The iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners are the pinnacle of modern cleaning technology. After programming all cleaning is done automatically. It has sensors to detect dirt, maneuverability, and can adjust itself when it moves one hard surface to carpeting. You do not have to worry about it becoming entangled with any wires, carpet tassels or anything thanks to its anti tangle mechanism and should something get in its way while it is cleaning it has a reverse capability that allows it to expel something and move around it. With this vacuum cleaner all the hard work is done for you. Read our Roomba reviews of the different models of Roomba robot cleaners.
iRobot Roomba Review
Even if there is a new obstacle in its path larger than wires the sensors installed on the cleaner mean that it can just change its course without any fuss or need for your intervention. The iRobot Roomba can also use its sensors to detect stairs or drops in the floor and avoid them, so you do not need to worry about it falling down and being damaged.
In terms of performance as a vacuum cleaner it is very effective. It is able to collect dust, debris, pet hair and any other household dirt it comes across. If as it cleans it comes across a particularly dirty area it will spend more time there to efficiently clean it up. This means you can take that time to relax, or perhaps get some other chores done while that one is being done for you. It comes out at the time you have pre-scheduled for it every day and is almost as good as having a cleaner come in except you are not paying for it! You do not even have to be in the house to have the iRobot Roomba get on with its work.
With traditional styled vacuum cleaners there are always some areas that do not get done well unless you use attachments or get down and do it yourself. For example the edges right up against the wall are one of those problem areas. With this vacuum that is no longer the case. Its brushes are placed to ensure even those edges are cleaned just as effectively as the main easier to reach areas are. The iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner can pick even the finest of dust particles and deposits all the dirt in collector that you then empty when it is full. It is bagless so you do not need to keep replacing the bags either.
The Roomba knows not to leave a room until it is clean because of the virtual wall lighthouse devices you get with it. You set one up at the door and while the room still needs cleaning the device creates a red ‘wall’ that the Roomba will not go through. When the whole floor is completed that light turns off so the Roomba will then go through to the next room. As well as two of these devices you get a number of accessories including a rechargeable battery, an extra filter, a power supply and the home base where the iRobot Roomba charges when not in use.
There are several models to consider depending on what extras you want from it and the money you have to spend, with prices starting at around $200 and going all the way up to something around $700. While iRobot does offer other cleaning robotics other than the Roomba series, it is on this line that this article focuses today. It will look at some of the more popular Roomba vacuum cleaners and what they offer to help you be more informed when you buy your robotic vacuum cleaner.
In some regards there are big similarities between the models, i.e. what they look like, how they work, size for example. But things like power, extra features, and accessories do vary from one model to the next. The Discovery series are the latest cleaners in the Roomba line and a handy feature about buying newer is that all accessories for those later models are designed to be compatible with each other. So if you have last year’s model and want this year, you can upgrade just the machine itself, and keep those accessories to use on it. However older models that are not part of the Discovery line would not be compatible.
The model you decide upon really depends on some personal preferences, budget and expectations in cleaning performance. We will work from the first basic model in the 400 line and move up to the Roomba 610. For the latest models in the 700 and 800 line see individual articles as those are the most advanced but also the most costly.
iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaners
iRobot Roomba 620 Review
One of the things most of us prefer not to do is housework. We all have better things we could be doing with our time instead of vacuuming for example. With a product like the iRobot Roomba 620 you have the option to leave the vacuum cleaning to the machine while you can be out, working or just getting on with other things. Your home can still be free of allergens, debris and dust and you do not have to heft around an awkward vacuum cleaner to get it done. Here we look at the pros and cons of owning the iRobot Roomba 620, what kind of features you can expect, how much it will cost you and whether that is worth it.
Roomba 620 Features
The iRobot Roomba 620 is well designed. It goes under furniture easily to clean and comes with a bin larger than previous Roomba models so that you do not have to empty it as often. This also means it is more suitable for larger homes. The brushes have been further developed so that at different lengths they have ensured that no bits of debris or dirt get left behind. It can be used on any kind of flooring and will change from bare to carpet, deep to shallow pile carper without any need for you to make adjustments manually. It comes with a docking station so when not cleaning it returns there. This is where it charges also and it is up to you where you put that station. The power of this model has also been improved so that it sucks up better and requires less time to pass over an area before it moves onto the next.
