Monday, March 27, 2006

Roomba Buyers Guide!

UPDATED 11/21/10, with hot deals and iRobot coupons for the Roomba 500 Series, and a $129 Dirt Dog Sweeper Robot! RobotStockNews is the premier news site covering iRobot, with daily updates about the company, new Roomba products, videos and reviews, as well as coverage of the home robot industry.

HSN has the best deal anywhere. The ALL NEW iRobot® Roomba® 536 Chestnut Vacuum-Cleaning Robot with improved cleaning technology is just $249 SHIPPED! Or, get the iRobot Roomba 536 Robot Vacuum plus a BONUS Roomba 440 for $399 SHIPPED! Combined retail value is $599! The Roomba 536 features an all-new "Aero Vac" cleaning bin that maximizes suction, adds a larger debris bin and aids in cleanup, and is averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Roomba 570 VacuumBUT, the deal I HIGHLY recommend for peace of mind is the top-notch iRobot Roomba Programmable Vacuum with a FREE Lifetime Guarantee from Hammacher Schlemmer!! No Tax to most states! Hammacher Schlemmer is the premier online catalog. Hammacher's exclusive Roomba 563 Model costs $369 (New price: was $399). Get FREE SHIPPING with coupon code NVBRSHIP  at checkout! The key to Hammacher's success is the Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee and unbeatable customer service. If you ever have a problem with your robot, they will replace it or refund your money. That's a great deal when you consider that other retailers charge upwards of $30 a year for extended warranties, and at Hammacher, it's guaranteed for life with no added fees. This model also includes on-board scheduling for daily hands-free cleaning!
HOT: Hammacher also now carries the Roomba 610 Professional for $549 with the Free Lifetime Guarantee, and the new Roomba model for pets! The Roomba 532 for Pets is $319.99 at Hammacher with the Lifetime Guarantee and free shipping with coupon code!

The Indoor/Outdoor Robotic Sweeper.Hammacher Schlemmer also now offers the iRobot Dirt Dog robotic sweeper with an Exclusive Lifetime Guarantee for just $129! Don't forget NVBRSHIP  coupon for FREE SHIPPING!

Amazon has the Roomba 560 with On-Board Scheduling for *$299* Shipped!

iRobot Direct is offering its own Special: Free accessories and free shipping with most Roomba or Scooba Purchases.

*No sales tax to most states at iRobot, Hammacher, HSN and Amazon.*

As the proud owner of both Roomba 500 Series and Roomba 400 Series robots -- I would strongly urge going for the upgraded Roomba 500 Series. The upgrades are many, but I'll list the most important: 1) double the suction yet 2) quieter operation (less likely to scare your cats) as well as 3) more durable materials and 4) several times the expected lifespan, 5) much more vigorous side brush for better cleaning of corners, 6) bump sensors that anticipate obstacles and slow down Roomba to reduce collisions, 7) modular housing that enables quick and easy maintenance, 8) sealed cliff sensors that reduce the need for cleaning to ensure proper operation and 9) anti-tangle technology so Roomba no longer gets stuck on carpet fringe, tassles or power cords. Some models also include "Lighthouse" Virtual Walls which tell Roomba when to stop cleaning in one room and move to the next, while Roomba models 550 and above include on-board scheduling that is much easier to use than in the earlier Roomba 400 generation.

The Roomba 570 available exclusively from iRobot features the Wireless Command Center. The Roomba 570, Roomba 560 and 550 also feature on-board scheduling and the "Lighthouse" intelligent Virtual Wall which tells the Roomba via RF radio when it has cleaned a Room and then sends it on its way to the next room. The Roomba 530, 532, 536 and 563 lack the Lighthouse feature but still have a self-charging home base and clean just as well. The Roomba 510 lacks the home base, which I consider the single most useful feature (who wants to go searching all over your house for Roomba every day?).

iRobot has also now quietly upgraded the vacuum bin exclusively on the 536 model from HSN. The new bin puts the vacuum directly above the rotating brushes and includes a more efficient, curved filter and the moniker "Aero Vac."

The best-selling Used Roomba 400 Series Discovery models are $149 and up from third parties via Amazon.

The New Scooba 330 is $257 Shipped at Amazon.
You can also get the Scooba floor washing robot as low as $249 NEW in our Scooba Buyers Guide.

Now back to the Buyer's Guide.

The best Roomba deals anywhere. I tell you where to get your Roomba for the best price or the best warranty. I don't sell Roomba (or Roomba's sibling, Scooba), but I have scoured the web looking for the best Roomba deals. Whether you are curious about Roomba, or are an investor who wants to try out the Roomba before deciding to buy stock in iRobot Corporation (Nasdaq:IRBT), or you are a repeat Roomba buyer who wants to know which store is offering the best deal right now, Robot Stock News' Roomba Buyers Guide has the most up-to-date information on getting the best deals and finding the model right for you.

All Roomba 500s also come with a helpful on-board demo for newbies to get started, but that's not that big a deal -- Roomba is super easy to operate at the start -- just hit the clean button! You'll still have to empty the cleaning bin and remove hair from Roomba's brushes with the included cleaning tool every few runs. But that's an easy chore relative to hauling an upright 12-Amp vacuum around!

The basic Roomba Red 410 (formerly the 4100) is identical to the most expensive Roomba Discovery 400 Series models, except that it comes with just two buttons -- Spot and Clean. (Higher end Discovery models also have a "Max" button that causes the robot to clean until it depletes its 2-hour battery). Roomba Red's biggest drawbacks are the skimpy accessories. It has a manual battery charger, which takes 7-hours to charge Roomba, instead of 3-hours with the self-charging home base on higher end models, and no Scheduling capability. The self-charging home base and the Scheduler Remote can be added for about $50 each, and a second "virtual wall" can be added for about $30.) The new Roomba Red 400 has a 40 percent larger dust bin, but features a weaker 1-hour battery (upgradeable through iRobot), and does not come with a Virtual Wall.
All Roomba models have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and Roomba received Consumer Reports' choice as a Quick Pick, having outscored far more expensive robotic vacuums.

The discontinued Roomba Scheduler 4230 had been the top-of-the line model, and includes a Scheduling remote and two Scheduler Virtual Walls, which allow you to program your Roomba and your Virtual Walls to vacuum your house at times automatically when you are not home. But it is a 400 Series vacuum featuring older generation technology.

Bookmark this page for regular updates (usually daily).

Additional notes:
The New Roomba 500 Series debuted in late 2007. The older Discovery Series has been sold by iRobot since 2004 and underwent a significant upgrade known as "2.1" in mid-2005. It is only being sold now as a low-end Roomba by iRobot, as it does not include the many, many improvements of the Roomba 530, 535, 536, 560, 562, 563, 570, 580 and 610. (There is little functional difference between the 550, 560, 570 and 580 robots; the only difference is the accessories they ship with or the retailer selling them.)

Earlier iRobot Discovery models had a "circle dance" flaw which resulted from dirty sensors, but that was dealt with with the "2.1" update in 2005 and is not a problem with the 500 Series.

Other models previously sold by iRobot include the discontinued Roomba Pink (20 percent of money went to breast cancer research) and discontinued Roomba 2.1 [similar to Discovery] sold by HSN.com).

I strongly suggest that you avoid original Roomba models, known simply as Roomba, Roomba Pro and Roomba Pro-Elite, which sold from 2002 to 2004. Those models, which are still available on eBay, were less reliable, had weaker batteries and suction and are now obsolete. They might be worth it as a museum piece one day, however! Maybe the Smithsonian will be interested?

You can also keep up with all of the developments at iRobot with our daily news blog, RobotStockNews! We've broken a lot of stories, including the patent filings for a square-sided Roomba, an iRobot lawnmower, and a lot more. Check us out and become a subcriber to our RSS feed.

Also if you have any questions, feel free to contact us, or read our privacy policy.

Good luck!

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164 comments:

Anonymous said...

I almost bought a Discovery refurb this morning but some of the comments about people receiving units that are heavily scuffed, filled with dirt, and with used batteries that won't hold a charge scared me off. Some people wrote that they received new looking devices. Obviously refurb means used but in my experience a company makes every effort to make the refurb unit seem new, including not selling units with major cosmetic issues. Perhaps iRobot does not subscribe to that way of thinking.

