Unfortunately, iRobot Dirt Dog was discontinued. So, this article is about a device that's no longer manufactured. Maybe you can get it on eBay though. In either case it's a pity this product didn't do as well as intended because it seemed like a pretty good solution for some people.
Irobot dirt dog is a great addition to their household robot family. Previously, roombas have helped us in vacuuming, scoobas in floor washing and so on. By introducing the dirt dog, irobot solves another problem you may have in your household - shop sweeping.
While it was possible to use roombas for this task they weren't really suited for that. Also, you may want to have a bit lower price tag if you want to use a robot solely for shop; garage or basement sweeping. This is where irobot dirt dog comes in - a robot designed specifically for shop sweeping with an affordable price tag.
Photo courtesy of iRobot company
I suppose you want to know how it works, what can it do and how it differs from roombas. The name tells pretty much about it. The Dirt dog works hard, so you don't have to.
It has a large, bag-less, easy to empty dust bin. By saying large I mean larger than roombas have. Irobot states that the dust bin should be cleaned approximately once in two cleaning cycles.
The extra space for the dust bin in irobot dirt dog is found by removing the vacuuming mechanism. Yes, that's right, it does not vacuum it "only" sweeps. The sweeping mechanism, on the other hand, is improved. The dirt dog can sweep more throughout than roombas do.
That's basically it. However, if you want to enable scheduling, auto charging or fast charging it can be done too. In that case, you'd have to buy some additional accessories.
Irobot sells home bases for automatic docking and recharging. There are also home bases with fast charging capability. Also it is possible to buy a scheduler upgrade package if you'd like to have a scheduling capability.
If there are places where irobot dirt dog shouldn't go, you can buy virtual walls or use some planks or just close the door. I should note that the scheduler upgrade package comes with two virtual walls. You don't have to worry about stairs, pools or other edges as dirt dog has a cliff detection capability.
I already said that this robot is intended to clean floors in such places as basements, shops, garages and other industrial surfaces. However, some people report successful application in apartments and such.
Photo courtesy of iRobot
Although irobot dirt dog can handle sawdust, small nails, small wood chips and bolts quite easily there can be problems with larger particles. Also, it is said that it doesn't handle wires, metal chipping and wet dust very well.
The robot is quite low so it can clean successfully under cars, cabinets and other obstacles. However, it is said it can get stuck or entangled from time to time as the software doesn't handle those situations as well as 5-th series roombas do.
The dust bin can be emptied quite easily. From time to time you should also clean its brushes. The overall maintenance seems to be easy enough. Sometimes there are defective units but the manufacturer will change them willingly.
If you are going to let it in a messy workshop full with all kinds of obstacles and large particles and expect it to handle it all, you will probably be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are ready to pick some things up and prepare the place a bit it will surely do a great job.
Can you let it work alone? As I said, you should prepare the place a bit. If there aren't many places for it to get stuck and large particles on the floor that could stuck in it then you can let it work alone.
Sweeping would generally take a few hours depending of the size and configuration of the room. It doesn't "know" where it is and where it should clean. It uses random patterns to do its job.
This cleaning method is quite battle-proven. Roombas and many other robot vacuum cleaners use this method too. Random doesn't mean dumb it means that the robot calculates the time and patterns that should be used to clean the room.
If you are willing to get one you should think about your particular application. There are situations that irobot dirt dog won't handle well. Generally, it is a good robot sweeper that can keep your garage, shop or basement clean for a reasonable price.