Summary of the Pros and Cons
- The round advanced design is appealing to buyers.
- Its height means it easily reaches under furniture and beds and you no longer have to worry about pet dander or dirt lingering in such places.
- Owners say it reaches the edges of rooms well and under counters with the brushes that flare out to collect debris.
- Improves on previous models and is from a company that can be trusted and proves to be innovative in their approach to creating robotic vacuum cleaners.
- Various brush lengths to make sure nothing is missed.
- An efficient and quick cleaning machine with a 3 step cleaning process.
- Long battery life which means most people homes can be cleaned top to bottom without a need for a recharge. Owners say when they come home with guests the job is done and the house is one they are proud of.
- Cleans tile, linoleum, hardwood, and various sized pile carpeting and more.
- Carries out its work quietly so will not disturb you or any guests, whether you are entertaining, watching television, on the phone or enjoying some quiet time with your favorite book.
- Handles pet hair without getting clogged all the time and picks it up well too.
- Manual that has clear step by step instructions for set up.
- At 11.6lbs it is on the heavier side for this type of vacuum cleaner. Once set up the weight should not be an issue, but when having to set up the programming this weight may be an issue for some people. If you are set on getting the iRobot Roomba 620 and the weight is a concern you may be able to get someone to do the programming and set up for you.
- Working out the set up and getting it customized to your needs will need some focus and for some people this is the most difficult part of owning an iRobot machine. Keep in mind though that there is a manual and customer service is there to help if you need it.
- The filter will need replacing 2 to 4 times a year, while not expensive this is still an extra cost and may be frustrating if you run out of spare filters when you need one. Some owners have found they can get 6 months use out of the filters and some only 3 to 4 months. A good approach some recommend is to have spare filters already on hand so when you notice the device’s cleaning patterns are changing you can replace the filter straight away.
- Some say though the battery life is quite long you still need to have a spare one as backup.
- A one year warranty which many customers feel is too short.
The Roomba 620 can usually be found for something close to $300 which when you compare to the higher end models that are priced around $700 sounds very reasonable. It is more expensive than the 500 models but has been updated and improved upon so the extra money makes sense. It also comes with a 1 year warranty so if anything should happen in that time you won’t have to pay the cost of repairs or replacement. While some owners feel this is a short warranty keep in mind that iRobot is the top manufacturer in this area and are known for high quality machines. There are still owners of the 500 series who are using their cleaners without problems, so it is unlikely you would have any big issues with the 620 anyway.
In summary the iRobot Roomba is an efficient vacuum cleaner at a fair and affordable price. It is powerful, quiet and efficient and will take care of any type of flooring saving you time and energy. The only thing you will need to do is empty it when it is full and change the filters. This is certainly a vacuum cleaner worth buying if you are in the market for this type.
iRobot Roomba 790 Review
iRobot have designed a long series of robotic vacuum cleaners in the Roomba line all with the intention to give people the option to possess a cleaner that will do the vacuum cleaning for them! The Roomba 790 is the best of the 700 series of iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners. For people who are looking at a Roomba thinking of buying but are hesitating because of the more expensive prices on the 800 series this model may be a great option. Essentially you could get last season’s ‘top’ model for a lower price. So let’s look at the features you get with the 790 and what reviews have to say about it.
What you get if you make that purchase
Basically a machine that is mostly hands free that will clean any floor surface effectively and make your traditional heavy and difficult to maneuver upright obsolete! Keep in mind though that different suppliers may include different things in their standard sale so if you want more extras and accessories for your money do have a shop around to see what is being offered. Also be wary of photos! You may see a bunch of things attached to a Roomba 790 in a photo that makes you decide to buy, but then it turns out some of those things were extras.