What is your take on the refurbs?

thorn_stevens said...

I have sold well over 100 refurb units bought through this site and have only had a few returned to Amazon. Amazon has a very good return policy for 30 days, so if it comes in bad condition, send it back and demand an exchange.

I think the Refurb Scheduler is actually a better deal. For $30 more, you get Scheduler virtual walls and the Scheduler Remote.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Just to let you know I ordered the roomba with dustbin alert late last night from H.S. I noticed they charged me shipping despite using the free shipping coupon so I called CS this morning. After looking into it, they had not heard of this coupon but are removing shipping for me. I gave them the link to your site in email fwiw. Anyway, thanks for all the info on this site. I went out on a budgetary limb to purchase this and went with H.S. because of your writeup (lifetime warr+coupon)so just wanted to say thanks. FletchB.

TJ said...

The NOVSAVER coupon is for $125.00, which means its no good on the roomba red. Darn, I really wanted to try it at that price.

thorn_stevens said...

The Hammacher Coupon code works. Just tried it again. It is VISAON06 -- as in VISAO (as in the letter)N0(the number 0)6

Best to just cut and paste the code.

As for the NOVSAVER code, you have to add $25.01 to take advantage of the $25 code on a Roomba Red refurb, that's true. But it's not too hard to find $25 worth of products. That's why I recommend the extra Roomba filters and the auto-docking charger.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to try one of the iRobot products but have been skeptical, so the refurb. offer meant I could go for it w/o risking too much. I was a bit hesitant about getting a "refurb" but ended up taking the plunge: one arrived last week from Amazon.

It was broke. It would do about 5 to 10 minutes on the ceramic tile floor in the kitchen and then seem to think that the edge of the tile was the edge of a cliff, becoming trapped on a 1 foot square area and eventually giving up, screaming for help.

Fortunately iRobot's customer service is excellent and they diagnosed a faulty cliff sensor. Also fortunate is that Amazon's customer service is equally excellent and a replacement is already on its way.

I decided not to send the bad unit back until the replacement arrives (Amazon gives you 30 days to return), just in case anything is bad in the replacement unit. In the meantime I've played with the bad unit a bit more. Not only are the cliff sensors bad but the battery is also nearly useless. A full day of charging gives about 15 minutes of run time (I'm talking about tile floor here, not carpet) and then the battery is pooped. It dies so suddenly that it can't even make the attempt to return to the power station.

Bottom line is that it is a bad experience for getting a refurb. but a good experience with the two companys' customer service. I have hope: the replacement unit arrives tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Well the replacement arrived. I've not tried it yet, instead opting to let it charge for a full 24 hours first.

I must say that appearance-wise I'm disappointed. The first unit (the one that did not work) looked ok with only minor scuff marks here and there. The second unit looks like it had been used in a garage or something. It has a large scar across the top as though someone ran a box cutter all the way across. It has lots of marks and scratches and 20-30% of the top is discolored.

Granted I expected *some* imperfections with a refurb. but nothing this extensive. Plus I would have thought that iRobot would have wanted to make a decent impression. Oh well. Tomorrow or Wednesday I'll see how it works. But so far I think that iRobot refurb.s ought to be avoided.

thorn_stevens said...

You can't make a scientific judgment from one or two units.

All I can tell you is that judging from the low return rate of refurbs sold through the links on this site (less than 10 percent) that most people appear happy. Most of the reviews on Amazon are also very positive. But you are clearly taking a bit of a risk in getting any refurb product, from any manufacturer. That's why, for peace of mind, I recommend Hammacher and its unbeatable lifetime guarantee. No one has ever complained about Hammacher customer service.

Anonymous said...

Does the $125 coupon work on the roomba 4260?

thorn_stevens said...

Nope. The Roomba 4260 is sold exclusively by Hammacher Schlemmer. The $25 off $125 NOVSAVER coupon is only for Amazon through the links.
Use VISAON06 coupon code to get the 4260 with free shipping at Hammacher.

Anonymous said...

Its me again (the malcontent with the two bad refurbs ;) ..

The second one works well. None of the issues from the first. I just wish it *looked* better. I may do a slight cheat and swap some of the parts/skins around prior to returning the bad unit. Then I'll have a unit that looks as good as the first and works as well as the second! :) :) :)

I am sure that your comment about the less than 10% is valid. You've much more experience than I so I really can't say. And there is some kind of cosmic / Murphy's Law effect that seems to guarantee that problems will stack up in one spot. Look at it this way: I took it on the chin for the rest of you folks. (LOL).

Anyway, I'm pleased.

Anonymous said...

Why are there so many refurbished Roomba Vacuums for sale? Are a lot of new ones returned for problems and have to be refurbished?

thorn_stevens said...

According to iRobot, about 10 percent of new Roombas are returned at one point or another during the warranty period for one reason or another.

Roomba reliability actually is much better than it used to be, with multiple generations of improvements. But Roombas can certainly break, which is another reason why I like Hammacher Schlemmer's lifetime guarantee. You buy it from them, and you know you've got the top of the line and they will give you a new one or refund your money if there is a problem.

Also keep in mind that Amazon is the primary seller of refurbished Roomba units. So there may appear to be a lot more units to you relative to the actual number, given that there are more than 2 million Roombas in use. Also, Amazon frequently runs out of the refurbished units, as they prove popular for the half price savings.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Is this an Amazon only site? I notice that my link to a good buy on another site got deleted.

thorn_stevens said...

I incorporated the link to the $141 Roomba 4130 into the Post, so the comment no longer applied...

Thanks for the Post!

FYI, that Roomba is NOT a Scheduler, it is a deluxe version of a Roomba Sage in a blue color.

-Thorn

NightStorm said...

Good catch on the buy.com link, the pic. shows a scheduler so how did you know that it is not one, by the number? How is the lay person to know .. is there a chart somewhere? It says that it includes 1 virtual wall and the base/recharging station. I have a refurb. scheduler that I bought recently from Amazon and I just ordered this buy.com unit. Does that mean that I will be able to also use the remote from the refurb. to set schedules in the new unit? That would be great! Given that I don't need that many virtual walls total (nor two remotes) is this a better way to go or do you think it smarter for me to cancel and get a second refub. scheduler?

TIA

thorn_stevens said...

Easy: The picture is a Roomba Scheduler 4230, but the Roomba itself is listed as a 4130. The 4130 only has 3 buttons and does not come with a schedule, although you can upgrade it to the scheduler.

(I also know people who have ordered this thinking that it was a Scheduler only to be annoyed when it turned out not to be. I'd suggest calling them and making a stink and see if they will knock another $20 or so off the price, because it is clearly mislabeled.)

You CAN use one Scheduling remote to schedule two Roombas. But note that the virtual wall that comes with the 4130 is NOT a Scheduler-virtual wall, which means it must be turned on and off manually, unlike the virtual walls that come with Scheduler.

Good luck,

Thorn

NightStorm said...

Today I received my 4130 from buy.com. That special made for a great deal, looks like it is over however. So I now have the 4230 Scheduler refurb. from Amazon and this new unit.

These are really cool devices but there are some mechanical things that I feel they could do better. The IR pickup on the nose of each unit would have been better if built flush with the top, or as near to it as possible. I have two pieces of furniture that the units get trapped beneath because of this protruding knob on the top. It is kind of a lobster trap for roombas. :)

The front wheel is made of (apparently) soft, cheap plastic which wears out very, very quickly. Another site observed this issue as well and recommended wrapping it with electrical tape, something that I am now trying.

The brushes, both the rubber and the bristle, have small plastic inserts at one end which are easy to lose. I typically clean these with a vacuum cleaner and it would be very easy (were I not aware of this issue) to lose them down the central vac.

Speaking of brushes, I feel that they could have done a better design on these. Seems to me that both could have been made to pull apart (the rubber brush into a rubber brush plus axel, the bristle into overlapping flat brushes when when assembled form a circular brush) to make cleaning easier.

