Review: iRobot Roomba Intelligent Floorvac Robotic Vacuum

I got my wife one of these babies for Mother's day. She had been expressing a hankering for it ever since she had seen one in an article in a magazine. As she has been good to our children this year, I decided to spring for the Roomba.

iRobot Roomba Intelligent Floorvac Robotic Vacuum

This machine is advertised to be a miracle worker. It is supposed to clean floors with only the barest of interference from we mortals. Amazingly, it lives up to its billing. Set loose on a crumb crunched floor, it will clean up the mess and vacuum the dining room in about 15 minutes. The only thing Robin needs to do is clean out the debris compartment when the thing is finished.

The Roomba works like a bristle broom/vacuum. It mostly bristles up the big stuff and vacs the dust. It's light weight makes it easy to handle, and I am certain saves the battery. Yet it is heavy duty enough to clean up your average carpet. However, it does have some difficulties with fringed rugs and the like, which get caught in the bristles. Also, it doesn't like wet stuff, like globs of rice gathered under chair legs (a frequent problem with 3 year-olds in our house).

The battery of the Roomba lasts for about three average sized rooms. One of the disadvantages of this machine is that it takes all night for it to recharge. However, this is seldom a problem, unless you plan on doing the entire house in one day. Even so, you can buy extra batteries.

I personally like the Roomba because it is far more quiet than the average vacuum. It is actually fun to watch it use its artificial intelligence to sweep a room. It has a little bumper in front, which it uses to check on obstructions. It has several modes that allow it to do a thorough, if not always efficient job (it frequently re-sweeps an area of floor several times - though I have never seen it actually miss a spot).

Its low profile and sharp turning capabilities allow it to go places your average vac is not able, under couches, beds and dressers. It even has sensors that allow it to follow walls and avoid falling down stairs. (I admit, my wife would not let me test this aspect - though I have complete confidence this machine would have stopped itself before taking a tumble into the basement.)

For me the real test is how much we use it. Here the Roomba passes with flying colors. We set the Roomba loose on average once per day. It seems to hold up to the constant use and to be an actual benefit (unlike that stationary bicycle that is stashed in the corner of the basement).

On the whole, a great machine. You can get one at


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