21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2007
I bought this item from iRobot's website. It worked great for about a month and then the side brush stopped working. I contacted customer support and was eventually told the part I needed was out of stock with no idea when it would be restocked (even though the website said the part was in stock). My follow-up emails went unanswered. I called customer support to return since the product doesn't work and no one was responding to my emails. The sales person actually had the nerve to tell me I was suppose to call them to discuss my problem rather than emailing them, which is contrary to what their website says to do. Given the fact that the product stopped working within a month of my purchasing it and the poor customer service at iRobot, I would not recommend this product (given the cost of it).
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2009
I've had the Roomba 562 for over 2 weeks. We have a cat, dog, messy bird, and two kids, so I schedule and run it every day. I am VERY happy with it - and my husband, who was not sold on the idea of buying it - is a major convert. I like it so much I often run it more than once a day - once in our main living area, and again in another corner of the house - an upstairs bedroom, the basement, etc.
Maybe it's just that I'm used to a broom . . .
We have wooden floors and three 5' x 8' area rugs. It moves effortlessly from surface to surface and cleans places I never do - like under the couch and beds, behind the doors, between the toilet and the wall, or in the front entranceway. Our furniture is high (Sigmund can go under anything with a 3.75" clearance), so it essentially hits all the corners and cleans under everything. It has negotiated wires fine AS LONG AS THEY ARE PLUGGED IN. It does fine around tricky stair edges and works fine around music stands, random teenage shoes, and miscellaneous books lying around our floor. I cannot believe how much it picks up daily - my rugs are absolutely splotless and my younger son's dust allergy is entirely gone.
What I worried about and what happened . . .
I did a lot of research before buying this. I was worried that (a) my house was too cluttered with wires and small toys (b) I'd have too much pet hair (c) it would run out of steam before it did our entire downstairs (we live in a comfortable bungalow) and (d) cleaning the dustbin and brushes would be a major hassle.
a) Sigmund has no trouble with normal clutter like shoes, books, boxes, music stands, or banjos. It did pick up my son's Legos, but I just pulled them out of the dustbin when I emptied it. No problem.
b) The pet hair was no problem - even the first time I ran it. As others have said, it picks up a little less every day as the house gets cleaner and cleaner. The house was basically neat when I first started it. I set it to clean the two main rooms (living and dining) first before I let it wander more broadly. It cleaned them fine without stopping on a single charge, then moved on to the kitchen. MY hair was more of a problem. I have long hair and it will tend to wrap around the end of the brushes. The 562 comes with a brush cleaner that works well - easier than cleaning a hair brush. I clean the brushes every three days or so. It takes less than two minutes.
c) The first few days, I set Sigmund cleaning the living room, dining room, and kitchen, because I was worried about it running out of battery before everything was clean. It did just fine and returned to base to charge. After those rooms were spotless, I just did the kids' rooms and our very messy library. Now, most days, it can do all six rooms plus the bathroom. When one or another room is a real mess, it may not make it through all of them.
It is very easy to close one or another door if you have one room that's your priority for the day. The kids close their doors when they've left their toys out and don't want them bothered. I close the library door if I want it to do they kids' rooms or the kitchen. The 560 & 562 come with two pillars that make the roomba finish one area before moving on to the next. That significantly increases its efficiency.
d) Cleaning the dustbin is exactly like emptying a dustpan. I don't understand what people were complaining about. You pull it out of the front, shake it over the garbage pail, and stick it back in. What's depressing is just how MUCH dust comes out of it - was my house really that dirty for all these years?
What I really didn't expect . . .
When the floor is really, really clean it is much easier to keep the rest of the house clean.
The kids pick up their rooms so that Sigmund can clean it. For two weeks! This is definitely a record!
What it doesn't do well . . .
If you have LOOSE cords, the roomba will eat them and turn itself off. So if you have a USB cord hanging out from your computer the roomba will try to suck it up and it will wrap around the brush and turn off. As long as they're plugged in, you're fine.