All-n-all a pretty neat device however. It is an odd feeling to be eating lunch at the table and have to lift one's feet to let the roomba vacuum beneath With two of them running around I feel kind of like Gary Oldman in "The Fifth Element". :)

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I ordered three 4230 refurbished Discovery units today. I did it as three separate orders and used the HOHOSAVE coupon each time. Two to me directly and one to a friend as a gift. I took advantage of signing up for Amazon Prime to get the shipping discount since I would like to have them for Christmas day. It worked out to 79.99 for the prime membership then $1.99 for the next day shipping per Roomba order placed. One of the units I ordered is for me and I hope to try it out this weekend. It won't be my first experience with a Roomba as I have an old original Roomba that I bought at a yard sale earlier this year for $20. It has a broken wheel tread. iRobot sent me a replacement kit with two tires and a cleaning brush for free. That impressed me. The old Roomba itself did not, mostly due to the short battery life and slow charging times. Still, I thought it was really cool and was waiting for a reasonably priced unit with better performance.

I will report back in several days to let you know if all three units were in good condition. I am now concerned about that after reading the blog comments on the subject.

Happy Holidays to all!
-felipe

Anonymous said...

The follow up: I received the two units I ordered to my house, next day as promised by Amazon. They came shipped in their original boxes without any secondary boxing. Not great for presentation but the boxes held up well. Both units were very clean! One was a white 4210 Discovery the other a blue 4130 (HSN 2.1 model?). The white unit has a couple of very small scratches. The dustbin, wheels, and brushes were spotless and all of the accessories looked brand new. They both also had a notice indicating the first charge might take 16 hrs to optimize the batteries. This is due to a software upgrade.

I won't know what the third unit looks like until I visit my friend. I hope it's in as nice a shape as these two.

I hope they are mechanically sound but I won't know that until the long charge cycle is over.

Merry Christmas!
-felipe

Anonymous said...

The previous post talks about lifetime warranties from Costco and Bed Bath & Beyond, but I can't find anything confirming a lifetime warranty on either web site - including the Costco link given in the post (which mentions only a 1-year warranty).

While I agree with the sentiment of paying more to get a lifetime warranty, Hammacher's the only place I know of that offers such a "feature" in bold print they're willing to stand behind. (But Hammacher's got its own set of overpricing problems...)

If "lifetime warranty" isn't printed on some official-looking company paperwork, good luck convincing a random retail clerk to swap out $300 worth of junk, no questions asked.

thorn_stevens said...

The Hammacher deal is superior. You pay no tax -- a $15-$30 savings -- and they will give you a brand new unit or your money back if you have a problem. It's also far easier to get a customer service rep on the phone at Hammacher than having the hassle of a store return. And if you are not a COSTCO member, there's another $50 to buy the membership.

Furthermore, neither COSTCO nor Bed Bath and Beyond have the top-of-the-line Roomba 4260 or the top-of-the-line Scooba 5900 that Hammacher sells.

Anonymous said...

So, the 4230 is the top-of-the-line Scheduler that "everyone" sells? The 4260 is only at HS and is a 4230 with "full sensor"? The 4296 is a refurb 4230 sold at Amazon? What is the 4225 sold at Costco?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what the 4225 is as well? It says it is a scheduler but it appears to be black and grey on the box instead of the blue and grey that I see mostly.

Anonymous said...

I bought the Roomba 4160 on HSN. It measures 2 3/4 inches high. Why does the new 4260 with HS say it is 4"T? Is it really that much taller and if so, it would not go under my sectional sofa or coffee table rendering it practically useless in my LR. Why are some roombas listed as being 4" tall and mine only 2 3/4? Please answer this quickly as I am debating getting the 4260 model while I can still return the 4160. Thanks

thorn_stevens said...

The 4260 is identical in height to all of the other Roombas.

toby said...

Luv the site, just wanted to let you know it won't let you get free shipping if you enter the code for 20% off, tried to get the 401, (I added $5 to try to get the shipping, which it did), but after I entered the code for 20% off, it dropped the free shipping. Just thought you should know.

thorn_stevens said...

You should try again. I just successfully was able to apply the 20 percent coupon code and get free shipping on the Roomba 401. It may have been a one-time glitch. Double check that your order is $100 before shipping costs are added.

Anonymous said...

I just got my Discovery from irobot.com. It is cool.
But, why should they charge me sales tax? I live in California.

thorn_stevens said...

I'm surprised they charged you for California. They (or the contractor running the store for them) may have a small office there requiring them to charge tax.

thorn_stevens said...

toby, the free shipping deal has now expired. you can still get free shipping with the Scheduler and Roomba for Pets deals, and accessories over $59.

Anonymous said...

I ordered a new Scheduler from the iRobot web site with the 20% discount. It arrived today, but was very dirty with carpet bits, hair, dust and a few scratches on the top. Just gross. Accessories all looked new, but the unit was clearly a refurb and they didn't even dust it off or clean out the brushes! Called Customer Service and they are sending a replacement but I had to insist iRobot pay for the return shipping. They are considering it a warranty replacement. Go figure. Here's hoping for a better one next time, but this has been something of a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

I've been using Roomba robots for about 5 years, I've had 4 of them. The first ones and the less expensive ones aren't as reliable, but I love all of them! The best is the Discovery SE.
One thing to beware, the replacement batteries are $60...so you should check to be sure you get a new battery with a refurbished unit.
I also have a Scooba...IT IS TERRIFIC!
All the units take a little getting used to, knowing how to prep a room, how to properly and effectively clean, etc, but it is well worth it!

Jeanette said...

Has anyone received the new scheduler (black color) with dust bin alert? I ordered January 19th and still no notification that it has been shipped. I did contact iRobot last month and they said that if it went past another 30 days, they would be required to cancel the order.

vwest said...

I, too ordered a roomba and was told it was on backorder. Just got an e-mail that they would have to cancel the order in another 30 days. What's up with this? Where are the new manufactured models going? I don't want my order cancelled, I want my Roomba!

Jeanette said...

I received an email yesterday that my backordered black Roomba has been shipped; in checking the ship tracking, I am suppose to have it 3/21. Now, I am only waiting for the pet upgrade that I ordered for my other Roomba.

Anonymous said...

We have all wood and tile floors in our ranch home. Is there any concern that the Roomba will scuff or scratch the wood floors? Also we have a dog, cat and kids. Any suggestions on a model that would work well for a busy house hold?

Thanks

thorn_stevens said...

All Roombas of the Discovery Generation now on sale are mechanically close to identical. The Roomba for Pets model is a bit better for pet hair because it has a stiffer brush that does a better job in scooping it up, but all Roombas will do a great job on tile, wood and medium-pile carpet. I have a hardwood floor myself and they look and feel fresher after I use the Roomba. You can order it with the Scheduler accessory pack and schedule the Roomba to run automatically every day. Just remember to empty it every other day or so (and clean any hair from the brushes with the Easy Clean tool -- takes 5 seconds), and you should be fine!
Good luck!

Jeanette said...

My Roomba with Intelli-bin arrived on March 21st and was used yesterday. Great....I ran my other Roomba in one part of the house and the new one in the other part that has carpeting. Both ran past the hour on the batteries; though the one doing the carpeting ran out before the other, which was doing only hard floors. I am stll awaiting the pet upgrade kit; hopefully, it will not be much longer. Really nice, as I can do the dusting while all the floors are being cleaned. Next step: Scooba?

jc said...

We purchased a refurb Roomba Red some time ago. It gave up the ghost this week, and even the iRobot/support sent condolences in the form of an out of warrantee deal to allow purchasing of a replacement unit at a significant discount. Such condolence messages we can use.

Up until Red's brush motor gave out, it was a real trooper.

Once we were happy with Red, we did purchase a new ShopDog. Together they made a great pair.

Just this week (ordered before Red's untimely demise) is a refurbished Scooba. Using it for the first time today. It is working now, and I am still learning about it. To bad it does not use the same battery pack and chargers as the Discovery series.

Right now the jury is still out. Hope to report more later.

jc said...

On refurb units... I purchase them. Normally they are a good value for the cost, IMHO. It would be nice if there was a (small cost) warranty extension available.

