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A Roomba Review + WIN! An iRobot Braava 380t Floor Mopping Robot

Posted Sunday, August 21, 2016 in: Obsessed With Nerd Life

I have never fallen into the “clean freak” category. But now that I am a working mum and we have a baby (still sounds strange even to me… deep down I am still 14 and have a crush on Mr Nerd who is giggling through his braces at the back of my Social Studies class) our house gets dirty eight times faster than it did before.

Not only has Little Nerd discovered a love of throwing food on the floor to Nala - our big, hairy, shedding dog (who he seems to believe we are starving to death), Mr Nerd and I also love to cook, we have a big, muddy garden that seems to get tracked into the house, and, if I’m truly honest, when we do have spare time, we would rather binge-watch Stranger Things than clean the house. We are getting new flooring soon, and I can't wait, but presently our 1970s "rental-grade white tile" floors are old and marked... often it feels like they never look clean even right after you've cleaned them. Most of my house cleaning for the week is done in the frantic 15 minutes before my in-laws come over.

I’ve never been a natural clean freak. I wish I was. My friend Tanya told me she actually enjoys cleaning as she finds it cathartic. I think I looked at her like she had two heads (although she says with toddler twins now, she still likes to clean, just doesn’t have much as much time or energy to do so any more!) I look at people who like cleaning with awe and intrigue. For me cleaning is like running; I don’t like doing it, but I always feel good after. When I really don’t feel like cleaning up, my favourite thing is to look at the Instagram feed of stylist and self-proclaimed OCD cleaning fanatic Kyree Meagher of @misskyreeloves. Her beautiful house is always sparkling, she actually LIKES cleaning and a quick procrastinating scroll through her feed always makes me sigh in resignation, get up and head for the vacuum cleaner.

Well no need to pull out the vacuum cleaner too often any more. Recently iRobot, who make the Roomba, which is pretty much the Porsche of the robot vacuum cleaner world, asked if I would like to review a couple of their robot floor cleaners. As you can guess, I was very happy to accommodate. Despite the fact that we have not exactly had a great experience with our old Robomaid (a robotic vacuum made by another company) and that at one point, we said we wouldn’t get a robot vacuum cleaner again.

I did wonder if the Roomba guys had happened to read the old post I wrote on our old Robomaid (deceased) but I kept mum on this, scared that if they hadn’t read it yet, they would check it out and change their mind. Because that Robomaid story is, er, not exactly what one would call a favourable review, and I have no idea why, but strangely that post always performs astonishingly well SEO-wise and brings me a ton of traffic every month.

So today I’m giving a little run down on the new additions to our household AND we are also giving away an iRobot Braava 380t to one lucky House Nerd reader who doesn’t want to mop their floors anymore! You can enter at the end of this post - just by leaving a piece of cleaning advice for other lazy and/or busy people. Easy, and much less effort than doing housework.

Review: The iRobot Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 arrived at our doorstep. “ANOTHER floor cleaning robot?!” Mr Nerd snorted when I showed him.

I kind of didn’t blame him. Our old Robomaid (RIP) ended up in the bin, after two stints at the Robomaid hospital and four times of eating something he shouldn’t have. Although I was willing to give our fledgling relationship a great start, admittedly our old Robomaid had perhaps been a bit more trouble than he was worth.

Every time he got let out, it had to be under strict supervision or he would tend to suction up something he shouldn’t (such as his own cord) which would mess him up. Twice, he required a stint in the Robomaid hospital, expensive postage included. Eventually, he ate something – I could never figure out what it was that last time – and stopped working altogether, beeping sadly in his naughty corner.

And because I couldn’t bear to throw out all the money I’d spent on him, he stayed there for months gathering dust (I do see the irony). Eventually I threw him out. “Hundreds of dollars in the bin,” Mr Nerd admonished me.

Even the dog wasn't too impressed with ye old Robomaid. Photo by Red Images Fine Photography.

Not only did he die, our Robomaid’s life on earth wasn’t exactly the most productive one. Our old Robomaid would tend to vacuum the same bit over and over, then he would merrily chirrup as he soared past a clod of dirt before lodging himself firmly in the corner and beeping morosely until one of us rescued him (or his battery just plain died) while a tumbleweed of dog and human hair sailed past. While he did get a lot of dog hair, the house wasn’t exactly spotless when he retired for the day.

Well, even picky Mr Nerd has had to admit that the Roomba 980 is pretty damn good. I did know iRobot had a good reputation but I will admit we were still pleasantly pleased. 


  • Really helps you stay on top of your floor cleaning. It’s thorough, because it has a little camera on top, which sounds a bit Big Brother but is apparently so it can track where to go and see any really dirty bits (basically our whole house).
  • Really good for families with messy food-throwing babies and hairy dogs. I had been vacuuming EVERY day now (something I didn’t do B.C.) and I mop every night and it still feels like the floor is rarely keen. So the extra help is appreciated.
  • You can program it to do certain rooms, which is great if you think the dog hair adds an artful touch to your bedroom floor. Ok, but seriously it is a good feature if there’s a part of your house that doesn’t really need it.
  • You can leave the house and come back to it vacuumed.

