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Friday, January 13, 2006


Reviews On Roomba


Looking for the perfect gift? Everyone loves Robots!

Today's blog entry concerns the iRobot Roomba 4100/4300 Intelligent Floorvac Robotic Vacuum. This robotic vacuum cleaner had a whopping 141 user reviews on Amazon at the time this analysis was done.

The Advanced Robotic Vacuum With Wireless Command Center.
Buy Roomba

[11-12-2007] Editor's note: If you read the comments you will see complaints from people that have owned their Roombas for quite some time. This can happen even with a product that gets favorable customer reviews when there are millions of units in the field. The best to solution is to get the Roomba from a vendor with an extended warranty plan. Hammacher Schlemmer offers the Roomba with a free product lifetime guarantee, approximately 9 years on consumer electronics like the Roomba robot.

General Notes

Before I get into the details of the , which are written by people that have purchased and own the product, a few brief comments.

The reviews of the Roomba were overwhelmingly positive, as you will see from the statistics. However, it definitely was a love/hate relationship. The bad reviews weren't a broad spectrum of scores, but instead tended to to be mostly 1 star ratings. What was also notable was a big patch of bad reviews that happened around January 2006. This could be due to a bad production run which does happen on occassion with high tech electronic items like robots.

Most of the complaints from bad reviewers had to do with people that had difficult to clean spaces; obviously a human is still going to do a better job here. The other complaints had to do with units that broke early and some people had trouble getting spare parts.

But that was a very small percentage of the reviews. Most people were absolutely delighted with the unit and were amazed at how much dirt it picked up; even difficult to handle dirt like cat hairs.

Detailed Statistics

General Rating Information

Overall the iRoomba received a 4.01 stars rating across all the user reviews. There were 106 good ratings and 28 bad ratings. Out of 401 total votes, 58% of the people that read the bad reviews felt they were helpful. Out of 1263 total votes, 96% of the people that read the good reviews felt they were helpful. If you filter out the reviews that most people felt were unhelpful, including those reviews that people didn’t even bother to vote on or only got a tiny fraction of the votes, the Roomba's rating rises to a 4.89 star rating.

Top Ranked Reviewers

Oddly enough, despite the popularity and techno-geek coolness of the product, there weren't any top ranked reviewers that reviewed this product.

Real Name Reviewers

The reviewers that used their real names made up 54% of the total reviewer pool. There were 57 good ratings in this category and 16 bad ones. They gave the iRoomba an average rating of 4.01 stars. Out of 175 total votes, 68% of the people that read the bad reviews felt they were helpful. Out of 937 total votes, 96% of the people that read the good reviews felt they were helpful. If you filter out the reviews that most people felt were unhelpful, including those reviews that people didn’t even bother to vote on or only got a tiny fraction of the votes, the Roomba's rating rises to a 4.92 star rating.

Anonymous Reviewers

Another oddity. Usually there at least some reviewers that choose to remain anonymous. Not so with the Roomba.

Kid Reviewers

There was only one review done by a kid and they loved it giving it a 5 star rating.

Good User Quotes

Bad User Quotes

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I am very disappointed in the quality of the Roomba and the customer support at iRobot. The machine worked very well while it was working, but after a few weeks of use it would no longer charge properly. I had to pay the shipping to send it back to iRobot, and have been waiting for over 8 weeks for them to ship back the replacement charger.
Sorry to hear that. Based on the statistics we crunched for the user reviews, it seems that for most people it works well but a few, like yourself, get lemons. Your comment on their technical support is of course troubling.

