Roomba Reviews

Roam Around with a Roomba

I got my first Roomba a few years ago and found it just fascinating to watch. It had the added advantage that it cleaned the floor, particularly in places I would never venture.

They are more advanced now, but just as much fun to watch!

Here, we review the Roombas for you, and give an idea of the advantages and disadvantages.

The Roomba 560

iRobot.com rating 4.5 stars (69 reviews, 4/16/08)

Amazon rating 4.1 stars (135 reviews, 4/16/08)

The Roomba 560 adds scheduling which means you can pick the times when the Roomba gets busy.

Product Description

iRobot Roomba 500 Series Robots feature dramatic improvements in navigation and floor coverage, edge and corner cleaning, brushes, filters and advanced anti-tangle technology.

  • Covers 4 rooms on a single battery charge
  • On-board Scheduling
  • Self-charging Home Base
  • 2 Virtual Wall Lighthouses

Pros

  • Cleans well
  • Covers entire room
  • Cleans under furniture
  • Easy to use
  • Long run time

Cons

  • Can get stuck
  • Frequent maintenance

Selection of Reviews

  1. (Five stars) "I read the other reviews about it getting stuck, and people have to be realistic. If you have stuff laying all over the place, and furnature cluttered in a maze everywhere, it will make it a challenge for the little guy. You still have to pick up after yourself just like you would if were going to use a regular vacuum. I have had NO trouble with it getting stuck! I have watched it actually back out of tough situations that it couldn't turn out of. I still can't believe how much stuff it picks up. It's awesome to watch it do it's thing, and realize that it knows what it is doing and where it is going. Worth every penny!!!"
  2. (Four stars) "Unfortunately, roomba stops and won't go over black throw rug (which is what shows the most dirt). The side brush cracked in half after about 3 weeks. [...] I guess everyone else's brushes are breaking also.Besides those two flaws, it cleans very well. I didn't know where was so much dirt in my carpet!"
  3. (Three stars) "I have had roombas of EVERY generation, dating back to the original silver one. The side brush has always been a problem. On the original roomba, it was too "robust" with its downward-facing bristles and it caused damage along the entire edge of the wall to wall carpeting. The newest incarnation is much gentler; however, the wheels run over the brush and endless break spokes off! My latest side brush went from six spokes to 2 spokes in a matter of three weeks. This is a design flaw. Especially if Irobot is charging [$] for a side brush replacement pack! This is the best, most effective roomba yet...but the side brush is still a problem."

Bottom Line

The scheduling makes a huge difference but people are reporting issues with the side brushes.

A note on the Roomba 570 and Roomba 580 models. These models have a wireless controller and some more accessories. They are fundamentally the same as the 560. If you do want more accessories or the wireless controller is important, then it's worth looking into them.

The Roomba 530

iRobot.com Rating 4.5 Stars (72 reviews, 4/11/08)

Amazon.com Rating 4.4 Stars (73 reviews, 4/11/08)

The thing that sets this model apart is the home base. When it's tired and nearly out of juice, the Roomba finds it's way back, plops down onto the base and recharges.

Product Description

iRobot Roomba 500 Series Robots feature dramatic improvements in navigation and floor coverage, edge and corner cleaning, brushes, filters and advanced anti-tangle technology.

  • Covers 3 rooms on a single battery charge
  • Self-charging Home Base
  • 2 Virtual Walls

