My husband has a history of giving me gifts before the actual day of celebration. He gives obvious hints as to what the Christmas gift will be, he hands over the birthday gift the day he buys it. This year, though, he had me stumped. He told me he bought me this very cool gift and I would love it. He talked about it for weeks, reminding me constantly that I couldn't guess what it was. And I couldn't. I was totally mystified as to what he bought for me. A little scared, too. This is the man who one year bought me blacklights for Christmas. Just blacklights. I have spent every Christmas since telling him EXACTLY what I want so when he didn't go by "The List" this year, it had me a teeny bit nervous.
I couldn't have been more thrilled! This little Roomba is so darn cute, all he lacks is little eyes to complete his adorableness. Come on, please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks a little robot who zips around the room and vacuums is darn cute?
Now, I've only had him for a couple days so I can't attest to long term cleaning. My current vacuum is a Dyson upright and I love love love my Dyson. Roomba is giving it a run for its money, though. My house is a townhome with open stairs. I have three children I homeschool and two cats. So we're home a lot. My cats are indoor cats and they can shed a lot. I generally vacuum at least my most lived in level (the main level) everyday. So that's the setting.
The Roomba itself is white and very simple. It has two buttons on the top- a big round "Clean" button and a smaller "Dock" button. It has cliff sensors on the bottom to keep it from scooting right off the top of the stairs. It has a black bar that acts as a bumper. It gives a little when it hits something and so far it has not damaged any of my table legs by wonking into it. The Roomba came with a docking station which it can find automatically, though it seems to take it a while to find it sometimes. The niftiest gadget with the Roomba is these two invisible walls; they are little parts that you turn on and place where you don't want your Roomba to go. It sees it and won't go past there. This is helpful if you have a particularly large level and don't need it cleaning, say, your kitchen but you do want it cleaning your dining/living room. It also comes with the instruction manual, which I admit, I haven't read. If you hold the Dock button down, the Roomba will give you a brief demonstration and tell you what it does.
Things I like about my Roomba
- The Roomba makes noise! OK, it isn't a quiet vacuum, but that's not exactly what I meant. The Roomba chimes when you press the "Clean" button and when it finishes and docks again. It also has a voice; a woman's voice will tell you what to clean or check should the Roomba need help. I put it upstairs today to clean the bedrooms and it sucked up the blind cord by accident. When i came upstairs and pressed "Clean" again the voice pleasantly spoke "Please clean Roomba's brushes." When he got tape stuck on his sensor, he stopped again and the voice said "Please check Roomba's cliff sensors". It nice to have the machine take the guess work out of what's wrong with it.
- It's easy to clean. The canister simply pulls out to empty it. The brushes are easily removed to pull out anything caught on the sides of it. Otherwise, I just pull hairs and carpet fluff right off the brushes itself. Takes 30 seconds.
- The best part is, it works by itself! What is better than being able to chill with my kids while someone else vacuums? When are they making the dishloading, kitchen cleaning robot? Or the laundry folding one?
- It takes up very little space. This low profile vacuum is small, white and unobstrusive. Unlike my Dyson, which thankfully is pretty for a vacuum, I can leave my Roomba out. The nice thing about the Roomba's bagless canister? you can't see inside it. So visitors to my house don't see the mass quantities of dirt my house carries, unlike my showoff Dyson, who likes to flaunt what he picks up with his clear bagless canister.
- It cleans under things like my bed. Who actually vacuums under their bed? I can now proudly proclaim that I do! It just makes cluttered, messy me sound so clean and tidy!
- I haven't had it run out of battery power yet. It has been able to clean a room or two or three small ones (like the two upstairs rooms and the hallway) without needing to be recharged. And the room does look nice and clean when it's finished.
Things I don't like so much
- Some of the Roomba's good points are also his flaws. The small size of the vacuum also makes for a small canister. This means that in my crumb infested, pet hairy house, I have to empty the canister at least once per room it cleans.
- It keeps sucking things up that I don't want it to. My mom used to have a maid come once a week or so. And we always had to clean up for the maid. I have to pick up before I use the Roomba. I need to make sure blind cords are out of the way or it will suck them up and get stuck. Unlike when I vacuum, where I can just vacuum around a stray hotwheel or book on the floor, I actually have to pick these up before the Roomba is let loose to eat dirt. The sensor reacts to heavy objects like tables or walls, etc, but it doesn't react to small objects like my girls' Breyer type horses. Instead, it attempts to run right over them, dragging them and sometimes getting stuck. Bigger trash items, like tape or pieces of yarn are liable to get wrapped around Roomba's wheels or stuck to his sensors. So before I can set little Roomba loose in the room, I have to pick up the area up completely. Yea, I find it a pain sometimes, especially since Roomba is touted as being able to vacuum the room all by itself. I just need to do more preparation before hand than I would for my Dyson, which sucks up tape and yarn pieces with ease.
- It's not quick. I don't see this as a con, but you might. I can vacuum a room quicker than the Roomba. The Roomba seems to crawl my room in a random, steady pace that somehow gets my whole room clean before he docks. He generally takes about 30+ minutes to get my living/dining/kitchen area.
- The big reason the above is a con is that there is a learning curve to using the Roomba. It's extremely easy to use, but I sometimes forget to pick up stuff that might stop it from functioning in some way. So, until using the Roomba becomes second nature, I need to be awake and present while he is working so I can deal with any problems that arise so he can finish his job.
It's a wrap
Honestly, I really like this little guy, but mainly for the coolness factor. I will still need my "real" vacuum to clean my many many stairs. I'll still need my regular vacuum to clean the cat litter off the storage room floor due to the messiness of our storage room. But, as someone who really vacuums part of the house everyday, it sure takes the load off. Even if I only have to vacuum once a week (mainly because I am not yet convinced the Roomba really does a better job than the Dyson) it's still a good investment because that's less vacuuming for myself. I'd give it 5 stars but, since I have only had it a week, I don't know how durable it is yet.
As an aside, my cats are completely not impressed by the Roomba. Shadow, my black nondescript kitty, just stays out of the way. Chaos, my smoke big Maine Coon, won't even get out of its way. He lounges on the floor until it is almost on top of him before he'll sit up and flop out of the way. My kids love the Roomba, my four year old daughter wanted it to "sleep" in her room tonight. So even if it has its flaws, we'll keep our newest little pet, we've become quite attached to our little Roomba.
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Amount Paid (US$): 300.00