We don't make or sell the Roomba. iRobot does. We simply analyzed the hundreds of Amazon reviews for the product.
Breaks too quickly. My roomba boroke within a and a half year. There is no service center where it can be repaired. Even if I want to repair by myself I cannot do it since are no spare parts available :( I will definitely not recommend it unless you have enough money to buy a new one every 1-2 years.
I paid nearly $400 for a Roomba and it worked for about six months. There was no service (local or nationwide) available and it still sits in my closet today
I liked the Roomba at first, but within weeks parts were falling off and the charge would not hold long enough to vacuum even 1 small room. After just a few months, the battery would not hold a charge for more than 5 minutes and was essentially useless. The customer support seemed friendly and helpful, but it turned out it was just a song and dance before they told me I had to buy new parts. Also, keep in mind that you have to regularly clean the brushes and filter as well as dump the accumulated dirt. Overall, i didnt feel that the amount of money and time that went into maintaining it was worth the "so-called" conveniece of its ability to run by itself. I've replaced it with a low-end upright vacuum with a HEPA filter- it works better, its more reliable, was cheaper and costs essentially nothing to maintain, and although i have to run the vacuum myself, it takes less of my time overall. best of luck to all of you,but my recommendation is a strong "DON"T BOTHER"!
My wife and I found the Roomba a great help, especially in the kitchen with all the hair from our two dogs. It takes a little patience, but it made our house cleaner with not too much work. However... It broke after 14 months of thrice-weekly use. (Plastic gears stripped.) IRobot wouldn't repair it and offered to sell a new one for about $190. I bought it, but it took a month to arrive. They need to get both their longevity and support act together.
My dad bought my mother her roomba for christmas because that's what she wanted. At first it worked great, but then it wouldn't hold a charge. So my dad ordered a new battery, which he had to pay for by the way,and that didn't help. Customer service said there wasn't anything they could do but sell him a replacement Roomba for 99.00. One of the representatives he spoke to over the phone told my dad that the roomba only lasted about two years. So, unless you can afford 300.00 or 400.00 bucks every 6 months or so, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY!
One thing I noticed looking at Roomba reviews on epinions site is that many of the positive reviews were from people who had recently purchased a Roomba, but the negative reviews were mostly from people who had had for several months typically 3-6 months) and were now experiencing breakdowns. NOTE: I didn't try to break down the numbers; but I think a more detailed analysis, looking not just at number of positive and negative reviews, but also time-frame when that information is available, would be useful.
My family loves it already, and we've only used it twice!
Our experience with Roomba already is just fantastic!
It's really worth it's price!
I love it at first because it can clean and I don't have to do any work. Then every 2 weeks, I have to take the unit apart, remove hair, and use another vacuum to clean the unit. It was very messy and hassle. If they have something like vacuum bag that I just replace, that might be better. Then after 1 year, the unit break down. IRobot willing to send me a second unit. Then after few months, the unit break again. This time, they said the battery is bad, and the unit is out of warranty. I email back and forth with their customer service, but they are not willing to send me a replacement battery. I don't want to buy new battery because I know it will break down again in a few months, and it is out of warranty any way. If you are considering getting one, make sure you are willing to get dirty and remove hair, dirt weekly, and make sure you can extended warranty. Unit only good for 1 or 2 years max and Irobot only have warranty for 1 year. I do not recommend getting one now until they can improve the reliability and give 5 years warranty on repair.