Pros

  • Cleans well
  • Cleans under furniture
  • Covers entire room
  • Pet friendly

Cons

  • Can get stuck

Selection of Reviews

  1. (Four Stars)If you are new to Roomba, you will wonder if it is worthwhile. The answer is clearly YES, since anything it cleans is that much less for you to clean. However, which is better, the old (and cheaper) Roomba, or the new models like the 530? First, the 530 comes with the charging/base station, and this is very useful. I have placed this in the entranceway which leads into the livingroom, the kitchen or the bedroom. Using the virtual walls (included), I block off rooms so that it can only do the entranceway + 1 other room. I simply press the "Clean" button, and it backs itself off the charging stand and then spends the next 2 hours cleaning, finally returning to the charging stand. Nice! Should you upgrade from an older model Roomba (I now use my old Roomba upstairs)? It depends on your situation. By-the-way, the old virtual walls do NOT work with the new Roomba. New Roomba: Fall down stairs? Never. Climb onto thick throw rugs? Sometimes. Effectiveness on hard floors? Excellent. Effectiveness on carpets? Good. Trap itself in electrical cords? No. Trap itself in carpet fringes? No. # rooms it can do at once? 2. Ease of emptying dirt? Fairly good. Scare cats and dogs? No. Clean under low furniture? Yes. Quietness? Fairly. Old Roomba: Fall down stairs? Never. Climb onto thick throw rugs? Rarely. Effectiveness on hard floors? Excellent. Effectiveness on carpets? Good. Trap itself in electrical cords? Usually. Trap itself in carpet fringes? Always. # rooms it can do at once? 2. Ease of emptying dirt? Fair. Scare cats and dogs? No. Clean under low furniture? Yes. Quietness? Fairly.
  2. (Five Stars) I thought that when my old Roomba got fried after our house got hit by lightning (no surge protector!), I wouldn't miss it so much. I had been languishing in the corner mainly because it would eat the fringe on my area rugs. But it had been kind of useful for wall to wall carpeting, so I got this model for Christmas . As others have said, this newer model is a huge improvement over the original one. It has a much better battery life, shorter charging time, is fairly quiet, has a larger and seemingly better cleaning capacity...and...it doesn't eat rug fringes!...though it did get tangled in a stray long fringe I had been too lazy to trim. This model even tells you mid-cleaning if it gets full or the brushes need to be cleaned which is great if you're around - not so great if you left the house. But cleaning the brushes halfway through makes for a better job, at least in my house which has lots of pet hairs that end up getting spread around rather than sucked up if the brushes are too "full." No, the Roomba is not a substitute for the beater bar/major suction cleaning of a standard vacuum cleaner, but for surface cleaning and maintenance in-between, it's just great. Two points other reviewers have brought up that I did not find to be the case for me - the old virtual walls work with this model and it scares my dog, though not as much as the "big" vacuum cleaner.
  3. (Five Stars) Cleans every room(except the stairs), area's that are difficult for me to get to everyday, the hardwood and tile stay white sock spotless, but his spinning side brush has to be replaced frequently. "Alfred" is the greatest gift my husband has ever bought me. It's hard to say which I love more my dishwasher or my roomba. I tell everyone I know to get one. My best friend has already and we are getting our mothers one each for Mothers Day. There isn't enough room here to to tell others how wonderful our roomba is or how much work it has taken off me and how much free time it has given me that I have never had before. Get one...I have the 530, & I love him. I tell everyone he's my other man.

Bottom Line

The homebase makes it so much easier to use than previous models. Definitely the target model to get.

The Roomba 530 in Action

The Roomba 510

The Roomba 510

iRobot.com Rating 4.5 stars (14 ratings, 4/10/2008)

Amazon Rating 5 stars (1 rating, 4/10/2008)

The 500 series has a much longer battery life and cleans better. That's one of the reasons they are a different shape to the older models.

Product Description

iRobot Roomba 500 Series Robots feature dramatic improvements in navigation and floor coverage, edge and corner cleaning, brushes, filters and advanced anti-tangle technology.

Pros

  • Cleans well
  • Covers entire room
  • Longer run time

Cons

  • Can get stuck

Selection of Reviews

  1. (Five Stars) This is a GREAT product! I received my Roomba today and let it do its thing. Dozens of people have lived in this apartment's bedroom before me and it seemed like I could never get all the mess from the prior tenants out of my room. But, I let the Roomba loose to attack the mess and found that I had no idea how much hair, dust and really bulky items (beads, hair ties, receipts) were hiding on my floor! Although this vacuum does not have a home base charger or scheduling system, it works great for my needs! I'll just turn it on before I leave for class and come home to a nice, clean bedroom. My roommates are uneasy about having a robot do our cleaning (they believe it'll get mind of its own one day), but I'm sure they won't have a problem giving up on the heavy, ineffective vacuum we currently own. The only reason I have to hang on to the upright vacuum is to get between furniture and walls that the Roomba is too wide to fit. If that's the only vacuuming I have to do for the rest of my life, I'm ecstatic! THANKS iROBOT ROOMBA!
  2. (Four Stars) A golden retriever and a long haired cat--you bet I love my roomba! Three wishes: 1. I wish it would do stairs--we live in a three story house with a lot of stairs. 2. I wish the wheels were sealed better. The dust bunnies get into the gears. My husband takes everything apart--right down to the gears. As soon as it starts to bump, we know it's going to need that extra cleaning. Also, the spinning brushes broke off the first month. I was surprised at that. We will have to order new ones. I do use it every day! 3. I wish I had one for every floor!
  3. (Four Stars) This was the best vacuum for me, had all the options I need. I cleaned the house with our regular vacuum then with this...wow I picked up more hair, and little crumbs, and I didn't strain my lower back!

