In a surprising twist in the robotic vacuum industry, Neato Robotics is shutting down after 18 years of operation. The move, which comes as a result of the company failing to meet its “self-defined economic goals” over the past several years, was announced by its parent company, Vorwerk Group.
The decision to shut down operations will sadly affect 98 jobs. However, Vorwerk has committed to continuing cloud and repair support for Neato customers for a minimum of five years, a silver lining in this unexpected development.
Neato Robotics burst onto the scene back in 2005, quickly establishing itself as a formidable competitor to iRobot’s Roomba series. Neato’s innovation and commitment to pushing the boundaries of robotic vacuum technology helped it carve a niche for itself in the industry. The company was iconic for the D-Shape design and notably the first to introduce WiFi connectivity in its devices in 2011, and later, it made waves by adding LiDAR mapping in 2020.
As recently as last year they released a great new range of three vacuums, the D8, D9 and D10.
Although the brand continued to operate independently, Vorwerk Group acquired Neato in 2017. Unfortunately, despite the company’s best efforts, restructuring attempts failed to revitalize Neato’s fortunes.
Despite the impressive technological advancements Neato Robotics introduced to the robotic vacuum space, its sales figures fell short of expectations. The market was dominated by iRobot, which in 2020 commanded a 46 percent share. On the other hand, Neato could only manage to secure approximately 3 percent in preceding years.
Competition increased as new entrants like Anker’s Eufy brand, Roborock, and Shark entered the arena, often offering products at prices lower than those of Neato. This increased market competition, combined with iRobot’s introduction of VSLAM-based mapping with the Roomba 980 in 2015 (which eroded one of Neato’s major differentiators), only added to Neato’s challenges.
Over the past half-decade, the robotic vacuum market has experienced an influx of low-cost competitors. While these machines may not perform as reliably as their more expensive counterparts, they have proven to be effective enough to clean floors more efficiently than traditional methods. This surge in low-cost competition has saturated the market, further straining Neato’s position.
The closure of Neato Robotics marks the end of an era. Despite its imminent shutdown, the company’s contribution to robotic vacuum technology will be remembered, and its innovative spirit will continue to inspire future advancements in the field. It’s a poignant reminder of the fierce competition and relentless innovation that define the robotic vacuum industry.
Exploring the Alternatives: The Best Robot Vacuums to Consider After Neato
While the closure of Neato Robotics is a blow to the robot vacuum industry, there are several other brands that are worth considering if you’re in the market for a new robotic vacuum cleaner. Here are some top alternatives:
- iRobot Roomba: A titan in the industry, iRobot’s Roomba series has a variety of models to choose from, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Their advanced models feature VSLAM-based mapping and smart home integration. They’re a solid choice for anyone looking for a reliable and high-performing robotic vacuum.
- Anker’s Eufy RoboVac: Eufy’s RoboVac series by Anker offers a range of affordable robot vacuums without compromising on essential features. These devices are noted for their quiet operation, impressive suction power, and user-friendly design.
- Roborock: Roborock’s robot vacuums stand out for their advanced navigation capabilities and long battery life. Some models also have mopping functionality, providing a comprehensive cleaning solution for your home.
- Shark IQ Robot: Shark’s IQ Robot series is known for its self-emptying feature, which means less maintenance for users. These vacuums also offer powerful suction and smart home compatibility.
- Ecovacs Deebot: The Deebot series from Ecovacs offers a variety of robot vacuums at different price points. Many models feature both vacuuming and mopping capabilities and are compatible with smart home systems.
Each of these alternatives offers a unique blend of features, price points, and performance capabilities. As always, when choosing a robot vacuum, consider your specific needs, budget, and home layout to find the best fit.