iRobot’s Entry Level Roomba : Combo Essential Robot Vacuum and Mop Review – Y0140

It may surprise some of you to learn that I’ve never owned or used a robotic vacuum cleaner – up until now that is. I recently received a “Roomba Combo Essential” through the Amazon Vine program. This device, a hybrid of a vacuum and a mop, is marketed as a budget-friendly option in iRobot’s lineup, catering to those who need straightforward functionality without the bells and whistles associated with higher-end models. You can see my full video review here.

With few features offered, the Combo Essential is fairly simple to operate. It navigates autonomously around the house, and will return to its charging station with either a push of a button or when it needs to recharge. However, during its journey, it tends to pick up a few battle scars—evident from scratches and scuffs on its body—which illustrates its somewhat blind navigation akin to a vision impaired dog bumping into obstacles until it learns its path.

The vacuum performance is commendable for its price range, effectively cleaning every reachable area thanks to its rotating brush that catches dirt and draws it into the vacuum input.

The mopping feature, however, leaves much to be desired. The device utilizes a microfiber cloth that passively mops using a water drip, but without the use of detergents, which iRobot advises against to prevent damage to the machine. This limitation means the mopping is essentially just pushing water around rather than cleaning. Its dustbin and water tank combo, while innovative, offers limited capacity, which might not suit homes with heavy shedding pets like my Siberian Husky.

When in mopping mode the Roomba lacks the ability to differentiate flooring vs. carpets. So it’ll drive up on the rug and mop that too. iRobot recommends the inconvenient step of rolling up rugs before having it mop.

During my review, I also explored the accompanying app, which provides basic controls and scheduling options. The app allows for real-time monitoring and control, which is convenient, though it lacks advanced features found in more premium models. The noise level of the Roomba is relatively low, comparable to a fan running on high, which should be suitable for most home environments without disturbing the peace.

In sum, the Roomba Combo Essential serves well as a supplementary cleaning tool, particularly in smaller, less cluttered spaces. It effectively picks up dirt and dust as a vacuum but falls short as a mop.