Roomba vacuums

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Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:35 pm

Anyone have any experience with the roomba cleaners? My house is tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. The rest of the house is hard wood floors (which get very dusty). Any Bogleheads use them and love them?
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby roymeo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:50 pm

Do you have pets?
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:52 pm

Nope, no pets. Just me
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby roymeo » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:23 pm

Then the biggest complaint (dragging cat poo all over the house) I've heard isn't a problem.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby steve roy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:26 pm

Used a roomba for some years. They work fine IF you have large areas without a lot of steps. We used it in limited parts of the house where we didn't have blocked spaces. Personally, I think an upright Hoover is more efficient. But test-drive one and see what you think.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby rjbraun » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:52 pm

I also am debating about whether to get one. Two family members own Roombas and are generally pleased with them. One drawback is that apparently maintenance is time-consuming. From what I gather every hour of vacuuming can result in up to about 1/2 hour to clean the filters, brushes or whatever stuff is involved. I suspect you can get away with less, though performance may suffer and perhaps one is reducing the life of the machine. Maybe the tradeoff between equipment lifespan and having more leisure time is worth it for some, but it's an expensive enough piece of equipment that Bogleheads may have a tough time not taking care of things.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby mike143 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:53 pm

All it can really do is sweep there is not enough battery capacity to truly vacuum your floors.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby frugaltype » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:54 pm

I had one for awhile. It was far more trouble and time to maintain it than it would have been to use a regular vacuum. The idea is good, but the machines are High Baffling Maintenance, and if they aren't just right, they can not work.

For awhile there was a yahoo group about roombas, with people posting maintenance questions and tips and hacks. Even some roomba employees participated, Then roomba shut it down and wiped it off the web, party poopers.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby wander » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:06 pm

izreel wrote:Anyone have any experience with the roomba cleaners? My house is tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. The rest of the house is hard wood floors (which get very dusty). Any Bogleheads use them and love them?

My old roomba worked fine for a year. After a few months, the battery started working for half an hour. I purchased a battery on Ebay and it worked for about one month then one of the sensors failed. I called Irobot and after about ten minute troubleshooting, a rep declared that there was nothing she could do because it was out of warranty. She talked me into buying another one with a discount price ($200). I thought it was a good deal, but it was not because the new one didn't come with virtual wall devices and battery. When the new one arrived, I used old battery but somehow the battery didn't last long with the new one and the new one acted weird: wheels were not even and kept circling at one spot. I realized I had enough with it and put it away for good.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Mudpuppy » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:49 pm

mike143 wrote:All it can really do is sweep there is not enough battery capacity to truly vacuum your floors.

While that might be true with carpets, the OP said the flooring was all hardwood and tile. The Roomba has more than enough suction power to clean those flooring surfaces.

Having pets is the biggest maintenance hassle with a Roomba. People with long hair would come a close second, particularly in bathrooms. Both these situations necessitate frequent brush cleanings, which is not an easy task (particularly with pet hair). If you do not have such hazards, the brushes can go a few cleanings without being cleaned, which simplifies the maintenance. But it's always good to check the brushes to be sure they are not dirty when you are emptying the bin, because a Roomba with dirty brushes can quickly become a Roomba with stuck and overheating brushes, which leads to a Roomba with melted brushes and gears (and a $50 bill for the replacement parts).
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby investor1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:33 am

I have owned a Roomba 560 for 4-5 years. The majority of my home is hard wood flooring, and I don't have pets.

The thing works great! I have it programmed to run a couple of times each week while I am at work. I never hear it running, and my floors are always clean.

It will stop when the dust pan gets full. Once in a blue moon, I will come home and it won't be docked. I'll think, "That's weird" and hit the Clean button. It will then instruct me to empty the dust pan. I tend to clean the brushes whenever I empty the dust pan. This happens maybe every 6-8 weeks and takes about two minutes.

I have noticed that the brushes get full of carpet quickly when run on carpet, so I usually clean them after each carpet use. Also, it isn't really powerful enough to deep clean a carpet. If you have new carpet and run this thing frequently enough, you can probably keep it clean, but you might need a real carpet cleaning every year or two.

It came with a couple of sensors that can be placed anywhere you like. The sensors have two modes: lighthouse and virtual wall. Virtual wall it exactly what it sounds like, the Roomba won't go past that point. Lighthouse mode will basically split the room into two. The Roomba will clean on one side of the sensor, then enter the other side.

