Every smart homeowner could not be without a robotic vacuum, beavering away while you are blissfully aware at work. Or sneaking out in the middle of the night to fill its dust bin while you sleep away unaware. Roomba has been the market leader and innovator for robotic vacuums since its first release in 2002, which has led to well over a decade and a half or tweaking and innovation from the 400 to the 900 series now.
But iRobot’s creation and success has paved the way for many competitors I this lucrative and growing market. One of them being the widely acclaimed bObsweep which instead of competing directly with Roombas steep price tag, has tried to position itself as a competitor in terms of budget and value.
The bObsweep still comes as a significant investment, so we put this guide together to get into the technical detail of what makes the difference between the heavyweight but pricy Roomba, and the cheaper but relatively new to the market bObsweep.
Basic Overview Bobsweep and Roomba
The bObsweep is part of a wave of young pretenders who are stealing market share. The company currently offers seven different models with the bobsweep Pet hair being one of its best-selling models.
The technology of wire-based sweeping and cleaning coupled with mopping means the Bobsweep is versatile and cost-effective. There is a heavy emphasis o busy family life, with the main thrust of the Bobsweep Pethair even within the title. On top of this, it provides technology not seen elsewhere such as its ability to use ultraviolet light to sterilize surfaces underneath. A tool which is deliberately targeted at families with young children, who run the risk of getting ill by eating or licking things which are invisible to the human eye.
The tagline for the Bobsweep Pethair is that it knows how to handle “big dogs, big families, and big messes” and with over 100,00 units sold, more than a few people think this little robotic vacuum is more than up to the task.
The Roomba is a market leader in terms of innovation and groundbreaking technology. Offering models from the 890 to the 960, 980 and even the brand new i7+ model which empties its bin.
Synonymous with quality, they are also not cheap. Even lower range models like the Roomba 890 outprice most of their competitors and with good reason. iRobot invented most of the technology that is being used with the robotic vacuum market today. Like auto charging, mobile phone application control, unique wire brush cleaning, clearance over multiple surfaces.
It also claims to pick up more dust and pet hair than any other system on the market including Dyson. The full suite of intelligent sensors, 3 stage cleaning system with particulate filters, dual multi-surface brushes and patented dirt detect technology, mean that the Roomba is bursting with innovative features to justify that hefty price tag.
Table Comparison Between Bobsweep and Roomba
|Bobsweep Pet Hair Robotic Vacuum Cleaner||iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum|
|Size||7.7 lbs, 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.9 inches||8.6 lbs, 13 x 13 x 3.6 inches|
|Cleaning Feature||Vacuums and Mops||Vacuum only|
|Battery Life||60 mins||75 mins|
|Floor Type||All – Apart from high pile carpet||All – Apart from high pile carpet|
|Warranty||1 year limited||1 year limited|
Detail Comparison Roomba versus Bobsweep
Let’s look at both the Roomba 690 and the bObsweep Pethair in depth and compare them blow by blow on the most important criteria we look for in a robotic vacuum.
The Roomba 960 does not have the most impressive design. With its distinctive hockey puck shape, which is synonymous with Roombas, there is minimal outside adornment. Simply a button that says clean and a handle which pulls out for you to easily carry the robot to another room. The Roomba though does not need an LED screen as all its functions are carried out by the iHome application which you can install on your mobile phone.
The Bob, on the other hand, is quite delightful. It’s worth noting the Bob comes in at a lower price than the Roomba so aims itself at households where the money is an issue as well as convenience. The Bob Pethair comes in two colors champagne gold or a deep red. The LED screen is packed with all its features which are self-explanatory looking at the front panel. The idea being you would programme the Bob from a remote control whereas the Roomba you would programme from your phone.
A lot of the converts to the Bobsweep are taken in by its clean lines and attractive design. Compared to the Bob which stands out the Roomba is the pinnacle of clean and sleep designs, possibly suiting those who prefer a minimalist and futuristic look.
Size & Dimension
Both the Bob and the Roomba 960 are similar when it comes to dimensions. But the Bob is slightly bigger. Always make sure to check what the clearance is for your furniture, as an extra half an inch could make the difference between cleaning some of your house and most of the house.
There is nothing in the dimensions, both being 13 inches around with a 3-inch top clearance, enabling them to overcome shag pile up to 15 mm high. Regarding weight, they are identical at just under or over 8 pounds, which works up to less than half a kilogram. Light enough that even a small child could carry either robotic vacuum from room to room. The Roomba is coming in slightly heavier at a pound over.
They share similar dimensions as the Roomba as a brand leader was first to recognize this shape was ideal for getting in and out of all the nooks and crannies in your home.
Accessories & Parts
The Bobsweep comes equipped with many items you would find on the Roomba. HEPA filters, dustbin and side brush. But the Bobsweep can be fitted with mopping pads and a mop attachment which can convert it from a mop into a vacuum. This is an important consideration for a busy family. Who would love to have something which can both mop and vacuum? The bin which we will talk about in greater depth later is twice the size of the Roomba at 1100ml which is one of the largest for any robotic vacuum.
The Roomba’s replacement parts and accessories do come in at least 50% more expensive than the Bobsweep. In part because iRobot encourages you to pay the $35 a year to keep the product under maintenance. So, they replace and repair anything that goes wrong with it. The parts though have a decent shelf life, and you will pay more for quality. But everything you will need will come with the Roomba.