It won't pick up long, thin, stiff things. This includes straw from a broom or paper from a shredder. If I notice it, I pick them up by hand.
It can miss things deep in a corner or just at the border of the floor and a carpet. I just kick those spots out towards the center if I notice and it picks them up the next time through.
It is important to remember that the roomba works on probability - it doesn't get every single spot every single time. It gets most spots every single time. But over the course of a few days, most places are hit every day and every single spot is hit a few times. I sure as heck don't vacuum or sweep every day. My house is infinitely cleaner than it was before.
I am very very happy with the unit.
Two things to remember . . . It's a vacuum cleaner, not a cleaning lady. It doesn't do stairs. And any given day, you might be able to do a marginally better job vacuuming than it can. But it will spend 2 hours vacuuming every single day. Will you?
Update at 2 months:
The Roomba worked consistently in my 100 year old cement basement, made my mother's condo immaculate, and did my mother-in-laws very dusty attic. It also did under all of their furniture - something they can't do because it is difficult for them to move the furniture at their age.
It worked perfectly around all the wires of an in-home dialysis system.
The lighthouses are very useful to organize and concentrate cleaning. At least once a week I will keep Roomba in just one room to make sure it gets every spot.
Although I had wanted a Roomba for years, what finally pushed me into getting it was that we just couldn't get rid of a massive flea invasion. The animals had been pestered for a full year (even with all the veterinary flea killers and frequent, serious cleaning). Although they never bothered the humans in the house, I was spending hours every week combing the animals. ROOMBA GOT RID OF THE FLEAS. Fleas breed with eggs and the larva feed on shed blood. All of that is in rugs, in cracks in the floor, and in odd little corners. Roomba took my cleaning just that one more push over the top that we finally got rid of them. What a blessing! That by itself was worth its price.
IMPORTANT: Many reviews of older Roombas say that spare parts are not available. THIS DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE TRUE OF NEW MODERN UNITS! All of the parts on this machine are modular and you can buy the spare parts through Roomba on their website and also purchase some through Amazon. I haven't needed them yet - mine is still fairly new, comes with extra brushes, and is under a full year warranty. However, every part can be exchanged. The review in several computer magazines also mentions this modular feature. The videos on their site are great. It is my understanding from those reviews that this is a new feature in the 560 series.
Update at 4 months . . . Some observations, suggestions, and warnings . . .
I have now had the opportunity to watch Roomba perform one or more time a day for several months. Some observations:
It works superbly on floors and area rugs. These become spotless over the course of a few days and Roomba almost never gets into trouble. It works well, but has more problems, with deep wall to wall carpeting. For example, my mother has a very deep Berber style carpet. It did wonders for its cleanliness and the rug really needed daily cleaning. On the other hand, the long threads that shed from in the carpet did make it more of an effort to clean the brushes.
Almost all of Roomba's request to 'clean the brushes' came from my leaving something big on the floor - a plastic bag, a 3" lego piece just the wrong size, or a yard or two of ribbon. In other words - the same kind of thing a regular vacuum cleaner would have trouble with. Worst thing that has happened so far is that it tried to eat the pull off of some drapes and then turned itself off. I had to disassemble the wheel to untangle it. My fault - I should have put it up on the window sill.
Again, long hair and threads that wrap around the ends of the rollers are Roombas greatest enemy. The new (?) tool for cleaning the brushes is great - one swipe and it's clean. However, that will not clean the tangles of long hair, dust, or wool that wrap around the end of the brushes. I typically need to clean these every three days or so (a 2 minute job). BUY A LONG PAIR OF FORCEPS. They nip right into the small spaces, pull everything out, and make the job very easy. Without the forceps, it takes me ten times longer.
I noticed that after two months Roomba was giving me a slight hesitation every once in a while. When the company called to check if everything was going okay, I mentioned this. They told me to reset the Roomba (push two buttons simultaneously). The problem was fixed.
