Roomba - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Does It Work Wednesday

Roomba

Roomba
By: Amy Jacquin

How'd you like to clean your floor, without actually doing the work? Makers of the Roomba automatic vacuum promise hands-free results.

The $200 Roomba comes with a re-chargeable battery, which takes up to 12 hours to charge. It also has a battery-operated "virtual wall unit" which sends a harmless beam across the doorway, which the Roomba will not cross.

Pam Mungle has two cats and a dog inside the house, so she vacuums just about every day. She likes the idea of a vacuum that will do the work, while SHE does something else.

Choosing "small, medium, or large" tells the Roomba how big a room you have, and determines it's pattern and timing. The Roomba works on an algorithm based pattern... Starting in spirals before searching for a wall and then zig-zagging across the room. Makers say it'll clean hard floors, and low or medium-piled carpets... It's not recommended for thick carpets, and cannot be used on wet messes.

The Roomba is not leaving marks on furniture or walls. It's supposed to sense stairs, and automatically turn away, but Pam's stairs pose a problem. Anytime it gets stuck, like on the stairs or in tight spots, it beeps for five minutes before turning itself off.

If the dirt or hair is too far to the side, it automatic vacuum does not pick it up. But we saw numerous times where the Roomba missed it once, only to get it later... We also notice that some hair sticks to the bottom of the Roomba, and when it goes up on to a rug, it wipes off on the edge of the rug... But again, Roomba later picked-up the hair.

We empty the dirt bin after about 20 minutes, and it was pretty full!

Next we try Roomba on a medium-pile carpet, and Pam is impressed. It gets under a very low chair, and picks up quite a few crumbs.

At $200, the Roomba is expensive. It got stuck on the stairs several times, which it's not supposed to do. And it's pretty loud. But it does pick-up hair and loose dirt, though it's NOT intended to replace your normal vacuum. So overall, we give the Roomba a B.

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