on 23 February 2012
**PLEASE READ FINAL UPDATE**
Only had this for a day, but I can already see it making life and tidying up A LOT easier.
I waited in today eagerly awaiting delivery of this little gem, as soon as it arrived I set it up (an easy process using the 'Quick Start Guide'). We live in a 2 bedroom flat and we have a cat that is constantly molting - so inevitably we usually have to hoover quite regularly. But you know what its like, you just leave it till someones coming.
What do you get?
- The Roomba 780 itself
- Spare brushes
- Replacement HEPA filters
- 2 virtual wall / lighthouses, to help it navigate your house
- Remote control
We bought this so we could schedule it to clean everyday while we are out at work and come back to clear floors. Once it was charged we set it off to do its job. It did a really great job of picking up the dirt and dust, however I noticed it doesn't pick EVERY cat hair up - but it picks up most on one outing. But because of the random nature of cleaning pattern, if you have this scheduled to vacuum regularly, over the course of a week it will pick it all up.
Its a little bit of a pain that you don't get any batteries in the package for the lighthouses or the remote control, seems a bit stingy considering what you are shelling out for the vacuum.
Another small niggle is the dustbin is quite small - I reckon it will need emptying every 2 outings in a flat of our size. If you have a larger house you may have to look at emptying it daily (its a 1 minute job though).
It won't fully eliminate the need for a vacuum - but with this all you would need is a handheld instead of an upright for doing stairs or the sofas etc.
These things don't affect my 5 star rating though as they really are minor in comparison to how much time this will save.
Any questions - just comment and I will get back!
*UPDATE AFTER A FEW DAYS*
We had a few issues with making sure the Roomba would successfully dock every time. Sometimes he would, sometimes he would find himself stranded and run till the battery was flat. We originally split the flat into 3 equally sized sections, which meant the lighthouses were in opposite ends of the hall. We figured out that if we place the lighthouses at the door of the room the Roomba begins in, and treat this as Zone 1, then split the rest of the house into 2 larger but equal zones using the other lighthouse then Roomba can successfully find his way back. Also, when choosing which side of the doorway to put the lighthouse, make sure you choose the side where the beams fire into more open space.
Cleaning and maintaining the Roomba is easy enough - using the tools provided its easy to remove any tangled hairs.
I would also suggest making sure you set the schedule, because you will get nothing done if you do it while you are around. I find myself endlessly watching it do its thing...
Just realised I am now referring to it as a 'him'. How tragic.
Just weeks out of warranty our Roomba 780 a common fault. The cleaning head needed unit need to be entirely replaced. iRobot's customer service was shocking. They were able to identify the error over the phone and gave instructions on how to clean the parts. Once I identified the problem for them and they realsied I was out of warranty there was no gesture of good will to send the part for free. They stated "if we don't draw the line somewhere then where do we stop?". No amount of explaining that I don't expect a £500+ item to need parts replaced at just over 1 year old would change their minds. The part cost £52 to be shipped to our address.
When searching the web I found that it's quite common this part will fail either within the warranty period or just after, so that's something to be aware of. Without the part the Roomba is rendered useless.
Amazon paid for the replacement part so cannot fault Amazons service yet again.
**REVIEW REDUCED FROM FIVE TO THREE STARS**
on 25 October 2014
I purchased mine from Lakeland about eighteen months to two years ago. (Sorry Amazon)
I was going to get a Dyson because I am asthmatic and needed HEPA filters but Dyson are also quite expensive and as I'm not very interested in vacuuming it was very hard to get enthusiastic.
So after much review reviewing, here was a vacuum cleaner for people who don't like vacuuming. With HEPA filters. Plus funny cat videos on YouTube.
I was suspicious, but entranced.
First you do have to Roomba proof your home. Tidy trailing wires away, slightly block up some things you want it to clean under and remember to shift any really fluffy or long fringed rugs out of its reach before its programmed cleaning time. Which I understand does all sound like work but it stops your Wi Fi getting disconnected or your land line phone hitting the floor or your rug fringes getting ingested and so on.
It is for the most part (fringed rugs aside) a one time time investment and nothing like the repeated amount of uninteresting work involved in actually vacuuming yourself.
Roomba is a bit of a Dalek and does not do stairs. Or pick up smalls (it will herd them discretely into obscure corners under the bed though so at least unexpected guests are unlikely to notice them) and has a lamentable tendency to eat any crucially important papers left on the floor but is a lot, lot better than hoovering yourself and does impose a degree of floor level discipline on the chronically untidy.
If I was rich I would have two so I didn't have to bother to carry it up the stairs to do the bedroom.
You do have to clean it out though, it is only little, and in doing so you realize just how much stuff it picks up. And retrieve some useful small items you thought you'd lost forever.
