Scooba by IRobot: Product Review

The newest of its “home robots,” the iRobot Scooba is a floor washing robot that preps, washes, scrubs, and dries sealed hardwood, linoleum, and tile or marble floors. Always on the lookout for a machine that will not be intimidated by the cat hair in my home that, if collected, could reassemble one cat per week, I am also keen to minimalizing my personal participation in the cleaning process. Intrigued by iRobot’s claims that the Scooba would wash my floors indepently of me, I picked one of these little cleaning robots and took it out for a test run. With a little prep assistance from my cat, I really put it through its paces.

Ease of Use: A+
The iRobot Scooba was by far the easiest floor cleaning machine I have ever used. Unlike the inhabitants of the closet full of disappointing “cleans your home in the push of a button” machines that lurk shamefacedly in my hallway closet, the Scooba delivers on its promise of a clean floor with minimal operator effort. You simply fill the Scooba’s clean water tank with 2 ounces of their “specially formulated” Clorox cleaning solution and cool or lukewarm water, place it in the middle of the floor, turn on the power, and press the “CLEAN” button. The Scooba will then start to move around the floor of the room you want to clean, traveling in a circular pattern to ensure it covers all areas of the room.

The Scooba will first “prep” the floor for you, which means that it’ll pick up the loose dirt, sand, cat hair, etc. As long as your floor is not too covered in debris there is no need to sweep before using the Scooba to wash the floor. Then it will wash and scrub the floor with a fine layer of cleaning solution and its rotating scrub brush.

At this point you are free to go off and do other things until you hear the Scooba’s motor stop and it lets out a lively little set of tones. At this point its “CHECK TANK” button will light up. If the light is yellow, the Scooba would like you to empty its dirty water tank and turn it back on. If the light is blue, it would like you to know that it’s done all its washing and is ready to dry! Just press the “CLEAN” button twice in succession, and it’ll begin to dry your floors for you with its “squeegee vacuum.”

When it’s done drying, it’ll cut its motor off and find a nice place to sit and wait for you.

Effectiveness of Product: A+
I have to admit, I was amazed by the job the iRobot Scooba did cleaning my floors. After being terribly disappointed in labor saving floor cleaning machines in the past, I was hesitant to put any faith in the Scooba’s ability to do the job thoroughly. I was happily disappointed in my plans to be disappointed!

Typically, the only way I can clean the floors of my home to my satisfaction is with the sloppy old bucket and scrub brush. I am happy to report that the iRobot Scooba did an equal, and I suspect even superior, job of cleaning my floors than I would have. The cleaning process takes approximately 45 minutes, during which time the Scooba covers each inch of floor repeatedly. Although you may need to take a quick swipe at the corners of the room, the Scooba does an effective job even at the edges and under furniture. It manages to circle around the legs of tables in a manner that allows it to clean those hard to get to places thoroughly

Instruction Manual: C
The iRobot Scooba’s instruction manual is disappointingly sparse. The basic information for getting started and a few trouble shooting tips are, of course, included, but there are a lot of details about using the Scooba that are left up to operator trial and error, and often the information that is included leaves too much to inference. As it is unlikely that owner of the iRobot Scooba have ever owned a robotic floor washing machine, they would do well to flesh out the instructions.

Price: B+
The iRobot Scooba is available on line at the iRobot store for $399.00. It’s a fair price this impressive little workhorse. Although priced to keep itself out of the reach of some consumers, those who can afford it may find that product’s impressive labor saving advantages and the thoroughness of the cleaning it provides make it the best $400.00 they’ve ever spent. And, hey- they throw in an “i ♥ Robots” refrigerator magnet for free.

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