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August 20, 2010 3:04 PM   Subscribe

It's Roomba recommendation time again!

We have nice new hardwood floors, an often-muddy backyard, and dogs who leave hair and mud everywhere. We're thinking about getting a Roomba-type device to clean automatically. Which one do we need? Roomba? Scooba? Dirt Dog? Any model in particular we should get or avoid? I've looked through the previous threads—any new experiences or pitfalls we should worry about?
posted by infinitewindow to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Are the hardwood floors sealed?

Get the Scooba if they are, and let it scrub for you. Works wonders. If you want it to pick up some dust and dog hair beforehand, get the Dirt Dog (in my experience, sits lower and works better on hardwood floors) -- it's cheaper than a Roomba, and won't break the bank if you buy it along with the Scooba.

Be sure to keep the batteries regularly charged... I've had Roombas' batteries "go bad" extremely quickly when I store the Roomba discharged for several weeks or months (what can I say; I got a cleaning lady with a real vacuum...)
posted by olinerd at 5:32 PM on August 20, 2010

I've had a Scooba for a couple of years, and I really loved it for a long time. But there are problems with the batteries, which are slightly different than those olinerd mentions for the Roomba. You can research that stuff online pretty easily. I finally gave up and got a Eureka Enviro Steamer. Plugs in, so no battery issues. Steam, so no solution to buy. Even if you do get a Scooba, you'll still need to sweep up or vacuum the worst chunks before using it, so it's still a two-step process. And then you have to keep the Scooba itself clean, which takes a little bit more time. The Enviro Steamer was around $70 delivered, which is only slightly more expensive than ONE Scooba battery, should you ever need to replace it (which you likely will). There is a great review of the Enviro Steamer on Amazon where the guy actually compares it to most of the other brands, so check that out.
posted by wwartorff at 6:15 PM on August 20, 2010

I love my Roombas, but wouldn't recommend a Scooba. My Roombas run on a schedule while we're at work and automatically roll back to the chargers. I empty them once or twice a week.

Scoobas require you to charge them beforehand, fill them with water and soap, let 'em clean, then you have to clean them afterward. It takes less time to to just do it yourself.
posted by mattybonez at 7:32 PM on August 20, 2010

I can't recommend a Roomba or a Scooba. I have bought 3 of them in 3 years and they have all died on me (with regular, recommended care and maintenance). If you can find an old (4xx) series Roomba, I think that is your best bet - the newer ones (while nicer looking and more bells and whistles) seem to be more cheaply made.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:17 AM on August 24, 2010

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