Size: 13.2 x 12.6 x 3.9 inches
Dust cup capacity: 0.7 liters
Weight: 7.37 pounds
Smart home compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Watch
With tight budgets, not everyone can afford to spend a grand or more on a robot vacuum like the iRobot Roomba s9+ or the Neato D7. The Neato D4 Intelligent Robot Vacuum may live in the shadow of its flashier sibling, but it’s a straightforward mapping robot that cleans well with minimal frustration. The D4 will create one floor map and respect boundaries. It’ll also run at scheduled times and keep your house free from dust bunnies. And, at $429, it’s half the price of those higher-end models, too.
As we found during our Neato D4 review, there are minor trade-offs, but it has a lot to offer for those who want one of the best robot vacuums at a reasonable price.
Neato D4: Price and availability
The Neato D4 Intelligent Robot Vacuum is currently available for $429 at a number of online retailers. It’s also available on Neato’s website for $429, but that site notes that this price is a markdown from $529.
Neato D4: Design
Like the other vacuums in Neato’s line-up, the “D” in D4 refers to its shape. The company says this shape—now emulated by iRobot’s top-of-the-line Roomba s9+—allows the vacuum to clean more thoroughly around walls and corners. I don’t disagree. It’s not the sexiest vacuum we’ve seen, but it handles edges with aplomb.
At 3.9 inches high, the Neato D4 is the same height as the Neato Botvac D7. Both are the tallest robot vacuums we’ve tested, but part of that height comes from the raised disc that sits on top. The added height meant the D4 wasn’t heading under our couch to vanquish dust bunnies, but it did fit under living room chairs with ease.
While many robot vacs go for shiny, reflective black plastic cladding, the Neato D4 is dressed in matte black around its sides and top edges, just like its premium sibling, the Botvac D7. One great feature of the matte black cladding? It doesn’t attract nearly as much dust as the shiny black plastic does on vacuums like the Shark IQ. The top of the D4 is an understated black honeycomb-textured plastic, which classes up the otherwise basic black. A raised disc emblazoned with “neato” sits atop the rounded side of the vac. The disc conceals the laser that enables the D4’s navigation. I noticed that the D7’s laser cover is slightly larger and found it more intrusive than the more diminutive disc on the D4.
Neato’s minimalist look continues with a single recessed black button and two icon lights—one for battery level, one for information—on the lower left corner. That one button is used to start, pause, resume, and cancel whole home cleaning. Press it twice and the bot enters spot cleaning mode. You’ll want to keep the manual handy.
Flip the bot over and the first thing I noticed is what’s not present. Every other robot vacuum we’ve tested, from the Eufy 11s to the iRobot Roomba s9, has had at least one spoked spinning brush to aid in feeding debris into the vacuum’s maw. Neato’s own Botvac D7 even had one, though it was comically small.
I didn’t miss the brush on the Neato D4. I’ve seen brushes on other vacs get tangled in shag rugs and become overrun with hair, so its absence was one less thing to worry about. Instead, the D4 has just one large roller brush composed of bristles and rubber fins spanning its straight edge.
Neato’s straightforward docking base is one of our favorites. First, it’s small and unobtrusive. Second, the two horizontal charging strips are oversized, which gives the D4 a little wiggle room to connect.
Speaking of wiggling, the D4 performs the same shimmy as the Neato Botvac D7 to dock itself. It’s a cute maneuver that adds a dash of humanity to the bot, which never had an issue finding its way back home.
Neato D4: Setup & Mapping
Like most mid-to-high range robot vacuums, the Neato D4 is primarily controlled via the company’s app. Simply called Neato Robotics, it’s available on Android and iOS. One quibble is that I had to create a login and password to sign into the app before I was able to set up and connect the vacuum. There doesn’t seem to be any added value in creating an account and it feels like an unnecessary, yet required, step.