The Roomba also detects when it is at the top of the stairs so it doesn't fall down.

It also has a pretty sweet suspension on it. One time I was running it when I was at home, and I had some cables on the floor. It ran into them, its suspension raised up, and it continued over the cables.

The original battery died after a few years. I noticed because my floors were dirty, so I let it run while I was home. It would run for about twenty minutes before docking itself to recharge. I bought a new battery off of Amazon, and it works great. I bought a no-name brand, so it was a decent deal.

I have also replaced the brushes. The ones that rotate out of the side broke, so I ordered new ones from Amazon. Also, the plastic peg on one of the main brushes stripped itself over time, so I bought a new set of main brushes off of Amazon too. All of this was no-name brand and a decent price.

I like the thing so much, I bought one for my sister and her husband for Christmas. They recently redid all of the flooring on the main level of their house to all hardwood or tile. They have a cat and a dog, so pet hair accumulated quickly. The Roomba took care of all of that. As long as your pets are house trained, you shouldn't have to worry about it picking up pet poop. They liked their gift so much, they ended up buying a second one for the second floor of their home. I guess they got so lazy about vacuuming, they could no longer carry the original Roomba up and down the stairs.

This is one of the best things I have ever bought.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby ec97 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:37 am

I started using a Roomba many years ago and, when it eventually broke, I replaced it with a Neato XV-11. I've loved them both. They're not as thorough as a manual vacuum but--and this was the clincher for me during my bachelor years--they are way more thorough than not vacuuming at all. And, if you're so inclined, just watching them traverse the room can provide hours of entertainment.

The Roomba, with pet hair (2 cats) required a lot of hair removal from the brush. One of the things that I liked when switching to the XV-11 was the plastic beater brush. It doesn't pick up as much hair from the carpet as the other brush, but it requires almost no hair removal from the brush... so much less maintenance for me, even if I run it three times as often. (I tried Neato's pet hair brush but abandoned that because it required cleaning again.)

So, all-in-all, I love it. For all of their imperfections, they've saved me lots of vacuuming time and, when run regularly, keep the house looking tidy longer. Either one gets a big thumbs up from me.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby madbrain » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:55 am

roymeo wrote:Then the biggest complaint (dragging cat poo all over the house) I've heard isn't a problem.


Yes, I can attest that this is unfortunately a major problem :( They really need to add a cat poo detection algorithm ... This might require some new types of sensors.
I had a cat with diarrhea once that was dragged all over the carpet. The liquid got into the Roomba unit and destroyed it.

Roombas won't do stairs.

They won't fall down the stairs, except if my cat pushes them. Yes, same cat.

Each Roomba can only do about 700 sq ft on one battery. If you have a large house, that can be a problem. We would need 7 units if we wanted to have them run all unattended.

We have 3 Roombas. 2 of them were exchanged at Costco after total failures. They have stopped carrying Roombas in the local warehouse. One of them no longer picks up anything. We have no idea why, it seems to run fine. Even with new brushes. The other 2 still works.

The units are fragile. Many parts will need replacement. You will spend time with tech support to figure out which. Then wait 10 days to receive them (from Boston to San Jose). Then when it turns out to be the wrong part, repeat the process. There are lots of parts. All user-serviceable. But while under warranty, I would much rather have the whole unit exchanged and not have to worry about doing the labor work myself. And when out-of-warranty, you will have to pay shipping each time, plus the price of parts, until you get a working Roomba again. Or until you give up. A very frustrating process.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:47 am

Thank you all very much for your input. I think I'll give one a try and see how it works. Seems it should work decent in my situation with all hard wood floors and no pets.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby frugaltype » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:17 am

It's too bad they really don't have minimal maintenance robot tools that clean the floors and dust. I'd pay a significant amount to not have to dust (or, to be more accurate, to not have to look at dusty bookcases and such.)
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby C4NT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:30 am

I purchased a iRobot Roomba 650 for my wife for Mother's day (yes I bought my wife a vacuum for Mother's day...but she LOVES it), so I only have a little more than a months experience. However, in that time we love it. We do not have steps, but have mostly tile floors with several area rugs. It rolls over area rugs easily. We have two cats and a toddler so there is a lot to vacuum. It does a very good job, not as good as our dyson of course but for a daily sweep it is excellent. We have about 1200 sq feet of main living area and it gets it all done, even going under one couch which it can fit under.