I thought the Roomba was a great idea, and was impressed with how well it cleaned. However, it was a disappointment. The battery only lasted 45 minutes, which it took to clean one room. I think. Because I was under the impression that it turned itself off when it was done cleaning a room. However, mine just kept vacuuming until it ran out of battery, about 45 minutes. Does that mean it never got finished with even one room, or that it doesn't turn itself off when it's done? Either way, I had to use an upright to vacuum the rest of the house. Eventually, I got to the point of not even bothering with the Roomba.
It worked fine at first but after a 4 months it wouldn't charge, seems to be the norm. It was a refurbished model so it only had a 90 day warranty. It was just out of warranty, Customer support were friendly but would only offer a discount a new unit. Not worth the money or hassle.
I am also disappointed with the Roomba Discovery. Mine lasted 13 months (one month after warranty expired). I bought a new battery but it still wouldn't hold a charge. After many conversations with the customer service people at IRoomba, I gave up. Seems like all they wanted to do was sell me a new one for a few dollars off the original price which I declined to do. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!
I recently purchased the Robot Roomba 4210 Discovery Vacuuming Robot. I LOVE IT! Works great so far. Of course I've only had it a few days. I have health issues and this helps me tremendously.
I WAS thinking of buying a Roomba for Christmas, NOT ANYMORE-this vacuum sounds like a piece of junk and the customer service is NOT very helpful. Doesn't this company realize word of mouth advertising is soooo important! I will be telling all my friends about this information and this web site. Thank you very much, I just saved at least $300.
I was also thinking of buying a Roomba for Christmas and decided against it. Hopefully, IRobot sees this site and will improve upon the design-especially the battery life. Thanks for saving me the money!
i just purchased discovery today and i am not impressed, it missed spots and battery ran out, it's charging right now. one big headache. Does anyone know if you can take them back and get a refund? I have hardwood laminate and three dogs and the old fashioned way is alot more thorough . Thanks
my mom was going to buy one for herself me and my two sisters for christmas. ill tell her to save her money after reading this site.
I bought the Roomba yesterday and am returning it today. We charged it for the required 16 hours and then pushed the clean button. After a few minutes my wife and I looked at each other and said "It doesn't look like it's actually cleaning anything." So I took a little dog hair, set it right in front of the unit as it "cleaned" our hardwood floors; it rolled right over the top without so much as disturbing the hair. I repeated the experiment a couple of more times with the same result each time. The Roomba 530 is the most disappointing and overhyped product I've ever bought.
I just purchased a new battery for my Roomba 4100. Though it is an older model, it was brand new when I purchased it a year ago. When it ceased to operate, we thought it only required a new battery. After the new rechargeable battery was installed, it did not take the charge and all we got was a constant red blinking light. I called the company requesting information. They kept me on hold for close to an hour and I got fed up and hung up. I tried to email my questions to them, but they only accept technical support questions from customers with newer models. So much for that. Customer service is not up to par and I would not recommend buying any of their products, especially when they are only concerned with selling and not repairing. Anonymous
I purchased a Roomba Discovery 4210 in March of '07. A few weeks ago it started having difficulty holding its charge. I tried calling iRobot several times, but due to the excessive (over 40 mins.) I had to give up. I contacted them on Dec. 28th via email. Nothing. Follwed up on Jan.4th. No response. Again, contacted via email on Jan. 8th. On the 9th I finally recieved an email asking me some more specific questions about the nature of my issue. Today I recieved an email telling me to hold the power button down for 5 seconds then plug the Roomba directly into the charger and cahrge for 72 hrs. After that run it on Max cycle. If the charge lasts 5 min longer repeat the process. Um, excuse me? I paid a good deal of money for this product. I'm not on salary with iRobot last I checked. It is still under warranty. Send me a new product.

