Roomba/iRobot/others - advice?

BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
We are thinking about getting one of those Roomba or similar type of robot vacuums and I have a few questions.

- Are they really good with cat hair?
- Do they use lots of electricity? Power is expensive here.
- I see they have Roombas for around 300~ USD as well as ones for 800~ USD. Will we regret getting the cheaper one?
- Are they able to go over small obstacles like a 1 or 2 cm tiling difference?

Thanks!

i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

Posts

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    We had a Roomba 650. Not great with pet hair - has to be picked out of the rotors on a regular basis. Got stuck easily (most mornings I would find it stuck either under the kitchen table or on the door mat.) The more expensive models are the ones that come with features like timers (so you can set it to start cleaning at the same time every day.) 1-2cm tiling difference I'd say is questionable for a Roomba.

    It also needed parts replaced several times during the warranty and then died completely pretty quickly after the warranty.

    My general advice on robotic vacuums is don't bother, they're just as much work it's just instead of quickly running a vacuum over the area you want to clean you spend the time sitting there wondering which of its many sensors have been messed up and by what debris. Cleaning the Roomba out and getting things working again was an almost daily chore.

    You can get a really nice conventional vacuum for about the same price as a cheaper Roomba and it will do a much better job, last longer and cause less frustration.

    Wezoin on
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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I've had robot vacs for probably about 7 years now, and no, it will never (ever) do as good a job as an $80 12 amp vacuum and 10-20 minutes of effort will do. But we do it so we don't have to fucking vacuum, and we've a gravel drive. It does mean I have to maintain the stupid robot vacuum.

    If you have hard surface (wood/tile) it will do a better job.

    I don't think electricity will be as much of a concern so much as it might run when you're at home and it's going to cause noise (not as much as a conventional vacuum, but it will run longer, like 3X+ longer, but power draw won't compare to a decent normal vac).

    The spinny bits will accumulate hair/string/plastic. To keep it in top condition you will have to clean out the transmission/gearing maybe every few weeks as well as the sensors. Stuff wears so you'll have to replace brushes/filters and such on a regular basis.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 1-2 cm tiling differences, but they don't well handle things like cables. A 1 cm step difference due to a threshold piece it should be able to handle.

    I don't think I would get one if I had carpeting instead of hardwoods and tile.

    I like the neatos better, but currently we have a roomba and the better half decides such things.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    I don't have quite as negative experience with Roomba but I've also owned mine for less time

    The most important thing to keep in mind about the roomba is that it's slow, loud, and surprisingly dumb for something that's supposed to be a "robot"

    So if you envision a robot vacuum cleaner that's always humming around sweeping up cat hair in the background, this is not that. It's just as irritating as a regular vacuum in terms of noise, except it takes like 45 minutes for it to work instead of 10 minutes if you just did it yourself.

    The thing is best run when you're not at home, which means you need to have a very picked-up house, because the Roomba likes to get stuck/confused/knock things over. I would say it actually does handle elevations decently... 1CM should NOT be a problem. 2CM is kinda questionable depending on the model.

    What it struggles with is things like doormats, or if you have something like floor-length curtains, don't even bother. 90% of the time my Roomba fails, it's on my patio door curtains. It's got sensors to avoid hitting things, but it's sensitivity tolerance is a little low... if you could imagine your cat running into something and knocking it over (like a delicate tall lamp or something), the Roomba will probably do the same. The sensors it has are mostly for wall avoidance/finding its way around shoes and bits of furniture, not for "not breaking things"

    It does have to be cleaned. But MOST vacuum cleaners have to be cleaned. It's not immortal. The more you maintain it the less it will break.

    my advice would be to only get one if they're on sale. They're NOT worth $600+ dollars. I got mine as a gift. If I were to buy one I wouldn't pay more than $300

  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Thank you all... Plenty of insight in such short time. This is why I love PA.

    Sounds like it's better that I invest a hundred dollars on replacing our dying vacuum and use the rest of the money that would have gone towards a robot vacuum on food and alcohol because it would drive me crazy to get back home everyday and find it stuck somewhere and the house not in order.
    Jasconius wrote: »
    if you have something like floor-length curtains, don't even bother. 90% of the time my Roomba fails, it's on my patio door curtains.

    This definitely would be a problem because every single room in our house has floor length curtains. Thanks again.

