This Lower-Cost Roomba Needs Some Navigation Help

 wired.com  11/21/2020 13:00:00   Adrienne So

And thats all you can do. I had to double-check to make sure there were no mapping capabilities. Making a map of your house to set virtual boundaries and designate specific areas for cleaning was once a highly vaunted feature. It's now in many midrange vacuums though, so setting up tiny, expensive virtual wall barriers to protect the inside of my messy closet feels like a step backward.

Roller Derby

None of this is to say that even a basic iRobot vacuum isnt great. Rainbow Kitty has a run time of about 100 minutes, which is decent, and I measured the volume at a little over 60 decibels, which is quieter than most robot vacuums (I still wouldnt run it while I was in a virtual meeting). Its heavy and powerful enough to be one of the few robot vacuums leaving detailed ridges on my carpets as it cleans, almost exactly like my Dyson push vacuum.

Dirt Detect is as astounding as ever. One morning, I watched as the i3+ did orderly rows back and forth precisely over my living room carpet, thinking, What witchery is this? Trouble spots like our entryway and under my kids seats at the kitchen table were clear.

Rainbow Kitty also has iRobots distinctive green rubber carpet rollers. My daughter and I both have longish hair, which regularly gets snarled around the roller and side brushes on most vacuums. Slicing through hair rat kings with a pocket knife is one of the worst parts of vacuum maintenance, but iRobots rollers are squishy and don't have bristles. Its easy to slide hair off them without a bunch of grimacing, detangling, and cutting.

Also, I highly, highly recommend automatic bin disposal. I have two children of my own, four children every other day, a large dog that sheds, and two adults, all in a smallish 1,000-square-foot house. We are messy. It took about two longer runs for Rainbow Kitty to familiarize itself with the layout of my house, and then each cleaning run took 45 minutes. In that time, Rainbow Kitty usually empties the bin twice. After the weekend, it usually empties the bin within the first 10 minutes.

Without a bin sensor and bin disposal, your robot vacuum would just be dragging dust balls stuffed in the entry chute from one part of your house to the other. I run robot vacuums during the day because its my job. I can check my watch, leap up from my computer, and empty a robot vacuum bin at a moment's notice. Not everyone has that ability.

Map Quest

Photograph: Roomba
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