วันเสาร์ที่ 18 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2553

#@: iRobot Scooba 350 Floor Washing Robot

I purchased my Scooba a few years ago after some success with the Roomba vacuum cleaner. Of course, short term success sometimes isn't the best thing to use as judgment when buying technology as I ran into some quality control issues with my Roomba 560 machine. All has been fixed, some under warranty, others out of pocket expense but I am back to being a happy Irobot customer. I waited quite a while to review Scooba because it is not something I use as often as Roomba. I wanted to make sure I had enough experience with it as well as time so I could see what (if anything) would go wrong with it.

I am happy to report that I have had no major issues with Scooba since buying it. I am not talking about quality of its ability to clean my floors but rather in quality control of its build by Irobot. To date, the only thing I had to replace is the battery (my fault...more on that later). Compared to what I replaced on Roomba, this is a miracle!

Using Scooba is much more involved than running Roomba. Outside of the occasional brush cleaning and emptying of the dirt bin, Roomba can stay out of site out of mind and run when you want it to. Scooba requires the user to do several steps to get it run. I'll quickly walk through them.

1. Add solution and water. This is the easy part. You can either use a solution made specifically for Scooba or use a specific amount of vinegar. You get a measuring cup which will give you the exact amounts for each method. I use vinegar as its cheaper and seems to clean just as well. It might smell for a bit but only lasts for maybe an hour or so.

2. First time use or after prolonged periods of no use you have to prime Scooba. What this means is you have to manually add water to the main line that draws water out of the clean tank. Scooba comes with a suction cup ball thing that you fill with water and then attached to the main line (a little plastic piece) and force water into it. If you don't prime Scooba properly, it will just run around your floor without putting any water down. Sometimes this takes one or two tries to get it to work right. If you use Scooba on a regular basis, there seems to be no need to prime it every time.

3. Clean cycle - once Scooba is filled and primed...it will do its thing. Not much to say here except that Scooba doesn't seem as "smart" as Roomba and I find it has a tendency to go over the same areas more often, although I still usually get close to full coverage.

4. Clean Scooba tank- After Scooba is done, you will want to empty the dirty water chamber. Otherwise, if you leave it.....well....the smell....don't want to go there.

5. Clean other parts of Scooba - I would recommend cleaning all of the brushes and areas underneath as well as make sure all of the suction areas are free of dirt, hair, whatever or you may run into some issues later on. Since Scooba is actually sucking up water it puts down, it picks up other stuff as well if on the floor. Luckily, most of the stuff is blocked out by a filter screen that can easily be removed and cleaned after each use.

So that's it but with this model, you will need to manually return Scooba to a charging cord as it does not have a nice charging dock and auto return like the Roomba I have.

So how does it clean?

I would give it a B+ overall for its cleaning ability. Overall, the dirty water I dump out of it is clearly dirty and my floors are left with a nice shine when I use the vinegar/water combo. I have even used Scooba on my hard wood floors, however I usually follow it up with a cloth to dry the floor off more quickly than it would on its own. As far as getting dirt off the floor, Scooba can usually get most stuff up but it may take one or two passes. Luckily, Scooba seems to pass over the same spots several times so most of the stuff on my floor usually gets picked up. Battery life is very good with Scooba easily able to dispense an entire tank of solution on one charge with power still leftover. My kitchen (where I mostly use it) is 26' X 13" and I add a small bathroom as well so it is a decent size area.

Some of my issues are as follows:

1. Scooba is BIG. It is much higher than Roomba so it cannot get underneath some things that Roomba can get to. Overall, its not a huge deal but I have to remember to manually clean under things like the kitchen cart since Scooba cannot do it.

2. Scooba cannot climb over any minimal size threshold which prevents it from going into any other room. Sometimes this is fine if I just want to clean the kitchen but if I want it to get my hardwood floors, I have to pick it up and move it over the tiny little threshold that separates that rooms.

3. Floor vents tend to get Scooba stuck more often than not. Roomba is very smart and easily backs off of things like metal floor vents but Scooba seems to get confused and will ultimately get stuck 3 out of 5 times or so.

4. Scooba seems to leave behind more water that I would have thought. I still have to wait quite a while for my floors to dry as some areas are pretty wet especially if Scooba has gone over an area a few times. I would say that the dirty water tank is maybe 1/4 full when the clean water is completely drained. It seems like Scooba's vacuum just isn't strong enough to suck up all the water it puts down.

5. Suction - I learned after maybe 20 uses that Scooba can get clogged even if you do regular cleanings. I was noticing that way more water was being left behind and the dirty tank was virtually empty when Scooba was done. I immediately though Scooba's suction pump had gone so started doing some research. I found some very helpful tips to try before I went screaming to Irobot. The first one I tried happened to fix my problem. I filled the dirty water tank with clean water and then shook the living daylights out of it. A ton of gunk came out that must have been clogging the pipe that sucks the water in. I was very happy that this was the problem as it took no longer than 5 minutes to fix...and lots of internet research.

6. Battery issues (my problem but still a nuisance) - my battery would not hold a charge for more than 10 minutes after I inadvertently left it unplugged for several weeks. I tried all the tips and tricks to reset Scooba, do this, do that...but nothing worked. I bought a replacement battery from Amazon (a 3rd part battery) and it is working very well and even lasts longer than the stock one. My issues really comes down to the type of maintenance a person has to do with these types of batteries (NiMh). Caring for a battery should not be like caring for a pet. However, you have to remember to either use Scooba on a regular basis or make sure you follow the storage instructions for your battery or you risk a short lifespan on the battery. I believe I paid around $45 for the replacement so its not bad but its still $45!!

7. Scooba is NOISY!!!! Tough to watch TV in a room that is near the room Scooba is cleaning. Much louder than Roomba!

Overall I am very happy with the build quality of Scooba. Just like Roomba, I have a few small areas that I have to remember to clean on my own (corners and under stuff that it can't get to) but it does what it states it will do...cleans your floors for you. Your involvement is a little more than what you have to deal with Roomba but its still a lot better than getting a bucket, mop, etc.. And doing it all yourself. Just remember to clean it and try some of the troubleshooting tips out on the internet before you throw in the towel!
(35 customers reviews )
Customers Rating=3.5 / 5.0

More Detail For iRobot Scooba 350 Floor Washing Robot

  • Floor-washing robot cleans sealed hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors
  • Can handle up to 500 square feet on a single battery charge
  • Uses water, water and vinegar, or Clorox Scooba cleaning solution
  • Preps, washes, scrubs, and dries; cliff sensor; 1 virtual wall included
  • Measures 14-3/4 by 14-3/4 by 3-1/2 inches; 1-year warranty

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