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When the Roomba first arrived a decade or so ago, the “wow” factor was definitely palpable—but so was the “creepy” factor. How weird was it that this little robot rolled around your house all day, picking up after you? It wasn’t long before stories about the Roomba’s wonky tech and persnickety nature were common. But back then, it was brand-new. With any new gadget, there’s bound to be a learning curve.
Flash forward to 2019 and smart home devices are de rigeur. The creepiness has passed, the tech (particularly battery life) has markedly improved, and the Roomba e5 is a mainstay in our house. It’s easy to use and empty. it works great; the wife loves how well it cleans and gushes about how we rarely have to vacuum the house anymore. Heck, the kids even gave the Roomba a name.
High-tech Home Helper
It’s all about the app, of course. We set up a recurring cleaning schedule, so it runs during the day while no one’s home. Right from my smartphone we can turn it on and off, check its status, and even look up troubleshooting solutions if we get a notification that it’s stopped in the middle of a cycle.
And when we get home from work, the Roomba is usually resting peacefully on its dock. The carpet has zig-zagging tracks all over it and we can tell the place has been vacuumed. Even in our serpentine apartment, the Roomba manages to maneuver all over the house, going into and out of bedrooms and up and down the hall, and finds its way back to its base before anyone gets home. It’s incredible.
Dirt, dust, hair, allergens, cereal crumbs—it all gets vacuumed up. With five times more suction power than the previous model, the e5 uses soft rubber brushes rather than flexible, bendable bristles to pick up debris. And the improved filter captures 99 percent of allergens cat and dog hair leave behind.
The battery is impressive, too. The e5 runs for about 90 minutes before it needs to recharge, and even sends itself home if the battery gets too low to function at optimum levels. It transitions from hardwood to rugs without a hitch, it goes under chairs and around table legs, no problem. There’s a spinning edge brush the sweeps debris away from walls and into the vacuum’s path. And it’s compatible with Alexa-enabled devices and the Google Assistant to start, stop, or dock at your command.
And we have to admit, watching the thing navigate its way around the house is strangely mesmerizing. There are days when we get home to find it stuck under the couch, or halted from sucking up a shoelace or a dangling bed sheet corner. But it’s a snap to just pick the Roomba up and carry it back to its dock.
Is There Anything It Can’t Do?
If there’s a nitpick, we do wish the trap were a bit larger; it needs to be emptied often, about twice a week. But if it gets too full, the app sends me a notification. Done. It’s quiet, efficient, and while it doesn’t pick up every little thing, it’s definitely cut our regular vacuum schedule way, way, WAY down.
If you ever looked at a Roomba and thought, “That’s pretty cool—if it works,” you can rest assured it does. No, the Roomba e5 not cheap. But it’s absolutely something every homeowner will appreciate. And just in time for spring cleaning season (and Mother’s and Father’s Days, too!), the Roomba e5 is $50 off, with free shipping. In fact, the entire iRobot line is on sale up to $150 off through Mother’s Day.
GET IT: Pick up the iRobot Roomba e5 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum ($400; was $450) at iRobot.
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