My thoughts on buying a refurb is that it gives me a way to 'try' the technology before feeling like I sank 'to much' into it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your time and effort in researching the web for all this info... Saved me time! Thanks again

tony cicerello said...

tried for an answer to this w irobot but it was not very helpful. let me ask you. i have a cat, tile floor, a large area kind of L shaped. 20x20, 12x20, 12x12 that all flow into one another what unit and options would be neccessary for this size area

thorn_stevens said...

tony c, any roomba would work. If they all flow into one another, that may be a little bit more than a Roomba can handle at one time, but with repeated (i.e. daily) runs, it will eventually get to everything. Make sure you get a model with the self-charging home base, and you may want to get the scheduler to have it run every day at a set time (preferably when you are not at home). Every model works well with cats, although the Roomba for Pets models (available through the link to iRobot) have brushes specially designed for pet hair. They can be upgraded with the home base and the scheduler. (The Discovery for Pets already includes the home base).
-Thorn

Lilly said...

I just bought a Red Roomba at Circuit City. I haven't opened the package because I'm still considering returning it and buying a 4150 at Target. I see that besides all the different accesories the difference between the Red and the higher-end Roombas are the size (Red's package was smaller) and the "MAX" option of cleaning. Does not having the MAX option mean that my Roomba will only clean one room at a time (and that only for 60 minutes)? I understand that the MAX allows for the Roomba to clean until its battery is nearly replete. I would really like a Roomba that doesn't quit after cleaning only one room. Can someone advise on this "CLEAN vs MAX" options?

tony c said...

Thorn thanks for your help. i have more question irobot discovery is not on irobots site it comes up with a roomba with intelli-bin as the new model. is this right? is there a big difference between them? some sites still have discovery listed. sorry to bother you thanks again Tony C.

thorn_stevens said...

good catch, tony c! They've just switched up their models today it looks like. The new Roomba for Pets looks like a Discovery-equivalent, with the home base and two virtual walls -- it's the same price as the Roomba for Pets Discovery was ($299 or $249 after Perform50 coupon code through the link above). The Roomba for Pets with Intellibin comes with the Scheduler Remote and scheduler virtual walls so you can schedule daily cleaningtimes, and the Intellibin feature that tells you when the bin is full. (Of limited use as you'll be emptying it every few times you use it probably).

Anonymous said...

Hello!
Nice web-site, nice machines! I ordered the refurbished Roomba Scheduler and refurbished Scooba from Amazon.com a month ago, after checking out a lot of sites about roomba (we live in a rural area, and roomba isn't "on display"anywhere near us).
The wife and I waited with some trepidation for the arrival of our new "robots".
The boxes arrived right on time (thanks Amazon!), and we opened them up to find two disappointingly small robots. After reading the instruction booklets, we "test drove" first Roomba, then Scooba. What an eye-opener! They may be small, but they do work hard. The Scooba pulled more filth off of our kitchen floor (which had been recently mopped) than we could have ever believed was possible, in fact, the water in the "dirty" tank was so bad that we refilled Scooba and ran it again. Apparently, our kitchen hasn't been this clean in years.
Scooba is amazing!
Roomba wasn't as impressive on it's Maiden run, but has since impressed us with its' abilities as well. My brother-in-law came by the house yesterday, and accused us of having "New Carpet"! He even argued with his sister about it until she showed him a spot that was damaged. Not bad for 12 year old carpet in a house full of messy Parrots (we have four, and like any bird they spread seed all around their cages).
We did have an issue with the battery not charging fully initially, but when I went to the irobot.com web-site I found the solution on the frequently asked questions page. We plugged Roomba directly in to the fast charger for 36 hours like the site said, and roomba has been running like clockwork ever since. We listen for him to start his day on weekends at 8:00, cleaning the livingroom, then returning to his charging base.
These are TRUE labor saving devices! No vacumn cleaner could ever make this claim.
We took them to demo for my mom (85) yesterday, and she has ordered both.
I just can't say enough good things about the Roomba and the Scooba.
Are there plans in the works for a lawnmower? What a joy that would be!

Anonymous said...

Thorn again thanks for your help. i guess i have to wait and hope hammacher ends up selling the 4290 for pets. i definetly want their life time warrenty. at this time irobot seems to be the only place i can get it. do you rember if any of the pet irobots have been available from hammacher. again thanks for your help. Tony c

thorn_stevens said...

Tony, I'd buy the Roomba from Hammacher and you can upgrade it with the pet upgrade kit from iRobot (About $35). It'll still be covered by the lifetime warranty.
You are right -- all of the pet Roombas are exclusive to iRobot for now.
-Thorn

thorn_stevens said...

Thanks for your story, anonymous! And in answer to your question, I've reported elsewhere on the blog that iRobot is likely to introduce a robotic lawnmower next year. You can check out the existing Robomower at this link. It's $1049 on sale.

D. Martinek said...

Hi I have the original roomba and trying to find a battery, any help would be great.

Thanks
D Martinek

k nebraska said...

I have 3 border collies and live on a ranch which one would you suggest...I have to order thru a website we do not have a retailer close. Anyone have the new burgandy pet roomba?

George said...

I just bought a Roomba Scheduler Refurb from Marshalls. The first unit was black with a broken clip that secures the brushes... I returned it to get a white one with the same issue. The unit was 199 plus tax and was on clearance for 144. Due to the broken piece I was able to get it for $100 which was a steal. The unit looks brand new from the top. Though the unit does not say "scheduler" on it, it is scheduable. iRobot is sendming the new wire piece for free, hopefully to be received tomorrow.

thorn_stevens said...

K Nebraska, I'd get the Roomba for Pets or buy another Roomba and upgrade it with the pet upgrade -- about $39. All Roomba models currently are nearly identical mechanically-speaking, but differ in other features (home base, scheduler, pet brushes, etc.) Even a regular Roomba cleans just fine with most pet hair.

thorn_stevens said...

Marshalls sells Roombas? That's a new one for me. I thought all they had was last year's remainder clothes on sale.

JC-Webposter said...

We've purchase quite a few refurbished iRobots and not had problems with them.

We've also purchased several customer returns from a large retailer. I think most people buy them expecting something different and return them. I've seen them work very well and have been really impressed.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

I am looking into buying a Roomba. I have 2 persian cats. Is the Roomba from HSN as good as the Roomba for Pets at iRobot?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping the blog updated. It's helpful.

Anonymous said...

COUPON MSPORT does not work at irobot for the discovery best buy model. any suggestions

thorn_stevens said...

I've checked and it will work, but you have to add a second Roomba. Add a Roomba 400 and you can get both for $342.98 Shipped (a $187 total savings!). You can also pair it with a Scooba 350 or Scooba 5800 (but not the Scooba 380).

Odd.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see all the purchase opportunities in US. It's sad however to see that iRobot tolerates greedy distributors in some countries. I live in Poland and the only distributor here sells Roomba SE (poorer brother of the newest Roomba robots) for the price... 1100 USD (???). I would buy it in any other European country for the half of the price but what about warranty service? Polish distributor states clearly on the web site they will no provide any service including for the money for robots purchased outside of Poland! That's for sure does not puts iRobot in a good light in my country. Hopeless... :-(

Anonymous said...

Anonymous in Poland -- sounds like a business opportunity. You know, sell them cheaper and support them.

thx said...

Too bad the coupon code MSPORT expired on 8/22. I will wait for another 20% off + free shipping deal to come back before I decide to buy a roomba. Roomba 570 will not be out until mid september anyway.

thorn_stevens said...

thx, you may be waiting a long time for a coupon code that good. 50-50 whether there's a similar one by Christmas. I keep this page updated daily so keep checking. In the meantime, I'd go with Hammacher anyways because of their reputation. They always stand by their guarantee and I've never heard anybody complain about their service. Peace of mind is worth a few bucks on a $300+ product.

poland, I hear your problem, and it's one I've constantly harped on: the need to expand international distribution. Right now just over 10 percent of Roomba sales are overseas. It should be 40 percent at least. iRobot is promising direct to Europe sales via its web site later this year, but don't know if that will include Poland (I doubt it.). My guess is if you have friends in Germany or France you'll have better luck.

Eddie said...

