electronic brain surgery since 2001

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I ♥ my Roomba

Whenever I mention my Roomba robot vacuum cleaner on identi.ca or twitter, I get a few questions from people wondering if it is really worth it's money.

I bought the Roomba 560 about 10 months ago. Time for a little review.

As you probably guessed from this post's title, I'm still more than happy with the decision to buy a Roomba. The convenience to just be able to do something interesting1) while he2) is vacuuming for you is just great.

So let's make this clear first: the Roomba works perfectly and replaced our old vacuum cleaner completely for the usual floor cleaning. The path finding routines are excellent. It is amazing how those seemingly random patterns get every reachable spot in the room covered. Of course there are places the Roomba can't reach. Baseboards and the floor beneath furniture with less than 10cm space are out of reach of course. Corners on the other hand are no problem, thanks to the rotating side brush.

The Roomba's dust bin is tiny in comparison to a usual vacuum cleaner dust bag. I usually need to empty it after cleaning all rooms of our flat. So it's fine for your normal household dust. It will not work if your floor is covered a thick layer of saw dust – I tried it ;-). You also need to clean the Roomba's brushes from time to time. Luckily that's dead simple and is done no more than 5 minutes.

After ten months of use, the Roomba doesn't look new anymore of course (see photos) but I'm still using the original brushes and filters, so there's no need to constantly buy new accessories.

Back when I bought it, I preferred the 560 model over the cheaper 530 one because the 560 has a scheduling feature. It allows you to set the weekday(s) and time when the Roomba should automatically start to clean. In hindsight, I haven't used that feature very much. Like with a real vacuum cleaner, you will need to move stuff out of the way before cleaning. Unfortunately I can't schedule this with my self ;-). So I usually just carry the Roomba to the room that needs cleaning, remove all stuff from the floor and let the little guy do its work.

I also still haven't used the two lighthouses that came with the robot. In theory they should be used to guide the little one through your flat and make sure it cleans one room first before moving to the next. Unfortunately these lighthouses are powered by C-size batteries, which I somehow never bought in the last 10 months. Instead I just use the real doors to keep the Roomba in one room and carry him to the next when needed.

The only thing that really should be improved is how the Roomba treats its own charging station. He detects it via infrared sensors and will avoid it while cleaning. Probably to not crash into it or get tangled up in its cable. Unfortunately this means the area around the charger tends to be dirty.

And because I was asked that a few times, too: I bought mine via Amazon.de. Here are the current Amazon prices for both models I mentioned3).

Amazon.de Amazon.com
Amazon.de Amazon
Amazon.de Amazon
roomba, review, robot, gadget
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I refer to the Roomba as “he” instead of “it” – I want to have made it a habit when robots become self aware ;-)
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