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  • Roomba Review

    iRobot Roomba 500 Series

    iRobot Roomba Vacuum 500 Series

    Being the gadget freak that I am, Santa surprised me earlier this year and bought me an iRobot Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner.  I had of course seen all of the various infomercials for this product in the past, but never gave it a second thought to purchase one of these vacuums because I wasn’t so sure it could actually clean as well as they showed. And at a price of just over $300, I didn’t want to risk spending that much money on a gadget that I was pretty sure wouldn’t be useful for anything much more than showing off to friendswhen they stopped by to visit.  But since Santa bought it for me, I was happy to now own it and looked forward to seeing what all the “hype” about it was.

    Ok, let’s get started with my iRobot Roomba Review:

    The model package that Santa brought for me was the iRobot Roomba 500 series Vacuum Cleaning Robot. It consisted of an iRobot Roomba device, a self-charging “Home Base”, and a single “Virtual Wall”.

    Basically, the way the Roomba works is it rolls along in a somewhat random pattern in each room and vacuums up any dirt in its path.  As the Roomba “bumps” into different items, such as walls, appliances, chair legs, pets, etc., it then changes directions.  Because of the randomness of the path that the Roomba travels, an average sized room (10′ x 12′) takes approximately 30-40 minutes to fully clean.

    iRobot Virtual Wall

    iRobot Virtual Wall

    The way it only cleans one room at a time is by the use of a “Virtual Wall”.  The virtual wall is a small device that sends out an infrared beam from itself to another location…in my case, it’s usually a wall.  The infrared beam that is sent out blocks the Roomba from passing through the beam, thus acting as a wall.  I can adjust how far out the beam is sent from a choice of 3 ranges which are 0-3 feet, 4-7 feet, and 8+ feet.

    I have found that most of the time, the beam does a good job of preventing the Roomba from passing.  There have, however, been some instances of the Roomba completely passing through the beam.  This usually doesn’t cause a problem for me because I prefer to run the Roomba when I’m home and usually notice it has crossed the beam right away and can intervene.  For those who run the Roomba while they are away from the home, I’d recommend they have certain safeguards in place to prevent the Roomba from traveling to areas you’d prefer it not go to.  I have found that lining up a row of shoes or sneakers does a good job of stopping the Roomba from traveling through to the next room.

    Roomba Home Base Charging Unit

    Roomba charging in the Home Base charging station

    When the Roomba has either finished cleaning a room, or has almost depleted its battery, it automatically travels back to its “Home Base”, where it begins the recharging process.  If the Roomba was not finished cleaning a room prior to recharging, it will back out of the Home Base once fully charged again and will continue cleaning the room where it left off at.

    The first time I watched the Roomba travel back to its Home Base, I was really amazed.  It’s pretty cool to see the Roomba find its way home and drive right into the exact spot needed in order to recharge. And as of yet, I have not had any occasions where my Roomba could not find the Base Station. (If the area you block with the Virtual Wall prevents the Roomba from traveling back to the Home Base, it simply turns off and waits for its owner to pick it up and place it in the Home Base charger.)

    How good of a job does the iRobot Roomba do?

    First of all, I must disclose that our family owns 4 cats (don’t ask).  And although these are short-haired cats, they still shed a lot of hair.  I also have 3 young daughters, who love eating snacks in all rooms of our house…especially popcorn, although I don’t think they actually put the popcorn into their mouths, but rather instead create some type of new modern art on our living room floor with it.

    Accumulation of cat hair in the Roomba's brushes

    Accumulation of cat hair in the Roomba

    The Roomba does an excellent job of keeping my ceramic-tiled kitchen floor clean.  I used to have to sweep my kitchen floor almost daily in order to clean up cereal, toast crumbs, raisins, ramen noodles (after they’ve hardened of course), etc.  I’ll usually run the Roomba 3-4 times per week in my kitchen. When the Roomba is finished with the kitchen, I’ll then empty it out and think to myself how gross our household is as I pour the Roomba’s vacuumed-up contents into my trash can.  The amount of crap that accumulates on our kitchen floor is shocking to say the least.

    After my Roomba has fully charged, I’ll then run it in my living room. I run it in the living room about once per week, although I should be running it at least 2-3 times per week.  Because we own 4 loving, adorable, well-mannered cats that I love so much (again, don’t ask), if I only run it once per week, I usually end up having to clean out the Roomba’s brushes halfway during the cleaning process. (The Roomba detects the accumulation of hair and debris in the brushes and will stop and sound an audible alarm to indicate it needs cleaning.) The cleaning of the Roomba’s brushes is very simple and only takes about 2-3 minutes.

    iRobot came out with a “Pet Series” version of the Roomba made especially for households with pets, although, I’m not sure if does a better job of preventing pet hair from getting stuck in the brushes or not.  The model is named Roomba 564 Pet Series.

    Roomba Collection Tray - Contents from cleaning a single room

    Roomba Collection Tray – Contents from cleaning a single room

    When the Roomba has finished cleaning my living room, I’ll empty out the contents it vacuumed up. Again, the amount of crap that I find in the collection tray is startling.  I’ll find popcorn, popcorn kernels, Nerds candy pieces, sweet tarts, as well as a ton of cat hair.  The Roomba leaves my living room floor looking freshly vacuumed with the appearance of vacuum-trails and a fluffed-up appearance.

    Overall, I’d say the Roomba does a fantastic job of keeping hard-surfaced floors, such as ceramic tile and vinyl, clean.  If you despise having to sweep your kitchen floor daily, I can’t say enough good things about the Roomba.

    For carpet, I’d have to say that the Roomba does a pretty good job.  I can’t say it does an excellent job because I’ve run my Roomba on my living room floor before and then immediately ran my regular upright vacuum and was still able to get a lot more cat hair up.  However, I wouldn’t look at the Roomba as a replacement for your current vacuum.  I would instead recommend you use the Roomba as a supplement to your regular vacuum cleaner, as it will do a great job of picking up most small particles that accumulate on your carpet each day.

    Additional tidbits you might like to know:

    1. The Roomba 500 series has a built-in dirt sensor that causes the Roomba to circle around a continuous spot until it no longer senses any dirt in that area.  If you have a rug in your foyer that you run the Roomba on, you’ll find that the dirt sensor indicator will illuminate often.  I actually like it when I see that my Roomba senses the extra dirt.
    2. The Roomba has visual sensors on the front which cause it to slow down just before it “bumps” into walls, appliances, furniture legs, etc. to lower the possibility of scratching/damaging these items with continuous use.  iRobot also recently modified the design of the Roomba’s front bumper by applying a soft, rubber strip across it which further helps lessen the possibility of damaging items it comes into contact with.
    3. There are fancier, more expensive, models of Roomba’s which come with additional features/accessories that make it even more impressive.  For example, instead of a Virtual Wall, they have “Lighthouses”, which act just like a virtual wall while the Roomba cleans a single room. However, when the Roomba finishes with one room, it sends a signal to the Lighthouse indicating that it’s done.  The Lighthouse then turns off the infrared beam and allows the Roomba to pass by it.  Once the Roomba passes by it, it turns the beam back on and again blocks the Roomba from returning to the previous room it just finished cleaning. This allows the Roomba to then fully clean the next room. If you have more than 1 lighthouse, you can effectively set up your home so that the Roomba cleans every room…one-room-at-a-time. (Because the Roomba’s battery won’t last long enough to allow it to clean more than 1-2 rooms at a time, the Lighthouses are smart enough to let it back through so it can reach the Home Base, charge itself up again, and then return to finish cleaning where it left off at.
    4. The Roomba has built-in sensors that prevent it from falling down stairs.  I have stairs in my house and have tested this.  My findings are that the stair sensors do an excellent job at stopping the Roomba.
    5. I did have a charging problem with the initial Roomba unit that I received.  Upon contacting iRobot, they sent me a new one.  I did have to return the defective unit, however, I did NOT have to pay any shipping/handling charges.
    6. Since the Roomba unit itself is circular in shape, it’s not able to travel tightly into the corners of walls. To combat this issue, there is a rapidly spinning side-brush, which extends out past the Roomba unit and sweeps the dirt/debris out of the corners and into the path of the Roomba. Overall, these do a pretty good job of cleaning out the corners.
    7. Roomba sidebrush showing broken extension armThe side brushes that my Roomba model came with were easily damaged and often needed to be replaced. This was a known issue, which I believe has been corrected now with a new type of side-brush design. When I contacted iRobot about this, they shipped me out 3 additional side-brushes to help me get by until the newly designed side-brushes were available.  They again paid all shipping and handling charges. (I have yet to receive the newer style side-brushes from them, so it’s just a matter of time before I need to contact them again.)
    8. There is a handle that is built into the Roomba unit.  Unfortunately for me, I just discovered this when putting this review together. Doh!
    9. I often catch myself staring at my Roomba while it’s cleaning a room.  I’m not quite sure why, but there is something hypnotic about watching this gadget travel around a room by itself. After 10-15 minutes of staring, I’ll realize what I’m doing and will remind myself that by watching the Roomba vacuum, I’m defeating the whole purpose of owning it. :)
    For more information on the iRobot Roomba, including videos that illustrate how the units work, you can visit the main IRobot website at www.iRobot.com.  Or, if you’re like me and always like to find a good deal, then checkout the iRobot Clearance Center, where you can find the latest promotions and offers that iRobot is featuring.

