After my second baby was born, I thought I had officially lost my mind. It’s like I couldn’t keep up with anything! Let alone keep up on the housework. So I looked into some different options to help my messy house situation, and after my husband said no to a cleaning lady (haha!), I decided a robot vacuum was the solution to all of my problems. One less thing, right? I’ve had my iRobot Roomba Vacuum for about 6 years. I’ve used it in 3 different houses, with 4 kids and a husband (so 5 kids!). And so I feel pretty qualified to offer a very unbiased review about my Roomba. And no, they didn’t pay me for this, or provide me with a free vacuum- although that would be awesome! I just want to share my experiences with you, in case you’ve been thinking about buying a Roomba, and are curious if it would help solve your house cleaning problems.
Like I said, we purchased our Roomba about 6 years ago (Roomba 530), but they don’t really make that model anymore. Yes, it’s lasted us SIX years and is still going strong! If I were to buy a new Roomba, I would probably buy this one.
First I’m going to start with the CONS, because you all want to know what’s wrong with it!
Horsey Rides. When my children were little, they had a hard time leaving it alone. Now that they are older (3, 6, and 8), they don’t even bother it a bit. It vacumms around them and under their feet, and they know not to touch it or pick it up. Or ride it like a horse… yes, it’s been ridden like a horse. When my kids were little, they were SO interested in it, and the buttons on top, that it hardly gets the chance to run without somebody stopping it a few times or going on a little joy ride. (maybe this should be a PRO- free babysitting!) But just keep this in mind if you have little ones around.
No vaccum lines. The Roomba vacuums 100% randomly (or so it seems to me). If you are a lover of perfect vacuum lines, you may be disappointed when the Roomba finishes cleaning, and it looks like a miniature tank just rolled willy-nilly around the Living Room.
Noisy little thing. This one is subjective, I guess, because the Roomba isn’t NEARLY as loud as a regular vacuum. But if you’re planning on running it while doing anything else (like watch TV or make a phone call), think again.
Round vacuum, square room. While the Roomba does a pretty good job in the middle of the room, the corners of the room seem to get neglected. After all, the Roomba is round, and chances are, your living room isn’t. So it can’t quite get into the very corners of the room. I will say, that it has a nice spinning brush that sweeps the junk away from baseboards and under toe-kicks, but it doesn’t do much for corners.
Bumper cars. The Roomba pretty much just goes straight until it runs into something, then it turns and goes until it runs into something else. This is good in theory, but it’s a little annoying to have it banging into walls and running into furniture. If you look closely on my top photo, you can see some white marks from the Roomba running into walls and furniture. Also, if you have an odd space, say a dining table with chairs, sometimes the Roomba can get in there, but can’t get out. I’ve found the Roomba, multiple times, stuck under our dining table with a dead battery because it just couldn’t get out.
Single and ready to mingle. The Roomba has a cliff censor, which keeps it from going down the stairs and falling to its death, which is so nice… but that means it is best for single level homes, unless you want to move it (and it’s charging dock) up and down each time you are planning on using it. This isn’t a huge deal for me, because most of our living space is on one level, but if you have multiple levels in your home, this might become a big issue.
All Full. The Roomba actually does a great job at vacuuming. But, the bin is so teeny (it has to be, because the Roomba is pretty compact), that I am constantly emptying it. I was used to a regular vacuum that I would empty every 5 times I vacuumed, but the Roomba really needs to be emptied every time I use it.
Please remove and clean Roomba’s brushes. It seems that every time I use the Roomba, I hear this error message. It never fails that there is a rubber band sucked up, or it vacuumed up an army man. And maybe this is my fault, because it should be obvious that whether you use a robot vacuum or not, you really should clean up everything before you vacuum. Having said that, I’m lazy- I have a robot vacuum after all- and sometimes I don’t… then I have to “remove and clean Roomba’s brushes”.
Really, it isn’t all bad. There are good things about the Roomba too! So here’s a list of the things I love about this vacuum.
ROBOT vacuum. This is pretty obvious. But this is a vacuum that you does the work for you. While it’s not always 100% perfect. The fact that YOU DON’T HAVE TO VACUUM is the best “pro” there could possibly be. Now, if someone could invent something so I don’t have to do laundry.
Vacuum in your sleep. The newer models, like this one, has scheduler. It allows you to schedule the time your roomba runs, so essentially, you can be vacuuming in your sleep. I don’t care who you are, that is AWESOME! (since I don’t have this model, I really can’t speak for how well it works and how effective it is.) I have, however, started the Roomba before we go to bed, and I wake up to a vacuumed Living Room with the Roomba peacefully charging on its dock.
TOE KICK. I love that the Roomba get’s places my normal vacuum normally wouldn’t (except corners- see above). It is so small that it goes under my coffee table, and in the toe kicks of my kitchen cabinets- places that are normally very neglected at my house.
Smarty pants. Despite the random army tank vacuum lines, the Roomba really is SO intelligent. It will not vacuum up cords or tassles. It has a cliff censor so it won’t go down the stairs. If it hits the wall or an “obstacle” in it’s way, it goes around it (unless the obstacle is a 6 year old trying to “trick” the Roomba, then it has a hard time). And it can sense when it’s low on batteries and not only find it’s charging station, but the Roomba will dock itself as well.
Dirt detective. The Roomba has a dirt detect function, which is awesome! If it notices a high amount of dirt or junk on the floor, a little blue light will come on, and it will circle around that area for a while, until it doesn’t sense the dirt very much. My 1 year old is notorious for spilling entire boxes of cereal on the floor, and it actually does ok with it. I have to stop it to empty the bin a few times, but it keeps going until it’s clean.
Virtual Walls. The Roomba comes with a Virtual Wall Lighthouse, which you place in hallways, or doorways, or wherever you don’t want the Roomba to go. This is so nice to keep the Roomba contained to one room. It can also recognize when it’s done cleaning the room and move on to the next room, if you use your virtual lighthouse to separate rooms.
SO tiny. The Roomba really is SO small. I actually store mine under my couch, which is perfect because nobody can see it there, yet it can get out and go when it needs to, and return to it’s home base when the batteries are low.
It sucks. The Roomba really is an effective vacuum. My floors are generally very clean after it runs. I have been very happy with it’s cleaning power.
Carpet to tile (and hardwood!). The Roomba transitions perfectly from carpet to tile and vacuums like a champ. I have noticed that the spinning brush on the side seems to flick crumbs around a little bit, but overall, I’ve liked how it’s cleaned both carpet and tile. And it is great on bare floors like hardwood. I love to have it run after my kids get done eating, and the floor under them looks like a war zone. The Roomba just does it’s thing, and within a few minutes, it’s clean!
SPOT cleaning. The Roomba has a setting to clean just one area. You press the SPOT cleaning button, and it will go in circles and clean just one area if you have a spot that needs to be cleaned real quick.
Dirt Detection. The Roomba can detect dirt and keeps going over that area until it’s clean. Pretty cool feature!
So, the question remains… To Roomba or not to Roomba? I would say YES! As long as you realize that it’s not going to eliminate ever having to think about the vacuum again. I have been very happy with our Roomba, and it’s held up very well over the past 3 years. Having said that, I also use my regular vacuum once a month or so to go around the baseboards and in the corners.
The Roomba does exactly what I would have expected it to do. It is an awesome little machine, and it takes away a lot of the burden of vacuuming. Overall, this REAL MOM gives the Roomba two thumbs up, and I’m sure the newer Roomba models
(although pricey) are amazing!