iRobot Roomba 770 Review (with Manual)

“Work smarter, not harder.” It’s an axiom that works well for virtually any endeavor, but is especially fitting for cleaning.

It’s a job no one enjoys and most people would be happy to avoid. The biggest cleaning innovation of the last decade has been a small collection of robotic assistants that can tidy up for us, and to do it better, they’ve naturally gotten smarter, worked harder and lasted longer. iRobot’s Roomba is a perfect example. The latest model, the 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot ($499.99 direct), is smarter and more powerful than models we saw nearly a decade ago. And when necessary, the Roomba 770 will put some real elbow grease into the job to clean especially dirty spots. (I know, I know, it doesn’t have elbows or arms.) Is this latest Roomba a perfect replacement for your old-fashioned, hand-powered vacuum? Not quite, but for certain environments and some people, it’s a perfect solution.

iRobot’s autonomous cleaning bot has been around since 2002, when it launched with a single $200 model. Now there are options that run the gamut from $200 all the way up to the tricked-out Roomba 780, which costs nearly $600. The 770 model I tested is virtually identical, but its remote is simpler and it doesn’t have the 780’s attractive silver detailing. The Roomba also faces some new competition from companies as big as LG and startups like Neato and Mint.

Design and How the Roomba Works

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

The Roomba 770 stands roughly 3.6 inches high and weighs 8.4 pounds. Overall, it’s grown a bit since its earliest days, and as the Roomba has grown into a more powerful vacuum, it’s gotten a bit louder, though still nowhere near the ear-pounding levels of today’s hand-powered, upright vacuums.

Early Roombas were plagued by repair issues: Dirt and hair would make its way into the gearbox and eventually render the robot vacs unusable. iRobot’s latest Roomba seals away the gearbox and also makes the rest of the robot far easier to clean. Brushes, squeegees, and filters all detach easily from the base, and the iRobot 770 ships with a variety of cleaning devices to remove hair from the brushes.

A crucial component for any vacuum is the dust and debris bin. Naturally, larger, more traditional vacuums offer far more capacity than Roomba, but iRobot has, with each robot vacuum update, redesigned the bin and added space. The 770 is no exception: it’s now a single, removable chamber with more capacity than I’ve ever seen on a Roomba.

Since Roomba is a robot that cleans on its own, its dirt detection system is a critical tool in the fight against dirty carpets, tile, and hardwood floors. iRobot has always used a proprietary cleaning algorithm to drive the Roomba: It’s one of the reasons its cleaning path looks so haphazard. There is a method to the madness, though. That algorithm works in concert with a variety of dirt sensors. In addition to acoustic sensors that actually hear the dirt as it hits the machine, Roomba 770 now has optical sensors to see it as well.

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

Perhaps the most obvious change in the Roomba is that, on occasion, it now vacuums just like you do. When the Roomba detects a particularly grimy spot on your hard floor or carpet, it begins an aggressive back and forth vacuuming motion, iRobot calls this “Persistent Path” cleaning. One competing robotic vacuum, Neato, pretty much vacuums this way the whole time, with a systematic approach that breaks the room into grids and then moves back and forth and back and forth to clean them. The Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner ($249.95, 3.5 stars), on the other hand, uses a beacon to tell where it is in the room and instead of traditional vacuum parts runs a Swiffer dust and debris catcher over the surface. It works about as well you would using a Swiffer floor broom.

Read also:  iRobot Roomba 530 Review and Manual

Roomba can manage rooms and homes of virtually any size, though it cannot go up and down steps. In fact, it can’t vacuum steps at all. It ships with a docking station/charging base and will find it on its own when it’s running low on juice. iRobot told me the battery charging algorithm has been improved so the battery has an overall longer life (two years or more). The Roomba’s battery is user replaceable, and a new cell will cost you between $50 and $70.

Though the Roomba ships with a remote, which you can use to start the Roomba cleaning or even guide it to a certain spot and control its cleaning pattern, it’s just as easy to use Roomba’s on-board controls. Over the years, Roomba’s interface and controls have remained pleasingly simple and straightforward. There’s still a large Clean button in the center, and just a handful of buttons to control the on-screen, blue LED interface. In my tests, I used it to set Roomba on a once-a-week (every Tuesday at 11AM) cleaning schedule.

Roomba 770 Cleans Up

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

iRobot Roomba 770 Review

So how does the Roomba do with dirt? Quite well. Overall, I saw fewer crop-circles and noticed that Roomba moves quite a bit faster than earlier editions. In fact, it seemed somewhat more purposeful in its cleaning activities. Even though my rug didn’t look particularly dirty, when I picked up the Roomba and removed the bin (you can also do this when it’s on the floor), I was startled to see a substantial amount of dirt, dust and debris. Even the new HEPA filters were clogged (iRobot recommends you clean them between each vacuuming).

Scheduling worked flawlessly, but only after an initial hiccup where the fully charged Roomba lost its data and time setting. I reset it and the error did not recur.

iRobot integrates anti-tangle technology, which is supposed to prevent the Roomba from getting stuck on rug tassels and other strings and wires that might be hanging around, but the pull string for my blinds was almost the bot’s undoing. It got caught and I had to help remove it. When I went on vacation and returned, Roomba had stuck to its schedule, but also got hopelessly tangled on the same string. I’ve since moved it out of the way. Still, the Roomba’s ability to detect other objects and stairs and work around these obstacles remains remarkable, and when I wanted to confine the Roomba to a space, I used of the included virtual walls.