     

112 Comments

  1. 1
    catmandoo says:

    Excelent Review, im a college student and just got a first generation one. It was more for the novelty than because I really cared to have my room clean but i love it.

    Maybe ill get a top model one later

  2. 2
    thank you! says:

    I stumbled upon your review when I googled “roomba review” and I just wanted to say thank you. Your review was comprehensive and very descriptive. I also appreciate the links at the bottom. I’m about to check out the “outlet” and see if I can get my hands on a roomba.
    Thanks again!

  3. 3
    RombaAddict says:

    I got my roomba 560 in October-09, it is set to do the living room (aprox 30 sq.m.) every day around 11 am, I have a lot of furniture and plants standing around, so it has to slalom its way around, It works perfectly. It doesn’t catch every thing but it, keeps down the worst, so during the weekend I can just do the corners and panels, the old fashioned way. I haven’t used my old vacuum cleaner since I got the Roomba.

    It handles my carpets very well, it might move them a little around and once in a while it get it self into a trap between carpets and chairs so I have to rescue it, but surprisingly often it gets it self out of trouble. When I want it to do the “grand tour” I just put the chairs on the table and move big things away.
    Just remember to clean it or it will stop doing a good job (average once a week in my case)!!

  4. 4
    Karisa says:

    Thanks for the great review! This helped us decide to get a Roomba and now I too find myself watching the Roomba work for 15+ minutes at a time… who needs meditation when you have a Roomba to space out to?

  5. 5
    JessicaP. says:

    Great review! I just bought a roomba today, so I have yet to use it b/c the first time use has to have a 16 hour charge. It might be silly to check the reviews after I have already bought one but I came up on a deal that I couldn’t pass up, retail price $379.99 my sale price $113! I thought it was so funny when you said you catch yourself watching the roomba, b/c Im sure I will be the exact same way. haha
    Thanks!
    -J.P.

  6. 6
    Samina says:

    excellent comprehensive review. Thanks!

  7. 7
    Rich says:

    Have they fixed the design flaw of all of the Roomba models, i.e. that the brush engages into a plastic drive piece that quickly rounds out and is not replaceable? I bought one of the early models, used it happily for 4 – 6 months and then began having problems with it not picking things up. As I maintained it religiously I was confused. Then I noticed that where the brushes engaged into the drive mechanism was all rounded out meaning that the drive motor could run all it wants but the brushes won’t spin. I called Roomba and they didn’t have a replacement part. I just recently called them again to see if the part was replaceable yet and they told me that my only option was to upgrade. Why would I upgrade after this experience?

    So, I warn anyone that is considering a Roomba product. Turn the thing over and take the brush out as if you were going to clean it. Look to see if the point where the brush engages into the drive mechanism is plastic. If it is, box it up, send it back and tell Roomba you want a refund so that you do not end up like me, sitting with an expensive toy that doesn’t do what it was supposed to do.

    Oh, and by the way, after voicing my complaint through their customer service (good luck understanding the accent!) I was forwarded up the tree to a supervisor who proceeded to place me on hold without saying a word. I promise you that I was voicing my complaint in a very civil tone and polite voice. She just hit the hold button in the middle of my sentence. I worked retail for 11 years…that is not what customer service is about.

    • 7.1
      Scott says:

      Rich,

      I never experienced the problem that you described. I did recently order a replacement brush mechanism, but that was because the one that came with my Roomba had become a lot louder after just over a year of use. The new one that arrived did look a bit different, but I think the portion of the brush that engages with the motor is still plastic.

      I submitted a customer testimonial on the iRobot site applauding their product, but did also mention that I wish their replacement parts weren’t so darn expensive, as they do tend to wear out just like anything else.

    • 7.2
      Lynne B says:

      I have a 550 with the old cleaning head module, I have a dog that sheds alot and while under warranty irobot replaced the module twice; however it was a design flaw so the replacements only worked a few months then failed. After my warranty ended I found out they had a redisgned cleaning head module and called them about it, at first they refused to send me one since I was out of warranty but when I pointed out to them that the problem was from a design flaw not just wear and tear, they did provide me one and it works much better. But, now I have a new problem. I had to get a new battery and it won’t charge. when I put it in the docking station it quickly changes from amber to flashing red…To be honest I am really getting sick of irobot products. If the newest problem is not a bad battery then I will have to change the units circuit board. I didn’t spend $250 in anticipation of having all these problems

    • 7.3
      Pogi says:

      sorry about your struggle my friend… i recently bought my roomba a week ago and the first time a used it i really amazed of what it can do. b4 i decided to buy a roomba 560 i did my research its a lot of money that’s why i don’t want to waste it. mostly of the roomba parts now you can purchase it online at protechrobotics.com. there’s a ton of parts and accessories. and you can repair it by yourself if you want. i hope this help.

  8. 8
    Bonnie says:

    I bought one of the 400 series models then found a 500 series on sale and bought it with the idea of returning the first. I ended up keeping both – one for each floor. I am thrilled with my Roombas! My downstairs has three rooms with hardwood and one with carpet. I never worry about the invisible walls. I just turn them on when I leave in the morning then again in the evening. My house always looks clean. I have to admit that I do like the 500’s ability to self-dock and charge so it is ready to go again when I return home. They both do a great job of cleaning, though. I don’t have a single complaint.

  9. 9
    Stacey says:

    I’m very curious to know what your cats do when your run the thing? I have 6 of the fur-depositers scurrying around my house and am thinking that this gadget is pretty close to a dream come true… The cats are terrified of the regular vacum, but knowing these nuts I have, I can see them trying to ride the thing! LOL!

    • 9.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Stacey,

      All 4 of our cats run and hide when I use our regular vacuum, but none of them seem to be bothered by the Roomba. In fact, they sometimes sit still and the Roomba bumps into them.

      • 9.1.1
        Terry says:

        Hi Scott, I hope your around to answer my questions! I have a roomba 560 that I am having a problem with. If you are still answering questions can you reply to me?

        • 9.1.1.1
          Scott says:

          Hi Terry,

          Yes, I’m still around. :) I’m not a Roomba expert though… I’m just someone who owns one and decided to publish a review on it. Feel free to post your question in this comment thread rather than a private email. That way myself or perhaps other visitors will have a chance to read it and provide an answer.