WARNING TO PET OWNERS (Gross, but important): If your dog ever messes while you are out, this is not a good time to schedule Roomba. We had been home all summer and Roomba ran every day at noon. When our scheduled changed in the Fall, the dog was home all day alone. One day, she obviously needed to go out before we got home and Roomba ran right through it and tried to clean it. NOT a pretty sight - thank goodness it was on a wood floor, not the rug. Good news, Roomba is definitely modular, it all came apart and cleaned up very quickly with water. The worst were the wheels. Think of cleaning sneakers after walking across a cow meadow.
In any case - if your dog EVER has this problem, I strongly recommend scheduling Roomba to run at night, when you're at home and you know that will not be an issue.
I am continuously amazed at how much cat and dog hair, dust, and miscellaneous stuff Roomba picks up every single day. Certainly more than a very full dustpan and with only a 30 second bin dump of effort on my part. The air in our home is very noticeably cleaner. Interestingly, the animals have stopped sleeping on their beds and started sleeping on the rugs because they are cleaner and more comfortable. And my son now runs to pick up his Legos as soon as he hears Roomba start - saving my feet infinite pokes in the dark. I can't imagine not having it - despite it's cost. And my husband tells me at least once a week how happy he is we bought it.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
I'd been looking at Roombas at different times over the years, and with this newest (latest, greatest) version, I decided to give it a shot. Well, it performs much, much better than I could have imagined. I genuinely assumed it would miss areas and not be able to really get dirt out of corners (I mean, how could it really get to everything, right?), but I was wrong. It cleans my wooden floors so well that when I saw a spec on the ground after it was done (I can't help but inspect closely), I found the spec was actually a small paint splatter that dried to the floor long ago. It really, really gets everything! Then when it's done, emptying it and cleaning out its brushes are ridiculously easy -- and I'm obviously pretty lazy, since I bought a Roomba.
I've been using this 2-3 times a week in between when the person who cleans my house does the whole place. We have two cats, and my biggest concern is the high traffic areas of the living room, long (and relatively narrow) foyer, and the entrance to my dining room. Those three areas are connected, but of vastly different shapes and sizes. I didn't want to have to set them up to clean separately, so I decided to see if Roomba could manage the connected, but not traditionally "continuous" areas. It worked brilliantly right from the start. I keep expecting it to get lost when it is in the corner of my dining room or at the other end of the foyer, but it doesn't. It goes over and over every part of each room/section until all is clean.
I've never used a Roomba before, so I don't know how this new one compares to the older models, but I can say that one my concerns was about cords. I'd heard complaints with earlier models, but it was supposed to be improved with this one. Well, it's totally fine. I don't want to have to put cords up all over, and for the most part I don't. There is one very thin phone cord that I get nervous about so I put it up, but otherwise, it handles all the other cords without incident. It does not navigate small throw rugs as well as I'd hoped (they tend to get bunched up), so I move those out of the way. But it handles large area rugs well, cleaning both the carpet and the hardwood floors around it.
I see that another model comes with a remote control, but I have no idea why you'd need one. The whole point of the machine is to let it do its thing -- I don't want to move it around by remote control myself. And I have not once had the need to do so.
If you've been on the fence and can afford it, I'd go for it. I'm really-really happy that I did.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2009
The star system does not work well for this item, as there are two phases to Roomba ownership. The first phase, when the machine is working, is all five star. It zips around the house, cleaning everything really well, looking cute and beeping charmingly. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt it picks up, and will enjoy not fighting with your spouse about who's turn it is to vacuum. In this phase it is a solid five stars.
Inevitably, though, your Roomba ownership will enter phase two. This is the zero star phase, when you will curse the fool idea you ever had to spend money on this craptastic piece of plastic and silicone. It cannot be fixed. The warranty is both specific and exclusionary - and there is no option to repair. The company neither repairs broken Roombas nor supports the idea that they can be repaired. This is my third Roomba, and the second to die just days after the warranty expired. Expect robo- responses to your email, phone support designed to make you either punch something inanimate or hang up the phone and then punch something inanimate, and the sick feeling you get from wasting a bunch of money and feeling like an idiot. Rather like Charlie Brown thinking that this time the football will be there when he goes to kick it, I have purchased three of theses machines. Infuriatingly, Roomba is a basically disposable product. If you are able to stomach buying a new one when anything more serious that a replacement brush is needed, then go ahead. And be sure to enjoy phase one.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
I have had the iRobot carpet cleaning Roomba for a few years, and have used it enough to thoroughly understand its cons.
