Irobot's Automatic Roomba Vacuum Cleaner.

Community Help: Roomba Irobot Vacuum - My Opinion and Experience

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I have been using the Irobot Roomba Vacuum for a while now, and I will give you my opinion on it so far, and also some tips that will save you from having to actually read the manual for the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

First off, I like it even better then I thought I would but I'm kind of a tech junkie (so these things are ultra cool to me) and I hate vacuuming my carpet or tile floor, so its a good combination for me to buy the Roomba vacuum. I run it on both my tile floor and carpet, it works good on both as it picks up all the crumbs, dust, and hair and I was actually surprised how much stuff it had in it when I emptied the bin out for the first time. Then again I never looked in my old vacuum cleaner until after a year or more when I changed the bag, but on the Roomba you empty it after every run so you can see how much is in its trash bin, maybe my place is just really dirty but there was a huge ball of dust and other stuff that it picked up, so I think its vacuum abilities are very good. It made me realize just how much dust is in the carpets and tile floor, because you surely can't see that on the floor, but its very noticeable when you empty the Roomba's bin. You also can't help but to follow it around and watch it in "amazement" (if thats a word) when you first turn it on, its kind of amazing to watch and most people want to see it when you have it. Running it is simple, you just hit the power button and press "clean", and it begins to randomly run around vacuuming. I think the Roomba also has good technology, I was surprised that it was able to find its way in out and of 3 different rooms without getting lost in 1 room and not finding its way out. It will run for a good hour or hour and a half or so after you charge it (the charger does come with it of course), so I just let it go until the battery ran out, then it "beeps" at you every once in a while telling you to come get it that its done :-) It has a little handle that pulls out on the top to carry it, but its also very light, probably only 7 lbs or so (guessing). I ran mine upstairs and downstairs, both carpet and tile, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living room. It picked up alot of hair, crumbs, dust, etc. It has technology that allows it to see stairs or dropoffs, so it won't go over the edge (like on stairs). One time it was beeping and I went upstairs to find it "wedged over the edge", the Roomba apparently was running along the side and a wheel slipped over, so it just shut down and was stuck there. If it runs head on towards the stairs in anyway it will reverse course, so thats pretty cool. If you have a carpet to tile changeover (like living room to kitchen), it will move over that edge no problem and go between tile and carpet, I was glad to see the Roomba did that so I didn't have to move it and restart it. If you pick it up while its running it just shuts off. One other thing I like is that it's very low to the ground, only about 3-4 inches high, so it zips under your computer desk and furniture, which is good because I'm sure there is plenty of dust underneath that stuff, you don't have to move stuff like you do with a regular vacuum cleaner. It seems to be able to get in and out of tight areas no problem, places you think it may get stuck, it will wedge in there, bounce around a bit, turn and get out of there, its pretty good at never getting stuck anywhere, that surprised me. The Roomba vaccuum also has a "spot detector" as it's called, where it can see dirtier areas with its sensors and will stop (the light turns blue on top to let you know it found something), and will rotate in an area for 4 seconds or more to concentrate on that spot, then move on. I thought that was really cool, but I couldn't tell what it saw on the carpet, it looked the same to me but maybe there was more dust there or something that it decided it needed to concentrate more on. All in all I am really excited with this thing, its better then I expected and coming from a guy that hates to vacuum, I actually enjoy vacuuming now. I'm sure the cool factor will wear off eventually, but right now I still love turning that on and watching that thing run around. Its also much quieter then a big vacuum, I can watch tv or be on my computer while it runs, you may have to turn the tv up more but its way quieter then the old vacuum cleaner. One other thing, if you run this while watching tv, lay on the couch and don't sit on it, because you forget its running after a while and it will scare the "beejeezus" out of you when it bumps into your feet. ;-)

A couple other important notes: The manual says do not run the Roomba on shag carpet, apparently the long shaggy strands can get caught up in the Roomba (like any other vacuum I guess). Carpet is fine of course but the long shaggy carpet should not be used with this. You also need to pick up any wires you have laying around. Behind your computer most people have alot of wires, you can tie them together in a ball or get them off the ground, because it will find its way back in all areas, and like any vacuum you can't just run over wires.

I'll save you all the trouble of reading the manual. These are the main things you should know that are in the Irobot Roomba manual.

  • When you first charge it out of the box, charge it for 16 hours. Even if the lights turns green after 3 hours, charge it 16 the first time to help the battery.
  • Always leave it plugged in when not in use.
  • To start it, press power then press clean.
  • Empty the bin after every use. Just press the button on the back to open it.
  • To empty it, slide out the filter and clean it, and dump out the bin.
  • Clean the brush every 3-4 uses (it will have dust and hair on it). 2 little levers underneath will allow you to take the brush off.

    These are the main things that you will get out of the Roomba manual. Be aware also that Irobot has quite a few different models, I bought what they call the "Red Roomba", its their cheapest one and cost me $150 and was model number 4100. The other models (you can see all the other models at the site, irobot is the maker of this) they have are one designed specifically for pet hair (I don't know the difference but I'm guessing it just has a different brush or bigger bin designed for hair. Mine picks up alot of hair also, so maybe the pet hair one has specific designs for getting pet hair(?). There is also a scooba, which has liquid and does tile, mopping and drying both. I don't have enough tile to get this, but if I had more tile I'm impressed enough with the red roomba that I would get the scooba. There is another model on their site for shops, for picking up bolts, nuts, heavy objects, etc. The two I looked closely at was the cheaper red roomba, and the more expensive roomba (mine was $150, the higher end one was $400... scooba is also $400 also at the time I wrote this). The big difference I see is that the more expensive roomba actually has a "drive in" charger, and when the batter gets low, it will actually drive back to the charger itself and park. You can also schedule it so it will startup and run on its own, you never have to do anything then. Now thats pretty cool, but I have an upstairs and downstairs so I have to move it anyways, but trust me, its not hard to press the start button so I just bought the cheaper one. You may want to read through the info on the higher end one to see what it all has, but I think the $150 red Roomba is a great deal. One other piece of advice........ when I bought mine, I checked many sites, and actually found a much cheaper price on After looking closely at it, I saw the model number they were selling was 4000, the one on the irobot site was model 4100. As with all tech products, newer versions have improved technology, and I didn't want older technology even if it was cheaper. I think you are best just going to the makers site to buy it (which is as that way you know you are getting the latest version and you won't have to waste time researching this.