Robowars, the arena where robots fight till death – that’s how I now see my house with an iRobot Roomba competing to gain my undivided attention day and night. Having purchased an automated vacuum cleaner, I really wanted to test its capabilities out against my upright Hoover model. My upright is about 4 years old and operates on bag technology so it needs constant maintenance to keep it going. In fact, I tend to empty the bags every vacuuming session before it gets complete otherwise I observe a slight reduction in cleaning ability. As for my new robovac, it tends to automatically charge, operate on its own but still needs cleaning every single day. So as far as cleaning goes, I don’t find any difference instead I feel the iRobot needs a bit more attention as it won’t do its regular room sweeping if its bag indicator mentions its full.
Round 1 – Cleaning Scores
The iRobot tends to pick up dirt and grime with ease from hard floors as well as carpets. I can’t really say how many passes it needs to perform before a proper cleaning but it does the trick same as my upright Hoover which tends to require a few passes with adamant dirt deposits. So, for me both score equally.
Round 2 – Reach
This is a hard one to judge because my upright has a handheld alongside it to help it around so I can effectively reach anywhere above ground level. On the other hand, the robotic vacuum can completely roam underneath furniture and cleanse regions that my upright cannot reach. So, if it were solely based on ground cleaning, the iRobot wins hands down but overall, I feel the manual vacuum has an advantage.
Round 3 – Ease Of Use
Well, no doubts here who the winner is. My upright needs me to manoeuvre it around otherwise its just a useful tool sitting in the garage. As for the iRobot, once its set and the bag’s emptied, it does all the cleaning on its own. I am actually impressed by the memory it possesses that lets it understand which room has already been swept and which ones remain. While my entire ground floor takes about two days to clean with the iRobot, it doesn’t enter a room again if its already visited it. So, the iRobot wins here hands down. You can read more information if you like.
Round 4 – Really Dirty Floor Stains
This is one area where robovacs have to improve. While quite capable of handling adamant stains, robovacs however lack the ability to really scrub a dirty stain. At least, with my upright cleaner I can easily force the area clean, apply some detergent if necessary and so on.
In the end, I guess it is all about what you prefer. For me I find having both a robotic vacuum and an upright useful albeit expensive to maintain.