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The folks at iRobot tell us that the idea for the Dirt Dog originated with existing Roomba customers.  “If I can have a personal robot that vacuums my house for me, why can’t you make me one that cleans my garage or my shop?” they asked.  Thus was born the Dirt Dog.  Think of it as a Jeep with a lift kit and knobby tires compared to the Roomba’s Toyota Camry.

Of course, having not owned a Roomba, we were more than a little skeptical about whether or not the ‘Dog could handle the rough outdoors.  iRobot was kind enough to loan us one to test in person — and test it we did.  How’d it fare?  Surprisingly well.  Read on past the jump for details and lots of pics.


The iRobot ships in a box that’s not much bigger than the robot itself.  For something this futuristic — it’s a robot that cleans for you! — there are few separate parts and there’s little assembly.  The ‘Dog ships with its battery, a brick-type power supply for charging, and the same small cleaning tool that comes with the Roomba.

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Note: Click on smaller photos to see larger ones. 

After unpacking, you simply install the battery, plug in the charger overnight, and you’re good to go.

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It’s kinda difficult to see in pictures, but the ‘Dog is significantly larger than its Roomba brethren.  This is in part due to the thoughtful addition of a much larger debris bin; garages and shops get a bit messier than living rooms — or at least they should.


The ‘Dog also features unique, beefed-up knobby drive wheels that’re designed to function well on a variety of surfaces.  Ground clearance is increased over the Roomba as well.

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Read on to page 2 to see the ‘Dog in action.

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5 Responses to Hands-On: The iRobot Dirt Dog

  1. Greg Smith says:

    Great review. I think I would rather use this on in my house than a regular roomba.

  2. Nick Carter says:

    I’m curious how it would handle “swarf”, long ribbons of metal that you get when drilling or turning steel – they are hell on a shop vac, relaibly plugging the hose by getting hundg up on the ribbing.

    So drill a bunch of 1/2″ holes in steel and aluminum on the drill press and send the “dog” through that…

  3. JK says:

    Greg, if you look at iRobot’s specs, they actually say to specifically _NOT_ use this inside on residential carpet, as it’s basically too “hardcore” (high RPM, hard bristles).

    We have a Roomba for the house too, and “Roomba-proofing” seems like a common growing pain. Once you watch the bot have a few go’s at it, you’ll quickly realize what it’ll have troubles with, and it’s pretty quick to set the room up for a proper robot-scrubbing before you set it loose.

    I’ve been asking the wife for one of these Dirt Dogs since I saw the press release a few months ago.

  4. Fred says:

    Thanks for a wonderful review of the dirt dog. I’ve been looking for a comprehensive review on it for a while, this is the best i’ve seen. I own a roomba and was considering a “dog” for my garage/workshop as soon as i heard about it. I think your review convinced me to get one. If you search around there are places selling it for $99.
    thanks again!

  5. Mark says:

    Thanks for the great review. I just purchased one from Fry Electronics for $99.00 + shipping and Ohio tax = $114.29

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