The roomba is best in the following circumstance: all bare floor (e.g. hardwood, tile, vinyl, laminate, etc.) OR all carpet.
* It is NOT good for mixed environments like bare floors with area rugs.
* It is NOT good for carpet with area rugs (e.g. if you have placed area rugs on otherwise uniform carpeting)
* It is especially not good for area rugs that have decorative fringes. The roomba must be kept miles away from such a thing, as it will choke on it and eventually wear the gears to the point where it won't work (replacement gears cost $50)
The roomba's biggest problem is the gears that spin the brushes/agitator that pick up the dirt. They are not sufficiently shielded from the dirt, and eventually dirt gets into the gears. As you can imagine, this eventually causes them to stop working. You can either choose to buy new gears a few times a year (that can run you $100 - $200 a year) or try to open up the gear box and clean the gears yourself. This latter option doesn't always work, and you may have to buy them anyway.
Another problem is the amount of cleaning the brushes/agitators need. They need to cleaned after every run. You have to pick the hairs and dust and other gross stuff out of them with your fingers... I mean you really need to get in there and dig. If you have a woman with long-ish hair in your household, you'll find hair gets so entangled that you're exerting yourself to rip it out. You would think that most of this would get sucked into the vacuum's dust bin, but that's not the case since the roomba's suction is pretty weak. Imagine if after every time you used your regular vacuum you had to clean the brush thoroughly.
Another problem is the amount of dust that the side-brush throws onto the front-plate. After running for a bit, the front-plate of the roomba, which is what bangs against furniture and walls in order for it to navigate, accumulates a dust layers on it. And when the roomba bangs against the wall or some furniture, some of that dust gets deposited on it. So you end up with tiny dust-bunnies on the legs of furniture and walls, all about 1 - 2 inches off the floor
Another problem with the roomba is it leaves wear marks on furniture and wall corners. If you've never seen the roomba work, this might not make sense to you, but the roomba doesn't have some magic device that detects the layout of a room. It works more or less like a pinball, going until it hits something, then turning in a random direction, and then going until it hits something and turning again. It also handles corners by rubbing against the walls that make the corners, and around furniture legs by rubbing against the furniture legs. Well, over time, all this rubbing leaves marks. The legs of all my furniture (e.g. tables) have a wear line about 2-inches off the ground where the roomba rubs against it. All the corners of my walls have little wear marks from the roomba negotiating the corner. These marks can generally not be removed.
Another problem which I alluded to above it the delicacy of the gears that drive the brushes/agitators. Seriously, if you accidentally miss a rubberband on the floor, and it gets caught in the brush and keeps the brush from spinning, the roomba won't stop and tell you there's something wrong. It keeps trying to spin and the gears get worn down. Seriously, a overlooked rubberband can cost you $50.
Another problems is the roomba's love of corners and furniture legs. The algorithm that allows the roomba to navigate tends to favor corners and furniture legs. So your corners will be emaculate (as long as you overlook the wear marks I mentioned) but the middle of your carpet might be completely un-vacuumed
Another problem that occurs if you do use it in a mixed environment such as wood floors with area rugs is when the roomba goes from the area rug down to the wood floor, it tends to dump some dust at the edge on the wood floor. So you find that your area rugs tend to be surrounded by a thin (and sometimes imperceptable) layer of dust.
Another problem that occurs if you do use it in a mixed environment such as wood floors with area rugs is the roomba has some mechanism that stops the brushes/agitators when it's making the transition up from the wood floor to the area rugs. Of course the brushes/agitators are supposed to start again once the roomba is solidly on the area rug, but sometimes the roomba 'forgets' to start them again, and you have this thing going around your floor but not actually picking up anything.
