iRobot Vacuum Cleaners Reviewed: Are They Any Good?

Are you confused about all the hype surrounding robotic vacuum cleaners? So were we. Are you frustrated by not being able to find clear answers to straightforward questions about these robo-helpers? So were we.

More...

In short, are you looking for i Robot vacuum reviews?

Well, you've come to the right place. Here at Robotaholic, we got frustrated enough about not being able to find clear answers that we decided to do something about it.

We've put together this page to give you hard facts and clear information that will help you make up your mind about these modern day helper machines.

We aim to answer questions for you like "what is a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner?", "how do they work?", "which one is the best?"...and many others.

So let's get started...


Click an item in the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or just scroll down to read the whole review.

What Is An iRobot Vacuum Cleaner?

Do you find yourself spending your spare time at home vacuuming the carpets and scrubbing the floors instead of enjoying your time off?

And even when you do hoover up, it can often seem that no matter how immaculately you do the job, the dirt starts piling up again within days and you are back to square one.

Wouldn’t it be great to let a machine do the work instead while you put your feet up?​

It sounds like the stuff of science-fiction movies but it’s not. The days of the domestic cleaning robot are well and truly here.

Robotic vacuums are already clever enough to scoot around your home by themselves, even while you are somewhere else, and do all the drudge work of hoovering your carpets clean.

It sounds like the stuff of science-fiction movies but it’s not. The days of the domestic cleaning robot are well and truly here.


The Roomba​

There are many different choices for robot cleaners these days but one of the most popular types of robot vacuum cleaners today goes by the name of the Roomba.

About the size of the steering wheel in your car, these little robotic creatures scuttle back and forth across your carpets and floors sucking up all the dirt and dust.

Just put the Roomba in any room, switch it on and the magic starts. It automatically starts to create its own "mental map" of the room. It guides itself around the room and even figures out when it needs a recharge and rushes back to it's charger for a few hours and then continues again.

It seems like a miracle of modern science but robotic cleaners have been on the horizon for many years now.

Most of us don't think twice now about those industrial robots that help put cars together on production lines. It was only a matter of time that this technology would be put to work in the home.

In the same way that computers and smartphones now seem commonplace, domestic robots are on the way to achieving the same everyday status.


Who Invented The Roomba Vacuum Cleaner?

The Roomba cleaner is an invention of the iRobot Corporation.

The iRobot corporation was founded way back in 1990 when three MIT robot scientists Colin Angle, Helen Greiner, and Rodney Brooks came together driven by a vision to bring robots to the modern world. Helen Greiner has even said that she was inspired by watching the movie Star Wars as a child and dreamed of creating a real-life R2-D2 droid.

For a decade, iRobot focused on producing research and military robots.

But then in 2002, the company debuted the first i Robot Roomba domestic robotic vacuum cleaner. And they struck gold - within the following two years, one million Roomba cleaners had been sold. It is estimated that iRobot now dominates 70% of the robotic vacuum cleaner market.


How Do Robotic Cleaners Work?

Let's take a look at how the Roomba works.

Obviously there are a number of different models and not all of the older ones or cheaper ones will have all the features we talk about here.

As with all i Robot vacuum reviews, it's difficult to judge what's the most valuable information for you to know. But, at least, we can give you an idea of what to look for and what you might be missing out on by buying a cheaper model.


​How Do You Operate Them?

It's not difficult to get a Roomba started. In fact, it's absurdly easy.

There's a large button on top. You push it. Job done. Then off it goes around your house doing whatever it needs to do.

It will not climb the stairs in your house though (not yet anyway) so you'll have to carry it, along with the charger, to different floors. But once there you can leave it alone to get on with it.

Scheduling

If you want to give your Roomba a bit more guidance then you can do that also.

There are buttons on top to allow you to set a cleaning schedule so that you always come home to a freshly-cleaned home. Just make sure its onboard clock is set properly or may start up unexpectedly and you may mistake it for burglars armed with a threatening hoover.

You can also instruct it on the style of cleaning it should do. More on that later.

Remote Control​

If you find that it's really just too much effort to go over to it and push that big "Clean" button, iRobot have thoughtfully provided a remote control.

