Adventures in Roomba-ing!

Yesterday, Nawth Chucka and I went to a Bed Bath & Beyond, and picked up a Roomba, and I must say, this is the neatest thing since sliced bread.

We brought the thing home, and not five minutes into setting it down on the floor, our two cats sniffed and examined the box. Immediately, their curiosity piqued at this “new toy” partly because it smelled new, and partly because the one cat “Stretch” likes boxes and thought he’d get a new sleeping bin. . .

A little while later, I took it out of the box, and began charging it up. Stretch comes over and starts sniffing the box when he notices some newfangled contraption in the corner of the room. He meanders over and sniffs it. Being plastic, he noticed it offered no immediate nutritional or culinary value, but I watched him as he eyed it carefully–I could have sworn it muttered “Resistance is futile. . .” at him.

So, this morning we get up, I hit the “Clean” button and instantly, Roomba (who I shall now call “Flounder”) springs to action with a dizzying spin. Apparently this thing has some sort of room mapping function, which somehow logs the room’s layout by spinning itself in circles and bonking into walls [sub]Hey, Trip, your floors look great! But what the hell happened to your baseboards?[/sub]

The cats meanwhile, are perched on top of the bed, watching this new thing with extreme suspicion. At one point, Stretch crept up behind Flounder in the corner. Flounder immediately whipped around and darted off in Stretch’s direction seeking dirt. Stretch, alarmed by the apparent cat-eating-machine-of-assimilation-and-death, ran off. Instead of satiating his feline appetite, Flounder meandered underneath the bed, where he’s been for about twenty minutes.

[Mid OP insert]
Flounder just played a tune. I think that means he’s full and needs to be emptied.
[/We now return you to the OP]

We noticed Flounder likes being underneath the bed and couch. His slim profile (he’s all of like 1-1/2" tall) lets him sneak under things. He damn near got stuck underneath a bookcase though. . .

So, Flounder finishes up in the bedroom, and now feels he needs a break (his power button has changed to red)–apparently, my cleaning robot is working a Union job. But already, this thing has swept up quite a bit! I thank you, Flounder! Nap well, new grime-fighting cyborg from the future. [sub]Just don’t dream about Sarah Connor . . .[/sub]

Why “Flounder”? Why not!!

So what’s the story with these Roombas are they just an expensive toy or do they work well?

I can’t speak for the OP, but I have the ideal Roomba house and it works so great in mine. I have all tile with no throw rugs (south FL) so he is free to just wander about cleaning. I have three shedding dogs and a cat, so he gets a serious work out every single day. My floors have never looked better and Roomba does an awesome job here. I don’t even have a regular vac any more.

I have all hardwood floors and use the Roomba 2-3 times a week.

My adventure is that it breaks down every 10-12 months, having to deal with their lousy customer support* to have it replaced under warranty, having to PAY to ship it back and then wait 6 weeks for a replacement.

The last time I shipped it back the clerk at UPS said, “Is it a Roomba?” When I said, “Yes” she said, “We ship a lot of those back.”


  • Customer Disservice will treat you as a liar when you say that you have faithfully cleaned your Roomba, make you take it completely apart and call back three times to run test scenarios. Also, I think they only have three reps.

Quick question: I saved my box and packaging from when I got my roomba (I ordered it from If I do need to send it back, is that all I’ll need? I don’t remember seeing anything where I needed to register it.

Well, I’ve had mine for three years, and it’s still going strong. It does a good job on pet hair, and I taught it to play hockey.

I don’t like Roomba’s priorities; maybe I’m not patient enough with it. Great, clean under the bed, but dammit, did you not ‘sense’ the cat hair under the kitchen table?? I can’t wait until it’s recharged so I can put it back to work. Picture me with a whip lashing Roomba, exhorting it to YA Mule!!

Mom says hers does a great job in the area that it cleans, but doesn’t clean the entire area. I’m told that there are two buttons, one for spot cleaning and one for general, but Mom swears that she is pushing the correct button.

We have hardwood floors and three cats, so the Roomba has been a brilliant addition to the household. It’s done a great job of keeping the levels of allergens in the bedroom down without us having to be in there. In the morning we’ll turn on the air filter and set the roomba loose and forget about it.

Every couple of months I take mine out to the workshop, disassemble the major moving parts, clean & lube everything. It’s an old one, but still going strong. The battery isn’t holding as much of a charge as it used to, so I’ll probably need to replace that soon, but other than that it’s been a trooper.

The fun part is using the remote control to have it chase after the cats.

Oh! I covet a Roomba. I really do…but they are expensive. And I am poor. And my apartment is about three inches by six inches (ie. I should be able to muster up the energy to vaccum the cubby).

I seriously thought about getting a pool together and buying one for my mother for her birthday. It could be entertaining - my mom has a way of inadvertedly killing machines. In one memorable day, she killed both the lawnmover And the weedwacker. And there was that power-washer she managed to set on fire. The car that got driven off a bridge (they really do freeze before the rest of the road!), the other power-washer that rebelled and tried to blind her…I don’t think computers count, but I know the tech support people at her company recognize her voice (it’s a big business, many thousands of employees).

I still think it would be fun. Just…short-lived, expensive fun.

I SO want a Roomba! I basically told my husband that if I didn’t get one for Christmas, divorce was an option! We have a long-haired cat (with white hair!) and we just can’t keep up with her shedding…the swiffer only does so much, and I hate vacuuming! I want a real Roomba, not another brand, just so I can say I have a ROOMBA! I love that name!

Is there a really big difference between models? They seem to cover a huge range of prices. I don’t care so much about virtual walls and though having it go back home to it’s docking station would be cool, it isn’t necessary either. No stairs here to damage it either.

I am so jealous of all of you Roomba-owning Dopers!

We got a Roomba a couple years ago and it is great. It works well since most of our furniture is on legs, so it can vacuum under it.

Its also fun to watch Roomba terrorize the cats.

the ex has four dogs and two cats, so his roomba gets quite a workout as well. there’s not enough vacuum time in the world unless you can tesseract yourself to keep up with that much hair, but the roomba helps immensely in between his weekly cleaning lady appearances.

being an engineer, he has to take things apart - which he’s done - and reassemble them after cleaning and tidying up the interior. so far, this meticulous care of the little beastie keeps it in top order. it’s five years old and still going strong.

I bought a Scheduler recently, because when the little one learns to crawl, we need to have all the pug-hair “tumbleweeds” under control. It’s set to run every weekday at 9 AM, well after we’ve left, and every day when we come home, there is evidence of its Roombings and a full Roombin. I’ve set up the little “walls” so that it just does the living room and the kitchen, which are the areas most in need.

One downside is remembering to pick up the little rugs in the kitchen, because Roomba gets stuck on the fringe. But otherwise, it’s great; he runs around and goes home to his little charging station. It’s almost like a pet.

No kidding. I find myself talking to the little guy: “Oh, you’re stuck again? When are you going to learn you can’t climb that?”

I’m a little harsher. When it tries to clean up and down the feet of our tables, I tell it to stop being rude and attempting to mate with the furniture. Also, it spends an inoridinate amount of time under the beds and it’s giving me a complex. “Cut it out, Roomba, or you’ll go blind!”
Lastly, I shut it into a room and tell it not to come out until it’s finished its chores. It keeps the cats very alert.