So easy to use, babies can program it. 

  • A great robot vacuum for homes with pets – our Robomaid wasn’t great with dog hair and human hair because the brushes would get really dirty and reduce its cleaning abilities, it felt like you were constantly having to stop it just to clean the bristles. Roomba doesn’t have this problem.
  • It has Wi-Fi. You can connect to your Roomba from your phone, and click Clean from anywhere by using the app, which also has App-based support and the ability to schedule when your Roomba does its stuff.
  • Goes to charge itself at a battery point that you plug into the wall and then heads off again if there’s more to do.
  • When your in-laws text and tell you they’re going to be there in an hour, it’s nice just setting the Roomba to do his stuff while you clean other rooms. It’s the equivalent of gardening with a friend or your partner vs. gardening on your own. You feel like you’re being doubly efficient, because you’re a team, and you’re not going to come out to find him playing Playstation games while you’re cleaning the bathroom.
  • Good for households with asthma sufferers, like Mr Nerd – the Roomba 980 model was tested to be one of the best at picking up tiny allergens and pollens.
  • Much better quality than its cheaper competitors. I could tell as soon as I lifted it out of the box that this was much better made; much heavier, more solid and didn’t have that rattly, cheap ‘made in China’ feeling like the Robomaid we had. There is a reason there are so many videos of cats riding around on Roombas on YouTube.


  • It’s not cheap. However, I have learned you get what you pay for when it comes to robot vacuums. Our old Robomaid was $349, the Roomba is more expensive at $1499, but is an insanely better robot. If you are serious about buying a good robot vacuum cleaner, it is worth forking out more dough to get one that will last (and actually do the job properly).
  • It’s not super quick – you would probably vacuum your house faster in the time than the Roomba 980 takes (but the question is, do you want to?)

REVIEW: The iRobot Braava 380t

A mopping robot! At first I thought that sounded a bit of an unnecessary invention, to be honest. Like, really?

I changed my mind, quickly, when I looked at my life and realised that this had become my evening routine for mopping our filthy, food-splattered floor:

Give Little Nerd his dinner in his high chair. Start running his bath.
Come back to the kitchen to pick up the plate and all the bits he’s thrown on the floor in my 1.4 second absence. Give him more food.
Turn off the bath water.
Pick up the food off the floor that the dog won’t eat. Quickly vacuum.
Fill up the kitchen sink with hot soapy water for the mop.
Wipe down Little Nerd’s hands and his high chair.

Take Little Nerd out of his high chair and put him in the dining room, where he will smear the floor there with the remnants of his dinner that is left on his tracky pants.
Try to mop the food-splattered kitchen floor while keeping Little Nerd away from crawling onto the just-mopped bits so he doesn’t slip and fall flat on his face, which happened last week and has probably made him resent you forever.
Turn the air-con on full-blast fan to dry the just-mopped floors faster, giving the house an extra icy chill in our lovely winter.
Get into bath with Little Nerd and give him his bath.
Step out of the bath into a freezing cold house with the air-con vent blowing everywhere.
Realise that the just-mopped floors are still wet and dog has marched through, leaving paw prints.
Floors to be filthy again in pretty much a mere matter of hours, come the next morning with breakfast.
Repeat process that night.

Now it’s more like:
Set iRobot Braava 380t to mop house before leaving the house that morning with baby and dog in tow.
Come home to clean floors and a house that isn’t freezing cold. Happy.

Small but efficient: our floor mopping robot.

The Braava 380t in action doing our bamboo floors. (These are going to be covered over with Karndean vinyl planks soon and I can't wait!)

PROS: The iRobot Braava 380t

  • Very quiet. So you can do other things like watch a movie at the end of the day (or just go to bed) while he does his work.
  • First he can sweep up, then he can mop – does a really good job at keeping dirt, oil marks and food smudges under control.
  • You have a choice of using a dry or damp cloth to mop hard-surface areas.
  • Easy to use. You attach a cleaning cloth, set it down and press the Sweep button for dry mops or Mop button for damp mopping.
  • It comes with a navigation cube that makes it keep track of where it has been and where it needs to mop next.
  • Leave the house and come home to clean, mopped floors.
  • Charges in just two hours.

CONS: The iRobot Braava 380t

  • Like the Roomba 980, he is not cheap (at $599). But he is quality and could be worth the investment if you want to save time, or money for a professional cleaner.
  • Not as quick as mopping traditionally would be.

Overall, if you don’t like mopping or it is becoming a real chore (ie: with a baby underfoot) and you can afford the price tag, I would say it is worth it. Maya x


All you have to do is leave your full name, email (not published) and share one of your favourite house cleaning tips for lazy and/or busy people. Competition is open to all residents of Australia and closes 10pm September 25th. Good luck!

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