As vacuums go, the Roomba 770 does a good job of cleaning up most debris. I’d say 90 percent of what I dropped on the floor got picked up. It’s still slower than a traditional vacuum, but then you can’t set and forget a Hoover. A standard vacuum typically does a better job of cleaning, perhaps, because our own natural sensors for dirt are still better than Roomba’s. On the other hand, you might vacuum more often if you didn’t have to push a vacuum yourself. Granted, the Roomba 770 is expensive compared with some traditional vacuums, and there is a much less-expensive $300 Roomba option. That model, the iRobot Roomba 530, though, eschews the updated dirt detection system, won’t tell you when its dirt bin is full, cannot navigate from room to room and lacks HEPA filters. It’s also less powerful than the 770. If you’re going to go the automated cleaning route, you might as well get something that truly knows its way around dirt and your home. A standard vacuum will save you money, but not your precious time, and isn’t time money?

By Lance Ulanoff //

iRobot Roomba 770 Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • The control pad is easy to use. You just control the Roomba with your fingertips.
  • The self-charging is amazing. When the Roomba’s battery is low, then the vacuum will return to the dock and recharge itself.
  • The full bin indicator lets you know when it is time to empty the bin.
  • The cleaning strokes of the Roomba offers extensive cleaning in dirty areas. The back-and-forth motion gets all the dirt picked up.
  • The Roomba gets the edges of the wall, curtains and under furniture. It does more cleaning than I would normally (this goes for all of the robotic vacuums).
  • The dual HEPA filter gets all dust and dander off the floor.
  • It allows for several room cleaning or a one room cleaning.
  • A longer lasting battery.
  • The scheduling allows up to seven times a week to be scheduled.
  • A full 30-day warranty
Read also:  iRobot Roomba 870 Review

The Cons

  • The Roomba is louder than what I expected in this tiny vacuum.
  • It doesn’t always get in fine lines. The cracks of wood floors is one area where if small sand is present, then it doesn’t pick up great in this area.
  • It sometimes forgets where the dock is.
  • The CD that is provided for a manual is a hassle if you have any questions or problem with the Roomba.
  • The bin could be bigger. It picks up a lot of dirt and the bin fills up pretty fast.

iRobot Roomba 770 Features

  • Advanced Cleaning Head: Designed with pet owners in mind, the new cleaning head provides superior performance for picking up pet hair, dirt, dust, allergens and more
  • AeroVac™ Series 2 Bin: Employs a powerful vacuum to vigorously pull debris and hair off brushes into the bin. The distributed air collection and clog-resistant design of the AeroVac Series 2 Bin optimizes vacuum effectiveness and dirt and hair packing efficiency.
  • Dual HEPA Air Filters: Capture dust particles as fine as 0.3 microns, limiting the recirculation of fine particles and leaving fresher, healthier air behind
  • Clean under the bed and other hard-to-reach areas.
  • Roomba provides comprehensive cleaning coverage – vacuuming in tight spots, under and around furniture and along baseboards.
  • Persistent Pass Cleaning Method: Employs a back and forth cleaning pattern to apply elbow grease in areas where it senses excessive dirt
  • iAdapt Technology monitors the cleaning environment more than 60 times per second, using multiple sensors (like cliff detection) and dozens of behaviors (including wall following) to clean your home.
  • Molded Soft-Touch Bumper: Cushions the contact made between Roomba’s bumper and walls, furniture and other objects, protecting household items while it cleans
  • Dirt Detect Series 2: Uses optical and acoustic sensors to find dirt and debris, performing concentrated cleaning in the dirtiest areas and ensuring the whole floor is clean
  • Roomba knows which areas to clean – and those to avoid. Auto Virtual Wall® barriers emit an infrared beam that Roomba won’t cross, keeping the robot in the rooms you want to clean and out of the ones you don’t. Plus, Roomba charges itself, going back to its Home Base® to dock and recharge between cleanings.
  • Extended-Life Power Management: Roomba 770 uses sophisticated power management software to deliver up to 50% longer battery life than previous Roomba generations, ensuring hundreds of cleaning cycles under proper use
  • On-Board Scheduling: Cleans when it’s convenient for you, up to 7 times per week

What’s In The Box:

  • 1 iRobot Roomba 770
  • 1 Rechargeable Battery
  • 1 Battery Charger (3-hour charge time)
  • 1 Compact Self-Charging Home Base
  • 2 Auto Virtual Walls (each requires 2 C batteries, not included)
  • 1 Extra Filter
  • 2 Brush Cleaning Tools
  • 1 Remote Control
  • 1 Instructional DVD
  • 1-Year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty On Robot, 6-Month Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty On Battery


  • Package Dimensions: 19 x 5 x 21.5 inches
  • Package Weight: 14.5 lbs.
  • Robot Dimensions: 13.9 inches in diameter, 3.6 inches in height
  • Robot Weight: 8.4 lbs.

iRobot Roomba 700 Series Manual

You can download iRobot Roomba 700 series manual from our site by this link. You can use it for 770 too.

iRobot Roomba Vac 770 model Unboxing/Review

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The Roomba 870 is a robotic vacuum that will clean your floors for you. It can be safely used on all flooring...