Both vacuums are steeped in features. Starting with the BobSweep.
Extra Large Bin
At 1100ml this bin is 120% the size of the Roomba. Which means twice as much cleaning and picking up of dust. Or twice such time needed in between you is changing the bin. For many people, this is a massive plus feature and a major selling point of the bObsweep Pethair. Mainly as it is aimed at picking up all sorts of gunk behind a busy family.
Designed to scan and look for stain and muck that would be missed under normal light. This function is deliberately aimed at those who have young toddlers crawling around on the floor. Like having your automatic disinfectant wipe running around after you. Another feature just designed for young ad bus families.
Extra Long Main Brush
The main brush is designed at picking up log pet hairs, or tough to reach stains on the carpet. Really emphasizing the deep clean that you will get opposed to other brands
Attaching a mop to the existing vacuum rollers is an excellent doubling up and getting your money worth. This is something that you should strongly consider if you have a large area of space that could do with mopping like hardwood floors or linoleum.
Also just the fact that you have the option for additional usage from an expensive piece of electronic equipment is itself quite enticing. As you have a function which means you can clean almost all the floor space in your home.
The 960 wins hands down in the matter of pure technological advance for cleaning.
Clean Map Reporting
The 960 will send a report to you once the Roomba finishes cleaning. Which shows you:
- A map of the area it has cleaned
- The time it spent cleaning
- Any problem areas which it cleaned multiple times.
The 960 can be placed into edge cleaning mode, which tells the vacuum to proceed around edges only and try to reach all those harder to reach places that other vacuums would miss out. Due to the fact it has a camera and advanced mapping technology.
Multiple Pass Control
A lot of robotic vacuums including the bob will only make one pass on the floor. But the 960 can be programmed to make two passes on the same spot or room. Ensuring a deeper and more thorough clean.
Full Bin Indicator
The 960 may have a smaller bin, but it will continue to clean and collect debris, even after the indicator shows the bin to be full.
Virtual Wall Barrier
The 960 uses Virtual walls like bOb blocks which set up invisible walls to stop the robot going onto an unwanted floor.
The 960 has a longer battery life of 75 minutes, in part due to its camera and smarter maneuvering system compared to the bOb and earlier Roomba models. However, for most regular sized homes 60 minutes of hoovering are more than enough.
Both models will return to their charging pad when they register low battery. But the 960 wins hands down for technology innovation. When the 960 runs out of battery, it recharges itself, then returns to the exact point that it was when it finished cleaning. The bOb would start again from the beginning. This means in larger houses the Roomba can be left to run for as long as needs are cleaning the entire floor as it cleans, recharges and then returns to its last place to continue cleaning.
The matter of noise both the boBsweep Pethair and the Roomba come in at roughly the same level around 65 – 70dB which is still quieter than your average vacuum cleaner.
Though it’s loud, you won’t be disturbed by either vacuum if you are standing in another room.
In terms of cleaning performance, the Roomba just about sneaks ahead, though both machines will pick up well over 90% of the dirt which is present on the floor. The 960 claims to use technology which makes their suction five times more powerful than earlier models.
But on hardwood floors or linoleum both models will pick up 98%+ of the dirt. It is only on low and higher pile carpet that the bOb may find some difficulties. Neither model will be able to clean deep shag pile which has a depth of greater than 15mm, as their wheels can’t climb over it.
Some less technologically savvy users feel that the Bob’s LED screen could be confusing at time, and the remote control is not as high tech as the Roomba’s iHome mobile application system that goes on your phone.
Both robots can be programmed to clean seven days in advance and programmed with a timed schedule. But the Roomba demonstrates how iRobot has simplified the whole unboxing process, by only taking it out of the box and pressing clean.
Both models can be controlled manually either from a remote control or an application. As outlined in features, the Roomba 960 certainly has much more programme variation regarding to the cleaning it can provide.
The bOb is bigger and a bit bulkier. For those who have low furniture or smaller nooks and crannies, the extra inch may mean it has trouble fitting into smaller spaces. This is probably a trade-off for the larger dust bin.
The Roomba, on the other hand, is slightly smaller and has 15+ years of design history which makes it glide and turn easily. With an inbuilt camera and adaptive2.0 technology the Roomba is much more intuitive and less prone to bump into objects as it cleans. Making it smoother and more efficient overall.
Maintenance & Warranty
Due to the heavy usage, both models would get they could with a limited time 1-year warranty, which can be extended. Both models also have maintenance packages which you would have to be silly not to buy, ensuring faulty and old parts are quickly replaced.
There is no denying that the bObsweep Pethair is a handsome and well-designed product which does do everything it says on the tin. The larger bin and mop additions mean that it would be our winner for a regular family who wants a mid-range robotic vacuum and mop but does not want to break the bank buying it.
What wins it for us is the fact the robotic vacuum can act as a mop as well. This is something crucial for a young family, particularly in the kitchen where a lot of the family mess is being made particularly at meal times.
The Roomba remains the king of robotic vacuums, but for most, the price range puts it out of reach of most regular commercial buyers. iRobot’s long history of making successfully robotic vacuums is shown through its return and restart battery charging mode, edge cleaning, and many pass control. These features are more than gimmicks they are genuine innovations in the field which competitors would find hard to imitate or surpass.
But the bObsweep will do the job just fine for most ordinary families.