I'm In Love With The Robot That Cleans My House


Photo: iRobot

Last week, sitting at my desk in our office at 4:15 PM, I elbowed one of my colleagues and told him, “I’ve had a robot vacuuming my apartment for the last fifteen minutes.”My colleague groaned because I’ve been testing iRobot’s Roomba 790 for five days.

For schlubs like me who would rather eat nachos than vacuum the floor, there’s cause for celebration in the Roomba 790.

If you’re unfamiliar, Roomba is iRobot’s line of vacuuming robots, and every afternoon at 4 PM, mine is scheduled to zoom to life and clean my entire floor. It’s Rosie, the robot maid from The Jetsons, realised in real life.

Before we dig in, you should know the price is steep. The Roomba 790 retails for $700. A top rated upright vacuum cleaner sells for less than $200 on Amazon.

But no one has ever bragged to a friend about their killer upright vaccum cleaner. It isn’t a robot dedicated to making your life easier.

If you’re still intrigued, then keep reading.

The 790 model is iRobot’s latest and greatest, offering a wireless remote control for scheduling automated cleanups and steering the Roomba manually.

That’s right — you can schedule your Roomba to clean your house at any specified time. While you sleep, while you’re at work, whenever.

The wireless steering feature feels right at home here, offering the best way to navigate your Roomba into tight nooks and crannies and for discovering new venues in cat terrorism.

You’ll also want to use the “spot” feature. Set the Roomba in the centre of an especially dirty area, press the “spot” button, and watch it perform a concentrated cleaning in a small space.

Do you have rugs in your house? Never fear — Roomba is smart enough to transition from floor to rug and will even clean a little deeper to get rid of whatever dirt and dust is trapped inside.

All of these were excellent features, but my favourite one of all is that Roomba will navigate itself to its docking station when it’s completed vacuuming your house, meaning that it’s out of the way, charging back up, and ready for the next cleaning session.

OK, it’s a magic wireless robot vacuum, but how well does it actually clean?

In my very non-scientific study, I’d say it performed well above-average. My house was noticeably cleaner after using it, and the proof is in the dustbin.

I have Roomba scheduled to clean once a day. My reasoning is that seven above-average cleanings a week (that I don’t have to do) are much better than one intensive handheld vacuuming operation per week.

You’ll became more aware of objects left on the floor. I knew that if I wanted the Roomba to vacuum all of my space, the floor needed to be a clear as possible. Suddenly my shoes were going into the closet instead of the middle of the living room. Any stray wires or chargers were wrapped up or put in drawers when not in use. So my personal testimony is that Roomba will change your habits for the better.

All of this automated delight comes with one caveat — you need to take care of your new device. Empty the dustbin after each session. Use the included brushes to comb stray dirt out of its bristles. Keep an eye on the side brush and replace it if starts to look a little frail.

For all the Roomba does for you, can’t you do this little bit for your Roomba? You can. I probably spent five minutes maintaining it after each cleaning.

Should you buy it?
Do you want to get rid of one of your chores forever? Then get a Roomba. Do you want a vacuum that will get your floor spotless beyond reproach every time? Then you need an old-fashioned manual vacuum.

As for me, I’ll let the Roomba do its thing while I eat my nachos.

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