With the newer models, you can use the remote control to steer your Roomba towards dirty patches.

You can also use it to steer the device away from places where you think it might get stuck. Though this is generally not a big issue because the machine is intelligent enough to deal with most everyday obstacles around the home.

Smartphone App​

The newest Roombas can connect to your home Wi-Fi network. This means you can use a downloadable app on your Android or iPhone to set the schedules even more conveniently.

And if you find that even having to lift up and aim a remote control is too much effort to push that big starting button, you can achieve the same thing now with your smartphone...they've even made it look like a big button on your phone also.

It's probably only a matter of time until iRobot come up with a way for you to just think the word "Clean" and then that button goes and pushes itself.

Other useful features of the smartphone app are the ability to set different cleaning modes for the Roomba such as going over the same room twice to make sure it got everything. And the app also helps with troubleshooting should something unexpected happen.

You can also release your inner tyrant boss by monitoring exactly how long your robot servant has actually been cleaning. And you also have a precise record of what's been cleaned and when.

If you reach the point in your domestic life that you have multiple Roombas on dust patrol then the app can handle that also. You can control them all from your phone.

Perhaps the day is coming when each home will have its own army of Roomba vacuums. If the world is ever taken over by robots, we think it will end up being a much cleaner place.

If the world is ever taken over by robots, we think it will end up being a much cleaner place.


How Do They Find Their Way Around?

You might think it cannot be that difficult to make a machine go backwards and forwards across your carpet hoovering up dust. But there’s a staggering amount of computerized intelligence that goes into these devices.

In the same way that we humans use our physical senses to navigate the world around us, the Roomba has mechanical sensors that let it "see" where it is and where it needs to go.

Early models used to just randomly move back and forth across the carpets but newer, more powerful devices now build up a "mental map" of what’s in the room that they need to clean.

And there’s enough intelligence in these machines to actually figure out when they are running low on power so they can head back to their chargers, give their batteries a boost for a few hours, and then get straight back to work again.

Navigation​

Even with the newer models, there's still a feeling of randomness to the movements - you are never quite sure where the Roomba is heading next.

It will often seem to go over the same area a few times. The boffins at iRobot Corporation say this is intentional as part of a thorough cleaning program.

VSLAM​

The newest iRobot Roomba machines use a visually-based technology (VSLAM) to figure out where they are. The robot can now figure out exactly where it is in a room and how it got there.

This means it can be more efficient about its cleaning path (less randomness) and can even remember what it has cleaned and what it hasn't. This results in the Roomba being able to rush back to its charging dock when it runs short of power and still continue exactly where it left off.

The Roomba achieves this feat with the help of a camera embedded in the top of it. The camera points forward and slightly upwards.

As the robotic cleaner is moving around a room, it is searching for anything that looks a bit distinctive (objects with corners are usually pretty distinctive). It then figures out where it is in relation to those distinctive items.

VSLAM is not quite as simple as we've made it sound. There are issues to deal with such as if the Roomba is under a table or sofa, there's not much for it to look at. And moving it manually to another room means that it now has to start all over again building the "mental map".

But the VSLAM algorithms seem to be the way forward for iRobot and the Roomba. It makes the behavior of the cleaner a bit closer to the way a human would vacuum (in generally straight lines) instead of seemingly total randomness.

Virtual Wall Lighthouses​

Sometimes you don't want your robotic cleaning buddy to go wandering off aimlessly around your home. You might want it to stay in one room until the job is thoroughly done or you might want it to avoid feasting on a large jigsaw puzzle on the floor that you've spent days piecing together.

To deal with these sorts of situations, iRobot have included a couple of digital sentries called Virtual Wall Lighthouses.

These battery-powered mini-towers broadcast signals that can mark off areas that the Roomba should not cross or areas that it should stay some distance away from.


How Do Robotic Cleaners Deal With Obstacles?

A major concern for many people is whether the cleaner will get tangled up in cords or wires lying across its path.

