I added a robot vacuum to our household during the holiday season. Black Friday/Christmas sales were part of the equation, but the dirt dispensary charging station was the feature that closed the deal for me. Without that base, someone has to be available to empty the tiny bin on the robot while it goes about it’s chore. Which defeats the idea of having it run while we’re at work. Overall, I have positive thoughts on this device, but I also have some complaints to share with you.
So, what did I get? I went with the iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum. The reviews were positive, iRobot has been making these things for years, and the holiday price was $300 off the $999 retail cost. Still an expensive purchase. This robot came with the “clean base”, which allows the robot to empty itself up to 60 times unsupervised.
First the good. I love coming home to freshly vacuumed carpet. The vacuum tracks in the carpet bring a very satisfying joy to my day. It’s fun to watch it work its way around the house. The self-emptying feature works great. Overall, the vacuum does a pretty good job. It’s not as good as the upright, but I wouldn’t expect it to be. I like it. The wife likes it. We’re happy with it.
The bad. It does a shit job on dog hair. Rather than suck up the dog fur, it rolls it into 6-inch long bales and leaves them behind every 3-4 feet or so. This only seems to be a carpet problem, as this doesn’t happen in the kitchen or bathrooms. And it seems completely unable to pull the fur out of the dining room rug. It’s easier to go around and pick up the fur bales than to get out the vacuum, but it’s annoying. Especially when the advertising claims that it’s ideal for pet hair. It’s not.
The rest of my story.
My house has a step down living room and the robot has no problem avoiding the step. I cleans right up to the edge, but has never fallen over.
It has no issues with either the mat in front of the kitchen sink or the dining room rug. The mats in the bathroom are a little hit-or-miss, I have seen it vacuum them without issue and have seen it get bound up on them a couple times. I find it easiest to just pick up those rugs in the morning, but I don’t worry about it if I forget.
I’ve got it set to do a double pass of the whole house everyday. This takes about four hours, including two hours of charging. It empties three times with each pass, and we’ve used one of the vacuum bags in a month.
Cat toys are the bane of Roomba. The robot has gotten lost once, but it has choked on cat toys half a dozen times. Mice, spiders, strings, but not balls. Balls just get pushed along ahead of the robot. Twice it stopped and the rest of the time it has picked up the toy, but not been able to clear it at the charging station. My cat likes ribbons and ribbon-like toys. Roomba, not so much. Each time it has sent me a notification through the app letting me know there was a problem.
The robot has a phone app that is pretty good and it interfaces with Google home, but I find it easier to just use the iRobot app. The Smart Mapping feature takes a few passes to map the house and in the end creates an almost unrecognizable map of the house… We have a lot of things for the robot to go around, so the rooms are not remotely rectangular. But it does allow you to request a cleaning for individual rooms. The documents say that it will map multiple floors, but I haven’t tried that yet. My basement is still a work in progress, but you knew that.
The unit came with two vacuum bags for the base, an extra filter for the robot, and an extra side brush. I just bought a 10-pack of bags for $9, so that’s not too bad.
All in all ,I wish it did a better job with the pet fur, but it’s not a purchase that I find myself regretting. Your results may vary.