Battle Royale: Roomba vs. Floor Mats

by Chris Martin on June 30, 2014

It’s always a big decision for business owners as to when to upgrade to new technology. Whether it involves a cash register, credit card processing device, or piece of back-room equipment, entrepreneurs have to weigh the benefits of the latest-and-greatest against the costs of purchasing it.

This decision-making process also affects how they wish to keep the floors of their businesses clean. In the past, that choice revolved around which floor mats to buy and what vacuum cleaners to use. But now, there’s a product on the market which will clean floors automatically – the Roomba.

Floor mats
Behold the future of floor cleaning!

The Roomba: Set it and Forget It

This robot vacuum uses advanced navigational technology and artificial intelligence to propel itself around a room and clean the floors. But does the latest model, the Roomba 880, work adequately enough for a business’s floors? Or its floor mats?

Roomba Cleans Floor Mats Beautifully

First, the good news: the Roomba 880 slides nicely over floor mats with little or no trouble. According to online reviews, the device repeatedly pulls itself up and over the edges of mats as it makes its circuit around a particular room. So in most cases, a business owner shouldn’t worry about the Roomba getting caught on the border, corner, or edge of any floor mats in the room.

In addition, the Roomba cleans as well (if not better) than any standard vacuum cleaner, and the latest model performs even better than its predecessors in this department. So if a Roomba were “let loose” on a room with floor mats, proprietors should expect their mats to be just as clean as the surrounding carpet, tile, or wood flooring. However, any out-of-the-ordinary stains should probably be addressed separately either with soap and water or a stain removing solution.

Floor mats
You can buy a Roomba in steel blue, black, chestnut, champagne, or rust. But not hot pink. (At least not yet.)

Problems with the Roomba

The biggest drawback to the Roomba is that despite its state-of-the-art technology, it still manages to have problems navigating tight or cluttered spaces. This may be problematic if a floor mat is stuck in an alcove or corner, or if it sits near a table and chairs whose legs may stymie the Roomba’s movements. In these instances, it might be wise to move the floor mats into the center of the room so that they can be accessed by the Roomba easily.

There are a couple other issues with the Roomba. First, even though it glides fairly effortlessly across a floor, it makes a lot of noise while doing it. In other words, it’s erroneous to assume that the Roomba makes significantly less noise than the average vacuum cleaner – which may impact what time of day business owners want to use it. Also, the Roomba can have difficulty reuniting with its base unit when its job is done. The device’s instructions say to place the base unit along an uncluttered wall; but in many businesses, that could be difficult or impossible to do.

Is a Roomba Right for Your Business?

In conclusion, it’s probably not recommended for business owners to shell out $700 or so on the Roomba 880 just to clean their floor mats. However, if they are thinking about buying a Roomba for other reasons, then its success in cleaning floor mats represents an additional asset. For most businesses, the day may come when it is easy and cost-effective to program a “robot” to clean floors – but that day has not yet arrived.

Floor mats
Admit it. You’ve dreamed about this at least once.

Written by Chris Martin

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