The Roomba from iRobot is advertised as a hands-free way to clean every floor in your home. If you’re thinking about bringing one of these little robots into your home, you’re likely wondering if the reality owns up to the hype. Do Roombas work on hardwood floors—and just as importantly, will they clean them without causing any damage?
There’s no doubt that the Roomba can give your hardwood floors a thorough clean. The three-stage cleaning system first uses a spinning brush on the side to loosen and capture dust and debris, then employs a pair of counter-rotating brushes to push all that dirt into the suction path of the vacuum. It has a powerful enough suction to pick up even larger particles, like spilled food or kitty litter, and uses an advanced HEPA filtration system to make sure smaller particles don’t escape back into the air.
While all the Roombas in the 800 line excel at hard floors, the Roomba 860 offers you the best value. It also comes with the Virtual Wall Halo feature, if you want to guarantee your Roomba won’t disturb especially delicate items on display in your home.
Of course, that’s only an answer to the first half of the question; there’s still the matter of do Roombas work on hardwood floors safely. The majority of Roomba owners do not report any problems with the vacuum scratching or otherwise damaging their floors.
The vacuum’s sensors are very sophisticated, and have become better with each successive model that iRobot releases at detecting the surface being cleaned and using the appropriate level of pressure. Because they’re so lightweight, Roombas are typically less likely to leave scratches on hardwood floors than traditional upright vacuums, making them the ideal choice for most situations.
The Roomba is also smart enough to know where it’s most needed. If an area of the floor is relatively clean, it will pass over it less than sections of the floor that are dirtier. This helps to protect your floors by limiting their contact with the brushes. The efficiency of Roomba vacuums is one of their most alluring qualities overall, letting it clean a broader area of your home in less time.
There have been isolated reports of circular scratches left behind on wooden floors by Roomba vacuums. This tends to only happen on untreated hardwood that’s made of a softer hardwood. Wood flooring is rated on the Janka hardness scale. The higher the number, the harder the wood. True hardwoods like ebony, rosewood, and Brazilian walnut measure above 3,500 on the Janka scale, but others like pine, fur, and cherry have ratings below 1,000. If you’re not sure how hard your hardwood is, look the material up on the Janka scale.
The lower the number, the more susceptible your floor will be to damage. If you’re unsure if the Roomba will damage it, you can use the Virtual Wall and Virtual Wall Lighthouses included with models like the Roomba 860 or 880 to isolate it to a small test area before unleashing it on the entire room.
The short answer to the question “Do Roombas work on hardwood floors?” is a resounding yes. If you have a lot of hard floors in your home, a Roomba is arguably the most efficiently way to keep them spotless without ever having to lift a finger. Their suction power, intelligent sensors, and lightweight design combine to give you a thorough and consistent clean every time.