Cat and long human hair, which Roomba ?

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Cat and long human hair, which Roomba ?

Postby Mimosa » May 29th, 2008, 8:22 am

Hi,

I've just spent 2 days reading about Roomba's, I think I'm obsessed !
I just found an alternative called the robomop (robomaid) which would be way cheaper, even including cost of refills, but i dunno, doesn't have the Roomba appeal and i'n concerned it wouldn't be able to deal with similar amounts of cat hair.

-I have 4 longhaired cats which makes for a considerable amount of hair.
I read there is some kind of pet brush available, would that be compatible with the 5xx series ?
-I have thighlength hair (but I don't shed much 8) ) and BF has shoulderlength hair, would that be a problem for Roomba ?

- Would Roomba have problems with toy mice lying around the house, eg under the couch ?

- how is Roomba's trackrecord as far as scaring cats goes ? I've seen the Youtube vids of cats riding on or playing with it, doesn't have to be that good but is it commonly tolerated by cats ?

- We live in an apartment, just one floor. All laminate flooring, no cables lying around because of the kitties. Measured all furniture, Roomba shouldn't get stuck anywhere I think. No threshold between livingroom and bedroom (40m2/430 sq ft altogether) and no thresholds in area that covers study, l-shaped hallway and guest bedroom either. (this area is also 40m2/430 sq ft) I think Roomba could cover one half of the house on it's own but would need assistance to get to the other half because of the thresholds ? Would it make sense to look for a model with a scheduler ? In that case, would Roomba need a docking station in both parts of the house ? Is it necessary to have lighthouses for an area of 40m2 ?

I live in the Netherlands and if I want to buy a Roomba here it seems like I only have the choice between a 530 or a 560. The 530 costs 300 euro/466 USD and the 560 costs 400 euro/622 USD :shock: I set my sights on the 560 because I thought I would need lighthouses, but I'm not willing to pay that much. The 530 for that price I'm willing to consider, especially because I could have a warranty.

If I were to import one, what should I take into account ? Of course I thought of shipping, customs and a transformer, and probably no warranty because I live in the wrong place (maybe I could get around that by buying via a friend in the States).
Would you advise me to get the 4xx or 5xx series ? The idea of the scheduler appeals to me but I think I could live without it in case of huge price differences.

Any answers to my questions are greatly appreciated, I'm so exciting at the thought of having one of those little guys zooming around the house !
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Postby fancyfreewv » May 29th, 2008, 10:31 am

Hi in The Netherlands. I've visited your lovely country several times.

I looked up the RoboMaid and it's not the same type of device as a Roomba. It is classified as a Sweeper (much like the IRobot Dirt Dog) and not a vacuum. I have no other experience with it but that's what I read.

With all you describe I would get a 530 (for the price difference) and just let it roam around. You can use the VW (no LH in 530) to block any place you don't want it to go like under the couch after the toys. :lol:

If you get a 4xxx series, you should be quite mechanical as they aren't as easy to clean or fix when they start getting used a bit. The 4xxx is noisy on hard floors. Even though 5xx is noiser on hard floors than on carpet, still quieter than 4xxx.

As to all that hair you will have to deal with. There is a pet brush kit for the 4xxx series and some people have used it in their 5xx series too. They claim on their surfaces it picks up more. I used to have a 4xxx with the pet kit and as you can see I have three long haired dogs. this brush did not pick up nearly as much hair as the 5xx does. I have carpet and laminate to deal with. Here is a picture from when I had both series.

Image

The top brush is the pet from the 4xxx put into my 5xx for a run. The only hair you can see is at the ends. The lower brush is the standard 5xx brush which is twisted. When it encounters long hair, it keeps what does not comb off into the bin which has teeth that takes some of it off the bristle brush like this:

Image

What you read here is from actual user's experience and varies widely according to environment in the home, size and flooring type. On long haired pets this is my experience.