    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Get a dust buster and a vacuum. The combo helps make small clean ups less of an ordeal, since you don't have to pull out your full vac.

    I have this guy for the cat litter:
    https://www.amazon.com/BLACK-DECKER-CHV1410L-Lithium-Cordless/dp/B006LXOJC0/ref=zg_bs_510114_1

    I basically only use it for that, but it was so cheap and I can just quickly clean up the cat area every morning. If I had a bigger place, I'd probably have two of them strategically placed.

  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    Get a dust buster and a vacuum. The combo helps make small clean ups less of an ordeal, since you don't have to pull out your full vac.

    I have this guy for the cat litter:
    https://www.amazon.com/BLACK-DECKER-CHV1410L-Lithium-Cordless/dp/B006LXOJC0/ref=zg_bs_510114_1

    I basically only use it for that, but it was so cheap and I can just quickly clean up the cat area every morning. If I had a bigger place, I'd probably have two of them strategically placed.

    That's a great idea. Our cat has a few favorite spots to sleep on so this would be ideal to go around the house. Roomba wouldn't be able to jump on those anyways so I don't know what I was thinking.

    Thanks.

    i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language

  • KafkaAUKafkaAU Western AustraliaRegistered User regular
    We had a Roomba, but haven't used it since we have kids because stuff all over the floor. We recently got one of the dyson cordless stick vacuums and that is a much better investment IMO. Always available to just pull off the wall and use, don't need to plug it in, its super powerful so cleans quickly and efficiently. The only problem is I wouldn't suggest doing the whole house with it because you have to hold the trigger and it can get quite tiring. We do the whole house with a regular vacuum like once every two weeks, but for cleaning up spot cleans or a quick whip around to clean the cat hair this thing is great.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    I'm going to go against the general grain here.

    I've got a Roomba that I use to clean my upstairs areas (which are almost all carpeted) - master bedroom and kids bedrooms.

    I love it. It's loud like a vacuum, yes, but I can turn it on upstairs and leave it there and close a door and you can't even hear it downstairs (except when it's cleaning the tiled bathroom floor, which is louder). I can run it a couple of times a week and keep that "freshly vacuumed carpet" feeling pretty much in perpetuity.

    You'll want to clean out the rotors fairly often (1x weekly, I'd say), because they do pick up hair and threads, but that's true of any vacuum.

    Re: keeping the floor neat, I keep my master fairly picked up anyway, so the major issue is putting something in front of the one piece of furniture the Roomba likes to get stuck under. For the kids rooms, larger toys can be left on the floor - the Roomba will path around them - and smaller things can either be put away or, in a pinch, piled on the bed. My older son is young / old enough that cleaning up his room so that the ROBOT can clean his floor is something fun rather than a chore.

    Plus, I get to have a freakin' robot doing my housework. Which means I am totally living in the future.

    No particular experience with pet hair, but the Roomba handles the transition between the carpeted master bedroom / kids rooms and the tile bathrooms in both directions well. A 2cm vertical "cliff" will probably cause the Roomba to think it's run into something and turn around (they use IR sensors and a pressure sensor at the front of the vacuum to find obstacles), but if it's at all sloped, it should be okay.

    They run on internal batteries, which charge at the docking station but otherwise don't draw power. The docking station itself might continuously emit IR?

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  • ActiveAvocadoActiveAvocado Registered User new member
    Basar wrote: »
    We are thinking about getting one of those Roomba or similar type of robot vacuums and I have a few questions.


    - Are they really good with cat hair?
    Yes, but be sure to pick one from the 700, 800, or 900 series. They have no rotating brushes, so the hair doesn't get stuck like a traditional vacuum.


    - Do they use lots of electricity? Power is expensive here.
    The motor is much less powerful than a traditional vacuum. It is powered by a battery, afterall. So if anything it uses much less electricity than a full upright vacuum.

    - I see they have Roombas for around 300~ USD as well as ones for 800~ USD. Will we regret getting the cheaper one?
    Get a cheaper one, but not the cheapest one. After reading this guide: http://smartrobotichome.com/best-roomba-model-comparison-chart/ I ended up getting a 860, which is their "budget" recommendation.

    - Are they able to go over small obstacles like a 1 or 2 cm tiling difference?
    Yes, the wheels are quite large.



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