  • Bettye Perry 25.04.2016 at 07:41

    I unplugged my 770 for a few days by mistake. Plugged it back in and is constantly blinking 12h. Won’t turn off lor move when I press start. What dobo do?!!

  • ginkgo 01.03.2015 at 13:11

    first of all, this saves me a lot of time! I have to say it absolutely worth the money! I have long hair, I live by myself, I sometime have to work overtime at home so I have little time to do housework. This is a great solution for me. I does a good job with hair, and since my place has only two chairs, one table in the living room, one bed and a nightstand in the bedroom, and lots of open space in kitchen, it has no problem getting around. The scheduled cleaning function is really really really really useful! I set it for four times a week, several hours before I get home, so I wont be looking at it when its working (you dont want to look at it, trust me, you will keep on wanting to correct it’s direction), and I dont have to listen to its sound ( although not that loud, but it’s still a vacuum cleaner). only down side is: although it does a good job with picking up the hair, but if you have long hair, cleaning it is a lot of work. I cleaned it after the first week of using it, it took me like half hour to 50 minutes or so. and to be honest, I haven’t clean it since then, it’s been a month or so. well, it is still not full yet, so I’ll wait another week or so I guess. (seems my place is not that dirty:) )

  • David H. Obelcz 28.02.2015 at 07:32

    We’ve lived with our pet Roomba now for about a month. Here is the good and the bad.

    First off the bad, that way you’ll remember the good. We have some bar stools that are 18 X 18, so a little larger than standard. They are the exact, perfect size for poor Roomba to get stuck. The Roomba can find its way under the barstool; but in watching it the, “get me out of here,” algorithm never tries a simple back up, instead shifting about an inch, and turning 90 degrees. So Roomba does this over and over again until it stops dead.

    The other thing is we have an area carpet in one room with a fall design on that includes some very dark brown patches, almost black. The Roomba apparently interprets one of these areas as certain cliff of death because every time it hits a certain area it declares an “Error 6,” which is Roomba speak for certain cliff of death, and stops. So Roomba is not perfect.

    Now the good. Roomba has changed our lives! OK, fine part of that is putting up the barstools like a restaurant after closing when we leave in the morning so Roomba doesn’t stop.

    You see we have a cat and a pug. They both shed in legendary qualities. The cat’s hair is much finer and longer, so when he sheds his hair forms small tumbleweeds that are drifting across the hardwood floors within 12 hours of Roomba’s hard work. The pug on the other hand has more coarse, shorter hair so he sprinkles his all over the same hardwood floor simply because he exists.

    We have a Dyson but when hand vacuuming within 24 hours, when the sun would shine on the floor, it would look like you never vacuumed.

    At first the poor Roomba would return to its dock, laden with pug and cat hair. It would move with OCD determination under the couch and book cases, slurping up all the hairy tumbleweeds attempting to hide under there.

    After a couple of weeks the amount of hair that the Roomba has collected has diminished significantly, but we’re still stunned to see how much hair it gets. The floors look simply amazing – and the air is better for it. We really love our “pet” Roomba, even if we’re pretty sure the cat is plotting its assassination.

  • erica 27.02.2015 at 20:31

    These reviews helped me take the plunge, so I thought I’d add my own.

    This was easy to set up — it was already cleaning my floor as I sat to watch the video. As a test I ran my upright (not a Dyson; more like “top of the line Wal-Mart” quality) to see if the Roomba would find more. It did — partly because it could reach places I couldn’t, like under heavy furniture or right up next to the walls; but even the main traffic areas seemed noticeably cleaner. I think it’s just persistent. As other reviewers have noted, it is also quiet. That’s a big plus for me.

    I have long hair. On my upright vacuums the brushes were hard enough to get to that I usually waited for that burning smell. On the Roomba the brushes and filters are very easy to get to. One of the cleaning tools provided has a small blade that slices through the hair so I can brush it off. A can of compressed air seems perfect for the filters. As advertised, the invisible walls work well and it doesn’t fall down the stairs.

    The reason I wanted this product is that my husband and I are busy enough that we don’t prioritize housecleaning. With this aspect I’m thrilled. Because the Roomba is going to go right up to areas I would avoid, I spend a good bit of time clearing clutter that would be in its path. I also spend more time cleaning the brushes, as I said above. In all I am spending about as much time on vacuuming as I would have with the upright, but the results are so much better: I’ve been forced to clear the clutter, the carpet is cleaner, there’s less dust, and since the brushes are being cleaned I hope it will last longer.

  • A. Crain 26.02.2015 at 06:04

    I bought my first roomba 770 nearly two years ago. We had just bought a 1600+ sq. ft. condo with both wood flooring and carpet. At the time we had both a cocker spaniel and a borzoi/afghan hound mix. Let’s just say, those are both VERY hairy dogs. Have you SEEN an afghan hound?? haha.

