March 28, 2007

Robot That works

Roomba take four...We are now on our fourth model of Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner. Roomba is quirky and wonderful for our family, so far I must say this is the best one we have had. Roomba is not for everyone, he does not really get everything clean the way say a Dyson would - but he does get it done better than never doing it, which is an improvement for many.

The new Roomba we have - the Roomba Scheduler offers some major improvements and updates from the previous models that really are quite nice. The name says it all - you can program and schedule Roomba to clean for you - no joke. We left on Monday for our day at the park and returned to a nearly fully vaccumed living room and kitchen. Yes now you no longer need to remember to push the button to vacuum - once programmed Roomba will head off her base, vacuum, and return to base for charging. Very nice.

The second added feature is no more screwdrivers or tools required, period. The battery compartment on the walls even opens and closes without tools as does the brush compartments. This makes Roomba much more user friendly and enjoyable, a simple upgrade that makes a world of difference.

Additional new features: Roomba ships with extra brushes, cleaning tool and filter. The remote is actually useful and worthwhile and no longer are the clunky and unuseful wall mounts included. This model includes a light to indicate when your bin is full and requires emptying and it seems a bit quieter and larger. Overall these were much needed updates that really increase the user friendliness of Roomba.

We love Roomba and especially during muddy season where I can not keep up with the mud, dirt, rocks and everything else dragged in at a moments notice all day long. It is also shedding season for our two Aussies! Now our floors are vacummed/swept every day and I hardly do anything at all to accomplish this.

I recommend Roomba with hesitation though. The quirks and requirements of Roomba are not for everyone especially families with small kids. Your floors have to be really picked up - no wires, toys, or other odds and ends that Roomba can get stuck on. You have to accept and understand that Roomba takes a long time to vacuum a room (still Roomba does not take any of your time to do so) and follows strange unpredictable patterns (though after so many years - they are kind of predictable and understandable to me), Roomba does not vacuum to the depth of other traditional vacuum cleaners. I have no doubt if I ran a Dyson over my newly cleaned Roomba room Dyson would have more to pick up. Still my floors are cleaner than they would be with a Dyson because the Dyson requires me to use it every day - which simply would never happen.

Lastly Roomba breaks down, sometimes for no explainable reason simply stops working or spins in circles and does nothing else. To alleviate this concern I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you only purchase Roomba products through Hammacher Schlemmer or another store with excellent warranty and return policy. We have returned and exchanged models with no hassle whatsoever, where others who have purchased from say Target or Amazon have very different opinions - the extra money upfront is 100% worth it - buy from a place that will replace it if it breaks, because chances are high it might. Even with all the returns we have done over the years I love it and missed Roomba for the few months we went without him. Still there is nothing quite like coming home from a walk with the kids or sitting downstairs doing school while your robot is taking care of your floors. Meet the Jetsons....

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