It’s not true.
Now, it’s partly my fault. My foray into robot vacuums began at Target, where I chose an off-brand vacuum because it was significantly cheaper than the official iRobot brand Roomba. As is so often the case, cheaper is cheaper for a reason, and I had a lesson in false economy. The vacuum worked okay, but it got hung up on things, and worse, it had a ridiculously small dust bin that required me to empty it far more often than I had imagined as I stood starry-eyed in Target. All ideas of setting it to vacuum while I was gone at work vanished; this thing needed almost constant supervision and in the end, wasn’t worth the effort to monitor over just doing the job myself.
So I continued sweeping by hand for a time.
Then I got a Roomba. . . the genuine article. I ponied up for the whole megillah, the higher-end vacuum with the Bluetooth connection and the automatic emptying tower so I didn’t even have to touch the dirt with my delicate fingers, but just empty a bag every few weeks. The app let me schedule it and gave me updates on its progress to my phone. The app asked me to name my Roomba; I named it Clyde, in honor of my father, who always wanted to name things Clyde. With Clyde’s help, it would be a Brave New World of dustless floors.
Except it wasn’t.
This Roomba was worlds better than the knock-off I originally had . . . but there were still issues. Clyde had a habit of getting hung up on electrical cords, most especially the ones that were hard for me to reach, like underneath the desk or behind the couch. Then sometimes it doesn’t even come on. My Roomba will periodically struggle to dock itself properly, and then when it’s due to vacuum again it doesn’t have sufficient charge to launch itself. I get no notification; it simply doesn’t do its thing until I investigate why.
I had envisioned a world in which my Roomba would clean the house wholly unsupervised, perhaps even while I was away at work. Such was not to be, and instead the Roomba was like a toddler, whose movements through the house needed to be monitored to prevent catastrophe. And like toddlers, a quiet Roomba signals trouble is afoot.
So in the end I’m keeping my Roomba, but if company is coming over and I need the floors done quickly, I still reach for my old-school dust mop.