    I have a really expensive dyson pet-hair vacuum which does a great job, but requires me to be home and willing to use it. Frankly, I was just not keeping up with all of that pet hair.

    The roomba worked like a charm. We scheduled it to run Monday – Friday at 4pm, just before we got home. I still did some spot vacuuming every other weekend, but things were massively better and much more livable. There were no more dog-hair tumbleweeds floating through the house and when a sun beam shone on the flooring you could actually *see* the floor.

    But, then it happened… after reading a review here about a roomba smearing cat poop all over the house and laughing my butt off at it… yes, our roomba met the same fate. My hound had an accident in the house and poop was smeared EVERYWHERE! It was under the couch, up the sides of the walls, all throughout the hallway and kitchen; it was pouring out of the roomba.

    Needless to say, despite our best cleaning efforts, that roomba was shot. When we turned it back on it just ran around in circles. We wrote customer service (because we quickly realized we cannot survive without our roomba) and they shipped us a new wheel to troubleshoot the problem. The wheel did not fix the issue, though, so we wrote them again.

    In the meantime, we purchased a brand new roomba 770. We knew it was our fault that the first one was ruined, and we REALLY could not survive without our roomba.

    Well, iRobot wrote us back regarding our first roomba and agreed to send a full replacement if we returned our broken unit. So, now we have two! Granted we paid for two, but still, TWO! We learned our lesson and run them at 8am M-F before the dog has time to have an accident (which she actually hasn’t had since, I think she’s traumatized.)

    We put one in the living room and one in the bedroom. We do actually use a lighthouse just outside our bedroom door to keep the first roomba contained to our bedroom with the carpet. The second gets free reign of our house.

    We have not vacuumed with our dyson in over a year. It is just not necessary. These roombas run for over an hour every day. We clean their baskets at night when we come home. They light up for you to let you know when they’re full. We do maintenance cleaning on them about once a month. Two are PERFECT for 1600 square feet. You will NEVER vacuum again. Ever.

    I so highly recommend!!! The only con in my mind is that they do leave some marks at the bottom of the furniture where they run into the wood and turn around. Every dining room chair has a very small nick on each leg about three inches off the floor. I don’t think anyone notices, but it is a con worth mentioning.

  • Marjorino 25.02.2015 at 06:57

    I hate to vacuum. In fact I hate it to the point that I would rather spend eight hours doing physically demanding yardwork in 90°+ heat than one hour vacuuming my house. I hate it to the point that I’d rather sweep my house than vacuum it. I hate vacuuming so much, that I just won’t do it. At least not until I know company is coming or it gets so bad that I just can’t stand it anymore.

    Clearly, this Roomba thing was invented with me in mind. But paying $400 for something to perform a task I was just too stubborn to do myself seemed decadent somehow. Until I compared it to the cost of hiring a maid to do it on a regular basis, and the value of what one hour of my time is worth, multiplied by the number of times my house would need to be vacuumed in the future.

    So I bit the bullet and bought one. A while back I bought one. And for a few months it sat in the box waiting to be used (did I mention that I hate vacuuming so much, even the thought of having to program a robot to do it is distasteful?).

    I suppose time softens us all, so a month or so ago I actually set this baby up, which I would have done a lot sooner had I known how easy it would be. The first couple of weeks, it woke me up and I promptly shut it off and docked it. Then I started letting it run. Today, I even opened my bedroom door and let it in to vacuum while I lazily lounged in bed. This thing is amazing! I love it! I peeked under my bed this morning and all the little dust bunnies were gone!! Who would have thought a vacuum cleaner could become pedestal-worthy in my house? Best $400 I can recall spending in a long, long time, and did I mention how much I absolutely love it? Now where’s that robotic duster I’ve been waiting for all my life?

  • Mackan 24.02.2015 at 06:42

    I like the device more in the beginning. As it was nice to see that it had cleaned around the walls and under the table in the living room.
    But after using it for a wile I wish I would have spent the money on another brand.

    * It cleans randomly and at least the room where it get stuck gets cleaned pretty ok.
    * It’s nice not to clean. where it is cleaning it is pretty ok.
    * It keeps dust level lower in the apartment
    * Hardly finding any more dust around the baseboards (at least where Rumba can reach.)
    * Easy to clean
    * “Cool”- factor of having a Robot maid

    * It is so stupid sometimes. It can spend 30 minutes cleaning a small bathroom with 10 sqft. then it finally goes out of the small room, then 2 minutes later it is back in that room spending another few minutes. It’s like a goldfish, the memory is very short.
    * When battery is low, it looses its time. Seriously!!! It only have one battery in the entire Rumba and not a separate battery for the clock. This is annoying as it gets it battery drained sometimes and as the clock was reset it decided to start cleaning 3 AM one night waking everyone up. Spent two hours trying the get my baby to fall asleep again. (Thanks Rumba for that one.)
    * The battery seems not to be able to last even a year. I will request a new battery now. As it is always out of battery when I come home now.
    * We have a long apartment, but it never makes it to the kitchen where we really want it to clean. Even tried to use the barriers to make sure it goes in the correct direction, but it has been in the kitchen less than 5% of the times we use is. (We use it every single day)
    * Loud. Don’t expect to stay home when it is running.
    * It always get stuck in the area rugs
    * After 8 months, I would assume it would have learned my apartment.
    * the barriers does not work all the time. It sometimes just goes by without stopping and then continues on the other side of the barrier.
    * clicking on the “back to dock” only works when it is max 2 feet away from the docking station. I have never seen it succeed going back if I press that button. It keeps on cleaning and goes in the opposite direction.

