Since we’re still in 2015, I’m still going to talk about robot vacuum cleaners, which are supposed to sell like the best next gadget after smartphones, starting with 2018. One of the companies renowned in this industry field is iRobot, a 15 years old entity which produces at the moment not only home robots, but also business and even security & defense robots. The innovative iRobot Roomba 880 is a dedicated robotic vacuum cleaner that has been designed with their latest technology, developed over 6 generations of robovacs. If you’ll ask me, the best feature of the product is that it has a small size, that makes it easy to move around the room without knocking on the furniture. But this product is so much more. Here are the key things you’ll learn from my brief study:
- what are the Pros and the Cons of this unit
- how to setup the robot vacuum
- how to get along with Roomba 880
- where to find a decent price
Check out the 30 seconds teaser from iRobot:
Still not enough? Here are some pics I took with my iPhone:
The bottom line is that Roomba 880 looks really good. They even won a design award from RedDot, but iRobot wins these on a yearly basis, so there’s that.
The suction power
One of the amazing features of this vacuum cleaner is the suction power, which is slightly higher than of most robot vacuum cleaners. It can clean better, especially due to its new internal structure and its new brushroll design (the counter rotating tangle-free extractors), which act like a sealed channel. iRobot calls it the AeroForce System, and claims it provides a suction power 5 times bigger than that of a normal cleaner.
The input power
Another thing you’d love about this vacuum cleaner is that it has a flexible input power. It can be powered by either 110 or 220 volts, meaning that you can use this product anywhere in the world, without worrying about any electric short-circuit. But this is not all. By far, the most important achievement is the quality increase in batteries, which can now be used for twice the charging cycles (XLife Extended Life Battery). The Ni-MH batteries run at 14.4V/3000mAh. And they last longer too, 50% longer as iRobot claims.
The dust capacity
Another amazing thing is that this robovac has more dust capacity than previous Roomba models. Even though it is a small device, it is capable of holding a good amount of dust (14 oz). The dustbin has been increased by almost 60%, so that gives you a comfortable cleaning time. You will not need to empty it frequently and due, you will practically get a better autonomy. A dirt sensor will alert you when it’s time to empty the bin. Make sure you clean this sensor from time to time, in order to have it work properly.
The navigation system
With Roomba 880, iRobot has reach the second generation of iAdapt navigation systems. A mix of several systems come to ensure the success of this technology. For starters, the Dirt Detect sensor (Series 2) figures out just how dirty your floor is, and commands the robot back and forth until the mess is eradicated. The company calls this strategy the Persistent Pass Cleaning. Secondly, the robot can follow wall lines (thanks to its Wall-Following technology) and clean right to the edges, using the spinning side brush which basically pushes the dirt into the path of the extractors. Same as older generations of Roomba, this model can also vacuum from room to room and automatically return to its charging base when the batteries are depleted. And the perks just keep on going. This robot won’t fall off your stairs, thanks to its cliff-detection sensors. If you want to prevent it from accessing certain areas of your home, you can use the virtual walls beacons. If the bumpers sense contact with furniture, Roomba will automatically deal with this situation. And curtains or bed skirts can be easily pushed around. There are however some negatives. One weak point you have to know: the Roomba 880 doesn’t work very well on dark surfaces, because it perceives them as holes.
The filtration system
This vacuum cleaner has a very efficient filtration system, thanks to the advanced technology that it uses. If you have a pet in your house or you’re an allergic or asthmatic person, you won’t have to worry when you get this special device. Actually, you shouldn’t even be concerned about this. You will clearly be better due to the fact that you will have your floors always clean. Anyway, iRobot deployed a HEPA filter, just to make sure.
The sound levels
It’s definitely much quieter than previous Roombas. The sound levels measure between 66 and 70 db, depending on the vacuumed surface. Vacuuming bare floors is a bit louder than vacuuming carpets. 70db is however still high IMO, and as I was saying a few weeks ago, there are other models which make less sound, but luckily you can program it to vacuum when you’re not at home.
The weight and dimensions
The Roomba 880 is a small device. Basically, it only weighs 8.4 pounds, almost the size of a laptop, although it doesn’t really matter, since you won’t be lifting it a lot. Still, you can easily carry it to the room you need to be cleaned. It has a diameter of about 13.9 inches and a height of 3.6 inches, which means it can crawl under most pieces of furniture. But there’s a certain aspect of these dimensions which most of you would have never thought about: the PRI – Pet Robot Interaction. As it turns out, there are cats who like to “travel by robot”. In this case, I’ll have to warn you that only one cat can sit comfy on top of the Roomba 880. The others might sleep off thanks to its convex rooftop. You should also expect a slight decrease in the battery life, since the motors have to support more weight (I’d say about 15-20% decrease in autonomy for 5 pounds of riding pet).
The warranty is reliable. It comes with a limited warranty from the manufacturer, split in 2: the robot itself and the battery. The robot has a 1-year warranty, while the battery can be returned the first 6 months. Thanks to additional merchant services such as Bed Bath and Beyond’s warranty or Amazon prime, you can return it in the first 30 days, no questions asked.
iRobot packed its latest product with all the accessories you’ll ever need from a robot vacuum. Besides the 880 unit, you’ll find inside the box the charging base and the 2 virtual wall beacons. These two accessories help to control the device within your home. Another thing you’ll get is the remote control, which has a point-to-clean functionality. Last but not least, you’ll get 3 additional HEPA filters, 2 additional rotating side brushes and the product manual/quick starting guide.
The special features
One of the common things about this device is that it holds some special features, such as the tangle-free extractors. These are maintenance-free brushes that allow the vac to clean hair perfectly, without any difficulties, no matter how long it is. The Auto Docking feature allows the cleaner to go back to the Home Base, where it docks for recharging, which is pretty common for a 2015 unit.
When people hear about a robot, most believe that it will do everything for them, but reality is still a bit different. First, even if you have this robot, you still have to vacuum every once in a while. Technically, this device is very easy to use. All you need to do is to set the cleaner, choose whether you want a spot clean or a regular clean, and that’s it. The rest will be done by the unit itself. However, there are unforeseen situations which may occur. I.e. what if your pet has an “accident”? What if your cat vomits? Well, most likely this vac will smear it all over. The technology is still far from being perfect, and there’s even a Fool’s Day joke I’ve heard, that iRobot will make a robot called Poopa that will come and clean things like that before Roomba does.
Although it isn’t cheap, it also isn’t the most expensive robovac, not even by far. Occasionally you can find a good offer that will certainly improve the price/quality ratio, such as the deal you can see here.
- “My Roomba device is great. To begin with, it’s quite powerful, especially given the fact that it is so small. You can program it how you want. And above all, it is completely autonomous: just set it and forget it.
- “Perfect for my 1200 ft. condo. I now vacuum only once a month.”
- “Wish I’ve bought this a few years ago. The amount of dust collected is unbelievable. And it cleans from room to room. I’m very glad I’ve bought this”.
- “The price is quite high, compared to most of the standard cleaners.”
- “The navigation algorithm lacks continuity. If you have a delicate house, especially one with a lot of items and furniture or with a complicated design, it will need you to personally control the iRobot 880.”
All in all, the iRobot Roomba 880 is reliable, especially if your home has a just a few rooms. It works better if the room is open and with fewer cluttering objects. The filters, the dust bin capacity and the battery life makes it quite convenient. Here’s my VGMrv (VacuumsGuide.com Mark for robot vacuum cleaners):
So, what do you think about the iRobot Roomba 880? Would you buy it? Have one already? Please share your knowledge with us!
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