iRobot Roomba 530 Review and Manual

If you have a busy life, are pressed for time, hate vacuuming or if just love gadgets, the Roomba 530 is probably the vacuum cleaner for you.

Unlike the Samsung NaviBot, the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a mapping system to coordinate its cleaning; it blindly roams around following no specific path. That said, it does pretty much the same job as the NaviBot.

The iRobot Roomba 530 features a circular sweeping arm located on the side of the unit and two counter rotating brushes underneath. The side brush sweeps dust, dirt and fluff into the chamber while the rotating brushes underneath do the grunt work. They comb the floor for filth and grime, also dumping it into the dust chamber.

Roomba 530: Artificial ‘intelligence’

A bumper sensor is fitted to the front of the Roomba 530; it’s designed to stop the vacuum when it hits a solid object and it does this exceptionally well. In our tests, we found that although the Roomba seems to randomly charge about like a child loaded up on sugar, as soon as it bumps into something it actually carefully navigates away from or around whatever it has encountered. It can actually clean in a curve around an object, for example. Furthermore, cliff sensors stop the Roomba 530 from tumbling down a flight of stairs or toppling off a ledge.

Unlike the Samsung NaviBot, the iRobot Roomba 530 did a great job of overcoming obstacles during our tests. It’s slightly smaller than the NaviBot and this makes a big difference. For example, the NaviBot would frequently get wedged under things roughly the same height as it, whereas the Roomba, because it has a slightly smaller stature, makes its way under and around things with ease. We found during our tests that the Roomba also tackles cords a lot better than the NaviBot; we think this may be due to the fact that the Roomba 530 only has one sweeper arm as opposed to the NaviBot’s two sweeper arms.

Another factor that aids the Roomba’s nimble manoeuvring is that it is relatively light at 3.7kg. While the Roomba excels at untangling itself from extension cords and the like without human intervention, it still requires help when the side sweeper arm or bottom rotating brush gets seriously wound up by smaller things like string — and it lets you know, too! An error message alerts you where the problem is so you can sort it out and get it back on the cleaning track. For example, a string of plastic it picked up in our Test Centre was wound tightly around its rotating side sweeper and the error message, in a woman’s voice, said something along the lines of “Error! Error! Please untangle side brush”.

Read also:  Samsung NaviBot SR8980 Review

Roomba 530: Cleaning performance

The iRobot Roomba’s performance was on par with the Samsung NaviBot’s. While the NaviBot has a more calculated cleaning path compared to the Roomba’s blind fumbling, they both delivered the same cleaning results.

Cleaning options for the Roomba 530 are limited to spot mode and regular cleaning mode. The spot mode works well as the Roomba can actually sense a dirtier patch of floor and systematically go back and forth over that patch until it has been cleaned to the Roomba’s satisfaction.

As the battery gets lower and lower, the light under the power button goes from green, which indicates full batter power, to yellow, which indicates half battery life, to red, which indicates that it needs to make its way back to the charging dock. During our tests, we found that the iRobot Roomba 530 had an excellent success rate of about 90 percent at returning to the charge base. In comparison, the Samsung Navibot had a success rate of about 70 percent.

Roomba 530: Maintenance

Every now and then, the cleaner becomes the one in need of cleaning. Maintenance tools come packaged with the unit and make cleaning the Roomba a simple task. When you flip the Roomba onto its back and pull the rotating brushes out, simply place the brush cleaner over the rotisserie brush and slide it down; the sharp plastic teeth comb hair and fluff off the brush leaving it clean and ready to collect dirt once more. Emptying the dust chamber is simple and painless, too. Simply pull the back of the chamber out of the chassis and empty it into a bin; then pull a tab, which opens the secondary dust chamber for finer particles, and empty that as well. Unfortunately, but inevitably, after a couple of cleaning cycles the Roomba 530 gained scratches and marks and assorted other battle wounds, but that’s unavoidable when it’s continually bumping into things.

