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Quote-start

Goodbye old vacuum hello iRobot Roomba

Quote-end
01.02.2008 (09.04.2008)

Advantages:
Deep clean, very easy to use, brilliant bit of machinery

Disadvantages:
Price can be off putting

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Performance

Durability

Noise

Safety

Value for money

How much did you pay?£149.99

Special features?See Review

36 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (16%):
  1. lillamarta
  2. anaglypta
  3. carcraig
and 6 other members
very helpful by (84%):
  1. NickleIckle
  2. demonbarak
  3. law3
and 45 other members

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What Is It?

The iRobot Roomba is one of the latest robots; built for busy people and to fit into peoples day-to-day lives. It is an automatic vacuum that runs efficiently, safely and effortlessly on its own. It uses technology that is used for bomb disposal robots in the armies all over the world.
Why Would You Buy It?

I got the iRobot Roomba recommended to me by a friend. I had gone over to her house and saw it vacuum the whole room while we were busy chatting! I sat watching it cleaning around the chairs, tables and even the lamps gracefully.
She was saying how useful it was and you could even go out shopping and you would come back to a vacuumed house. That was enough to convince me.

Other reasons to buy it would be if you have an older relative who finds it hard to clean the house then this would be perfect as it does all the vacuuming for you! All that is needs is to empty the BAGLESS compartment (I have had terrible chasings with vacuum bags which I will talk about later) and to charge it every so often.

I have dogs as well and it is designed to pick up dog hair using one of the brushes. It will work on most types of animal hair as well (which is a huge thumbs up from me!)
Where To Get It

I got my iRobot by chance on price-drop TV. I had never used a television channel to buy stuff before but I was skimming through the channels and stopped to see what was on them.
There the presenter was explaining all about the iRobot. We had had a look on the Internet but it was very expensive (Some asking for £300) but they were offering it for £149.99.
Other reliable place to get the iRobot Roomba from (sourced from iRobot.com and google search engine) is:
  • www.domotec.uk.com (where my friend got hers for roughly same price)
  • www.amazon.co.uk
  • www.freenet.ltd.uk
  • www.barmey.co.uk
    They can be seen on QVC, Price-drop TV and Bid TV but you will have to check listings.
The iRobot Family Tree

There are around 3 different families of iRobot robots. The Roombas are the first, them being the hovering robots. The one I bought the 'Silver' is the smallest and cheapest,
Pictures of iRobot Roomba 555
iRobot Roomba 555 Picture 62535867 tb
IRobot Website Picture
designed to fit homes and do around 2 full rooms per charge. Then there are the two bigger more expensive which are more designed for hotels and guesthouses. These are the 530 & 560, which are a lot fancier.

There is then the iRobot Scooba which is designed to scrub floors, which I am seriously thinking of buying. This is one of the newer ones of the iRobot family so there will possibly be newer models coming out soon. More info on iRobot website (www.iRobot.com)

Then there are the Packbots, which are actually bomb disposal units and are used by police and the army. I'm not really sure if you can buy them but they are definitely worth a mention. On the website it says it has even saved lives which is very impressive.
Packaging

When I signed for it 2 days later (quick delivery) I wasn't really surprised by the size of the box. The box had a huge picture of Roomba on the front and information about the other robots on the side. Inside, are the Robot itself, the charger, information manual, extra filter and a 'Quick Start' card on how to quickly set up your new Roomba.
Setting It Up

After reading the Quick Start card I found you had to connect the charger to the vacuum through a plug and leave it to charge for 8 hours. That really is all I can write, it is that simple!
How To Work It

After you have left it for 8 hours (or overnight) then you are ready to go. There is a green power button, which you just click, it then seems to beep a 'Hello' to you, which is really cool and waits for you to click a mode. Roomba has three big buttons on the front, representing modes saying:
  • Spot
  • Clean
  • Max

Easy enough, so the Quick Start card recommends you just click 'Clean' and you're away. iRobot will start up and start cleaning. If you click 'Spot' it will start to circle, this is great if there is a concentrated area of dirt. And Max where it is on max power meaning a really deep clean (I find it does seem to use battery quicker but the clean is VERY through) you then just leave it for up to two hours.
How Well It Cleans

I was a bit skeptical when I first got it. How could this little robot get into every nook and cranny? I am no longer skeptical at all. When it finished my kitchen, hall and living room I was simply amazed! It really had got everywhere and had picked up everything. It has a bumper at the front so when it approaches chairs, tables lamps etc it will gently nudge them but then just hoover around them. It worked very well on carpet, which surprised me slightly. It works brilliantly on any surface, really. The only dog hair I could see was on the dogs, which really is a first! I would say I cleaned deeper than I could ever clean it and my other hoover is now in retirement. Roomba is now out full time cleaner, and with little effort from myself, means I can be doing other things. 5 stars for cleaning!
Noise