    * Make sure you don’t have any cables connected to computer or TVs that Rumba can get hold of. I got my laptop pulled onto the floor and it swallowed the cable.
    I have taken out the iPhone cable at least 10 times from Rumba.

    Wish-list of items that it CANNOT do
    * Programmable interface. So I could code the little device to go get me a drink or something funny.
    * That it actually had a graphical map accessible though a app. So you could see how it interprets the cleaning area. And a possibility to edit it. so it finally could clean the kitchen.

    So if you have a square apartment with little furniture it will be a great product. otherwise I would check out the other brands. Maybe the 800-900 series are better with the light-house options. You don’t need the 2 barriers, and I have never ever used the remote, so spend less money on a cheaper series or go all the way.

  • Nettabird 23.02.2015 at 08:15

    This is awesome! I hit the button when my toddler (who is afraid of it, but she’ll get used to it) and I leave the apartment and when we come back there are fresh vacuum lines all over the carpets! Helps me keep clutter off the floor, too, since I know it’s going to hit everywhere. Now I’m looking at a scooba too. Soon as I have more than 20 square feet of linoleum…

    Here’s how it decides which way to go, since I know a lot of people are confused: it’s random, which *is* the most efficient method for a computer to figure out how to cover an entire floor, according to my husband who works in computer science. It’s an easy enough problem in computer science to make an algorithm for figuring out how to determine if an obstacle is a wall or a chair leg, so it does that too. You might think it would be more efficient to map out the room and then just go back and forth, but it’s actually really difficult to develop the step-by-step method that a computer needs in order to figure that out. Plus, you’d have to leave everything in exactly the same place.

    I’ve seen complaints on some Roomba reviews about how you have to clean the brushes and filter every week, and how often you have to empty the bin. I don’t get it. This thing VACUUMS YOUR FLOORS FOR YOU. You have to do the same maintenance on a vacuum that requires you to push it across the floor. Such a shame that the makers of this ROBOT IN YOUR HOME are still bound by the laws of physics and current computer technology…

  • E. Dempsey 22.02.2015 at 12:59

    I am so excited about this iRobot! I have been wanting to get one for quite a long time, but I wasn’t sure if it would meet my expectations, considering the rather high price. Well, I am more than happy with this product. It does everything that the manufacturer claims that it does. It came fully charged, but I charged it for a while just because the directions said to. Pressed the clean button and off it went. It vacuumed my entire first floor, getting into such odd nooks and crannies, the ones that are such a nuisance to vacuum because of having to move furniture and having to struggle with odd angles. This little Roomba went under the couch, coffee table, desks and was very thorough in searching for dust and other little things. It actually circles the legs of chairs and tables and gets right up close to base boards and doorway edges. It was surprisingly powerful and picked up quite a bit of stuff before I had to empty the receptacle. We have a cat who sheds a LOT and I was amazed at the amount of kitty hair this thing picked up. I thought our floors were pretty clean but I emptied the unit twice during the first use and it was chock full of cat fur (gross!). It was fun to watch, it being new, so I experimented a bit, I dumped some little piles of dry kitty food on the kitchen floor and it picked up every piece. It does blow dust around as it goes around, but by the time it’s done it comes back to the area and gets rid of it. Works well on our linoleum kitchen floor, the hardwood floors and does a great job with area rugs. It doesn’t have any problem adjusting to different surfaces, which is a huge plus. The second day, I programmed it to start on its own and it did, at the time I chose. After it was done, it went back to the charging station all by itself! I am sounding a little crazy, I’m sure, but this thing was fun, kinda what I imagined the Jetsons to have when I was a kid. If you have kids, they will most likely get a kick out of it. My cat was quite perplexed, but he didn’t freak out like he does with our regular vacuum. I’ll update my review after I’ve had it for a while, just to be sure it continues to work well. I’d definitely recommend this iRobot. You can program it for up to 7 days a week, and it will vacuum while you’re not even home, letting you come home to clean floors and saving you a lot of time that you would normally spend vacuuming. Or dreading vacuuming as I usually do. The unit comes with a dvd that demonstrates all of the features and how to use it to its potential. It’s a great time saver and to me, well worth the price, especially considering how much regular vacuums cost these days. Love it.

  • Donna Davis 21.02.2015 at 17:10

    I have had my Roomba for about 4 months now. It was love at first sight, really. I hate vacuuming with an unholy passion but, unfortunately, with 3 boys and 5 cats in the house, it was an inevitable daily chore, lest my house look like a white trash haven and the fur-bunnies from the cats start plotting world domination. Enter Roomba. He did the job (yes, “he”), cleaning my entire living room and dining room flooring sweetly and perfectly. Edges looked great, he never chewed on the furniture or drapes, never complained, did all the cleaning fairly quietly in the middle of the night, and was overall perfection.

