Reviews

Review – Roomba 880, I said I would!

I’ve got my hands on the latest household robot the Roomba 880 robot vacuum and I said once I did that I would review it. It’s been here for just under a week and firstly it’s great, it is so nice not to have to vacuum. In fact I haven’t got the big Dyson out since plugging the Roomba in last week.

The new 880 is great for pet hair and all types of dirt on any floor surface which is why I wanted the 880 model. From what I’ve read the previous models had brushes on the bottom which swept up dirt but had problems with hair. The hair would get tangled on these brushes and you would need to detangle them often which increased maintenance overall. The Roomba 880 does not have brushes, it’s using iRobots latest invention which is called AeroForce technology which you can see below. This makes it much more viable for pet owners and works a treat indeed, I think iRobot quote about 50% more suction power for the latest model in comparison?

The Roomba 880 can be scheduled to automatically turn on and clean, it has dirt detection for dirty areas, spot cleaning, can be remotely controlled. It also comes with two lighthouse/virtual walls which are great, you can set a vital wall to stop the Roomba from passing. Or a lighthouse which tells the Roomba this is a new room and helps it guide its way back to the dock.

We’ve left the Roomba to clean while we were away one night and came back to two happy cats and clean floors, what more can you ask for?

So how well does it really work?

For me it works well, the apartment here is mostly open plan so the Roomba goes about it’s business. The only issue I do have is the dip down to the master bedroom door frame is too high for it to get back up again. So I currently block off that room and use a virtual wall to stop the Roomba going into it. This way when I want the bedroom cleaned I can turn the virtual wall into a lighthouse and the Roomba will go into the room, when it’s done I can pick it up and take it to the dock.

It picks up a lot of dust, dirt and hair; much more than I thought it would. I’m actually quite surprised how much it picks up each day. It isn’t noisy, I don’t know why people claim that it is? Compared to a upright vacuum it’s very quiet, I can easily watch TV while it’s on. It’s really great waking up in the morning and going to go make a cup of coffee, watching the Roomba turn on and clean for you.

I used to get that annoying sigh feeling when you wake up and there is dirt everywhere, I’m sure most people would consider my level of dirt as clean but I just like things to be tidy where possible at all times.

The only other slight issue I have had is the pet food bowls, at the moment I’ve virtual walled off the whole kitchen as I need a halo accessory that emits a twenty inch radius to protect the food bowls. Something to work on, but it isn’t too bad as I can just sweep the kitchen myself when it needs it.

When I first turned on the Roomba it went in really weird directions and I wondered what it was doing. Now it seems to have learnt a certain route while still being a little bit crazy so it covers lots of surface area, but it seems to know how to get back to the dock easily now.

Who shouldn’t buy this?

I wouldn’t buy one of these if I had lots of levels to my floors, so between rooms you have lots of raised door frames. I think if you’ve got stairs then you’d need to consider buying more than one which makes it quite an expense or moving the Roomba between floors.

If you happen to be one of those people that leaves things lying around on the floor then this possibly is not for you. I don’t do clutter and thus the floors are pretty free of obstacles, as well as this I also keep my cables out of view and this works in the Roombas favour. If you don’t want to live like that then like I said it’s not for you.

If you want a robot that’s going to map out your home the Roomba isn’t for you, but I don’t find this hinders its ability to clean at all. You would be better off getting a Neato which take a more linear approach. Or alternatively the LG Hom-Bot which uses your ceilings to map out the size of the rooms, this doesn’t work too well with furniture though!

Does this replace an upright?

No it doesn’t, I still have to vacuum the rug because it’s really deep pile (although Roomba is fine on more shallow rugs). I still will need to use an upright but I just don’t need to use it every day, if you are sick of doing it every day and you have the money spare to buy a Roomba then it makes sense. I suppose it depends on your priorities, hopefully the robots will get cheaper and more intelligent over time as it would be excellent to see develops for smart households.

So overall I’m really happy with the Roomba 880, it might look like a drunk fool at times but by doing this it covers the room better and cleans better. It’s got great power behind it and it’s saving me loads of time in the day while keeping my two cats entertained.

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