Also, they seem to know that this is a flaw in their product. When I finally got someone on the phone today to let them know how incredibly unhappy I am with their product and customer service, they explained that they used to have people send them in, but it became too time consuming for both parties. I agreed to do a 72 hr charge, but that is the extent of my work for irobot. If this doesn't fix the problem they ARE going to sned me a new robot or they will give me my hard earned money back. I'm through with the run around.
In November we returned the Roomba within days of receiving it and followed all the directions on sending it back, etc. I have proof of delivery they received the item and they are still charging my credit card each month. I have denied the charges hoping this make them resolve the issue. Think twice about dealing with these people. The hold time is over one hour and then you get the party line from the customer service rep without any closurer. Emails are also a waste of time.
I have had a roomba for two years. Several times had to use customer service during warranty period and problem was resolved. Now it is over the this period, and they have advised me I have to replace the unity....worse part is bnought one for a friend and my two daughters, and it is embarassing. A vacuum lasts alot longer than two years. I also will spread the word about this product. I agree they know exactly the problem, but it is costly to fix, and good for them for you to buy one every two years! Yes, this is a lemon, but I think it is only not working after two years and not meant to go beyond that point.zcwofmnz
thanks for the info. thought about buying one, but definitely will not. i can't afford to purchase a new vacuum every 1-2 years. i've had my current vacuum for approx. 6 years & still works just fine. guess i'll have to continue vacuuming myself. oh well.
Well, I'm another dissatisfied customer. I got my Roomba for Christmas 2007. Ran it about twice a week, and now, in March 2008, it will run approximately 3-4 minutes, stop, and say "Please remove and clean Roomba's brushes". That's all it says. I've done that until I'm tired of doing it. It doesn't appear to be picking up any dust or dirt either. I guess there's no need in contacting Customer Service. It appears that work about as well as their product. Shame!!!
My Roomba worked great for 2 months. Then pet hair fouled the gears in the brush assembly. iRobot sent me a new brush assembly under warrenty. Now after a few weeks our second brush assembly is fouled with pet hair. If you have pets this is not the vacuum for you.
I'm so glad I stumbled across this site before taking the plunge! I have hardwood, a Collie, and a two year old, and I have to vacuum every single day to keep on top of the dust bunnies. I saw a Roomba at a local store and had dreams of unleashing it every day while I was at work and then coming home to clean floors. That COULD happen, I guess...but apparently only for a few months until it broke down. Not good enough. Instead, I'll put the $400 I would've wasted on the Roomba and put it towards a central vacuum, which I was half-debating purchasing in the first place. Now it's decided...
I have owned my Roomba for a year and 5 months. I bought the least expensive version. It has worked like a charm. I know nothing is magic. I know that I need to empty it's dirt filter just like the one I have on my other sweepers. I use it to patrol my kitchen and family room. I have even used it after I cleaned a room just to prove to my husband how well it hits places I miss.I just purchased one for my daughters birthday. I am sure any day now I am going to have to invest another $200 for a new one. It will worth every penny. It's great on dog hair and sand. I live on the beach and it's amazing how much sand gets tracked in.
I love it! I hope this time I don't get a lemon :)
I have the roomba 500 series and like many other owners was initially over the moon with the cleaning capabilities. However, there remains a design flaw in that the rubber roller lacks the yellow hair guard that is found on the brush roller.
The yellow washers protecting the gears found on the brush roller makes for simple cleaning but the rubber roller lacts such protective washers and so picking dog hair out with tweezers and manicure scissors after every use can very tedious in what should be a fantastic machine. Come on guys,this should be a simple fix, please get on it so I can recommend this machine!
I have the roomba 500 series and like many other owners was initially over the moon with the cleaning capabilities. However, there remains a design flaw in that the rubber roller lacks the yellow hair guard that is found on the brush roller.
The yellow washers protecting the gears found on the brush roller makes for simple cleaning but the rubber roller lacts such protective washers and so picking dog hair out with tweezers and manicure scissors after every use can very tedious in what should be a fantastic machine. Come on guys,this should be a simple fix, please get on it so I can recommend this machine!
I too loved my roomba, however I needed to send back the shell as the brush/socket holder was incorrect and I've now waited 75 days and have not received a replacement and/or any information from their customer report. I've emailed them twice since with no response...other than ads. Very disappointing
I have two refurbished Roomba "Reds" purchased from Amazon approx. two years ago. They both work fine, however, they did sit idle for approx. one year (don't ask why). I love them, but have had Roomba in the past and find it has a lifespan of approx. 1 year with daily or near daily use (I have a shedding dog and long-haired cat). I factor that into the cost and find it cheaper than maid service. I also buy refurbished.

