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iRobot Roomba 871 Vacuum Cleaning Robot, Black
- Vacuums in its own using iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology
- Automatically charges itself between cleanings
- 35,3cm X35,3cm X9,2cm
- Navigates under and around furniture and through loose cords without damaging household objects
- Avoids stairs and other drop-offs
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iRobot Roomba 871 is the ultimate high performance robot vacuum cleaner. Featuring the revolutionary new Aero Force Performance Cleaning System and Aero Force Extractors, it’s proven to remove up to 50% more dirt, dust, hair and debris from all floor types with less maintenance hassle. Vacuuming couldn’t be easier than with Roomba 871. Just press “Clean” and Roomba gets on with the hard work. It finds its way around effortlessly, avoids obstacles, vacuums under furnishings and effectively cleans every area, covering the floor multiple times and focusing extra cleaning energy where it’s needed most. Roomba 871 is ideal for allergy sufferers and pet owners and it’s also virtually maintenance-free. You don’t even need to be at home to do the cleaning! Simply set up the schedule and you can go out and do far more enjoyable things, then come home to beautifully clean floors.
Home Base, Auto Virtual Wall Barrier, Remote Control, Extra HEPA Filter, iRobot XLife extended Life Battery, iRobot Roomba 871
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I own actually 3 robots from IRobot (this one – Roomba 870/871 – Roomba 620 and Braava 380) and they have made my life waaaay more simple.
I’ve bought the Roomba 871 in September 2015 and in these 18 months have had no problem with it at all. The Roomba 870 is exactly identical to the 871 model, being the number difference due to market regulations and also accessories that come with the robot.
To the facts:
Height: 8 cm (3.15 inches) except where it’s got a taller sensor (10 cm or 3.94 inches)
Size: diameter 35 cm (13.8 inches)
Weight: 3.8 Kg (8.4 pounds)
Noise during operation: 60 dB at 1 meter distance (3 feet) – what that means?! A normal vacuum cleaner is almost double as loud and a normal conversation at home is sort of half the noise.
The product was delivered very well packed. The box contained the robot itself, instructions (including an online manual in many languages), warranty (it states an ONE year warranty, but by law every product bought in EU has a legal warranty of TWO years, so, no worries about that) and one virtual wall (more on that later).
The robot is very easy to use. Simply charge it (first charge must be a long one, ideally 12 hours), place its base in a nice spot connected to the plug (110v or 220v) and push the central button (labeled “clean”). It will start moving in an erratic movement throughout your house – ideally you should limit it to a specific room (more on that later). Although it seems that it is moving crazily and that it will not clean every spot, it will clean every spot in that room, except those where it doesn’t fit (under sofas and so on), including rugs, carpets and so on. You should take care with fragile stuff and also with recipients with water or other liquids (attention animal owners: there’s an especial device to avoid this problem with your pets drinking cup, but it does NOT work with this model). During its normal operation, the robot moves in a slow speed and avoids most obstacles, but if you have dark furniture or any very dark object, it will give this object a bump once in a while. Be warned. My experience having very dark furniture is that it bumps a lot in my chairs legs, but so far I’ve not noticed any damage to any furniture – and I use it every single day! After a long time, you will see the robot moving around the edges of the room, which signals that it’s very close to finishing the cleaning cycle. After a while (it may take up to one hour depending on the room area), it will start flashing a “dock” light and will start trying to find its base – which should be clear of any stuff in the one meter (3 feet) straight line ahead, otherwise it will not dock and will drift until it runs out of energy. After docking by itself, the robot will start immediately to recharge and will be ready to have another round in half an hour or so. This is the most basic use of the Roomba – as a matter of fact, it’s the same for every single model, not just this one.
What else can it do? Well, there are other possibilities to use it too:
1) You can program it to start by itself in timer mode selecting which day(s), hour and minute it will start by its own and sweep you room (take a look at my video to learn how to do it). That’s my preferred way to using it. I programmed it to start cleaning at 6 a.m. in my living room (remember to close the doors!) so when we are up at around 7 a.m. everything is cleaned. Programming is very simple and can be done in one of 16 languages!).
2) Spot mode. When you have a spot (with at most 1 meter [3 feet] diameter) that needs to be cleaned (something fell or after a lunch in the carpet where bread crumbs fell around), instead of doing a general clean, there’s the option to put the robot in the center of the circle you want to be cleaned and just press the “spot” button. It will sweep that area TWICE and will clean it very efficiently in my experience.
3) Manual mode. If you buy an optional remote controller from IRobot (take a look at my review there to find out more about this device), you’ll be able to remote control your device from a few meters distance (in my experience, around 2 meters or 6 feet). By doing so, you’ll be able to clean any place in your house that you wish, especially those not fit to a round clean (as done by the spot mode). Very useful.
It’s worth to mention that the robot has a feature that detects places that are dirtier than the “average” and, hence, it will clean this place many times in a row, moving back and forth for 5 to 10 times. It works well IF you have the sensor inside the robot clean. If not, it’ll “find” many places too dirty and after a few times it will give up, will keep the blue light on and will skip this program entirely.
As mentioned, you should NOT let it clean more than one room at a time, because it will do a lousy job in this case. As I researched the matter, it seems that when drifting insanely through a room, these robots make a “map” of the place in their memories, so it will know where to go and how many times to sweep the place. If you let it move to another room, this map gets corrupted and nothing works correctly from then. The best way to avoid it from drifting through all your house or apartment is by closing all doors and not letting it escape the room originally intended to be cleaned. But if that’s not possible, the virtual wall that comes with the device may be very useful – in fact, I found it so very useful that I bought a few more (an, of course, reviewed it! Take a look at my review there to find out more about this device). It works with 2 C batteries – which last a LONG time – and it works just like a natural wall, but for just around 1,5 meters (around 7 to 8 feet) in a straight line. When sensing this virtual wall, the robot will either bounce in another direction or, as if it were a natural wall, will clean its edges all along its length.
