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Shopping Guide for Best Roombas

If you want to keep your home as comfortable as possible, making sure that it’s clean is always a priority. But staying on top of all the household cleaning chores can be serious hassle and take up way too much of your time.

Vacuuming probably tops the list as one of the more annoying cleaning chores.

No one wants to lug around a heavy vacuum cleaner and worry about tripping over the cord – and if you live in a two-story house, you’ll have to drag the vacuum up and down the stairs, too.

Not exactly a fun way to spend your afternoon, is it?

It only gets worse if you have kids who leave a wake of crumbs in their path or pets who shed all over the place. You’ll be vacuuming almost every day to keep your home clean if that’s the case.

Fortunately, you can keep your house clean and save yourself valuable time by investing in a Roomba. These robotic vacuum cleaners are small but powerful, which allows them to do all the work for you so you can handle other cleaning chores – or relax on the sofa with a good book – instead of wasting your time vacuuming.

The first Roomba was introduced in September 2002. As of 2016, more than 14 million Roombas have been sold.

Sound too good to be true? We’ll tell you all the facts, plus share our cleaning expert Allen’s thoughts on Roombas and how to maximize their usefulness. Just keep reading, and be sure to check out our favorite Roombas at the top of this page.

Choosing a Roomba can be tough, because the brand offers many different models that are equipped with different features. The size and layout of your home can help you narrow down the options, as can the way that you plan to use the automatic vacuum.

Here at BestReviews, we purchase all of our own products. That allows us to provide unbiased reviews to make your shopping experience a little easier.

Throw our field and expert research into the mix, and you’ll have no trouble finding the ideal Roomba for your home.

Allen
EXPERT CONSULTANT

Allen Rathey is a cleaning expert who promotes healthier indoor spaces. He is past-president of the Housekeeping Channel and the Healthy House Institute, and principal of the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) culminating more than 30 years of experience in making indoor places cleaner. He has been tapped as an expert by the New York Times, Real Simple, U.S. News & World Report, and other national media.


Allen  |  Indoor Cleaning Expert

How Does a Roomba Work?

A Roomba is a small computerized vacuum cleaner that has a disc-like shape. It automatically travels around your home, using spinning brushes to pick up dirt and debris as it glides over the floors.

Side brushes sweep the dirt underneath the Roomba, while counter-rotating brushes underneath it guide the debris toward the vacuum, which sucks it into a storage bin.

In order to move around your home automatically, the Roomba utilizes a group of preprogrammed instructions and onboard sensors that keep it from banging into walls and furniture.

A Roomba has a rechargeable battery that provides the power it needs to move throughout your home. It comes with a charging station, where you can keep the vacuum when it’s not in use so you know that it’s always ready to go when you want to clean.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

iRobot Roomba 980

Technology

The Roomba 980’s impressive performance, capabilities, features, and value earn it the top spot on our list as the best Roomba available today. It sports some of the brand’s most advanced technology, including the iRobot Home App that’s programmable with your favorite device, and boasts 120 minutes of run time before automatically recharging and resuming cleaning to finish the job.

Benefits of a Roomba

A Roomba has a wide range of benefits that can make it an ideal cleaning tool for your home.

For many people, the main draw is the time that it can save in one’s house cleaning routine. Because it cleans on its own, you can move on to other cleaning chores while it’s doing the vacuuming for you so your home is cleaned in a more efficient and timely fashion.

A Roomba is also a perfect vacuum option for anyone with limited mobility. You don’t have to push or carry it anywhere, and because it cleans on its own, you don’t have to stand at all to vacuum your home.

The Roomba can also easily go under most furniture so you never have to worry about dust bunnies or pet hair collecting under your couch again.

Just keep in mind that because of its small size and design, unfortunately a Roomba cannot provide a deep clean, especially on carpeting. Allen, our cleaning expert, recommends a dual-cleaning strategy for carpet: a Roomba for daily spruce up cleaning and a full-sized vacuum with the power and filtration for a weekly deep clean to protect your flooring investment and your health.

EXPERT TIP

Roombas are great for automatic quick cleanups, with time and labor savings the primary driver – not an inconsequential achievement.


Allen  | Indoor Cleaning Expert

Considerations

Considerations

Type of Flooring

When you’re shopping for a Roomba, the first thing to consider is the type of flooring you’ll be using it on. The cleaning heads automatically adjust on every Roomba model, so they can be used on all floor types, including hardwood, tile, and carpeting. However, some models are better suited for carpeting than others.

If most of the floors in your home are covered in carpet, you may want to opt for a Roomba model that features the deeper cleaning on carpets setting. These vacuums automatically ramp up their cleaning power on carpeting so as much dirt and debris as possible are removed.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association, nearly 98% of homes own a vacuum cleaner.

Considerations

3-Stage Cleaning

All Roomba models feature a patented 3-stage cleaning system. The vacuums loosen, lift, and suction dirt and debris to clean your floors effectively.

However, some models have increased air power to make the cleaning process even more effective – some Roombas have five to ten times the air power of lower end models, which allows them to more effectively remove embedded dirt.

For the most complete clean, you may want to opt for a higher end Roomba series.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

iRobot Roomba 650

Features

The Roomba 650’s full suite of sensors and compact design allow it to move continuously without bumping into or falling off obstacles. At just 3.6 inches tall, the 650 easily fits under most furniture, so there’s nowhere for dirt to hide. You don’t have to worry about it falling off stairs or other drop-offs either, because its cliff-detection sensors help it avoid dangerous ledges. It also automatically returns to its home base when it’s finished cleaning, leaving it charged and ready to go whenever you need it.

