I thought I was pretty lucky to find a Neato robot vacuum in a thrift store for $8. It didn’t work in the store and that’s why it was cheap, but I have since determined it was fully functional except for its battery pack. While waiting for its replacement battery pack to arrive, Player 2 has entered the game! [Emily] managed to find another Neato robot vacuum in a different thrift store. The new find is a model XV-12 and it included the charging dock for $11.
A little web research indicated that these two robot vacuums are contemporaries, both followed up Neato’s XV-11. The XV-12 is the direct successor that replaced the XV-11, and the XV-21 is a premium offering sold simultaneously with the XV-11. Aside from the cosmetic difference of purple plastic top on the XV-12, there are a few functional differences.
The cleaning brush roller is different. The XV-12 uses a bidirectional design with flat flexible plastic blades. The XV-21 uses a unidirectional design with a combination of flexible plastic blades and bristles. The XV-12 brush can be mounted in either direction – note that geared teeth to engage the toothed belt on both sides of the roller. The XV-21 is designed to spin a specific direction – brushing debris towards the center of the vacuum – and only has geared teeth on one end of the roller because it won’t work properly if mounted the other way.
The dust bin filters are also different between these two models. While the XV-12 uses a flat sheet, the XV-21 uses a pleated design for greater surface area. This partially compensates for the more restrictive filter used in a XV-21 that captures more particles from the vacuum air stream.
The XV-21 was sold as the upgrade model. Its roller brush with curved flexible blades and bristles combine to pick up more dirt, and its pleated filter keeps more of that dirt in the dust bin instead of passing it into the exhaust. These two differences reportedly improve vacuum capability at the cost of greater power consumption which translates to shorter run time on battery.
In addition to the design differences between the XV-12 and the XV-21, there are additional differences between these two specific thrift store finds. The XV-21 was surprisingly clean hinting at a very low usage in its previous life, but the XV-12 shows signs of a well-used robot vacuum.