Read also:  iRobot Roomba 770 Review (with Manual)


The iRobot Roomba 530, like the Samsung NaviBot, does a great ‘superficial’ clean of the floor. That’s all you can expect from roaming robot vacuum cleaners, as they are no where near as powerful as upright canister vacuums. But if you use it every day, you can make sure that your floor is never tarnished with dust, crumbs and other annoyances, such as stray hairs from your cat or scattered seeds from a bird cage.


iRobot Roomba 530 Features

  • A powerful vacuum: Two counter-rotating brushes and a powerful vacuum remove dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris from your carpets and floors
  • Robot intelligence: Navigates throughout your home, cleaning under and around furniture, covering each area an average of four times
  • Avoids off-limit areas: 2 Virtual Walls tell Roomba where to clean by restricting off-limit areas
  • Self-charging and docking: Automatically returns to its Home Base to dock and recharge between cleanings
  • Detects dirt: Senses dirtier areas and spends more time cleaning them
  • Cleans beneath furniture: Cleans under tables, beds, chairs, and other hard-to-reach places
  • Edge-cleaning capability: Follows wall edges and reaches deep into corners to remove dust, dirt, and debris
  • Self-adjusting cleaning head: Automatically adjusts from carpets to hard floors and back again
  • Light-touch bumpers: Roomba slowly approaches obstacles, gently touches them, then redirects to clean around them
  • Anti-tangle system: Roomba effectively extracts itself if it picks up cords, carpet fringe, or tassels
  • Simple operation: Roomba keeps itself charged and ready to go–simply press the Clean button and Roomba does the rest
  • What’s in the box: 1 iRobot Roomba 530, 2 Virtual Walls (require 2 D batteries each, not included), 1 self-charging Home Base, 1 power supply (3-hour charge time), 1 brush cleaning tool, 1 rechargeable iRobot Roomba 530 battery, 1 extra filter

iRobot Roomba 500 Manual

You can download iRobot Roomba 500 series manual from our site by this link. You can use it for 530 too.

Test of iRobot Roomba 530 Video

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Overall this is a great little robot. It has helped us reduce our requirement to vacuum from sometime once a...



  • T. M. McCartney 28.02.2015 at 07:31

    Ok I have had my roomba for about a month now. I have 2 kids (and 28 weeks pregnant) and 2 siberian huskies. My roomba cleans up the kids mess very well, and the kids think it is so entertaining. The one thing that I wish was a little better is it doesn’t seem to have enough suction. Like I said I have 2 huskies so I have tons of dog hair. I run the roomba just about every day. When I have the roomba do the living room (which is a thicker carpet) the bruses fill up really fast. I’m cleaning the brushes about every 10-15 min (granted my dogs are blowing their coat right now so….) there never seems to be much in the dirt bin, just the brushes are full. I wish that the suction would pull the hair into the bin that way it would run a little longer and clean a little more. So every 4-5 days I still run my big vacuum to get all the dog hair that didn’t get picked up. Don’t get me wrong if I had the chance to order this again I would, but I would probably go for the 560 so I could schedule it and it had the lighthouse feature. As for the side bruses I haven’t had any problem yet and my roomba runs almost every day. I do love the fact that my kitchen floor and my computer room (thin carpet) can get cleaned while I’m doing the dishes or folding the laundry. I guess over all what I’m trying to say is that especially if you have dogs with long coats or thick undercoats don’t think this will pick up everything, but it does help out and I’m not running the big vacuum everyday.