We have it programmed to run right after we leave for work, so that there aren't any hairballs or as previously mentioned wayward cat droppings laying around (we would have noticed them during our morning routine).

Would definitely recommend, but I do worry about longevity. For the price, I would like to get at least 5 years out of it..hopefully more.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:51 am

I have one and we like it. I does take a few minutes to clean it up really well after you dump the bin, but it seems to still work pretty well if you don't do too much cleaning of the device, probably depends on what's caught in the brushes but I think it will detect problems and beep like R2D2 if it's really obstructed from working.

I have one without the bin full signal, and I wish I had invested a bit more to get that. I now think it might be worth it to invest in a top of the line one with all the features. I think the features will pay off in ease of use and better performance if you use it regularly.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:56 am

tadamsmar wrote:I I wish I had invested a bit more to get that


Thanks for that info. I think I'm going to get one and ensure it has this feature.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Juntistik » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:15 am

I personally use a Neato, which navigates differently than Roombas AFAIK.

Instead of bumping into things, it scans each room and maps a path. It then vacuums each room before moving to the next. It can also return to its charging station to charge, and continue vacuuming where it left off.

I love the thing, totally worth it.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:16 am

Juntistik wrote:I personally use a Neato, which navigates differently than Roombas AFAIK.

Instead of bumping into things, it scans each room and maps a path. It then vacuums each room before moving to the next. It can also return to its charging station to charge, and continue vacuuming where it left off.

I love the thing, totally worth it.


I've never heard of the Neato. I'm going to look into it now. Thanks!
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby rsw748 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:22 am

I owned Roomba carpet cleaner in sometime 2008 for 3,4 months before returning at Costco. I do not remember the model number. I felt cleaning was a big pain and replacement parts are too expensive that time.

Now I own a house with hardwood floor in the main level, basement and carpet in the 2nd floor bedrooms. We have very heavy bedroom set, for cleaning under the bed I'm re-thinking about buying a Roomba. I hope the technology has improved now and hope for less maintenance of Roomba.

Can some one please suggest if I can use the same machine for cleaning both hardwood and carpet? OR is there a particular model I should go for this feature?
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby papiper » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:28 am

I've had a roomba for about 8 months. It's been a great purchase. It automatically adjusts from carpet to hardwood. I was concerned about it bumping into things - which it does, but it's gentle and I've seen no wear signs in any objects from it. It does a great job of going under most sofas and chairs and does the edge of the wall better than I can normally vacuum. The middle of the floor looks great, but we still use a normal vacuum sometimes in the open areas - not sure why, because the roomba seems to do fine. It has no problem with lamp cord type electrical. However the finer wires used to charge handheld video games or phones it likes to wind up, so we have to be careful they aren't on the floor.

I have a house full of long haired women, so I have to strip hair from the beater bar about every 4th use. Takes about 5 minutes - not forever, but it is a chore.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:38 am

Of you ROomba owners....which model do you recommend?
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby C4NT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:48 am

I got the iRobot Roomba 650 because it has the scheduling feature. It costs about ~$50 more than the 630, but I think it is worth it for that feature. Runs everyday at 10:00 am. In my research it seemed that the new 700 series wasn't that big of an upgrade from the 600 series. A previous poster mentioned that some models have a bin full warning, the 650 does not have this. We empty it pretty much every evening though.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby AnimalCrackers » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:01 am

We're on our second Roomba. We got them both from Costco. IIRC, they are the 550 model. I have also owned a Roomba Dirt Dog.

We love them. I think routine use (sometimes twice daily) of the Roomba is what has enabled me to stave off mentions of maid service. Seriously. I think it's money very well spent for us.

We have about 1,000 sq feet of tile and hardwood on the ground floor and about 1,000 sq feet each of carpet on the second floor and finished basement. We use the Roomba throughout, using four virtual walls and two docs for convenience. I clean it a few times a week. No pets. Two small kids.

I will definitely buy a new Roomba from Costco the day after this one dies. No question.

The Dirt Dog worked OK, but I wore it out running it exclusively in a garage that gets very dirty and sometimes muddy. No hard feelings, but I wouldn't buy it again even if it were available. We also owned a Mint and a Scooba. The Mint was OK (I didn't replace when it died), but the Roomba is better for us. The Scooba was kind of an idiot, and I had to return it.

