The iRobot Roomba 550 Vacuum Cleaning Robot excels at its task: keeping the floors clean. As a vacuum cleaner, this Roomba does an excellent job removing unwanted dirt from floors. However, the main reason to purchase a robotic vacuum cleaner rather than a traditional manual one is convenience. Toward this goal, the Roomba 550 leaves room for improvement. All in all, it is a very good, but an expensive vacuum which may not be as convenient as claimed.
Features and Benefits
- Based on an average sized room the Roomba 550 can clean up to 4 rooms on a single charge.
- Improved technology allows the iRobot to clean as effectivley as a dustpan and brush, using a faster counter-rotating brush system which are simple to remove and clean.
- Cleans and vacuums effectively around and underneath furniture, into corners and along the base of the walls.
- Spends more time cleaning dirtier areas detected by the sensors in the Roomba 550 unit
- Automatically returns to its self-charging base to dock and recharge between cleanings
- Improved anti-tangle technology keeps it from getting stuck on cords, carpet fringe and tassels.
While setting it up, some of the major improvements over older models are immediately evident. Now only requiring 2 “C” batteries, the virtual walls last longer than previous ones. One downside to these newer virtual walls is their design. It is not as apparent what side is front. Therefore, if someone accidentally knocks one over, it may accidentally be repositioned backwards. However, this could easily be remedied by adding a small mark of your own.
Simple to Program
After placing the virtual walls, this model is easily programmed. It can be told when to vacuum and how often. After completing its programmed routine, the Roomba will automatically return to its charging station; the iRobot will always be ready for the next job. In the event that the battery does run low, the Roomba will make its way over to recharge before losing all power. Although it varies with the type of flooring, it can vacuum just shy of 800 sq. ft. on a full charge.
Slows Down Prior to Bumping
This cleaner also is very adept at navigating that area. It seems to not mind any type of furniture in a room. It hugs walls and couch edges tightly. The Roomba has found its way in and out of table legs without a problem. Another improvement from older models, the 550 Roomba slows down prior to bumping into walls and furniture. There is no more crashing. This model can handle the layout of any room.
Handles All Types of Flooring
Just as it can navigate with ease, the iRobot Roomba 550 can clean almost any kind of floor effortlessly. When vacuuming, it is hardly noticeable. From plush carpet to linoleum, tile or hard wood flooring, it effortlessly sucks up any unwanted debris quickly and quietly. Just be sure to keep small trinkets and jewelry from remaining on the floor if they fall. The lack of sound is another noticeable feature of this newer model. It is much quieter than its predecessors.
Removes Unwanted Pet Hair Effortlessly
While there is a pet model available, the Roomba 550 will take care of any pet hair on the floor. It can handle fur shed from multiple cats or dogs, so the floors are always presentable. Although the vacuum will pick up pet hair, this brings up one of its main detractors. The hair will have to be removed from the rollers and brushes.
Requires a Little Maintenance
The biggest advantage a robotic vacuum has over other types is convenience. Just take it out of its box, quickly program it and place a couple virtual walls, and it is ready to go to work. However, after the initial set up, there will be some routine maintenance to perform. The brushes and ends of the rollers will need to be cleaned, and the dirt must be emptied. Unfortunately, there is not a self-dumping machine. All of this should probably be done every couple of cycles; the indicator will let you know precisely when. It takes about 5 minutes. Obviously, if the floors are vacuumed daily, the upkeep will have to be done more often than if the vacuum only works weekly.
In addition to the regular upkeep, some users have reported issues with the gearbox. Some claim pet hair has entered the box, jamming it. If this happens during a warrantee period, usually the vacuum can simply be replaced. On the other hand, if the applicable warranties have expired, a screwdriver may be necessary to remove the hair.
Although the iRobot Roomba 550 has many positive reviews on Amazon, there are plenty of other top rated robot vacuums that have many more reviews and maybe a better alternative if you don’t mind spending slightly more. However, it is great value for money and with simple maintenance will keep your floors clean, leaving you with more time to do other things you enjoy.