Roomba - robotic hoover - does it work?

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Well in short the answer is yes.

If you're thinking of maybe buying one of the new ones the 530 or 560 then read on. 

I was sceptical to be honest, but when my wife's friend told her to get one, she insisted we go halves. So halves we went and off I trotted to get one. The new 530 model.

It's smaller and lighter than you might think, and for that reason alone, you think, it won't work that well.

But - it works. Charge it up. Press the clean button and off it goes. There's a little rotating brush like a strimmer that pulls dirt towards the machine, and underneath there are two rotating mechanisms . A brush and a rubber thingy that must do something. 

The dirt box, if you'll excuse the analogy, is small, and needs changing pretty much after every clean - tho the instructions say after every 2-3 cleans. The point is that it cleans so well, it picks up loads, esp if you have a carpet or rug. The filter needs cleaning as well every few go's, But its a small price to pay for less earache.

All that needs cleaning is very easy to remove in one click.. so its not a huge chore. And unlike a normal hoover or dyson, this thing's is very light. Of course it can't do the stairs, but this is no gimmick, and the dog loves chasing it.

So some tips.

1. Use it room by room - not two rooms at a time.
2. Get as many obstacles off the floor.
3. Clean after every 1-2 cleans.
4. Make sure you clean the bearings - ie remove hair
5. Give it a name. Ours is called Samantha. [update its now called Sasha]
6. The advice is that the filters must be replaced every two months - apparently cost £10 for three from the web site - not on website yet, that info after a phone call - but - they look very much like you can wash them [rinse] and use more often.  

Oh, one other thing, it has a docking function, where it will return to the docking station . This is very very cool. As it approaches the docking station, it slows right down. You need to see it to uderstand what I am saying.

But if you're in two minds - get one. It will make clean the floors a doddle, and its a great talking point. For around £200 - its a snip it really is. And I promise I do not work for iRobot Corp.

Have fun with it.

*UPDATE FEB 2008 - okay so its been going well for a while now, so some home truths. You will have to invest new side brushes.. the small round brush that rotates quickly to draw dirt and dust from skirting boards. The one that was attached to the machine lost much of an arm every three weeks or so.. it has about 6 arms that extend.. not a huge problem, you get a spare, but will need to get a pack.. PRICE about £40 odd for a pack of three , with spare internal brushes as well...   it is easy to maintain.. but occassionally it is a bit of a ballache when the dust container is full, and you have to clean the brushes etc etc.. as you will read below, you have to do this every two-three cleans... It's still a must have though despite all this...  


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