  10. 10
    Kay says:

    I just purchased my roomba and love it. But after talking to a coworker I’m considering returning it. She has 4 roombas all packed away. She told me that they work great when you first get them but when you need to replace parts it gets very expensive. She also told me that when she had to replace the batteries they did not last as long as the original batteries and cost around $100. I didn’t expect to have to keep paying for this over and over again. I’m not sure how long the replacement batteries last but I am considering returning my roomba.

    • 10.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Kay,

      It’s true that replacement parts are expensive, but you shouldn’t have to replace too many of them. I’ve now had my Roomba 530 series for over a year and I’m still using the same battery. I run my Roomba an average of 3 times per week in my kitchen and the battery still holds up just fine.

      The replacement filters are $19.99 for 3 but I’m still using the filter that came with my Roomba. I just tap it clean every time I empty the canister and it still works great.

      You can view the full list of accessories for the iRobot Roomba 500 series by clicking here. This page will also show you the prices for the accessories so you can make your own decision on whether or not they are within your budget should you need any of them. (Let’s hope you don’t!)

    • 10.2
      Ben says:

      Hello Kay – I got a rep’l battery from “all-battery.com” which is at least as good as the original. It is Nickel-metal-hydroxide. On line about $40 inc’l shipping. Ben

  11. 11
    Marian says:

    Great review, thank you very much for the information. I have a question regarding switching from one surface to another, particularly into a room like a bathroom. The transition from carpet to tile includes a little metal edge that is usually slightly downhill. Is the roomba able to move smoothly from the tile onto the carpet and vice versa, or will it’s edge sensors prevent it from crossing into the other room?

    • 11.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Marian,

      I don’t think the edge sensors will prevent the Roomba from the transition from carpet to tile. In my house, we have several areas with fluffy carpet that transitions to ceramic tile and it’s never been an issue. I should note though, that we recently purchased an area rug that is really fluffy and the Roomba’s edge sensor does in fact prevent it from making the transition to any other surface. Because the situation you asked about is how almost all homes are setup, I’m pretty sure you won’t have an issue with it.

      • 11.1.1
        Pau says:

        Hi Scott – Thanks for such a comprehensive review !
        Just wondering what the filter costs – I know the instructions speak about changing the filter every couple of months, but not sure how heavy on the pocket that would be.

        • 11.1.1.1
          Scott says:

          Hi Pau,

          A set of 3 filters is around $19.95 on the iRobot website at this link. I, however, have been using the same filter that my Roomba came with. Each time I empty the bin, I just tap on the filter a couple of times and it cleans up very well. I realize it’s probably not as effective as it used to be but I’m not too worried about it obviously. :)

  12. 12
    kerri says:

    I am happy that so many have had good luck…I am not as happy…After 18 months I have had to replace the battery and the side spinner wheel and the front wheel will not stay on anymore and the bumper has fallen off…It is falling apart and it all happened right after the 1 year warranty…

  13. 13
    Miranda says:

    What about noise? I had imagined it to be pretty distracting, but no one seemed to address this. I guess it’s a non-issue?

    • 13.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Miranda,

      It’s not as loud as most standard vacuums, but I wouldn’t call it quiet either. It’s probably too loud to run while on the phone in the same room, but the beauty behind it is that you can let it run in rooms you’re not in.

  14. 14
    Becci says:

    Thanks you for your review of the Roomba. I have been thinking about getting one ane wondered how such a little thing could do well. I think I’ll try it!

  15. 15
    Angela says:

    Hi Scott
    As everyone else has mentioned..thanks for the great and thorough review! My question is do you have the 530 series or the 500 series? You had mentioned in the beginning that your wife bought you the 500 but then in your reply #14 to Kay you mention about the 530 series. Just wondering because I have the Roomba 530 and wanted to see if mine would be just like yours or possibly have differences from your review. Thank you for your time.

    • 15.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Angela,
      I have the Roomba 530. When I mentioned that I had a “500 series”, I just meant I had a version of the Roomba that was one of the models within the 500 series. (If you visit the iRobot website, you’ll see that there is also 400 series of Roombas.)

  16. 16
    Dahveed says:

    I have a Roomba model 560 from Costco. I thought it did a good job most of the time, but it still has some access issues around my dining furniture. I second that the parts are expensive and need replacement more than I would like. Currently mine is not moving and I know when I call, its going to be $100 to get it up and running again.

    I have found that they do a good job of keeping an area clean because of the number of times it cleans. If you use it only once a week, then I found I was disappointed in it. I had mine scheduled to come on 3 times a week at 2:00 am and it did a better job. Plus, it was always an adventure to see if it made it back to its base or where it got stuck.

    They also make a mopping robot (Scooba or something like that). I just got a Hoover Floor mate, so I’m not going to spend on the Scooba, but it seems like an interesting idea.

    • 16.1
      John says:

      The product lacks in several areas. Most of the users above have one thing in common: their units require a great deal of attention. There’s always something to clean, to change, to take apart. Everybody is ordering parts for their one-year-old machine. And yet a real vacuum cleaner can go a decade without any new parts except bags! As for capacity, I can hold more lint in my hand than the Roomba can hold in that tiny dirt cup. Roomba has to find a way to burn, compress or dissolve the dirt it picks up. The real problem is that the Roomba engineers aren’t vacuum cleaner people but robotics and electronics people. There’s a reason a really good vacuum is expensive—there’s a lot more going on in a good machine than one would think. As a vacuum cleaner the Roomba is a toy. Of course, there’s no vacuum generator, so it’s really a floor sweeper, a mechanical broom. The engineering is still not too good: after all these years on the market the machines still fall apart, vary in performance and need constant maintenance.

  17. 17
    scott says:

    Cleaning Tips: using a can of air helps clean the Roomba after emptying. Works well for tight areas, around wheels, ect…just take outside and blow out dust.

  18. 18
    gina says:

    Missed out on getting a 536 with an extra on HSN Saturday. It was for $299 for the pair and free s/h. So, was checking your review and as I need help daily with kids, 3 cats and 2 dogs, I think this would work to help keep things under control. Now, on the Clearance link you posted, they have a reconditioned 560 for $249. Do I take a chance on a reconditioned model from their site? Thanks.

    • 18.1
      Scott says:

      If the reconditioned one comes with the same warranty, I’d say go for it!

      Remember though, don’t expect the Roomba to replace your current vacuum. Use it to do a light cleaning throughout the week until you have time to run your regular vacuum.

  19. 19
    John says:

    rather than buy new filters, I’ve found putting mine in the dishwasher make them work like new again. The Roomba came with 2, so I’ve always got a “clean” one in.

  20. 20
    Kathy says:

    Thanks for a great review. Our kids just sent us a SCOOBA model but I am thinking of returning it in exchange for the ROOMBA. We have a lot of hard surfaces and this sounds like just the thing for keeping after the dust and dirt.

  21. 21
    PK says:

    I enjoyed your review. I just received the iRobot Dirt Dog, although we only have cats, lots, don’t ask. I guess this unit is supposed to be for a garage or shop but so far it works very well in the house with the constant cat hair. It is fun to watch! Thinking about getting a Scuba for the kitchen floor, any reviews or comments?

  22. 22
    Todd says:

    A great idea, but I too am having problems, my second unit a 500 series has died, the first units small brushes motor died, now the second units main brushes motor died. This time I took it apart, interesting to find that the motor compartment was full of dust, fibers and hair, even though I clean it completely after every use.

    Well, maybe not so supprised, I found that the motor is not sealed or protected from the dust, I’m guessing the brushes in the motor are now coated in dirt and grime and the brushes are not making proper contact. I did remove alot of dirt, hair, fibers and caked on dust/grime from inside the motor. We will be returning ours, too much maintenance… I can vacuum manually in the same time it take to clean the unit, so a moot point. I think if they property sealed the devices electronics and motors the device would last longer.

    Again in mine its the motors that kept failing and after seeing how it’s assembled I think I understand why. I think the real 110volt vacums last longer as the dust/ grime is burnt off the bushes, as the brushes do ware down on these motors. Again I’m assuming, but I am tired of returns and the extensive maintenance.