And the good news is that it doesn't. A modern Roomba has rubber sweeping rollers rather than brush-based ones. And this means that should it go over a cord or wire, it just harmlessly ignores it without getting tangled up.

Even if you do manage to fool your Roomba into munching on a wire - have you really got nothing better to do? - it is still a relatively easy matter to release it from the machine.

​Cliff Detection

Another concern might be whether your cherished cleaner is going to go flying down the stairs to a fate in robot heaven.

Again, no need to worry. Sensors underneath the vacuum are constantly checking for a solid surface. The cleaner will immediately back off if it detects the ground is vanishing beneath it.

This works surprisingly well. You can place the Roomba on a ordinary coffee table and, while it might seem to growl like a caged animal (you deserve its anger for trying that), it doesn't fall off the edge.

Bump Panel​

The next question that comes up is what happens when it bumps into things?

The front 180 degrees of the Roomba body is actually a large bump sensor.

Depending on how that sensor moves when it hits an object, the device can actually figure out whether it is stuck in a corner or whether it has come across something that it can get around.

As for slopes and bumpy surfaces, the back wheels are ridged and have the potential to move up and down within the cleaner's body so this presents no problem either.


How Well Do The Robots Vacuum The Room?

How well do the robots vacuum the room?

Firstly, remember that the Roomba can only vacuum your carpets and floors.

It won't dust down your coffee table, sofa or window sills. And it won't hoover the stairs (though we're sure the boffins are working on something that will). And neither will the Roomba clear away stuff you've left lying around the floor.

Bearing all that in mind, you are going to have to still put in some manual effort from time to time in keeping your home clean.

​iAdapt

iRobot has given the Roombas a set of features (which they call iAdapt) that they say significantly improves the cleaning abilities of the devices.

These include being able to follow a wall and clean right up along despite the Roomba being circular. This is achieved with the help of a flailing brush underneath the machine that reaches up to walls and into corners and pushes the dirt and debris towards the suction under the machine.

In addition, the Roomba is able to detect areas that are particularly dirty (thanks to its onboard sensors) and can spend more time cleaning those areas, adjusting its suction power if necessary depending on what kind of floor surface it finds beneath it.

As we've mentioned previously, it also has the ability to avoid falling down stairs or into holes. And it also has the anti-tangle technology.

What all this means for you is that, unlike earlier models of robotic cleaner, you can spend less time preparing your home to be cleaned. In many cases, you can just start the machine going and let it deal with whatever you've left lying around.

​Hair

One of the most frustrating and annoying aspects of letting a robotic vacuum run wild around your home is that of dealing with hair.

If you've got long hair or even have a pet, you'll be well aware of the ongoing battle of keeping the strands off the carpet and floor.

Earlier models of iRobot Roomba didn't do a great job at this. They used to have brushes that would sweep the dirt into the machine. But that also meant that hairs would get tangled in the bristles.

This would lead to spending time untangling and removing the hair - often cutting it out of the machine with scissors. It was dusty and unpleasant work.

Now thankfully the problem is mostly solved. The newer Roomba models feature rubber rollers to sweep up dirt instead of brushes. Hairs that they pick up have nothing to get trapped in, and they get sucked straight into the machine instead of getting tangled up.

Does it work? Yes, most of the time, it works pretty well. You might still get the occasional long hair strand that causes a problem but with the newer designs of this robot cleaner, they are easy to disentangle and remove.

Cleaning Time

How long does a Roomba take to clean a room? Well, as the saying goes, how long is a piece of string?

Because Roombas don't clean rooms in a methodical way, it becomes quite hard to figure out how long any particular room should take to clean. Often the robot will appear to be moving randomly around and sometimes it will go over the same area a few times.

The makers say this is deliberate because they want the robotic cleaner to have enough built-in intelligence to figure out for itself what to do instead of relying on some other controller elsewhere. This means you can often find a Roomba seemingly spending time exploring a room, instead of cleaning it, and figuring out what is in it.

This is different from the way a human cleaner would do it. They would just glance at the room and instantly know what needs to be done and how to do it. The computerized cleaners of today are not yet clever enough to match a human cleaner. So they often end up taking several times longer.

