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Who has tried robot vacuum cleaners?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by MeSci, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    I thought that these would be very useful for saving energy and reducing the frustration and embarrassment caused by not being able to clean the floors.

    I'd love to hear people's experiences and recommendations.

    Here is one I found on the main Amazon site. One reviewer says it doesn't work on rugs/carpets but another says it works on low-pile carpet.
     
  2. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

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    I didn't look at your link but I've had 2. Both vacuum well on flat surfaces but both would get caught up in any legs or solid objects in their path. They get confused and need help getting away from chair or table legs.

    I didn't have carpet.

    Definitely worth it if you have pets tho. Tc .. x

    Eta. Both of mine were early Roombas. Both would use up their batteries by getting stuck between objects. I once had a sofa and loveseat set up so they were on opposite sides but not quite facing each other. My Roomba was having a stroke when I saved it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  3. Purple

    Purple Bundle of purpliness

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    We have a Roomba and it is great on both carpet (though not too deep pile) and on solid floors. It also comes with a remote control to move it/turn it on/off so doesn't need to be lifted if you need to move it from room to room. And it can be programmed to work e.g. every day at a certain time. It is low enough to get under sofas and chest of drawers too. It is also relatively quiet compared to a normal vacuum cleaner but needs a much longer cleaning time.

    Can't believe we didn't get it sooner - I think it is ME-friendly. My room hasn't been vacuumed for about 3 years because of noise sensitivity - until we got the Roomba. With ear plugs while in bed in the same room, I don't hear it at all.

    Cleaning the brushes can be time consuming if there is lots of hair wrapped around them. Also, it's best to have as few obstacles as possible in the room, it doesn't like cables, for example.

    The Roomba is very expensive though. But if you are in the UK, you can buy it from Lakeland and try out and return any time for any reason, no questions asked, if you don't get on well with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  4. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I had a Roomba and can also recommend it. The downside is that the dust compartment fills up quite quickly and you have to get on your hands and knees to empty it: it's also not as powerful as an upright hoover but does a pretty good job. I relied on mine completely for a year or so and then started to hire a home help who could use my upright hoover. The first hoovering picked up quite a lot of dust that the Roomba hadn't picked up - but perhaps if I'd used the Roomba more often there'd have been less dust. I have berber carpets.

    It didn't get caught up or stuck (except it jammed itself under furniture once or twice).

    Thumbs up from me for PWME - if I lost my home help I'd get a Roomba again.
     
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  5. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton

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    I have a Neato. It works really well on carpets, rugs, hard tiles and wooden floorboards.

    I chose the Neato over the better-known Roomba because,

    1. It is more rational: it uses a laser direction finding device to navigate, and first surveys the space it is in, then hoovers all around the edge, and then goes back and forth in straight lines. The Roomba navigates by bouncing off things, and taking a random walk, which would drive me crazy with its lack of logic.

    2. Because it goes in straight lines and covers the floor efficiently, the Neato is much faster than the Roomba, eg ten minutes rather than forty for a given size of room. This means the job is done much more quickly, which means less noise.

    3. Because the Neato is intelligent in its navigation and rarely bumps into things, it is much less noisy and does less potential damage than a Roomba, which bumps into things deliberately as a means of getting around/changing direction.

    4. The Neato needs less human intervention: while the Roomba brushes need regular cleaning, the Neato uses a different system and I have never needed to clean it. I have had to disentangle ribbon from the beater brush occasionally (cat toy :)) but that would happen with any hoover.

    5. The Neato is actually a hoover rather than a room sweeper, so it has decent suction. I wasn't expecting too much compared to say a regular dyson, but it is actually surprisingly good.

    It can handle obstacles really well, and generally runs without needing any human intervention at all, except for dustbin emptying, the frequency of which depends on the size of your floors, how often you run it, and how dirty they are. The bin is really easy to empty.

    It handles cat hair, cat litter crystals, ordinary dust and dirt, leaves, feathers (don't ask! :cat::oops:), little bits of paper, and in general pretty much everything one might find on the floor and regard as dirt.

    It can be set (pretty straightforward) to run autonomously, which is how I have it: at the appointed time it sets off and hoovers the entire floor of the house, then moseys back to its charger to recharge for the next run. If it runs out of battery part way round, it will go back and charge up and then carry on until its finished.

    It can also be told to do a spot clean (small area, eg if something just got spilled), and can be made to run at any time by pressing the big orange button (foot friendly, so no need to bend down).

    Drawbacks:

    1. It can't do stairs.

    2. It can't climb stairs, so to do a floor on another level it must be carried there first - plonk it down anywhere and it does the hoovering and comes back to where it first started, so you can find it easily. It does have a carry handle that makes it fairly easy to move if one has the strength and mobility.