WHY do I purchase. Because I know myself. I will not use a standard vacuum more than once a week (even though my house NEEDS it) and even if I hired a service, at $50-75 a pop, THEY would only vacuum once a week. With Roomba, my floors stay clean, my children breathe easier, and I am not embarrassed when friends drop by.

Still, if someone from Roomba is reading this. If you are going to sell a product that is this "disposable", pay us something to return it to you so you can salvage parts (instead of filling landfills) and LOWER the price!!
I purchased 2 roobmbas in November of 2007. In Feb/March the battery in one is shot and had to be repalced, 3 months after purchase. Irobot did replace it after going through the hoops. now in August 2008, 10 months after initial purchase my other battery is shot and irobot will not replace it. "70 dollars" is what they tell me for a battery that will last a couple months if im lucky!! Will never purchase irobot again, would not recomend to anyone unless they feel like wasting money!
I have a Roomba 4188 that I purchased 3 years ago and run it at least a couple of times a week. It was the only way I could keep up with the massive "dog" bunnies! I finally had to purchase a battery about six months ago and now it's fine, other than I lost the bearing coupler off the beater bar, which, unbeknownst to me, caused the gear to "wallow out" (my fault). I superglued the bar back in and now it works fine, but I went ahead and ordered a new 535 since I know it won't last forever. Still, I would recommend it to anyone. It won't replace your big vac, but it sure is amazing how much crap it picks up every time, even when I think my floors are clean! It cleans my entire 1600sf on one charge and I've discovered that you can gently wash/dry the filters and they will last forever. I've never bought any filters or brushes.
After hearing all these complaints about the roomba, and aswell as doing my assessment, befor i like'd the roomba but now i think it is "SHIT"... i am never going to buy one of these from all the complaints..thank you for telling me how shit this product is.

Thank's guys..xoxo
OK , I must be the queen of Roombas! I bought the original grey model when it first came out. It was great but, died about 6 months into it. IRobot replaced it. I bought the green one a short time later thinking I'd have one upstairs and one downstairs. The 2nd grey one immediately broke and was not fixable. The green one was still going strong so I thought,"OK, these have got to be getting better." So, I bought a white Discovery on sale. They are now all dead except the green one. It is on its last legs-very noisey, slow, confused. I agree with all of the early users-Roomba is a great machine. I also agree with all of the more experienced users-they just don't last long enough and Yes, @#! they are a pain to clean. The irobot staff has always been wonderful! I noticed the new 500 series today...but I know I'm talking a lot of money for 1 to 1.5 year's usage. I'm not sure it's worth it. It is cheaper than a housekeeper but.....
Roomba is a huge disappointment. My Roomba worked great for 2 months. Then the brush assembly suddenly stopped working. IRobot sent me a new brush assembly under warranty and after three weeks the new brush assembly stopped working. I do not have any pets so the brush assembly will stop working even if there is not pet hair on the brushes. I have been trying for two months to contact them and they are not returning my emails. This was a waste of money.
I loved my Roomba when it was working. Unfortunately, like most of the others commenting here, my Roomba was working less often than it was broken. I purchased my Roomba in 2006 or 2007. Within the first year, I dealt with customer service via phone several times. For the first two problems, I eventually received replacement parts. For the third problem, I was told to return my Roomba for replacement. I don't remember whether I had to pay to ship it back, but do remember that it took over three months to receive the replacement Roomba, which was sent without a replacement charger. It took month or two to receive the replacement charger. Within a few months, the replacement Roomba malfunctioned, but, of course, now it was out of warranty. I have replaced the battery twice. Now, despite a new battery and going through the deep discharge process, the Roomba shuts off immediately when it's turned on. In response to my recent email, I was told I could buy a new one at a discounted price. Yeah, right! I hate throwing things away, but have finally realized this is a sinking ship. Save yourself time, aggravation, and money, and do not buy a Roomba.
I loved my Roomba 550 at first. After about 3 months the unit had to be replaced and I was mailed another unit under warranty (I am guessing the "new" unit was refurbished). I have to admit this was pretty painless. BUT 1 month after the year warranty expired, the whole unit is broken. It is designed well so that parts can be replaced, but in my case the brain needs to be replaced. They offered me an out of warranty "sale" price on a new roomba but I just can't afford to replace a Roomba every year. So sad that it's going to end up in a landfill, there is so much potential for this kind of product.
I love my Roomba. I have had it for over a year and the battery still lasts about an hour and a half, which is more than enough time for my living room and bedroom. When I empty the bin in the Roomba I notice more dirt/dust/small particles than I notice when I empty my regular vacuum cleaner. I am considering getting another for my basement.
In reading all of these posts and having my own experience, it is obvious that the business model for iRobot is to sell a product that lasts for about a year and then attempt to sell a refurbished model to the unsuspecting out-of-warranty owner.

This is a simple case of battery management and fine compnenets in a harsh environment - they will NOT last. Initially, when everything is clean and new, it works acceptably well - within months (depending on usage) or a year, the components break, the circuitry fails (from bumping into things constantly) and the battery dischargers to the point it can't be charged again.

