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IRobot Looj Gutter Cleaning Robot Review

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the need-one-of-these-right-now-in-fact dept.

Robotics 168

justechn writes "Many of us have seen robots in the movies and wondered how long it would take for them to become a reality. Some of my favorites when I was a kid were Short Circut and Runaway. iRobot is a company that is striving to bring some of that technology home today. Their most popular and well known product is the Roomba vacuuming robot. The Roomba is great, after I finished my review of it and sent it back I went out and bought one. It does its best work picking up pet hair. They just came out with another robot called the Looj. The Looj is used to clean the rain gutters that go around your roof. If you have ever had to do this by hand you know how much of a pain it is. This robot uses a 3 stage auger to break up clogs and sweep all the debris out of your gutter. It is also water proof so you don't have to worry if you have water in your gutter, just don't stand below it when it is cleaning or you will get sprayed." Read on for the rest of justechn's review."The Looj does not move on it own like the Roomba does, instead there is a remote control that controls the direction that the auger spins and the direction that the Looj moves (forward and backward). Because it requires constant human interaction I am not even sure I would classify it as a robot, rather it is more like a remote controlled car.

I recently got my hands on one and put it through my gutters. It did a fairly good job. I did have to go over some spots more than once to get all the leaves and dirt out, but in the end my gutters were a lot cleaner after it was done.

The price is also very good. At $99 for the base model it is cheap enough that you can pick one up just to play around with. The more expensive models only give you extra batteries and augers, so you are not missing anything if you go with the base model.

I only found two things about the Looj that I did not like. First, it will not turn corners, it is way too long and not flexible. Second, if you want it to move you have to constantly hold down the forward or backward button. As soon as you let go, it stops. If you could lock in the movement then you could do other things like move your ladder to the next corner while it was cleaning."

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168 comments

Link (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985213)

Re:Link (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985361)

Oh sure. NOW this comes out after I just finished that ugly job. Next year.

Re:Link (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985671)

Watched the video in your link. Apparently the announcer is confusing a "three stage" auger with their "three paddle" auger.

Re:Link (4, Funny)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985765)

"Three stage", "three paddle"... but is it three laws safe?

Re:Link (3, Interesting)

mrroot (543673) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985897)

I watched the video and it only shows it cleaning dry debris out of a gutter. But most gutters (or at least mine) tend to have soggy, caked-up gunk in them, not just dry leaves. How often do you have to use this thing? I mean I clean out my gutters about 3 times a year right now, only when they get really full. But if I had this thing I probably would have to do it MORE OFTEN because it probably won't work as well on a gutter that is packed full of leaves. I would rather do a big job a few times a year, than do a smaller job say 10 to 15 times a year.

A better idea would be to create a new kind of gutter. Maybe one that could be manually (or automatically) tilted over to dump out all of the debris, instead of trying to clean it in the upright position.

Re:Link (1)

socsoc (1116769) | about 6 years ago | (#23987573)

That sounds good, why aren't gutters just slightly lower than flush with the eaves and on a hinged system? Each straight section could lock at the end and be titled over. More expensive ones could be locked less frequently and have seamless gutters going around the corners. After cleaning, maybe with a hose nozzle for the troublesome parts, just upright it and lock it into place.

mrroot, when you launch this into an ipo, please let me join your newsletter.

Need reliable and cheap robots (3, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23986007)

The USA needs reliable and cheap robots. Reliable because they are complicated, expensive, and difficult to fix because there aren't many people who are expert with robotics technology.

    Cheap because the USA is shares a border with a country that millions of people who are ready, willing, and able to come here and work for about $40-$50 a 8-10 hour day. Any robot that we buy has to be able to do productive work for eight hours a day and cost less than $50 a day for energy, maintainence, and pro-rated purchase cost. Americans will continue to use Mexicans for robot work as long as it's cheaper to use Mexicans than it is to use robots.

    Some things robots must do because it is unethical to induce humans to do them, such as mine-field clearing. Sure you can force some poor black kid with three 'po-session' convictions to go out and dig up mines with a spoon. But it is unethical and quite possibly immoral to do so. Historically, ethics and morality have never stopped people from doing evil things (they contract it out to people who are further down on the social-class ladder). But those days are passing as more people realise that the evil ways of the past can not continue, regardless of how convienent it was.