  23. 23
    Sara says:

    Thanks, Scott for the thorough review. I have been contemplating buying one since I saw Jeff Lewis play with one on Flipping Out!

  24. 24
    MARCIA says:

    ARE THERE PROBLEMS WITH ROOMBA NICKING OR SCRATCHING FURNITURE LEGS, OR GETTING CAUGHT GOING OVER FRINGE IN ROOM RUGS, OR ELECTRICAL CORDS THAT MIGHT BE ON THE FLOOR? WILL IT AUTOMATICALLY SHUT OFF IF IT RUNS INTO A PROBLEM? MY CONCERN IS TO LET ONE RUN UNATTENDED IF IT MIGHT CAUSE A FRICTION FIRE OR CUT ELECTRICAL CORDS, OR BEAT UP THE EXPOSED WOODEN LEGS OF THE FURNITURE OR PIANO. CAN YOU TELL ME YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THESE THINGS?

    • 24.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Marcia,

      I haven’t noticed any nicks or scratches on my furniture from the Roomba. I do have three daughters though, so my furniture isn’t in the best of conditions. A nice thing about the most recent versions of Roomba vacuums is that they have a rubber strip that you apply/stick to the bottom front lip of the unit which helps to further protect things the Roomba bumps into.

      The Roomba should be able to operate properly when going over fringe rugs. If the Roomba senses any type of debris that get’s caught and/or tangled, it automatically turns off the brushes and backs up. I still however would not operate the Roomba unattended. I usually run my unit while I’m upstairs working, so if something should happen, I’m here to handle it.

    • 24.2
      Michael says:

      It did scratch up my furniture legs. The bumper that they sent me didn’t stick and they wouldn’t send me a new one, even when i offered to pay for it. I stopped using the Roomba because of the scratching, but recently I got off my butt and did something about it. I went to Lowe’s and got some “Marine & Auto All Climate Rubber Weatherseal” (5/16″). I put it along the bottom of the bumper edge. It seems to work really well. It hasn’t seemed to affect the sensors or docking. I am happy again. I am considering putting a lower profile bumper along the top, because it can still hit stuff. Admittedly, I am very picky about my furniture, but I think I have it licked. I think it definitely a design flaw and they need to address it.

      Another issue is that static would cause dust to accumulate along the front bumper and it would deposit it on furniture legs. I haven’t used the new bumper long enough to know if it fixed this problem too, but in the week that I have been using it, I haven’t noticed it doing it anymore.

      I do like my Roomba and I would/will buy another one. Other than the bad experience with customer service related to the bumper, other experiences with them have been positive.

  25. 25
    Amy says:

    Hi Scott, I am wondering if this is actually a VACUUM with suction, or is it just a sweeper that picks up the surface only. Thanks in advance!

    • 25.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Amy,
      Yes, the Roomba is actually a vacuum with both suction and two brushes that spin in opposite directions. One of the brushes has bristles and the other looks more like a squeegee. (it does not function like a squeegee though.)

  26. 26
    beth says:

    Scott,

    I have only one cat but the amount of litter that gets caught in his paws and spread in our home is a pain. I have a couple of thick pile rugs – runner in the hall, rug at the sink and large rug on hardwood floors.

    I looked thru the review and don’t see much mention about going up, over and around rugs. How is the performance there? I just purchased the 530 but it is still in the box. Thanks.

  27. 27
    legion ex machina says:

    try the roomba 610 or the roomba 536. the roomba 536 has better cleaning technology because of the aerovac bin. it increases the vacuum suction and “guides” debris to the bin. it also reduces the hair and other debris getting tangled on the brushed and rollers.

  28. 28
    Heather says:

    Roomba is expensive in the long run. I loved my Roomba at first, but with cost of replacement brushes, faulty front spinner, extravagent cost to ship to Canada ( % of order value not cost to ship !!! ), replacement battery and sweeper bin, and now a problem with the message “inpect and clean roomba’s left wheel” but the wheel is clean and turns freely… I’ve probably already paid for the thing twice over and am not interested to keep paying to keep the thing running. Will try iRobot tech support about the wheel ( but tech support is not open after 7PM… duh… we work, hence the housekeeping robots ! How effective will a call be from work when I don’t have the robot with me to troubleshoot? Now, that’s just not going to work. ) I will probably throwi the thing out and go back to a traditional sweep / vacuum routine.

  29. 29
    Susan says:

    I have had the 530 for a month and it is the best thing I have ever bought. I take my three dogs for a walk and come back and all the floors are clean. I have not found any problem with damaging furniture. I have a 1700 circ grandfather clock and so I was definitely watching it the first time I used it but no problem at all. I have a dyson but have not used it since I got this. No need. I have wooden, tiles and carpet surfaces and it is good on all.

    • 29.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Susan,

      We’re soon going to be replacing our living room carpet with either hardwood or laminate flooring and I can’t wait because I know it will be much easier to keep clean by using the Roomba every day or two.

  30. 30
    Althea says:

    this robot DOES NOT VACUME OVER DARK CARPETS. They do not tell you this when you purchase so now I have an expensive item that will not work

    • 30.1
      Scott says:

      Althea, what do you mean by “dark carpets”?

      • 30.1.1
        Joanne says:

        Dark colored carpets. I have a black trimmed area rug in entry with dark colors in the rug. The Roomba won’t move onto the rug and if I start the Roomba on the rug, it goes back and forth a few times, stopping at the black border. Finally stops and beeps to be moved. Grr.

        • 30.1.1.1
          Scott says:

          Hi Althea and Joanne,

          I actually did a bit of research into what is causing the problems you described. It appears that the cliff sensors are mistaking the black trim on your area rug as a cliff, thus the Roomba won’t travel to that rug because it thinks it’s about to travel down a flight of stairs. Throughout my Google journey to find a solution, I saw where someone mentioned you could cover the cliff sensors with black electrical tape which would effectively disable them. Of course, you wouldn’t want to do this if you are using the Roomba in a room where you have stairs or any other type of cliff.

          In searching the iRobot.com website to find out where the various cliff sensors are located, I found a page that shows a diagram. Below the diagram, however, is a comment from iRobot.com indicating that you should never attempt to disable or block the Roomba’s cliff sensor because it “may create an unsafe operating condition”. I translated that to mean you can block the cliff sensors if you don’t have any cliffs to worry about. Here is a link to the iRobot.com website page that shows the Roomba diagram of where the cliff sensors are located, should you wish to attempt this yourself.

    • 30.2
      mlherself says:

      Thank-you Scott for a most excellent and comprehensive review. If one could review a review, I would give you five stars. The dialogue following the review was also enlightening. I’ve asked my husband for a Roomba for Christmas, and this information really helped us decide which model is best for us.

  31. 31
    gail says:

    My husband bought me one of the original Roombas as a present. I hated it. I could vacuum efficiently in a fraction of the time it took to wander to and fro. The idea is a great one and I hope they will make a strong, efficient model so I can buy another. I am not convinced they have done so yet from the reviews and from friends’ comments about theirs.

  32. 32
    Gary says:

    Great review Scott. I have had my roomba for a little less than 2 months. After reading several reviews and watching youtube.com about problems with the 500 series I was concerned. I decided to purchase the 4 year contract from best buy for $40.00. I also had a %20 off. My wife (and I) loves it. I did buy a 5/16” very soft weather stripping and attached one to the top and bottom and I don’t see it bumping my furniture any more and it doesn’t seem to be causing any issues with cleaning or docking.

    We have a lab and it picks keeps the carpets and hard wood floors clean, we run it almost daily, but we have a 5400 square foot house … could probably use two of them.

    We have a rug on top of our carpet and it has a little trouble getting up on the rug. If it comes in at an angle it is ok, and it seems to be keeping it pretty clean. It has cut down on our (my two kids) chore of vacuuming from every 3 days to once every two weeks. I got 6 filters for $10 off e-bay, but still using the original, I just rinse it under water every 3 or 4 days. It is a little more work keeping it clean than I expected, but 5 minutes a day doesn’t seem like a big deal when it saves us a couple of hours a week.

