Are Roombas Worth It?

Roomba is an iRobot brand of self-driving robotic vacuum cleaners. They were first introduced in September 2002 and include a collection of sensors that allow them to navigate a home’s floor area. 

Obstacles, such as unclean patches on the floor and steep drops, can be detected using these sensors.

The Roombas are  manually operated by transporting the device to a  cleaning area and pushing a button.

Newer models added more cleaning options, like Spot, which cleans a small area, and Max, which vacuums indefinitely until the battery is gone. 

The third generation’s “Dock” mode tells the robot to look for a charging point to recharge. The modes’ availability varies by model. 

Most Roombas come with remote controllers, which allow an operator to steer the robot to places that need to be cleaned more thoroughly. 

Are you interested in buying your very own self-driving vacuum cleaner? Check out our guide to find out whether Roombas are really worth the money.

How Do Roombas Work?

Roombas are propelled by two separately run side wheels  that can propel the Roomba forward and back and make 360° revolutions in position. 

Dropping receptors sense if a wheel is too low, and encoders on the wheels may monitor the speed the wheels are rotating to identify if they’re stuck.

Undriven swivel casters are utilised as an extra sensor rather than for steering, as is commonly assumed. 

Roombas’ cleaning head is quite small. It’s usually between both the side wheels on most models.

On one side, a spinning multi-use brush sweeps waste into the cleaning head’s path, allowing it to vacuum a larger route and access corners and edges.

How Good Are Roombas At Navigating Rooms?

Prior to the introduction of the newer model Roombas, the spaces they vacuumed were not mapped out. iRobot developed a technique dubbed responsive cleaning technology. 

Room crossings, wall tracking, and random direction shifting after hitting into an item or wall are some of the simple techniques used. 

As a result, while Roombas are good at vacuuming spaces, they require longer than a human to complete the task. 

Some regions may be covered multiple times, while others may only be covered once maybe twice, and some areas may be missed entirely.

Are Roombas Worth It?

Roombas are a popular illustration of how randomised algorithms can work probabilistically, despite the fact that no individual run or many repeated runs can ensure success. 

In comparison to other similar products of the time,

Roomba’s randomized routing was equal with robot mapping technologies present on the market, and because it was cheaper to create and construct, it could be supplied at a substantially lower price.

Roombas possess a camera and a  infrared tracking sensor since the seventh generation, which are utilized to produce a floor map. 

This allows them to clean in a more effective forward-back sequence, which is quicker and more effective because it assures more comprehensive coverage without the need to vacuum a space several times. 

The infrared tracking sensor can give accurate movement information over short distances, but it can unfortunately produce drift, which is the accumulation of minor measurement mistakes across time. 

To correct this, the camera can be used to detect  landmarks, which are coarse locations used to adjust the Roombas’ location and map on a regular basis.

In order to map the room, Roombas’ camera needs some light. Roombas keep the map following every run, and use following runs to refine the map. 

Users can save multiple maps and update them to segregate and name locations, allowing them to get the Roomba to vacuum only that room.

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How Good Is The Roomba At Dealing With Obstacles?

The Roomba comes equipped with a special bumper that detects whether it has collided with an obstacle and will then shift directions. 

Roombas’ bottoms have infrared sensors that keep them from tumbling down ledges like stairwells. 

Extra forward-looking infrared sensors identify objects in newer vehicles. When the Roomba gets close to an object, these slow it down to reduce the impact. 

The sensors are also utilized to vacuum along walls without continuously hitting them. This technology can easily differentiate amongst soft and hard obstacles.

Most models have dirt sensors that let them identify areas with heavy dirt and the Roomba then concentrates on that area. 

How Effective Are Roombas At Cleaning?

Internal acoustic-based dirt detectors in most models, enable them to recognise extremely unclean locations and concentrate on those regions accordingly.

The optical sensor on the 4th and newer models allows identification of larger and smaller messes. 

Cleaning time is determined by the size of the room and, in the case of models with dirt detectors, the quantity of dirt. 

The area’s size must be specified for first-generation models, whereas succeeding models must either estimate the area’s size by calculating the longest clear run they could make without colliding with an obstacle or construct an exact map. 

Roombas, with the exception of first-generation models, will attempt to return to a charging point after cleaning or if the battery is nearly exhausted. 

Roombas that have the ability to create maps may also charge themselves and continue a cleaning task, allowing them to vacuum big areas that would require more battery than usual.

Roombas even allow scheduling, letting the owner to start cleaning at any moment.

Most models feature scheduling using on-unit buttons, but some models support scheduling via a remote or smartphone.

Deep carpet is not compatible with Roombas. They can also become tangled in rugs and wires.. Most models can swivel brushes to free themselves from tangled ropes and wires. 

Roombas are designed to fit underneath beds, chairs and sofas.

If the unit detects if it is trapped, can not detect the floor under it, or has ended up in a tight space from which it cannot escape, it will halt and sound an alert someone to its location. 

Early variants just used lighting to highlight certain issues, whereas newer models used a synthesised voice to proclaim an issue and a possible remedy.


Roombas are very effective at cleaning rooms, however, there are some issues with them such as the time they can take to clean a space, missing certain sections, problems with navigation and getting stuck behind or underneath objects. 

Roombas are also not compatible with deep carpets.

While they are a great piece of equipment if you have the extra money to spare, it may be worth using a standard vacuum rather than emptying your wallet depending on your home’s setup and how much free time you have to clean.