Roomba Alternative – bObsweep, Neato, or…?
The iRobot Roomba has been around for a long time. Since it’s introduction in 2002, it’s swept the world by storm (See what I did there?). iRobot has such a strong foothold in the robotic vacuum business that it seems that no other Roomba alternative can even compete. As I’m writing this article, I can’t help but think that yes, I am really biased toward the iRobot Roomba because it’s an awesome piece of kit.
iRobot has been in the robotics business since 1990, longer than any other robotics company offering robotic vacuums. The history of the company is impressive, colored with military robots that remove landmines, policing robots and other tactical gear before finally producing the Roomba. That’s a lot of history in tech years, and it’s no wonder why they’re the best (in my opinion of course). But there has to be a Roomba alternative, which is why you’re here, and why I’m writing this.
If you’re convinced by my heartwarming iRobot story and don’t want to look at Roomba alternatives, I have an entire category of posts dedicated to the iRobot Roomba, or go here to amazon to get a great price on a Roomba model.
The Roomba has been such a success that there have been a few start ups that have wanted to compete with iRobot and even a Roomba knockoff here and there. I’m listing the top competitors to iRobot and showing a couple of the top models for each Roomba alternative. A few that are VERY cheap, such as the o’cedar spin mop have been left out because even though they work, they’re not “robotic vacuums” and not considered a real Roomba alternative.
Neato Robotics is in my opinion the top Roomba alternative. They’ve been around since 2010, and have been a top seller of robotic vacuums. My favorite thing about the Neato vacuums is that they’re good at cleaning in corners because of their unique shape. Roomba’s can’t clean corners because they’re round, while the Neato Botvac is D-shaped and can clean a corner pretty easily.
Neato is a California based company and I love that they’re offering something different in the robotic vacuum world. If you head over to Amazon and check the reviews for both, you’ll notice that the Roomba has more reviews (and better reviews), but that Neato is gaining a nice sized following, and a pretty good reputation.
Here’s my top pic for Neato:
Neato Botvac D80
- D-Shape with CornerClever Technology
- Spot Cleaning
- Auto Recharge + Resume
bObsweep is the Canadian answer to iRobot and Neato robotics. It’s a smaller company that as founded around the same time as Neato. Hey, if the americans can do it than so can the Canadians, eh?
Over all, bObsweep is known for being a cheaper Roomba alternative, and it also offers a VERY unique selling proposition. A robotic vacuum and mop, all in one. The combination seems to work well, but the mop function doesn’t really “deep mop”, it’s more like a swiffer. bOb has a very small, but very enthusiastic fanbase as they offer what their customers say is excellent customer support, one thing that Neato seems to be lacking in, as I mention in my Neato vs. Roomba article.
The most popular offerings from bObsweep is their original offering, which is a red robot. There’s also the bobi, which happens to be my favorite due to it’s nice looks. Most robotic vacuums are kind of ugly, but not the bobi. It looks both high tech and stylish
- Vacuums, Mops, and UV Sterilizes
- Hepa Filtration
- Touchscreen buttons
There are a few other brands of robotic vacuum that seem to be fairly popular. In terms of features, power, convenience and bang for your buck, they can’t really match up to Neato, Roomba, or bObsweep in my opinion. They’re not really what I would consider a Roomba alternative, but regardless of that I’ll list a couple of notable models.
Over all, you’re best off to stick with the 3 top brand I’ve mentioned. My advice is that you should do your research and read lots of reviews to help you decide.
Top “Off-Brand” Pick:
BISSELL SmartClean 1605
The Bissell SmartClean doesn’t have many very large advantages over the Neato or bObsweep other than that Bissell has a well known brand reputation and that it’s cheaper than robotic vacuums from Roomba, Neato, or bObsweep. Therefore I’m not going to list a features matrix, but you can still find the best price by clicking the button underneath the image.
Is it an alternative? Yes… But not a really compelling alternative unless you’re strapped for cash and absolutely need a robotic vacuum. One nice thing about the Smartclean is that it’s lower profile than many robotic vacuums and can clean under furniture easier than a Roomba. Bissell also has very good and very responsive customer service. On the negative side, the navigation is not as good as Roomba and also the brushes are smaller than Roomba and Neato’s.
Sure, Bissell is a big name in vacuums, but let’s be honest here, we’re not buying a vacuum as much as we’re buying a robot, and for that, you’d be better off putting down a few extra bucks to buy the Roomba 650
In conclusion, is there really a Roomba alternative? My answer is yes, there are decent alternatives if you’re willing to do the research. But if you want the very best you should still get a Roomba regardless of what Roomba alternatives out there. You can’t beat 25 years of research and development in robotics. When Neato matures a little and catches up to iRobot with R&D, it could become my top pick. Considering that, my second pick after the iRobot Roomba is the Neato Botvac D80 series. The bObsweep is a compelling alternative if you have hardwood floors that you would like to keep spiffy between moppings.
In third is bObsweep due to it’s excellent customer service, and let’s face it, the bobi is a LOT sexier than a Botvac or Roomba. Plus it’ll mop for you, and if you go with an iRobot brand you’ll have to buy a separate mopping bot to mop your floors.