Good self-service advice at this forum: http://www.robotreviews.com/chat/viewfo ... 2cb0aa99d4
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Stonebr » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:33 am

We had a Roomba for several years. It does a great job of weekly vacuuming, but about once every second month we did a thorough cleaning with a canister vacuum. Roomba doesn't move furniture, after all.

Where it really excels is right before you entertain. You've got a million things to do. Cleaning the house is mandatory but something you don't have time for. So you put Roomba to work. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, ours died after about two years of weekly service. Back then (don't know about nowadays) there was no way to repair. The factory didn't do it, and the only online possibility was an outfit in Florida. Cost was going to be twice the price of a new one. Since I was in one of my anti-consumerist moods, we took it to Best Buy for recycling and went back to manual vacuuming.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby caseynshan » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:39 am

frugaltype wrote:I had one for awhile. It was far more trouble and time to maintain it than it would have been to use a regular vacuum. The idea is good, but the machines are High Baffling Maintenance, and if they aren't just right, they can not work.
.


+1

Took more time to do the cleaning of the machine after each vaccuum.. (required or it stopped picking stuff up well) than it would have to just grab the regular vacuum and vacuum the house.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby jaj2276 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:53 am

We have one for our downstairs (all hardwood). We also have two labradors who shed quite a bit. This Roomba is FANTASTIC! Before we had the Roomba, little tumbleweeds of dog hard would gather around the edges of the baseboards. My wife would need to swifter every other day. Now, the Roomba does this for us and my wife just vacuums once a week.

A colleague of mine has a Roomba and he's not as excited but I think the difference is that we have the one where you can schedule. It makes all the difference since you don't have to remember to start it and you can have it work for you while you're away. The Roomba is a bit loud so scheduling it while no one is home is key.

Highly, highly recommend it. We'll probably buy a second one once we finish replacing carpet upstairs with hardwood flooring.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby C4NT » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:57 am

jaj2276 wrote: The Roomba is a bit loud so scheduling it while no one is home is key.



+1

I worked from home the other day, and it was quite annoying. Coming home and seeing the results, but not experiencing the noise is nice.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:36 pm

izreel wrote:Of you ROomba owners....which model do you recommend?

My main Roomba was originally a 530 (it also came with a free 400 model that was warranty upgraded to a 415 that I use for one bedroom). However, I've upgraded the 530 to an AeroVac bin and a 700-series brush+gear head assembly. The AeroVac bin is pretty standard on all current models and does vacuum better than the original 530 bin. The brush+gear head assembly for the 700-series has a slightly better guard against pet hair getting into the gears. That might not be a concern since you have no pets.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:10 pm

izreel wrote:Of you ROomba owners....which model do you recommend?


You can compare models on the web. The 650 is the cheapest one that can be scheduled to run on its own. The 770 has better dirt detection so it will accomplish more per battery charge, it will detect and finish particularly dirty spots, and it has full bin detection which is useful if the bin fills up before the batttery runs down and you are home to change the bin. The 780 complete a room before moving on, probably good for doing multiple rooms. The 790 seems to only add remote control features, but I am not sure.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby investor1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:18 pm

The 560:
* has the ability to set scheduled cleaning times
* it warns when the bin is full or the brushes REALLY need to be cleaned (their website does not state this, but mine did it two days ago)
* it transitions from tile/wood to carpet by adjusting the suction power
* it has a suspension
* it detects dirt and focuses on that area more
* it comes with sensors that control room to room cleaning
* it detects stairs
* it will dock itself when the battery is getting low

I haven't really kept up on my Roomba knowledge, but I think the biggest thing it didn't have that iRobot offered was a remote control. I run the thing when I'm not home, so that isn't an issue.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:36 pm

tadamsmar wrote:
izreel wrote:Of you ROomba owners....which model do you recommend?


You can compare models on the web. The 650 is the cheapest one that can be scheduled to run on its own. The 770 has better dirt detection so it will accomplish more per battery charge, it will detect and finish particularly dirty spots, and it has full bin detection which is useful if the bin fills up before the batttery runs down and you are home to change the bin. The 780 complete a room before moving on, probably good for doing multiple rooms. The 790 seems to only add remote control features, but I am not sure.


if investor1 is right then I must be wrong, maybe I miss-read the comparison chart.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby mickeyd » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:11 pm

We have been Roombaing for several year. DW runs our very clean and tidy house and is in love with that little rolling robot. What she loves I usually love too.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Jeanz » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Love my Roomba, but the house is mostly hardwood, with area rugs that go off to be washed once a year (or thereabouts). I've been through several, because they don't last forever, but I haven't found maintenance quite as time-consuming as some people have. We have lots of open space, and if I Roomba often enough the dust doesn't have a chance to collect in the corners. As for power, ours once picked up a quarter.