  • Michael Vashkevich 27.02.2015 at 20:28

    Own 535 model for about a week. Use it every day. Works great so far.
    I currently live in a carpeted 3br alone, being out to work 12 hours a day, so this thing is absolutely invaluable for me. I’ve read all the negative reviews, then bought it. $212.42 at, + $34.95 2yr warranty (I guess you’d want it too). No illusions, prepared to spend some money for spare parts in (near?) future. Reviews are discrepant about the iRobot customer service, from “excellent” to “it sucks”. I somehow more inclined to believe in the latter, but we’ll see.
    The thing is FUN to watch (and show to a guest ;o), but it does really good job too, judging from the amount of dust it gathers every time. Of course, have to spend 2 minutes cleaning it after every 2-hour working cycle, which is fair enough, if you ask me. Cut hair from the brushes with scissors. Remove all chairs, shoes, etc, from the room, place the base there, shut the door, then leave for a day. At night, find the room (supposedly) clean, and Roomba charging itself at the base. Cool!
    Had to adjust the height of a sofa to let it under. 10 minutes of hard work, but I am a man in the house, am I not? (Remember, no illusions! It’s NOT your regular vacuum..).
    Have not used the lighthouse yet, the instruction is a mess, bought D-size batteries, but they do not fit, need C-size. But (!!) I found that closed doors work perfectly as well! Otherwise, it works too, but sometimes has trouble returning to the base from another room. Not really a problem, just works till the battery dies, then has to be charged for a few extra hours.
    One of my rooms is a loft, and the robot feels pretty comfortable there, has not fallen from the stairs so far. Runs at full speed towards the abyss, then somehow manages to stop on the brink every time. Could not believe it at first, stayed “on belay” for a half an hour, but now feel comfortable leaving it working upstairs unattended (we’ll see ;).
    For a computer guy, it is really interesting to guess its algorithm from its behavior. My best guess it is completely randomized, with ~60% chance to go at a sharp (~15-20 degrees) angle after hitting an obstacle, and the rest is showing a “smart” behavior following a wall. Resulting in some room areas covered obviously better than others. iRobot says everybody’s welcome to play with its programming through some open (?) API, but I did not investigate it yet. Depending on its computational power, it might be possible to apply some state-of-the-art AI algorithms to improve it. At least, make it remember the room configuration…

  • Just a WAHM 26.02.2015 at 06:03

    Yes, I name all my roombas. I can’t help it. They make my life so much easier, that I think they deserve names and it helps my family identify which one needs to be doing what and when.

    The Roomba 530 comes with a charging base, which according to the ppl at irobot, allows the robot to discharge and then recharge its battery when its done cleaning. This is supposed to lead to a longer life. Since I have had Maggie for over 2 years with ABSOLUTELY no battery issues, I am inclined to believe them. I have had to replace the batteries on my other 2 roombas at least once each year (this past year, I got so irritated with it, I actually bought a lithium battery that has worked out very well and lasts longer). Maggie does not get taggled in the computer cables and myriad of cords that are under my desk. She can sometimes eat a cell phone charger, so those have to be put up as they damage her rubber beater brush. She also likes to eat my husband’s socks since he likes to kick them under the bed and then she gets stuck and I have to crawl under to get her (not an easy task). She is GREAT for retrieving those other things that my kids love to shove under my king size bed that are ALWAYS JUST out of my reach.

    She does need to be cleaned regularly and I now have my husband blow her bits with a compressor since it keeps her working nicely. He also uses the compressor to blow out her filter, so woohoo saves me MONEY!!!

    We recently got a Morkie and one of my added jobs now is to shave his paws and cut his hair (ARGHHH). The clean up is awful cos he has A LOT of hair. Enter Maggie. Boy do I love that robot. I just put her in the bathroom and let her take care of it and she does. Not a hair in sight when I get back – they’re all in her nifty little bin.

    The advice I give to EVERY husband who is in the dog box or who has kids is this, “If you love your wife and want to make her life easier, do her a favor and buy her a roomba. She’ll love you forever.” Most husbands actually take that advice (once their wives hear me rave about how well my roombas clean) and they fall completely in love with their roombas. My brother (who NEVER listens to me) saw the how the roomba I sent to my parent’s house work and went out and bought his new wife one and got rid of his maid.

    So seriously, if you want to make your life easier and have more time to relax – invest in a roomba. Think of it this way – how much time do you usually have to spend cleaning and then figure out how much your time is worth to you. you’ll find that the investment is miniscule when compared to what you’ll gain (and no, I am not rich nor do we have a lot of money. We quit eating out for a few months and stopped paying for things lie swimming lessons and kindermusik and got ours on an HSN payment plan which made it affordable when we used the money we were saving each month by not doing the things we usually do).

  • P. KEMPH 25.02.2015 at 06:56

    Like many others, I did a lot of research before purchasing the Roomba 530. I chose to go with this model rather than the 560 (that I really wanted) because the price was a hundred dollars cheaper. I work full time and have a blue heeler and a long hair white cat that live with my husband and I. They shed everywhere..and the twice weekly vacuuming just wasn’t enough. So I decided to get a Roomba.