At a rough guess, we would estimate that a Roomba would probably clean a room in sometime between 30 minutes to well over an hour. Then again, it could take longer - and who is to know if, when you're not looking, your Roomba is putting its virtual feet up and having a cup of robot tea?

Who is to know if, when you're not looking, your Roomba is putting its virtual feet up and having a cup of robot tea?


Are Roombas Difficult To Maintain And Keep Clean?

Not really.

Depending on how dirty your home gets, you may need to empty the bin anywhere from every day to every week to keep everything running at peak performance.

But even if you forget, the machine will let you know when it's full of dirt and dust. And it will conveniently head back to its charging dock ready to be emptied.

As for emptying the bin, that's a quick and easy job. Dump the contents of the container, give the HEPA filter a tap, and you're good to go again.

IRobot do recommend that you do an overall maintenance check on the device every week but you can probably get away with less if you're busy.

​Set And Forget?

Is an iRobot vacuum robot a genuinely "set it and forget it" solution?

The answer is both No and Yes.

The No answer is because you still have to do so maintenance tasks such as emptying the bin regularly and a bit of weekly maintenance. No doubt future robotic vacuums will be given the ability to empty themselves at some target location but the technology from iRobot is not there yet.

The other reason for the No answer is that you will still need to do a bit of cleaning yourself. Obviously the Roomba cannot climb onto your sofa and your worktops and do a bit of dusting. Also, a cleaning robot seems to work best when it cleans a bit, sometimes superficially, every day. A human usually prefers to do a thorough clean less often.

The Yes answer is because, after a while, you really do get used to coming home to clean carpets and floors. And you can quickly forget just how much effort the Roomba saves you. It's because you can set a cleaning robot to vacuum the house a little bit every day. So your house, after the initial clean, just keeps on looking clean. It's just something you get used to.

Just like your desktop or laptop computer, a machine like the Roomba just fades into the background of your everyday life. And it's not until it's not there any more that you realize how much you have come to depend on it.


Will A Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Interfere With My Daily Life?

When you've had your robot vacuum for a while, you might notice an interesting side-effect in your behavior.

Because it's so useful to have your robo-slave doing the vacuuming and also such a pain to have to move stuff off the carpets so it can clean them, you might find a little light bulb goes off in your brain that tells you it would be easier not to spread all your usual junk around the carpets in the first place.

So what happens? You naturally start leaving less stuff lying around and your home looks cleaner without the robot having cleaned yet.

Of course, everyone's different and it might not happen for you if you believe it is your constitutional right to create a mess, but we just thought we'd mention it.

You naturally start leaving less stuff lying around and your home looks cleaner without the robot having cleaned yet.

​Fun for pets

If you own a pet, especially a cat, you might find that the Roomba provides hours of fascinating fun. It seems that many cats like sitting on the devices as they move around. You can almost imagine them later engaging their feline friends with heroic tales of how they managed to Surf The Wild Roomba.

​Impress your friends (or not)

As for visiting friends and overnight stayers, it might be better to keep your iRobot cleaner off during those times. It's a bit noisy (like any vacuum cleaner is) and, apart from the initial curiosity, it can get a bit irritating for your visitors to have the little robo-cleaner scurrying around their feet.

For the overnight guests, there is always the danger of your Roomba schedule (if you have it set up for unsocial hours) causing them some alarm as it starts up suddenly by itself. On the other hand, it's great if you don't want them to stay over ever again and you're too timid to tell them to their faces.

​Cute and quirky

One of the things we've noticed about Roomba owners is many start to think of their robot vacuum as having a personality of its own. Like many humans, it has its quirky behavior and odd mannerisms such as taking a seemingly-random walk around your home from time to time while cleaning.

Added to all the cute beeping noises it has for letting you know it's starting and stopping work, or that it has a problem for you to look at, it's easy to start believing that there's more behind that little device than clever hardware and software.

Many owners seem captivated by watching their robot buddy at work. Some are even tempted to help it out from time to time, perhaps by moving obstructions that is having difficulty with.

