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iRobot Roomba 620
- usefull and easy to work with
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I could not do the cleaning without her.
It is the best present I've ever had.
By itself this is the main reason to upgrade to irobot Roomba models that do not have brushes anymore. Brushes are replaced with 2 rotating rubber cylinders called "Tangle-Free AeroForce Extractors". Product models equipped with rubber extractors cost a bit more but you will appreciate the difference when the time comes to empty the container and to clean your Roomba.
As soon as I experienced the cleaning routines of this tool for me it was a no brainer to return it and to upgrade to a model with rubber extractors.
We have nicknamed her Helin, and if nothing else she has given us terrific enjoyment with her funny ways, methods and antics. We are amazed at how much dust and dirt she collects, even after a day or two. We are working with her on a system to keep the house clean. So far, we are very pleased with it. Watch this space......
Actually he can cope, although temporary furrows do seem to get left in the carpet pile, which relax out after a while.
There's no scheduling on this thing, so you do have to remember to set it off, and it is fairly noisy. It works off a very rudimentary fuzzy logic ...find pile of dirt and circle round it. So as it criss crosses the floors in a seemingly aimless fashion it sometimes misses bits or intensely concentrates on certain rooms. Either you augment with another vacuum or bodily pick up the Roomba and shove it in another room. Eventually everything will get cleaned, and Compared to my hand vacuuming, where annoying little bits get left after you've put the vacuum away anyway, when he's done a good job, it is a VERY good job. It doesn't regularly find its dock either when it needs charging. The dock should be stuck on a solid floor (or maby a plastic mat would work, and duct taping it permanently down works best. Probably adding remote controls and the units which block doorways with an electronic beam would get around these issues. For some reason Roger always wants to get under the kitchen cupboards on every trip out.
It does require fairly intense maintenance to keep it running perfectly. The collection unit is relatively small, and should be emptied daily. We've never replaced the dust filter, just washed it, but the manufacturer suggests it only lasts 3 months. There are two bars underneath which easily come out. You need to make sure there are no bits around the bearings, and the brush bar needs a fairly intensive degunging. There is a brush iwith 3 'prongs' which needs to be unscrewed to clear the bearings of threads and a wheel that needs to be pulled out. Properly this is a weekly thing to keep the Roomba working perfectly. But it tends to get left off occasionaly and doesn't seem to cause any major harm.
Although I have tested this against a Gtech Airram and the Gtech won for dust collection, the Gtech does now struggle on the thick carpet (they aren't getting replaced as they act as floor insulation on a 30s semi).
Because the Roomba does exhaust itself for a few hours sorting out the ground floor, and needs a ritual of recharging., I don't want to carry it upstairs on a daily basis. You do have to keep an eye out for it in case it gets stuck or finds some trophy. Technically it has edge detectors which should stop it from suicidally chucking itself down the stairs, but the manual does caution against dark carpet. I'm therefore not risking it without investing into one of the beam cubes which can limit off the stairs.
So ultimately, it does require maintenance, and daily use. Counter that against vacuuming a room and then having to empty a vacuum and clean the filters. Personally as with normal vacuums, one Roomba per floor is a necessity, because of the charging time. There are plenty of spare parts available and once you get into the maintenance routine you feel fairly confident that you could sort out mechanical glitches. More expensive machines I believe have more intensive brushes, but I've not tried this. The scheduled routine might be an improvement. The extended battery models would only be necessary for much larger houses or bungalows.
Like electric toothbrushes, the Roomba is one of those things that I don't really want to live without, even though it is a luxury.
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