Is The $900 Roomba Vacuum Worth The Hype? We Put It To The Test

The robotic cleaner has plenty of fans, but it’s pricey. Should you buy one?

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Everyone knows someone who owns a Roomba. It seems that most people who take the plunge to buy one proceed to rave about it and dole out five-star reviews. The autonomous vacuum cleaner, manufactured by iRobot, is also basically a pop culture icon. Whether you’ve seen it on NBC’s Parks and Recreation as DJ Roomba (turn it up!) or you’ve stumbled upon a feline riding one during the golden age of YouTube cat videos, you know that the household product has character. It also has a staggeringly high price tag. In Canada, the Roomba 960 costs anywhere between $850 and $900.

So, is the luxury vacuum actually worth all the hype? We put it through three tests to see with our own eyes how it worked — and if it would make an actual difference in the life of a real homeowner.

First up, we had a look at how well the Roomba (I named her “Rosie”) would fare when picking up household debris like dog fur and a Cheerios spill.

Next, the Roomba was tested on carpet. The 960 model doesn’t have “Carpet Boost” functionality like the more expensive model, the 980, so we were curious to see its performance on a shag carpet.

Then, we wanted to see how much dirt, dust and fur it would pick up with an empty bin in just one room.

And what did Paula, the homeowner whose house we took over, think? We asked for her impression and whether she thought the Roomba was worth the splurge.

Watch the video to find out the results for yourself.


This post is part of Spend It Better, a personal finance collaboration between Chatelaine and MoneySense about how to get the most for your money. You can find out more right here.