Roomba-watching may well eventually become a spectator sport, who are we to say? But for us at Robotaholic, it's something we'll only indulge in when we finally get bored of watching paint dry or grass growing. But don't let our emotional indifference stop you having hours of fun playing with your new machine pet.

What we won't argue with is that, yes, it is a rather cool device to have around. And who thought anyone would ever say that about a vacuum cleaner?

Just don't tell our friends we said that. Okay?

It is a rather cool device to have around. And who thought anyone would ever say that about a vacuum cleaner?


​Are Robot Vacuums Worth It?

Overall, we'd say that a robotic vacuum such as the iRobot Roomba is probably worth your money. It saves you from an essential boring and monotonous house-cleaning task.

And, unless you are such an ardent Roomba-watcher that you spend hours following it around the house, it saves you time that you can spend on more useful things in your life.

The high-end Roombas with all the cutting-edge features are not cheap though but it's one of those devices that you make you wonder how you ever managed without them.

If you want more detail, read on, because like everything else, there are some positives and negatives to our recommendation.


The Bad News

So here's what think are the major negatives to owning an iRobot vacuum cleaner.

You Still Need A Manual Vacuum Cleaner

The first and major drawback is that it doesn't replace the need for human vacuuming and cleaning completely.

It's not going to hoover your stairs or other awkward nooks and crannies. In fact, nothing above floor level is within the reach of the robotic cleaning machine.

And, when you first get it, you'll think it doesn't even do as good a job as a human being with a normal vacuum cleaner. But remember that the Roomba is designed to operate a few times a week, even daily, whereas a human might only clean once a week, perhaps less.

Because of this, the room cleaning strategy is different. A Roomba can get away with more superficial cleans, but done more often, to achieve the same effect as someone armed with a normal vacuum.

Sometimes you might even wonder if it's really doing much cleaning at all. But a quick check of the robot's onboard bin will usually be enough to convince you that something useful is going on.

They Are ​Noisy

It's a noisy little beast (as you would expect any vacuum cleaner to be) so you can't really have it running while you are asleep or while you've got your feet up watching the TV.

This means, of course, that the best time to run it would be when you're out of the house. Now you have the issue of whether you want to let a robot armed with a vacuum cleaner to have free rein of your home.

You might be worried the first few times that you'll come back to a home with chewed curtains strewn across the floor, your bedsheets shredded into tiny strips, and even concerns that fellow robots from across the street have come over for a quick Roomba-Fest extravaganza at your expense.

You needn't worry though. Robotic vacuums have been around for more than a decade now and manufacturers like iRobot have built in many safeguards to protect your property and peace of mind.

​Roomba-Proofing Your Home

You may find that you initially have to spend some time on Roomba-proofing your home.

If you find that one particular piece of furniture keeps causing the robot to get stuck - perhaps it has a gap underneath it that's exactly the same height as the Roomba - then you may need to rearrange your furniture a bit.

Floor vents with spiky or sharp bits sticking out of them may cause the machine to get trapped and unable to release itself.

And you'll probably find that toys or other floor junk will need to be cleared away before you let the Roomba loose around your home.

But as we said earlier, you may find that this requirements actually disciplines you to keep your floorspace a bit tidier anyway. Ultimately, that can't be a bad thing - at least there will be fewer orphaned socks.

​They Are Expensive

The top-of-the range Roombas cost about a thousand bucks at the moment.

For most of us, that's a price tag that you might cause at least a slight hesitation before reaching for the wallet or purse.

Can that kind of cost be justified?

It depends. You have to consider how much your own time is worth in sacrificing your leisure activities to keep your home clean.

Of course, if you actually enjoy cleaning your home, it's time to stop reading right now and get back to furiously hand-scrubbing that dirty floor because I'm pretty sure a few more microbes have landed on it since the start of this sentence.

For the rest of us, it's a trade-off. Yes, the cost is expensive but how does it feel to have friends drop by and you have to suffer the embarrassment of a filthy home? What is that worth to you?

How much would you be willing to pay to have the vast majority of your carpet and floor cleaning done automatically while you are out and about enjoying yourself? You could set the robo-hoover going before you head off for a dinner out and be confident that you can bring your romantic date home with you to a freshly-cleaned home afterwards should the opportunity present itself.