    Oh, you are just such a racist! I hear you saying. Well flip the switch on your politically-correct-conditioning circuitry for a while. Let's drop the labels and talk straight for a few minutes.

    Yes, there are millions of poor Mexican peasants in the USA working at a half or third of standard American pay. This is because NAFTA allowed American agri-business like Cargil with huge US government subsidies to flood the Mexican agricultural economy with corn so cheap that the Mexicans couldn't afford to live by growing it. And because NAFTA allowed American bio-industries like Monsanto to replace traditional Mexican corn with patented bio-engineered varieties that the Mexican farmers couldn't afford to buy. People aren't coming here from Mexico because they want to. They come because they have to, or starve. So stop modding me down and calling me a racist. It's a complex subject and the best thing that you could do to help solve it is not stand on the border with a gun, but study and master conversational Spanish (and even one of the pre-Columbian Central Mexican Indian languages (that are spoken by thousands of immigrants who don't speak Spanish very well), that is -if you're up to a serious intellectual challenge, C++ is nothing compared to it) so you can just talk to people and find out what the situation is really like without having it filtered first by the creeps in the news media. Whew! So stop modding me down!

    Yeah, back to robots. We can grow a lot of food but a lot rots on the vine or ground. Especially fruit crops here in the Cascadian Republic of the former United States. We need cheap, dependable, solar-powered, and very advanced agricultural robots. Japanese ones are too expensive. Detroit robots are meaningless to us, we have no use for stationary automobile frame welding machines that cost a half-million dollars. We need a machine that can roll along the ground in the field, find the strawberries, pick the strawberries without destroying the mother plant, place the strawberry in a container with others, and move this container to a pre-set centralized location. We need thousands of these machines all working at the harvest. Then when the strawberry harvest is over, we need people who can reprogram them for the next crop.

    What it would be ethical for us to do is to retrain all the millions of Mexicans that have been impoverished by misguided government and corporate policies to be our cadre of advanced agricultural robotics technicians and programmers. They know the crops and the harvests and would be willing to learn the software and electronics involved. What? Just turn a million Mexican peasants into robotics engineers? You laugh? Now who a racist?

Re:Need reliable and cheap robots (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 6 years ago | (#23986219)

You racist... if I only had the mod points! You sound like a yakamaniac.

Canadians (1)

snikulin (889460) | about 6 years ago | (#23986995)

...Cheap because the USA is shares a border with a country that millions of people who are ready, willing, and able to come here and work for about $40-$50 a 8-10 hour day....
...Oh, you are just such a racist!...

Since when mocking Canadians became a racism?!
It's in our Constitution, you insensitive clod!

---
no, i didn't read the parent

Re:Need reliable and cheap robots (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 6 years ago | (#23987169)

Unemployment is the cure, not the disease.

from Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe

Re:baby boomer SSI bailout club (2, Insightful)

scupper (687418) | about 6 years ago | (#23987283)

...but robots won't have to pay into SSI to help keep it solvent for the baby boomers. America's next big crop is old human beings.

Re:Need reliable and cheap robots (1)

1stpreacher (848239) | about 6 years ago | (#23987481)

"Mexican agricultural economy with corn so cheap that the Mexicans couldn't afford to live by growing it."



a quick post to note that NOW is the time to grow corn... From reuters "...Corn prices hit a record at the Chicago Board of Trade in overnight screen trading on Friday at $8.25 per bushel in the July 2009 contract..."


Funny to me how bad nafta was when corn prices were to low. and now nafta is bad because corn prices are to high...

$99 just to play around with (5, Interesting)

MiKM (752717) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985217)

The price is also very good. At $99 for the base model it is cheap enough that you can pick one up just to play around with.

For most of the world, $100 is not something you can just spend on a whim. Then again, it might be for the people who buy iRobot products in the first place.

Re:$99 just to play around with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985275)

The price is also very good. At $99 for the base model it is cheap enough that you can pick one up just to play around with.

For most of the world, $100 is not something you can just spend on a whim. Then again, it might be for the people who buy iRobot products in the first place.