    3. It's very good at extricating itself from tricky situations (it can back off of cables or objects that it's got stuck on, and can wriggle its backside up and down and all about :lol: in order to get itself free. It generally doesn't get stuck on things like bath mats, clothing etc on the floor because of its escape capabilities. Every now and then though it will get itself totally stuck and need rescuing. It beeps from time to time in this situation, to let you know, and displays a message.

    The best thing is to do a supervised run when you first get it, and see where it gets stuck, and then modify things a little (eg, if you have a spaghetti pile of cables, best not to let it run over them - mostly it will manage, but sooner or later it will require assistance, so might as well just adjust things to avoid it).

    4. It can't handle drops of more than about two inches - so it will manage a thick rug on a wooden floor fine, but not a step between levels of a floor. It has a cliff sensor which stops it falling down stairs, and also stops it falling over edges in general.

    5. It can't get right to the very edge of a floor, so there may be some dust left around the extremeties. On hard floors it may well get this on the next run - the suction means there is a lot of airflow which can push the dust back into its path - but on carpet it tends to remain. It's not much though, and is quick to get with something like a dyson handheld, for those with the energy to go round once every month or two.

    It comes with some strips that you can use to mark off areas you don't want it to go in, but I've never bothered - I want it to hoover everywhere!

    It gets in and under and around anything it can, and is really good at even tight spaces and quirky houses. If something gets moved whilst it's in action, it avoids bumping into it, and simply recalculates its route and carries on.

    It's very polite (really!).

    I am really, really pleased with my Neato, it has make all the difference to the state of the house, and runs like clockwork (well, laser-guided, computer-controlled clockwork :cool:).

    OK, very long post, but I hope some of that info might be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
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  6. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    The Neato sounds like it actually has proper software. And you sound like a programmer / mathematician :).
     
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  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    We have a Roomba (called Robyn) and she is wonderful. She cleans tiles, wood and carpet. Only drawback over a conventional machine is carpet on stairs if you have stairs.

    I'd recommend one if you don't mind the noise. I'm at home most of the time and do a room by room clean so I can get away from the noise. I find the noise better than a conventional vacuum though.

    I've had friends buy some of the cheaper ones (Not Roomba) and they have all broken down quickly and had to be returned or replaced.

    One of the reasons we bought the Roomba was that the entry level version was being sold in the UK at a cheaper price a year or so ago.
     
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  8. MeSci

    MeSci ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6

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    Wow, @Indigophoton - thanks for all that detail! (Have you offered to publicise it for the company...? They might pay you! :D).

    It sounds rather adorable - like a pet!
     
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  9. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton

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    Yes, it does. It gets updated from time to time too, when they figure out ways to improve it even more. It has a usb socket to connect it to a computer to install downloads, but I have never bothered as it runs so well already.

    Close, a theoretical physicist (used to be). Much more fun ;):)
     
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  10. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton

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    Hey, you might have thought of a job for the bedbound: testing autonomous gizmos....:p
     
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  11. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I had a Roomba a long time ago but wasn't too impressed. Then again, it might be a different story for those without pets.

    I am about ready to buy a Neato though! @Indigophoton should get a commission!
     
  12. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    I have a Roomba - best thing I ever ever bought, I also have a cleaner, but the Roomba picks up more than she does!!!
    The only drawback is the cleaning of it, but I just put it on a table outside, turn it upside down, no bending down, and spend 10 minutes cleaning it - easy,quite therapeutic and not really tiring.
    It will get caught in thin cables and I pull all the chairs out from under the table to give it room to go around, I don't watch it, just escape from the room, its not too noisy though. The Neato is much more so.
    I don't use it in the living room as I have way too much stuff on the floor, I did last year but had more energy then to move things, eg. delicate things you wouldn't want it bumping into
     
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  13. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Which model Neato do you have @Indigophoton? Amazon has about 5 different kinds with about $100 between them.
     
  14. Indigophoton

    Indigophoton

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    I have the XV-15 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005AIIHSY/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1), an older model, the same as the original US model XV-11 apart from the colour. According to Amazon the equivalent product/updated version now is the XV Signature.

    I believe the XV Signature Pro is exactly the same as the XV Signature apart from the brush. The parts are interchangeable on all models. The new brush is supposed to be even better with pet hair.

    In the UK, the alternative brush costs £30 while the Sig Pro costs over £100 more than the Sig, so unless money is no object or one really wants a particular colour, then I would suggest anyone looking at these consider buying the basic model and seeing how it goes. One can always change the brush later, or even immediately, and get the same product (bar the colour) for far less than buying the Pro version.