These are decisions only you can make but let's throw some ballpark figures around to help.

Let's say your Roomba saves you from 30 minutes of hoovering everyday. That's adds up to about two hours of cleaning a week - not unreasonable for most tidy homes.

And let's say you value your time at $15 per hour. Now if you plan on cleaning every week of the year - and since when does dust take an annual vacation? - that means your Roomba saves you $1,560 a year.

Compare that cost with paying out about a thousand dollars for a high-end model and the investment doesn't seem so bad.

Obviously, if the cost for a top model still seems too much for you then you can still look for models with fewer features or features that you can live without.

Yes, the cost is expensive but how does it feel to have friends drop by and you have to suffer the embarrassment of a filthy home?


​The Good News

Now for the good news about iRobot robotic vacuums...

It Just Gets The Job Done​

Years ago, when the iRobot Roombas first came out you could legitimately argue that they were not devices that you could just set and forget.

But the times are changing and the technology is improving steadily.

These days a high-end model can pretty much take care of all your carpet cleaning needs on a daily basis apart from stairs and difficult-to-reach places, of course.

You don't really notice the robotic cleaner much at all if it runs when you're away from home. You have to empty the bin occasionally (which gives you some reassurance that it's actually doing something useful) and you have to do a bit of weekly maintenance.

But, apart from that, you just kind of notice that your carpets stay clean. It gets to the point where you can just take it for granted that you live in a cleaner home instead of the pig-sty it was previously.

​Hairs Are No Longer A Problem

Hairs getting tangled up in cleaning brushes has always been a problem for vacuum cleaners. And it was no different for the early Roomba robot vacuums. There were endless complaints on Internet forums about the frustrations caused by hair from carpets.

Thankfully, the newer models have fixed the problem. New generation Roombas use rubber cylinders to sweep up the dust instead of brushes. That means when they come across hair, from humans or pets, the strands get swept up without fuss just like the rest of the carpet dirt.

Very occasionally, if you are dealing with exceptionally long hair strands and extremely dirty carpets, the odd bit of hair might still get wrapped up in the rollers but it's quick and easy to free up again.

​Pets Love Them

One of the unexpected benefits of owning a Roomba is something we've mentioned earlier. It's great fun for your pets. There seems to be something the shape and movement of them that especially attracts cats to sit on them and ride around the house.

See our Roomba-riding video page for pets.

​The Coolness Factor

The final major positive to owning a robotic cleaner like the Roomba is, like we said earlier, it's just so damned cool. Many owners really do feel like the Roomba has its own quirky personality and many even consider them to be part of the family.

Many owners are so hypnotized by the behavior of their little robot buddies that they follow them around the house.

Okay, maybe they need to get out a bit more - but you get the point.


Which Robot Vacuum Should I Buy?

So you're now convinced you want a Roomba dancing around your carpets and floors.

The questions you are asking then become, how to choose an i Robot vacuum cleaner? What iRobot Roomba is right for me? Which iRobot do I need?

That's the tricky bit. It really depends what you need the robotic cleaner to do and how much you are willing to pay.

To help you, we've listed some broad categories below with some of the most common requirements. And we've tried to give you some options as to which iRobot vacuum is the best.

And you might also be thinking where to buy an iRobot vacuum cleaner? We recommend buying it from Amazon since they are fast, reliable and allow you to easily return the cleaner afterwards if you find it isn't right for you.


Which iRobots are Best For Pet Hair?

iRobot cleaning technology has improved so much over the past few years that dealing with pet hair (and any other kind of hair, of course) is less of an issue than it used to be.

Here are three recommended vacuums from the iRobot range that deal especially well with pet hair.

​For Pet Hair: On A Budget

iRobot Roomba 650

  • Has a solid set of core basic features
  • Good choice on a budget
  • A bit noisy
  • Bin might need emptying more often than other models

For the budget conscious, the iRobot Roomba 650 is a good choice. It has the features you would want in a basic i Robot cleaner.

It has the core Roomba features such as cliff detection (to prevent a tumble down the stairs), automatic navigation and self-docking and charging.

