iRobot cleaners usually alienate most due to their pricing (competitive though they are for robot vacuums), but with a £249.99 RRP the Scooba 230 is the most affordable product in iRobot’s product line. This doesn’t make it an instinctual purchase by any means, but it is worth remembering that this makes it nearly £200 less than the company’s other two washing robots, the full size Scooba 385 and 390.
The expense doesn’t stop there though as the 230 will only work with iRobot approved cleaning solutions, naturally including its own Natural Enzyme based product. The company claims non-approved solutions can reduce the life of the robot and bleach in particular is an absolute no-no. On the upside 2oz of white vinegar is accepted (though not recommended for marble floors) which makes for a hugely affordable option for most surfaces. As it happens iRobot’s cleaner isn’t expensive in any case with a 64 use bottle priced at £6.99. That said it is worth remembering a ‘use’ is just 13.9 metres square.
All of which sees us return to our original question: how busy are you, really? In some ways the Scooba 230 is the bargain of iRobot’s products with the lowest price and excellent performance if you stick to the company’s guidelines. The flip side is whether you need to spend £249 for a machine designed for smaller areas and whether the charging and maintenance of the 230 actually adds up to as much time as getting the mop out yourself. For those with the financial means though the 230 is more sanitary than keeping a natty old mop, smaller to store and the feeling of love for something which performs such an unwanted task is undeniable.
We recommend the iRobot Scooba 230, but we do so with some reservations. In terms of pure performance the cute little unit delivers, cleaning floors well and drying them quickly all the while working quietly and methodically. Furthermore it is the cheapest iRobot cleaner available and even if only approved cleaning solutions can be used they are cheap and the company allows vinegar! Against this is the fact you are still paying £250 for a device designed to wash small pre-swept areas and that makes you very lazy indeed.
Score in detail
Build Quality 8