Do Roombas really work or do they just SUCK?

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There’s little doubt that iRobot’s Roomba vacuum robot is a very cool device. They trundle around your home doing the work we are just too busy (or lazy) to do ourselves, but the question on everyone’s lips is do Roombas really work?

Best vacuum cleaner animal hair - Roomba 980

What is a Roomba?

A Roomba is a compact, computerized version of a conventional vacuum cleaner that picks up dirt with its spinning brushes and a vacuum.

They are made by the iRobot Corporation of Burlington, Mass. The company is also known for creating the “CoWorker telepresence robot” & the “PakBot” for the military.

The Roomba is one of the most popular robotic vacuums today and was intended to be an affordable smart vacuuming device for the home. Click here to see the top Roombas on Amazon.

Do roombas work

The Roomba was developed in MIT’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab and has an onboard NiMH rechargeable battery, a removable filter, and a smart navigation system that tells the robot to turn corners it can find its way around obstacles and avoid falling off any ledges.

Roombas have side-mounted brushes that push the dirt under the unit and then two more rotating brushes pick up the dirt and send it into the powerful vacuum, which then stores the dirt in a little bin.

Unlike conventional upright cleaners, a Roomba moves around the house on its two large tractor-looking wheels. Each of the wheels is driven by a separate motor which means that they can spin in opposing directions enabling the little Roomba to spin 360 degrees to clean every part of your crib.

The circular-shaped robotic cleaner is about a foot in diameter and is just three inches tall. It has become very popular because it can maneuver and clean under objects such as beds and coffee tables.

The Roomba has one mission in life and that is to do all the hard work so you don’t have to. This allows you to enjoy other activities while your “robot slave” cleans the floors.

Which is the best Roomba?

iRobot has a reputation for continually developing new technology which makes every model release incredibly interesting.

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iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for...

Last update was on: March 24, 2023 9:36 pm

The company is not too proud to adopt features from other top-rated robot vacuums so if you see a new function on another vacuum bot, you can expect to see the same feature on new iRobot vacuum cleaners. Because of this, Roombas are dominating the robotic vacuum market and right now, the Roomba with the most features and functions is the Roomba 981.

The Roomba 981 is equipped with iAdapt2.0 navigation technology and AeroForce cleaning technology. The Roomba 981 is very clever in that it uses optical and acoustic sensors to find the dirtiest parts of the floor and then it decides where to go and which cleaning pattern to use for the particular situation.

This top-of-the-line Roomba comes with an onboard camera that allows it to create a map of your home for its database. It’s fun to view the map on the mobile app to visually check that your robot vac has cleaned the entire floor.

Fans of the Roomba love the “entire-level cleaning function” which means that your cleaning buddy can find its way back to the charging dock and when fully charged, it resumes cleaning from where it left off.

The runtime of the Roomba 981 is one of the main reasons it is the best robotic vacuum in 2021. One full charge can provide enough power for two hours of cleaning (which is double the running time for the Roomba 614 & Roomba 890.)

The Roomba 981 connects by Wi-Fi so you can control it from your smartphone. You can also change cleaning preferences such as power settings, edge cleaning, and how many passes it should make. Tech fans will also be pleased to hear that you can even use voice commands to order the little cleaning robot around your home!

The 981 is the best Roomba for homes with carpets. It features a “carpet boost mode”, which doubles the suction power. Compared to the Roomba 614, the Roomba 981 delivers about 10 times more suction when the carpet boost is turned on.

Do Roombas work well

The Roomba 981 is one of the top robot vacuums that money can buy and is the best choice for folks with larger homes. Just start or schedule a cleaning session and then forget all about it while you put your feet up. It delivers the most efficient cleaning even on hard or carpeted floors and is the best Roomba available today!

Do Roombas work?

In short, the answer to the question is “yes!” but it is not perfect and does have some minor limitations.

For the vast majority of homes with hardwood floors and carpets/rugs, the Roomba does a fantastic job picking up dirt and pet hair. It zigzags through your home devouring dirt and dust from every nook and cranny while you go to work or walk the dog.

While the Roomba 981 is very good, for most people, it isn’t a replacement for a conventional vacuum cleaner or even a strong dustbuster. Occasionally, the Roomba will miss a tiny amount of dirt in the corners of the room and is not suitable for vacuuming stairs, curtains, sofas, etc.

Most people that own a Roomba have a backup vacuum (either a conventional upright vacuum or a good quality dust-buster). Most folks use their Roomba every day or every other day and then once or twice a month, they go through the house with their conventional vacuum to ensure that no spots are missed.

Do I need a Roomba?

If you live in a home with lots of pet hair or your house gathers a lot of dirt despite your efforts to keep it clean, a Roomba could be just what you need to “take up the slack.”

