Is a Roomba Right for You?

Is a Roomba Right for Your Home?


It’s amazing to think that we already take Roombas and other Robot Vacuums for granted. A robot that does our cleaning for us seems like something right out of a space age science fiction story. Like any kind of technology, of course, robot vacuums have needed time to evolve and become more sophisticated, as well as more affordable for the average consumer. 


So should everyone in 2021 be rushing out to purchase a robot vacuum? Have they finally supplanted our stand up vacuums? The truth is, robot vacuums may not be for everyone. 


To understand how to use a Roomba, you need to understand what they can and cannot do. So before you rush out to get a new robotic friend, here are some things to consider. 

Is Your Home Built for A Robot Vacuum?

Before we get into the small details that can trip a robot vacuum up, you should take a moment to consider your living space as a whole. Are you in an apartment? A one story house? A multi-story home? First and foremost, we haven’t yet gotten a robot vacuum that can handle stairs, so if your house is multiple stories, you are going to have to either get a robot vacuum for each floor, or manually move your robot vacuum from floor to floor as needed.


There are other building features that can be a bit tricky for your little robot friends to handle. Does your home have door thresholds too high for a Roomba to pass? Some robot vacuums also have issues with parts of homes that “funnel” into a smaller and smaller area as this can confuse their sensors, such as narrowing hallways.

Minding the Gap

Another part of home design to consider is “headspace” for Roombas. One of the things that is most attractive about robot vacuums, and one of their best features, is their ability to easily get under tables and other furnishings that can be a pain to handle with a regular vacuum. A good robot vacuum can save you a lot of back pain. However, the exact height of your furnishings can be a delicate balancing act. Generally robot vacuums will “bump off” of things they can’t go under, and slide into spaces they can. However, if the height is very close to the Roomba’s own height it might give the space a go and then become stuck. This is often a problem with areas that only have a little bit of overhang—think of the kickspaces under kitchen cabinets.

Consider the Carpet

Taking a look at your rug and carpet situation is an important part of any vacuum purchase, robotic or not. 


Robot vacuums can handle most bare floors and low carpets, but they may have trouble navigating the very thick varieties. Even when they are able to navigate onto and over carpets, they rarely give them the deep cleaning they require. It should also be noted some models have been reported to mistake very dark carpet shades for a “drop” and so will avoid them. In general, a Roomba does work on carpet as long as it’s not too thick—otherwise you might want to go for a heavy duty stand up.

Cables and Clutter

Many robot vacuums and Roombas are notorious for their appetite for cables, slurping them up like spaghetti at any opportunity. They’ll often waste time trying to attack cables or shoelaces instead of doing actual cleaning. 


You are going to have to have excellent cable management with a robotic vacuum. In general, you really have to give your floor space a thorough examination, as robot vacuums will try to suck up any object on the ground. 


Thankfully, there are some solutions to this. You can make sure to close the doors to rooms, or otherwise block off spaces, to keep the Roomba out of areas you don’t want it to tackle. Many newer models of robot vacuum also come with special magnetic strips or other devices that form artificial “barriers” for the Roomba, keeping it out of places you don’t want it to go. 

Picking a Robot Vacuum

Just like getting a pet, a robot vacuum can be a big responsibility, and you shouldn’t get one on a whim. Unlike a pet, however, a Roomba will leave your house cleaner than when it arrived. If you struggle to get your regular vacuum under your furniture, and hate having to push it around, a robot vacuum is perfect for your needs. Best of all, there’s now plenty of robot vacuum brands, giving the power of choice to consumers. Apart from the original iRobot Roomba, Mielle, Shark, and EvoVac all make excellent robot vacuum cleaners that can save you a huge amount of time and stress.