iRobot is updating its Looj gutter cleaner, a leaf-churner extraordinaire that reduces the time it takes to unclog your gutters..
The Looj 330 has an increased communication range, and saves you from dangerous overreaching on a ladder.
If you're not familiar with Looj, it's a portable, waterproof, rotating scrubber on treads. You set it in your rain gutter and it trundles along, spitting out leaves, needles and other gunk with its spinning rubber flaps. Messy, but effective.
The new Looj 330 has a four-stage cleaning augur, up from three. The machine has a horizontal scraper to help clear debris from gutter floors.
Selling for US$299 at iRobot.com in the US, the 330 also has a 7.2V lithium-ion battery, a first for the company's home robots, allowing Looj to recharge faster. It cleans about 60 metres per battery charge, and still does about 10 metres in five minutes, the same as the 100-series Looj.
But the 330 has a lower profile, potentially fitting into a greater variety of gutters. You still have to reposition it in an adjacent gutter by getting up there on the ladder yourself, but the remote has a 15-metre range, so you can summon it back to you when it's done chucking muck around.
The Roomba 630 can clean longer without being emptied.
iRobot also has been updating its Roomba offerings recently, and now adds basic models, the 600 series, starting at US$329.99.
The entry-level floor vacs are supposedly more effective at sucking up hair, pet fur and other fibres that tend to get wrapped around the bristles instead of going into the bin.
They don't need to be emptied as often, iRobot claims, because the air flow and brushes are better engineered.
Meanwhile, 600-series machines have features like Virtual Wall to control where the robots clean; Dirt Detect, which uses an acoustic sensor to locate dirtier areas that need more attention; and automatic returning to the charging unit once the job is done or batteries are running low.
The 600-series Roombas are not yet available in Australia, but you can pick up the 530 for AU$599 — just over half what the lower-end Navibot S costs, at AU$1099.
Do you have a Roomba yet? How much would you be willing to spend on one?