back to the charging base and returns with only the power needed to finish the job.

That cuts down on the amount of charging time which, in many cases, could increase the time it takes to clean your entire house by up to 3 hours. Neither of these robot vacuums have a mop attachment and will not be able to mop any hard floors. Neither vacuum is rated to clean high-pile carpets either, so be sure to keep no-go lines around those shag rugs within each respective robot's app.

Less maintenance

Cleaning the Roborock S4 main brushSource: Nick Sutrich/Android Central

Both vacuums utilize a high performance air filter to catch dust and keep it from entering the air in your home, but only Roborock makes air filters that can be washed after use. Neato specifically states that its air filters should not be washed, so you'll need to buy new filters every so often. While Roborock's filters aren't usable for eternity, they do last longer and can provide a cleaner experience.

Also, the main brush's contruction is much different. This isn't about the performance, rather, the fact that this brush is designed to be disassembled. Anyone who has ever used a vacuum knows that hairs and carpet fibers get nestled in the brush and need to be removed. While Roborock ships the S4 with a tool to help remove individual fibers and hairs, a brush with lots of hair requires a different cleaning method.

The main roller on the underside of the Roborock S4 can be taken apart which. You can simply slip the hair off the brush and toss it in the garbage. You can also remove the Neato Botvac D4's main roller, but it doesn't disassemble the same way and it's harder to pull strands off.

Shapes and sweeps

Neato Robotics Botvac D4Source: Neato Robotics

Ever since Neato Robotics popularized the D-shape robot vacuum many years ago, there's been a war regarding which shape is the better performer. While the D-shape is typically better for corners of the house, the Botvac D4 doesn't include a sidebrush and ends up having worse corner-cleaning performance than more expensive Neato robot vacuums (since those include a side brush).

The Roborock S4 ships with a new kind of side-brush that's longer and made of a more resilient silicone material than previous designs. It's also able to vary the speed depending on whether or not it's in a corner or in the middle of a room. That side-brush helps make up for the fact that a round vacuum typically fits worse into the corners of walls than a D-shape vacuum would, and makes these two pretty even on the corner cleaning front.

Part of the reason Neato doesn't include a side-brush here is the ultra-wide 11-inch main roller. This huge roller brush butts up against both sides of the vacuum and comes all the way up to the front of the robot, giving it an exceptionally large surface area to pick up debris. There's less likelihood that the vacuum could miss hair and other particles that tend to be elusive when vacuuming.

The Roborock S4, comparatively, has a much smaller main roller, but features a "floating design" that can adjust the height depending on the type of flooring. This helps the roller hug surfaces tighter and gets a deeper clean than the brush design on the Neato Botvac D4. While the Botvac's roller size helps in a lot of areas, the Roborock S4's combination of brushes works better in the end.

More than just mapping

Roborock app dividing a roomSource: Nick Sutrich/Android Central

Neato was one of the first companies to feature laser-guided navigation with simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). While the vacuum is running, it maps out your home and generates a floorplan, complete with the cleaning path it took and how many square feet were cleaned. You can then send the Botvac D4 to a specific place in the house to do a spot clean, and the robot will return home when it's done.

Roborock also does this on the S4, but Roborock's maps are far more useful. Once a floorplan has been generated, the vacuum will automatically divide the house into rooms, opening up the possibility of per-room cleaning. Any number or combination of rooms can be cleaned at once, and you can even schedule specific rooms to be scheduled at any time during the week.

You'll even be able to draw rectangles anywhere on the floorplan to clean a custom area of the house, as well as have the vacuum make up to three passes in each of these zones for an extra-deep clean. Roborock even provides the location of the vacuum in real-time, meaning you'll know exactly where the vacuum is in your house at all times.

Both Roborock and Neato support no-go lines in their app, which allow you to create virtual walls that the vacuum cannot pass. Roborock takes this one step further by providing a way to designate entire no-go zones on the map. This allows for more precise sectioning off of your home than a simple wall, meaning you can outline your pet's food and water bowls so they don't get spilled, and mark off the entertainment center so the cords underneath don't get sucked in and tangled.

Power to last

Roborock S4 cleaning up spilled dirtSource: Nick Sutrich/Android Central

While the Roborock S4 is more than $100 less than the Neato Botvac D4, it sports better battery life and a better suction rating, too. The Neato Botvac D4 is rated to run up to 75 minutes on a single charge and will need to return to its charger before finishing up larger homes. Roborock features a very large battery inside the Roborock S4, giving it a rated 150 minute run time. That's enough to cover almost 3,000 square feet in a single charge.

You'll also find that the Roborock S4 has superior suction strength as well as available modes. The Botvac D4 is rated at 1,400Pa suction power, while the Roborock S4 ramps that up to a maximum of 2,000Pa. What's more, the Roborock S4 offers four suction modes for keeping the noise down: Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, and Max. Neato only offers an Eco mode or a Performance mode.

The hidden extras

Neato Robotics Botvac D4Source: Neato Robotics

Each vacuum has its own extra feature that the other just can't compare. First up on the Botvac D4, Neato has included an "extra care navigation" mode that takes things slow and steady throughout the entire cleaning. Folks that have furniture that's prone to dings and scratches should definitely consider the Botvac D4. While Roborock's navigation is stellar and does a great job of not purposefully smacking into furniture the way some other robot vacuums do, Neato's extra care navigation is even better.

Now the flipside is for folks that have lots of area rugs or furniture with legs that a vacuum might get stuck on. You will likely prefer the Roborock S4 because of the powerful new drivetrain that Roborock engineered specifically for this model. It's capable of delivering double the backup power when compared to other Roborock vacuums and can more easily navigate out of areas where most robot vacuums would get stuck.

And the winner is…

Roborock S4Source: Nick Sutrich/Android Central

The Roborock S4 isn't just a less expensive vacuum, it's also a better vacuum than the Neato Robotics Botvac D4. While some of Neato's other robot vacuums offer more features, they do so at a much greater cost. Meanwhile, the Roborock S4 delivers more bang for your buck than Neato provides with the D4, specifically, and claims the crown as the best mid-range vacuum to get.

Only the price is cheap

Roborock S4

Focused, purposeful cleaning.

With Roborock's advanced laser-guided navigation, you'll never wonder where your vacuum is or what it was able to clean. The Roborock app shows you where the vacuum has been and gives you total control over where the robot goes. Need to clean just the living room? Want to schedule a daily cleaning of the bedrooms while you're at work? It's easy with Roborock, and less expensive with the Roborock S4.

Tap to start

Neato Robotics Botvac D4

Control it with your voice or from your watch.

Ask Google to vacuum your home, or just tap "clean" on your WearOS or Apple Watch. Neato has offered these options longer than anyone else because, after all, it just feels cool to ask your home to vacuum itself. Neato's extra care navigation will take care of your furniture in the process, and that D-shape will make sure all your corners are spic and span.

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