    Naturally, I knew a good thing when I saw it and started talking about marriage. That’s when it all started going south. First, Roomba’s brushes needed replacing. No big, I thought–not at all surprising, considering I was running Roomba 1-2 times daily in a cat-hair and little boy infested area. So I ordered new brushes from a seller on Amazon. To my horror, the replacement brushes were much more cheaply made than the originals that came with Roomba. Not as stiff and the ends kept breaking off. Now Roomba was complaining all the time–“Error!” he said. “Clean brushes and move Roomba to a new location!” Nary a night went by without Roomba freaking out about something and refusing to clean the entire area.

    I figured the problem was that I went a little cheap on the brushes and, wanting only the best for my beloved Roomba, I went direct to iRobot’s site and ordered the REAL Roomba brushes.

    They were exactly the same as the cheap knockoffs I ordered from Amazon.

    Now Roomba and I have a love-hate relationship. When he works, everything is great. He can clean better than anything I’ve seen out there and will do it automatically. But those damn brushes are causing me endless amounts of pain. It’s like Roomba has a drug problem and his behavior has become erratic and annoying. If I don’t thoroughly clean those useless brushes *every single day*, Roomba will not finish the job–he’ll just sit there and complain. I have now replaced the brushes 5 times in a 4 month period because they keep breaking on the ends or becoming too soft to actually clean the carpeting. That’s a little high maintenance and I’m now thinking of divorce. Screw the “for better or for worse” deal–I’m a woman who demands a high standard and I refuse to compromise.

    When Roomba works, he works well–the draperies and thicker cables/power cords are not a problem at all, since Roomba will generally treat them like an obstacle and leave them alone. Thinner cables, such as the iPhones lightening cable that my boys obliviously fed to Roomba, will get sucked up and wrapped around the cheap brush (and usually break it), so one must do a quick visual sweep of the floor to ensure such things are not on it. That’s reasonable, and I don’t know of any vacuum that would behave differently.

    The biggest, and only, problem I have is with those stupid brushes. iRobot gives you a lovely set to start with, but once you need a replacement, you can’t find anything close to that quality and are left with inferior brushes that have to be replaced frequently. This is unacceptable and iRobot needs to fix that situation if they want to keep their customer base happy. Were it not for those brushes, my Roomba would be getting a 5 star rating and we would still be happily married. We might even be thinking about having a few little baby Roombas to run about the place. The whole situation is simply infuriating and Roomba and I fight about it constantly.

  • J. Hale 20.02.2015 at 08:57

    I get why there are a lot of positive reviews for this product. On the surface, it seems fantastic – it’s very reliable, quiet, looks sleek/well-designed, etc. etc. The problem is it simply fails in its most core ability – to vacuum.

    Allow me to explain. I’ve been using the Neato XV-21 for a few years now. Those things are great when they work.. but are so tremendously, god-awfully unreliable that I would never suggest a person buy that product. I went through five or six of them in the first year of warranty (my house is mostly hardwood, not exactly a strenuous environment for the Neato). Neato graciously replaced my last Neato recently after a year of being out of warranty.. I kid you not, the replacement broke within 2 minutes of using it (started spamming the ‘I can’t see error’ and had to be returned).

    Anyways, back to the Roomba. I recently purchased this Roomba because I just wanted something that worked, no concerns about reliability. I bought it, charged it up, let her rip. I was ecstatic – it was quiet, moved about efficiently, looked sleek and nicely designed, etc. The only thing that concerned me was that in comparison to the Neato, it was really quiet and it wasn’t pushing out a lot of air behind it – something that indicated to me that it might not be vacuuming as well.

    I ran the Roomba for a few weeks, mostly in my living room with carpet. Each time I ran it, the dust bin would be about 1/5 full. It picked up some crumbs and loose hairs from the cats, but nothing too much. My cats shed enough that it didn’t seem like enough.

    Yesterday I got my replacement for the replacement of my replacement Neato. I ran it in the one room that my Roomba has been cleaning for the past few weeks. The bin was absolutely FULL of hair, lint, etc. It was insane how much better the Neato is at picking stuff up. My only conclusion is that the Neato is a true vacuum, the Roomba is more of a sweeper. There is nothing defective with my Roomba, it’s running fine for what it is.. but I noticed my earlier Roomba was also more or less the same, a sweeper with very light vacuuming abilities. For those with both a Roomba and a Neato, go ahead and place your hand behind the exhaust vents on both. The Roomba feels like someone is blowing air over your hands, the Neato is seriously moving some air out of it. The two are just in completely different leagues.

    If I could combine the Neato’s suction with the reliability of the Roomba, we’d have a winner. Unfortunately, they’re both losers. Do not get the Roomba if you actually want something that really cleans your carpet. If you want the Neato, buy it from Costco because there’s a high probability that you will be returning it often for a new one (I wish I had done that). There’s a reason so many reviews on here brag about how clean their carpets are based off of the small amount of stuff the Roomba picks up.. it’s missing 80% of the junk.