    This thing is amazing…if a bit confusing. It doesn’t clean the way people do…which is explained in the instruction manual. But is fascinating to watch. I vacuumed my floors with my upright before I put Rosie (the roomba) to work so I could see if it really does find a lot of stuff that I missed. And boy do I feel like a bad housekeeper! It picked up a great deal of dust and hair that my upright missed. I love that it cleans under the end tables and the bed!

    I was very impressed that the cliff sensors really work! It did not nose dive into the laundry room, and it spits out any cords it picks up. The virtual walls work like a charm. I also like how it goes back to it’s home base when it tires. The bin is easy to empty and the rollers are surprisingly easy to remove and clean. Just use scissors to cut the hair that gets wrapped around the brush and it takes less than two minutes to clean. I have no problem with the regular maintenance to keep it clean. It takes very little time and works to prolong the life of my little cleaning lady.

    I purchased some extra filters and side brushes when I bought Rosie, since I had read reviews that the side brushes break easily. But, I have not had any problems with that so far. Better to be prepared, though.

    I highly recommend this iRobot to anyone. It’s nice to be able to run the dishwasher and sweep the floors while i’m working on something else. My dog guards his food bowl from it and my cat likes to stalk it, but company loves it as much as we do!

  • ham_n_bill 24.02.2015 at 06:41

    This is indeed a great little machine. However despite all the hype everyone should be aware of all the drawbacks. Sometimes tedious drawbacks.

    1. This is not for heavy cleaning, expect only maintenance level cleaning. Every few days.
    2. Expect that it still needs attention above and beyond emptying the dustpan.
    3. If anyone in the house has long hair expect to spend time cleaning the brush – every time.
    4. If there is pet hair involved, the longer the hair expect to clean the brush – every time.
    5. If you drop jewelry expect that it might beat small bracelets to death wrapped around the brush.
    6. If it picks up a tissue expect that it will shred it all over the floor and not be able to pick it up.Bathroom rolls can meet a similar fate if the end is drooping on the floor…
    7. The dock doesn’t anchor to the floor and it gets pushed around by the cleaner preventing docking.
    8. Wires, speaker wires, computer wires, tv wires, extension cords, computer power cable. It will pull your laptop off the table and destroy it.
    9. Think of it as a mischievous cat and you’re not home.

    All this being said it still keeps the dog busy and does a fair job of keeping all the minor dirt picked up.

  • Justin D. Turner 23.02.2015 at 08:13

    We recently received this as a wedding shower gift and have really enjoyed it.

    Vacuum Performance – It seems to vacuum really well. We recently had carpet installed in part of the house, and this did a great job of getting all of the loose fibers out of the carpet. Also, I accidentally left a screw on the floor and this had no problem picking it up. The only con – which I knew going in – is that I do not believe it is hypoalergenic like some upright vacuums.

    Maintenance – The unit is really easy to clean, and the bin is a cinch to empty.

    Coverage – Ultimately, I think most people are sceptical that it will cover an entire room, but it really does. You can tell by the vacuum lines. Not only does it cover what you would usually vacuum but it gets under dressers, beds, etc. better than I would with an upright. The only Con is that it takes longer than a person would. A room I could vacuum in 5 minutes takes the Roomba 30. This isn’t a problem for me because I start it up on my way out in the morning and come home to a clean house.

    Support – I have not had any problems with the roomba yet, but most of the parts are easy to change (I mean really easy) and parts seem easy to get on Amazon or the iRobot website, so I don’t anticipate having problems getting parts when needed. I really view this as a big plus because with a traditional vacuum when something breaks you have to get a new unit or take it to a costly repair shop.

    Multi-room coverage – I had hoped I could leave in the morning and have the roomba vacuum the entire upstairs of my townhouse. This is not the case with this model. Unfortunately, the 530 does not distinguish between rooms so it cannot efficiently vacuum multiple rooms at once. If you get the 560 or any other model higher than the 530, they come with “lighthouses”. These “lighthouses” tell the roomba where rooms are so that it doesn’t leave a room until it’s finished, then it goes to the next one, etc. This is a great feature (for me anyway) and I really wish I had received the 560, but I’m making do by just starting the roomba in a different room in the morning.