It's cute, too.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby roymeo » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:22 pm

I have a friend who's recently switched from a traditional Roomba to a Mint machine. Her place is all hardwoody and both she and the downstairs neighbors appreciate the quietness of the Mint cleaner--the neighbors said the Roomba sounded like a full vacuum cleaner every time it ran.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby Rob5TCP » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:29 pm

Bought one soon after they first came out. Used it several times, but became more hassle than it was worth. Last couple of years, I only bring it out when people are visiting -- as a novelty.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby yolli71 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:53 pm

Which brand or version of these vaccuums would you all recommend if we wanted it primarily to clean crumbs, food, etc. off the floor in the kitchen/eating area? We have a 3 level home and this vaccum would be used only on the main level (kitchen, breakfast/eating area, family room, and formal dining room). We have 2 small children and keeping the area clean around their high chairs and our breakfast table is very difficult. We have hardwood floors with area rugs...no carpet on this level and no pets.

We basically want the vacuum to navigate and clean under and around our breakfast table and chairs (and high chairs). I'm assuming I need to pull all the chairs out from the table for this thing to be able to move around freely? Can it pick up moist items (chewed up strawberries, bananas, small apple chunks, etc.) or are these things only made for dust, hair, and small dry crumbs?
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby papiper » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:44 pm

A roomba will clean crumbs up very well - for a dining room table set up you might have to pull the chairs back a little, but it's a pretty sneaky little guy that can navigate around most chair legs. While it does a great job with small dirt, small objects about raisin size and above it just pushes around, so if a kid drops a peanut or a cheerio, it might end up in a corner or under the fridge in the end.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby ataloss » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:04 pm

Rob5TCP wrote:Bought one soon after they first came out. Used it several times, but became more hassle than it was worth. Last couple of years, I only bring it out when people are visiting -- as a novelty.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby DTSC » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:52 pm

We have one. Very underwhelmed. Don't use it anymore. It does a so-so job on wood floors. Carpet or pets? Forget about it!
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby LazyNihilist » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:55 am

Love the Roomba. I have the 770 model. Very little maintenance required.
I set the schedule and never have to worry about it.
One of the best decisions and best 'bang for the buck'. Very happy so far. :D
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby izreel » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:48 am

Such a divide....some love and some hate. Still haven't pulled the trigger.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby mike143 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:51 am

izreel wrote:Such a divide....some love and some hate. Still haven't pulled the trigger.

Some people want to love a product. Wait 2 years after the novelty has fully worn off and the device is out of commission if they would do it again.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby tadamsmar » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:25 am

mike143 wrote:
izreel wrote:Such a divide....some love and some hate. Still haven't pulled the trigger.

Some people want to love a product. Wait 2 years after the novelty has fully worn off and the device is out of commission if they would do it again.


I am on my second one. I bought the first model shortly after it came out 10 years ago.
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby thebot » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:06 pm

I bought a Roomba about six months ago and it is a game changer. It works about as well as my Dyson with little to no effort on my behalf. No issues with broken parts as some other posters have noted; maybe some of the issues have been resolved in my unit (630). Occasionally, it will get caught on a chord or rug and turn-off; this has happened maybe 3 out of 50 times. One regret..I wish I would have bought a unit that you can program to clean (pay the extra $50).
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Re: Roomba vacuums

Postby LazyNihilist » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:00 am

thebot wrote:I bought a Roomba about six months ago and it is a game changer. It works about as well as my Dyson with little to no effort on my behalf. No issues with broken parts as some other posters have noted; maybe some of the issues have been resolved in my unit (630). Occasionally, it will get caught on a chord or rug and turn-off; this has happened maybe 3 out of 50 times. One regret..I wish I would have bought a unit that you can program to clean (pay the extra $50).


Agree with getting a programmable one. Setting the Roomba on a schedule made me so lazy, that it becomes a chore to even press a button. :mrgreen:
The only problem is Entropy, leading to the eventual heat death of the universe. [Seen on /.]
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