Scooba: best thing since, well, Roomba
My very short review of my new Scooba:
LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. It is worth every penny. Cleans GREAT. Smells great. Well engineered. HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.
My very long review, lovingly recorded with glee because of all the time I have saved not sweeping and mopping my floor:
Bought my new Scooba (robot sweep and mop machine) in January and have been running it into the ground (nearly daily) ever since. I bought it after moving back into our newly remodeled home; we can't afford a housecleaner anymore, but I've got 1000 sq. ft. more of hardwood floors to clean, so I managed to justify the cost with DH. I ordered mine from the Sharper Image web site, and with my company corporate discount, I paid $370. I saw them in the Target ad this week for $399. I paid an extra $44 for a two-year replacement guarantee, since I plan to use mine so much. I figure it might wear out after a few hundred washings, and this way I'll be able to swap it out for a new one.
I bought my first Roomba (robot duster/sweeper) several months ago and I've been calling it my new best friend ever since. We have endless hardwood floors in our new house and the dust bunnies seem to materialize overnight. By running my Roomba in various rooms every day, I'm able to keep the dust under control. LOVE it. By running my Roomba AND Scooba alternately throughout the house, my floors are cleaner than they would EVER be if I had to keep after them manually with broom and mop. (OK, it just wouldn't happen between working full-time, driving my teens around to their various activities, and well, having a life!)
Differences between Scooba and Roomba:
Roomba sucks up dirt, dust, and pet hair from floors. In my experience, it does not have strong enough suction to do much beyond "dusting" carpeted areas, so I use it mostly on floors. I've never had it fill up beyond its dirt-holder capacity, though I understand earlier models had a smaller capacity (I have the Discovery model). Roomba scoots around quickly, makes a lot of noise, and bangs into the things it encounters with a little bit of force (enough to knock some light things over). It also can "four-wheel" over area rugs (that don't have fringe) and other low barriers, like transition strips between floor and carpet areas, for example. It also can sense when a room is clean and shuts off. It can dock itself back into its recharger (some models). It is easy to clean out, though I find it often drops dust and debris when I pick it up to empty it. I usually take it outside to empty because it because it tends to kick up a lot of dust when emptied.
Scooba sucks up dust, squirts out cleaning solution, scrubs the floor with little scrub brushes, then squeegies the floor dry, sucking up the dirty water and storing it in a dirty water tank. It really is a miracle machine! Scooba is heavier (being filled with water) and much slower than the Roomba. It chugs along leaving a "snail trail" of wet floor behind it. It is noisy but not as noisy as Roomba, and it doesn't slam into walls with the force that Roomba does; rather, it gently nudges a barrier before turning, but doesn't do it with much force. Scooba cannot seem to travel over any sort of slight barrier like a throw rug (which is actually a good thing). Scooba does NOT shut off when a room is clean, it just keeps cleaning until it runs out of cleaning solution, which is about 45 minutes. Scooba cannot redock itself--there is no dock available for it (yet--I imagine they will come out with one eventually). Cleaning the Scooba after each cycle is a bit more involved, and you have to have a water source to do it. It can be messy to do at the kitchen sink, and you have to keep the cleaning solution handy for refills. You have to empty out the dirty water tank and rinse it out until it is clean, then refill the clean water tank with clean water and solution. Then you have to clean out two separate filter areas by rinsing them under water. But it only takes a few minutes, and is well worth the time IMHO.
The best things about the Scooba are:
- My floors are really, really clean. Scooba always washes your floor with clean water, and it sucks away the dirty water into a separate tank. You never end up washing your floor with dirty water (like you do with a mop and bucket). Both Roomba and Scooba pick up all kinds of stuff that I never knew was there and that, for whatever reason, doesn't get picked up by a regular broom and mop. I'm not a clean freak, but both these machines ROCK!
- Scooba works GREAT cleaning tile floor with grout--I will never have to scrub on my hands and knees again (except to reach the little bit of the corners of the room that the machine can't get to)! This alone is worth the price.
- Scooba goes under my couch and chairs (same with Roomba). I don't have to move my furniture to clean under it! This alone is also worth the price.
- Scooba and Roomba both clean while you are gone! I set them up to clean when I leave the house for the day, and I am so tickled when I come home to a clean floor. Brilliant!
