Monday, August 18, 2008

Scooba Love

If I were a poet or had a link to a really good rhyming dictionary I would constantly be composing odes to inanimate objects. The latest in my collection?

The lovely, blue Scooba aka the Roomba's louder, slower friend.

What? Your inanimate objects don't forge human type bonds!? How dull ;)

Everyone always mentions how noisy the Scooba so I was expecting the audible equivalent of running a Roomba on hard wood. Nope. This thing sounds like a sander and would probably wake downstairs neighbors. Of course if they didn't want to be woken at your convinience they would live on a higher floor. Your right to wake them is implicit.

But back to the Scooba.

It rides very low to the ground. Unlike my intrepid Roomba which routinely scales the bottom shelf of bookcases, the Scooba is blocked by a regular old bevelled door jam - the kind of thing you don't even stub a toe on. This is handy because I don't need to set up any D battery sucking virtual walls or run around closing doors.

iRobot recommends running the Scooba with only water, water mixed with white vinegar or a special Clorox solution. Ever the pragmatist I've been running it with plain water and its passed my barefoot "Is it clean?" test. Eventually I'll run it with vinegar but only because I enjoy the smell - not because I think the floors should be cleaner.

Everyone always remarks on how much dust the Scooba pulls up. Let me tell you - I live across from a park and have bay windows with a ceiling fan. I was expecting dust. I was not expecting sludge. The first time the Scooba ran through the living room it had been about 4 (ok, 9) days since we mopped. I wish I'd taken a picture cause that stuff was rank and I love grossing people out ;)

The Roomba taught me patience. The Scooba redefined it. I'm used to the Roomba propelling itself into the nearest wall at the push on a button. The Scooba lazily expands a concentric route until reaching a wall, then wanders along until it runs out of clean water or power (usually clean water). Its just as mesmerizing to watch and the wet snail-like trail it leaves behind is a a pure study in physics and electronics.

Hrm what rhymes with physics and electronics cause this is starting to sound like a rambly ode...

A final point - the Scooba is infinitely easier to clean than the Roomba. My roommate and I both have long, curly hair. An average Roomba run leaves me with 5-10 minutes of bristle cleaning. The Scooba had far less to clean and was easier to break down and reassemble. I just pop off the dirty water tank and empty it while trying really hard not to look at it (delusion and all), then rinse off the intake hose, squeege and filter. The whole thing takes less than five minutes.

Yesterday I had the Roomba running in the bedroom while the Scooba lazed around the living room. My home was a cacophony of productivity and I had the most minimal involvement.


Hrm final point - take two. Scoobas are expensive so keep an eye on craigslist. It took me almost two months to snag one for $100. Roombas, by comparison, are a lot easier to find. I lucked out and picked mine up for $50 back in winter and have been happily glowing since. If you are anti-craigslist or prefer to buy everything new Linens and Things sell them and you can use one of their ubiquitious 20% off coupons to save a few bucks.