Pissing Match: Operational cost of Roomba vs. (expensive) upright

dysonvroomba.jpg

While ignoring carbon emission factors like cost of production and such, Treehugger‘s Alan Graham used his trusty Kill-A-Watt to see which cost more to operate: a Roomba or a Dyson upright vacuum.

The numbers are interesting, but in the interest of not stealing his thunder, I’ll only excerpt the Roomba’s:

Total cost of ownership so far:

$250 Roomba purchase price
$118 Batteries
$5.64 Electricity per year
$58 Parts
Warranty lasts for 1 year
———
$443 total cost (cost will vary depending upon electricity rates in different areas and other variables, of course)
Average of $51.76 per year for parts and batteries, and an averaged annual cost of about $130 since purchase

Of course he ignores one key line item: the Roomba is a happy chap with a mustache and a handsome cap, while the Dyson is a sunken-cheeked bishop with haughty lips pursed in disapproval. Can you put a price on robot demeanor?

Is it Greener to Use a Roomba or an Upright? [Treehugger]

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23 Responses to Pissing Match: Operational cost of Roomba vs. (expensive) upright

  1. cubey says:

    Comparing a Roomba to an upright isn’t really a good comparison, mainly because a Roomba doesn’t replace an upright. You still need a full-size vac to do corners, ledges, and stairs. So the robot is just a geeky way to clean up the middle of the floor.

    (As an aside to #4 CRAIIG, the Roomba doesn’t use mapping to find its way back to the charging dock. It just kind of bumbles around until it happens to see the dock’s IR beacon. Considering that, you’re absolutely right about the price.)

  2. DeWynken says:

    Porkchop was obviously abused by something large and purple in his past. Barney generation perhaps? I always knew those kids would end up bitter and angry..

    Dysons rule. Period.

  3. DSMVWL THS says:

    No one has mentioned that when it comes to the crucial metric of cat rideability, the Roomba wins hands down.

  4. ZoopyFunk says:

    @pork musket

    Call it what you want, but I did my research. I test out many vacuums. Brand Loyal? Let me define it for you:

    Brand loyalty, in marketing, consists of a consumer’s commitment to repurchase the brand and can be demonstrated by repeated buying of a product or service or other positive behaviors such as word of mouth advocacy.

    Its my first one. I have only had it a two months. I paid half what you quoted, but you were probably so irate that I disagreed with you that you did read my post clearly.

    Your Kenmore is just as good? Well you paid more than I did for the same quality then.

    Just because you disagree with a totally subjective opinion, does not mean you should act like an ass. Before you start calling bullshit, learn to read more effectively please. But, Joel did call this a pissing match, good on ya for spraying it everywhere.

  5. ZoopyFunk says:

    Pork Musket, your vacuum sucks.

    That is all.

  6. pork musket says:

    Why compare it to a Dyson? IMO Dyson is overpriced, you can get a better vacuum for less than half the price. And anyway, if you’re going to compare “total cost”, shouldn’t you compare two vacuums that have a similar starting price? The Dyson is a twice as much!

  7. dculberson says:

    I have a nice, sturdy Royal Commercial upright; the ones that will suck a golf ball through a drinking straw. I got it missing parts on eBay and fixed it up. It did a night-and-day better job than the old Hoover I was using.

    Then, my wife bought a Roomba 560. You’d think it wouldn’t have much catching up to do with the awesome vacuum cleaner we had. Nope; running it right after the Royal resulted in a full dust bin. The Roomba just does a truly awesome job of cleaning fine particles out from deep in the carpet. It’s just icing on the cake that it does it automatically.

    I bet you could run a Dyson over a room then run a Roomba and have the Roomba end up full of dust and hair. I can’t guarantee it, obviously.

    They’re nowhere near as durable, though. The last Royal I has was about 40 years old when it finally bit it due to tinsel getting into the bearings. (Then I failed at rebuilding the motor..) My new one was made in 2005 and is probably going to last a lifetime since it has sealed bearings. The Roomba? Almost no chance that it’s going to last even just 10 years.

    Regarding the Treehugger post; since when is cheaper greener? What a strange stance.

  8. pork musket says:

    @14 You said no $250 vacuum can match the Dyson, but you’re wrong. That’s my point. I’m glad your vacuum is great, but drop the “no one compares to Dyson” attitude that every Dyson owner seems to have. It’s simply not true.

  9. agraham999 says:

    Well the cave I live in gets really really dirty…and the only way to get all the dirt out of those crevices is the superior suction of the Dyson.

    A broom doesn’t cut it, especially if you have allergies. The Roomba does an excellent job of keeping the house dust free every other day, and the upright goes places the Roomba can’t. On top of that, when I spend my money or invest in anything, I don’t buy $100 piece of junk that will break in a year…I invest in something that will last me for years to come. I expect the Dyson will likely be the last vacuum I buy for some time to come…and my Roomba…well any Roomba owner will tell you…it does a remarkable job.