    Happy roomba user… so far.

  33. 33
    Elaine says:

    We have two lab dogs, so I’m glad to hear from a happy roomba user who also has a lab. Thanks for the detailed review, Scott.

    My question is: Is it worth it to pay extra ($75-100) to get the Pet series, or will the regular 560 roomba do the job? I’m hesitant on buying one at all because it’s so expensive, but think it will help the family keep the floors clean (we have mostly tile and hardwood, with a few area rugs.)

    Thanks for your advice.

    • 33.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Elaine,
      I just visited iRobot.com to see exactly what the differences were between the Roomba 530 and the Roomba 532 Pet Series. The Roomba 532 Pet Series is only $20 more than the version that I reviewed on this page. ($319.99 vs $299.99)

      Based on what I saw and reviewed, it appears the main difference between the two versions are:

        Roomba 532 Pet Series battery covers up to 4 rooms per charge. The Roomba 530 covers only 3 per charge.
        Roomba 532 Pet Series has a high capacity sweeper bin. The Roomba 530 doesn’t and the regular vacuum bin on mine is almost always full after cleaning just a single room.
        The Roomba 532 Pet Series includes 3 extra brushes and 2 extra filters. If you were to purchase those separately, they’d cost you $49.99.

      Based on these factors, I’d say it makes sense to spend $20 more. (You mentioned it was $70 more, so I bet you were comparing the Roomba 530 with the Roomba 562 Pet Series, which is $369.99 and includes on-board scheduling.)

  34. 34
    Markingtime says:

    Well- I love my Roomba BUT in our TV room we have a carpet with a zebra print. It is low pile but because of the black stripes the roomba won’t clean it. I’ve heard of people with black and navy blue carpets having similar issues. But it does an amazing job on our tile and hardwood floors as well as our light colored carpets.

  35. 35
    Pete says:

    I bought the top of the line Roomba last year. I have hardwood floors and shaggy carpet. It worked for a day before it started humping its base station and going in circles. I returned it perhaps in 5 years i will try again.

  36. 36
    Joyce says:

    Am thinking of purchasing a Roomba, have one cat. I have had cancer that has weakned by backbones, where I cannont vaccuum. I would like this because it would get under furniture too. Where is the most reasonable place and best priced place to buy. I’m assuming from what I’m reading a 560 series would be best because of my pet. Thank you for your input.

  37. 37
    Valerie says:

    Great Review. I was wondering how the Roomba is at picking up dust. I don’t have pets, but my wood floors get really dusty. Also, do the Roomba wheels damage wood floors at all? My floors unfortunately scratch and dent really easily.

    Thanks in advance!

  38. 38
    Jeneane says:

    I wish I had saved my money and bought a really good vacuum cleaner. I bought a Roomba 560. It picks up dog hair but does not clean along the baseboards, it cleans the same area over and over, and will not go up on the rug from the hardwood. I took the dog for a walk while it ran and when I returned, the dirt recepticle/cup had come off and the Roomba was whirring away around the room. I do not suggest my friends buy one.

  39. 39
    Cathryn says:

    We are considering purchasing a 560 model. Do you know if the 560 has the “lighthouses” you spoke of?

  40. 40
    Janet says:

    Regarding the most recent question, I use the compare checkboxes on the different models on irobot’s website to find out the various features. It should indicate which models come with lighthouses, which have larger size bins, etc. I have used 400 series and 500 series roombas as well as the scooba floor washing robots. Verdict: I love robots! Side Note: all my robots have required contact with customer service and some type of repair or replacement (usually more than once). I found customer service to be helpful and have no particular complaints except that I had to contact them so often!

    I do not recommend the 400 series robots due to their propensity to entangle themselves on cords or rug edges or fringe. Since I have mostly hardwood floors with some area rugs, this was a major issue at my house.

    I was so excited with my 500 series robot, because it did NOT tangle on my cords or rug fringes. However, the side brush started falling out (yes, it actually would fall out, and I’d have to locate the screw, which was vacuumed up a few times. Once, roomba actually vacuumed up the side brush!). My husband tried glueing it in, and replacing the screw, but no lasting fix.

    For my next robot, because I WILL get another, I am trying to decide whether I need it to be scheduled or extra capacity, like the pet series. I believe in any case I will order from Hammacher Schlemmer, because they have a lifetime replacement guarantee. Since it seems inevitable that repair and/or replacement will be necessary, I hope to make it a little easier on myself this time around. One year warranty is definitely not enough for this product!

  41. 41
    Stephanie H. says:

    Hey there….I just wanted to clarify/offer some suggestions really quickly.

    At first, I loved my Roomba 530 so much. My house actually gave “him” a name. He picked up everything in sight which made me happy because my entire house is hard-wood floors and cleaning that day after day with all of the dust collection is a pain! After about 3 weeks he just stopped working like we wanted him to. He would pick up dirt and dust that was directly in the way, but that was about it. His little helper brushes stopped spinning too.

    I researched and researched to see what the problem may be of why after 3 weeks it just stopped cleaning. Countless comments were made that the 3 spinning brushes in the front were the problem and my robot, like many, had that exact issue.
    I looked up replacement parts, asked Bed Bath and Beyond for a refund or even just a replacement, the whole gammet. I refused to spend anymore money than the excessive amount I already did, but at the same time in just 3 short weeks I was so spoiled by not having to vacuum or sweep everyday that I was determined to figure out the issue.

    So, before you purchase any replacement parts (mainly the brushes) try this:

    1. Unscrew the 1 screw that holds the brushes in place.
    2. Unscrew the 4 screws that hold the back frame on.
    3. Take a thin screw driver and dig out all of the crap that gets lodged in there. I can’t tell you how disgusted I was cleaning it out. Do the same thing under all of the wheels, mainly the front guiding one.
    4. Screw everything back together.
    5. Empty all of the dustbins and clean the bristles.

    (This whole process took about 5 minutes.)

    I flipped my little guy back over, turned him on, and haven’t had a problem since! I’m happy again!!!

    • 41.1
      Anonymous says:

      Stephanie, you are an angel! My side brush also wouldn’t work but I did what you said and it has magically recovered! (And there was a LOT of crap under that side brush holder.)

      i wish I could have gone deeper to remove more fuzz out of the bearings but i would need a weird screwdriver head to remove another layer of plastic. boo!

  42. 42
    Helen says:

    Thanks for a wonderful review. The readers’ comments are also very useful. I really want a roomba but I’m not sure which model will work best for me or if it will meet my needs at all.

    I have hardwood floors throughout my house with tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. My main concern is a very expensive hand loomed wool rug in the living room. The manufacturer recommends a suction only vacuum cleaner or one with a beater bar that can be turned off. My rug sheds a lot (wool rugs usually do when they are new) and the Dyson causes additional fuzzing. It may be worse than a pet. I’m constantly sweeping my living room. In retrospect, I should have bought a synthetic rug. They are cheaper and easier to maintain (but that’s a review for another site :)

    I think a roomba will be very helpful but I don’t know if it will damage the rug or cause extra fuzzing. I will truly appreciate your advice.

    If do do get one, I will purchase it at Bed Bath and Beyond because they have a great return policy. As long as I have the receipt, I can return it at anytime.

  43. 43
    scott says:

    I got a 500 series roomba about 2 years ago and instantly fell in love. I set it up to vacuum my house every day just before I got home from work. It was great to have such a clean house. Here’s the problem: after about 6 months it started getting erratic and then died. iRobot replaced it and the new one died in another 6 months. The same thing happened to my sister. These things are really amazing and cool, but they are built like toys and are really just plastic crap.

  44. 44
    Giri says:

    Posting Date: 07/31/2010

    I bought a Roomba 520 from Costco recently. I did my online search to look up reviews and found great reviews. So I wanted to give a shot at it.

