Having had a Roomba robot vacuum in our home for a number of years, it dawned on me to properly review the Roomba so that our readers and clients can get a better view on how it works and why we think it’s a fantastic home vacuum, especially when you have pets. So here’s our Roomba review, tips, cost savings and what we learned.
The Roomba Pet Vacuum Review
When shopping for a vacuum we tend to look for name-brand, has a HEPA filter and always check reviews. Who wants to spend $200 to $800 on a vacuum that sucks, or doesn’t? Having a busy schedule and two dogs, I needed something that could handle the amount of dog hair that would be needed to be picked up. Anyone who has dogs knows that you’re going to vacuum at least a few times per week.
Sorry, I don’t want to vacuum 3 to 5 times per week so I needed a solution and what I found was this robot vacuum; the Roomba. The ease of having this little device pop out every day at noon, clean and then dock itself to recharge for the next day – awesome. This has made our lives so much simpler, and we found a great way to buy one at less than half the price.
How To Buy a Roomba on the Cheap
I know I didn’t want to spend $700+ on a new model, although i would have liked to; instead I opted to check Craigslist and eBay for deals. We found several great offers but checking the model, they were super old and didn’t have some of the newer technology that we wanted. Mainly the ability for the robot to detect stairs without having to use virtual walls (virtual walls are like fences that you put up to stop a Roomba from entering a certain area of your home).
There are other more expensive models like the i7 which is self cleaning, which is kind of nice. But the price is staggering. The newer models can even be controlled by your iPhone, but really, what’s the point?
All Roombas have a sensor when they bump into furniture. The unit will stop and go in another directions. We’ve noticed though that ours will actually do a circle around a table leg for example. Cleaning all the way around table legs, chairs etc is a great feature. Another thing we were lucky about was the height of the vacuum and that it would easily roll under our couch and loveseat.
Storing the Roomba
I placed the docking station out of the way underneath the couch. So you can’t see the entire device, only the section where it needs to be emptied. You can literally place the charging station anywhere, but we suggest up against a wall as when the unit leaves to vacuum it often kicks the charging station out – and if the charging station is pushed sideways the Roomba will often not be able to dock as it can’t get a signal and dies in the middle of the room. So again, be sure the charging dock has some form of support on the back.
Finding a Pet Series Roomba Took Time
We came across several ads on eBay for the 590 Pet Series, and they were super cheap. Some as low as $75, albeit needing batteries. We happened to find a 595 Pet series Roomba in the box with all attachments and barely used for $125 only a few miles from our home. The deal was fantastic, it started, ran for about 35 minutes, roamed and vacuumed perfectly, but… it wouldn’t dock. We also discovered that the device should run at least an hour, sometimes more, but didn’t.
To be fair, we don’t know what the difference between the Pet Series and regular series is. But we have pets so…
Setting Up The Roomba To Auto-Clean Daily
One of the nicest features is the ability to set the day and time to clean. We have ours set for every day at noon. You simply set up the clock, then set the day and time – and they can be different times and even skip days. A bit drawn out here – so check your manual.
What Happens When Your Roomba Won’t Dock and How To Fix It
Apparently this is a common problem, but no real online solutions. Researching the problem came up with a number of bad YouTube videos, misinformed forums and online helpers with tips and tricks – nothing worked. A lot of people were stating that you had to clean the sensors – but this was almost a new unit and had seen no real use, so we knew it was something else.
It was the run-time that was the answer. A Roomba usually operates for at least an hour+, and ours wasn’t running more than half that. So we ordered a battery on Amazon (which also came with replacement parts like a new side brush and a brush cleaning tool.) Whopping cost of $33 included delivery (thank you Amazon Prime!). There were a few batteries to choose from – and we decided to go for the larger 4500maH battery versus the 3500maH.
Roomba Battery Installation was Simple:
- Remove the side brush screw and side brush.
- Remove the 4 screws to remove the bottom cover.
- Remove the battery.
- Install the replacement battery, with the logo facing up and let charge overnight.
- Replace the bottom cover, side brush, and side brush screw.
The Roomba Review, Finally…
We find the Roomba to be a super time saver. The only thing we need to do at the end of the day is empty the tray and shake out the filter. Our Roomba roams through the livingroom (carpet) and kitchen (tile) and bypasses two sets of stairs. These vacuums are a fantastic value if you find one used in good condition. We were able to find ours for $125 and then needed to order a battery at $33 – so for a total price of $158 vs. $700 for a brand new one; that’s a great deal.
Just so we’re clear how much dog hair this picks up daily, plus everything else, we’ve included a picture of the end of day cleanout. That’s a lot of dog hair…
In case you were wondering, we found a dozen or so used Roombas on eBay for less than $100! Here’s the link: eBay Pet Series Roomba