If you didn’t know from the title of my blog, I am a mom… a Creative Mom, if you will. And as a mom, I am always trying to find ways to make my life easier, especially when it comes to cleaning. I’m not going to lie, I like a little shortcut here or there. And trust me when I say that I’ve tried my fair share of cleaning gadgets and products. The iRobot Roomba is just one of the many things I’ve tried using to keep my house clean. So today, I want to share my Roomba vacuum review with you. (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.)
It never fails that as soon as someone sees we have a Roomba, they always want to know how we like it, because the thought of not having to vacuum sounds simply marvelous, right? We purchased our Roomba about 3 years ago (the 500 series), and we use it, as a normal family would. So I think this Roomba vacuum review is very REAL and unbiased!
First I’m going to start with the CONS, because you all want to know what’s wrong with it!
Horsey Rides. My children ride it like a horse. I’m sure the Roomba would vacuum, if it could… but my kids are 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 honestly, it’s gotten to be so annoying that I hardly use it anymore because as soon as it starts, I have 3 kids hovering over it, kicking it like a soccer ball. And that also means that it’s never charged, because they never let it sit on it’s base and charge before they’re pushing the buttons and going for rides.
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.
Battery Schmattery. I guess the battery can be a good and bad thing. Good if you don’t have a plug nearby, but bad because it always seems to die in the middle of vacuuming. The Roomba has censors that can find it’s home “base”, and it docks itself when the battery is running low, which is SUPER awesome. But, when I have company coming in an hour, and I push the button to have it vacuum, then come back to find it sitting on it’s charger, I get SUPER annoyed. (Most of the time it’s dead because the kids won’t let it sit on it’s base long enough to fully charge), it’s really disappointing to see it blinking red when I really need it to be vacuuming.
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. My particular model isn’t the newest model, and so it doesn’t have a scheduler like the new ones do. They allow 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 couch, 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 censor, 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.
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. 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.
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 every other week or so, because it just doesn’t get the corners very well, and I also use the vacuum hose on my baseboards to get all the dust off.
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. Yes, the little kids are very interested in it, and sometimes they hinder how it works, but they hinder a lot of things working properly around here. Overall, this REAL MOM gives the Roomba two thumbs up, and I’m sure the newer models (although pricey) are amazing!