For most of the Slashdot crowd it is.

Re:$99 just to play around with (1, Insightful)

f2x (1168695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985461)

For most of the Slashdot crowd it is.

When it comes to the Slashdot crowd, you've generally got the "haves" and the "have mores". Computers, peripherals, and ISPs ain't cheap, you know.

And those fortunate enough to own their own house should probably consider prevention rather than maintenance. There are a lot of really novel gutter systems out there today that prevent debris from getting into gutters in the first place.

This just takes an age old problem and makes it quixotic.

Re:$99 just to play around with (4, Interesting)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985291)

To be fair, I suspect the target market for this is "people who own their own house". For this demographic, $100 is probably reasonable.

Then again, there's a product advertised in New Zealand called "Gutter Witch/Gutter Wand" - the idea is you use the "wand" to reach the gutters (it's basically a long stick, nozzle and hose), and the "witch" to open up the drain pipe without making a mess to pull out the leaves flushed away by the wand. This seems much more sensible, but I still want a Looj ;-)

Re:$99 just to play around with (2, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985337)

Lots of people who own their own homes would take a lifetime to earn $100. However they don't have gutters on their homes :)

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985393)

Touche! I suspect a large part of the target demographic includes people like me - people who live in a downstairs apartment yet still really, *really* want one of these robots ;-)

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985851)

Yep. I could buy one on a whim, but only because I have apartment living money.

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985371)

I tried something like that once. It was a log rod with a hook on the end, so you can stand on the ground (for lower gutters) or on a ladder and just run it along the gutter.

Unfortunately, it must have been a cheapo one because the hook on the end and started spinning everywhere, getting me real soaked in the process. Not fun when it's nearly freezing outside!

In the end, none of these gadgets work as well as a standard garden hose with a normal trigger-style nozzle while standing on a ladder.

If cleaning your gutters is enough of a problem to have to resort to little R/C gutter cleaners, perhaps a Gutter Helmet would be a better purchase. Never clean your gutters again.

Re:$99 just to play around with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23986023)

Owning your house is economically very very sane, as long as you're not in debt to start with.

Dunno about USA but realestate in Europe is a worthwhile investment, on any scale.

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

Gyga (873992) | about 6 years ago | (#23986373)

The US is going through a small/medium housing bubble/crisis/weekly-euphemism. All tied into some loan problems we are having.

Re:$99 just to play around with (2, Insightful)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | about 6 years ago | (#23986503)

It's the same - though with a slight lag - in the UK and New Zealand. I'm not completely sure I agree with the AC's point about investment, but if you're buying a house to live in it has to be better than renting over the long term. Even with the sub-prime crisis and property prices falling, buying a house and living in it has to be better than giving money to a landlord, money that you won't see any part of and is only useful while you continue to live in the landlord's house. Falling house prices should be seen as an opportunity - at least for people who are still able to get mortgages...

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

eclectic4 (665330) | about 6 years ago | (#23987503)

If you live in the US, you are completely ignoring tax benefits of owning a home. It makes renting when your household income is large enough look like you just don't like money, or you REALLY don't want to mow your own lawn.

And yes, to those that own a home w/gutters can probably afford $100.

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

Skater (41976) | about 6 years ago | (#23986921)

I dunno. I just cleaned my gutters today, and it took me perhaps 30 minutes. Of course, I have a single-level house so that's probably helping (a 6' ladder is all I need), and it's not a huge house.

I would like to have something better though. My neighbor has gutters that have a ledge over the top of them so water can get in but little or nothing else. And they have a lifetime warranty: if they ever get clogged the company will come out and clean them for free. He's had them for quite a few years and hasn't had a problem.

But this robot doesn't really seem like a good solution to me. It's not that hard to reach in and grab the leaves/pine needles and toss them in a bag. I imagine $100 could buy something to protect at least one of my gutters from getting leaves/needles in there in the first place (or at least reduce the amount).

Re:$99 just to play around with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986935)

Got my Looj yesterday and used it today. It worked like a champ and I had to move my ladder twice (opposing corners). I got it for $69 from a site whose name sounds like 'b00t' and after using will probably always have one (or something like it). I live in NE Ohio, own my home, have trees and a roof with a steep pitch so this wasn't a toy for me.