Well, there you have it.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2008
I bought the 560 directly from iRobot as a birthday gift for my wife. I received the unit on 8/28/08 and have yet to see it clean anything! Upon initial charging, it gave a "Charging error 5." The owner's manual gives no explanation of what are apparently up to 20 different numbered error codes. The only explanation is "call tech support."
So I call tech support, after waiting on hold for about 30 minutes, of course I received someone with barely comprehensible english. After waiting for her to get her own model in front of her and disassemble it, she decided my unit was defective. I was then informed, via email, that I would have to send my unit to iRobot (at my expense) and they would, in turn, send me a replacement. It is now 9/15/08 and I have yet to receive the replacement.
This may be the greatest floor cleaning product ever, but I honestly wouldn't know. Their tech support is truly awful and I'm still in disbelief that I have to pay to ship back a product that was defective out of the box. I'm also somewhat amazed that I have to wait until they receive my unit before I receive a replacement. Every other company I've dealt with has sent a return label with their replacement. P*ss poor customer service and, thus far, a worthless product. I did call today and according to their automated system, they have a 10 day delay time upon receipt before they ship another unit. Need I say more?
Update: Received the replacement unit after approximately 1 month. Guess what? It is defective also. Returning it today for yet another unit. Hint: call during normal business hours and you will get tech support in the U.S. They are much more knowledgeable and helpful. Still, I would highly recommend staying away from this product. It's junk.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2008
The problem with product reviews on Amazon is that for an expensive item people tend to love it because they paid good money for it. They don't want to feel they made a mistake by then giving it a low or even medium review score, but instead give it a 4 and downplay the limitations as little flaws.
So, my score of 3 stars must be wrong, right? Three stars, to me, means pretty good, nowhere near ideal. And Roomba is indeed pretty good, but I expect someday in the future we'll laugh at the things we used to put up with and had to do for this product.
The good: I don't vacuum anymore! Roomba is worth it for the time savings. Also, it's fun to let it go and see what it does. We waited some years to get one. When we found that this model Roomba would not get stuck on rug fringes, we immediately bought one. It indeed does not get stuck on fringes, and does clean under desks, etc., which is great.
The bad: you do have to prep the area, taking most things off the floor. Fair enough, but this is a pain if you have anything that might get damaged by Roomba or that might trip up Roomba. For example, we have two cellos in our living room, on stands. These must be moved out or put in their cases to be safe---not something you need to do when you vacuum manually. This prep makes "setting a schedule" dangerous if you ever put anything on the floor that Roomba might destroy or otherwise get caught on. Roomba does get caught on things: broomsticks or other small objects that it can get on top of but not quite get over, socks or boxers that will get caught up in its brushes. Roomba can escape the bounds defined by the lighthouses: we've attempted to set these up correctly (and what do the various green light flashings mean? Not explained in the manual), but occasionally Roomba will get away, in search of cellos to destroy.
Roomba also gets stuck on other things: we have a raised wall-to-wall carpet that creates a small height difference between it and the fireplace fringe tiles. This one inch difference is where Roomba can also get stuck. A loose (but large, unmovable) rug in my younger son's room tends to get folded over by Roomba, which then traps Roomba in a small area of the room. Finally, our couch is just high enough that Roomba can't quite get under, but Roomba will try. Every time that room is cleaned, Roomba invariably gets stuck halfway under this couch, unless we prep by putting barriers in its way.
Other than getting stuck, Roomba is a high-needs machine. The brushes and sweepers underneath must be taken out every three uses and thoroughly cleaned. It's easy to get these out, this is a "normal" part of using the Roomba, but it's tedious to clean. The weakest part of the system is that carpet fibers and whatnot get wound around the ends of these axles and you have to pick away at them for some minutes to clear them. Your mileage may vary: we have cats, so maybe that's much of it. However, I don't have to do this task every three uses for my regular vacuum cleaner, so I consider this an engineering failure for Roomba (as amazing as it is otherwise), one that they will no doubt improve someday. Finally, from reading other reviews, I am concerned about what happens if my side brush breaks off, but happily that hasn't happened yet (and somehow seems unlikely).