While we wouldn’t recommend anyone to replace their upright vacuum in favor of a Roomba, it is a fantastic cleaning device that can save you a lot of time and energy when used in conjunction with a classic upright vacuum or dustbuster.

If you live in a house with entirely wooden floors, the Roomba comes into its own. Whereas before you couldn’t walk around your own house without socks on because of the dirt, with a Roomba doing its thing, your floors will be much cleaner and you will be able to walk around barefoot without getting dirty feet.

What are the cons of owning a Roomba?

Vacuuming robot Roomba 780

The Roomba won’t clean 100% (but it comes pretty darn close). It has no problem with things like pet hair, sand, dust, and dirt, but the robot vacuum isn’t quite so good at grabbing. Occasionally, it misses a piece of cloth, lint, or things like feathers.

Sometimes, the unit will also miss things that are sold and round (like a marble or Skittle candy). If the Roomba encounters such an object and hits it in a certain way, it can sometimes push the objects around the room (especially on hardwood floors).

Another downside of owning a Roomba is the increased care and maintenance that is required. The cleaning brushes must be cleaned in a process that often involves a screwdriver. Luckily, the Roomba 981 comes with everything that you need for maintaining your vacuuming robot.

Frequently asked questions

Can a robot vacuum replace a traditional vacuum cleaner?

In most cases, not quite. Even the best robotic vacuum cleaners don’t have all the functions that top-of-the-range traditional upright vacuums usually have.

Where they do excel is that they will run as long as the battery has power and they are great at keeping your floors clean on a day-to-day basis.

By owning a robotic vacuum, you will save wear and tear on your traditional vacuum cleaner and most owners agree that owning one saves heaps of time and makes boring cleaning tasks a heck of a lot easier!

While robot vacuums are a great solution for regular floor maintenance, you will still require an upright vacuum for a deeper clean about every 2-4 weeks (depending on how grubby your home gets).

And it goes without saying, that robot vacs can’t climb stairs or remove dust from shelves, ornaments, or car interiors.

Which robotic vacuum is best for pet hair?

Best vacuum cleaner animal hair - Roomba 980

Pet owners will tell you that they vacuum two or three times more often than folks that don’t keep animals in their homes. This is because dog and cat hair can be a real problem – even more so for sufferers of allergies.

Yet again, the best solution for animal lovers is the Alexa-enabled & Wi-Fi-connected iRobot Roomba 981.

The 981 has tangle-free brushes which means that you don’t have to spend time cleaning the device, as is the case with most other models.

Another reason why the Roomba 981 is a great choice for pet owners is the omnidirectional virtual walls feature. This means that when using the Halo Mode, the vacuum has a no-go zone (measuring four feet in diameter) which ensures that the unit doesn’t go near your pet’s food/water bowls and more importantly the animal’s litter box.

How does a Roomba work?

Roombas use something called a “piezoelectric sensor” as a kind of dirt detector. When a Roomba sees particles of dirt, they activate sensors in the vacuum.

Roomba’s manufacturers (iRobot Corporation) describe their machines as “vacuum cleaning robots”. They act in a similar way to the industrial robots used in factories. They follow some preprogrammed instructions, but they also utilize some built-in “intelligence”.

The cheaper Roombas use a random pattern to clean the floor. They change direction obstacles are sensed with infrared sensors. More expensive models learn your floor plan over time and have more intelligent methods of cleaning your floors.

Do Roombas work on carpets?

Overall, robot vacuums are usually not quite as effective as traditional vacuum cleaners. This is mainly dues to their smaller size and obviously smaller motors.

Regarding carpet cleaning, most robotic vacuums have plenty of suction power to clean large particles. Cheaper models have a reputation for missing finer dust and pet hair that is very deeply embedded in dense carpets.

Our conclusion

If your crib accumulates lots of dust, dirt, or pet hair, a Roomba is well worth the expense but don’t expect it to be a replacement for your upright vacuum.

Do Roombas work

It’s worth bearing in mind the huge amount of time you can save with a robot vacuum. As the saying goes “Time is money!” so why not just program your bot to clean your house every day freeing you up to do something more productive.

In the case of homes with working parents, a robot vacuum couple be a cheaper alternative than hiring a human cleaner to do the same job! Over a year, the amount of cash you will save will easily pay for your Roomba (and it doesn’t take days off either!!!)

We are all busier than ever before so it’s no surprise that these devices are becoming so popular and if you consider that you could save one or two hours each week, the price tag doesn’t seem quite so high!!!

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Last update was on: March 24, 2023 9:36 pm

Our featured images are Hi-tech robot vacuum cleaner Flickr photo kindly supplied by Mark H. Evans shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license and By Boz1200 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to learn about the quietest robot vacuums from our tech section.

Everyday Ape