Important notes to prospective buyers:
1) RTFM
2) Use common sense when using. It's not a tank. If it hangs up, reverse and let it spin the crap out before proceding
3) RTFM

Re:$99 just to play around with (3, Interesting)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985829)

Then again, it might be for the people who buy iRobot products in the first place.

My wife and I purchased a Roomba two years ago. While on the surface it may seem like an extreme and silly purchase, the reality is that we were sick of buying cheap vacuums that tended to break down a lot and/or where a pain to use*. The Roomba was the second cheapest option we considered, and from the first time we started it we knew it was exactly the right decision.

*This specificlly refers to a Dirt Devil vacuum that had a fancy swivel feature with little casters that turned out to be worthless. After running about three times they didn't properly swivel anymore.

Re:$99 just to play around with (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#23986177)

But most of us reading /. aren't most of the world. Most of us have nice $500 computers that are 2-3 years old max along with a small collection of older computers sometimes acting like a server or etc. Most of our phones are smartphones, we have high-speed internet, some of us even own Macs. Just about the only thing us /.ers don't like paying money for is crappy software.

Re:$99 just to play around with (2, Insightful)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 6 years ago | (#23986717)

The price is also very good. At $99 for the base model it is cheap enough that you can pick one up just to play around with.

For most of the world, $100 is not something you can just spend on a whim. Then again, it might be for the people who buy iRobot products in the first place.

But if you own a house with gutters that need cleaning, you likely have more disposable income as well. Or you've gotten yourself into bigger trouble than needing your gutters cleaned.

Re:$99 just to play around with (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 6 years ago | (#23986885)

My uncle bought one. His shop he uses for his business has 6 RV sized garage doors across the front, plus office and storage space. I'd guess about 150' long total. Front and back have gutters. He mentioned that the $100 tool saved him money on the first day. There are oak trees all around his shop. (it only took 2 hours the first time.. now its down to 30 minutes or so) because of the height of the gutters (about 20 feet off the ground) its a royal pain to move that big of a ladder.. Now he puts the ladder at one end, sets the robot in the gutter, and moves the ladder to the end to collect it..

What's the advantage? (3, Insightful)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985231)

...if you are already up there with a ladder, so you can manually move the Looj around corners etc? Scooping out the leaves is trivial at that point - the real PIA is getting out the ladder, and going up/down and moving it from side to side. Doesn't seem like this performs and real useful activity?

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

Xavier CMU (829477) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985279)

I'm going to have to agree, this is one of those products that is kind of doomed to end up on an infomercial. You have to be incredibly lazy or just plain physically incapable for this to be useful at all, how much time are you actually saving yourself if you have to get the robot out and the ladder every time you want to clean your gutters? The only way I could see a product like this being useful is if it would just automatically keep your gutters clean.

Re:What's the advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985315)

Depends on how long your gutters are. If you have to keep getting up and down on the ladder, then it may make sense, especially if you've got to go up two stories to get to the gutters each trip.

Re:What's the advantage? (4, Informative)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985411)

Exactly. Arms are only so long. With this, you can stand at one end and clean out the entire stretch of gutters. Think of it this way:

Assume a 40ft stretch of gutters. You might precariously have a 5.5-foot reach per trip up the ladder. Safely, and to make the math easier, figure 5 feet of gutters per trip. That means 8 trips up the ladder per side of the house. 16 trips at two stories per climb is 32 stories -- the equivalent of a moderately-sized skyscraper.

Besides, with less reaching and climbing, it's a hell of a lot safer.

Re:What's the advantage? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985801)

You might precariously have a 5.5-foot reach per trip up the ladder. Safely, and to make the math easier, figure 5 feet of gutters per trip. That means 8 trips up the ladder per side of the house. 16 trips at two stories per climb is 32 stories -- the equivalent of a moderately-sized skyscraper.

What?
Unless you have a 60 degree New England style roof, there's no reason you can't walk around on your roof with a hose and an old broom handle to clean out the gutters.

Then again, I like having a reason to walk around on roof tops.