    I have found the basic brush (more of a beater bar really) to do a great job with pet hair and human hair, and with no need to clean it. Apparently the new style brush is quieter, but more likely to hold onto pet hairs and need cleaning now and then.

    There are also two kinds of filters, and again both kinds fit all models. The orange ones, the basic ones, are very good. So one could also start with the basics here too, and upgrade if it seemed worthwhile later.

    There were about seven free extra filters in the box with the Neato, and I still have several left after about 2 1/2 years.

    (PS Just to be clear, should probably add - I have no affiliation with Neato!:rolleyes:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  15. BadBadBear

    BadBadBear Senior Member

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    I bought a Roomba (the $499 one, not the newest version) and love it. My house is large with mixed flooring - tile, carpet, linoleum. It works on all of them. We have three fuzzy pets, and live in the country. The Roomba fills up a bin per day of hair and dirt. I just couldn't keep up with the vacuuming, there was no way...

    I did put stick on Velcro around the front bumper of my Roomba to protect my antique furniture. I also put some round felt pads on top of it since it would sometimes get stuck under my kitchen cabinets.

    I do keep all the stuff it could tangle in picked up. Since the Roomba runs daily, it's good incentive to keep the little stuff picked up. And it is much more manageable if I clean up tiny messes daily instead of waiting until there's a huge mess.

    Two thumbs up from me.
     
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  16. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    A vacuum cleaner that exterminates the mess! :p


    (sorry couldn't resist a gag, hehe)


    automated hoover would rock as Poppy is casting and I'm so pooped I can barely look after basic needs.
     
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  17. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    It's not a lack of logic, it's very sophisticated logic, designed originally for bomb-detecting robots. The coverage programming was designed to make sure all areas were covered regardless of the multitude of objects in any room.

    The Neato's logic is actually very unsophisticated. Straight lines look more logical superficially, but are not as effective at completely covering all the ground.

    But hey, if the floor gets clean, what do we care what it's coverage logic is? :)

    I've had Roombas since the earliest incarnation. The biggest downside, imo, is the small debris bin. I've got cats, so I sometimes have to empty the Roomba more than once per cleaning. Without pets, emptying it after every use should be more than sufficient. That does mean picking the thing up, but it's not heavy. I've been able to pick up a Roomba even at my sickest.

    I just bought a new one this month when my last one finally bit the dust. The new one is much easier to care for. The brush-cleaning I had to do regularly on my old Roombas seems to be no longer necessary, or at least it will need to be done much less frequently. If you don't have long hair or pets, then you probably won't have to do it at all. That's a big improvement over my old ones.

    My old Roombas worked fine on carpet, rugs, hardwood, and tile floors. The only place they hung up more than I liked was on my rugs' short fringe. Long fringe would probably cause a lot of problems. The new Roomba hasn't hung up anywhere yet.

    My feeling is that Roombas don't have the super-suction of some of the top of the line vacuums, but they're as good as most. My new one seems to have noticeably more suction than my older ones.

    The biggest benefit to robotic vacuums, imo, is that as a PWME I simply wouldn't walk over my whole house vacuuming every day. I can run the Roomba every day with next to no effort, so my house is cleaner and I've saved energy to do something more important. :thumbsup:
     
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  18. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

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    I have had a roomba in the past and did love it. It got stuck an awful lot and would make these sad little sounds when it needed to get rescued. It was really good at going into the bathroom and shutting the door behind itself. I ended up having to repair it quite often though as it was having trouble keeping the battery in good shape with all the times it would get hung up. I ended up selling it for parts.

    But, I have every intention of buying a Neato XV next - and that was from online reviews before I even saw this thread. My thought is to run it almost daily (alternating first floor and lower level) after I move. And then hopefully I can hire someone to do a regular vacuuming once a month but it won't get too bad between that event.

    I'm also debating buying a mopping one for the kitchen/bathrooms. I thought about buying one that does both, but it doesn't come back with very good reviews compared to the pet vacuum skills proclaimed for the Neato. And I'm thinking for the price difference it's not that much to buy a mopping one that only does that. With the kitchen and two and a half baths - I could also have it taking turns through the rooms.

    But yes... it seems like a smart investment for those of us of more limited abilities - once it was set up and 'scheduled'... the only involvement I had was primarily emptying the bin, rescuing it from it's escapades and removing hair from the brushes. Maintenance was pretty simple, but by the time I'd fried the battery cartridge so badly, it was a bit more challenging to replace.
     
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  19. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

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    Hey, how did you do that? I've got several old dead ones I'd love to sell for parts.
     
  20. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

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    I tried ebay and didn't get any interest. So, then I listed it on Craigslist for $40 and got four calls. :) Mostly guys who buy them, fix them up and resell them.
     
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