Price (RRP): $599
The iRobot Scooba is a floor washing robot with the ‘wow’ factor. It effectively cleans your timber floors, tiles or lino, for you. Scooba easily manoeuvres itself under tables, chairs and even the couch. My cat didn’t like it though – she was terrified of it.
The floor washing robot only requires a basic cleaning solution of white vinegar and cold tap water, plus two ‘D’ batteries so there’s no hidden costs once you’ve made your initial $599 outlay, which is on par with a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Setting up the Scooba is very straightforward, thanks to a supplied quick start guide. First, you release Scooba’s tank by pushing on a metal handle, pull the tank up and place the battery inside Scooba and into its slot. There are tabs to help you place it correctly. Next, the power supply plugs into the Scooba’s side. It’s recommended to charge it overnight.
Next, open Scooba’s tank, lifitng the lid clear of the robot and placing it on a flat surface (we used the floor). Using a supplied measuring cup I measured and poured 60 mls of white vinegar into the tank marked ‘clean’. Next, I filled the tank with cold tap water, secured the cap and placed the tank back into its holder. The lid then clicks into place. You can lift Scooba under a laundry tap pretty easily too to fill it.
Next, I simply added two batteries to the virtual wall unit and away I went, pressing the ‘power on’ button (labelled in silver) and the ‘play’ button.
The iRobot Scooba is a very straightforward yet effective floor washing robot. You simply press play and away it goes. I cleaned a range of room sizes and shapes with Scooba and found it did a good job, although I was surprised that the machine left behind a light liquid on my floors after it cleaned them. While in the warmer months this may not be an issue, in the cooler months you may be inclined to get a towel out and dry your floors manually.
Preventing Scooba from accessing certain rooms or surfaces is not a problem because it comes with one ‘virtual wall’, essentially an infra red beam of light which Scooba won’t cross. The virtual wall is perfect for blocking doorways, cords, and other areas that you want Scooba to avoid.
Scooba is a clever machine, with all sorts of lights and sound clues to help you operate it. For instance when it starts up it makes a little tune. Press the pause button and it will stop, which is handy for when you need to rearrange furniture, for example. It even has a cliff sensor, meaning it won’t fall down stairs or drops, so you can leave it pretty much unattended, if you are doing other chores or working.
The ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ tanks are also nicely sealed with a flexible rubber shield so you don’t spill messy (and often very dirty!) water. The floor washing robot also has a removable filter which catches much of the gunk from your floors. Empty this often as it tends to fill up (ours filled up with cat hair).
Scooba can be used on hard floors and tiles and linoleum, making it nice and flexible. It uses ‘intelligent algorithms’ to clean every part of the room. Each time we used it, it struggled to get itself out from underneath the couch but with a simple shift it got back to work.
It also comes with handy battery recharger so you won’t need to constantly outlay money for batteries. As well it can clean a room up to 23.3 square metres which is a decent sized space for it to clean in one session.
I liked Scooba and enjoyed not having to clean the floor ourselves. It did seem a little noisy and did frighten the cat but to my surprise it did a great job of getting under our dining room table, chairs and close to walls and it made concerted efforts to push myriad power cords out of the way to clean the floor! I had to adjust it a few times when it got stuck under couches, but apart from that operation was hassle free. Any time it travels to odd places you can press the pause button, place it elsewhere and away it goes.
Probably the best aspect of Scooba was its ease of use. It was easy to set up, easy to empty, refill, clean and operate.
However I think a second virtual wall would be worth including with Scooba, given the $599 asking price. Salton customers can buy a Scheduler Accessories pack via phone or online, or at selected appliance retailers for $119.95 (includes two virtual walls and a remote control).