Overall I'm happy we have our Roomba (named "Dustina"), she's a net win. However, the technology is nowhere near perfect. The escapes, the getting stuck, and the maintenance are the three flaws I see. Get rid of two of these and it gets 4 stars, all three and it gets 5.
Update: indeed, after 3-1/2 months of use, five of the six brushes on the side brush have broken off. We've ordered replacements, but these are back-ordered - not a surprise. I thought it was a case of others just not being careful, but these brushes really do just break off for no discernable reason. Poor design, but we'll just count it in as the price of doing business. Otherwise, it's an OK unit. My only other additions: sometimes loose cat hair will gather in clumps on the rug when Roomba is run, and Roomba seems to do a fair bit of taking up the fibers of the rug itself.
9 month update: Roomba's still working. The replacement brush we bought is better designed, it hasn't broken at all. Roomba's still quite useful, especially for our kitchen floor. The unit does like to eat fringe - one oriental rug we have is undoubtedly devalued at this point - and there are leftover cat hair clumps now and then, but for the most part the unit's held up and done a reasonable job. Beats pushing a vacuum.
4 years and counting: this Roomba's been relegated to the second story of our house, and we got a newer one for downstairs. We finally had the fringes on our oriental rugs removed, so one of the big problems we were having is now gone. In general Roomba's been a win for us, and we use it quite often in the kitchen as it does a great job cleaning up the wood and tile floors.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2009
Now that I've owned a Roomba for a couple months now, it's time I shared my experience and whether it was a good purchase. I know this review is a bit involved, but if you're really considering buying one, this should be very helpful info.
I live here with my girlfriend and two cats in a 1,000 square foot apartment that was never occupied before me. I have 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a small hallway, a small dining area, kitchen and a living room. The two bedrooms are carpeted.
The best assessment I can give is to compare my experiences with what you see in iRobot's official video. Check my time stamps below the video as I elaborate on the selling points:
At 0:27: When the iRobot runs over the spilled corn flakes, you don't see the carpet after Roomba runs over it. That's because it won't pick it all up on the first sweep. It usually takes about 3 rotations to really get all those chips.
At 0:44: It does remove dirt, dust and pet hair very well, if all those are dry. Imagine the nice orange streak it leaves when trying to clean up cat vomit.
At 0:53: It's great for getting the dust bunnies under the couch and the bed. That's very true.
At 0:58: Roomba does a great job getting the dirtier areas. A blue light turns on to let you know it's deep cleaning. Two thumbs up on that feature.
At 1:08: I've never seen the Roomba clean along wall edges that straight, which explains the slo-mo. That may have been one or two second money shot along the wall. The spinning side brushes are better for throwing dirt around to break up something that may be partially stuck to the carpet, They are not very powerful...at all, and sometimes don't spin around at all. I had to loosen the screw on it to make it spin better.
At 1:24: It has gotten stuck on bathroom floor rugs-the kind that are usually thicker and have the rubbery matting. After a couple attempts at trying to get unstuck, it stops and makes a sound until you fix it.
At 1:28: Onboard scheduling is awesome! Mine starts up at 8:30pm each night, although you can set it for different times on different days of the week.
At 1:43: The simulation of it cleaning 4 rooms is very misleading.
* First of all, that's not the typical 4-room scenario. Two doors with no furniture? I don't think it's even on carpet, that looks like tile.
* Sometimes it will finish one room, start the second, then come back to the first and never get to the other rooms before it dies an untimely death.
* That entire simulation would take about 1 1/2 hours to complete on a full charge.
At 1:51: 5 out of 10 times it makes it back to the base. Either the brushes are clogged and it stops or it runs out of battery.
At 1:57: She says it will be ready to go next time you vacuum. That's if you pull it off the charger and clean it. Seriously, this thing needs cleaning each and every day.
