I own a Roomba Discovery. I resisted for a very long time after hearing that someone made a robot vacuum. But then I replaced the carpet in the house with laminate flooring. Did you know that carpet keeps fine dust and dog fur from sticking to your bare feet as walk through the house? Well, it does. Did you know that fur tends to slide across laminate floors until it forms a huge fur-bunny in the corner of the room? Well, it does.
So I gave in and ordered a Roomba from Amazon.com, taking advantage of free shipping and whatever discount Amazon.com gets to give you. When I set it up, it worked really well. It made cute little sounds, it found its way into all the rooms throughout the house (4 bedrooms, 1 dining room, 1 kitchen, 1 living room – to let it loose in the dog room would be Roomba abuse) AND found its way back to its little docking station, again playing a cute little tune like “Ta da! I finished my work and now I’m charging up to go again!” It did get hung up on a bathroom rug, but I overlooked it because it makes the saddest little “bee-boop, bee-boop, help, I’m stuck” noise until you come and get it or it runs out of power. Then it got stuck under the bed – well, not so much stuck but kept bumping into the bed supports and couldn’t get out to recharge and then ran out of battery power. But I still loved the little guy. What really ended my Roomba use and kept the Dyson out all the time was the fact that cleaning the brushes was a pain in the behind. All that dogs fur got wound around the brush and the rotating ends, making it not only hard to pull off but also causing so much friction that one of the caps melted down. It still worked, but it also now winds up with fur more easily. I’d have to cut the fur with the letter-opener-like cleaning tool, then manually pull it all off the brush working over laid out newspaper. Then I’d shake out the dust bin outside and put it all back together. Every single time I ran the Roomba. Pain. In. The. Butt.
I kept going back to the iRobot.com site to see if anyone had figured out a solution to this problem. I noticed they had come out with a Roomba for Pets! But what was the difference? What had they fixed to alleviate this hair-pulling problem? And, more importantly, did I really have to buy a whole different Roomba?
Well, I’m glad to say that the main difference (that I can tell from forum posts and the site description) is that they changed the brush AND the cleaning tool. Even better, you can retrofit your existing Rooma with the new brush (and wire guard) for only $40 with the Upgrade Kit.
For $50, you can get a replacement brush, rubber roller, spinning brush, cleaning tool and 3 filters with the Roomba for Pets Replenishment Kit. However, if you need to upgrade your regular Roomba, you need this wire guard that is in the Upgrade Kit. The new brush is slightly larger in diameter than the old brush, so the new wire guard is shaped to fit it. The new brush won’t work with the old wire. What’s more important is that you can’t buy the new cleaning tool all by itself. You have to buy it with one of the kits (or the new Roomba for Pets).
How does it perform? Well, I don’t know about the performance of the new brush, but the new cleaning tool is a genius piece of plastic. You basically slide it over the brush and it “strips” the fur off. Now, after weeks of not vacuuming and then sending the Roomba into the war zone, I had to go over the brush 3 times with the cleaning tool to get the fur off. But! It was much less messy to do and way easier to get the brush clean. Maybe the new brush is designed so the fur comes off easier, too? Plus, you just pull the ball of fur out of the end of the cleaning tool and throw it away. I didn’t even break a sweat doing it. I’ll still have to clean the Roomba every time I run it, but now it will take less time and be less frustrating for me. I’m sure T will appreciate the cleaner floors.
So, for all your pet owners who have been debating on whether to buy a Roomba or just stick with your Dyson (which, by the way, it the best upright vacuum I know of and well worth the money), rest assured that they have now produced a Roomba that will work with the mounds of pet fur. Go buy a Roomba for Pets and let the vacuuming get done while you’re out of the house!