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iRobot Scooba 230 Review

Written By: admin on August 26, 2011 5 Comments

The Scooba 230 is very easy to use for quick pick-ups and small jobs.  We take a look at how well it performs in this in depth review.

Un-boxing the Scooba 230:
The Scooba 230 is packaged very nicely.  It was shipped in the original box.  The weight of the box is ~5.5 pounds (~2.49 kg).  The Scooba box is: 13 ½” x 8 ⅜” x 7 ⅜”.  Your box might be bigger if they pack the Scooba box in a larger box.  I was greeted with the package that containing the warranty card, Instruction card for first Use/Quick Start Guide, the 200 Series Owner’s Manual, Registration card, and in the enzyme pack (4-Pack) a guide explaining how to fill the tank with the solution.  Everything was packed nicely.  The extra 3-pack of cleaning plates is packed up in hard plastic.

Package Contents:
You receive:
1) Scooba 230 Robot
2) Scooba Battery
3) 2 Virtual Walls
4) 3 extra cleaning plates
5) Package containing all of the instructions/warranty card/etc.
6) Charger brick
7) Storage Mat

Owner’s Manual/Quick Start Guide:
The Quick Start guide is one sided. It covers the basics of how to fill the tank for use, what floor types it should be used on, and tips for best performance.  It also states that to achieve maximum battery life keep the charger plugged in while not in use.  I have done this on my 5800 Scooba, and I haven’t had premature battery failure.  Your mileage may vary.  I will personally keep the charger plugged in all of the time.  It states that you should charge the battery for at least 8 hours before the initial run.

Scooba 230 Robot:
The Scooba is 6 ⅜” Diameter by 3 ⅞” high (Scooba resting on the Storage Mat).  The robot has cliff sensors on the front bumper, as well as bumper sensors like it’s bigger brother.  Once you take the cleaning plate off, you can see the solution pump which you will want to check periodically to make sure there isn’t anything obstructing the operation.  It has 2 vacuum tubes on each side, and several solution dispensers.  It has a Fill port door, and on the other side it has an Empty port door.  The top has 2 buttons.  A power button, and a clean button.  It also has 3 indicator LED’s. It has a Status Indicator LED, Power LED, and Service Indicator LED.

The battery just slides into the Scooba. It doesn’t ‘snap’ in place. It is held in by a snug fit and the connectors.  You have to make sure that the battery is flush with the body of the Scooba.  If you don’t install it flush it will act like it’s charging (which in fact it actually does), but when you try to power it on and start a mission, the Clean button turns red and whines.  I personally had a hard time removing the battery, so I don’t think that it will accidentally fall out during transport or a cleaning mission.

Navigating the Environment:
You start the Scooba in the middle of the floor (or in the messiest part of the floor).  It will start out in a spiral until it hits something then it will start the wall following.  After that, it will start randomly going through the 2 modes until that cleaning cycle has ended.

There is 2 cleaning cycles.  The Full cleaning cycle lasts about 45 minutes, while the short cleaning cycle will last for about 20 minutes.  If you fill up the tank full of water/solution and run a short cleaning cycle, there will be clean fluid left inside.  It states that you can run 2 short cleaning cycles in one tankful.  When I ran my Scrappy twice on a full tank, there was some cleaning fluid left in the tank.  I’m sure that it will take a few more runs to see the full potential of the battery.

Cleaning the Floor:
I ran Scrappy for the first time successfully.  I tried to run him in the kitchen and he got stuck underneath all of the cabinets. 🙁  I picked up some furniture bumpers from Lowe’s to protect the front (since it bumps into things), as well as using them to keep it from getting stuck under the cabinets.

I ran Scrappy for the first time cleaning both bathrooms on one tank/battery.  I used the short cleaning cycle in each bathroom.  It cleaned both bathrooms very well.  He does leave the floor wetter than his bigger brother Scooby.  It cleaned around the toilet just fine!!  It did a great job.

Since I have installed the new ‘bumpers’ on Scrappy, it’s running great in the kitchen!  It hasn’t gotten stuck at all.  For cleaning the tile/grout, it did a pretty good job.  My kitchen was on the bigger size for it, but during it’s full run, it performed well.  It didn’t scrub the grout lines like his brother does.  I decided to run the virtual wall since Scrappy tried to get up on the carpet and get stuck. It seems that in the video I shot it was a little confused due to it (spinning in circles).

One thing to note that the 230 is a little bit taller than the older Scooba’s.  They had to compensate for the IR led that was previously in the ‘turret’ in the older models.

Differences between the 230, and the bigger brother 5800:
First huge difference is the size of the 230.  iRobot designed this Scooba to be a companion to the full-sized Scooba.  It’s much smaller so it can get around the toilet and smaller areas easier.

The price is a bit on the high side (IMHO), but for what it does it does a great job.  It cleaned my tile very well.  I doubt it cleaned the grout lines as well as my 5800, but then again, it doesn’t have a spinning brush.  It’s quite apparent that the new 2xx Scooba line wasn’t designed to replace the bigger Scooba’s.  iRobot listened to us reporting that the Scooba’s are too big to clean the bathroom effectively.  This is their reply.

If you have the extra cash and love collecting robots, then by all means I would recommend you getting a new Scooba. If you are on a ‘tight budget’, and don’t have a Scooba but are in the market for one?  It all depends on how much floor you want to clean.  If your kitchen is small as well as your bathrooms, then I would recommend you purchasing a 230.  If you have a lot of hard floors to mop/clean, then it would be a ‘toss-up’ as to which Scooba I would get.  The bigger Scooba’s do a great job cleaning the floor, but they are limited in how well they clean the bathrooms/tight spaces.  The 2xx Scooba’s don’t have a spinning brush, so it won’t get tile/grout lines as clean as a regular Scooba would.

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