rennyn wrote:Can someone who has one of these tell me how well they do with larger pieces of debris like the size of cat or small dog kibbles or maybe like small wood stove pellets?
The machine will pick up some debris such as kibbles or stove pellets, but there is a model of Roomba which is specifically designed for such things and this is not it. That model has two brushes and no vacuum.
We have three Roombas, a Scooba and a gutter cleaner and years of experience in their use.
They generally do an acceptable job but there are some drawbacks over hand vacuuming.
The first is that you must get your hands dirty cleaning them. Sorry but that is the dirty, and I do mean dirty, secret no Roomba owner says much about.
You will, if you are like me, in time grow to hate the machine that beeps at you and says "Please remove and clean Roomba's brushes/wheels, etc." This is particularly annoying when you have just spent 15 minutes removing and cleaning Roombas nasty parts.
Any piece of dirt on the sensor above the brushes will set this off and at times you will feel like drop kicking it across the room (not advised unless you have steel feet.)
But please be advised that you must actually remove and clean the filthy parts of the unit by hand.
There is no bag. You can shake out the dirt chamber and most of what collects on the filter. The vacuum in these things is mostly a joke as it really more of a floor sweeper. But the little fan does pick up some fine stuff dust and lint, so I have to grudgingly give it some credit
Hair, especially will tend to wrap around the ends of the brushes and must be removed by hand. There is no other way. That is what they give you the red cleaner device in the picture for!
When I really want to clean the Roomba thoroughly I take it out to my shop and blow it out with compressed air. You would be amazed at how much dust comes billowing out of the machine then.
It does not dust, nor will it do baseboards, or stairs, which anyone vacuuming by hand would normally do.
The batteries are fairly expensive. Depending on how much you use the machine, you should keep a spare handy if and when you need it.
The units with which I am familiar move randomly within an area. They are fairly stupid in this regard, so they will traverse an area many times over, which is not a bad thing.
They do have a habit, it seems, of not being able to always find their way back to the charging station and will sometimes turn themselves off under furniture, where you will have to go looking for them when you find them AWOL.
The units are gentle on furniture and will go under a lot of furniture, which is something that most people hand vacuuming will not do to as great an extent.
I have never been impressed with some of the engineering of this machine especially the brush bearing design as well as how difficult some of the brushes are to clean. Forget about trying to express these issues to customer service! They keep the engineers well removed (Heaven forbid!) from contact with actual customers.
Still having a robot to do what you do not like to do and to clean a floor for up to 45 minutes at a time, is a nice thing. They do not make much noise. Most pets get used to them fairly quickly after which the machines are ignored by them. I have no problem leaving the machine to work when I am away whether it is at night or during the day.
I sure do wish Dyson would come up with a better engineered product to compete with Roomba. I know that there are other competitive machines out there, and my next robot floor cleaner will not be a Roomba.