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Following a move to a slightly larger house add to that additional working hours, the household chores started to take on an even more annoying quality of never ending! The vacuuming was the first to really become a bone of contention.
With three in-house cats running around shedding and the two of us both with long hair that was great for getting everywhere also, vacuuming became a constant chore.
At first the idea of the iRobt Roomba 555 seemed gimmicky, a vacuum that just runs around your floor without the need for control. However with our Dyson on the blink we decided to take the plunge and risk it.
The contents included the vacuum, docking station and cable, spare filter, Virtual Wall® unit, red plastic brush cleaner and a very thin instruction manual.
Roomba's appearance is simple, a thick disc-like machine with a bumper on the front and a selection of buttons on the top.
At the back of the machine is the "bin" a somewhat small section that pops off and can be easily emptied. It is here that the filter sits.
Turning the machine upside down reveals two large wheels at either side and one small directional wheel at the front. Beside this wheel are the two charging plates, (where the vacuum connects to the docking station for charging).
Dubiously I read through the limited instructions only to find that the use and maintenance of this machine did indeed appear quite simple! The docking station was to be plugged in, the machine put on charge for 24 hours and then to set it going just press start! There is no programming to do (unless you want to see the machine to come on at a certain time).
To confirm that the Roomba would indeed clean the whole room we sprinkled out of date herbs all over the carpet and sat back to watch.
The first thing that struck me was the noise, or almost lack of noise. For anyone with a standard vacuum the overpowering roar of them can send animals and small children scuttling for cover! In the case of the Roomba, the vacuum was quiet enough that it could barely be heard in the next room. The cats even followed it around curiously rather than cowering in fear.
The details state that the Roomba can do approximately 4 rooms on a single charge, please note that this is mostly likely basic size rooms. We have a large living room (about the size of two rooms) and a small hall. I have found that the Roomba can handle these on a single charge, but no more.
Indication of the charge running low is that the green light that illuminates around the Start button changes first to an amber colour then finally red when the Roomba has a very low battery.
There is a rotating "edge brush" that catches bits around the side of the rooms, this can be removed and cleaned as it is great for catching stray hairs.
Cleaning ability was incredible, not only did the Roomba cover every inch of the floor (and collect ALL the herbs) it did a great job on the cat hair (of which we have lots). Even pet-special vacuums have struggled in our house.
Another great point about this vacuum is that due to it being so low to the ground, it does not kick up dust like other vacuums can. As an allergy sufferer I have found a great improvement on my breathing since purchasing this machine.
The bumper on the front also includes the sensors and the Roomba will slow down when it senses a presence in front, such as walls or furniture (or cats) and the bumper acts as a cushion when it makes contact, protecting your furniture.
It is considered better for the battery to have it on charge all the time when not in use and with the amount of electricity it uses being quite low, this has never been a problem.
One of my favourite features is the ease of which it can be cleaned. Once completed (and fully charged), the Roomba is turned upside down, the bin removed and emptied and the two brushes pop out with ease for simple cleaning. I was absolutely amazed at how much it collected and the bin holds a lot more than you realise!
If however it does become full in the middle of a clean, the machine will start and an automated voice will instruct you to clean the brushes.
It is highly recommended that you clean the vacuum after ever session, though do wait until it has finished charging. It only takes 5 mins to clean the Roomba (at the most).
The virtual wall is a unit that creates an invisible barrier to stop the Roomba from going where you don't want it, either keeping it from a room or stopping it falling down stairs.
With a carry handle on the top and weighing only 5.6 kg, moving it from room to room or upstairs is much easier than it was with the large upright vacuum we had.
The Roomba is unobtrusive in the room and since it docks itself when it's finished you can leave it on and go out knowing it will clean and then return to charge without assistance.
Things to keep in mind
Having owned this machine for over a year now I am aware of little things that have cropped up. Firstly, if purchased, I recommend you watch it on the first clean. Depending on the types of furniture you have, the Roomba may get snagged. It is best to locate these areas beforehand.
We have a reclining armchair that has a section at the back that Roomba can get into but then get's jammed. Due to this when we set him (his name is Mo, after the cleaning robot from Wall-E the movie) going in the living room, I always put something against the chair so I don't have to come in and rescue him when he gets stuck.
Do purchase replacement filters and change them when needed, as the Roomba's performance is greatly reduced with a bad filter.
Keep the bumper clean as the sensors can pick up dirt and if this happens the Roomba doesn't sense furniture as well and can bash into things. So a quick wipe with a damp cloth across the bumper is all that's needed.
The Roomba can work on both carpets and hard floors, however the thickness of a carpet or rug can limit the ability. We have a rather thick rug that he struggles with but I usually shake this out onto the floor, put it aside and let Roomba complete the room before returning the rug.
Obviously the Roomba can't do stairs so you will need to make provisions for this. We chose to get a mini vac for the car and the stairs which meant no more lugging a heavy vacuum around.
I will never get a normal vacuum again. This was well worth the money, great even if you have to deal with pet hair, much more quiet than the normal vacs and efficient enough that you will have to find other things to do in your day when you realise how much time it saves you!
Set it up in a few short minutes and walk away the iRobot Roomba 555 Vacuum Cleaning Robot will do the rest for you; vacuuming to your schedule / Want it to clean when you are at work? No problem / How about to start in the middle of the night? Done / Thanks to on-board scheduling the Roomba 555 Vacuum Cleaning Robot cleans so you don't have to! The iRobot Roomba 500 Series Robots feature dramatic improvements in navigation and floor coverage edge and corner cleaning brushes filters and advanced anti-tangle technology compared to previous models and this 555 model can cover up to 4 rooms on a single charge / Roomba cleans up getting into hard-to-reach areas like wall edges and beneath furniture thanks to a cliff sensor it also avoids stairs / Covers up to 4 rooms on a single battery charge On-board Scheduling Self-charging compact Home Base 1 Auto On Virtual Wall smart efficient vacuum that picks up dirt dust pet hair and more from carpets and hard floors Cleans the whole floor under and around furniture and along wall edges Automatically adjusts from carpets to hard floors and back again Detects dirtier areas and spends more time cleaning them Spot Clean provides quick clean-up of spills and concentrated messes Automatically senses and avoids stairs and other drop-offs Simple to use! Just press the Clean button and Roomba does the rest! Automatically returns to its self-charging Home Base to dock and recharge between cleanings Auto-on Virtual Wall Unit (1 included requires 2 C batteries not included) confines Roomba to one room until the entire floor is vacuumed before Roomba / On-board scheduling preset up to seven cleaning times per week for Roomba to clean when it's most convenient for you Faster counter-rotating brushes with improved design pick up more hair debris and dust and are easy to remove and clean Improved filter captures more dust and allergens while a larger bin holds more debris Improved anti-tangle technology keeps Roomba from getting stuck on cords carpet fringe and tassels Improved side brush makes Roomba even more efficient at cleaning edges and corners What's in the box: 1 iRobot Roomba 555 with on board scheduling 1 Auto On Virtual Wall (Requires 2 C batteries not included) 1 Self-charging compact Home Base 1 Power Supply (3 hour charge time) 1 Brush Cleaning Tool 1 Rechargeable Battery 1 Extra Filter For a helpful comparison table of all Roomba Models please Click here / Short name: iRobot Roomba 555