I found compressed air canisters for cleaning computers were very handy in extensively prolonging the working life of the HEPA filters.
Sometimes Roomba stops and wails, in a slightly disturbing American computer from "Star Trek" accent, to tell you what its problem is. Generally it has got boxed in, or eaten a piece of string or something: "Move Roomba to a new location"...
Don't leave string on the floor. The suffering of the Roomba is sad to see and you have to disentangle the rollers.
I thought once that through thoughtless string discarding I had killed it, so badly was it tangled up, and I felt terrible, much as if I had discarded fishing line and some poor swan or dolphin got trapped and hurt.
However once carefully disentangled and released back into the wild, Roomba trundled off again manfully and completed its task for the day without further complaint.
Sometimes it seems to clean every single bit of the room except the bit where the bits are and I have to pick it up and move it, or attempt to remote control it, over to the right spot, and sometimes it does an impeccable job all by itself. Sometimes it persists in affectionately chasing me into the kitchen, which doesn't generally need vacuuming, and I try and remember to buy batteries for the towers that pen it in but mostly just try not to step on it as it bumbles cheerfully about my ankles.
All in all I have found it worth every penny and I now rely on it. About once every two or three months I get the old, old vacuum cleaner out and do the stairs and the odd corner "Scooby" cannot reach, and this makes me ever more grateful for "Scooby", which lives under the sofa in the living room and does all the rest.
I made sure when I bought it that there was a very good returns policy because I was suspicious about it being that much use.
Now we have a "cold dead hands" scenario here.
on 8 January 2014
This Roomba is my third robot cleaner over the past 8 years. My first Roomba was pretty basic and left marks on the bottoms of my doors, so after it 'died' 2 years later I bought a Karcher which was a great robot cleaner as well. The Karcher recently 'died' and I decided to try Roomba again. Well, the improvements are fantastic. No marks on the bottom of doors or skirting boards. The depth of cleaning is very much improved, and I love that I can schedule it to clean. I have it set for 8 am and it gets going without any input from me, cleans the whole house, and then docks itself when it is finished. Brilliant. The only downside is that I have to empty the dust receptacle regularly - the Karcher had dust removal in its docking station and the bag only needed changing every three months. However, I don't think there is any other robot cleaner that does this, and I couldn't get spare parts for the Karcher which was a real problem. Now that I have returned to Roomba, I am very happy with my purchase.
on 1 February 2012
Had the Roomba for a couple of weeks now and very impressed. As ever there are some negatives as well as positives.
Start with the downside:
- I'm male, work far too many hours, have kids at the weekend - so this gadget will just come in and clean all the rooms for me when I am out right ? No - Any device of this kind will use an algorithm - and even the more expensive models such as this (better alogrithm to clean the floor) will perform better the less obstacles there are. Therefore the rooms need preperation. As far as possible take out all chairs, coffee tables, kids toys etc
- It's needs to be monitored. You don't need to look at it continuously - but it can and does get stuck. Wires especially cause havoc. You do learn what it's faults are though so this can be overcome.
- The lighthouses are great (tells it which room to go into next) - but there are only two.
- There's no question it is quicker to get out the vacuum and do it yourself
However - once you get used to keeping things reasonably tidy and you know what the pitfalls are - it does what it does VERY well. Super clean floors. Nice 'spot' function to do specific areas and it deals with corners, table legs etc with ease. 5 stars because it never claims to pick up the kids toys and tidy up - it's supposed to clean the floor and it does that to a level which is excellent.
on 11 March 2012
I purchased my Roomba back in December so figured its been long enough now to give a fair review of the vacuum. You'll have to excuse me if i refer to the vacuum as 'her', due to her female voice we decided to call her 'Rachael Roomba' in the household!
When you get Roomba, in the box you'll get the robot itself, along with two of the 'lighthouses', docking station, ac adapter, remote control, along with two sets of brush bars, filters and the spinning side arm, and the two cleaning tools you can use to maintain the robot. The lighthouses require two C size batteries each, and the remote takes AA batteries, none of which are in the box, so it'd be wise to make sure you have them before Roomba is delivered
The most basic setup would involve pulling the tab out from the battery and putting Roomba on charge, then pressing clean when you wanted to vacuum. You can schedule cleaning to be done automatically though, which I have done, having my Rommba clean my apartment once a day. The scheduling is very flexible, allowing certain days to be missed out and different times to be set per day (i.e setting cleaning later in the day on weekends)
On the front of Roomba is a bumper which she's uses to know when theres an obstacle with infrared sensors so she can detect and follow walls and go around corners. The 700 series also have rubber along the bottom of the bumper instead of just plastic so it won't mark anything. Also using the sensors Roomba detects when objects are ahead and slows down before bumping into them, though it doesn't always work, particularly with feet, but even at 'full speed' she's doesn't go fast enough to cause pain when bumping into you. There are also the edge sensors so she shouldn't fall off stairs, but i don't have any to test it with, I'm sure it works though.