Considerations

Battery Life

All Roomba vacuums operate on a battery, but not all batteries provide the same cleaning time. Your vacuum’s battery life will determine how long the Roomba can clean before it needs recharging, so it’s an important factor to consider when you’re shopping.

If you have a large home, you may want to invest in a model that has an extra long battery life.

Some Roombas are equipped with batteries that have 60 minutes of run time, while other mid-range models have a 75 minute battery life. For the longest running Roomba, look for a model with a battery life of about 120 minutes.

DID YOU KNOW?

The company responsible for Roomba, iRobot, also designs defense and security robots for the military.

Considerations

Self-Charging Capabilities

Every Roomba model has a self-charging feature, which means that they will automatically return to their docking station to charge when they’re running low on power.

They won’t go back to cleaning on their own, though, so you’ll need to set the vacuum back to cleaning again once it’s done charging.

However, some Roomba series have a Recharge and Resume feature as well. That allows the vacuum to return to the docking station when it needs to charge but immediately pick up the cleaning job where it left off once it’s fully charged.

Since Roombas do not have the same power as a larger, traditional vacuum, daily cleanings are recommended so excess debris doesn’t accumulate.
Considerations

Controls and Programming

Every Roomba is Wi-Fi connected, which allows you to control your vacuum wirelessly with the Roomba app on your smartphone or tablet. That way, if you’re out running errands, you can turn the Roomba on to clean while you’re on the go so it’s done before you are back home.

You can also schedule your Roomba to clean the house at a specific time with the app. For example, you might prefer to have the vacuum clean when you’re out of the house so it doesn’t disturb you.

The app also allows you to check the Roomba’s cleaning history so you can be sure that certain areas of your home have been cleaned recently.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

iRobot Roomba 980

Performance

Roomba 980’s AeroForce Cleaning System with Carpet Boost gives it 10 times more airpower than the Roomba 600 and 700 series. It automatically bumps up the performance of its Gen 3 motor on carpeting to eliminate hidden dust and dirt. The 980 also works on hardwood, tile, and laminate flooring, and features tangle-free brushes to effortlessly pick up pet hair. Its filter removes 99% of allergens, pollen, and other small particles, making it an ideal option for allergy-sufferers.

Considerations

Tangle-Free Roller

If you have a pet, you’ll want to choose a Roomba model that is equipped with a tangle-free roller. These extractors help lift pet fur, hair, and other debris from the floor without allowing it to become entangled in the Roomba’s brushes.

In a house with a lot of pet dander, the tangle-free roller will keep your Roomba from stalling so it can continue to work as efficiency as possible.

Considerations

High Efficiency Filter

If you or another household member suffer from allergies, you’ll want to look for a Roomba that’s fitted with a high efficiency filter. The filter can capture 99 percent of allergens, pollen, and particles that are as small as 10 microns to limit the dander in your home.

Vacuum cleaners have the largest sales volume of all major appliances in the United States. The US ranks number 1 in the worldwide sales of vacuum cleaners.

Staff
BestReviews
Considerations

Multi-Room Cleaning

If you plan to use your Roomba throughout your entire house and you don’t have an open floor plan, opt for a model that’s equipped with the multi-room cleaning feature. These Roombas utilize responsive navigation and sensors to create a high-efficiency cleaning pattern that allows it to move around furniture and other clutter without missing a beat.

Considerations

Clean Map Reports

To really stay on top of your Roomba’s cleaning, you can opt for a model that provides Clean Map Reports. Through the Roomba app, you can see not only where the vacuum cleaned, but the coverage and duration of each completed cleaning job as well. That helps ensure that your home is as clean as you’d like it to be.

Roombas are the perfect answer to appearance cleaning but not cleaning for health or to protect your flooring investment.
Considerations

Custom Cleaning Preferences

If you’re very particular about how clean your floors are and don’t trust an automatic vacuum to get the job done as precisely as you’d like, choose a Roomba model that provides custom cleaning preferences.

With the custom cleaning preferences, you can adjust a variety of settings, including the power settings, the number of cleaning passes, the final edge clean, and cleaning modes.

To make it even easier, you can use the Roomba app to change the settings for a customized cleaning plan for your home.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

iRobot Roomba 650

Power

The Roomba 650 offers the iAdapt navigation and preset scheduling technology that Roomba is known for at a fraction of the price of other models. You can preset it to vacuum up to seven times per week, so it cleans when it’s convenient for you. If you want to vacuum on the spur of the moment, you only have to push a button on the Roomba 650 and it goes off to hunt down dirt, dust, pet hair, and large debris wherever it may be.

Pricing for Roombas

Purchasing a Roomba is a costly investment, so it’s important to shop carefully. Typically, you’ll pay between $350 and $900 for one.

If you plan to only use the Roomba for maintenance work and still rely on a traditional vacuum to do the heavy lifting when it comes to cleaning your floors, opt for a basic model that costs around $375.

If you’re relying on your Roomba to do nearly all of the floor cleaning in your home, you’ll want to choose a higher-end option that is equipped with features that allow for more thorough cleaning. Expect to spend between $600 and $900.

iRobot also manufactures a series of mopping robots that can clean wet and dry messes on hard flooring.

FAQ

Q. Does a Roomba work on stairs?

A. There are no Roomba models that can navigate a flight of stairs. You’ll need to use a traditional vacuum for the steps in your home.

Q. How much noise does a Roomba make?

A. Like any device with a motor, a Roomba makes some noise. However, a Roomba doesn’t make as much noise as a traditional vacuum cleaner so it shouldn’t disturb you too much while in use.

Q. How long does it take a Roomba to charge?

A. Before you use your Roomba for the first time, you’ll need to charge it overnight. Otherwise, it usually takes 2 hours to charge the battery.

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