  • Malcolm Gorman 22.02.2015 at 12:58

    Every week I simply release The Beaver into one of several areas, and away it goes, beavering away under beds and desks, along kitchen cupboards, and over all the visible carpets and hard-floor areas. (I have named it The Beaver because of its animal-like movements and kind of grooming tenacity — not after Simone de Beauvoir.) A visitor remarked that the house has never been cleaner. And despite me owning a high end Dyson vacuum cleaner, which I used to use for at most half an hour in one session, The Beaver will go on and on. The Beaver takes roughly a total of ten minutes of my time to clean the entire house:

    1. Lift him from his charging station, where he has recovered full charge in about an hour.
    2. Empty the dirt bin and the lint bin onto newspaper which goes into the garbage.
    3. Pull any build-up of lint from the ends of the two rollers.
    4. Move charging station and Beaver to the desired room.
    5. Press start button and close one or two doors.

    Which takes two or three minutes. Repeat two or three times, once per cleaning area (usually two or three rooms and a hallway).

    The Beaver takes far less of my time than a normal vacuum cleaner, far less effort, and cleans more areas.

    The first time I saw it come bursting out from under an otherwise inaccessible bed, I was astonished. What was normally spring-cleaning has now become a weekly task with no extra effort from me.

    The iRobot Roomba 530 and the iPhone are pretty much incommensurable. But I think it’s safe to say that my smart-phone largely wastes time and has its frustrations, but my Eager Beaver is a time saver and is fun to use.

  • Rob 21.02.2015 at 17:09

    My husband and I received this roomba two years ago for a wedding gift. We have a very small apartment that is all carpet. I try to run Roomba about once a week. We’ve got one small cat who doesn’t shed much, but it’s actually my hair that’s the problem. It’s true that Roomba really does a great job getting into all the spaces of our cramped apartment; under couches and beds with ease, and seems to clean thoroughly. However, my hair gets wrapped around the brush and all the brush bearings. The brush is really easy to clean with the tool that’s provided, but the bearings are a serious pain. After each use I have to remove the brush bearing caps and unravel hair that is very difficult to reach (maybe I need longer fingernails. Gross). I feel sometimes that I spend more time cleaning Roomba than I would if I vacuumed myself.

    cleans well
    cleans under low furniture like the couch and bed easily
    keeps the cat occupied
    holds the charge well
    great for small apartments

    needs frequent cleaning
    bearings are difficult to clean
    husband is now convinced robots are taking over

  • JVG 20.02.2015 at 08:55

    We purchased this cleaner from HSN in December, 2010. We used it less than once a week
    because we also have a vacuum cleaner. We purchased a HSN Extended Warranty for a three year period
    that includes 100% parts and labor warranty. The battery will not recharge. HSN will not replace the
    battery under this extended warranty. A replacement battery costs $80-$90 dollars. Out to the trash
    it goes. Our model is the 536 which is the same as the one offered here. It did a decent job of cleaning
    but if you have pets you will have to take the rollers apart to clean the unit. Shop around because there must be
    better cordless cleaners that are offered on Amazon. Customer satisifaction seems to be a priority with Amazon.

  • damg1 19.02.2015 at 08:23

    With two dogs in the house we could not live without our Roomba. The 530 is a vast improvement from earlier models. It seems to pick up more dirt, the battery life is longer, the fast-charge is about 33% more rapid than its Discovery predecessors and it is generally more quiet.

    The new sensors that prevent the robot from “speed-bumping” into furniture are a very nice touch, but beware if the robot is in a tight area, it may appear sluggish — the sensors are working to continually slow it down. It’s a feature I like, but need to get used to.

    My only concern with this robot is the high cost of parts. The bot itself is cheaper than earlier models but the components most prone to breakage or wear-out are twice the cost so the lifetime operation costs may be higher. Replacement batteries are nearly $100. Earlier models were $50.


    This is a slight amend to my review above. Having used it for a month a couple points of note:

    1) All of the new 5-Series Roombas lack the “Max Mode” that was common on earlier models. I miss this. I can no longer let it go util the battery runs out. It goes until it “thinks” it’s finshed. Well, sometimes we disagree. And I’m usually right. It simply doesn’t cover as much ground as I need it too in the standard clean mode. I’d have to mark it down a full star for this — I can’t count on it to do the whole house when I’m at work anymore.