Once you set the scheduling up you can decided if you want to use the lighthouses and where to put them. Lighthouses are small beacons that Roomba detects and uses them to both keep her confined to an area until she has cleaned it for enough time, and to guide her way back to the docking station to charge when done. Whilst there are two in the box, you can use as many as you want. You can also set the lighthouses to just act as virtual walls, which simply block Roomba off from areas. You can also buy just virtual walls which are cheaper if that is all you need. I bought one to stop Roomba going into a part of my living room where fragile items are.
Now I live in a two bedroom apartment with the docking station in the living room/kitchen and the two bedrooms down a hallway, so using the two lighthouses I've placed one outside the doorway leading from my living room to the hallway, then the other in the doorway leading into the master bedroom. Doing it this way, Roomba maps out the apartment as three cleaning areas with the kitchen/living room as one, the hallway and guest bedroom as two, and the master bedroom and ensuite as three, in that order.
I believe the cleaning areas have to be set out in a linear order for Roomba to be able to guide herself back to the docking station, which is back in area one, but you may be able to try out other ways of arranging the lighthouses.
Now you've setup the lighthouses and scheduling, it'd be best if you send her off on her first clean manually and observe her as she goes about the rooms. I did this firstly because I was interested in how she worked, but it'd also be a good idea to see if you need to make any adjustments to the lighthouses and obstacles/wires that may get her stuck. The 780 can untangle itself from wires and carpet tassels fine, but short wires not connected to anything (headphones) or shoe laces can get drawn into the brush bars and cause a jam.
Once you've overseen and 'Roomba-fied' your home, you can just leave it to go about its business. For me, I have to empty the dust bin every 3 days usually, and ill take this time to take the brush bars out and use the cleaning tools on them to get hair off them normally, and thats as far as maintenance goes. If you run Roomba less frequently and/or have pets that shed you will probably have to empty the bin each time its run and clean the brush bars more often. There is an indicator light that tells you when the bin is full so you could just keep it cleaning till it tells you the bin is full.
I have to admit I was skeptical when I purchased Roomba, but I am always amazed at the amount of dirt that is collected even though she is run daily, and have left my dyson in the cupboard since having her, and its always great to come home from work to find the house clean and Roomba happily sat on the station. Also when i am home when she goes out to clean, she's makes far less noise than my dyson does when its on, obviously its still a vacuum so it will make noise, but you can have a conversation whilst she's running and can still hear the doorbell and phone no problem.
There are a couple of small niggles, for one the dust bin could do with being a bit bigger, just so it doesn't have to be emptied as often, and also whilst it looks very nice out of the box, mine has got scuffed and the glossy touch panel on top has got scratched, mainly from going under my bed and tables, but these are only cosmetic and don't affect operation at all. Also for the most part you do have to keep the floor clear of 'stuff' so you don't come home to find Roomba stuck in the middle of a room, but its made me be more tidy, so that can't be a bad thing!
Sorry this has been a very long review, but I think I've covered all the features and what living with Roomba is like. In summary though its a brilliant robot and has made my life a lot easier!
on 23 July 2014
My Roomba was delivered less than 24 hours ago, but I fell instantly in love. It is absolutely amazing and I'm delighted with it. It is so much better than I exoected. I have a back injury, so vacuuming is very uncomfortable for me. My daughter suggested I get a Roomba and I'm so glad she did. They aren't cheap, but are sturdy and well designed; compared to paying a cleaner to come into my home on a regular basis, it is a cost effective choice and allows me to maintain my privacy.
I didn't expect the Roomba to clean edges or corners well, but its side brushes get into most places. I had vacuumed with my Dyson Animal the day before my Roomba was delivered, yet it picked up an incredibe abount of dirt and debris; I could really see the difference where it had been.
It coped fine with changes in flooring; I have short pile carpet, tiles and vinyl flooring and it wasn't fazed by sudden changes. It managed rugs fine; the only thing it didn't like was the cats' rubber anti-trackng rubber mat, which is ridged. It got stuck on that and needed to be freed, so I will need to pick that up in future.I emptied the bin twice during its first clean. On its first charge it did all but two rooms of my property, a three bedroom bungalow, just leaving the third bedroom and the conservatory before needng a recharge. It found its way back to the dock, but didn't manage to get onto the dock by itself, but the battery was drained by then. I expect this will improve as it learns. It is also fairly quiet, compared to a regular cleaner.
My cats are fascinated by it, too. All-in-all, a very good purchase that I am delighted with. Now I just need a robot to do the dusting!
on 8 March 2012
Issue 1: If you have a new carpet you will have to empty the dust container every 15 minutes as it sucks up all of the new carpet fluff. After this minor issue the dust compartment is fine for a 2/3 large room vacuums between emties.(An easy task)
Issue 2: It takes up to 1 hour per room. As you can schedule it to do its thing in another room or while you are at work, this is not a problem.
