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[flagged] Best Robot Vacuum: Buyer’s Guide (robotvacuum.io)
26 points by kriptonic on Dec 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

We have a Roomba at home, from photo search looks like irobot 880.

It only makes it back to its home base less than 50% of the time. Other times it may be stuck in following ways:

-stuck on rounded foot of bar stool. Why not drive backwards to get off it?

-stuck under radiator with backside lifted up a bit. Why not drive backwards as soon as it felt the resistance?

Less avoidable:

-stuck in room where it closed the door by pushing against it but obviously couldn't open it anymore

-stuck by having tried to suck up a tshirt or cable or similar

Also, when trying to make it dock its homebase, it sometimes misses it by a few centimeters, and in that case, instead of simply driving backwards a bit, then forwards again with better aim, it instead rotates around 180 degrees, drives really far, and can take a very long time to go for the home base again. Why not just drive backwards a bit?

And then, it has a hidden mode, where it doesn't clean despite being scheduled. This mode will randomly sometimes enable when its battery was empty (which it is often due to the above reasons). To disable this mode, there is no simple button or UI or anything, instead the mode is disabled by making it clean for at least 1 minute. Since there is no indication when it's in this mode, the only way to find out is by noticing that it was not stuck under radiators or on bar stools for many days in a row so probably it has not been cleaning.

Also, it has no separate battery for the time. So if it got stuck and battery got empty, the time resets. Annoying!

I really think some simple programming fixes (learn to drive backwards for example and no hidden modes with bad UI) and a separate battery for time would already make it so much more useful! Why don't they do that?

My Roomba sits abandoned in our cellar. The side brush broke just after one year and didn't spin anymore. But the whole concept of the Roomba is flawed IMO. Our apartment isn't particularly complex, but it was impossible to leave the Roomba to do its job without first making the apartment inert. And inert means removing cables, trailing plant leaves and anything else from the floor. It also means setting up the lighthouses to prevent Roomba 'romping' with lamp bases. Unfortunately one of our lamp bases is badly scratched from where Roomba climbed on top and wouldn't get off.

Eventually we admitted defeat.

We bought a Dyson fluffy. It may need me to control but the balance between convenience and cleaning is much better.

I won't waste any more cash on these automatic hoovers until they have proper reasoning and decision making.

Totally agree. I got a neato botvac connect and I use it maybe once a month when I can babysit it. My dream of having it on a twice a week schedule were shattered the first time I ran it and it got stuck several times in several different ways. It got stuck under a chair, under my cabinets, on a shag carpet, but the most absurd was in the kitchen, not touching anything at all, the sensors were confused by the reflection between the stove and refrigerator. Not to mention if you don't use it for a while, it forgets its settings or something and I have to go through the setup process again to add it to my network. sigh...

The lawn-mower attached to a pole concept seems just as useful, especially if you're already clearing floors of obstacles before hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QoQZSU_ex4

People worried about robots replacing ALL jobs just need to use a Roomba for a month. Assembly line jobs sure, but ALL jobs no way, not for a while at least.

I have a neato botvac. Great device but it has some serious flaws. The biggest one in my opinion is a lack of long-term memory. It gets stuck in the same places every time, every day. I wish there was a way to simply speak to it and say "don't go there" - and it would remember it next day. It could use Alexa or Siri to do that. The robot also needs the floor to be cleaned from socks, cables and whatever before it can work, but I suppose that is the same for a manual vacuum, and it's not all bad that these things have to be removed. If the robot could be smart enough to not digest cables and socks, it would be better but for me it's not a dealbreaker. The furniture humping is really bad. The robot will find a chair it likes and keep humping it until a human intervenes or the battery runs out. Again, the device should have a long-term memory and learn about places and things to avoid next day.

I've got a Neato Botvac Connected. Works for me (single dweller in a bachelor apartment).


- The app SUCKS. I can't stress this enough. You can't even request that the bot return to its dock without first asking it to do something else.

- It took forever to setup the WiFi. Randomly it just worked after trying 5 or 6 times, repeating the same procedure.

- There was no documentation for the API until very recently. And as far as I know, you need to connect to their cloud services to make use of the API.


Neat to see they seem to be improving. I've had two different models years ago, both only lasted a few months and required you basically sit and watch them... In the end it was simply easier to sweep and vacuum the floor myself, from the comments here it doesn't sound like much has changed.

I've owned Roomba since the first generation, they are well built and fun to have around, they also sweep well, the hoovering is limited to dust, the back to home has never worked that great, but then my floors are not that flat so ymmv, given that hoovering is actually something that needs to be done this is a genuine time saving device, maintained well they last around 4 years given a new battery a couple of times, beyond that if you are careful not to let threads build up around the axles and occasionally hoover out some of the microdust (if you can find the hoover...) if someone you love does not have one, this is the time of gifts so...

For whoever doesn't know what robot vacuums are... they're basically the first step in AI: metallic pets cleaning the house. I predict that true AI will be added to them soon.

So Vacumes Dream of Electric Sheep?

I do talk with my robot vacuum cleaner.

Boy this site makes me understand why the wirecutter exists. Just tell me which is the best so I know.

So does this website get paid if you buy a robot using their link?

It looks like there is indeed some affiliate marketing going on. It would have been nice if that were disclosed.

Thanks for the downvotes everyone. I was actually curious if that was the biz model here.

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