    If you have only hardwood floors, the Roomba is perfectly adequate. On carpet, though, it really isn’t doing you any favors. This is the second Roomba product I’ve had that has performed poorly in carpet, so I know it’s not just a one-off experience. It’s simply more of a sweeper than a vacuum.

  • Sammy 19.02.2015 at 07:53

    I was SKEPTICAL about expensive vacuum robots. I have all tile floors. I bought the latest Neato, & the iRobot 770 (non-lighthouses) to test them both. I keep a very clean home and live alone.

    Before trying out the 770, I moved all furniture and swept with a fine broom… mopped all floors to hospital grade and waited 7 DAYS later to test the iRobot on a clean floor as an ultimate test. I could see no dirt on the floors when I started the iRobot 770 for the first time. The unit finished with a 40% full container when done! I was surprised at the machine’s effectiveness. It picked up small speckles of dirt, teeny-tiny rocks, hair, lint and other fine particles.

    The Neato was tested upstairs and I liked it a tad more at first. Then, it gave a ‘LEFT WHEEL STUCK’ Fatal error message after 3 weeks. I found out that the cheaply designed Wheel Motors get tangled and busted by internal parts. I looked it up and saw FACEBOOK pages for both companies.. it showed lots of Neato complaints versus Roomba’s compliment posts… happy operators (backing up what happened to me.. it is a safer buy with less malfunctions).

    The 770 is like a Sweeper Robot w/ a small vacuum under it’s long brush compartment. The Roomba cleans hard floors very well (sometimes gave slight issue w/ dark floor mats). It is less sophisticated navigation-wise than the Neato. It goes over itself a tad, has to see it’s base to land there, and needs a tad more attention in cleaning it’s roller brush than the Neato. It is not as powerful as the Neato (but doesn’t need to be at least on hard floors and the battery lasts longer). The 770 is a lot better than it’s predecessors (older generation Roombas didn’t seem worth the price to me). The 770 is more pleasant if you are in the room while it’s cleaning as compared to the Neato, due to less noise. The Neato seems at first more ‘practical’ in it being more methodical when you want to set it and leave home (if it’s working without mechanical failure). But, over time I found the Roomba 770 to be more dependable. The iRobot (HEPA) boasts filtrating down to 0.3 microns, and the Neato’s non-HEPA says it filters only down to 3.0 microns. I tested both in separate rooms for 2 days w/ large glass plates to see if one dusted the air more.. both equally did not spread recordable dust around the room (zero difference, regardless of spec listing).

    The iRobot (3,000 mAh) battery needs a charge at around 1.5 hours, where the Neato (3,500 mAh) battery needs a charge at around 45 minutes, due to the power draw. The iRobot can be faster at completing large areas requiring 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, because the Neato has to go back & dock at around 45 minutes, recharge for another 2 hours, and then go back to finish.

    The Neato always knows where it’s base is, but needs charging more often. The iRobot’s extra rotating side bristle brush works better than I expected. Both machines picked up the same amount of debris in bin tests on tile (Roomba a bit more). The Neato can go over large obstacles better (things laying on the floor accidentally/ broom stick) maybe 15% better (like a Mars Rover), but the Roomba cleans under tighter/ smaller spaces due to being shorter.

    One slight problem the Roomba had was a small issue with dark floor mats, or dark carpet.. it stalled at first on my dark floor mats (I heard some folks taped the sensors). After a month though, it didn’t do this anymore. The square-ish Neato seemed to hugs walls & chair feet (via software) better than I had imagined, but the constant passing technique of the Roomba & it’s extra rotating bristle brush seemed to pick up more dirt and work better in actuality.

    The Roomba is better quality/ more reliable versus the Neato (as of currently… around 3% of Neato’s report total breakdowns, and need replacement). The 780 comes with lighthouses, where the 770 does not. I have used those lighthouses but not in large rooms. All they does is makes the Roomba clean for A SET TIME OF 25 minutes per room, which is not always enough time for larger rooms (place barriers and save money with the 770).

    Use your upright vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment on the pleated filters once a week. Neato has 3.9 stars and Roomba’s has 4.4 stars, which backs up this reliability and value report for you.

  • Frank Peters 18.02.2015 at 10:35

    I am 41 years old and have had allergies my entire life – they have gotten worse over the past 5 years. I already take Singulair and Claritin but still have symptoms. I was just diagnosed with asthma, which apparently was caused by my allergies. Thus, I decided to wage war on indoor allergies in my house.

    I hired a cleaning company to clean my house a few years ago – they were horrible. I did a better job then they did. Also, I have pets and am not comfortable with someone being in my house with them when I am not there. My problem is time – I work full time and was finding little time to vacuum (to the point where I was vacuuming only once every week or other week). I have 3 cats and one dog, with hardwood floors and area rugs on my first floor and carpet in my bedroom and hallway upstairs. My house was not clean, to say the least. I just couldn’t keep up with it.

    My brother suggested that I purchase this product. I thought, why not? I did not buy this on Amazon because they did not offer the 770 model at the time of my purchase (in April 2012) or I would have – I bought it from the iRobot website.