I highly recommend avoiding robotic appliances that use self-contained energy stores (batteries) until a better, longer-lasting energy source is available - Lithium Ion batteries just can't handle the job iRobot has laid before them.
I am very disappointed with the iRobot Roomba and the company's return / replacement policy. Our roomba stopped working less than a week after we purchased it (we paid over $300 for it), and customer service wants us to pay more for a replacement instead of sending a refund / exchange for it while the warranty period still applies. DO NOT TELL THEM ANYTHING OTHER THAN the Roomba simply stops working, and they will send you a replacement, otherwise if you provide them with detail information (e.g. there is anything on the floor while the roomba is vacumming prior to failing, etc.), they will immediately void their 1-year warranty and will not send you a replacement for it. This is how this company chooses to treat honest customers in order to get away with not replacing defective / damaged product that doesn't work well.
Loved our Roomba for the first month...then it kept stopping, apparently the new 500 series has a problem with the brushes and hair. I have now waited over a month for a replacement part that was supposed to be here in 7-10 days! Spoke the India AGAIN today and they have a record of the order, but not idea where it shipped to. On top of that I was misled...there is a difference between the warranty and the 30 day offer for a full refund! If I had not been ill advised I would simply returned it when the probelm started! For a vacuume that you are paying this kind of money for, the product should not break down within a month and customer service needs to proved ah, customer service!
I too was a roomba fan at first. In fact, for almost the 1st year it worked great. I didn't mind emptying the bin or cleaning the rollers. Then, it quit working--all of the dirt stuck in the filter and wouldn't go into the bin. I received little help in fixing the problem (all on-line) as there is no repair center. I broke down and bought another one. This one only lasted about 9 months--now the battery won't take a charge. It shows that the battery is charged (green light), but when you turn it on, the roomba beeps that the battery is run down. I am done with them now. But I wish they could have made them better as they are the perfect thing to vacuum under beds, sofas, etc. Even if they had repair centers within driving distances every so often, it would help. Disappointed user--loved the product, but can't afford to buy a new one every year.
Oh come on, what's going on here? Roomba-bashing? It's a very complex product that can't be compared to a standard upright that just has ONE moving part; the vacuum-fan. Of course this thing will last longer than a high-tech roomba. On the other hand, roomba saves you hundreds of hours of household work a year and therefore it "only" costs 300 USD. My time is more valuable to me than what a new roomba will cost every two years. As an alternative you may buy the Electrolux Trilobite - it will cost 1800.- Dollars, that's the price of six (!) brandnew roombas. The Trilobite will not reach into corners as it has no rotating brushes on it's side, it will not get under your furniture as it's almost twice as high as the roomba.
And when warranty is over, Electrolux will not give anything for free either.
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
I have had my Roomba Discovery for over 2 years. I recently had to replace the battery but other than that it is is still working fantastically. I read through the majority of these reviews (mostly negative) and have a few comments.

The Roomba is not a full sized vacuum cleaner and is not supposed to be used for heavy use (it has a very small intake for dust/debris etc.). It works best when used for upkeep after you have already given it a thorough cleaning with a regular vacuum cleaner. If used in the manner which I have suggested, you would only need to use a regular vacuum cleaner every couple of weeks (I have 2 young sons and and puppy).

With regards to the comments about the battery life, you cannot ever leave the roomba unplugged for long periods of time or else the battery will die! When not in use the Roomba has to be plugged in at all times. I have read through several blogs and the best way to extend the battery life is to run the unit on max until the battery is fully discharged. After the battery is fully discharged plug the cord directly into the roomba instead of the base unit (the roomba charges better if it is charged this way.)

I purchased my battery from Amazon instead of IRobot. The battery is cheaper and works just as well.

Also, Roomba is a computer. If you read through the manual or check the IRobot site, it will explain how to reset the computer on your unit so that the battery can recharge properly. But remember, all batteries eventually die ... even rechargeable ones!

This product has worked far and beyond any normal expectations that I initially had. I am surprised at the number of negative reviews here and I hope some of my suggestions have helped.
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