On the downside, it's a bit on the noisy side and the bin might need emptying more often than the higher cost models. But you may find that the cheaper price of it is still worth it to you.

For Pet Hair: Mid-Range

iRobot Roomba 880

  • Easily handles pet hairs
  • Good on many different kinds of flooring
  • Solid all-round performer
  • If cost is not important, the Roomba 980 (below) might be a better choice

As a mid-range robotic cleaner that easily handles pet hairs, the i Robot 880 does a rock-solid job.

Performance is generally good and the tangle-free dust extractors require little maintenance.

It's a solid all-round performer that can handle a variety of floor types.

The price is higher than the Roomba 650 but it's probably worth the money if you can afford the extra.​

For Pet Hair: Top Of The Range: 

iRobot Roomba 980

  • Excellent for pet hair
  • Has almost every feature available
  • The best iRobot machine around right now
  • Expensive

If you just want the best robot cleaner you can get regardless of cost (but still providing good value), try taking a look at the iRobot Roomba 980.

It's not marketed directly as being good for pet hairs but that's because it's good at just about everything you can throw at it.

It has just about every Roomba feature that we've talked about in this article and it performs like a winner.


​​Best iRobot For Hardwood Floors

iRobot Roomba 880

  • Easily handles pet hairs
  • Good on many different kinds of flooring
  • Solid all-round performer

​Yes, we know, it's the Roomba 880 again.

For a Roomba that deals particularly well with hardwood flooring, we'd recommend you take at it closely.

It's a popular and solid all-round performer at a mid-range price level, as we mentioned above.

If you're interested in a more dedicated floor cleaning machine (rather than one that cleans carpets as well), take a look at the Scooba 450 below.


​Best iRobot For Floor Tiles

iRobot Scooba 450

  • Scrubs, sweeps, mops, dries
  • Can handle almost any floor type
  • Almost a replacement for a human being with a mop
  • Only runs for 40 minutes on a full charge

The Scooba 450 is the latest in the line of dedicated floor-washing robots from the iRobot Corporation.

It is perfectly suited to all kinds of flooring, including floor tiles and hardwood flooring.

Unlike its carpet-cleaning cousin, the Roomba, the 450 will not rush off and recharge itself when it runs down. It also won't operate on a preprogrammed schedule.

The reasoning behind this is that with a floor-washing robot, as opposed to a vacuum cleaner, a human being is always required to fill it up with clean water and remove any dirty water so there's no value in leaving it alone for days on end to do its own thing.


​Best iRobot Floor Mop Replacement

Robotic Mop: On A Budget

iRobot Braava 380t

  • Much cheaper than the Scooba 450 (see below)
  • Does a reasonable basic job so that you don't have to
  • Will not do advanced scrubbing

If all you want is an i Robot Mop (instead of a completely automatic floor washing and scrubbing machine), you might want to take a look at the iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot.

It's significantly cheaper than the Scooba 450 but it still mostly gets the job done.

The Braava 380t can use reusable microfibre cloths to mop the floor as it goes. And it can also sweep your floor while it's at it.

​Robotic Mop: Your Best Option

iRobot Scooba 450

  • Scrubs, sweeps, mops, dries
  • Can handle almost any floor type
  • Almost a replacement for a human being with a mop
  • Only runs for 40 minutes on a full charge

If you have the budget for it, then we're recommending the Scooba 450 again.

It probably comes as close as you can get right now for a complete mopping replacement. It scrubs, sweeps and even dries floors.

One thing to watch out for is that the battery only lasts about 40 minutes before it needs charging again - manually.

So if you have a large amount of flooring that needs cleaning, (more than about 300 square feet or 27 square metres), you might want to think twice if you need a fully hands-off solution.


​Summary

As you've seen in this article, there are many different models of iRobot vacuum available each with a variety of features. You've really got to decide for yourself from the i Robot reviews what's important for you and what isn't.

Trying to figure out what's useful and what isn't can often be an exercise in confusion in frustration. 

We hope we've been able to make things clearer for you.


Photo by Jing a Ling