New and Improved iRobot Roomba: Does it Work? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New and Improved iRobot Roomba: Does it Work?

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New and Improved iRobot Roomba: Does it Work?
By: Lauren Keith

In 2004, we featured the hands-free and high-dollar Roomba vacuum on Does it Work Wednesday.  It got a grade 'B'.  Back then, our tester said it was too loud, it turned off while sweeping, and it didn't pick up well enough to justify the $200 price tag.  Now, the makers have an improved version---they call it the i-Robot Roomba.  Pam Robbins of Fredericktown has one. Let's see how well it works this time.

Pam simply presses the "Clean" button, and the iRobot starts talking!

"Roomba is a vacuum, with a corner cleaning side brush and a sensor.  It does the work for you, and you can clean somewhere else in your home," says the iRobot computerized voice.

That's cleaning in the 21st  century, if you ask me.  At least that's the promise made by the new iRobot Roomba.  This fifth-generation model alone costs $300.  That's well over the quarterly budget of my Does it Work segment!  So, when Pam told me she had one, I drove to Fredericktown to check it out myself.  After all, with this is a high-dollar product, you definitely want to know if it works, before you buy it!

Pam and I throw some cereal onto the carpet, because the new Roomba comes with a special spot-cleaning button.  You have the option of pressing that button, but you don't *have* to because its sensors actually know when it needs to stall out and do some deep-cleaning.

"And, see that virtual wall is keeping it from going in that room," says Pam as we watch the iRobot trace the floor.

When you place the "virtual walls" in a room, the iRobot won't sweep there, and when you remove the walls, it has no problem moving from ceramic floors to plush carpet.

"It's been one of the best gifts I've gotten.  I'm very happy," says Pam.

She admits she hates to vacuum, and this model has been a dream for her.  She still has to pick up any phone or electric cords before turning on the iRobot, so it doesn't tangle.  She's had it since Christmas, and says usually this model will clean for about a full hour before it docks itself and re-charges.  That's enough time for her to clean elsewhere in her home.

"It's really cut down on housework.  In the kitchen, I use it once a day because all the dirt that gathers.  I get done dusting, turn it on, and let it go," says Pam.

This model has only gotten stuck behind furniture a few times, but Pam says it actually worked itself out.  We saw that happen here, and in just a few minutes, the iRobot moved right on and kept cleaning.

"I think it's a grade 'A,' for its convenience, not having to do vacuum," says Pam.

It does appear the more this vacuum has been around, the more it has improved.  It may not be affordable for most, but this time around, the new and improved iRobot Roomba sweeps high marks and aces the Does it Work test.  There are many different models now offered by the Roomba company.  We tested the fifth generation model.  You can also buy models that mop your floor--that's called the Scooba, and there's another version of the iRobot that you can program to turn itself on and vacuum while you're not even at home!  Those all differ in price. 

In the Heartland, you can buy these vacuums at Target, Sears, Best Buy and some Wal-Mart stores.

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