The iRobot Roomba 790 is shaped like any other Roomba, in a disc shape a few inches in thickness. It has a control pad on the body where you can input instructions or direction. The 790 comes with a big improvement in the design of its cleaning head that leads to them promising 98 per cent of debris being cleaned up. Its sensors are both acoustic and optical to ensure it can detect dirt and debris better and can handle both hard and carpeted flooring. It also benefits from improved filters that ensure particles as small as 0.3 microns are removed, which is good news for allergy sufferers.
Other features include an indicator that lets you know when the bin is full so you can empty it, and a docking station where it recharges and returns to automatically when it has a low battery or when its cleaning is complete. The low impact bumpers are softened to ensure if it does bump into furniture it does not cause any scratching or damage. It also has something called a persistent cleaning pass which means after it passes over an area once to clean the Roomba 790 will be able to tell if all the dirt was picked up, and if it was not, continue to pass over that area until it is.
What do reviews of the Roomba 790 say?
The basic job of any Roomba is quite simple, to move around a house independently and vacuum up dirt, debris and pet hair. You can make sure it avoids certain rooms by creating invisible screens using virtual walls or lighthouses. And this model does this job very well according to most consumer reviews. iRobot are very good as a company at innovation and making improvements on each of the models they release and the 790 is as good as any of their products.
While some first owners say it is a little odd suddenly having a machine moving around the house by itself, moving into corners, under beds and doing what seem like random spot cleans, once you get used to it happening, it is great. Here is a summary then of the pros and cons that have come up in the 790 reviews.
- Great suction that picks up nearly all dust, debris, pet hair and the odd crushed cereal. You can clearly see the floors are cleaner after the vacuum has come out, done its job and put itself away again.
- Very little need to interact with it once set up apart from having to change the bin when it is full.
- Looks good, built to last and has a nice ergonomic design.
- Unlike some previous models this Roomba is more able to get up to baseboards and the edge of walls to do a more thorough cleaning. Gets into many if not most of the awkward corners too.
- Sensors work well and it rarely misses a section.
- Clever navigation means it can handle different floor levels, can move from one type of floor surface to another, rarely gets stuck on anything and can move around obstacles like furniture.
- Prices are very attractive right now with the 800 series out, the 700 series models are dropping in price.
- Some test runs may be necessary to check with obstacles and furniture.
- The basic vacuum performance is good but you can get better with higher performing upright vacuums, or even the later models of Roomba. Some find that after their 790 has passed over they can clean again with an upright and still pick up some debris in some areas.
- While it is quieter than older models there are other options that are quieter than this one if noise is a factor where you live.
- Obviously it is an older model so will be missing the upgrades that you get with the 800 series.
- Price is still not dirt cheap – you can expect to be looking at somewhere between $400 to $550 for the Roomba 790.
How does it compare to competitor models?
Without having a lab and doing controlled testing to compare machines any comparisons are going to be less than completely accurate. However by reading reviews and comparing features you can get a general impression of how the Roomba 790 compares to other major competitors like Mint, VK range and Samsung.
In terms of technological advancement the 790 is certainly up there with the VK thanks to things like its sensors and so on. In Japan there are new models of robotic vacuum cleaners that are far more advanced, with things like voice recognition for example. But these are not largely available for sale around the world and are more novel for gadget lovers than for people looking for a vacuum cleaner at a fair price.
When you look at the companies themselves there is no doubt iRobot is one of the better companies to buy from. They are established and have proven their knowledge and innovation in their successful machines. While other newer makers may come in, make a lot of noise and offer something for less money, they have not got the proven track record that you can find behind a Roomba.
Roomba vacuum cleaners work and owners over all are satisfied with them. However the price of the iRobot Roomba 790 is the sticking point. If you are going to spend that much money you could get a later model with another company, or spend a bit more and get something from the 800 series. If you like the Roomba series and can find this for a good price though this is certainly worth buying.
iRobot Roomba 870
If you are familiar with iRobot and the Roomba series of automated vacuum cleaners you may wonder why the 870 model was even released. On paper when you look at the series the 870 seems so similar to the previous model it is hard at first to see why iRobot felt the need for the 870 and where in the market it would have success. So here we take a closer look to see what details make the iRobot Roomba 870 worth buying taking into consideration comparisons and reviews from the owners themselves.