    My take: Go for it for its fancy rather than its usefullness. If you are an able bodied person, willing to do it the manual way, I suggest you do that.

    Here is Why:
    Pros:
    (1) Setup was fairly quick. Probably took 15 – 30 mins overall including removing the Roomba out of its package, putting in the batteries and setting it up for its first charge.
    (2) It does a fairly good job in cleaning the area it goes over, which means, that if some dirt is on the path it went through, then it definitely picks it ups.
    (3) Cleaning the Roomba is also fairly easy.
    (4) Does a good job of going around obstacles. If there is a leg of your coffee table, it is able to go around it and clean all sides
    (5) The Virtual Wall concept is really cool. Good to way to curtail the cleaning area

    Cons:
    Most inefficient way to clean
    (1) When the way to go is “Go Green”, the amount of energy you have to spend to charge it up and then see it expended is atrocious
    (2) In the name of “Randomness”, the Roomba keeps going over the same section in the room multiple times. I think this is utterly inefficient. What is the need to go over the same space when it has already been cleaned? There should be a method to the randomness. I would suggest to the inventors, that they mimic the “manual” vacuum cleaner, where it goes from wall to wall from one side of the room to the other. That way the entire room gets done quickly
    (3) In the name of “Randomness”, it is quite possible that some areas in the floor is completely left out. I have seen the Roomba missing some areas and then I have to do it manually
    (4) I wonder how it is able to identify an area that has “more” dirt to pick up. When the roomba identifies an area which has more dirt, a blue light flashes on its top and it spins around that area, until the dirt is “gone”. I wonder how it does that. I have noticed the Roomba having already gone through an area, but when it comes to the same area later, it “identifies” that it has more dirt and spot cleans it!!!!
    (5) Roomba does a good job of identifying walls and slowing down. But not every obstacle in a room is a wall. You have furnitures which has an elevated edge because of its legs (Example: Sofa, TV stand etc). Roomba is not able to identify it and inadvertently bumps into it
    (6) If it had setup a virtual wall to curtail the roomba to an area and if this blocks it from finding it base, then the roomba is stuck. I would rather have the design modified such that the roomba is able to go through the virtual wall when it wants to “Dock”.

    Overall I am NOT happy with it and intend to return it.

    • 44.1
      robotfan says:

      It detects dirt by a sensor in the brush cage which “hears” dirt by feeling the brush cage vibrate from dirt striking it

  45. 45
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this great review. I’ve been trying to decide to get one for my sister who has an inside dog – white hair and dark floors. I wasn’t sure if it was just a novelty item (expensive one at that!) or if it really worked great. Your review sold me!
    I’m going to Costco to get one!

    • 45.1
      Scott says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      You’re welcome for my review. As long as you’re aware that I don’t recommend the Roomba as a replacement vacuum but rather as something to use in-between “deep cleanings” with a standard vacuum, I think you’ll be very satisfied with it.

  46. 46
    Elsie says:

    Does anyone know what to do when you charge it with a new battery and after about 20 min. it starts flashing red. The voice says something but I don’t know what it says.

  47. 47
    Tom says:

    I have had two Roombas over the past 3 years; always top of the line. I have an English Bulldog that looses a ton of hair. I have the dog restricted to an area with hardwood floors. The Roomba does a good job of cleaning the floors. However, I have three precautionary comments based on my experience: 1) my Roomba often runs out of gas before finding its way back to the base station which doesn’t really bother me, because I simply place it back in its charging station and 2) the Roomba has a rather crude obstacle avoidance/detection system. It does a reasonably good job of dtecting walls but plows headlong into chair legs which creates a lot of racket and eventually damages furniture, so I definitely would avoid using around quality furniture. 3) the cleaning pattern is completely random so it misses some cleaning area (can’t quantify it though).

  48. 48
    Sue says:

    Hi there, I have a question. What are you doing with the cats during cleaning? Can they be around? Are they interested? Are they disturbing the robot? We have 3 kittys, short hair but still… Should I lock them out of the robot’s way?
    I’d like to thank your for this review, was very helpful.
    Sue

    • 48.1
      Scott says:

      At first my cats were afraid of the Roomba, but now they just stare and watch it move along the floor. They’ve even gotten so used to the Roomba that they sometimes let it bump into them. The Roomba doesn’t suck them up into it though… it just switches directions.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my Roomba review and that it was helpful for you.

  49. 49
    Sue says:

    Thanks a lot, I know what I want for Xmas :)

  50. 50
    Crystal says:

    Just wanted to let all of you know that you can get all replacement parts on ebay for half the price you’d pay at a store or from the company.

  51. 51
    Zona says:

    I have a Roomba 500 series and used it minimally. I too disliked the time it took to clean it out after each time it ran. I found the replacement brushes & filters very expensive. My robot quit working the other day & I followed the troubleshooting guide to no avail. I contacted techinical support and emailed with them as I could not understand the person on the phone. Basically I was told that because I had followed the troubleshooting guide and it was not successful, that my only option was to purchase a new robot because there was no place to send my robot for repair. My first reaction to this was “What a scam”. So here I sit with a broken robot and expensive spare parts on my hands…not going to purchase another one.

  52. 52
    CJ says:

    When Roombas first came out I bought one and loved it. I would turn it on about once a week before leaving for work and come home to clean floors. It lasted about 3 years and then stopped charging. I bought a new battery and it still wouldn’t charge it; so I said forget it and got rid of it. About 2 years ago my husband bought me a new one. Now it has also stopped charging I went through customer service and they said the unit in the Roomba that charges the battery has stopped working and it is now out of warranty so they can’t help me. I wonder are these things made to stop working after a few years so we will purchase new ones? I’ve had enough and will never buy another. When it works it’s great; but too expensive for just a few years service.

  53. 53
    Jeanne667 says:

    I bought my Roomba at Costco. I had been reading about them and Costco promises it’s members if you aren’t happy you can return it.

    I would not give my Roomba up for anything. I absolutely love it.

    I have a big house with a lot of floor space. I figured out if I paid somebody to come in and vacume once a week for one hour at $20.00 per hour I would have Roomba paid for in about 3 months or less.

    I dust and Roomba vacumes. I am thinking of purchasing a second unit. I love Roomba.

  54. 54
    Robert Givens says:

    I have had two 500 series cleaners break on me and iRobot was not willing to repair them no will they even offer email support without first forcing me to dig through paperwork for the purchase date and then try to read the tiny serial number off the Roomba. These are great when they work but they break easily and iRobot has poor customer service. I do not recommend buying one.

  55. 55
    CP Davis says:

    I bought the cheap 400 series on black friday 2009($99.00)-(posted this November 8th 2010) still running, same filter and I am happy. Tap the filter- wash it every now and then and clean the brushes and wheels no problem. I have a really bad back and this is a life saver. I hope to find another one cheap this black friday and I will buy it for my kitchen.

    • 55.1
      CJ says:

      I hope yours will last longer than mine. I’ve had two and after the second year they both stopped charging the battery and can’t be fixed. Good luck with yours.

  56. 56
    S. Falls says:

    i don’t own one, but from what I’ve read, all things considered, i think the time spend cleaning the darn thing and money spent on replacements isn’t worth the trouble.

    Here’s a basic question: Why not have a pre-sucker that grabs the hair *before* it gets caught in the brushes? Poor engineering, that’s why.

    I have a _very_ nice Miele for a little more than the top Roomba (rubber wheels, HIPPA filter, hose attachment, hard/carpet switch, powerful motor with great suction, not too heavy, and centerball pivoting for ease of use, grooved brush rods for easy scissoring of hair/fur. I have 3 cats, wife has allergies, and we don’t want to toss around all of the allergens cleaning the vac/robot.