Bottom Line

This is the model to go for if you can. It's the new design, longer battery, cleans better.

Roomba 510 in Action

The Roomba 416

The Roomba 416

iRobot.com Rating 4.5 stars (64 reviews, 4/9/08)

This has similar features to the basic model plus a couple that are really cool - notably the maximum cleaning mode which means it continues until it runs out of juice.

Product Description

The iRobot Roomba 416 Vacuum Cleaning Robot offers all of the standard Roomba features such as Dirt Detect, stair avoidance, automatic transitioning from hard floors to carpets, a large bag-less bin plus Maximum Cleaning Mode, two Virtual Walls, Advance Power System (APS) Battery and Fast Charger that fully charges the battery in three hours.

Pros

  • Covers entire room
  • Cleans under furniture
  • Easy to use
  • Cleans effectively
  • Long run time

Cons

  • Can get stuck
  • some people find it too loud

Selection of Reviews

  1. (Four stars) I become more amazed every time we use our Roomba. Yes, it actually cleans better than our 5-year old brand-name upright, and is only 25% as noisy. -PETS- We have 4 cats who leave trails of litter all over our hardwood, forcing us to clean every day. When we step on it, it grinds into the hardwood leaving marks & scratches. But with Roomba running so often, this no longer happens. -POWER- The Roomba is so strong and thorough that it completely lifted two cat-vomit stains out of our carpet, something our powerful upright could not do. -GETTING STUCK- When it wedges itself under our kitchen cupboards, it actually raises its back end, forcing the nose down, then backs out. I have yet to see it get stuck anywhere. -ISSUES- But it's not all cupcakes and roses. One downside is the fact that the Roomba bashes into baseboards and our antique furniture, sometimes leaving marks. To stop this, I plan on glueing some felt to the bumper. Also, with our overabundance of cats, the Roomba requires a thorough cleaning every time we use it. Long hairs (especially human hairs) get tangled around the wheels and side spinning brush. -CONCLUSION- Despite two issues, it is still better than I had expected. I'd almost go so far as to say it's phenomenal. I am an iRobot fan for life.
  2. (Five Stars) We have owned "Junior" for six months. We remodeled installing a lot of hardwood flooring. The Roomba has been great at keeping things swept and tidy. Skeptical when we purchased it, we are true devotees of this product. With each bin cleaning, we remain astonished as to how much it really picks up. We set it to run every morning as we leave for work. When we return home in the evening, the house is tidy and looks freshly cleaned. As we said before, "Junior" is the best kid we have (and there are 5 grown kids). He cleans up and then puts himself to bed. Our year old grandson loves him too! Until "Rosie" from The Jetson's becomes available, Junior will do just fine.
  3. (Four stars) We bought our Roomba nearly 2 years ago and since then, my regular vacuum only makes appearances for stairs, upholstery, and drapes. We have 1 child and 2 cats, which means plenty of dirt and fur on the floor. Of course, I do not have time to vacuum as often as I would like, so I set up Robbie and let him go while I'm doing something else entirely. I come back and find the room is reasonably clean. (And I do mean "reasonably" clean. I have found that the robot can miss certain areas and needs to be run a second time.) Pros: Robbie does a great job of getting under the couch. I mean, how often do you really move the entire couch to get under there? It also gets under tables, beds, and in some tight corners. It also frees my time to do other things. I no longer have to pull a vacuum around the house and break my back while doing it. Robbie is a gem during the holidays, when you need to vacuum daily to clean up pine needles. Going from carpet to hardwood floors is no issue for the robot. Cons: I mention these only because they can be annoying. The overall benefit of the robot makes up for any deficiencies. You really do have to clean and empty the robot after each use. That can get messy, especially if you have a dust allergy. The robot can be noisy and loud. You really need to leave the room to answer the phone. My 18-month old daughter is deathly afraid of it, so we simply play in another room while it is running and that seems to be good enough for her. However, the cats do not seem to mind at all. Lately, our robot has been getting caught up on things that previously were not a problem. So, it does need a certain amount of "babysitting" to really get the entire room done. You need to be sure there is nothing on the floor that can catch it up, like electrical cords, long lengths of string, small toys, or light area rugs. Lately, any paper bigger than one-inch square has been getting stuck in a sensor, causing the robot to freak out. Also, for safety concerns, I would never leave the house while it is running. And of course, it would be great if it would do stairs, but we have to be realistic.... Overall, I love Robbie. I would happily purchase him again. As long as you keep up with regular maintenance, your robot will continue to work beautifully.