Re:What's the advantage? (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985971)

You shouldn't ever walk around on a roof, it causes a lot of wear and tear and damage to the roofing material.

And even if you do, most houses have pitched roofs, even a relatively minor pitch is enough to make it extremely dangerous to do. OSHA requirements dictate that a fall of 6" is sufficient to require serious fall protection. I can't recall the last time I saw a house that wasn't that tall.

Granted you don't have to follow guidelines if you're doing your own house, but it's still a really bad idea.

Re:What's the advantage? (2, Insightful)

Nossie (753694) | about 6 years ago | (#23986155)

so is crossing the street in NYC ..

get over it, it's called life

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

Sheafification (1205046) | about 6 years ago | (#23986811)

I've been on more than a couple roofs as a kid (legally even). IMHO it's less dangerous than walking on the sidewalk in the winter. All the roofs around where I live have shingles that are extremely rough - think sandpaper. Unless the roof has water pouring off of it, I'd find it very hard to slip.

Re:What's the advantage? (2, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | about 6 years ago | (#23986067)

Heh - I live in a colonial-style house in New Jersey, and the roof is pitched sufficiently that it's pretty scary to walk on. It's not bad when it's dry, but combine that with water, and it's a slip-n-slide-o-fun 30 feet off the ground.

I enjoy a good walk on the wild side as much as anyone else, but that whole falling to my death part, it's just not me. So far I've managed to avoid dying, but I'm at the point in my life where I'll leave the tempting of fate to the youngsters.

Re:What's the advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985427)

But you might get some entertaining stories out of it if the robot started to willfully rip up your roof shingles and deck, under instructions of "Vicky" to prevent humans such as yourself from destroying the planet through rampant fossil fuel consumption.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985949)

The house I'm living in now has 2 gutters for the entire house and they're each straight from end to end. Something like this would require me to set up the ladder 2 times total. And have the bot handle the rest of the job.

Houses with more gutters or a more complicated set up are going to require more work to clean.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

RabidMoose (746680) | about 6 years ago | (#23986239)

Correction: You would need to put the ladder up 4 times total. Let's say your house faces North. 1) Setup on NE corner, run robot 2) Setup on NW corner, pickup robot 3) Setup on SE corner, run robot 4) Setup on SW corner, pickup robot

Re:What's the advantage? (3, Insightful)

Gyga (873992) | about 6 years ago | (#23986421)

1) Setup on NE corner, run robot. Run robot in reverse. Pickup robot
2) Repeat on SE corner

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

RabidMoose (746680) | about 6 years ago | (#23986497)

Your "reverse" button is too advanced for me.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

Prune (557140) | about 6 years ago | (#23986389)

Not all products on infomercials are bad. Stainz-R-Out for example is one of the best things I have purchased, period.

Re:What's the advantage? (3, Funny)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985303)

Imagine you have a 300' long roof. With the Looj, you climb up the ladder at one end of the roof, hold down "forward", and carry your ladder to the other end of the roof, climb up, and collect the Looj. According to their website it cleans 60' in 10 seconds, so that seems like a lot faster & less work, if you have a large roof. So it may be best for businesses/condos/etc.

Re:What's the advantage? (5, Funny)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985553)

carry your ladder to the other end of the roof, climb up, and collect the Looj.

You go right ahead and move your ladder.

I'll stay where I am and just hit the reverse button :-)

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985967)

You go right ahead and move your ladder.

I'll stay where I am and just hit the reverse button :-)

You go right ahead and wait for it to come back, carry it DOWN your ladder, carry it AND your ladder to the next corner, and carry it back UP your ladder, smart guy.

I'll just carry my ladder to the next corner and wait for it to arrive so I can help it around the corner. :p

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985583)

According to their website it cleans 60' in 10 minutes, so that seems like a lot faster & less work, if you have a large roof.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985733)

300' long roof? Uhm ... then we're definately past homeowners, and I suspect businesses have little problems paying someone to do the cleaning for them. Hell, they might even have proper equipment for staying on the roof.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985873)

Well I know our condo association pays close to $2000 a year to have the gutters cleaned. Somehow I think the bill would be more than $100 cheaper if this thing was used & actually worked.

