jump to example.com
hot-or-not4.jpg

If George Jetson’s giant floating habitat pod had gutters, a little robot like the Looj would probably be up there cleaning them.  This kind of purpose-built tool screams both “Future!” and “Gimmick!” — but the little tracked gutter-runner does appear to work.

The general idea: You lug the Looj up to the gutter, pop it down in the channel, and, via the remote, send it down the line with its rotating brush spinning up a storm and clearing the debris in its path.  The agitator throws all the newly churned-up mess out of the gutter and onto the lawn, where you can dispose of it in any number of ways –- at least in theory.

We’ve checked out the videos and heard some stories here and there about how it works — but our question is, does this really help?  Or is it a machine that’s designed to separate you from $100?  Let us know in comments.

Looj Gutter Cleaner [iRobot]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

13 Responses to Hot or Not? Looj Gutter Cleaner

  1. Having cleaned gutters before, I can’t see this working unless it is just loose debris. Most of the gutters are full of wet, heavy leaves. I was driving by someone’s house the other day, and they had plants growing out of theirs. It looked like they just planted grass in there.

  2. der5er says:

    NOT
    I’ve tried it, and with shingle overhang (which you’re supposed to have and all the publicity photos/videos of the Looj do not) the only direction this thing works is to sling stuff back on your roof.

  3. FourMat says:

    I received it for a gift last Christmas. Yes, it does work. It does remove the caked in wet gunk. As with any piece of “automated” technology, there is some preparation to go through, and it might not be suitable for all situations.

    For instance, you need to measure to make sure that it can actually fit under your gutter brackets or nailers. If your shingles overlap your gutters a bit, then it might not work exactly like the videos. The brushes might get caught on the shingles and cause the unit to roll over in the gutter, which isn’t a big deal and it was designed for that. You will just need to reverse the direction of the auger, which can then throw debris on top of the roof.

    I do have a few beefs though. The unit comes with a ni-cad battery. I don’t know about you, but I only need to clean my gutters a few times a year, and the longevity of most ni-cad systems is not the greatest. You can’t leave the charger plugged in for more than 16 hours, and correct me if I’m wrong, ni-cads trickle down over time, and it left uncharged, have a hard time getting a full charge back. My biggest fear with the unit is that I’ll have to purchase a new battery every year or so because the charge would have trickled off, and it wouldn’t take a charge. New batteries for only a few uses seems like more if a PITA than it’s worth.

    My other beef is that the signal range of the remote control unit isn’t the greatest. I have a long run of gutters that goes the full length of the back of my house. after a certain point, the unit loses signal, so I have to follow it pretty closely to make it work. They have some little workarounds like placing the remote near the gutter to use it as a makeshift antenna, but I still found that when it got into wet stuff, far away, the signal weakened a lot and it would just shut down.

    Overall, I think that it’s worth a try if you have a challenging situation, like steep roofs, bad back, etc. You can find it cheap enough, sometimes under $79, so I believe that it’s a neat toy that isn’t that hard on the wallet, and hey, if it works for you, it’s worth a whole lot more than that.

  4. Zathrus says:

    correct me if I’m wrong, ni-cads trickle down over time, and it left uncharged, have a hard time getting a full charge back.

    Ok. You’re wrong. Kind of.

    Yes, NiCd do trickle down over time, but they do so very slowly (faster than LiIon, much slower than all but the newest NiMH). As long as the battery doesn’t go completely flat, you’re fine — just charge it for a day beforehand (as the manual tells you) and you’ll be back at full charge.

    The “memory” problem that NiCd’s exhibited is long solved; plus you’re not likely to run into it anyway if you’re not charging the battery frequently.

    NiCd and NiMH battery life is measured in number of full charge/discharge cycles (so, yes, if you charge it half full it only counts as half a cycle). LiIon batteries lifetime is measured in amount of time from manufacture. So if it had a LiIon battery then you’d be replacing it every two years or so, no matter how often or infrequently you used it. With NiCd it’s likely that the original battery will last 500+ charge cycles… I’d bet something else breaks first.

  5. RevRagnarok says:

    NOT

    I have one and if I had gotten off my lazy butt and used it in the first 30 days I would’ve returned it for a refund. As the other guy noted, the roof shingle overhang is a problem – the whole time I was thinking this is NOT the wear and tear that the shingle is designed to handle. I also never got it to go more than 5-6 feet from me.

    Anybody want to try it yourself? ZIP is 21784 make an offer 😉

  6. FourMat says:

    Thanks for the info Zathrus. That makes me feel a little better about the tech. I haven’t much lick wiht the Nicads. I have an Makita drill which I used to use it daily, I ran through one set of batteries, then replaced them. After the new battery purchase I stopped using it as frequently (couple time s a month) and the new batteries don’t charge worth a flip now. So that kinda tainted my opinion of Ni-cads.

  7. Fabian says:

    NOT.

    This thing got really bad reviews from PC magazine on their video review spot. The thing falls apart and is just not strong enough. You have been warned.

  8. Shopmonger says:

    Not, Just get up and clean them with a preassure washer of blower, much easiery faster and of course…………. cheaper if own one of these tools.

  9. Jim says:

    NOT
    Get a ladder and a leaf blower. Problem solved!

  10. elmegil says:

    FourMat:

    I’m curious what it gains you to throw the debris up on your roof…where it seems to me that it will just wash back into the gutter on the next good rain.
    I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m seriously wondering why that would be an acceptable thing to be doing.

    If you were doing this as a prep to install screens or something, maybe that would make sense, but then of course you have to wonder if the investment in the Looj itself makes sense for essentially a one time use.

  11. Zathrus says:

    Jim, you clearly don’t have a part of your roof that’s 30-40 feet off the ground. A ladder and a leaf blower really isn’t a good solution all of the time.

    Not that I’ll be buying this anytime soon, even though I love our Roomba.

  12. karen says:

    thanks for the info, everyone. i have to clean my gutters considerably more often than a few times/year–more like once/month if i’m vigilant–and i was thinking about getting one of these. my problem is the buildup around the downspouts; they keep getting clogged and the water backs up. (hmmm … i suppose that’s the problem with gutters in general, though, isn’t it?) maybe i should wait for the next generation before i make the investment.

  13. FourMat says:

    elmegil,

    Throwing the debris on the roof doesn’t make sense, but, sometimes you have a caked in area and the only way to get the stuff loose is to reverse the direction of the auger, which throws it up on the roof.

    I just finished using it for my post summer cleanout and I’ve found that for my roof/gutter setup, I’m pretty happy with how it works. Now that I don’t have a years worth of caked up gunk, it throws the debris out the proper way. Mainly because the debris isn’t raising it up above a certain “magic” level where it would get caught on the shingles. *shrug* I guess it all depends on how high your expectations are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *