Product Review: Our new cleaning Toy – Roomba 530


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The main problem in our house is vacuuming. I can do it, but I ache afterwards. Mom can’t do it. Dad and my husband try to alternate, but they just never get to it. So, mom’s birthday came up and Roomba 530 it was!

I researched the different models; fortunately, the website has a comparison feature to narrow down which Roomba is best for you – and your budget.
I checked out the reviews on the website forums. Most of them were maintenance related – cleaning the machine after vacuuming is a must to keep it working well – not such a bad thing. I hate changing the bag on the vacuum – I never know when it needs it!
I ordered our new toy and a replacement parts kit – just to have it on hand. Roomba – $299.99, replacement kit – $39.99, shipping – free since the order is over $200. Total: $339.98. Yowsa. I hope this is worth it!
We get the Roomba, open the box, and read the quick start instructions. The instructions tell me to turn the machine on and listen to it tell me what to do! It also gives me a bit of a demo – way fun! I find a place for the ‘home base’ – where it needs to charge. I put the Roomba in front of the home base and press ‘dock’. It goes home! More fun! We find a place to put the ‘virtual walls’ a small gadget that when turned on tells the Roomba it’s to go no further. If they only had this for dogs and kids…We put them at the kitchen door and the foyer entryway. The Roomba I bought comes with 2 ‘walls’.
We charge it overnight and then pick up clutter – although you don’t really need to – and we let it go – I just press ‘clean’. It goes to town! The dog was mildly curious, but soon got bored with it, he’s more interested when it beeps and talks. It spins, vacuums, and it works the room – randomly. A little blue light indicates if it has found a dirty area and it is concentrating on it. The ‘clean’ light will blink if it needs cleaning – something that may be needed if you’re running it the first time.
I pick our ‘Betty’ up (we named it – according to the forums on the website – many do) and I proceed to clean it a bit. Rollers: there are two – a brush roller and a rubber roller. They both tend to collect dog hair (our main problem) in the areas that connect to the main machine. The rest is easy to clean – they even send you a round odd looking tool to do it. I empty the dust bin and pull the filter out and shake it a bit. All done! Then I set it back near the home base, tell it to dock and leave it.
One night, before I went to bed, I picked up the clutter and told Betty to get to work. As I was upstairs getting ready for bed, I got a giggle watching her clean light glow in the dark and spin…
I haven’t gotten into the habit of running it every night – which would be ideal. The last time I ran it, poor Betty was stopped in the middle of the floor – she was full! I picked her up, emptied the bin and put her back down. She ‘beeped’ as if to say thank you and I pressed clean – off she went!
Yup – worth the money I think.
There are other models – you can schedule them to clean, they come with a remote, and some are larger to clean a larger area. But for a basic model – I think the 530 is the right choice for us. If you buy 2 you’ll save $25. I have friends that have a Scoomba – it cleans non carpeted floors, and I have another friend that bought the 2 for 1 deal – one upstairs and one downstairs. But you can move the Roomba anywhere and it will clean. Most models come with a one year warranty.
I let ‘Betty” work in the kitchen and she did really well! She’s got these brushes for cleaning the edges and sides of walls and they work great under the cabinets in the kitchen. Then I use a Swiffer.
We’re trying to get on a schedule where we pick up the living room/dining room area and set it to clean overnight – so far – operator error!

Article written by Linda Kasserman © 2008

  • Caillin

    They have a new version designed for households with pets. More room in the bin, and better brushes that won’t clog.

    My Roomba is a lifesaver. It’s either that, or we would never vacuum!