    This model offers a vacuum with HEPA filters in the dust cartridge. Please note that the low cost models like the Mint are not vacuums! They just push around a dusting cloth to collect dust. This would not meet my requirements, for obvious reasons. This product also has a schedule so I can tell it to start vacuuming at a certain time each day. You can also start the cleaning manually at any time but pushing a button.

    It’s not loud – much quieter than a regular vacuum and I can be watching TV in this room and it’s vacuuming in the next room – would be too loud to watch TV if it were running in the same room. And, my cats and my dog were not afraid of it at all. They can be in the same room with it with no issues. It moves slowly so it it is coming towards them, they just move out of the way.

    It comes with an instructional DVD which you don’t really need as it’s pretty easy to figure out. It runs for up to 3 hours on a charge, and will take itself back to its docking station if it needs to recharge and when it’s done cleaning. It has cliff sensors so it knows it it is near steps, for example, and will not fall down! It also has a dirt sensor and will go over an area repeatedly if it finds a lot of dirt until it’s clean.

    The dust bin is a good size – I have yet to fill it up to the point where the vacuum can’t go on until I empty it (it has a dust bin light which turns on to tell you if it’s full). But, this is not meant to catch the same amount of dirt as you would have if you vacuumed every week or two – this is intended to be used for regular maintenance (every day or two) so it doesn’t need to have the same size dust bin as a regular vacuum.

    I have a Dyson Canister vac and this product works better than that for many reasons. First, it takes the time to clean the floors – as long as it needs and will go over an area until it’s clean. Also, it has an edge cleaning tool built in and cleans along edges (for example, against the wall) well. I have a 2600 square foot house and I couldn’t even clean one floor in 8 hours before, since I was rushing to vacuum, dust, etc. in the one day that I had on the weekend to clean.

    Since purchasing this product, my asthma has improved significantly and my house is spotless! I loved it so much that I bought another one for the second floor. And, I have found that I dust much less – I used to have to dust every few days (and didn’t, ended up doing this once a week if I found the time) and now, I dust every 3 weeks!

    This is a life changing product for me. Yes, it’s expensive but it costs about the same as my Dyson and it does all of the work for me. I highly recommend this product!

    UPDATE 1/14: It’s been not quite two years and both of my Roombas are still going strong with no issues. I ordered replacement brushes for them after a year, and replace the HEPA filters every three months or so as recommended. Great product.

  • Cricket 17.02.2015 at 09:07

    Even with numerous friends that swear by their Roomba, I was still skeptical. How could this little machine really clean enough to impress me?

    When I received it I was really surprised at the size of it, much smaller than I had imagined. I was anxious to test it out, so using the quick start guide I had it unpacked and on the charger in less than 10 minutes. I do suggest that you consider the location you want to set up the home base, not because it’ll take up much room, more just to have it out of the way if possible; mine is under an end table.

    I decided to start it on a Monday through Friday schedule at 3:15pm each day. It’s a time when the house is usually empty and it would be less of a bother. The first time it ran of course I was home and I think I watched it the entire cleaning cycle. I was amused to say the least and it also let me see what problems might arise. I realized I needed to install a virtual wall to keep it from the laundry room as this is also our cats room for food, water and litter box. I also took notice of cords and other items that were loose or in the way and that needed to be picked up or secured. During this first cleaning the “full bin” light did come on, which definitely showed me that it was picking up plenty. After about 2 hours it did head back home to its dock for a recharge and had no trouble finding it.

    The course the Roomba takes is still a mystery to me. Mine goes from one room to the next and back and forth several times. Sometimes it zigzags and other times it follows a path. Overall though the carpets and hardwood floors are noticeably cleaner. I still run my regular vacuum once on the weekend, but the amount it picks up is a lot less than it used to average and I can see it through the clear canister.

    Maintenance is pretty easy on the iRobot Roomba 770 Vacuum Cleaning Robot. It comes with an extra set of HEPA filters and some cleaning tools. The round brush cleaner is especially helpful in our household, because both my daughter and I have long hair that loves to get sucked up and caught in the vacuum brush. Otherwise emptying the dust bin is very simple and mess free.

    If I had to bring up any negatives about Roomba 770 it would be these two minor issues:
    * Find a way to not have to use C batteries for the virtual walls. With so many power/battery options available and especially on such a high end appliance, this just seemed out of place and inconvenient.
    * Provide a hard copy manual. I appreciate the CD, but the first time a light came on that I didn’t know it was a hassle to have to boot up my computer just to look at the manual. (I’ve now printed it out for myself.)

    My final opinion on the Roomba is that it definitely exceeded my expectations on its cleaning ability. It’s intuitiveness, style and ease of use also impressed me and the four stars that I’ve giving it are well earned! Hopefully I’ve covered most all of it’s features, but if there is something I’ve missed or a question you have feel free to leave me a comment and I promised to respond.

    *Update 9/9/12 – Now that the Roomba has been cleaning for over 3 months I wanted to comment further on how it’s doing. At first I was still vacuuming once a week, but now I don’t find the need to do that at all because what it was picking up was so minor it was a waste of my time. I’ve also found that it has more of a set pattern. It still zig zags occasionally, but it’s more consistent now. Overall it’s nice coming home from work everyday seeing a vacuumed floor and knowing that I didn’t have to do it!