When it first starts up it is quite loud as that is the brushes starting etc. But when it starts cleaning it is fairly quiet. You can hear it but it deafiantely isn't as loud as our other hoover (who's brand name I will not share) but it was very loud.
Roomba's noise is more from the brushes and you can sometimes hear it delicately banging into the tables or chairs. Yet you forget it is there and one of the best advantages is when it goes near the television, it doesn't get any interference like you do with other hoovers (or electronics) which is an added bonus.
If Roomba is full, it will stop and beep 3 times. If there is anything else wrong with it will beep a certain amount of times (like if there is something caught in the brushes) which is very smart. These beeps are very loud and noticeable which is a good thing. So overall it is pretty quiet but it can be very loud if it needs to be.
Safety

I am very impressed by the safety of this little robot. If it hits something it will just stop for a millisecond and turn in another direction. It has not yet even scratched any of the furniture at all because of its soft bumper.
I only found out about 3 weeks ago, when it was upstairs it came to the stairs and got so close but didn't fall. I read the instructions and found it is designed not to fall down stairs or holes which I thought was amazing!
If it gets caught on anything like sheets or lots of wires then instead of dragging it, it will just turn off and beep every so often. This happened before when I found it underneath the computer. I since have covered that bit up to stop it going in there again.
Battery Life

When you first get Roomba you need to charge it a full 8 hours. After that you will only need to charge for around 4/5 hours at a time. It will work on full cleaning for around 2/3 hours, which is thoroughly cleaning around 1 room per hour. I am very impressed with the battery power and cannot fault it.
Price

Now as I said I paid £149.99 excluding postage and packaging. That is a lot of money but I really believe it is worth it. I bought iRobot Roomba in November 2007 and have used it almost everyday (including Christmas day!) It is more an investment and has saved me so much time, and let me do other things in that.
There are a lot of sights offering near £300 which you shouldn't go near but if you are interested try one of the sites above (I would recommend the first one www.domotec.uk.com as that is the official site) You might decide you would like the bigger ones which are more expensive but have a lot more features.
What's Right With It?

Everything is right with iRobot Roomba. The robot itself is stylish and modern and it works perfectly. It picks up even tiny bits and when you empty it out you are amazed on what it has picked up. This is because it goes over the same area twice or even three times for a deep clean.
It is delicate around furniture and is able to get under sofas and tables if it needs to. It works near stairs and you are able to leave it for example to go shopping and come back to it finished.
Once you start using it, it is hard to stop and I have almost stopped using my other vacuum altogether. I cannot fault it at all.
What's Wrong With It?

It doesn't do well with rugs that have edging on them as it can choke on it. Same with sheets or lots of wires on the floor, anything it can get caught on should be moved from the floor. But that really is it…
Some Extra Facts
  • It has sold more than 2 million Roomba's in Britain alone
  • The Packbot Robots (Roomba's 'Cousins') have saved British troops lives in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan and have been praised by the government.
  • Roomba won the Readers Choice Award 2007 "Best Consumer Product"
  • It was on the Channel 4's "How Clean Is Your House"
  • It is used by some of the biggest hotels in the UK
Conclusion

One of the best gadgets I have ever bought, no the best (including computer!) I have bought something that is so useful and timesaving it is brilliant. I have worked on this review a lot to try and persuade people to get it as it is BRILLIANT! The price is off putting but I really believe it is worth it and have never had a trouble with it yet. Simply a brilliant bit of machinery for the 21st century house. Janie x


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Comments about this review »

law3 20.05.2008 20:00

Excellent review, very thorough! I'd love to have one of these, if only I had the cash to splash out on it.

pennywa 05.05.2008 18:29

Very good review - well written too xxxx

smilesarefree 23.03.2008 19:06

Excellent review. I think I have seen these in the Lakeland Catalogue. If it wasn't for the price I'd go out and get one, but will have to go on next year's Christmas wish list! Thanks for all the great info.

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Replacement Bristle Brush with End Caps and Bearings 1 Flexible Beater Brush with Bearings ... more

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Keep your home as clean as can be ? with virtually no additional effort on your part! Roomba is the futuristic home...

Product details

Long Name Roomba 555, iRoomba 555
Manufacturer iRobot
Type / Shape Robotic

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Review Ratings »

This review of iRobot Roomba 555 has been rated:

"exceptional" by (16%):

  1. lillamarta
  2. anaglypta
  3. carcraig

and 6 other members

"very helpful" by (84%):

  1. NickleIckle
  2. demonbarak
  3. law3

and 45 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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