Hammacher Schlemmaer's AFFS1 coupon does not work. It supposed to expire on 8/31/07. Today is 8/27/07. WHY WHY WHY

thorn_stevens said...

Eddie, the coupon code still works. I just used it myself. Try it again.

Anonymous said...

Help! I really would like to try a Roomba, but I can't decide between the new 535 from HSN or the Discovery model (and whether to go new vs. refurb) from Amazon to save a bit of money. Any thoughts on what I should base my decision on? are there things that the Discovery model has that the new model is missing? Thanks for your help!

thorn_stevens said...

The new 535 model from HSN is very similar to the older Discovery model in that it is the middle of the line. Like the Discovery, it includes a self-charging home base. But unlike Discovery, it has all of the 500-series updates that include better reliability, more powerful suction, better edge cleaning, and the ability to handle carpet tassles and fringe. I'd go for the 535 hands down even though it is a few more bucks.

Anonymous said...

thorn, have you tested out the new 500 series yet? I think iRobot did a great job on the new design/features. I had a chance to play around with one in the store the other day. I know it won't be nearly as durable as my lawnbott robotic lawn mower, but if it last 5 years like iRobot is implying, I'm sold.

Nice blog btw and hope to see you on our forums again.

Thanks
Clint
www.lawnbotts.com

Justin said...

Amazon had the 4210 Discover for $150 last week, but it looks like they've changed the price to $250 now. Should have bought it when I had the chance. As far as I can tell, the only difference between the 4210 and the 410 Red is the faster charging time (3 hours vs 7 hours.

Al said...

Above someone mentions a 10% coupon. Could someone post that code?

thanks

Anonymous said...

Oh Mr. Robot Stick News -- Did you know that the dates on your blog entries are off by a year? It's 2007, not 2006.

Anonymous said...

Based on your suggestions and comments, I just bought the 535 and got it today. I have a couple of questions before I start using it though, if you can help me out...

1) My upper floor consists of a master br/bathroom, long hallway, off of which there are 3 smaller bedrooms and a bathroom. Will the robot find all of the rooms by itself, or do I need to guide it or move the main base? Where do I put the main base?

2) Will I need to use a virtual wall near the stairs (I thought it had a stair sensor, but didn't see anything about it in the instructions)?

3)Can I get it to do the bottom floor by moving the base downstairs? Will it know the difference between downstairs and upstairs?

Thanks for all your help!!

Ana said...

I have mostly hardwoods with some rugs. I've been thinking of getting a Roomba since it takes me a while to clean all the dog hair. I have very large rooms. Does the Roomba handle these conditions well? I have 5300 sq ft all on one level, and though I don't expect it to keep the whole house clean, can it handle large spaces? Any recommendations on the best unit? I want something that will last so lifetime guarantee would help.

thorn_stevens said...

anna I would definitely get the 570 from hammacher. With your big house you are going to run the roomba probably daily and a longer warranty then is more important because of wear and tear. It works fine with rugs, etc. And you can section off different area with the virtual walls. If you set it to run daily, it will eventually get everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I bought a one and sent it back three times before the one year warranty was up. It is broken again and the one year warranty is
up. I do not recommend wasting your money

Dave Furtado said...

thorn,

Quick question, I'm getting ready to buy my new roomba 500 series, and I know the 570 is the way to go, but can i buy the 560 now and than later buy a wireless command center? Essentially making it a 570

I am obviously looking to save a bit of cash up front, but I ultimatley want the 570 in the end.

I should probably just buy the 570 up front. Are there any deals with 3 month payments, and if so does that ruin your discount codes.

Whats your opinion, I have used the wirless remote on my discovery several times and like it. (Mostly to drive the thing around for spot cleaning, but it saves time and energy.

Oh well, I am rambling, and shopping for my new roomba 500, my discovery is on its last leg.

By the way, IRBT stock price is holding up pretty will

thorn_stevens said...

You may want to go for the Roomba 535 from HSN and then add the Wireless Command Center from iRobot. You only get 1 Lighthouse Virtual Wall, and no on-board scheduling, but that's the best deal right now.

The 560 from LNT at $279 is also a great deal, and you can decide later if you want to add the Wireless Command Center if you really think you want one.

The 570 from Hammacher still is the way to go for the guarantee. Roombas *will* break at some point. Even iRobot CEO Colin Angle says the new Roomba is expected to last 3-5 years of daily use. So wouldn't it be nice at the end of 3 or 4 years if your Roomba has a hiccup to get a brand new one courtesy of Hammacher?

Anonymous said...

I am considering a Roomba 530 frm Linens N Things for 299.99 and then applying their 20% off coupon.

I want to know the difference between the "500 Series Home Base" (included with the 530) and the "Self-Charging Home Base" (an accessory for 69.99 extra.

Any other comments/recommendations are welcome.

thorn_stevens said...

There is no difference. All Roomba 500 series robots released so far including the Roomba 530 include the self-charging home base.

Dusty in Idaho said...

I'm planning on taking your advice to purchase the 570 from Hammacher. Am I correct in assuming I can use the 570 on both levels of my home by carrying the dock station to the level I want cleaned?

Anonymous said...

thorn,

For purchases through Hammacher Schlemmer, is the VISAON(all letters)06(all numbers) code for free shipping currently good, or has it expired? If it has expired, do you have any current discount codes?

Also, just how far does the HS guarantee go? If the 570 lasts for say 4-5 years, are they still going to replace it, no questions asked?

Thanks

thorn_stevens said...

The HS coupon code is currently HOLAFS2 (as it says in the post). You can just copy here and click through the link. Paste it in during final checkout.

I haven't heard of HS rejecting a claim via its Lifetime Guarantee.

Anonymous said...

What is the current model that does the best with dog hair?

Thanks Thorn, it's great that you do this for all of us!

Anonymous said...

RSNOFFER code at irobot is not working for the 3-pack 560+350+dirtdog deal. Not sure why, have tried different browsers, and it *shows* 10% off + free shipping for Robot Stock News as the "deal", but only takes off the shipping, not 10%...

Anonymous said...

Thorn_stevens and other Roomba experts:

There seems to be a lot of knowledge about Roombas in the room. I just placed an order for the Roomba Scheduler 4296 (factory refurb) for $120. I think it is a great deal. Is there a catch I am not seeing here? Thanks.

doglover said...

What model works best with dog hair?

olinerd said...

I posted a review of my recently purchased refurbed Scooba on the IEEE robotics blog. I've been happy with the refurb so far, no problems! It's an awesome machine that my not-so-tech-savvy parents adored for Christmas last year.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I went on the Hammacher Schlemmer site because I like the lifetime replacment guarentee and noticed that they offer 2 different models, Item# 73176 for $329.95 and item# 74520 for $399.95. Can you tell me the difference between them and give me your recommendation. We have 2 boys, a dog, and a cat in a average size 2 story house. Thanks!

CTlady said...

Both Sam's Club and BJ's have to 540 Romba for under $300 plus 7% sales tax. I cannot find that model listed anywhere on the web. What other model is equivalent so I can read about it?

thorn_stevens said...

Anonymous: The $399 Hammacher model is the next generation top-of-the-line Roomba 570 which includes numerous upgrades, including better reliability, double the vacuum power and even nice touches like automatic deceleration before bumping into walls and furniture. The $329 model is last year's top-of-the-line model, lacking any of the upgrades. I'd spring for the extra $70, no question.

Re: The question on pet hair, all of the Roomba 500 series models clean pet hair equally well. There is no functional difference in the cleaning power of the various 500 series robots. The difference is in accessories and whether they have the radio that allows use of the Lighthouse virtual wall feature and scheduling via the optional wireless command center. (Roomba 535 and up have the radio, 530 and below don't).

You can also find clearance pet models for the older Roomba 400 series that have special pet brushes through the links to iRobot. But I'd rather have the 500 Series improvements.

I still haven't seen a better deal than the HSN deal I've posted here.

Anonymous said...

I used your link to the HSN deal and your code saved me $40. Awesome, thanks!

JAS said...

Is iRobot closed for the holidays? I am not getting a reply to my email.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
1. Which parts wear-out the quickest on the 560?
2. Is there anything that can be done to slow-down that wear?