Cleaning the Roomba is the most inconvenient part of this purchase. It takes a couple minutes to do it.
I've owned it for a couple months, and already I have to replace the rubber brush you see in that pic. The ends got so hot, the plastic warped and the yellow cap fell off.
* It's great when you see freshly clean carpet streaks in a room. That's how I really know it's done its job. But after several weeks, those marks look more permanent especially in very low traffic areas. Not a big deal, but it changes the carpet landscape.
* It will leave marks on your wall sometimes. It doesn't always recognize a wall is there and slows down. One day, it pulled an Exorcist on me and spun around like crazy and slammed into walls as fast as it could. I just shut it off and hoped it fixed itself. Apparently it did.
* It's quieter that you'd expect.
* I don't have stairs, so I don't know if it takes a fall when nearing the edge.
* It doesn't deep clean. You still need your regular vacuum to get the good stuff.
* It does not have any HEPA filters. I originally purchased this because I thought it would help my allergies. I DO think vacuuming every day is keeping the cat hair away, which offsets the lack of a HEPA filter (since I'm allergic to cats/cat dander).
* The cats are used to it by now. They do kinda follow it around, and if it's dead, the cat will approach it and swat at the spinning side brushes. But they don't jump on it like you see in other YouTube videos.
* The pattern is chaotic. I don't understand it. And the lighthouses seem to confuse it. Maybe it's just me, and I'm paying too much attention to it.
It's nice to say "Hey I bought a robot!", and I'm glad I made the purchase, but if you have wet dirt, you're destined for more work than you bargained for when you try to clean up the mess it made. You'll end up cleaning the floor AND the innards of the Roomba. And while it "does the work for you", you have to clean it every day otherwise it'll stop working until you do.
Also, I'm not sure how much the parts are, but I wasn't expecting it to need new parts this early.
Please let me know if this review was helpful!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2008
I was doubtful about the effectiveness of Roomba machines since they came out, because I figured, "What could a "fan on wheels" really vacuum?" That is because the Roomba is not meant to replace your real vacuum -- it's not going to agitate deep dust and pollen in a shag carpet like a powerful vacuum. Those vacuums are heavy and loud for a reason.
But if you let Roomba work regularly, you have to use the big vacuum a LOT less. I bought this model last year for our new house, so that it could crawl around on our hard wood floor on the first floor at night and clean up after my 2 year old and 4 year old. IT WORKS. My wife is not ordinarily a huge fan of cool techie devices but she LOVES this thing. You know if you've got a winner if you can buy a boy-toy that your wife loves you for.
Here are the pros and cons:
1) You can set an automatic schedule and it vacuums by itself. It starts up, it vacuums, it returns to its charging station by itself. All you have to do is empty the dust. (And it picks up a lot!)
2) It charges itself!
3) It comes with cones which can be either "lighthouses" (to tell the Roomba to vacuum only a certain area) or "virtual walls" to create invisible barriers to prevent Roomba from vacuuming certain rooms. I found the virtual walls useful to keep the Roomba from vacuuming the dining room while we aren't using it.
4) Being short, it can vacuum under tables and even some sitting furniture.
5) It scoops up dirt in crevasses near walls, yet it knows how to avoid power cables.
6) You can put your own colored plate on the top to customize it.
7) Has a convenient carry-handle built onto the top.
8) It has a set of easy buttons to start or stop it when you want.
9) It's also easy to replace its various moving parts and brushes and filters. And it's very easy to empty.
1) It does require some regular maintenance. There is a little red spider-like whirling brush that is made of some kind of material that breaks somewhat easily. The arms eventually break off one by one, and Roomba will sometimes cannibalize them. The replacement arms come in packs and won't break the bank, but you should stock up on them. I usually wait until Roomba has broken all but one arm before replacing the brush, which takes up to about 1 month if you use it daily.
2) Roomba does get up on area rugs sometimes, but not always. Sometimes it bumps into a thick area rug and goes around it, or sometimes gets trapped. Given a chance every night, it will eventually clean the area rugs.
