Living with a Roomba

Emily and I bought a Roomba after we moved last year. I didn’t want to vacuum or dust mop/Swiffer the whole place on a regular basis. I’ve been mostly happy with the Roomba—I think it saves us time. I think it’s worth the cost as long as it lasts a long time.

It’s quieter than our full upright vacuum and our Chihuahua Toro is less afraid of it, though he still keeps his distance.

We try to be careful to pick things up off the floor before it runs. Phone charger cables, socks, blankets, etc. We also place a blockade line around Toro’s water bowl, ala the Toblerone Line.

It’s scheduled to run once a week. We typically close the doors to our bedrooms to make the coverage area smaller. It usually runs for about an hour before making its way back to the dock. On separate occasions we’ll put it in a bedroom and start it manually.

Our new carpet and rugs shed a lot, which fills up the Roomba’s bin pretty quickly. It has gotten better over the past year, but the bin is still fairly full by the end of a run.

One distinct advantage of the Roomba is that it’s short enough to fit under our couch and another piece of furniture— places that would otherwise never get vacuumed.

Room For Improvement

The biggest downside is that hair gets wrapped around the spinning brushes and needs to be cleaned regularly. I spend about 30 minutes (while watching TV) each month removing the brushes and cutting hair out. It’s not terrible, but it does take away from the time saved by having an automated vacuum. The more expensive Roomba models are supposed to handle this better (we have the cheapest—the 650). Also, I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t clean it. Maybe it’d be fine? I suspect something would eventually break. Or it would clean less efficiently. Or both.

I wish it was smarter about remembering the floor plan and noticing dirt and cleaning dirty areas more thoroughly. For example, our entryway and kitchen tend to have a lot of dirt and it would be great if the Roomba spent more time in those areas. The more expensive Roomba models might be better about this, too.

I think the small spinner brush in the front right side is leaving a horizontal line of scuff marks across our baseboards. Especially when it traps itself in a bathroom. Not surprising, but still unfortunate. It would be better if this brush was made out of a softer material, even if that meant it had to be periodically replaced. I’ve accepted the fact that we’ll have to repaint our baseboards when we eventually move out—not the end of the world.

The Roomba’s suction is weaker than our upright vacuum, but not detrimentally so.

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