One thing you may have read while looking through the forums. That is that the hair does tend to accumulate at the ends of the brushes so it's important that you familiarize yourself with the necessary cleaning procedures and tools to use or you will soon have gear box issues to deal with. It does not take long to do once you get the hang of it but the picture link at the bottom of the page on cleaning shows what happened to a guy in Britain who didn't do it. (I don't believe the length of time however he states there)

Get one that is under warranty in any case as these devices are still in their infancy compared to a vacuum cleaner.

www.robotreviews.com/wiki/cleaning

Good luck and welcome to the craziness.
Nancy - Mom to 3 Furbabies - Bentley, Chelsea, Whiskey & 3 Roombas - 535 (Half Trax) and 560 (Shadow) and Dirt Dog (Old Yellow)
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Postby Mimosa » May 29th, 2008, 10:51 am

Thanks for your detailed reply ! I'm sorry to say I'm not any closer to making up my mind :? :D
That's because I just thought of a way to get a cheap cheap cheap Roomba to try the thing for the first time, I could get a cheap one from Amazon, have it delivered to the US to a friend who will be coming to stay with us in 2 weeks. She could just declare it at the airport and I would pay the taxes of course, including taxes it would come to about 200 USD instead of 366 USD for the 530.
Especially because a lot of people with pets seem to favor the 4xxx series over the 5xx.

Downside; no warranty and I should be prepared to handle a screwdriver. I have slight doubts about my technical abilities (the most complicated appliance I take apart on a regular basis is Hagen's cat-it water fountain) but I am able to follow instructions and like a challenge.
The gearbox mod Vic is offering sounds good to me, btw.

Being a woman I'd love a red Roomba, because it would go perfectly with my decor :D , but the downside to that; no scheduler and 7 hours charging time, so then I should take the 149 $ refurbished scheduler.

Oh, decisions, decisions.
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Postby Todemesne » May 29th, 2008, 11:09 am

A point that you may want to consider if you are going to import a Roomba from the States is that you will not have a warranty. Sometimes Roombas can be dead out of the box or have an electrical fault with the charging circuitry or even a dud battery.

I am not trying to put you off from using the import route, it is just that you need to be aware that not everything on a roomba is fixable and you may be very disappointed with this option.
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Postby Mimosa » May 29th, 2008, 11:20 am

Yes, that's exactly why I'm so indecisive.

Either I import one cheap now, but if it's DOA or breaks down soon I got a bad deal, or I'll have to save up a bit and buy an expensive one with a warranty. Instant gratification (pretty much) vs patience.
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Postby fancyfreewv » May 29th, 2008, 11:21 am

Mimosa wrote:Especially because a lot of people with pets seem to favor the 4xxx series over the 5xx.


My point in showing you the pictures was to compare long vs short haired pets. Most of the people with pet issues have shorter haired creatures to deal with. The fur that is dropped is apparently not long enough to wrap onto the teeth and be combed off the bristle brush. There are no teeth on the 4xxx series and the brush is not curved like the 5xx. Also the 5xx comes with a little round cylinder in the box with teeth. You just run it down the length of the bristle brush and all that mess comes off in a blob. If you have the shorter hair pets, it does not work all that well from what people say.
Nancy - Mom to 3 Furbabies - Bentley, Chelsea, Whiskey & 3 Roombas - 535 (Half Trax) and 560 (Shadow) and Dirt Dog (Old Yellow)
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Postby fancyfreewv » May 29th, 2008, 11:28 am

I just reread your reply. About scheduling. Both of mine schedule and I don't use it. If there are items in the way (dog toys - the soft type) I have to pick them up anyway so I normally do it while I'm in the home cleaning up or making beds or something. If you work, you can set it off before you go and it will be sitting in the charger when you return.

No matter what series you get, the home base to me is the main thing you want so it's recharged all the time. The scheduling and LH are only used by some people and others just use their closed doors or VW to block the robot.

If you are thinking about getting a cheaper 4xxx, get one that is basic and you will get the experience and can move up in the future or like I said, go for the cheaper 5xx series one.
Nancy - Mom to 3 Furbabies - Bentley, Chelsea, Whiskey & 3 Roombas - 535 (Half Trax) and 560 (Shadow) and Dirt Dog (Old Yellow)
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Postby wsngmartin » May 29th, 2008, 4:58 pm

Hi Mimosa
I agree w/ todesme, many if not most of us have had some problem with our roombas within the warranty period so unless you're very handy and have access to parts you might want to go w/ a local vendor. I think one of our UK members had a problem and domotec had a brand new 560 out to them the next day or something.
If you have a lot of pet hair, and you want longevity, you may have to learn to take the roomba apart, 5xx or 4xxx, to get the hair out. As Nancy pointed out, it's easier w/ the 5xx, and, conveniently, she's got the instructions for us :D. If you have a lot of pet hair, it can migrate into the innards of the 4xxx and choke it up, and the teardown and cleanout, IMHO, is essential, but can be intimidating.
Wendy
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