Bottom Line

I would recommend this as the "basic" model if price is an issue. The battery lasts longer, it has the virtual walls that stop it going into another room for example, and it has the maximum cleaning mode.

The Roomba 400

The Roomba 400

iRobot.com Rating 4.5 stars (22 reviews, 4/6/08)

This is the most basic model available.

Product Description

The iRobot Roomba 400 Vacuum Cleaning Robot offers standard Roomba features such as stair avoidance, automatic transitioning from hard floors to carpets and a large bag-less bin. Vacuums beneath furniture and other hard-to-reach places and automatically avoids stairs and drop-offs.

Pros

  • covers entire room
  • cleans under furniture
  • easy to use
  • cleans effectively

Cons

  • can get stuck
  • charge doesn't last long enough
  • some people feel it's too loud

Selection of Reviews

  1. (Five stars) "I love my Roomba. My son has allergies and it gets the dust in corners, under the bed and every where you miss with a broom or can't get daily with the vacuum cleaner. I have 4 cats and my Roomba sucks that hair up like you would not believe. I constantly charge, use, charge and use. I love it. Take the Roomba challenge. Clean your house like you normally would and then turn it on. I love it. I have not swept my kitchen in 2 weeks. I don't need to anymore. Thanks Roomba...."
  2. (Four stars) "I asked for this as a Christmas present and was delighted that my best friend complied! This is the greatest gift. It's the gift that keeps on giving every day, all year long! It saves me time and energy. I love to keep a clean house, but it's hard because I work full time, I have three dogs, a boyfriend, and a mom at home with me. So I need all the extra help I can get! My "Jeeves" is a real life-saver and he is SO easy to use! I was so amazed by his technology - I just would sit and watch him clean for me! Trust me - use it once and you WILL wonder how you could have ever lived without one for so long!"
  3. "(Five stars) I have a small apartment, with tile, hardwood floors, rugs and carpets. Previously I would sweep the floors, and vacuum the rugs and carpet. Now I just set Rover to go in a room (usually I shut him in someplace) and when I hear him beeping, it's done! I have two cats, who shed a fairly large amount of fur, and Rover has no trouble at all."

Bottom Line

It'll do the job, but if you are thinking of buying an accessory then it might be cheaper to look at one of the other models that already has it included.

More by this Author


Any Roomba stories to share? 8 comments

Roomba Owner 8 years ago

I've had a Roomba of the old ones for years and I love it. It's great for rooms you don't always use, but get dusty. I need to get a new one!


paul 8 years ago

This is new information to me, that there is robot that clean without touching long, thanks for your information :-)


niche1066 6 years ago

This is a good review of the various roombas. No need for me to duplicate any of this stuff.

http://hubpages.com/living/Robot-vacuum-Roomba


Leenie Pooh profile image

Leenie Pooh 6 years ago

I'm on my 2nd Roomba - love it! Even though I have a housecleaner, I use the Roomba in between and it's a BIG help in the kitchen. The best place I've found to purchase them is at Costco although I noticed that just after Christmas Target had a Roomba on sale for $99!


Mike T 5 years ago

Dumbed down version!!!

I purchased a Roomba 560 and it came with electronics that made real sense. Lighthouses that allowed the unit to clean one room, move to the next and then clean the next room. I needed another to make life simpler, so I purchase another unit ...but the manufacturer "Dumbed Down" the model 560 and did not include the "lighthouses" that made life simpler! They made a lame decision ...AFTER releasing the model 560, to leave out an important function. After contacting "Roomba" I was informed that they did this so they could market the higher end models that weren't selling. STUPID DECISION ...You should improve the product, not make it less functional. Now I am left with having to return the dumbed down version and pay for shipping, re-packaging the unit and purchasing an older model that hasn't been "dumbed down".

Obviously, a bad situation for any consumer! Hands down on poor product model decisions. They should have simply renamed the model and market it as a different dumbed down model. Yet they confuse the consumer by leaving the same model that is functionally different than the previous ...and not in a good way, it should have improved.


tony 5 years ago

need to know if it scrach wood floor


Elaine 4 years ago

Unfortunately, the reviews are from new owners. Be aware, my Roomba only lasted two years. When it stopped working (after the warranty had expired, of course) I contacted the company and was informed (1) the problem was a common one (2) it could not be repaired. Their advice "Buy a new one".


David Wagner 3 years ago

To anyone buying a Rhoomba with marble floors!!!! It can scratch the floors. Also, today, after causing an estimated $800 to $1,500 in damage to my condo....they are only going to refund my purchase price. What backup of their product!

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