iRobot Roomba 581 robot cleaner
Review As readers of my Samsung Navibot review will know, I’m not much of a person for housework, and tend to leave it for special occasions. So, it was with something of a sense of relief that I received iRobot’s Roomba 581 to test.
iRobot's Roomba 581: dust-loving droid
The 581 is currently the most top-of-the-range Roomba you can buy over here. It comes complete with three "lighthouse" units, used to set up no-go zones, or to force it to finish one room before going on to another. The pack also includes spare brushes, a wireless remote control, charger and docking station, so there’s everything you need to get going, and keep it maintained too, for £50 or so less than the most pricey Navibot.
As with the Navibot, the Roomba includes a scheduling function, so you can tell it to start cleaning automatically at specific times on different days, and there are also manual programs, including "spot cleaning" and the ability to drive it around from the remote - though sadly no drinks tray to clip on the top.
Unlike Samsung’s robots, the Roomba doesn’t have a camera to monitor its movement. It starts in an outward spiral, and then appears to move around almost at random – but still covering the whole room. A small light indicates when dirt has been found, and the robot works a little more intensively over that area.
Not as lippy as Ro-Jaws
On balance, it’s probably a bit better at getting into odd shaped areas and round furniture legs than the Samsung is.
"The Roomba is incapable of dealing with them. It climbs on top of the leg and starts..."
Down! Bad hoover! Down I say!
And there I was thinking it was a male trait, given all the females I know comment on my pigsty (which is tidy compared to this article). They don't seem to understand my sophisticated organisation scheme and think it is just crap strewn around.
".... It climbs on top of the leg and starts bleeping for help."
Thanks for that, a spot of light in an otherwise dull day.
I had an image of a Roomba in a nightclub frantically signaling to its mate... "I've found a pair of slappers who are up for it but you are getting the ugly sofa from Argos"...
And I thought my flat was a mess
Rope, bubble wrap, cement, and Lord only knows what crap appears in the photos of your office. You, Sir, live like a beast. I salute you.
It DOES suck - in a good way...
There are a few posts on here that say that the Roomba does not have a vacuum function, or that it does not suck - this is inaccurate.
It's true that the majority of the cleaning is done by twin counter-rotating bars (one to brush the carpet and one rubber one to beat the carpet), but the beating of the carpet brings the dust to the surface (much like if you whack an old sofa or train seat), and then at the back of the Roomba is a vacuum - albeit a low power one - which sucks up this dust.
I have a Roomba 560 which cleans my flat daily, and leaves it spotless. There's no point in having one if you use it infrequently as it's not meant for deep cleans, but with it running every day my carpet looks great.