May 22, 2010

iRobot Roomba review

irobot-roomba-530 About 4 months ago I bought an iRobot Roomba 530 model through Woot (refurbished). Given that I’ve used it for quite a while now, I can fairly review it. For those that don’t know Roomba is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner developed and sold by iRobot (a company that does, among others, army robots). The principle is this, once started, it will vacuum an entire area by calculating a pattern and following it over and over, until each small section of your room is passed through a dozen times. It has a circular form and has one small tangential brush (smaller, used for corners, wall margins) and two others located underneath it (covering almost its entire diameter). So basically when it passes by it really cleans that region.

What I like about iRobot Roomba (530 model):

  • it does what it’s supposed to do, meaning you set it and forget about vacuuming your room
  • it really cleans the room, better actually than by doing it yourself, because it passes multiple times over the same region and with 3 sets of brushes everything gets sucked in
  • is not that noisy compared to a normal vacuum, it’s true that if you’re watching tv you’ll have to increase the volume a bit to cover it, but is fairly silent
  • it’s cleverly designed, as I watched it vacuuming in difficult places and it covers almost everything (for instance has a feature of recognizing a linear pattern, so when it discovers a wall it follows it correctly and cleans with the side brush; same for thin objects that it recognizes and circles around them cleaning the area – such as around the leg of a table)
  • it can go under your kitchen furniture (or everything that has enough space under it for roomba to fit in – needs about 8cm in height)
  • it’s easy to clean the brushes, filter as everything is created modularly, so you can easily remove the parts that get dust on
  • it automatically goes to its charging unit if it runs low on battery, or after it finishes cleaning a room
  • Roomba’s battery keeps the juice flowing enough time to clean 2-3 rooms, I’d say around 50 sq meters on a single charge (again I tested Roomba 530, and it was also refurbished, so kudos for its battery performance)

What I’m not so fond about on iRobot Roomba 530:

  • it’s true that it is designed to charge itself, however the cleaning is done manually. To be completely autonomous robotic vacuuming it should also be able to clean itself – i don’t think any of their models supports that
  • cleaning time takes a while, I’d say about 20-25 minutes per room (about 12-15 sq meters)
  • i often plug off the charging unit if I don’t use Roomba for a while, and even if it’s completely charged and enters in some sort of safe-mode, it discharges completely until you clean the next time

I’m very happy with it so that’s why the iRobot Roomba review is positive, if any of you have opinions after using Roomba for a while please share your comment with us. All I can say is that this was the best $150 I spent as a cleaning investment. If you consider buying it you can either wait for an offer from Woot (if you’re looking for refurbished Roomba’s) or you can buy it from Amazon, they have it around $190 (used): iRobot Roomba 530