    2) The folks I know who have these encountered problems with the side cleaning bushes breaking off. After a month’s use, I lost all but one. I’m sure this is high on their list of fixes.

  • New Yawkuh 16.02.2015 at 17:37

    Awesome. This new generation fixes all the problems of the previous. Much smarter, much bigger dust bin, much better in every way. Great that it self-docks when tired. Maintanence is a snap…really could not be easier/faster. There are some negatives – how could there not be? – but this thing has such a contagious personality that it starts feeling like your pet, and you’re inclined to forgive, and even find the faults charming.

    You have to prep the room (cords up and out of the way, no papers or clutter on the floor, move small items out of the room and learn which objects present problems and get them out of the way). Performance varies on throw rugs (it’s great on rug/carpet surfaces themselves, but Roomba can get caught up as it travels over edges of throw rugs that don’t have much weight or cling). It’s good at slowing down and banging objects gently, but less so on narrow vertical objects (e.g. piano legs), which it really clunks (not enough to damage, but it will make you wince). In terms of results, it’s a notch below a stout top-end British maid with her sturdy Hoover, but several notches above what mere mortals can achieve, and it’s especially good on edgework, under baseboards and furniture, and other spots most people would miss.Yes, it gets corners fine, in spite of its round shape. It’s got a whirling brush that ably gets at them.

    Most of all, if you’re someone who’s non-meticulous about keeping up housekeeping cycles (even if not, like, a total slob), it’s hard to describe the satisfaction of ALWAYS having spotless floors. Since, per above, you’ll develop at least some degree of affection for your Roomba, it’s the ideal pet…it vastly contributes to the household, yet its needs are few (I pull hairs out of its brushes with the affection of a dog owner checking his dalmation for tics).

    I have a fairly large house, and one unit is more than enough. Every other day, I bring her upstairs to work, that’s all.

    Oh, and it’s extraordinarily entertaining to watch. The drama of whether it’ll ever get to this hairball or that crumb is downright fraught. In spite of its seemingly random pattern, it does somehow get everything in the end.

    One nice side effect: the act of prepping a room for vacuuming – i.e. getting clutter off the floor – is itself a life-changing improvement. I find it much easier to organize books, papers, etc, when it’s for an immediate purpose than as a general habit. So the house isn’t just cleaner, floor-wise….it’s also generally better kept-up. Love my Roomba. Buy one now.

  • D. C. Eaton 16.02.2015 at 17:31

    If you are new to Roomba, you will wonder if it is worthwhile. The answer is clearly YES, since anything it cleans is that much less for you to clean. However, which is better, the old (and cheaper) Roomba, or the new models like the 530?

    First, the 530 comes with the charging/base station, and this is very useful. I have placed this in the entranceway which leads into the livingroom, the kitchen or the bedroom. Using the virtual walls (included), I block off rooms so that it can only do the entranceway + 1 other room. I simply press the “Clean” button, and it backs itself off the charging stand and then spends the next 2 hours cleaning, finally returning to the charging stand. Nice!

    Should you upgrade from an older model Roomba (I now use my old Roomba upstairs)? It depends on your situation. By-the-way, the old virtual walls do NOT work with the new Roomba.

    New Roomba:
    Fall down stairs? Never
    Climb onto thick throw rugs? Sometimes
    Effectiveness on hard floors? Excellent
    Effectiveness on carpets? Good
    Trap itself in electrical cords? No
    Trap itself in carpet fringes? No
    # rooms it can do at once? 2
    Ease of emptying dirt? Fairly good
    Scare cats and dogs? No
    Clean under low furniture? Yes
    Quietness? Fairly

    Old Roomba:
    Fall down stairs? Never
    Climb onto thick throw rugs? Rarely
    Effectiveness on hard floors? Excellent
    Effectiveness on carpets? Good
    Trap itself in electrical cords? Usually
    Trap itself in carpet fringes? Always
    # rooms it can do at once? 2
    Ease of emptying dirt? Fair
    Scare cats and dogs? No
    Clean under low furniture? Yes
    Quietness? Fairly