    So, bottom line, I feel the technology hasn’t improved sufficiently yet to spend the time and money. Besides, putting the kids to work vacuuming is better for everyone. :-D

  57. 57
    Mike T says:

    I purchased a Roomba 560 and it came with somewhat intelligent electronics. Lighthouses that allowed the unit to clean one room, move to the next and then clean the next room. Due to the size of my house, I needed another one to make life simpler, so I purchase another model 560. Unfortunately, the manufacturer “Dumbed Down” the model 560 and did not include the “lighthouses” that were an important factor in my purchase! They decided to remove features from the model 560 and still call it the model 560.

    After contacting “iRobot” I was informed that they did this so they could market the higher end models that weren’t selling. STUPID DECISION …you would expect to add improvements to a model instead of crippling it by removing functionality. .

    Obviously, a bad situation for any consumer! They should have simply renamed the model and market it as a different dumbed down model, i.e. call it “550”. Yet they confuse the consumer by keeping the same model number that is less functional than the previous model.

  58. 58
    Christa says:

    I would really love to have a roomba to help make my life a hint easier. BUT, based on ALL the reviews I have read (Best Buy, Amazon, and this site) I am just not sure. It seems 50% have no problems and LOVE the Roomba. THe other 50% have horrible maintainance issues and poor customer service stories! Still deciding…..

    • 58.1
      Jan says:

      I agree with you, it is confusing. I spoke with 2 people who own them (one person for 5+ years)and they love them. Perhaps more people with complaints write reviews than satisfied customers.

  59. 59
    Evelyn says:

    Great review, thanks. I have 2 cats and the younger of the two was petrified with fear when my son (who bought it for me) got it up and running – he hid under the bed for a while and refused to come out. I’m trying to slowly introduce him to it. I don’t want him totally traumatized… but he REALLY hates my regular vacuum and will hide under the bed for hours because of it. Hopefully with the fact that this vacuum makes much less noise will be a help for him.

    I am looking forward to the extra cleaning help with this little gadget. My older cat has a double coat and sheds a good bit, so this little irobot will really come in handy.

    My son’s girlfriend swears by it, so I’m game to give it a try.

    Thanks again for the review!

  60. 60
    Charlene says:

    Thank you for this review. It was very helpful. I am debating purchasing a Roomba and as you stated, it is alot of money to put into something you’re not sure about.

  61. 61
    Terri says:

    We loved ours when we first purchased it and when we had problems they replaced it twice. After the warrenty ran out though we were offered a coupon to purchase new. After breaking twice though we did not want to purchase another. Ours was an early model, hope the new ones are better!

  62. 62
    Malena says:

    We have two different model roombas, one for each floor. There are both excellent on wood floors. I agree you have to clean corners but in general they save a lot of time. The person that complained about how long it takes to clean is not taking in consideration that now she can use the time to do other chores. They don’t last for ever but their customer service is excellent, and they replace one without many questions. I recommend it, this is small glimpse into what the future is going to be with the help of robots

  63. 63
    Janis says:

    I have been reading reviews for months and this one is the best. So comprhensive and love all the feedback from everyone. Asked my hubby for a roomba for Christmas and we purchased it online from Best Buy so we could also get the four year extended warrenty. That was an additional 40 dollars but I am looking forward to a long relationship with her and after all my reading it seemed like a smart thing to purchase. So far I am totally in love.

    We both work full time and have 2 cats and 2 small dogs and I hate housecleaning. The kitty litter that gets dragged around the house is the worst. We have all tile and Pergo on our first floor and in FL we are often barefoot. I am constantly wiping stuff off the bottom of my bare feet on the few area rugs we have. The animals don’t seem too bothered by it but they all hate the vacuum (one of my many excuses not to drag it out.) Ran it in my bedroom too (berber carpet) where I normally just do the high traffic areas and it was pretty amazing how much it picked up. Was able to get under all the furniture and never got stuck. My vacuum can’t get under there. My bed has about 15 wooden legs under it holding up the mattress and it bopped around them no problem. It hasn’t been vacuumed under there since we got the furniture.

    So far I don’t mind cleaning it out at all. It may get old and less exciting when there is less dust and hair to see. I plan on running it in the LR, DR and hall 3-5 days per week and putting it in the kitchen when I am home to watch it so I can shake out the throw rugs and move pet water bowl which it bumps and spills. I could watch it all day. My husband doesn’t have the same respect for it that I do but I don’t think he has ever vacuumed a day in his life so… Looking forward to a long happy relationship with my roomba and having clean floors for a change.

    I know you say I will still have to vacuum occasionally but I am not too picky and I think this is doing a better job than I did sweeping, vacuuming and swiffering and still finding dust bunnies when I mopped. I don’t plan on using my extended warranty for basic issues (brushes etc.) but I will use it for any major problems with the unit or the battery. Thanks for all of your help. Great review!

    • 63.1
      Janis says:

      Well ok I see now from the date of my review ‘Zoila’ lasted 2 years and 2 months with only a side brush and a filter replacement. I returned her today for what I thought was for repair because she kept stopping and telling me to clean her brushes but without even a glance in her direction they told me they would just give me my money back in store credit. I still had to come up with another 100 bucks to buy the 650 and I lost out on the last 2 years of my warranty which sort of annoyed me but I knew better than not to get another one. Got the 2 year warranty this time but probably shouldn’t have been so stubborn and at least gotten it for 3. Well my floors have been clean for two years and I didn’t return the 2 lighthouse so I guess overall I made out. I must admit I never got my regular vacuum out of the garage the entire time she was running. As long as I’m living in a house where Zoila will work with the furniture and the floor plan I will definitely continue to use her for all my vacuuming. I run her about 2-3 times a week and never tire of seeing all she picks up.

  64. 64
    Carol says:

    I’ve owned 3 Roombas and loved them, but finally got tired of them quitting on me. Thus I haven’t had one since the Discovery models. Thought I’d read some reviews to see if they had fixed the reliability but it appears they have not. Too bad. I used to let them run every day and didn’t object to any of the little gripes that some folks seem to express. It was simply the aggravation when they quit working after too short a time. Maybe I’ll look into one of the competitor’s products.

    • 64.1
      CJ says:

      I didn’t know there were other products similiar to the Roomba. I too loved my Roombas when they workd but had 2 of them quit on me after a few years of use. I’m going to look into other similiar products and perhaps they will last longer.

  65. 65
    judi821 says:

    I have 2 dogs, a lab and a miniature dachshund. Trying to decide between the 610 Professional and the 572 Pet Series. Any suggestions. Does anyone know if the 610 Professional is good for dog hair also?

  66. 66
    maureen says:

    My parents have had the roomba for a few years and I never though about getting one but I was at their house for a month and saw it in action and wanted one. My husband said the price was too much but we did get the 610 and even he said it was well worth it. I am constantly amazed at how much it picks up. I have it set to vacuum every other day downstairs and take it upstairs opposite days. I hate to vacuum and this does an amazing job. My house has never looked cleaner and it makes everyone pick up after themselves a litte bit more. If you hate housework I suggest you try this.

  67. 67
    Gabriele carty says:

    Help!I purchased the irobot roomba 500 series in january 2011.From the very beginning it would stop after 10 minutes and ask to open the brush guard and clean the brushes. Customer service send me a new brush guard and still had the same problem. Customer Service send me another new brush guard and besides the same problem it started making a clicking sound.Customer service send me a new Shell it arrived 2 days ago .I was so happy and thought the problem was fixed. I started the roomba and the same problem started again after 10 minutes. I want to say that with # 2 error to open the brush guard to clean the brushes, they were never dirty and i made absolutly sure to clean the brushes etc. after each time. I feel stupid , becauce i just dont know what i am doing wrong.You would think to clean 1 room that is not dirty this should not happen .Has anyone else experienced this?Also what is the best Model on the market.