Comparing it to previous models
As with most of iRobot’s Roomba series the Roomba 870 has a low Frisbee shaped body. This one sits at 3.6 inches height and has a diameter of just under 14 inches. In terms of weight that also has no changed much at 8.4lbs and coloring from the previous model to the 870 was also familiar with a black base and gray detailing. So while in appearance not much if anything has really changed it is when you look closer at some of its features and workings where the changes have been made.
While there may be few major changes in this model there are some important improvements that makes this model worth considering when buying an iRobot.
First of all let’s look at the battery. When you have used the iRobot Roomba 870 a few times you will notice you do actually get more vacuuming life than previous models even though on the surface it seems to come with the same battery as previous models, with 12 sub-c NiMH cells and a capacity of 3000 mAH. This does not mean you get longer floor cleaning time, that stays the same at an average of an hour cleaning time per charge which is sufficient for most homes. But what it does mean is the improvements have been made in the recharging cycle itself so that you can get up to twice as many charges from a battery as previous models before you need a replacement.
When you look at other technology examples like the Mac Book Air, it has been done before. It is possible to take the same battery and enhance the recharge cycles so that you can get a longer lifetime from it. This is quite an attractive improvement as having to replace the battery adds another 7% of the price of the machine into your budget. Knowing that the operational cost is going to be lower is something a lot of consumers are going to be drawn towards.
But that one change is not worth putting it in the 870 and releasing it, rather than just waiting for the Roomba 880 to be developed. What else is attractive and different about the Roomba 870?
Technological improvements in the vacuum and navigation
IROBOT ROOMBA 870
When you compare the pattern of cleaning dictated by the navigation technology from the Roomba to the Neato, the iRobot models have a more random approach. While this may bother those who like things to be more structured and logical, this navigation technology in the Roomba is effective and the 870 continues with that progress so that it easily avoids table legs, chairs, foot stools and so on as it cleans. The 870 also has an anti-tangle aspect to its intelligence so that it stops things like thin cords, drapery and so on being accidentally sucked up and getting tangled in the machine. It simply goes into reverse when its sensors detect such objects on the floor.
A great feature is that the 870 can tell the difference between a hard obstacle like a wall, and a soft obstacle like your bed skirts, and it will go through the latter to clean under your bed. This model also has improved wall cleaning ability, where past models cannot always clean right up to wall edges, this one gets right up to the kick board using a three armed brush that comes out.
Another improvement can be found in the persistent pass method which is where the cleaner detects an area is dirtier than others and carries out spot cleaning. Overall efficiency in cleaning has been improved too with a design alteration in the AeroForce with a combination of under body remolding and rubber rollers instead of brushes.
Positive features that have not changed from other models include a bin that is easy to empty but remains the same size, starts with the push of a button, returns to a charging station when the battery is low, same way to program a cleaning schedule with it, still has the every day of the week operation and setting days and times for certain rooms.
Virtual Lighthouses or walls
To stop a Roomba vacuum cleaner from wandering into unwanted areas the technology uses Virtual Walls or Lighthouses. The better option is Lighthouses but unfortunately the Roomba 870 does not use them, it comes with two virtual walls. Why the 870 was not upgraded to work with virtual lighthouses is not known as the cost in modifying the main board would not have been much more. It is possible it comes down to the walls being cheaper to make then the lighthouses.
Another thing that did not change with the 870 was the lack of a remote control. However it is possible to buy one as an extra optional accessory should you want to. Really it is not something that is essential as once programmed it sets off at that time, or you just push a button on the machine, so the need for a remote control is not really there, but some people like it.
People are positive about owning a Roomba 870 and there have been improvements made over previous models in particular that one for the life of the battery. The 870 sells at almost $100 less than the Roomba 880 so that also may make it attractive to some buyers. So while there were not huge design changes in this model it is a great cleaning machine and whatever reason iRobot has for releasing it with such small changes from previous models only they can know!
Roomba 880 Review
If you are looking for the latest model in the iRobot Roomba series it is the Roomba 880. iRobot market it as their most powerful vacuum cleaner yet being up to 50% more effective than previous models. It uses AeroForce performance cleaning technology which creates a more powerful vacuum with sealed airflow acceleration and Airforce extractors that are tangle free. But this is also the most expensive model at almost $700 so is it worth that extra cost to have the latest model?