- Both my Scooba and Roomba units seem very well engineered; I am impressed with the design, ease of cleaning, and construction. They are easy to use and the instructions are simple and straightforward. I know from being in the computer business that to make a complicated machine seem simple and easy to use is extremely difficult and is usually a sign of good quality. I waited years to buy my first Roomba because I wasn't convinced that it could clean well enough to be worth the price. Boy was I wrong.
The few flaws:
- The biggest drawback to both Roomba and Scooba is that they can't clean corners and very tightly around furniture legs and such. So I have to go around after them and clean up some corners and edges. But they do get about 95% of the floor clean, and by running them alternately, they keep things so clean in general that I don't have to do that much follow up.
- It can take some time to clean the brushes on both units, especially if you have long-haired people or pets in the house. I can't fathom where all the bits of string and other stuff that gets wrapped around the brushes comes from. But this is no different from cleaning the brushes on a vacuum cleaner.
- I've found Scooba needs a bit of babysitting when running. Not always, but sometimes. Once the squeegee somehow got knocked out of place and stopped working, and the floor was left with a bubbly wet mess all over. Easy to fix, just readjusted the squeegee, but a bit annoying. Another time it picked up a small piece of paper and dragged it all over and it didn't clean very well. A few times it has picked up something really dusty that it couldn't suck up and it then left trails of it behind, spreading it everywhere. But these messes were minor compared to the messes it has cleaned up. But if your floor is REALLY dirty, with lots of chunks of debris, you might run into some problems. My floors are so clean now that they are cleaned so regularly that I don't have that problem often. (My floors were NEVER this clean before, even when I had housecleaners.)
- Before I knew better, I managed to dump quite a bit of dirty water out onto my shoes (and the floor) a few times when picking up the Scooba unit after its cleaning cycle. You have to hold it level and not tip it at all to avoid spilling water when it is full (guess that would qualify as one instance of poor engineering).
- Both units can easily get snagged up with any cords or area rugs that have fringe or stray socks or pencils or what have you that might be on the floor. You have to do some prep work before you can use the units. But you would have to clear those items as you sweep or mop anyway, and keeping the floor free of debris has been a good habit I've developed just so I can run these puppies regularly. I have learned which of my throw rugs Roomba can power over without getting stuck, and I can leave those out when I set it out to sweep up.
- Both Roomba and Scooba are noisy. My DH hates the sound of them if I run them when he is home, but any time he complains, I point him to the old mop and bucket and tell him he is welcome to clean the floors himself if he prefers. That usually shuts him up . . . !
Even with these few inconveniences, both the Roomba and Scooba have been well worth the $$ investment and the small amount of maintenance time they require.
About the cleaning solution you have to use with Scooba:
Buy a few extra bottles of the cleaning solution when you buy your unit. I used the tiny little bottle that they give you in the box with the machine in just a few short cycles. The cleaning solution is where iRobot is going to make a ton of after-market $$ with the Scooba. The solution costs $5 for a 32-oz. bottle, and you HAVE to use at least half or more of the recommended amount of solution (about 1/4 cup) or THE UNIT WILL NOT RUN! I don't know how they did it, but there's a sensor in there that will not allow the machine to run without a certain percentage of the cleaning solution mixed with the water you add. This fact is NOT in any of the documentation for this product, but I know because I tried to run it with just a tiny bit of the solution and it did not work. I called the company, and that's when they told me that you had to use a minimal amount of the cleaning solution. I told them they should have put that in the documentation! Also, you cannot use any other solution except the one they made to work with Scooba.
That said, I really can't complain, because the cleaning solution smells GREAT; I've cleaned with dozens if not hundreds of different cleaning solutions in my life, and this stuff is not too chemically or overpowering, it just leaves a fresh, clean scent that is really quite pleasant. One bottle of the cleaning solution should last around 20-30 cleaning cycles, in my estimation, and I only use the minimal amount (1/2 the recommended amount). I haven't used a full bottle yet, so I'm guessing.
Bonus: my "virtual walls" for my Roomba work with my Scooba!
Bonus for those under construction: My Scooba worked like magic on the very fine, impossible-to-get-up construction dust that I simply could not clean with a regular broom and mop or even with my Roomba.
Conclusion: To me, Scooba is worth its weight in gold. A godsend. Best thing since sliced bread. Fill in your own cliches, it's AWESOME! No, I am not associated with the company or product in any way. I'm just a desperate housewife who has one less thing to be desperate about!
Here is a link that might be useful: Scooba and Roomba web site