iRobot Roomba 530 buttons

My husband finally convinced me to buy a Roomba 530.  So, I thought I’d write this review to help other wives in my situation (wives that have husbands that want a robot, just because it’s a robot).

What were my initial concerns?

I didn’t want a vacuuming robot because:

  1. I thought it was just for show and wouldn’t vacuum as advertised. There was no way I could believe that this little electronic device would vacuum efficiently, much less remain intact after running into walls, furniture and various other household objects (shoes, etc.). 
  2. The prices for these little robots were extremely high. We are a young couple, married only 1 year, and I didn’t want to spend $400+ on a vacuum that wasn’t guaranteed to do the job (not that we even had $400+ to spend on a robot toy). Let’s face it, my husband just wanted to buy it so he could play with a robot.
  3. I heard that you have to constantly clean them out and that their battery charges don’t last long at all. I didn’t want to have to work harder cleaning my vacuum then the vacuum actually worked picking up dirt off our floors. Also, I didn’t want it to take a week (1 room a day) to clean our apartment, as many reviews said it took 8 hours to charge after the battery died in about 15 minutes.

What ultimately convinced me to buy the thing?

  1. My husband’s birthday was coming up and I had no idea for a gift. He brought it up, and I thought I would consider it if we could find a good price.
  2. We earned enough PNC Points to get a $100 Amazon gift card for free. Anything bought on Amazon would actually be $100 less than advertised. I liked that.
  3. I realized we weren’t vacuuming… ever. My husband generally did the vacuuming and he informed me that the vacuum we had was not working properly and it ended up leaving a burning smell throughout our apartment. It was definitely time for a new vacuum.
  4. We did a lot of research and found a refurbished Roomba on Amazon listed at $250.  It all basically came down to the fact that the price was right, considering our situation with the Amazon gift card.

iRobot Roomba 530 docking stationWhat do I think of the Roomba?

  1. First of all, the name is no longer Roomba. We chose to call him Little Walter (my husband came up with this name based on a Stephen King book). Needless to say, we are very happy to have him in our apartment. (I’m sure we aren’t the only ones who created a name for their robot).
  2. I didn’t realize how dirty our floors were before letting this little guy run around for a while. I have long hair and our apartment is fully carpeted (besides the kitchen and bathroom).  I didn’t know how much of my hair was all over the apartment until I cleaned out the brushes for the first time. When we got the package in the mail, it was very simple to understand. Before letting it do anything, we charged it completely. Then, I sent it around our living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. It went over all of these areas 1 time and a simple message told us to clean Roomba’s brushes.  So, I simply turned him over and removed his brushes in complete shock at how much he had picked up in just 1 pass.  The refurbished model that we got didn’t come with a cleaning brush, so I just use my husband’s pocket knife to cut the hair out (very simple process) and my hands to get the dust out. It’s not complicated to clean it out at all. In fact, I think an old comb would work just fine, if you’d prefer not to use your hands. I don’t mind cleaning it out, because it beats having to lug a huge heavy vacuum around the house. Roomba gets in areas that I would not have been able to get into with a bigger vacuum. I was certain that he wouldn’t be able to get under our dining room table with the chairs all tucked in under the table as well, but he did! He maneuvered around enough that he eventually got under the chairs and the table in order to clean it completely, meaning I didn’t have to move the furniture around.  I have never heard the “clean the brushes” message since the first time I used Roomba. However, I have stopped him when I think he probably has full brushes. It’s very easy to stop, clean the brushes, and let him resume cleaning. I even let him get under the bed, which was nice because we haven’t vacuumed under there in over a year. One thing to mention is that he picks up a lot of dust, so cleaning him means being exposed to a large amount of dust in one area.  We have to manually empty the bin of dust/dirt that he collects, but it has never spilled onto the floor and is easy to transport to a trash can.  There is a filter that prevents all the dust from coming back out of the Roomba and you have to clean this as well.  Our refurbished model came with an extra filter, so ideally we should be cleaning one filter while the other one is being used while Roomba cleans. Again, this is a very easy process to take out the filter and clean it. The dust/dirt can either be blown out with some canned air or cleaned with water in the sink.  We did this once and it worked really well. We made sure the filter was completely dry before using it again. iRobot Roomba 530 bottom
  3. He finds his charger generally every time he needs to charge.  The only exception is when he is very far away from it, and he will just stop with his reddish orange light showing he needs to be charged. There is a handle on top that makes it easy to pick him up and carry him anywhere. 
  4. We haven’t used the virtual wall yet because it takes C batteries (I don’t know who keeps C batteries around the house). We haven’t even needed to use it because we just close doors if we don’t want him traveling all over the house. I’m sure it would be helpful for people who have areas that they don’t want covered. I don’t have to worry about him damaging furniture. He is very gentle about bumping into things and even has a little bumper to let him know when he hits an object. This 530 model also is upgraded from previous models because he actually senses objects in front of him and will slow down before he hits them. Generally, he will slightly run into table legs and other objects in his way and clean around them with ease.
  5. I was worried about cords all over the floor. In our office, beside the computer, we have cords everywhere. I tested him out in this area and he never once got caught on the cords. He easily maneuvers around the cords, doesn’t tear them up or pull them. It was reassuring to know I didn’t have to pick up or unplug all the cords before letting him clean in the office. Now, I can just let him have at it with no worries. However, he did stop when a paper towel was stuck in one of his brushes and we found him tilted on a leg of our keyboard stand, which is about an inch off the ground. I have seen him roll over a cable cords just fine, an xbox controller cord and any rugs just fine. He will even shut off his rollers to try to escape the object hindering his movement or try to reverse out of the situation.
  6. We have both noticed much cleaner floors, even in the kitchen. We used to sweep, but now it’s not necessary. Roomba does just as well in the kitchen as he does on the carpet and the area rug in our living room. We don’t have stairs, so I don’t know how he does not falling down stairs. If you have any doubts, buy the Roomba 530. You won’t be disappointed.

      iRobot Roomba 530 Cleaning