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Life with the robot. How I came to love the Roomba

By johnboy 30 December 2013 52

it's coming right for me

In a desperate and forlorn effort to reduce the amount of screaming in my domestic situation I splashed out on an iRobot Roomba 630 which Costco at Majura Park is flogging for $500.

While the shouting has only intensified the floors, with very very little effort, are now spotless despite living with shedding dogs.

So I thought there was some value in sharing my thoughts.

roomba on the tiles

On arrival you take the big disk out of the box, put it on its docking station and wait for it to charge. This is something of an anticlimax.

Eventually the charge light turned green, the clean button was pressed and the magic began.

Beeping like a reversing truck the Roomba backed out from its docking station, turned around, and started trundling over the floor.

The dogs were initially alarmed, but after a bit of woofing settled down to watch it warily from the commanding heights of the couch.

After half an hour I interrupted it to check its dustbin and it was jam packed. Emptying it into the bin is a simple task and it was soon back on its way.

Despite having given the house a solid manual vacuuming earlier in the day it kept finding more and more, and more, mess to hoover up.

dustbin

It trundles around for an hour or so, gets itself into all the rooms, generally manages not to get tangled up in anything, and then backs itself into its docking station to charge.

At the touch of a button (and an emptying of the bin) the house is getting a daily vacuuming which otherwise it just wouldn’t get.

After the initial cleanup it generally comes back with its bin 3/4 full.

Vacuum snobs claim it isn’t as good as a committed human putting an hour in with a top of the line Dyson.

But I don’t have an hour a day, nor a top line dyson, and I was never that committed.

roomba

It does take a bit of getting used to.

Finding where it gets stuck (trying to get under cabinets mostly) and sticking a dog bed in the way or deploying the included virtual wall to steer it clear will take a little bit of trial and error.

But after a few weeks it now makes it around the house and back to its dock with a load of cleaned up mess nine times out of ten.

roomba

The random paths take it around the house eventually, but it won’t clean methodically room by room, so you’ll need to repress your command and control instincts.

The spot clean function in particular is worthy of note though for going over carpet cleaner. Drop the roomba on the spot, hit the spot button, watch it work its way around in a thorough spiral.

If you want to live in a house that’s been vacuumed (and particularly if your home is single level) but don’t want to be doing the vacuuming, then I really can’t recommend it enough.

Welcome to the future.

What’s Your opinion?


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52 Responses to
Life with the robot. How I came to love the Roomba
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Eaglehawk 11:25 am 01 Jan 14

I’ve had a Roomba 577 for almost 5 years. Yes, it’s not a true “vacuum” replacement. It does the equivalent of a broom. But that’s fine for the hardwood/tile that is my home, no carpet ftw!

What many people don’t know, it seems that despite the generation changes over the years, you can use the “latest” generation brush mechanism in old models. I’ve currently got the 780 brush set in my 577. Yes, it does miss out on any software upgrades, and in my case, the HEPA filter of the latest models. But it did make the brush set so much easier to clean, and less tangle in the motor areas. eBay is your friend. I’ve only replaced the battery once, but the brush set at least every 2 years.

Waiting for the Scooba to be available readily, but the 230 model, not the 390 that Australia seems to be stuck with.

Postalgeek 10:48 pm 31 Dec 13

poetix said :

JB, are you riding it with the Skywhale hat on?

From the sound of it that’s all he’s wearing on his Roomba.

EvanJames 10:36 pm 31 Dec 13

teddyhb said :

We have one of the samsung ones, basically it was the same price as the cheap roomba but had a scheduling function. Works great. Its pretty quiet too, you can watch TV when its vacuuming in the same room without having to turn the volume up.

Unless you put a cat on it.

Anna Key 6:05 pm 31 Dec 13

EvanJames said :

And you can have endless fun if you have pets that interact with, or even ride, the roomba.

Not to mention stoned housemates

poetix 6:00 pm 31 Dec 13

JB, are you riding it with the Skywhale hat on?

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