    • 67.1
      Larry Hammes says:

      We’ve owned a 560 for about 2 years. For the first few months it was wonderful. The side brushes didn’t hold up well, but iRobot sent replacements. Then the clicking started – the square drive lug on the end of the big brush had its corners rounded off. iRobot replaced the set, which lasted a short time and they had to be replaced again. Then the brush drive system died. I waited about 10 weeks for replacements. It arrived but didn’t last very long. Another long wait and another replacement drive box arrived, this one was green plastic, the first two were red. The side brushes were improved, too. Then the whole thing died. iRobot agreed to replace the whole thing as the thing had been out of service waiting for parts for about as long as it had been usable. I noticed that the newer one, early 2010, I think, had better software, but it didn’t last but about 5 months. Now its completely out of service. The battery only lasts a couple of minutes and when it runs, it only turns in circles. I’ve done all the troubleshooting, watched the videos, etc. but none seem to solve the problem.

      I miss the convenience of the Roomba when it worked, and I’ve been considering repairing or replacing it with a new one, but from what I’ve read from the above customer experiences, the quality of materials hasn’t improved significantly. It’s a great concept comdemed by poor quality materials. Save your money.

      A couple of other comments:

      1. The filters clean up nicely, just tap out the dust and occasionally rinse them and let them dry. Just like new.
      2. Our two enormous, egregiously shedding but very loveable cats weren’t much bothered by the machine. While the immediately evacuate the room if I break out a conventional vac, with the iRobot, one just lies about and only moves if the thing runs into him, the other gets up on a chair or sofa and goes back to sleep.
  68. 68
    John Walter says:

    I purchased the iRobot Roomba Pet Series 532 Vacuum Cleaning Robot through Amazon.com for my wife, as kind of a gag gift for Mothers Day. I admit that I was skeptical about how well this “Robot” would actually work, like most people. Being that we have both had rotator cuff surgery in the past, using an upright vacuum became a chore, and a painful one at that ! After reading reviews from other customers, I decided to clean the family room carpet with our Oreck upright first, then set the Roomba free.

    This thing is AMAZING !!!

    I sat quietly and watched the morning news as the Roomba zig zagged back and forth throughout the room. Our family room is roughly 14’x 18′ with a low pile carpet that is about 3 years old.
    We have four children, eight grandkids, and three Boxers that all seem to congregate in this area, so this would be a great test for the Roomba.

    It was quiet, ran smoothly around the room, worked around the edges of any end tables, coffee tables, sofa’s or chairs with ease, and did a rather wonderful job. The edge cleaner did a fantastic job of sweeping away those small particles that most vacuums miss. The unit ran for maybe thirty minutes, and returned to the charging base to re-charge as mentioned in the product information pages.

    Now, lets see just how well it cleaned after being vacuumed with an upright first. I was amazed at the amount of dog hair, crumbs, and assorted junk that this thing picked up ! The carpet looked fresh, and the pile was raised better than the upright. A total and complete surprise………

  69. 69
    Tami K. says:

    Have owned our Roomba 530 for going on 3 years now. Got a new battery last year from Batteries Plus for $30. Side Brushes were replaced via Roomba Customer Service 6 months after purchase. Now, our main brushes are not turning. Have spent hours taking the thing apart, going online to different websites, ect. Looks like it’s just worn out. Will not be replacing it with a new one since customer service is hard to understand/work with and we can get a much better and reliable vaccuum for half the cost. Too bad. It worked great for about a year and now only has the suctioning function thus won’t pick up any debris on the floor.
    May look into trying out a competitor since there are now some on the market.

  70. 70
    Terry says:

    Tami, it is a defect with the cleaning head module. It has been redesigned. I have had my 560 for 3 1/2 years and am on this site trying to find an answer to mine not working now. It spins around and is stationary. The tech support says dump it and buy same one for $ 275 (I paid $ 399) I bought it from Sears and bought stupid warranty but called and it expires after 2 years. I have taken really good care of mine and it has worked it’s monies worth so I’ll get a newest 700 series. I hate to throw this one away that’s why I’m reaching out. I disassembled it and clean the contacts with spray electric parts cleaner. It worked for a few minutes and stood still while running and trying. Irobot tech support said when it has 9 beeps it is the bumper error so dump it:(
    I will say that I have used it and my floors have never been cleaner so I’ll get another. If there are any robot repairman out there HELP!!!!

  71. 71
    Gary says:

    We bought a used Roomba 500 series, and it would run out of charge before being finished, and never docked. I replaced the battery with a new one from Batteries Plus (cheaper than iRobot), and now it has plenty of charge to complete a cleaning, and it docks just fine. Remember that Ni-CAd batteries (it uses 12 in series) have a limited life, and you can expect to have to replace them every 2-4 years. And, if one battery in the pack goes bad, then the pack won’t charge correctly. We got the Roomba primarily to keep the dust down on the carpets in our bedroom, under the King size bed and other furniture. My wife has an allergy problem with dust. The Roomba works great for this application. Once a week, controls the dust. We do have to roll up the rugs and runners, which are thick. I use a regular vac on them. The lighthouse batteries have to be replaced yearly.

  72. 72
    Wes says:

    I have a 19 month old 530 that gives error 9 and just spins in circles even after several cleanings. IRobot customer service says the unit needs to be replaced and they want to send a new 530 for $106.49 incl s/h. Can the unit be repaired? I have seen postings on other review website concerning this issue of error 9. What is your take on this?

  73. 73
    GaryA says:

    We’ve had several Roombas over the years (love them), and have noticed most problems have to do with dirty sensors. Vacuum every crack and crevice thoroughly (don’t be afraid to give your robot a good shake every now and then while cleaning it), carefully pick out dust bunnies with a screw driver or tweezers, and wash any sensor you can get to with a soft damp cloth. This fixed a problem similar to Wes’s circling 530, and other problems as well.
    The stripping of the drive pin for the main brushes is (my opinion) Roomba’s worst design flaw. It happens when the brushes jam, and this could be caused by simple piece of string or thread – or long hair- wrapping around the brush. Keep a watch out for those in the brushes, and on the floor.

  74. 74
    Pat says:

    Has anyone thought about buying a Square Trade Warrenty for there New purchase of there vacuum you can get a 2-3-or even 4 year replacement warrenty from them at 70% below most retailers warrenties.

  75. 75
    Janet says:

    My Roomba 520 has been diagnosed as too expensive to repair by the warranty company as the base module is faulty (getting Err2 clean irobot’s brushes. I bought it in May 2010. I will be given a new one under the 4 year warranty but that means that the warranty is now fulfilled and cannot be used again. It had 2 new cleaning head modules under the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, then 2 repairs under the warranty (not sure what they were).
    I am not very happy at having to have a new one as it will only have a 1 year’s manufacturer’s warranty. No way am I paying an additional £55 for a 4 year warranty which will be fulfilled in a year.

  76. 76
    michael says:

    Above, several people have mentioned sales. Can you please tell me what retailers participate in such sales? Were the sales seasonal (like Christmas) or were they random?

  77. 77
    KShed says:

    I have owned a roomba 400 series for a few years until the battery died. now i have purchased the 565 series which can be purchased at major retailers at least where i live canadian tire zellers london drugs and such.

    I made a little video to you can see how one works. take a look if you’re interested in getting one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvVVY86fppA

  78. 78
    Matt says:

    I bought a brand new one a few months ago and took it back the next day. It just doesnt have enough suction. We let it clean the living room and then we took our regular vacuum and it sucked up more material. The irobots are just for getting the top layer of your carpet clean and doesnt clean deep inside. They would be awesome if they just had more suction.

  79. 79
    Alessandro says:

    I recently bought an iRobot Roomba 780, mainly because I’ve a dog in my house, and I must say I’m satisfacted with it. It does a good job, it removes my dog hair as well as dust and dirty things we bring in our house directly from the courtyard.

    It’s a good machine, nothing to say about it. It’s incredible how a so cool invention changed my family lives. At least I’m glad my mother doesn’t have to clean floors all days, but just a pass each week to clean up what the iRobot left somewhere.

    And about staring at Roomba while it work… I do the same, like you!
    Me and my dog follow its cleaning job for curiosity :)

    Thanks so much for this great review.
    See you soon,
    Alessandro

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