Roomba works, but not for long

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I researched the Roomba extensively as I wanted to buy one.  I'd like to 
share why didn't buy one in the end, based on experiences of a friend and
various internet sources.  Regrettably, I cannot link to internet resources
in this review (ebay policy) so you will have to take my word for it or    
google some.

The nice aspects of the Roomba are immediately obvious: It is a cute gadget,
it takes care of something we all wished we'd do more often, it is a robot,
and is fantastic to play with.  Also, roomba is the only thing that will   
vacuum under your couch or bed on a regular basis.

The small drawbacks of the Roomba are also well documented: It is pricey and
it will need replacement parts regularly (hence the many ebay listings for
brushes and filters).  You will have to clean the roomba, ideally after
every use. This is more work than most people think, some even think it is 
as much work as vacuuming.  You will also have to prepare you rooms for     
roomba, otherwise it will get stuck or it will suck up things it shouldn't  
(audio cables are a prime example).

I was willing to live with these small drawbacks, but there is a larger
drawback with the roomba that put me off:  It is not build to last.  If you
look at the internet reviews of roomba (and if you google for 'roomba
review', you will find many and a dedicated site), you will see that many  
are positive.  But, crucially, almost all of those are by people who have  
owned the roomba for less than 6 months.

It turns out that many roombas simply break after a year or less. This is 
documented in a large number of negative reviews of the roomba, usually by
people who owned it for a longer time. The causes of death are mostly the
battery and/or dust build-up in the gears.  Basically, iRobot build a vacuum
with mostly plastic parts and too small a battery.  If you search youtube
for 'roomba 570 problem' (the cutting-edge model at the time of writing),
you will see some nice footage of plastic gears covered in dust, melted from
friction, and generally degenerating.   Even some enthusiasts admit that
their favorite roomba 'broke after a year or so'.  The lack of build quality
is made worse by a matching customer service from iRobot: Almost everybody
complains about their lack of cooperation and their eagerness to suggest you
simply buy a new unit.

So, if you like cool gadgets that do something nice next to being shiny, the
roomba is for you.  Plan to buy replacement parts and keep that toy as clean
as you can, to extend its life span.   

If you like to rely on roomba to get some serious vacuuming done, don't buy
it or buy it with the expectation to replace it every year (at which point
you can hire somebody basically). Or buy the kaercher (aka karcher, aka 
siemens) rc3000, which is very pricey (close to 2000 euros) but seems to
last for three years or more, and which cleans itself.

For me, it is back to vacuuming by hand...
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