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Review: iRobot Roomba Pet Series 562 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

I have been drooling over the iRobot Roomba vacuums since they first appeared on the public market. My husband and I had been hesitant to take the plunge and make the purchase because we were nervous about how well it would work in a house with multiple pets. We had been known to burn out upright vacuums in as little as 6 months. So when I had the opportunity to test a Roomba 562 Pet Series vacuum for 2 weeks in our home, I could not refuse.

The product features and benefits promised by the manufacturer and what I thought about each one:

1) "Simple to use" I thought the Roomba vacuum was extremely easy to use. It is pretty much ready to use out of the box aside from charging up your unit. All you need to do is press the big button marked "Clean" and watch it go. When the Roomba is done cleaning, it returns to its dock all by itself.

2) "Unprecedented efficiency, coverage and cleaning performance" I think that the Roomba is does a great job overall, especially for general upkeep. I don't think you should expect it to perform at it's best if you only run it once every two weeks. The capacity of the bins that collect the debris is large enough to run your Roomba 2 or 3 times with several day's worth of pet hair and dirt. If you leave your floor unvacuumed for two weeks, the bin will fill up before your Roomba can finish it's job. Some types of debris our Roomba has proven to be able to pick up are dry cereal, litter, dirt, pet hair, food crumbs, dry pet food and Easter grass (see video below).

3) "Two virtual walls" There are two guides that come with your Pet Series Roomba, which take 2 C-batteries each (not included), that help you keep your Roomba within a certain area. We used these at the top of each of our staircases to keep the Roomba from taking a fall. We tested these out and they really do work. You can set the distance you would like the Roomba to keep from each guide. This is a very handy feature for us because, although we have safety gates at each staircase, the Roomba is so compact, that it can fit underneath the gates.

4) "Reaches deep into carpet to remove dirt, dust, and pet hair" Although the Roomba does do a good job on carpet, I think it does better on bare wood and tile floors and also low pile carpet like Berber. Plush carpets that are cleaned often should not be a problem either.

5) iRobot Roomba senses dirtier areas and cleans more thoroughly in those spots This is difficult to observe while the robot zips around. The Roomba makes multiple passes through all areas. When it is done cleaning, the floor appears to be clean in all those areas, so either it does sense there is more dirt in certain spots or it makes enough passes so it cleans thoroughly. Either way, the result is the same . . . a clean floor.

6) "Anti-tassel technology" I actually did not have the opportunity to test this feature. Because we have young children in the house, we do not have any loose cords anywhere.

7) "Model 562 uses a scheduling function" We were able to schedule our Roomba to start at the same time every Sunday afternoon. I think I am going to program it to vacuum at 10pm every other night. That would be the best time because the floors will be toy-free and all the children will be in bed. Our dog and cats will be roaming about, but they do not seem to be bothered by the Roomba at all.

I decided to put our Roomba to the test of picking up bits of Easter grass from our children's Easter baskets. The pieces were strewn all over their plush high static bedroom carpet.

As you can see, the Roomba started off strong. After awhile, I think it did not pick up as well because I needed to empty the cleaning bin. When I was done filming the video, I emptied the bin and cleaned out the brush. Then I let the Roomba do its thing again and it managed to pick up most of what it missed. For this reason, I think the Roomba does exceptionally well on bare floors, but may not be my first choice for large messes on thick carpeting. For those occasions I would my husband would lug out our heavy upright vacuum.