Anonymous said...

I got a Roomba 535 from HSN for Christmas and absolutely LOVE it! My house feels and looks so clean. Since I love it so much, I decided to return the 535 to HSN (they have a pretty liberal return policy) and get the 570 from Hammecher Schlemmer along with its lifetime warrenty. I love my Roomba so much I want to make sure I have it for a lifetime!! When I tried to use the free shipping code online and could not get it to work. So I called the company to order it and the representative also could not get the code to work. She did not charge me shipping anyhow. Very nice of the her!!

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that the 535 falls apart very quickly. I contacted iRobot; the parts were on backorder. Just before Christmas, I again asked about the parts and was told that two of the parts were in and the third was expected that week and would be shipped. So far, no parts and no answers to my follow-up to please advise if parts shipped.

Anonymous said...

I purchased the Roomba Red a while back. When it worked, it cleaned well. But not soon after it stopped charging properly. It either wouldn't charge at all or after fully charging, it would stop after a short time. Roomba first replaced the battery. I had the same problem with the new battery so they replaced the entire unit. Still had the same problem so the replaced the charging cord. The problem continued so I bought a new battery myself but no use. By this time the original unit was out of warranty so they refused to help me. I bought another battery myself and after a while that one also stopped charging. The other problem is that it’s constantly getting stuck on rugs, under furniture and on cords.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for this site! I was so confused about which type of rooma to buy and thanks to you I odredered from HSN with the great code and discount you listed. Thanks again! I ended up saving money and getting a better unit!

Anonymous said...

I just tried to purchase the 570 using the ces code (319.00 shipped) and after I used the code, the free shipping went up to 19.95. Then the tax was added (24.00) and my 319.00 skyrocketed up to 366.

Anonymous said...

Which Roomba model would you recommend for a household with pets? I couldn't tell from the other postings. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I had one of the first generation Roombas. It was so bad I really had to think about giving the new generation a chance. I bought the 570 from Hammacher and let me tell you, I couldn't be more pleased. I love my "Betty" as the family has named it. I have 3 large dogs and lots of pet hair. Ceramic tile, marble, and carpet floors. At first I didn't let "her" on the carpet but one day the lighthouse didn't work and the robot went on the carpet. It worked great so now "she" (the robot) has free run of the house and it is wonderful!!! It is on a schedule to clean everyday. My floors have never been this clean even using a "big" vac doesn't do as good because I won't drag it out ever day. I now never get the big vac out. All I need now is the scooba so I don't even have to mop. When can roomba learn to dust? I highly recommend the Roomba from Hammacher Schlemmer. You will love it.

jas said...

I am truly happy that the person who purchased the 570 is having such good results with 3 dogs and all that pet hair.

My 535 was not so fortunate with just two dogs. The hair got outside the brush area into the gears of the unit and the brushes stopped working. IRobot replaced the cleaning brush module and it is again working fine, but the hair is still trying to get outside the brush area via the place where the brushes are set in (white inset). I must stop it regularly to clean this as the unit does not stop and ask for the brushes to be cleaned until the brushes will no longer rotate; so hopefully, the module will not again become frozen with so much hair in the gear area.

I also had a problem with the front wheel not staying in place. IRobot sent me a new front wheel assembly, which also is working fine. I am awaiting the replacement of the side brush module, which has been on back order for awhile.

The cleaning brush module and the front wheel assembly were replaced without charge to me. It is just that the parts are mostly on back order so the wait seems terribly long when one can't use the Roomba.

I, too, think that the Roomba does a fine job; but I hope that IRobot can fix this flaw in the new generation Roombas. It really saves on the back not to have to push or pull a vacuum cleaner.

fambarstow said...

I love both my scooba and roomba. I would like to get another roomba and wondered if you had any comment on the one sold by Costco. Costco has a great return policy and I believe it is the 550. It is around $280. It is between Costco and HS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the summary. The HSN special is sold out now. (feb 5).

Faré said...

The HSN is not sold out. But the coupon is use-once. You must open a new account to use it again. Just give a new email address, e.g. by using a + suffix as in myname+newsuffix@provider.com

edie said...

I have area rugs with fringe on them and was wondering if this would pose a problem for the Roomba? My regular vacuum cleaner can suck up the fringe and I have to be careful with it. Thanks!

edie said...

I tried to use the HSN coupon today and it was not valid on electronics. Any ideas?

thorn_stevens said...

Edie, the New 500 Series Roombas have a fringe-detecting function so it should work fine. The older Roombas get snagged big time by fringe, so I'd definitely get a 500 Series.

You are the first of many, many people who have successfully used the coupon code to have a problem. Try it again and if it still doesn't work, please post again and I'll change the post.
-Thorn

Anonymous said...

I tied to pickup 2 of the Roomba 535s at the HSN with the new customer code today.
At first the code was not accepted even limited to one item on the coupon and a $50 max, but after hitting the coupon button 5-6 times and leaving the order sitting unconfirmed for 30 minuites, it was finally accepted for both Roombas.
A discount of $40 each. I also picked up the extra two year protection plan ($35 each) that hsn offers since the 5xx seem to have some component problems.

Anonymous said...

I just got a black lab and want a robot to keep the floor clean, I plan to go with HS because I want the security of the warrenty but can only afford one robot. should i go with the scooba or the roomba? It would be wonderful to have the floor swept and washed but it it really realistic for the scooba to pick up all the dirt and hair before washing or am I better of getting the roomba,and just using a mop every several days? basicly I don't want to have to sweep before running the scooba... thanks for a wonderful site!

Anonymous said...

Woot.com! 4230 refurb. Looked brand new to me. Everything in orignal wrapping. Battery looks brand new and sealed in plastic. not a single mark on the unit. You would have a hard time convincing me this is a refurb

roxyprincess129 said...

I had this huge week-long debate of which roomba to get, I was going back and forth between the 535 and 560. I wanted something new, reliable, and warrantied. I briefly debated the 570 but honestly, just couldn't spend the money right now and hey- this is just my first roomba. Both the 535 and 560 are the same height and have lighthouse and scheduling capability, but the 560 comes with an extra lighthouse ($30) and on-board scheduling (but you can get the Wireless Command Center for $60 and use coupons maybe get it lower), and is $100 more. So then I said, well I can just buy the WCC later and have remote scheduling for cheaper than the 560! I'm not really sure if I will need the extra lighthouse though, I have a 1500 sq. ft. townhome and I am only using this for the downstairs, do you think 1 lighthouse can cover the kitchen, living and dining room? I obviously need to read the manual. I liked the black color of the 560 better though, more sleek and modern looking and the black sensor area isnt so noticeable (minor detail). Also HSN offers a 2 year extended warranty for only $35, so essentially I will be getting a 3 year warranty on the 535, which puts me at ease. That sold me right there and I purchased the 535, then ordered the rust faceplate to dress it up a little and I think I am pretty satisfied! I am so anxious to see how this works, will it get stuck under kitchen chairs? Can it go from wood to carpet easily? There is a slight raise from where the wood meets the carpet. Also, this is the main reason I posted- If I were to buy the WCC, does it program just as easily and work as well as if I were to buy the 560 that already has it programmed? Thank you in advance to everyone that answers these three questions. Anyhow, I am super excited, and although shipping is only going to take 8 days, I can't wait!

HybridGuy said...

I liked my first generation Roomba for the innovation that it represented, but the overall performance wasn't the best. This was to be expected from such a cool new product and I fully expected that future generations would become more and more effective.

While this has been true with my new Scheduler (5 months old), I am greatly disappointed in the robot overall. The ability to clean well is not as strong as I thought it would have become with new generations. If you use your robot in a room 2-3 times a week for a month, and then run a regular upright after, you will pick up a considerable amount of dirt that I would have expected to be gone (this is with low-pile carpet, I expect it would hold even more true on higher-end, thicker carpet). Also, as with my previous unit, the battery has already died. And replacement batteries are very expensive ($75 or so). To make it worse, the replacement battery is already showing a poor charge so there seems to be an overall problem with the units battery management. I think that refurbished units are particularly prone to this problem given the number of compaints found around the internet in this regard.