If it detects a stairway or something alike, it will not fall, because it’s got sensors to prevent it (remember: keep them clean! More about that later).
One should be mindful of loose wires around the places the robot will clean. It’s got an anti-tangling mode that works 90% of the time, but occasionally it gets tangled and stops working – it’s easy to untangle it, but it’s a pain not to have the service done because of something preventable.
If you need to have more than one room cleaned, you should do it in 2 steps or buy the newer model (Roomba 980), which can clean an entire house in many steps if needed (recharging in between), but it works with another “map generator”, more like the Braava (take a look at my review of the Braava to learn more about this device).
What happens when it fails to clean for any reason? Well, then it informs you about that by SAYING out loud an error message (in one of the 16 languages mentioned above) and flashing a light a certain number of times – you’ll have to consult your manual to sort it out.
It’s got 3 useful light signals: To the left of the “clean” button is the blue light that signals one the robot finds a very dirty spot and, as long it is in the hard working mode, it will stay on; to the right of the clean button, there’s another blue light that flashes when in untangling mode; towards the end of the robot, near the trash bin, there’s a red LED that flashes when the bin is full – and won’t stop until it’s emptied.
How about maintenance? It’s not that hard, and you’ll need just a simple screwdriver. I recommend that you clean it once a week (look at my video to see how to clean all parts of this device). If you have cats or dogs, perhaps you should clean more frequently, because it’s impressive how much hair it catches (my wife has a very long hair, so it cloughs its internal moving parts frequently – I guess that the same would happen with dog or cat hair). Every 6 mouths, I recommend changing the internal moving parts (2 rolls called “extractors”) and the spinning side brush. Every 3 or 4 months or so, I recommend changing the EPA filter – more frequently if you have dogs or cats or if anybody in your household has asthma or other respiratory diseases.
Now that you know how it works, let’s see if this is the right robot FOR YOU.
In my opinion, this is a very nice cleaning device for houses or apartments with a mix of hard floor (wood, concrete and so on) and carpet or rug. It will clean them all very well. We used to vacuum clean our living room rugs every 2 days and sweep it all every day. The first time we “let the robot loose” our jaws fell with the ENORMOUS AMOUNT of dirt it swept from our rugs. As a matter of fact, we had to clean its container TWICE before we could let it return to base. It was mind opening to see how much stuff remained in the rugs even after vacuum cleaning AND sweeping. And we don’t have dogs or cats, just 3 humans in a house. Highly recommended. But, do you need to buy one that’s so expensive? That depends on what you expect to do with them. Since I also own a much simpler device, IRobot Roomba 620, I can give my opinion on that. They both clean very well, but the 620 takes at least twice the time to do the same job the 871 does; the 620 is at least twice as louder as the 871 (I can keep my work with the 871 cleaning around me, but NOT with the 620 – which is very annoying); the 620 and other ancient models don’t have a programming option, so all you can do is simple press the button and have it clean a place – which is enough for the majority of people, by the way. The 620 has no anti-tangle programming, so it WILL tangle in every single shred it finds laying around, while the 871 will avoid that problem 90% of the time or even more. The 871 is a very beautiful device, and since it is always in my living room, it makes a much better “looks” than the 620.
If, on the other hand, you house or apartment have only hard floor, you have two options. Either this robot, which works just fine in hard floor too, or the Braava, which can do dry or wet cleaning (more on that on my review of that device). You’d be well with either solution.
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Expectations: do not expect Roomba to replace your Kirby or Rainbow, it does not replace any standard vacuum and you will still need to do it as you always did time-to-time, but Roomba is great in keeping it clean for longer! Yeah, that is its role: continuous maintenance to keep your sweating-work looking good for longer.
Numbers for reference: it would be ideal to vacuum home twice a week (while actually doing once- a week), now Roomba keeps it really great for manual-vacuum every other week, or even once a month if fine with hidden dirty areas Roomba is unable to reach.
I am surprised to see how well it handles hairs, not creating a disgusting roll of hairs around the brushes (of course talking about the particular extractors used from 8* models only, "tangle-free brushless" as they describe);
I am surprised to see how well it gets rid of the trouble it puts itself in, specially when going over loose cords and unstuck itself;
I am surprised to see how well it cleans the carpets (again, read expectations above, but far better than my expectations with carpets)
I am a bit frustrated to see its path pattern, which I would call random while iRobot says there is some kind of logic.
Practical result of that "logic" is that it often cleans 3x a particular spot and leaves dirty another.
How relevant is that? Still unsure at this moment, seems like its dislexia drives it to clean 3x what was left behind previously and leaves uncleaned a different spot (again, I do not think there is any logic in doing that, seems random to me, and as random there might be times it will clean it all at once) => I do not like that but it does not seem to impact the longer-term result considering that Roomba will work often so average along the days is that everything gets clean, I think.
I am frustrated to see that it is unable to vacuum my black carpets. Why don't iRobot clearly state that? It is VERY relevant!
Be aware: Roomba sensors mistakenly consider black carpets (and probably any black floor) as a potential drop-off.
To show how critical it is: on a patchwork carpet, Roomba cleans everything but the black sections, it absolutely avoid the black patches and just surrounds them. You may reconsider getting any Roomba IF to mainly vacuum black surfaces, it would be wasting money... OR you may cover Roomba sensors and live with the risk of falling down the stairs or any other drop-off that may bring it to early death. (I have stairs, I need those sensors).
It comes with a virtual wall, though some reviews on internet state the 871 does not have any.