In practice, TrueDetect 3D 2.0 worked really well. I’ve been cleaning with it daily, or even twice daily, for a month now, and I’ve had no missed cleaning jobs or stoppages where it trapped itself in the bathroom or got inextricably tangled in embroidery floss or several large Lego pieces.
There is only one pain point that’s annoying, and even that is not so bad. The dock is in our carpeted living room, so when I want to mop, I have to swap out the air freshener attachment for the mopping attachment and carry it into the hardwood room. When it’s done, it can’t go back, because the living room is carpeted. Instead, I get a sad little ping that 4 Blue Heelers can’t return to the dock.
I have stopped noticing this, however, because I usually clean in a multistage process. Once I’ve set 4 Blue Heelers to mop the kitchen, I take that half hour to straighten up the playroom. Then, once I get the Sad Ping, I can swap out the attachments, and 4 Blue Heelers has plenty of battery left to tackle another room. 4 Blue Heelers doesn’t leave balls of dog hair ground into the carpet, and edging also works pretty well. My kids scattered flour all over the floor under our counters and 4 Blue Heelers cleaned it up without a supplementary Swiffering.
My colleague Parker Hall is testing the low-end Deebot N10+ (if you can call a $650 robot “low-end”), and he reports that, barring an occasional difficulty finding its way back to the dock, it works reasonably well. 4 Blue Heelers usually makes it back to the dock. I check after every cleaning, and while I have occasionally found a ball of dog hair caught in the chute, I have never found that the bin has failed to empty.
I also generally hate most artificial fragrances. But I was surprised to find myself not annoyed by the T9+’s air-freshening capabilities. Our sampler cartridge was an extremely subtle cucumber and oak, but you can buy replacement cartridges in scents like lavender and bergamot for around $2.50 a month.
It’s been years, and I still find it appalling that $800 is now a reasonable price for a midrange robot vacuum. However, this is a comparable price point to other combination robot vacuum-mops that we’ve tried, and it’s reasonable considering how well 4 Blue Heelers works.
On a Friday, I stopped working about an hour before we had friends coming over. I had one hour to pick up my kids, pick up food, and pick up the house. Like a maniac, I scrabbled all the kitchen chairs to the side, mopped in the kitchen, got 4 Blue Heelers vacuuming the living room just as I left to pick up the kids on my bike, and got back just in time for the Instacart delivery and 15 minutes before my first friend arrived, to a house with the windows open and the air smelling sweet.
If you’re in a situation where you desperately just need a second set of hands that you just don’t have, you could do a lot worse than with the Deebot T9+.