I hope that Roomba's eventually become what we want them to be, but that day has not yet come. I am disappointed in my investment and the company for not fixing a major problem that they have certainly known about for years.

Regards,
Eric

roxyprincess129 said...

The Scheduler is the older series though, correct? The new 5 series shouldn't have those problems I imagine, I have been reading practically every article on the web about the new roombas and haven't heard of any battery problems, and they came out 6 months ago! That is exactly why I got a 3-year warranty on my 535 from HSN.

Anonymous said...

I bought a iRobot 535 from HSN, its did a terrific job in my kitchen, I thought the kitchen was clean, when the robot in a 45 minuts cleaning came up with a handfull of dust and crumps, day 4 it did only rum in a right turn cycle, a light next to center came on ? manual does not even show such a light, preeing the center start button, " Clean wheel? manual does not show where and how to clean, did not want to damadge unit, I just send it back to HSN, sorry , but you should provide better maintanance manuals.

Anonymous said...

I am considering the 560 from Linens N Things for 279 but now your comments have made me consider the 570 with lifetime warrenty. Is it worth the extra $120 for the lifetime warrently the wireless command center is not a big deal to me. Help!

Anonymous said...

Hi folks! I've enjoyed all the Roomba info here. I purchased a 'barely used' Discovery 4210 on Ebay. Got a great deal; 2 batteries, 2 Virtual Towers, 4210 Roomba with Docking Station, remote and 'quick charger' for $150. It was love at first use. Amazing actually... Until 2 days ago. It started the 'backing up in circles show' and uh-ohs & beeps. I check the irobot website for help. I immediately registered my Roomba on the site and checked off the box 'Received as Gift' proceeded to find online help for correcting the erratic behavior that's getting worse by the minute! The irobot site states in BOLD RED LETTERS that any Roomba or accessories purchased on Ebay are void of all warrantees. Well, today I called irobot directly for help. After a bit of troubleshooting it's apparent I have a faulty unit. Because my unit is registered as a gift they've offered me a brand new unit upon receipt of this defective one! Lucky me huh! Even though it's only worked for a week I'm hooked! I found the HSN deal and purchased the 535 along with a Scooba. Got free shipping and the 'first time discount', so I got both units for well under $500. I just hope I have better luck with all three brand new units.

Now for my question: Can I use the 'Virtual Wall' units with the 535, or are only the Lighthouses compatible?

Thanks,

Courtenay said...

Thanks for the Roomba buying tips. I just ordered a 570 at Hammacher Schlemmer with the free shipping code you posted. It still works! I love the lifetime guarantee because the only worry I have about the roomba is it breaking down, and this takes care of that! Lets hope it's as good as it seems. We picked up a 530 the other day from Kohls, but someone else had returned it and left it really dirty and missing parts. We were able to try it for a little bit, but the battery is shot and we really need the side brush that is missing. Hopefully the 570 will be even better and won't break. I'm off to Kohls to return the broken one we bought yesterday.

c.networth said...

my 4210 wont charge its battery thelights indicate tha all is well but when the light turns green -no charge. if i use the 4260 to charge it and put it into the 4210 the 4210 works OK. we have 4 batteries and 2 chargers all work OK with the 4260 and none charge using the 4210. I contacted i robot support and the woman there said I should just buy another one. Does any one else have any other idea? My experience with cust.support leaves me to believe that I'm on my own.

Anonymous said...

I went with the HSN deal on the 560 for $299. I had started to go with the Costco 550 $289 deal until that $289 turned into $325 after tax and not being a member ($50 if you want to be a member). The HSN deal is a pretty good one for $299 with free shipping.

Aquabot said...

How many defernt brands there are in the market? Who is the manufacturer?

Anonymous said...

response to c.networth's blog of 050608:
I have two roombas. While I like the robotic vacuum, the battery life is terrible. Roomba advertises that you can recharge 1000's of times. However, my experience is that after only 70 to 75 recharges the batteries are dead. This happens right after the warranty is over. There is a reconditioning cycle, but that does not work. Customer service is of no help, all the do is asking you to buy another battery for about $ 80.
However, if you don't let them fool you into accepting this stress their deceptive advertising, that price suddenly goes down to $ 60 with free shipping. Interesting, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

response to c.networth's blog of 050608:
I have two roombas. While I like the robotic vacuum, the battery life is terrible. Roomba advertises that you can recharge 1000's of times. However, my experience is that after only 70 to 75 recharges the batteries are dead. This happens right after the warranty is over. There is a reconditioning cycle, but that does not work. Customer service is of no help, all the do is asking you to buy another battery for about $ 80.
However, if you don't let them fool you into accepting this andstress their deceptive advertising, that price suddenly goes down to $ 60 with free shipping. Interesting, isn't it?

Melinda said...

I just ordered a iRobot Roomba 560 from Trendn.com (found them on google) for $329.99 with free shipping. Pretty good deal.. just thought I'd share.

Kate said...

I have been looking for the past few months at getting a Roomba. After reviewing all sites and coupons, the current web-offer from iRobot for the Roomba 580 seemed like the best deal for extra parts since that is the down fall for previous Roombas. They have fixed other technology glitches. However, the price would be buying 2 to get the 100 dollars off(until 7/15/08) making the total roughly $950.00 including shipping(no sales tax). Looking further, I finally found on that worked and wasn't expired. It does not give an expiration date, but you must go through Coupon Heaven to get this offer. It is $100 off your iRobot puchase(excludes Clearance items and iRobot Value Packs SKU 91301 and 92101.) Here is the link: http://www.couponheaven.com/merchant.cfm/irobot Even though they say off your purchase, I tried it with one $500 purchase, and only fifty dollars is discounted. I figure you need to spend close to $1000 to get the total purchase off. This was the scenario for me: my total price for 2 580 iRobot Roombas was roughly $850.00 including shipping(no sales tax)!I got a great deal with both this discounted $100 and the web offer for buying two. Hope this helps!

Cherie said...

I've had several roombas and loved the convenience but stopped trying to deal with them about 2 years ago because every model I tried developed the same problem after several months- circling over and over in one spot and then shutting down. I've found it referred to as the CIRCLE OF DEATH on the web and no one had a real solution to stop it. Anyone know if the newer versions have resolved this problem?

Anonymous said...

Did you try removing the revolving wheel and removing any hair? That stopped mine from circling.

Anonymous said...

I bought a 4200 Scheduler this week. It came with a charger, but not a base. I need to order a base but I'm confused which one to buy.
One I found on eBay said "if your roomba has a swivel front wheel, dont buy this base". That's what mine has, but I had a Scheduler before and that's what the base looked like.
I'm confuse.
HELP !!
Linda'

Scarlett said...

Scooba 380 only sold at $350 and no shipping fees on Newegg.com. I purchased one yesterday. It is the best price so far. Just let you know about it.

Also Costco sell Roomba 550 at 279.99,which is the best price as well per my internet searching. It works very well.

Anu said...

I just saw that Trendn.com is selling Roomba 560 for 319.99 with free shipping (only for 3 days though). Just thought would share with you all.

zeimont said...

Iam from indonesian,Robot,?Fantaastic for the future life.i like technology of robot,Because that is duplicate for people.

Anonymous said...

I live in Hong Kong, and I would like to buy one; however, the irobot shop in Hong Kong has been closed down. I don't know where I can buy one. Those selling in Amazon didn't provide shipping outside U.S.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the great deals, i am looking to buy another Roomba soon and as an experienced Roomba owner i would recommend buying either from H.S. or adding an extended warranty. I have had 4 Roombas and yes they do break. So for the poster who asked why there are so many refurbs, yes they are touchy little monsters. I think Roomba is working out the bugs with each model being an improvement from the last. However i had 4 discovery units (all new, no refurbs) in a little over 2 years time. So definitely get the warranty! LOL
But overall, worth the money. They work fantastic, even if they are problematic its worth the occasional hassle to get the rest of the time off of floor duty! I am looking forward to seeing how the new model works!

Steven Schuemann said...

I a wondering why Costco is not mentioned in here and what are the models that they are selling. I cannot find information on the model numbers when I go to irobot.

Anonymous said...

