Roomba with Intellibin Robot - 2006

2006 was the year of the Specialty Roombas. Their "high end upgrade" for this year was the Intellibin option for their top of the line model, the Scheduler. We have 2 schedulers and love them, so I was intrigued by this intelli-bin. However, for an extra $20, I actually consider this a BAD feature, not a good feature. here's why.

In essence you get the exact same robot as the Scheduler robot, which I love. However, they added on ONE light, which tells you if the bin is full. The theory here is that you'll clean it when you see the light. However this is an awful theory! Roombas need to be kept clean to run well. Even if there's only a little dirt in there, if it's a hair wrapped around something and you leave it in there, it's going to wrap more and more tightly and start to damage parts. You need to give it a cleaning each day. Not a thorough, hefty cleaning, but a shake of the dust bin and a quick glance at the brushes. If it becomes a normal and natural part of your schedule, it's really no big deal at all.

I definitely think you should NOT have a dust bin light - and most definitely do not use it to know when to clean your Roomba. This would really lead to more Roomba issues ... which isn't good for the owners nor good for iRobot! Roombas run wonderfully when they're kept clean - and they break down quickly if allowed to fill with crud. As you might expect from any appliance. So by letting the Roombas fill up with more crud than they should, iRobot is going to get a bad reputation. Which is a shame.

We did end up getting an intellibin when we had issues with one of our regular Roombas and had to send it in for repairs. Because the Roomba is such a hot item right now, and our failure was right before the 2006 holiday season, it was over 2 months and we still hadn't gotten a replacement Roomba back. We called and complained, and they sent us off the Intellibin version as a free upgrade. It works exactly the same as the Scheduler, and I kept waiting for the bin full light to light up. The bin was *stuffed* full of junk and it kept going. Eventually after a few runs it did light up, but I really question how well the suction could have been working by then. I really would much rather just empty it after each run - it's a 20 second job - vs waiting for the light to light up and having the Roomba's performance suffer as a result.

My verdict - get the regular Scheduler which is *Awesome* and keeps our home incredibly clean. Ignore this improvement. It's not worth the $20 and relying on it could actually cause you more trouble.

A quick comment on cost - people easily pay $500-$700 for a dishwasher, and think it an essential part of life. I certainly know I love my dishwasher. With a dishwasher, you still have to do certain things by hand - the fine crystal stemware, the large pots. Even so, the dishwasher makes your daily life easier. I consider a Roomba to be FAR better than a dishwasher, especially if you have pets. Every morning, all that pet hair and dander is just GONE. It makes my daily life - since I work at home and am breathing that air every second of the day - infinitely better and healthier. Roombas are cheaper, too!

Released: September 2006
Price: $349
Charge Time: 3 hours

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