Now that I have an iRobot Roomba 770, I like just hitting a button and letting it do its thing. I have learned along the way that there's much I can do to help it clean more efficiently. Embedded below is a Youtube video I found in this post that pretty much covers the basics in visual form, so you can
see what I mean (and he means) about making it easier for the iRobot Roomba 770 to do it's job.
I found right away that it wasn't too keen on cleaning under the table, even when I pulled just a few chairs out a bit so it could get in. The iRobot Roomba 770 does not clean in a grid pattern. It's more of a wandering minstrel with shiny thing syndrome, zigging and zagging like a lost goat looking for lunch, gobbling up dirt here and there. So definitely take the videographer's advice and put your chairs up, like you would if you were going to mop your floors. Access is key and if it continually bumps into things, he is going to figure it's a solid object, so let me go try to clean over here... and next thing you know, the iRobot is making a break for another room.
Do a visual sweep. Look for things it might gobble up that might wind around the brushes. I have pulled out a long strip of plastic wrap (must have been hidden under the furniture from Christmas) and a crocheted coaster. My son's headphone cord got so tangled up that I was unable to free it, except with a pair of scissors. I tried for several minutes before giving up and cutting the cord to get it out. I did not want to risk messing up the gears to save cheap headphones.
Basically, it's a toddler and it will scoop up some more troublesome items in its brushes and gobble them up. For the plastic wrap, it alerted me by voice that it was having an issue that needed attention. For the coaster, I happened to notice it skip over some obvious crumbs on the floor and I picked it up to see if the tray was full and found the coaster stuck in the brushes.
As for the brushes, be sure to clean them regularly, at least every few cleanings. I have long hair and it will wind up in the brushes a bit. If things get wound too tightly, it will cut into the plastic flap on the underside.
Increase surface area. In general, you should try to keep as much stuff as you can off the floor you want your iRobot Roomba to clean. Anything it can bump into is something that has can make it change its direction thinking it's a wall to be avoided. Plus, carpet and flooring under objects obviously won't get clean.
Run it several times while you're home so you can determine trouble areas. For instance, TV table in my living room that the iRobot gets stuck on. If your iRobot gets stuck somewhere, it will try to get itself free. When it cannot, it should alert you to trouble. So running it while you're home several times will increase the chance that you can head off trouble at the pass.
My iRobot Roombat came with virtual walls that will broadcast, so if you want to restrict access to certain areas, these are a good way to do it. For best results, place the virtual wall not exactly at a doorway, but just inside. If it's right at the doorway, it might stop it from fully cleaning the room, leaving a few inches of uncleaned carpet. Need more? These are available on Amazon and ship free on Prime, with 2 for about $35.
What I think of overall performance I like it. I'm not saying it will get every single crumb off your floor on each run, but if you consistently run it (once a day -- you can even schedule it to run once a day), your floors will be fairly clean. I notice that if I run it every day it doesn't have a lot of debris in the collection pan.
I like being able to set it free to clean while I am doing other cleaning tasks.
I also find that I run the iRobot Roomba 770 more often because it's so easy to use. With one vacuum cleaner for my whole house, I don't like to carry it up and down stairs, so I wasn't vacuuming as often as I could have. The iRobot just takes a push of the Clean button and off it goes. No lugging required. So I would have to say that my floors get vacuumed more often now that he's around.
Amazon has several models of iRobot Roombas available, other than my beloved 770. Images below are clickable links to Amazon so that you can check them out. There are only two currently priced under $500, though Amazon had a sale at Christmas time. You could keep an eye on prices. Also, you might want to check Bed Bath and Beyond, though their coupons restrict use on the 800 and 900 models, it does not specifically say it restricts on anything less (770 or 650 if they carry them.)
Some models are also available at Walmart, but currently Amazon is beating their price. The 650 is $374 and the 770 is $499. Bed Bath and Beyond has the 650 also for $374, so if you could use the 20% off on that, it would bring it down to around $300. Call your store first to verify they have no restrictions. Please see my previous post on Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.
iRobot Roomba 650 is about $330. It's a best seller at Amazon.
iRobot Roomba 770 is about $425.
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