How Well Do Roombas Work?

How well do roombas work?

Those who are hesitant to ditch their manually-operated standup vacuum for the Roomba often ask one key question: How well do Roombas work?

For many homeowners, the thought of never having to physically vacuum their floors (or hire someone to do it for them) again is enticing. And when iRobot’s Roomba automatic robot vacuum cleaner hit store shelves in the early 2000s, this thought turned from pipe dream to reality. According to Statista, more than 14 million American households currently have Roomba vacuum cleaners – and this number is trending upwards year-over-year. 

As you might imagine, there are a variety of factors that dictate this, including the type of model that you purchase relative to the types of floors in your home, how well you maintain it and how often you want it to vacuum. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how well the Roomba performs compared to conventional vacuum cleaners. Read on to learn more.

Benefits of Roomba Robot Vacuums

Let’s start by discussing some of the benefits of Roomba robot vacuum models, aside from the one that we listed in the opening of never having to physically vacuum your home again. Here’s a look:

  • You can schedule cleaning: The Roomba is programmable, so you can schedule cleanings on certain days and at certain times. Many homeowners schedule the Roomba to operate overnight or when nobody is home during the day to avoid the risk of accidentally stepping on it. 
  • Versatile: Not only is the Roomba compact and easy to store, but it can clean places where a conventional vacuum cleaner would have difficulty. Being that the Roomba cleans low to the floor, it can get under tables, some furniture and around objects with relative ease.
  • Convenience: The Roomba can help homeowners save time that they would normally dedicate to vacuuming to do other things. 
  • Smart technology: The Roomba is able to seamlessly transition and adjust to most different floor surfaces thanks to integrated smart sensors. Many Roomba models can also detect areas of the home that require more intensive cleaning and focus on those more than other areas. Finally, some models also permit users to preset boundaries or come equipped with stair identification technology so they don’t fall down the stairs and damage.
  • Smart charging: Users don’t have to worry about remembering to charge their Roombas. When the battery is low, it will return to its docking station to recharge. Some Roombas even recharge wirelessly.

There are a few disadvantages to the Roomba as well. For instance, it can still get jammed on certain things (i.e., socks, toys, etc.), it isn’t a solution for vacuuming stairs, it has a comparatively smaller waste bin than conventional vacuums and it tends to be more costly.

A Lot Depends on the Model, Other Factors

So how well does the Roomba work? A lot of this depends on the model and the types of floors in your home. For example, if your home has mostly hard floors or low-pile carpet, the Roomba is going to work pretty well in removing dirt and debris. This is largely because the debris is right on the surface of the floor, making it easy to be removed by any type of vacuum. 

Where things get tricky is in homes with high-pile carpet, where dirt and debris have more of a tendency to embed into the pile. More advanced Roomba models with larger wheels and more suction power are best for this type of flooring, as they’re better able to agitate and remove particulate. Even so, robotic vacuums are not ideal for deep cleaning purposes. Consumer Reports states that robot vacuums typically remove about 20 percent less than a conventional standup vacuum when it comes to deep cleaning. 

There are other factors that dictate how well a Roomba will perform in your home as well. Here’s a closer look at some of them:

Overall Home Cleanliness

Roombas are best in households with floors that are free and clear of obstruction. Things like power cords, toys and more can lead to jams.


Like any appliance, the Roomba needs to be maintained. This includes regular emptying of the waste bin, occasional cleaning, and changing filters and more. iRobot has comprehensive suggested maintenance outlined on its website. The better care you take of the Roomba, the more effective it will operate.

The Final Word on How Well do Roombas Work

Roombas clean just as well as any other type of vacuum in homes with hard floors or low-pile carpet, but are typically lacking on high-pile carpeting. Even if you acquire a Roomba, you’ll still want to keep a conventional vacuum handy for stairs and other areas that a Roomba can’t easily clean. Roombas are ideal accessories that clean well and are part of a home’s complete cleaning arsenal.