Amazon Review by R. Pickman
235 people found the following review helpful
I have 2 dogs, a cat and a kid. This means that at least one of my days off every week is devoted to cleaning. Obviously part of that process is vacuuming. Living in a two story house, vacuuming entails carrying my Dyson Ball upstairs and downstairs, stretching the cord from room to room and moving beds/furniture.
I’ve frequently looked at Roombas, but always decided that it probably wasn’t for me. I doubted the robot’s ability to properly vacuum and wasn’t willing to gamble a few hundred bucks to let it try to prove me wrong. When this Roomba showed up on the Vine, I couldn’t pass it up.
In the box is the Roomba, charging/home base, an extra filter, invisible gate with included batteries (more on that in a bit), and a cleaning multitool. Setup is pretty easy. Plug the home base into an outlet wherever you want it, place the Roomba on the charging contacts, download the app and setup the wifi so it can be controlled via the app and receive updates and you’re done. Wifi was easy to set up. Just put in your wifi info and press 2 buttons on the top of the Roomba and it syncs up in under a minute.
The app is pretty straightforward. You can name your Roomba, I named mine Bender Rodriguez because I’m a nerd. It shows you the most recent jobs detailing their duration, dirt detect count (times when it detected dirt deposits), status (if it completed the job, was cancelled, something happened etc) and the date and time it was started. It also keeps track of maintenance schedules, informing you when things need to be cleaned or replaced and has a direct link to their store to order replacement filters/brushes/etc. The main page shows the status of the robot, how full the battery is and has a giant button in the center which, when pressed, will tell the robot to clean - even if you aren’t at home. The app also allows you to set a custom cleaning schedule (up to once a day for 7 days/week). The app keeps you posted of the progress, sending you a message when the job is completed or if there is an issue such as if your Roomba is stuck or is having any functional problems.
Charging only takes about 2 hours. You can either press Clean within the app or on the robot itself. It will get to work and automatically return to its charging station upon completion. Cleaning time obviously depends on the size of the space its cleaning and number of dirt detect events (it will go over the same area frequently when it detects dirt). I find that it cleans the second floor of my house (2 bedrooms and a hallway) in about an hour. Due to the pets, I have the schedule set up for every day. It would be nice if they could make the collection bin bigger. I empty the bin each day when I get home from work, which - while it’d be nice to go a couple days - it’s nicer to not have to worry about vacuuming the second floor. It’s really impressive what it picks up. I’ve pulled change, bobby pins, silica gel packs and even a metal bracket from a bed frame out of the bin. It has run over phone charging cords without destroying them, although we do make it a habit to keep them off the floor these days.
It’s pretty quiet. You can’t really hear it when you’re downstairs. When you’re upstairs it’s very similar to the sound level of an R/C Car. The animals were wary at first, but after a couple days they don’t even pay attention to it. Watching it vacuum is puzzling. It seems very random in its journey. I’m sure its all very formulaic and probably is actually covering all the surface area, but it does seem to move very randomly and cover some areas multiple times and not others (assuming this is the dirt detect at work). I would expect it to move in a straight line until it hit and obstruction and the turn 90 degrees to move over and then go back the way it came in parallel to the path it just cleaned. Instead, its very similar to the screen saver on the old DVD players where the logo travels until it hits the edge of the screen then ricochets at an arbitrary angle until it hits something else. Again, I haven’t actually tracked its path to determine that every square inch of floor is covered, it just has me suspicious.
In researching, I found that the 900 series models have a camera and more sophisticated tracking that leads them to take more logical paths and bump into things less. While I would’ve greatly appreciated the opportunity to review one of those models, I’m not looking a gift robot in the brushes.
It includes an invisible gate with batteries. You can use this in one of two modes to tell the Roomba not to clean certain areas. The first mode is just a straight beam you can use to block off doorways without closing the door. The second is a circular gate than projects around the beacon. Their example is setting it between dog bowls so the Roomba doesn’t run into them. I assumed I would need this for the stairs, but the Roomba’s cliff detection works so well it’s not necessary. Really, I just verified that both modes work (they do) and then threw it back in the box as I don’t need it.
The results really speak for themselves and alleviate any concerns I have about it covering the entire breadth of my upstairs. I come home to soft, freshly vacuumed carpet every day. You’d think we had a maid. It’s comforting knowing that we don’t have a colony of dust bunnies amassing beneath our beds, biding their time until they reach critical mass - launching an offensive to usurp my family and claim the house as their own. I love essentially halving my vacuuming time on my day off. I even brought it downstairs the other night and had it go over most the first floor too while I fed my daughter and did the dishes/laundry. It’s very light and easy to move around if you want to put it to work outside its normal domain. It moves between carpeted floors and hardwood/tile/vinyl seamlessly. It senses edges perfectly. I don’t have anything blocking it from our stairs and when it gets to the edge of the landing, it hits the brakes and turns around without fail. If you have it away from it’s home base (ie. using it downstairs with the base upstairs), it will just stop when it’s completed.
There is some maintenance involved with this. Let’s be honest though, if you want your vacuum to last, this is the case for any vacuum. The front wheel, brushes and filter need regular cleaning. It can all be accomplished with the included multi-tool and completed in 10 - 15 minutes. They all need to be replaced on an annual or bi-annual basis. 3 side brushes will run you 15 bucks, 3 filters are 20, front wheel is 6. They have replenishment kits that are pretty much all in one for about fifty bucks. There are also various upgraded parts, i.e. batteries and brush assemblies. It’s pretty cheap and well worth it to keep your Roomba rollin’. The app tracks when you should be replacing/cleaning various components.
I did have some issues during the first day or so where a job would inexplicably cancel. It seemed like it was complete, but I’d get a message on my phone saying that it had been cancelled. However, it hasn’t been an issue after the second day. It does take up to 48 hours for the Roomba to update to the latest software/firmware so it’s very likely that there was an issue that was fixed once it updated.
Overall, I absolutely love my Roomba. It saves me time, ensures that my floors are clean and works exactly as they claim. Having it automatically vacuum daily is perfect for those with pets as it ensures that hair and dander isn’t building up within your carpet. I’ve noticed the upstairs smells much fresher since Bender has been on the job. If you’ve been on the fence about adopting a Roomba because you have a lot of carpet and pets, I can attest that the Roomba can handle it.