Roomba Discovery 4210

Roomba Discovery 4210 by iRobot

SUMMARY: Very cool! Does a great job on wood floors. Doesn’t clean carpet as good as vacuum, but more like a sweeper. Still does a good job. Can get stuck under some conditions, but this can be worked around.

I bought this as a Christmas present to my wife and I. So where I bought it weeks ago, I had to wait until Christmas morning to open it. It comes witha rapid charger that will charge the battery in 3 hours, but they recommend charging it for 16 hours the first time. So where I plugged it in at 9am Christmas morning, it wasn’t going to be ready to try till 1am. So yesterday (12/26), I kicked it off. The thing worked great on my wood floors (they are not hard wood, but southern long leaf yellow pine which is technically a soft wood). I managed to go under the stairs where it is difficult to vacuum, and under the cabinet edges. It did a fantastic job on the wood floors! The floor now looks great. It wasn’t very loud. I was talking to my wife on the phone with the Roomba running only five feet away. The dust bin on the unit is kind of small so I had to pause it a few times, and empty the dust bin. But once the floor is clean, subsequent runnings shouldn’t fill the bin as much. I had used the ‘max’ option, so when it was done after a couple hours, it docked itself on the charger. I let it charge again, and after about two and a half hours, it was ready to go again. I let it go into the living room which is carpeted, and the dining room with is vinyl floor. It did pretty good on the carpet, but there were still a few little bits of whatever that it didn’t seem to pick up. But then you will get that with a vacuum. Keep in mind when I am comparing it to our vacuum, our vacuum is a high-end model Hoover with lots of power! It had some difficulty going over the edge of the kitchen floor rugs/mats. It would sometimes roll the edge up as it crossed the rug. And I found it didn’t do a great job around where the rugs were. But on the next run, I removed the rugs from the kitchen, and then it cleaned in there very well. I read that wouldn’t go over a ledge or stairs, but I was real nervous the first time it was heading toward the ledge under the stairs for which if it had gone over would have been a eight foot drop. But it sensed the ledge and backed up. I am still nervous every time it heads that way that there might be a hole in the logic that would allow it to bump into something and then it will back over the ledge, but thus far it has been over there a lot, and has gone over. It tends to get stuck under the corner of my rocking recliner chair. The problem is that it will wedge itself under the corner, and chair will rock back a little, but when it comes forward again, there is enough weight laying on the Roomba, that it can’t quite get out. I think if I recline the chair before kicking it off, it might not get stuck there.
I have only been using the unit for a day now, but thus far it works as well as I imagined. It is fun to watch as well. I was concerned that my dog would bark at it, or chase it, but so far she just stays out of it’s way.
They make a Scheduler unit for it, so that you can program the Roomba to turn on and start cleaning at certain times of the day, or even certain days, but I am not thinking I will find it very useful. My wife works different hours every week, and it will not be much effort to set the Roomba in the middle of the room, turn it on, and let go as I am on the way out the door to work.
Roomba comes with virtual walls, which are small electronic boxes that transmit an infrared beam that the Roomba wont cross. I used these and they work well. Another solution is just to place an obstacle that will block the Roomba. I didn’t want the Roomba to go behind my couch (there are suround sound speaker wires on the floor there), so I simply laid a small rock there.
As far as I can tell, Roobma doesn’t seem to map the room out, but just does a series of random patterns which the hope that if it does these enough, it will eventually hit the whole floor.
I will continue using the unit, but so far I am happy with our Roomba!