    Finally…if you have allergies…you can either run an air cleaner at 150-200Watts per hour 24/7 for a total of 1500kWh a year…or run a little vacuum 90 minutes every other day or so…so air cleaner at $130 in electricity or $6 a year for Roomba.

  10. technogeek says:

    16-gallon shop vac, capable of picking up anything up to and including small dogs and large floods: $90. Replacement filter every few years, $10.

    Used cyclone-style upright: $20. Haven’t replaced the filters yet, though one is starting to approach needing it — just rinse them out once a year.

    Cost effectiveness isn’t the question when it comes to either of the featured items; geek chic and convenience is.

  11. ZoopyFunk says:

    @Pork

    I believe I am entitled to my opinion, no? Its amazing how worked up you seem to be over a vacuum.

    No one here is right, no one is wrong. And, your vacuum still sucks.

  12. Ryan Waddell says:

    He seems to be a bit confused as to what he’s comparing. The title is “Is it greener to use a Roomba or an upright?” and the answer seems to be, in purely electrical comparisons, yes, but only mildly so. Neither uses a particularly huge amount of electricity though, and that’s the only “green” thing he compares.

    Is it more expensive, on a year to year basis, to operate a hugely expensive Dyson than it is a Roomba? Of course it is, because Dyson vacuums are crazy expensive. He also doesn’t factor in the worth of his personal time – how much time would he spend OPERATING the Dyson, since it doesn’t operate automatically like the Roomba? And how much is that time worth? That’ll crank up the operating cost of the Dyson even more!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Know what’s green? A broom.

  14. craiig says:

    From what little I know about robotics, the Roomba seems overpriced. Only the very expensive Roomba models will automatically return to their charger, which requires a bit of 2D mapping. The rest of the difference between the cheap and expensive models are mostly artificial for pricing’s sake.

    Most models appear to use simple strategies to clean the room. Alot of these features could be implemented by a few amateurs using software like Player/Stage. http://playerstage.sourceforge.net/.

    Poor (and busy/lazy) students need cheap robot vacuums!

  15. dakotasmith says:

    Dirty floors are pretty green, too.

  16. SeppTB says:

    Woot.com sells Roomba’s all the time, pay attention to a woot-off and at least two different models will pop up, getting you a(n older model) Roomba for way less than $250. I got mine for $150, with the home base. Oh and it makes me laugh while its cleaning. So totally worth it.

  17. moop2000 says:

    My solution, which has worked great, is a good Roomba, and a $30 Dust Buster from the hardware store. I use the Roomba periodically on the big areas, and under the furniture, then take the dust buster, run around the edge of the room and any hard to reach spots real quick. Over all, easiest, decently cheap solution.

  18. yasth says:

    #4
    You know more than the horde of roomba clones that briefly invaded the market, not a one of them cleaned worth anything.

    The only things that actually worked were part for part clones (with cloned software no less), illegal, but cheaper.

    As for clones, Black And Decker made the Zoombot, there was a sharper image one, and there are still a few smaller companies trying vainly to make bank. None of them work well at all.

  19. ZoopyFunk says:

    I just bought a Dyson refurb a few months ago, and its amazing. There is simply no comparison with the Roomba. For $250, no vacuum can match the Dyson.

  20. pork musket says:

    @9 Sorry but that’s brand-loyal bullshit, and I hear it from every Dyson owner I know… I guess you have to justify that $500 vacuum somehow. I’ve used a Dyson (don’t know what model) and my $299 Kenmore Progressive is just as good. ConsumerReports.com has 3 vacuums less than $250 rated higher than the first Dyson on the list, and 6 that are cheaper than the Dyson.

  21. pork musket says:

    Actually I changed my mind. My Kenmore is not just as good, it’s better.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      I bought the people I’m staying with for Xmas one of those low-end “workshop” Roombas because they’re only $130 new. I figured if they still eat dust, who needs all the fancy scheduling and such? I’ll report back…tomorrow or so? (Presuming we don’t do Xmas day with them.)

  22. Matt J says:

    From what little I know about robotics, the Roomba seems overpriced. Only the very expensive Roomba models will automatically return to their charger, which requires a bit of 2D mapping. The rest of the difference between the cheap and expensive models are mostly artificial for pricing’s sake.

    Most models appear to use simple strategies to clean the room. Alot of these features could be implemented by a few amateurs using software like Player/Stage. http://playerstage.sourceforge.net/.

    Poor (and busy/lazy) students need cheap robot vacuums!

    The Roomba does no mapping. It uses infared light to detect its dock and any ‘virtual walls’ you may have. In my opinion, a Roomba is absolutely worth the price. Although it may appear to do pretty basic stuff, it has a lot of clever algorithms built in, which result in it cleaning the entire floor of a room several times over in a run.

    It also has a myriad of sensors built into it, and it needs to interpret all that data. Off the top of my head, it has a dust sensor to detect cleanliness, an infared sensor to detect its base and virtual walls, as well as the reflections from light it outputs so that it can slow down before hitting obstacles. It has multiple pressure sensors under its bumpers, can detect rug tassels and loose cables, and runs its brush motors in reverse to detangle.

    It’s not as basic as it looks!

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