I just returned from Linens and Things and got the 560 for $227.99,$243 with tax! Best deal around if your store still has them in stock!!

Anonymous said...

I just tried to buy a Roomba on Hammacher Schlemmer and the"HOLI08FS coupon for FREE SHIPPING" does not work. Any suggestions? Thanks!

thorn_stevens said...

You probably typed it in wrong. It is HOLI08FS -- The 08 are numerals, NOT O8. You must also spend more than $99 or it will not work.

-Thorn

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help but I cut and pasted it several times and the code didn't take but eventually it did. I suggest just keep trying until it goes through.

Steven Schuemann said...

Costco is selling Roomba for $249 + tax until (December 13, I believe.)

Steven Schuemann said...

Costco Roomba 550, sorry I forgot to list the model #.

A said...

Thanks for the HSN's first-time buyer coupon tip. $50 is a big deal! Better than free shipping!

Anonymous said...

It seems that the lifetime warranty option is a good choice. Do you have any recommendations for 535 with lifetime warranty, great price?

Thanks

waw36 said...

Costco has the 550 which is the same as the 560 at 259.99 with their 30.00 instant rebate. But they charge tax and a non members fee of 14.00 No charge for shipping
i payed 295.81 complete

Dave Furtado said...

thorn,

isn't the battery for the 400 discover, $69.00. By buying the 400 thru the amazon deal, isn't this equivalent to getting the roomba 400 for free?

Anonymous said...

I am planning on prchasing a roomba for christmas asap. I feel the 535 is probably the best deal out there now?!? Is the 560 so much better and what is the whole difference between the 510 and the 535, worth it?!? It all started by thinking I wanted the rromba red with the spot cleaning.
Also hsn has the deal with the cheap 405 bundle. Is the 405 a good gift, or just junky?

amelia p said...

Can you help me? There is so much information and I am pretty overwhelmed with all of the different models. I would like a roomba to help me with my dog hair problem and heard from a few friends that they are wonderful. But I would like to spend less than $200. Which model should I get? Whats going to be the best? I dont mind refurb either! Thanks!!!

thorn_stevens said...

My best advice is always in the Buyers Guide itself, as these comments sometimes start to get old (in some cases VERY old -- I'm trying to clear out some of them).

But right now, the HSN deal on the 535 is the best deal to get for a 500 Series, no question. It cleans just as well as the top of the line model, and is fully upgradeable because it has the radios needed for the Wireless Command Center and Lighthouse Virtual Wall (note all Roombas are still compatible with older versions of the virtual wall).

The Roomba 510 does not include the self-charging dock, the most important accessory in my opinion and normally a $60 item. It's not absolutely necessary and has no impact on cleaning ability, but without it your Roomba will stop randomly somewhere in your house, you will have to go hunting for it every time, and you will have to manually plug it in. Not my idea of what a ROBOT should do!

And to all the folks who get confused about all the different models, or write in about which model is better for their cats, etc., there really aren't that many differences between the models. Just an accessory tweak here and there. The real question to ask is 1) Do you want a lifetime guarantee and are you prepared to pay more for that blanket of security knowing that your Roomba will break at some point? (If the answer is yes, buy the 570 or 532 Pet Series from Hammacher.) Or 2) Do you want the best deal? Then get one of the Roombas from HSN, or sometimes the 560 at Amazon. Sometimes there are combo packages that are pretty sweet deals, and on rare occasion, there is a slightly better deal at Amazon, etc. I post them all here daily.
Finally 3) Do you want the CHEAPEST Roomba? Then you're talking a Roomba 400 Series model, probably the 400 or 405, which can be had for around $99 or so depending on the deal of the day. They work fine but are not as reliable as the 500 Series and do not clean as well. But they are a lot cheaper. They are particularly useful for uncluttered homes with hardwood floors, because unlike the 500 Series, they do get tangled in carpet tassles, electric cords and the like and have a tougher time with deep carpet. I'd only buy a 400 Series at this point if I simply didn't have the cash for the upgrade, or I wanted something that's fun to tinker with...
-Thorn.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your site. I just bought my second scooba. I had lots of issues but since I bought with the life time warrenty, I know my wife will be thrilled. When they work they do a very good job.
Again thanks

Jeff Squires said...

I just called HSN b/c the coupon code, C56574, was not working for me, and they told me it expired Dec 31, 2008 :-(

Ms. Chris said...

Thanks for creating this helpful site. I tried to order the 535 from HSN today, but the 15% discount code apparently expired yesterday. I'll keep checking back to see if you find another opp for me to get a 500 series for $230 or less (the amount of a gift card I received!). Keep the info coming! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I could not see $99 link in iRobot store that you refer in free shipping description from iRobot store but I do not see it.

thorn_stevens said...

Ms. Chris and Jeff, the C56574 coupon code has been reactivated. It now has a maximum discount of $75 for new customers, up from $50.
-Thorn

thorn_stevens said...

The $99 Roomba special has expired.

Jeff Squires said...

> C56574 coupon code has been reactivated

I have just verified this and made my purchase on hsn.com. Thank you so much. Looking forward to my first Roomba experience.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between the 530 on the irobot website and the 535 from HSN? Same with the scooba 335 from HSN and any of the ones listed from I robot?

Rachel said...

Does HS lifetime warranty mean free battery replacements for life?

thorn_stevens said...

Hammacher's Lifetime guarantee says this (you may want to email customer service at the address below if you have specific questions):
Should any product fail to meet your expectations for any reason, simply return it with proof of purchase. We will replace it, refund the cost of the item less shipping and service fees, or credit your credit card, depending on your original payment method.

Instructions and a return address label are included in your package.
If you are returning a product you received as a gift, you may exchange it for an item or gift certificate of equal value.

Return/Exchange Questions? How can we help?
Our Customer Service Representatives are available from 8:00 AM to Midnight EST. Please call (800) 233-4800 or send us an email at customerservice@hammacher.com.

Anonymous said...

I tried to use the coupon with the 530 roomba. It says that I can only use 1 coupon code at a time. Is it that they already have free shipping?

Jerry Sadler said...

SAVE YOU MONEY!
I bought a Roomba 500 series 13 months before it crapped out entirely. Initialy it seemed to work fine as long as I was willing to clean the brushes every 20 minutes. Now it works fine for 5 minutes, then it gets a notion to just make backward circles. The error code says clean between the bumper and the body. That area is spotless! Like many others I was told since it is out of warranty, they will make me such a deal, offering to sell me a lesser model for more than I paid for this piece of junk. The basic idea is good; too bad they havn't learned after all these years, to build some reliability into it. I went out and bought a REAL vacuum for 1/2 what I paid for this roomba, and it works great, even tho I have to drive it.

Ephraim said...

You're going to need that lifetime warranty being offered for an extra $200. I had my Roomba 14 months when it broke down.
iRobot told me they have no repair service. If their emailed advice on how to fix it doesn't work they said I would have to buy a new Roomba.

I think this is outrageously bad customer service.

Ephraim Schwartz

Great Danish said...

Just went to the Hammacher-Schlemmer site, used the mcship09 code, got the free shipping and is Pet Version is on its way. Looking forward to trying it out with my two Great Danes and Pit Mix in shed mode right now. People I have spoken to can't say enough good things about it. I like buying new and I love the idea of a lifetime guarantee - always worth a few dollars more.

Kendor said...

I need some Roomba buying advice... I am doing preproduction testing of an RFID testing in my 900 sq. foot office with 3 distinct rooms. While it would be nice to have the added benefit of vacuuming the floors, I'm interested in Roomba for help testing our software. We'd be putting an RFID tag on the Roomba, and tracking the Roomba's movements using a sensor network that's in place in each of these rooms. It doesn't have to clean that well, but we'd like this thing to move in and out of the rooms on a variety of schedules (multiple times during the day if possible). I'd like to get away with cheapest possible solution, but am confused by models, generations, etc... eBay, used, refurb all good options for us.

Valerie said...

I have hardwood floors and no pets. My apartment feels like a wind tunnel runs through it and so there is a lot of dust. I have no pets, but hate swifting the floor. Which Roomba would be best for me or is my situation not meant for a Roomba?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Valerie