We all like a clean house, well who doesn’t. The ability to have a room clean itself used to be something I could only dream about. We’ve had a robot hoover for a few months now and to be honest, I couldn’t imagine being without it anymore. Ok, it’s not perfect, but it does save me a heap of time with 6 people and 4 animals in a biggish house that I never have time to keep completely spotless in every room.
In the perfect world, I could have the floors swept without lifting a finger to do it, and this is the closest to sweeping the floors automatically that I can imagine. It does carpets too, so that’s a bonus for me.
If you’ve got beds that are off the floor and high furniture, a Roomba is perfect for you, but it’s no complete solution for not doing any cleaning at all in your life. You do have to prepare the room first and lift anything that might get tangled up. We ended up with a phone cable wound tightly round the brushes one day when I didn’t scan the lounge properly.
It does, however, mean that my bedroom gets a hoover daily as we have tiles on our floor and a high bed that it can perfectly sweep under. I know I’d not do that daily by myself.
I got the iRobot Roomba 780 on the 30 day trial where they say you can use it and put it back if you don’t like it. I kept it. I’m not sure I could have been convinced to part with that much money up front without using one first, but I love it.
It zig zags all over the room, so I’d advise not actually watching it. It’s like watching paint dry. It will do circle motions where it thinks the floor is dirtier and mine has a remote control for spot cleaning. Here’s mine in action:
- Cleans while I do something else. I know it would be much faster for me to do it myself, but given that I can spend that time doing something else, it’s a positive.
- Leaving it to do the floors before I come home with the kids if we’ve been out all day. This is a bigger benefit than I can ever actually say.
- There are little boxes that allow you to keep the Roomba in one room until it is finished, or it would wander about all the rooms. I just close the doors as I’ve never got round to buying batteries for the lighthouses.
- It doesn’t fall downstairs. Honestly, it doesn’t. The first time it scooted about on the top landing, I sat on the stairs as I was totally unconvinced that it would be able to stay up there.
- Brushes and filters are all replaceable.
- The Roomba takes itself back to its charging base to charge up when it is running low.
- Making sure there is nothing on the floor before you set it to go.
- The time it takes to do the job is a fair while. If you have someone coming for tea and half an hour spare, get out your trusty manual hoover.
- It’s expensive.
- It has a small bin that needs emptied regularly if your room is a mess. I’ve not found it a problem on hard floors, but on carpets where fibers get hoovered up too, the bin can get full very quickly.
- It doesn’t like black carpets. I have figured out how to do it by taping some white paper over the sensors that stop it falling downstairs, but as a rule, when it hits a black floor, it seems to think it is going to fall over so just refuses to work.
It It Worth The Money?
This is a hard one to judge. This time last year, I’d have said no. With asthma in the family and a daily sweep, I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes this year as it means the floor can literally be swept continuously without having to actually do it myself. The price seems to have rocketed since I got mine and I would have to seriously think about it now as it is over the £500 mark in most places I looked online. If I was buying one now, I suspect I’d look at a different brand or one of the older ones to reduce the price a bit.
There are some cheaper robot vacuums on Amazon that seem to have some good reviews so if I were ever looking to replace mine, I suspect I’d read all of those.
There are some issues with the Roomba, but on the whole, I wouldn’t want to be without it. There are some cheaper versions and I’m not sure how well they perform against the newer Roombas, but on hard floors, I’d hope they would also do well.
The timer is a great idea, though I have to admit that I’ve never used it. I just pop it on when I leave the house after preparing whichever floor I want done.
My lounge gets a going over almost daily as does the asthmatics bedroom and the playroom he spends most of his time in. We have pets, so this is a massive draw for me.
It does sometimes get lost and abandons itself in the middle of a room while looking for its docking station, but it mostly manages to dock itself nicely. The one thing I would like that it doesn’t seem to have is a stop function when the bin is full. I give the brushes a clean out every few uses, otherwise hair can get tangled up, but the brushes come out easily so it’s no big chore to have to do really.
There is still a need to take out the regular hoover, but I find myself doing that once a fortnight or so, or a bit more often for the stairs, rather than haul it out daily. The Roomba does bump furniture as it does its business, but it’s a soft bump and hasn’t done any damage to the vase I have on my lounge floor with light branches in it. Even so, if you have lots of things strewn over your floors and don’t want to have to pick them up, this is probably not for you.