Striving for the Ultimate “Smart” Home Using the Latest Tech! Part 8
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
My Quest to Increase My Home’s Intelligence
Jeffrey Clos is a participant in the Amazon Associates LLC associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. There are some links within this article to the described product.
Over the last several years, we have seen tremendous leaps and bounds from the technology available to us. One such “giant leap” has been in the home cleaning market, specifically the robotic vacuum. There are several players in this market, but I bought in early on the iRobot line of Roombas. I have purchased no less than five units over the last few years. I can honestly say all of these are still used today. I will focus on my three favorites below. The laziness in me always welcomed the idea of having a robotic device clean my house while I was away. The delight has been in seeing the improvements which come from each new release.
Roomba Series 500
The 500 series was my first investment in robotic vacuum technology. Here was a device that could return to base after job completion and charge up for the next scheduled cleaning. I could set it up to clean every day at a specific time and utilize it I did. I learned over time not to have it clean every day for many factors. The battery would deplete over time, as would the length of time it spent cleaning. This Roomba was very good at finding places to hide. Later in its life cycle, it would find its charging base even less and less. I would often find it under a bed, couch, or some other odd place as it was “exhausted” from its long day. Still, I had grown attached to having this reliable unit around as it seemed to offer peace of mind. I have replaced the battery a couple of times over the last 12 years, and it currently resides at my place of employment. It is fair to say it has provided me with a pretty good return on investment.
A few years back, I wanted to jump into a unit featuring cloud connection. I could schedule, get updates, and interact through the iRobot application. The 700 series had everything I wanted at the time and was an excellent step up from the 500 and 600 series. It offered the improved suction/cleaning power I sought. It worked better switching between carpeting and bare floors, and it had the better Hepa filtration as my household is full of allergy sufferers. As each series came along, the cleaning improvements accelerated. The 500 series was very erratic in its cleaning, and there was no guarantee all spots would be cleaned. You would hope it would hit the site on a later trip. The newer units have used algorithms and onboard acoustic controls to ensure all areas are covered. The cutback on erratic cleaning has become a focus. It is often amusing to see the unit make multiple passes over an area deemed “dirtier.”
Where am I today? I took the plunge, although not a full deep dive, into the i3 model. The i3 is the step down from the S9, which I felt wasn’t entirely necessary for me given the hefty price tag it carried (eclipsing $1000). The i3 was in the $499 range with the dirt disposal system. Deals can be found, so it was imperative to wait for the latest sale. I was intrigued by some features of this new model.
First and foremost, the charging base was equipped with its own vacuum. It will empty the Roomba of all of its dirt into a disposable bag located at the top of the tower. This process is completed after every docking when the Roomba returns to base for charging. It will continue to accumulate the dirt for a two-month period before you have to replace the bag. This was a complete game-changer for me, as it was a weekly chore for me to empty the Roomba to ensure it had an empty bin.
New Beater Bars
I have wanted to upgrade to a few of the last models based solely on the new beater brush design. The new rubber design is effortless to remove and clean compared to the old bristle beater brushes. If you had experience with the 500, 600, or 700 series of products, they used the bristle beater brush pictured below. Often, I would have to use the red tool provided by iRobot to remove the excessive hair and fabric. If I did not have the tool, it was convenient for me to grab a knife out of the nearby drawer to hack away at the tightly compacted tangles. It was a weekly chore to ensure these were well maintained. I made sure to buy a backup pair for easy swap out to perform the cleaning at my leisure.
This new unit is feature-rich with accurate mapping technology built in. When the unit runs low on battery, it will return to base for a quick charge and then return to duty to finish the intended job. The mapping technology ensures the unit covers your entire vacuum-able square footage. When the job is complete, a viewable map is available to view within the application. Being the tech-savvy person I am, this is a notable positive feature for me. I can’t wait to see what technology comes next, perhaps stair climbing?