I’ve been a fan of robotic vacuum cleaners since their introduction several years ago.

Despite careful cleaning/maintenance, I’ve managed to wear two iRobots completely out. I’ve totally rebuilt them so many times, I’ve lost count. After the fifth or so time of doing that, the fun wanes.     But, hesitant to buy another solely based on the substantially higher prices than originally paid, I just did without. But technology waits for no one, and iRobot has more competitors than ever. Some even well-known brand names have finally entered the market as well. However, I found a unit (iLife V5) that had tech that would put my older iRobot to shame for only $106 shipped to my door with zero tax. The comparable iRobot was four/five times more expensive. So the question you’re probably asking, is the iRobot worth the extra cash?

The only feature lacking on my bargain cleaner was the infrared wall to keep the vacuum in just one room … so I just pile a few items in the open doorway to block it from escaping. As far the cleaning capability, it’s shockingly efficient. Even after deliberately and thoroughly cleaning an area with a Dyson clone, the new robot cleaner found an incredible amount of dirt/hair. I expected that based on experiences with previous iRobots. So my bargain dirt sucker worked easily as well as a far pricier iRobot. I even got extra HEPA filters (only supposed to get one extra, but received two!) and extra spinning brushes. The package also included the remote control and its base station for automatic recharging. It’s fully programmable as well. Cleaning was as simple as it gets … empty bin in trash and I use a can of compressed air to blow the HEPA filter clean (always outside!) to extend its life. Literally one or two minutes and it’s ready to devour dog hair again. Companies mistakenly say these time savers’ batteries will run for two hours. But I have always gotten at least 45-90 minutes on hard surfaces. Carpets will shorten run times for obvious reasons.





















Some big pluses of the iLife V5 was a HUGE drop in noise levels and the amazing sensitivity of the sensors detecting furniture/walls. Even when it did hit stuff it wasn’t a huge “BANG!!!” as with the iRobot. You can run it in the same room as you’re having a conversation in without effort.

As with all robotic cleaners don’t trust them with stairs regardless of what the manufacturers tell you … these things are persistent as crazed terriers and will find a way to jump to their destruction.

Also bear in mind, these are not substitutes for a full size, plug-in vacuum on carpet, but rather to greatly extend the time between hauling out the corded version. On hard surfaces, it essentially does away with a full-size vacuum … with the exception of mopping. That is unless you opt for a robotic unit that can do that as well!

So when guests say my iLife V5 sucks, I say “Thanks!” ….

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