To be totally honest, I feel like I’m living in the Jetsons when I watch my robot vacuum cleaner go about it’s business in my home. I mean, my floor is getting cleaned by a robot. It still blows my mind and I’ve had the iRobot Roomba 960 for a couple of months now.
What is a Roomba?
A roomba is a vacuumning robot. It looks like a mini spaceship as it glides around your home cleaning your floors. It’s a self-charging machine that ‘lives’ with it’s charging dock, wherever you decide to house/plug it in. And the roomba will recharge automatically once it’s completed the job or if it runs out of time it will recharge before resuming the job until it’s done.
The roomba has about a 2 hour run time, which is plenty of time for each floor of my modest 2-bed house. And it connect to a specific app called the iRobot HOME which allows you to control it from your phone.
The technical bit is that the Roomba 960 has a ‘3-stage cleaning system, using a combination of agitation, brushing and suction with AeroForce to get 10x the power’. Also the ‘AeroForce High-Efficiency Filter captures 99% of allergens, pollen and particles as small as 10 microns’. I think this means that the Roomba is powerful and efficient at cleaning on a deeper allergen level to get as much particles up as possible.
The Roomba 960 also has a carpet boost that detects the thicker texture and automatically increases power.
What did the Roomba do for me?
The Roomba 960 was utterly fascinating the first few times I turned it on. I was following it all over the house and sending updates to Raj at work. The Roomba has these little bumpers that gently move as the Roomba gets to an obstacle such as furniture or the edge of a room. It uses these sensors to work it’s way around the room and furniture, and then it appears to learn where everything is before moving around the house again to get a good thorough clean.
I have mostly laminate flooring downstairs but a large rug in the centre of my living room. When the Roomba reaches the rug it kind of does a side manoeuvre to get itself up onto the slightly higher surface.
The Roomba learns over time, this means it tracks the space that it cleans and stores data on the exact time and date of clean, the surface area, and the level of dirt. If you use the app you can see all of this data.
On the app you can also schedule the Roomba to begin a cleaning job on a specific day and time which is an excellent efficiency tool. No excuses for forgetting to vacuum now!
Favourite thing about the Roomba?
My favourite thing about the Roomba is the efficiency. We are super busy people running our own businesses and yet we want to have the cleanest possible home. The Roomba is a set and go kind of machine which means we get a nice clean floor with minimal effort.
In the past I’ve had a bad back and at those times vacuuming has been almost impossible without causing further pain. Having a Roomba would have taken the stress and pain out of cleaning and I could see this being a great asset to perhaps our older family and friends or those with limited mobility.
I like that the Roomba app shows a map of the areas where the Roomba has been, there’s something quite satisfying to have confirmation of the clean house right there in front of you as evidence.
And finally, it’s a robot! A learning robot! That’s cleaning my house. I mean, how cool is that?! The novelty has still not worn off and I’m thoroughly enjoying having my robot friend in the house. I might even name him.
What I wasn’t so keen on?
There are still a few glitches or things I’m not so keen on. Namely, that the Roomba gets stuck at least a couple of times each time I use it and this is mostly the same spot under my sofa. When the Roomba gets stuck it makes a kind of ‘uh-oh’ sound and requests you move it to a new spot.
For the most part this isn’t too big a deal as you are still saving a lot of effort from physically doing the vacuuming yourself. But this spot under the sofa is really hard for me to get to and I have to lie completely flat on the floor to shimmy the Roomba back out. Now, I believe that over some time the Roomba should hopefully learn how to deal with this tricky spot, but we’re still working on it!
I’d also say that it is a noisy machine, but it’s a vacuum cleaner and I’m not sure technology has quite got to the point of creating silent vacuum cleaners. That would be the next upgrade I’d like to see in these machines!
And finally, it can’t do stairs. It’s a robot, give it a chance! So you do still need to vacuum your own stairs, which if we’re totally honest isn’t too much of a faff if you have a hand-held device.
Overall, I think the Roomba 960 is an excellent addition to the home. It’s efficient, smart and does a fantastic job of keeping floors super-clean. There are a few niggily bits but overall the advantages outweigh them and it’s worth having for convenience and efficacy.
Buy the Roomba here.
I received the Roomba 960 as a review sample for consideration. As always words, thoughts and opinions are my own.