Dating a sci-fi nerd *and* raising a bona fide comic book geek means I am regularly told that robots will one day rise up and take over the world.

But the good news is that at least in that dark future, my floors will be lovely and clean.

Keeping a clean floor in a household like ours is a constant challenge. We have mostly wooden floors in our house – they’re very beautiful but unforgiving, showing every bit of dirt and dust. Our carpets, meanwhile, are no match for a small white puppy and a child who does not understand the English phrase, “Take your shoes off!” for some reason or other.

A robot vacuum cleaner basically cleans your floor without any human intervention. Turn the thing on, and it will scoot around your home, sucking up dirt and dust, before returning to its charging station.

We’ve been testing the Neato Botvac D85 in recent weeks – the latest model from robot vacuum specialists Neato. Even more exciting, we have a Neato Botvac to give away to one Who’s the Mummy reader – read on for more info!


The D85 doesn’t look like a vacuum cleaner, as you might imagine one. It’s a dinner plate sized circle, about 20cm high. It sits against a wall, flush with its own charging station, which will need to be plugged in. Ideally, your Botvac D85 should be plugged in somewhere there’s plenty of space around it in three directions – this helps with its navigation. You can easily fit Botvac in a cupboard between cleans if you prefer.

The machine uses laser guided technology to scan and map your room or rooms, then plans and methodically cleans, automatically moving from room to room.

The Botvac D85 is an upgrade on previous Neato vacuums, and features a new combo brush that’s designed to work better on pet hair. It is also designed to work on both carpet and hard floors, so perfect for homes like ours.

The brush is bigger than on previous models, which means it picks up more dust. With that in mind, there’s a larger filter and dust bin, which means it should need emptying less often. You can schedule daily cleaning, or push a button for instant cleaning action.

How it Works

Setting up the Botvac is certainly easy enough. We unpacked the robot from its box, and simply slotted in the filter and bin, then turned on. The display screen prompts you to set the day and time, and you’re all set.


To use the vacuum cleaner, you simply push the house icon on the top of the machine – it will then set off on a survey round of the house, checking out rooms, cleaning as it goes.

The machine is designed to be used daily, cleaning little and often, and setting a schedule on the menu is very simple and intuitive, I promise.

The quality of the cleaning is very good – and gets better over time. We found it picked up dog hairs without a problem on wood, lino and carpet. Check out our video at the bottom of the post to see our Neato Botvac D85 in action.

How Good is It?

We have been using the Neato Botvac D85 for a couple of weeks now, and I’m pretty sold. Our floors are cleaner than ever, and it’s funny how much you realise you HATE vacuuming when you don’t have to do it any more!

There are a couple of things to be aware of if you’re thinking of investing in a Neato vacuum, though. Firstly, at almost £400, they’re not inexpensive, although they’re comparable with a decent conventional vacuum cleaner – with some deals online, you can pick one up a little cheaper, though.

Second, the Neato isn’t that quiet. I was surprised by how noisy it is, actually, and as such I tend to schedule ours to run in the early hours of the morning, when it’s not going to disturb anyone. But then you do sort of miss the fun of watching Neato (who will become a bit like an extra pet in your household if you’re anything like us).

Third, the Neato doesn’t have the world’s best sense of self-preservation. On the first day we used it, the D85 took a suicide leap out of the back door and down a step – I found it upside down, wheels spinning, in the garden, making sad BEEP BEEP noises (the Neato makes a BEEP BEEP noise when it’s in trouble and needs manual intervention). Also, our Neato is convinced it fits under the sofa. It doesn’t, meaning I regularly hear the BEEP BEEP and have to go and rescue it, because it’s become wedged halfway under the furniture (if this happens during the scheduled clean, Neato beeps for a help a few times then turns itself off until you get around to finding it).

To avoid challenges, you can put down a magnetic tape that comes with the Neato Botvac and acts as a “no go” signal to the vacuum – we now use this across the back door if it’s open while Neato is cleaning, and across the front of the sofa. It’s easily picked up afterwards, and saves a lot of hassle. We also close the lounge door overnight so Neato isn’t allowed to vacuum in there unsupervised and get into sofa-related problems.

Teddy – our Westie puppy – isn’t at all fussed by the Neato, as you can see at around the 2.30 mark of our video below, where there’s some shameless video-bombing by the four-legged member of our household!


I have to say that the robot vacuum is one of those inventions I’d scoffed at – until I tried it for myself. It’s amazing how much easier life is when something cleans the floor for you every morning before you get up – and especially in a household with pets and kids, where little food items and bits of detritus are constantly being dropped. You’ll need to invest some time understanding your Neato Botvac’s quirks and where it can and can’t clean without assistance, but after that initial settling in, I’m confident you’ll love the Neato D85 as much as we do.

Win a Neato BotVac Worth £350!

Who’s the Mummy is giving away one Neato BotVac 80 to one lucky reader!

The Neato Botvac is the perfect cleaner for busy households. You can schedule your vacuum to clean when you’re out. The Botvac is also compact – leave it on display or pop it in a cupboard when it’s not in use. The Botvac is compact and light, so you can easily carry it upstairs to clean more than one floor in your home.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize is to leave a comment on this post answering the following question :

Who’s the messiest person in your household and why?

Bonus entries are available by completing the Rafflecopter widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms: Competition open to UK adults 18 and over, closes midnight 22/08/15. Prize is non-transferable, no cash alternative. Entry must be made via a comment on this blog post, and via the Rafflecopter widget. Winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries. Winner will be notified by email, details to be shared on this website within two weeks of the closing date. Promoter: Flea Enterprises Ltd, 3a Clifton Sq, Lytham, FY8 5HA