I got the opportunity last week to try out the latest model and being terribly lazy, I greeted the offer of a cleaning droid with an enthusiastic yes.
Here’s how I got on.
iRobot Roomba Review
If you’re not already familiar with the concept of the Roomba (available from Amazon, John Lewis or eBay), it’s basically a flat, round vacuum cleaner that cleans your carpet without any input from you.
You can schedule it to start cleaning at a certain time (say 11am when you’re at work), or just hit the clean button, and it’ll scoot around your room in a (apparently) haphazard fashion.
It’s a complementary product, so it won’t replace your standard vacuum. It’s sort of a maintenance product, to keep you going for a few weeks between proper cleaning days. iRobot, the bods behind the Roomba, claim it’s like a microwave, designed to work alongside, but not replace, your oven.
Wins points for:
- Hoovering. It’s pretty efficient at picking up most of the bits around your carpet, particularly dog and human hair. And all those clever little sensors inside it mean it can navigate around, and occasionally under, the nooks and crannies of your room. Ooh, and it has a ‘dirt detection’ sensor, so if it finds a really dusty patch it spends a little longer on it.
- When it’s finished, or it’s low on battery, it finds its way back to its charging dock. Marvellous.
- Scheduling. I love this function, and can see it being brilliant for those who want to come home to a clean home.
Loses points for:
- It’s not quite as quiet as it likes to make out in the instructions, but then it’s probably slightly quieter than a standard vacuum cleaner.
- I have heard various scare stories about it breaking down/dying within a year or two of owning it. In my experience most vacuums don’t live much longer than that anyway, but it’s more noticeable when you’re paid £279.99 for it.
- You’ll need to clear away any cables/wires/scarves, if you don’t fancy that moment of panic when you see it eating its way up the dangling offender. As I tend to have far too many wires in my room, I stay in the room when it’s cleaning. It does have anti-tangle technology, though, so I doubt it would cause any big problems if it got caught up.
I rather like it. It’s charming, efficient, fits in with a busy lifestyle and leaves me with more time to fart around with other chores/paint my nails. If it wasn’t for the pricetag, I’d already have ordered one.
Four alternative uses for the Roomba
Roomba aren’t just for cleaning y’know….
- Play Roomba Buckaroo. See who can pile the most on the top, without it all falling off.
- Save vital energy by getting the Roomba to transport your dinner/remote controller/Sex on The Beach cocktail across the room. It might take a while, and the majority of its cargo might be redistributed across your newly cleaned carpet, but it’s easier than actually getting up.
- Amusing the dog for half an hour. Also, small children.
- Recreate Pac-Man.