My Pet Robot Vacuum
My husband gave me a vacuum cleaner for my 40th birthday.
Before you conclude that my husband is an insensitive, non-sentimental clueless guy, let me quickly let you in on three things:
- Nothing could be farther from the truth
- To be more accurate, he gave me a ROBOT for my 40th birthday that happens to do my vacuuming for me. Score!
- I was totally excited about it.
Yes, I admit, when I first heard about Roombas and other robot vacuum cleaners, I thought people must be incredibly lazy to use them, and they really wouldn't work. It seemed like it would be a little disk haphazardly making little fluffy tracks on the carpet with the suction power of a cheap Dustbuster knockoff. Kind of like an 'as seen on tv' type of product.
My family's robot story started when my cousin got an iRobot 770 for Christmas last year and told me how she programmed hers to automatically vacuum the first floor of her house twice a week at 2AM and loved how much less dog hair built up in the corners of her living room. She and her husband have 2 gigantic golden retrievers who shed profusely, so her comment caught my attention.
It caught my husband's attention too, apparently, because two months later I ripped open the wrapping paper on a huge box to discover an iRobot 770 of my own. So it wasn't the most romantic gift on the surface. However, I knew the gift my husband was actually giving me was time. I'm not a huge fan of doing housework, and with a very creative kindergartner trailing teeny bits of paper, yarn, leaves and various other flotsam in her wake, vacuuming needs to happen a lot.
It's such freedom for me to set out two little invisible barriers, press a button on the Roomba and head out the grocery store. When I return home, my living room is vacuumed, and the Roomba is back on its charger gearing up for the next vacuuming assignment. I've multi-tasked with minimal effort on my part.
So why do I call this iRobot 770 my pet robot vacuum? It's cute, it scoots around the floor and it cleans up after itself and the rest of the family. Those qualities won my affection enough for me to name it 'Rosie Jetson' after the robot maid in the 1960's/1980's television cartoon 'The Jetsons.' At the time, we didn't have any pets, and my daughter and I liked to pretend Rosie J 'ate' the stuff on the floor.
Care and maintenance of our 'pet' Roomba is pretty easy. The dirt compartment is sufficient for most jobs that it can do on one charge, and clicks out for simple emptying. IRobot provides handy cleaning tools to get hair out of the unit's brushes very simply as well. Doing a quick swipe of them when you empty the dust/dirt compartment keeps your robot running the most smoothly.
My cousin loved the ability to program her Roomba (which she named Robby) to run at night on the first floor of her home, and it was quiet enough for her family to not even notice. Our home is only one story, and while Rosie J's whirring noise is softer than a standard upright vacuum, the Roomba gives off a cheery beep when it finishes vacuuming. Not an annoying noise unless it's 3AM and it wakes you up, so I stick to daytime vacuuming.
The suction? Glad you asked. Our Roomba does very well on hardwood floors and tile, and better on carpet than you would think. One time I had Rose Jetson vacuum a carpeted room, then went over it again with our 10 year old Dyson upright. The Dyson got some extra stuff out of the carpet, but it was a minimal amount.
The vacuum cleans in what looks like a pretty random fashion, its sensors helping it to navigate when it encounters furniture. Apparently, this gives better coverage to a room than a more logical-looking back and forth pattern, and it has the added bonus or being fun to watch.
In my opinion, an iRobot vacuum can be the regular workhorse of your vacuuming. Its real value is in time savings; I can get vacuuming done while I'm doing something else. If I have 5 minutes and something has to be vacuumed immediately, I'll pull out the Dyson and do it myself. Most of the time, though, I'll delegate that chore to Rosie Jetson. I'll use the extra time to play with my daughter.
I like that the iRobot has HEPA filters to keep extra dust and allergens from spewing back out into the air. They're incredibly easy to change.
A very comprehensive overview of the Roomba's features as well as how it works. It really does transition that easily over different surfaces in my home too.
A homeowner's review of the Roomba, along with her description of how long it takes to vacuum.
A cat on a robot is enough to watch this video. You also get to see a bit of the cleaning pattern of this Roomba (slightly different model, but you get the picture)