Keeper, Jet and the Roomba

I’m so tired of always having fur on my carpets! I’m even more tired of vacuuming, so I decided to try a Roomba. Here’s the first few seconds of its inaugural voyage across my living room floor (the clumps of dog fur were planted by me, I hasten to add, but there are days when my carpet does look like that all on its own). Keeper was a little freaked out, while Jet was mildly curious. After this initial reaction, they completely ignored the thing. I wish they would be so mellow about the mail carrier and the UPS guy.

Now that I’ve had my Roomba for two days, what do I think?

The Good: Wow, does it clean! I’m shocked and appalled at all it’s picked up from what I thought was a clean carpet. It zips under furniture to sweep areas that haven’t seen a vacuum in, well, a very long time. It sucks up big stuff and small. It covers the entire floor and has these little bristly things that reach into corners and along walls. It’s quite impressive.

The Bad: When a machine picks up so much stuff, the stuff has to go somewhere, and there’s the problem. I’ll be in my office while the Roomba’s in the living room, for example. As the Roomba zooms around the room, its bristle brush gets full of dog hair and other debris and the Roomba stops. A nice woman calls out to me from the living room: “Clean the brushes!” and the dogs begin to bark at the stranger in the house. Cleaning the brushes is not difficult but it takes about ten minutes and is going to get old fast. Roomba hasn’t made it through a single room without asking for my help. Now, maybe this is just a testament to the fact that the carpet was in desperate need of cleaning, but I have a feeling in my two-dog house, this will be the norm.

So I need to make a decision about whether to keep this little guy or not. I’m curious about the new Neato, but it’s significantly more expensive, especially since I purchased the Roomba at Bed, Bath and Beyond with one of their 20% coupons. As I walk around my house tonight, though, and see carpets that are very nearly spotless, knowing they can be that way every single day without me having to drag out the vacuum. . . well think of all the extra time I’ll have to write. Except for those ten-minute brushing-cleaning breaks. Hmm.

How about you? Do any of you use a robotic cleaner? I’d love to hear your experiences.


  1. Margaret Maron on September 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Diane, that’s so cool. And as for getting up every 10 minutes, you probably won’t have to after it deals with most of the hair. Besides, aren’t we supposed to get up and move around every hour?

  2. Diane Chamberlain on September 6, 2010 at 12:24 am

    That’s a good way of looking at it, Margaret!

  3. Cindy on September 6, 2010 at 12:44 am

    omg. We have two dogs in the house, a yellow lab and a chocolate chesapee (spellcheck on that one). They are quite the shedders also and we are vaccuuming constantly. They are like our kids though so we wouldn’t move them outside no matter what.
    I love your dog on the video. He/she is so beautiful.
    I think I will have to try the roomba out…..smiles.

  4. Ann on September 6, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Love the video!Your dogs are beautiful.

  5. Margo on September 6, 2010 at 11:12 am

    After laughing out loud for a few minutes I got serious and realized this is a real robotic vacuum…I love it!…didn’t even know there was such a thing…thx for sharing Diane…our Kramer sheds mostly in the Spring, however I’m sure there’s dog hair under things I’m not even aware of…I’m definitely going to check this out…how nice to not have to physically vacuum all the time.
    I have a feeling Kramer is going to be a little spooked when I use it the first time…he is not a fan of the big vacuum either.

  6. Autumn on September 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    That’s adorable! What sweet pooches. Now I want to buy one just to see how my own dogs react. :)I suspect Story would attempt to bite and maim.

    I need one to run up and down my whole bod after I emerge from a car ride. (Although was it my imagination that it ignored a clump or two??)

  7. Denise on September 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Keeper and Jet are hilarious!!! They were so entertaining that I had to watch it three times. My schnauzer would go insane if I had a Roomba. I love how that little thing cleans(the Roomba, that is). That’s really cool!

  8. brenda on September 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I think that sounds fantastic…I use a steam carpet cleaner to do my carpets every couple of months-and I live alone with no pets…I use a steam Shark in the kitchen…I am surprised at what it does on that floor when I think it is clean…When I had Molly, my Schnauzer…she did not shed-she stayed in the family room-she had a baby type play pen where she lived at night-she had a crate-but I could not use it…she loved her PLAYPEN…trained her to do that-and she did…it is beside the kitchen…even my granddaughters could not get her to go into the kitchen…oh well…(I miss her)…I would keep the little robot and let it get the dog hair…beats sweeping with vacuum cleaner daily…love all these new gadgets-don’t you…

  9. brenda on September 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I give up…how does “IT” know to go to the fur???

  10. Diane Chamberlain on September 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Autumn, it got the fur eventually. Brenda, it uses some algorithm, whatever that is, to be sure it covers the whole floor, but it looks like it’s going in a very random pattern. So far, it hasn’t missed anything that I can tell. I set it to do the living room while I was at the opium Den this morning and when I came home, the LR was clean and Roomba was back in her home base. AND there wasn’t much stuff in the bristles–I think now that the initial clean is over, I’ll be seeing less. Right now, she’s doing the kitchen, which is hardwood and a black throw rug, always covered with fur, so I’m curious to see how she’ll do. I’m now thinking this is the best invention ever!

  11. Diane Chamberlain on September 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Just checked on it in the kitchen. Throw rug is spotless, but Roomba had knocked over its homebase, so I need to make sure to put it in a more secure spot. It takes a long time to do a room. The Neato is much faster, but doesn’t have the cool little brush that reaches out from the Roomba and catches debris along the wall.
    Really, I need to get back to work and stop watching this thing!

  12. Fl!p Breskin on September 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I had a Roomba, and went nuts from the noise of it. It did a thorough job, but took forever to do it, and was noisy the whole time. I work at home and just hated the noise That other one looks like it might be a better bet since it appears to plan it’s route more directly. OurRoomba didn’t eat any of our cats, though they were curious. Check the replacement costs on batteries. When ours stopped accepting a charge, we priced replacement batteries and then gave up on it.

  13. Cindy Mathes on September 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    REally Diane, you didn’t say it cleans hardwood floors…
    I can’t believe it…I only have one dog…but you know how much hair she is awfull..Ive been thinking of sending her to get her shaved. I don’t imagine a short haired German Shepard would be very pretty shaved off..but I swear I am thinking of it.
    I almost wishing I had carpet again…however, do you know how much dirt your carpet hides. I swear… I never knew how dirty my floors really were until hardwood came along. Of course It is suppose to be better for my asthmatic husband…but I don’t think it helps when I let it lie there for a day or two…cause I get so darned tired of sweeping…So if I can get a roomba to run 24/7, my floors may stay clean…Where does all the dirt come from I want to know…
    Enough ranting from me….
    I do think we should name Roomba…unless that would hurt her feelings…

  14. Diane Chamberlain on September 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Hi Flip, nice to see you here! I AM concerned about the noise, since John and I both work at home. I don’t think I’ll care because I’m so psyched about the clean floors, but John might be another matter. He’s been away this weekend so hasn’t had the chance to “enjoy” Roomba doing her thing. I’ll check out the battery price. You’re right about the Neato planning a better route. Supposed to clean a room in about a third of the time, but not be as good on pet hair, and you’ve probably figured out that’s a biggie here!

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