post off: have you tried a robotic vacuum?


Okay, so it’s robot vacuum day on Shelterrific! The table-top robot butler got us thinking about the Roomba. Even though they’ve made a splash (or vroom, if you will) on the domestic landscape, I don’t actually know of anyone who uses one. iRobot not only has the Roomba to vacuum your floors but they also make a Scooba to wash them, a Dirt Dog to sweep your garage, a Verro to clean your pool, and a Looj to clean your gutters. Do you have your own household cleaning robot? How well does it work? And, more importantly, how long before they become sentient and try to take over the world from their human masters? — Katie D.

From our partners

Oh, heck yes. I think we’ve bought six or eight Roombas… one for us, others for gifts and for folks (mainly friends of my mother) who wanted one when they saw ours but were intimidated by the online buying process.

They’re wonderful, but they don’t replace the regular vacuum. We have mostly hard floors, and a shedding-machine of a dog, so they keep the flying hair to a minimum. But I still have go over the carpets with the regular critter, especially with the attachment along baseboards.

They’re not perfect. Pet hair is very hard on them (possibly less so on the newer models built especially to deal with it), specifically on the batteries. We have to have ours repacked periodically. The older ones (which ours is) are prone to motherboard failures when the charging circuit goes, and Mom has already replaced one because of that.

Pets themselves can be hard on them too. Mother-in-law’s thirty-pound cat likes to play with hers… no damage yet, but he regularly flips it over, or pushes its buttons to turn it off or set it to “spot clean” or something.

We’ve got four furry, furry dogs, and just couldn’t do without our Roomba. We purchased the top of the series, and just love her. Specifically, how you can set its timer so that she’ll do her job overnight so your floor is spotless when you wake; how it has a large enough bin to hold oodles of fur; and how she’s easy to take apart and clean when needed.

We’ve got a large, open concept space with hardwood throughout, but she’s also great in the bedrooms, baths, and laundry areas. I have heard that cats love playing with them – our dogs aren’t afraid of ours, but they don’t want to play with her either. They keep a respectful distance, just in case she bites ;-)

And so she wouldn’t get lonely, we also snagged the Scuba, which we also love, and the Looj, which my husband has played with but I haven’t yet seen in action.

Love love love, and would absolutely recommend to anyone that wants to cut down their workload, or has a herd of pets like we do.

LOVE my Roomba! We do have battery issues, but for the work *he* performs…well worth it! Hard wood floors throughout, he does a good job. A damp mop once a week and we’re good to go.

That said I have family members who weren’t as thrilled as I with their Roomba…they have pets and low carpets. Not as efficient.

If you stick to the flat surface floors, Roomba is worth the price and the battery.


Same advice as above. They are great! I HATE VACUUMING. There is only me (and a cat) in my little apartment so I have been using on a roomba to clean. However, it has issues with pet hair. You have to clean the brushes more regularly than I would like…but all and all a great thing. Plus it means I can let the little guy do its work, while I sit on the couch eating bon bons.

I’ve been wondering whether to buy one of these or not. My close friend has a Roomba that she uses mainly in the kitchen, especially after a meal with kids. I’d love to hear what others have to say about units that are good for pet hair, since we’ve got our share of that, too.


I love my Roomba! With 2 dogs and a 16 month old, I’m a little obsessed about cleanliness. My daughter is always on the floor playing and the idea of fur covered toys make me sick to my stomach. I don’t always have time to vacuum so it is so convenient to run the Roomba everyday and voila, my carpets are clean and kid friendly. I still bring out my Dyson occasionally for a deep cleaning but my Roomba is great for everyday, no fuss cleaning!


I got a Roomba a few months ago and I LOVE it! I think everyone should get one. The only problem I have with it is that it is a little louder than I’d like. I try to run it when I am not home so I don’t have to hear it.

I’m pretty sure I will never live without a robot again.


My Roomba was named George Clooney (sexiest appliance ever). He was an earlier model made especially for pet owners, but he was no match for our dog and 3 cats. He was a little high maintenance, but we kept up with his cleaning and brushing. He worked faithfully for about a year, then his battery died. iRobot replaced it for free. A few months later he started making terrible gasping sounds then ran no more. I’ve been afraid to commit to a new model because I’d hate to get my heart broken again.


We love our Roombie! Both mothers-in-law use them now too. Get the floors clean while tackling other chores is the grestest!

I’ve never tried one, but my sister raves about the Roomba.

Megan B.

Thanks! The comments have really fueled my desire of one! I feel like it would be perfect for our house and furry monster problem.


My boss has had two Roombas, and LOVES it! She does say that it gets disoriented sometimes and has to be retrieved from under furniture. Personally, I have a 10# cat and 60# dog that would ride around on it, so no Roomba for me…


I LOVE my roomba. It definintely doesn’t replace a good regular cleaning, but it helps keep things in better shape in between. I have a small house, hardwood floors, 2 dogs, and a cat. The pet hair situation was obscene before the roomba- now it’s almost under control.

Caitlin B

I’ve had one for a couple years – it’s v handy, I love to turn it on and leave for work! Plus, he’s really cute.

He’s imperfect – but so am I.

I love my Roomba! I have 3 dogs and 2 kids. I couldn’t keep up with the mess without her. It doesn’t replace a regular vacuum by any means, but it gets in the spots I normally don’t vacuum ( under tables, couches etc). I also use the virtual walls they provide so it doesn’t go under my desk. Mine is programmed to run every morning after we leave for the day. All I have to remember to do is clean the bin out. An extra added bonus — it makes me and my kids pick up our stuff around the house and put it away !

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] 1) A Roomba is probably in our future. Even though robotic vacuums aren’t perfect, they work well enough that you wouldn’t give them up. Jenny says: “I LOVE my roomba. It definitely doesn’t replace a good regular cleaning, but it helps keep things in better shape in between. I have a small house, hardwood floors, 2 dogs, and a cat. The pet hair situation was obscene before the roomba — now it’s almost under control.” Do you Roomba? […]


LOVE Roomba! We, too, have had Roomba-buying spread through our family and friends … four happy families so far. Our toddler loves to watch Roomba “work.” We credit Roomba with our son’s expert crawling … have to move quickly to catch that moving target! The brush cleaning is tiresome (as my long hair and our cat’s shedding is tough to keep up with), but Roomba’s always back to work after a thorough cleaning of the brushes. We’ve had Roomba for about a year-and-a-half. The battery does seem to be losing some steam these days but will always be worth the investment.

One of my cat sitting clients has a Roomba, and she loves it. I keep meaning to get one and give it a try, and this post has reminded me to do that!

They are absolutley awesome! We’ve got one at home and it cleans our entire house and its great because it recognizes stairs so it wont go down them! Its great. Definitley worth looking at.


I have a Roomba, and have to disagree with most of these people, as mine is pretty worthless. It gets caught on rugs, under tables, under chairs, under desks, and manages to wedge itself into all sorts of corners that it’s unable to escape from. While it /is/ entertaining to cheer for it while it tries to escape the deathly embrace of the coffee table (all while scaring the life out of the cat), in truth it really requires just as much attention and at least four times the time as a real vacuum (all while delivering the cleaning power of a dust buster). It’s also supposed to make a “mental map” of the house, but every time it tries to dock itself into its little station, it moves the station a bit, skewing its map. As a result, it spends a lot of time lost.