Nov. 25, 2023, 2:53 p.m.

Bad Robot

By many reviews the iRobot Braava Jet m6 mop and the iRobot Roomba s9+ robots are some of the best in their respective classes. 3.9 star review on Amazon for both, and as I said many reviewers rated it top of its class.

Today I want to tell a depressing story of two Bad Robots. See, I have had them now for about 4 months, The mop has completed 48 jobs, 47.5 hours total job time, and surprisingly only 55m2 area cleaned according to the iOS app. Of those jobs, it got stuck multiple times, closed various doors on itself (even though I use door stoppers), takes about 2.25 hours to clean 60m^2, leaves streaks most of the time when wet mopping, cannot clean any dirt spots such as from snow boots, cannot pick up any larger pieces of soiling / debris (like rice grains, small pieces of food etc).

The s9 vacuum is worse. If the mop was Mussolini, then the s9 is definitely Stalin. The s9 completed 33 jobs, cleaned 45 hours and emptied the bin 41 times. The s9 will get stuck at least 2 times per job on my Ikea POÄNG chair feet. It will repeatedly get stuck on the same foot within 3 minutes of me rescuing it. It takes an average of 6 hours to vacuum an area of 49m2. This is because it has such bad navigation, even though both the mop and the vacuum fully mapped the area on a dedicated mapping run, it constantly follows random and sub-optimal paths ending up draining the battery by driving and not working. So it usually has to recharge 2 - 3 times per job. Granted it has a self charging station but 6 hours? Of that 2.5 hours is charging time, 3.5 is cleaning. Also, when cleaning it does not honour my exclusion zones I defined in the app - to not get stuck on the speaker feet. And it misses many spots as it is just as blind as a bat.

Both have this knack for finding my feet wherever I am. Statistically speaking, the probability that I am always in the wrong spot should be much lower than the actual incidences where they interfere with my activities.

Then there is the maintenance. I am already seeing warnings to replace the high efficiency filter, and the edge sweeping brushes are almost due for replacement. Compare to my old Dyson which has been working 12 years with no replacement parts...

The most frustrating part is not actually what I already mentioned. It is watching them work. I know - you are not supposed to! It is rule #1 of these tiny little bots - never watch them work. But I feel strangely compelled to. When they randomly criss cross the room looking for where to clean next, yet.... a simple row by row grid approach would work just swell. They spend 50% of their time moving to spots to start cleaning instead of just starting at what a human would consider to be a logical starting point - the corner of the room. I am not talking about mapping algorithms. It already knows the layout. It just has to clean the area. But it cannot do it in any way that does not cause uncontrollable irritation in my spine.

Then there are the door stoppers - the s9 just cannot seem to get them figured out. He will bounce off one for 2 minutes straight before moving around it. They get stuck under the kitchen cabinets - not learning to avoid the area. Sometimes they are just lost. They would stand still in the middle of the room just ... waiting. Or they would not be able to align properly when docking. It sometimes takes 4 minutes to dock.

Compare this to manual vacuuming. It took me 17 minutes to vacuum the area it took the s9+ 6.5 hours to vacuum. Vacuuming and mopping the wooden floor took me 30 minutes, where the m6 took 4.5 hours. Keep in mind that manual cleaning in general does a much more thorough job as well, and gives you good exercise; it is hard to like these robots. Also, as far as I know there are not yet any robot vacuum cleaner than can clean stairs.

At least I can sleep safe knowing that my little robotic critters will not rise up and take over as rulers of this house anytime soon.

Braava m6 Docking

s9+ stuck
s9+ stuck