3) Pick up small objects such as toys and clothes before Roomba works. It will either snag on a sock or suck up a child's action figure, which isn't good for either Roomba or the object. We have a routine whereby the kids have to clean up the floor every evening or Roomba will eat all their toys. (It works, and it's not a lie!)
4) Be careful about the size of the area Roomba has to clean. Ours cleans the entire first floor, including the kitchen and back door leading into the garage, but some of these areas are quite some distance from its base station. If Roomba gets too far from its base station, it gets lost, and when its battery is low it can't find its way back through the "maze" of your house to the station. You have to keep the base station somewhat central if you can, and keep Roomba's cleaning area somewhat simple and not more than several normal sized rooms. Also Roomba can bump around under dining room tables where there are lots of chair legs for a long time. It can find its own way out, and if you use your dining room regularly, this actually increases its efficiency at picking up dropped food, but if you don't use the dining room that often, I would keep Roomba out of there, it'll waste a lot of time.
5) It's fairly easy to set a schedule, but a couple of times I had to remind myself how to erase a schedule. They could have made this a little more intuitive.
6) It's a vacuum, so it does make noise. You may not want to run it in your bedroom at 3 am.
7) It does get trapped on certain furniture. For example we have an area rug next to an entertainment center, and the entertainment center has a large "foot" that is just a little higher than the rug. Roomba sometimes crawls across the rug and up onto the foot, bumps, but can't turn around because it gets tilted. You have to do some mild "rearranging" to make sure Roomba doesn't get stuck. When it can't free itself after a minute, it shuts off with a depressed beep.
8) Roomba doesn't get every spec of dust all the time. It tries to find and get all the dust it can, but it doesn't vacuum like a human does. It doesn't see the a pile of dirt a few feet away -- sometimes it just runs right past it and vacuums elsewhere... But you need to be patient with it. It will find its way back and most of the time it will get that pile of dust. If it doesn't this time, it will next time. It detects heavy dirt as it passes over and will circle around and spot-clean for a moment. But if you're in a rush -- like if you have guests coming over, you need to resort to the traditional manual vacuuming.
9) Don't use Roomba on stairs. At the top of the stairs it will detect a drop off and not tumble, but the stairs have to be vacuumed with a manual vacuum, unfortunately you just can't automate that.
Keep Roomba away from kids and pets. That is to say, don't let them mistake it for a chew toy, a skateboard, a giant robot made for wrecking building-block cities, a flying saucer to fly around the room, or anything else. Teach the family to respect Roomba and keep the base station somewhere that kids and pets will not mess with it.
I would recommend supplementing Roomba with a SHARK VX3 CORDLESS SWEEPER if you're in a rush to clean something (such as when guests come over, or the kids spilled dry cereal all over the floor).
If you use Roomba on a heavy shag carpet, don't think you can throw away your heavy vacuum. At least once a month you need to vacuum up that pollen and dander etc that settles deep into the carpet with something that really works it over.
All-in-all, Roomba has really increased the quality of our life and is a welcome member of our family!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2008
Worked okay until it broke. We own ONE dog. We cleaned it after every run. We ran it in one room every 3 days (where we and the dog played the most). It ran in the whole house every 10 days or so. Not high usage, just average. The dog hair would get INSIDE the motor housing unit. I kept getting "please remove and clean roomba's brushes". It wouldn't run. It had been 5 months of usage. I called, got a new motor no problem. They told me I could take apart the old one since I had a new one on the way. I did, found all this dog hair inside the gears and inside the motor. Got out what I could and it ran for another month. Same thing happened, "please remove and clean...." Replaced it with the new motor. Same thing happened, "please remove and clean...." My husband bought it in November for a Christmas present, so now it is November, warranty is expired. Paid $500 for it and more for all kinds of parts for it (brushes, filters, etc.). Now it is useless. I certainly don't want to buy another, spend $500 for a one year life. It was great while it worked but to not be able to handle ONE dog?