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The first robot vacuums got stuck on everything. Roomba has come a long way since then, but these machines still have their limits.
In this article, we’ll explore how Roomba deals with bumps, transitions, and rugs and offer up some tips for helping Roomba cope with uneven floors.
Can Roomba Go Over Bumps?
In short: If the transition or bump is under 0.625 inches, your Roomba should clear them with no problem.
The longer answer: The standard Roomba clearance height is precisely 5/8 of an inch — which is 0.625 inches, or 1.6 cm for those on the metric system. So, if your floors have slighter transitions or bumps between them, your Roomba should have no problem and should be able to go over them.
However, there are a couple more factors to the Roomba’s ability to go over these gradients on the floor.
First and foremost, a robotic vacuum’s size affects its ability to pass over differences in floor height.
If its body extends too far past its wheels, it tends to limit its ability to pass over bumps, transitions, and rugs. Smaller Roomba models or other robotic vacuums are better if you need a vacuum that can move between floors of different heights.
Moving between surfaces, however, may pose different problems. If you’re wondering if a Roomba can go from hardwood to a rug, this answer differs in many cases.
Again, if the transition is under 1.6 cm, the Roomba clearance height should be able to pass over the gradient. But if the rug or carpet is shaggy, then the Roomba may get its suction or wheels stuck on the rug or carpet’s jagged material. Also, keep in mind that If the rug or carpet is dark, your robot vacuum will avoid it entirely as the Roomba cliff sensors will tell it that a darker rug is just a drop-off.
Can Roomba Go from Hardwood to Carpet?
Roombas can transition from hardwood to carpets with relative ease. That said, this will mean the Roomba will be set on one of these settings for both – it won’t automatically change its settings even if its sensors pick up a change.
This won’t make a huge difference to the overall quality of the vacuuming, but each setting is engineered to a specific type of floor, so no one setting won’t clean as thoroughly across different floors.
Additionally, rather than let it run on hardwood and the rug in the “carpet mode” setting, it can specialize in cleaning each part of the floor with the right setting.
How to Help Roomba Handle Floor Transitions
1. Schedule different cleaning times for different floors
You can bypass the thresholds issue between surfaces, rooms, and floor heights by having your Roomba clean one area at a time. By scheduling your Roomba to clean different surfaces separately, you can also take advantage of its settings for each surface.
With a Roomba, you can use the unique “no-go” setting to ensure it does not even try to cross the space you have assigned it to clean.
2. Buy a second vacuum
Another strategy is to purchase a second vacuum so you’ll have two vacuums simultaneously cleaning floors of different heights. This solution is perfect for Roomba owners in multi-floor homes whose budget can handle purchasing two robotic vacuums.
Two vacuums would clean spaces quickly, and each could specialize in cleaning a specific type of surface without having to clear any transitions or thresholds between floors or rooms.
3. Create a threshold ramp for your Roomba
Making a Roomba threshold ramp is one of the most popular ways to get a Roomba over a threshold. Some choose to change their floor or add pieces of carpet or a rug to assist their Roomba or robotic vacuum in getting over a bump or floor transition.
While this may be visually pleasing, it’s not actually necessary. You don’t need to build anything elaborate for a ramp; even a high-quality towel over the floor gradient will help your Roomba clear the height.
4. Choose the right Roomba
As mentioned, vacuum size and model will affect the ability to clear transitions between floors.
Newer robot vacuums (like the Roomba i7) generally handle floor transitions better than older Roombas. These models are more compact and equipped with better wheels. They’re better equipped to deal with changes in floor height and less prone to getting stuck in carpets or rugs.
5. Maintain your Roomba
For your Roomba to continue its function, let alone summit the thresholds of the surfaces you want to clean, keeping it in good working order is crucial. So clean Roombas sensors and wheels regularly so it can continue to clean your floors without any effort from you.
Can Other Robot Vacuums Go Over Thresholds?
Several other brands with updated models can perform as a Roomba does with transitions, bumps, and rugs. The ILIFE and Roborock S5 Max have similar designs to recent Roomba models, and they can handle roughly the same 1.6-centimeter transitions.
Some robot vacuums have features that give them advantages over Roomba for handling room transitions. One of the big differences between the Shark IQ and Roomba i3, for example, is that the IQ has selective room cleaning. That’s even more useful than no-go zones if you need your Roomba to avoid barriers.
When Roomba isn’t getting caught on a barrier, it’s wedging itself under the couch. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to stop Roomba from getting stuck all the time. It also helps to remember Roomba’s Alexa voice commands, just in case you need to stop it from going where it shouldn’t.
Fortunately, these issues are rare with newer Roombas. And Roomba’s Wi-Fi connection problems and charging issues have also gotten better in recent generations. At the rate these machines are improving, we’ll have our Rosie the Robots before you know it!
Zak has spent 12 hears in the tech industry focusing on automation, analytics, and cybersecurity. His passion is tech education; he uses his industry expertise and STEM PhD to break down complicated concepts into simple step-by-step guides. When he’s not writing or coding, you can find him binging anything Star Trek or Marvel or reading far too many sci-fi novels.