Once I created an account and added a new robot, setting up the Neato D4 and connecting it to Wi-Fi was relatively painless, thanks to videos in the app that detail the process. My first pairing attempt failed, but only because it took about 30 seconds longer than I expected for the robot to enter pairing mode.
I was very impressed with the Neato D4’s mapmaking speed. After a single run lasting 59 minutes, the app produced a basic map of my first floor that was pretty accurate. It missed the area under the dining room table, but that was the only glaring omission. Unlike the more advanced Botvac D7, the D4 only supports mapping one floor plan and does not support zone or single room cleaning. However, you can set up “no go” zones to keep the robot out of certain areas. It’s not as granular as the avoidance zones on the iRobot Roomba s9+, but the D4 is also half the price.
To enable the “no go” zones, the D4 had to do a special mapping run. That run took about 20 minutes longer than the initial run. Roughly 30 minutes after that run was done, I received a notice on my phone that my new map was ready. Now I was able to create rudimentary boundary lines on my map. On subsequent runs, the vacuum obeyed.
The Neato D4 can be started and stopped via Alexa, Google Home Assistant and even the Apple Watch. One caveat: The robot won’t respect the no go lines when started from one of these devices.
Neato D4: Performance
The Neato D4 offers solid but not superior performance. Cleaning in a serpentine pattern, it picked up an average of 91.3% of debris combined on hardwood and carpet in our lab tests. That’s the same average as the Botvac D7, but less than the Shark Ion R85 (94%) and the wallet-friendly iLife V3s Pro (97%).
When it came to picking up cereal, the D4 was a top performer. It sucked up an average of 98.9% of Cheerios on both hardwood and carpet. While the D7 averaged a pick up rate of 99.75% and the Shark Ion R85 achieved a perfect score on both surfaces, the D4 still outperformed the iRobot Roomba i7 (93.1%). In a similar test on smaller, 5 x 5-foot areas of hardwood and carpet, the iRobot Roomba s9 cleaned up an average of 92.5% of Cheerios.
|Overall Score||Cereal||Kitty litter||Dog hair|
|Shark Ion R85||94||100||94||88|
|iLife V3s Pro||97||99.7||91.8||99.5|
This is not the bot you’ll want for cleaning up after Mr. Whiskers. The Neato D4 picked up a less-than-impressive combined average of 83.7% of kitty litter. The D7 picked up a marginally better average of 84.95%, but both were bested by the Shark Ion R85 (94% combined average), the iLife V3s Pro (91.75% combined average) and the iRobot Roomba i7 (87.6% combined average).
The Neato D4 fared better with dog hair, vacuuming up a respectable average of 91.25% on hardwood and carpet. That’s 2 points better than the Neato Botvac D7 average and slightly more than the Roomba i7 (90.5%). However, it still wasn’t as effective as the iLife V3s Pro which cleaned up an average of 99.5% of the hair. Nor did it top the Roomba s9, which picked up an average of 98% of dog hair on hardwood and carpet.
|Cereal||Kitty litter||Dog hair|
|Shark Ion R85||100||95||77.5|
|Cereal||Kitty litter||Dog hair|
|Shark Ion R85||100||93||98.5|
*Same test performed in a smaller carpeted area.
Neato D4: Verdict
If the Neato D4 was a high school student, it would have a B+ average. It’s not the most advanced mapping robot and it wasn’t the highest scoring vacuum in our test, but it does an above-average job.
For $429, I was impressed with how quickly it created a floor plan and how much dust and carpet fuzz it vacuumed up. The Shark Ion R85 costs less ($349) and performs slightly better, but it doesn’t offer any mapping or virtual “no go” zones. The Neato Botvac D7 offers room-specific cleaning, multiple floor plans, and similar performance, but that tech will extract $600 from your wallet. If being able to tell your robot vac where it shouldn’t go is more important than where it should, the Neato D4 is a good choice. Its solid cleaning performance and excellent mapping technology make it a stand out mid-range robot vacuum.