Issue 3: Package contains 2 Virtual lighthouses. These are used to guide the robot from room to room. They took a little trial and error but I now think them a brilliant idea for hoovering 3 rooms at a time.(Position first between rooms 1 & 2 and the second between rooms 2 & 3)Once finished hoovering the third room, the robot finds it's way back to the dock via room 2. Buy another lighthouse if you wasnt it to do 4 rooms in one go (£25)
Otherwise the thing is very, very thorough and very easy to operate. Charge and press "Clean" and it cleans then docks itself.
The cat loves it too.
on 16 October 2012
This product does come with a hefty price tag, but when you see the performance of cheaper alternatives you'll be grateful for spending the extra.
We have it running 4 nights a week, when it hits the scheduled time it heads off and does it's thing, taking anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to complete it's tasks. Initially the route it takes appears completely random, but over time you see that it does follow some kind of pattern. People like to test ours by leaving bits of rubbish on our floor and so far the Roomba has not disappointed in collecting everything that has been left.
The scheduling does work very well. If you have any 'no go' areas in your house then you'll need to use one or both of the 'lighthouses' that act as a virtual wall. There was an incident when one of these switched off whilst it was operating, but that has happened only once in a few months. The Roomba will try and climb over things, this can make a bit of noise when it is attempting to climb over the base of a clothes drier or something like that. We did have a problem that it would get wedged under the corner of one of the radiators, so we block that bit with a chair leg. It also regularly opens one of the kitchen cupboards, I had no idea these things would need feeding :) It can sometimes pull some of the cables around the back of the TV, but they never get tangled in the Roomba, when they get sucked in the brushes reverse to release it.
As mentioned, we don't notice that it misses anywhere. It gets round chair legs, under tables and other places without any problem. After a time the 'dock' indicator lights up which means that the next time it passes the dock it will return and charge. Only once has it failed to make it back to the dock.
Some people have mentioned that the Roomba needs to be emptied regularly. We have it running through three rooms (kitchen, dining room, lounge) so there isn't such a massive amount of space covered. About once or twice a month the little full indicator is displayed. Emptying is easy and really not very messy.
All in all it's a great purchase for anyone that prefers not to be vacuuming. It isn't the quietest thing in the world, but not as loud as a normal vacuum. You will still have to clean under the sofa yourself. It tolerates us leaving lots of different things out every night (prams, shoes, etc). We don't tend to leave small items on the floor. We have mostly wooden floors and some rugs, so it is probably easy work for the Roomba.
I have given only 4 stars purely because of the cost. Functionally it is excellent. In the box you'll find spare brushes and two of the lighthouses, but the latter are lacking batteries, which is a bit annoying.
Finally, it IS very hard to not refer to it as a 'he', especially when you've given it a name. When it is running you'll find yourself watching it, it really is better than what's on the TV most of the time!
on 22 January 2015
I wanted to like this cleaner, but I couldn't, as it would not vacuum my brown rugs. It kept treating them as a no-go area, and when I raised this with iRobot Customer Service they confirmed that its "cliff avoidance" sensors can confuse dark brown or black rugs for "cliffs".
Apart from this fundamental problem, the cleaner seems to do a reasonable job on tiled floors and other rugs, though it does have a tendency to push light fluff away rather than sucking it in. It also clatters into chair legs and the like before retreating and trying another route.
on 17 May 2013
I love this gadget. After my washing machine and dishwasher, this is my third best household appliance. I work full time and we also have three indoor bengals cats. This means that weekends were spent hoovering the house. Now I leave my robot hoover to do it all for me! We have a town house over 3 floors, so each day we move it to each a different floor and program it to hoover at 1pm every week day. It doesn't fall down stairs and is fine on carpet and tiles and can free itself from loose wires on the floor. It moves around the floor and sweeps everything into a small bin. When the battery is low, it will take itself back to the charger and if the bin is full it will stop. The thing I love about it is can go under beds and my sofas. With a little sweepy flicky thing it can sweep in corners too, despite it being round.
As I use it daily, it keeps the house swept. However, it doesn't do stairs, so I still have to get the Dyson out every few weeks. The roomba doesn't suck like your normal hoover, is sweeps the dust into it's bin, so it will never be as good as your conventional appliance, but it does keep the floors mainly clean so I'd definitely recommend this product but I'd recommend you program to use it daily. This version comes with some little lighthouse things, which are to guide the roomba around. I haven't used them yet, so can' offer advice on them.
Like I said, this is a fantastic little helper in the house and it even sings a little "da da da daaaaaa" at the end of every clean!