Outline of what it offers
As said the iRobot Roomba 880 is the leading model for the Roomba series of vacuum cleaners. When you first see it, you may not see much difference between them but it is in the technology and performance where the innovation and improvements have been made. Previous models use a counter rotating brush system to clean whereas the 880 has a powerful vacuum with its Airflow system and rubber extractors. Features you get with the Roomba 880 include:
- Lighthouses – Lighthouse units come with this model to help direct it when it is cleaning making sure it finishes one room before leaving for the next. You can also program them to tell the 880 which rooms to clean, how often and which to skip. Previous models come with virtual walls not lighthouses which are less advanced.
- AeroForce Extractors – Thanks to developing the design these boast to be tangle-free meaning things like thread or longer hair on the floor are not going to tangle up in the machine. The counter rotating rubber extractors have a new tread design which ensures all dirt and debris is captured with better efficiency than previous models that use the brush system.
- Advanced sensor system – The iAdapt technology in the Roomba 880 ensures it maneuvers around furniture or items in its way, does not fall down steep steps or stairs, spot cleans particularly dirty areas and can tell the difference between a soft wall and a hard wall. The latter means it knows to go through bed skirts to clean under a bed for example.
- Docking station and charge – As with other models the Roomba 880 will re-dock when its battery is low in charge.
- Battery life – The battery is better than with previous models. It is not just more powerful so you get longer cleaning sessions, it also has a longer overall life so there is less need to replace the battery during your ownership.
- High efficiency – The motor has been improved so that it can generate an air power that is about 5 times more power than previous models.
- Sealed area of concentrated airflow – The airflow accelerator works with the extractors to create a more concentrated airflow. This means it captures more particles when cleaning so it needs less passes to clean.
- Program in a cleaning schedule – As with other models you can program in a cleaning routine you want the Roomba to follow and it will do so whether you are home or not. However with this model you can set it to clean up to seven times a week so you can now program just once or twice a week making it more hands free than previous models.
What consumer would the iRobot Roomba 880 best suit?
If you find the previous models did not have long enough cleaning run times because you have a larger house with a lot of traffic coming through then the 880 may be the right model for you because of its improved cleaning power and run time. Also if money is not an issue and you like having the latest in a series then this is a good buy. Roombas in general suit people who are not afraid of technology, who hate cleaning, might live in a smaller apartments so have no room for the large and bulky standard vacuum cleaners, or people who may not be able to handle larger cleaners anymore due to age or illness.
The iRobot Roomba 880 could really be for anyone as there is not much you need to do! It has a display screen with lights on it to signal if it needs something for example amber means the battery is getting low, or red means it is empty. But then it will return itself to charge, you do not have to. There is also an indicator light for if it is tangled and another for when it needs to be emptied.
There are a few criticisms that come up amongst owners about the Roomba 880 apart from its cost that you may want to look into or consider. First of all the cliff sensor it has that prevents it from falling off a step, can actually activate when it is on a thick rug, meaning it won’t go off the end of the rug so you have to intervene! Another issue is that some consumers have found that their house layout and larger rugs have caused the Roomba to reset back to a previous room it just cleaned rather than moving on.
For the advanced technology you get in this model if you can afford the price the 880 is definitely worth owning. Previous models just do not have the power or cleaning ability that this one has. The most obvious argument against owning one is its price but overall owners are positive about this model and its performance. In particular pet owners feel the Roomba 880 picks up pet hair better than previous models and the longer cleaning run time makes a lot of people happy too.
Roomba Reviews: Conclusion
While you may be concerned that such technology is complicated and overly fussy in fact after the initial programming it is not at all. Just make sure it is fully charged before the first use and enter in the cleaning schedule you want for it. That schedule will be something you need to set once a week. You do not even need to be the one to charge it, when it returns to its home base after its daily clean it charges itself then. If the battery is running low when it is out cleaning it will return itself to charge though one full charge is enough to be able to easily handle four large rooms or clean for about three hours.