Re:What's the advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985789)

According to their website it cleans 60' in 10 seconds...

10 minutes.

Re:What's the advantage? (4, Insightful)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985321)

Well, it seems like you'd need to go up the ladder a lot less - once or twice at each corner instead of down-move-ladder-2-metres-up.

But yes, I can think of easier ways to clean your guttering. I mentioned a long hose and an opening on your down-pipe in an earlier post; another alternative I've seen is simply to insert a long plastic bristle affair along the length of your guttering; the bristles let water pass into the gutter but leaves get stuck on top and break down before they can clog the down-pipe.

But, and this is a big but, I still want a Looj. If only so I can lean against the fence with a beer and proudly inform the neighbours that I'm supervising the gutter-cleaning robot...

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985327)

Well the problem is you can only reach so far, so you have to keep going up and down the ladder and move it bit by bit all around the house. With this you just have to reposition the ladder 4 times or however many corners your house has, so it does save quite a bit of work.

This is what I want though, although it seems like it wouldn't be too hard to make one at home: http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=338 [irobot.com]

Re:What's the advantage? (2, Insightful)

iksbob (947407) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985615)

Agreed... If I were on the design team, I would have pushed for a method of lifting it up to the gutter... A simple hooked pole and a loop on the robot's body would be fine. Of course, you would need some method of triggering it once it was up there... Maybe a two-way remote that would alert the operator when it reaches the end of a run?

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985713)

What they should do is put a bit eye-loop on top and make a hook stick. Then you could just put it up in the gutter without even getting out a ladder.

Sounds like an obvious accessory to me.

Just get gutter covers (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985805)

Or you can just get gutter covers. When I moved into my house 3 years ago, I cleaned the gutters out once, decided it sucked and got gutter covers. Each cover was less than a buck and we got enough for the whole house for less than the price of a Looj. Sure, it was a bit of extra work to put on the covers, but it's just a one-time investment and I've never had to clean gutters since.

Re:Just get gutter covers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986495)

Likewise -- here in Minneapolis gutter covers work well once you find the correct ones. First ones we tried were clogged by maple seed "helicopters". The covers come in a variety of hole configurations, snap in easily.

Re:What's the advantage? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 years ago | (#23986735)

Spoken like someone who's never tried it....

Most of my gutters are only accessible by ladder from one or two points, the rest of the ground is too uneven, soft, covered in fragile landscaping, or blocked by larger plants/trees.

Yeah, I would have designed the houses differently too - but economic reality is such that I didn't have the time (or desire) to custom build my homes, so I'm stuck with what's available on the market - and gutter design elegance is pretty far down the priority queue.

Re:What's the advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23987565)

im in a split level and can climb onto the 1 story roof from my window and just put this thing in the gutter of the 2 story part from there. seems like this thing might be worth getting for me.

Why even get out the ladder? (1)

John3 (85454) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985277)

http://www.smarthome.com/31262.html [smarthome.com]

We also sell them in my hardware store but I don't want to link to my own site and crash the server. :)

They work great, just wear rain gear when standing underneath while using it.

Re:Why even get out the ladder? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985599)

I look at that picture and that is sooo unrealistic. Clean gutter, user standing directly below, with dry clothes and groomed hair.

That's just NOT going to happen. For most gutters that need cleaning, you can use that, but you'd better go out there with a cap and raincoat.

I go after mine with a hose, but I have several problems. First, I have a mesh over the top of my gutter to keep the umpteen leaves from my large bertch out of it, and it still collects an amazing amount of seeds and grit from my shingles. The west side of my house is unfortunately higher than the east, and it's a bit wobbly on the ladder at that height on that end of the house, front and back.

So I wouldn't mind a better solution, but I don't think that's the complete answer. I try to not get too wet cleaning the gutters, but it's almost unavoidable with a hose. I can't imagine waving a wand with a nozzle that points in MY direction is going to improve on that.

Fortunately both downspouts are on the tall end, so I work my way from the other side, and use the jet to push the crud down toward the spout. But it's almost inevitable that I will have to go to the end to remove the large wad of decaying leaves/seeds etc that are now plugging the opening to the downspout.

Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985295)

Some of my favorites were R2-D2, Johnny Five and and the Looj Gutter Cleaner!!!

I is a awesome writer of advertisments.

No Brainer. (3, Informative)

jpellino (202698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985475)

If you have a house, you have likely spent $99 on far worse things.

If all I have to do to clean the gutters is put the ladder at each corner once - I want this.

I suspect many of the "why bother"s have never actually cleaned gutters by hand. You basically go around the house trying to find a stable spot for the ladder every so often. Every so often is defined as your own wingspan plus how brave you are either side of an extension ladder. Scoop, fling, repeat. Chase leavings with hose or bucket. For even a smallish 24'x36' house, this is tedium with the added risk of a broken arm.

OK - the wand looks interesting but you're standing under the slop.

iRobot is in Somerville, MA. And here in New England the fall leaves aren't as bad as the muck made of spring tree flowers and seeds (maple and oak).

Re:No Brainer. (1)

tarogue (84626) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985667)

I suspect many of the "why bother"s have never actually cleaned gutters by hand.

Actually, I live in New England too (NH) and I clean my gutters by hand. A hose, with a good nozzle can spray pretty much all the crap out for a lot less than $100. And with a Federal house, that's 4 gutters on the house, 3 more on the el, and 3 on the little stick-y out bit with the door.

The Looj would be more work than I want to bother with, thanks.

Re:No Brainer. (1)

penguinboy (35085) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985739)

They're in Bedford now (not that it makes any difference season-wise).

Re:No Brainer. (2, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985961)

That's "Bed-fid" for those of you who don't talk right.

Still waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985493)

I'm still waiting for the one called the Spooj which will, um, unclog my pipes as it were.

Just $1.4 million for the house (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985505)

Now all I need is $1.4 million for a house. Maybe iRobot would provide a free house to do a Looj Cutter review with.

Considering most of the money on this product is made in Asia, they should think of an easier name.

Re:Just $1.4 million for the house (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985657)

"Considering most of the money on this product is made in Asia"

Yet it's an American company, so I doubt that if they outsource to Asia, that they are doing it because its more expensive to make them in Asia.

I'll agree that the name, is well frankly retarded. Although when searching "looj" [google.com] it's not exactly a common name, so that could be a benefit.

However, the name of a product doesn't make the money it makes isn't worth as much.

Obliq. (2, Funny)

phreakincool (975248) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985629)

I, for one, welcome our robotic gutter cleaning and making our lives easier, overlords.

Re:Obliq. (1)

WelcomeOurOverlords (1309475) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985763)

Damnit, I didn't register this username *not* to be the first one to post that!

Does not play well with branches and (4, Informative)

microcars (708223) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985687)

old mucked up gutters that you neglected.

I bought one of these when they first came out last fall and liked playing with it, but unless you regularly use it to clean your gutters, you will find that it gets bogged down in heavy mucked up areas.

These tend to be right in the middle of the run and I have to get on the roof or move the ladder to free it up.

and if you have a valley that feeds into a gutter that gets clogged with small twigs and branches, fugedaboutit.

That being said, it is fun to use and works pretty much as advertised you just have to approach heavy obstacles slowly and go back and forth like you are drilling through it.

My gutters a really a pain to clean and just knowing I can go play with the Looj makes me more likely to drag out the ladder and clean them more often.

Re:Does not play well with branches and (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986277)

old mucked up gutters that you neglected.

I bought one of these when they first came out last fall and liked playing with it, but unless you regularly use it to clean your gutters, you will find that it gets bogged down in heavy mucked up areas.

These tend to be right in the middle of the run and I have to get on the roof or move the ladder to free it up.

and if you have a valley that feeds into a gutter that gets clogged with small twigs and branches, fugedaboutit.

That being said, it is fun to use and works pretty much as advertised you just have to approach heavy obstacles slowly and go back and forth like you are drilling through it.

My gutters a really a pain to clean and just knowing I can go play with the Looj makes me more likely to drag out the ladder and clean them more often.

Just replace the augers with blades. It'll also deal with any pesky squirrels that get in the way.

Looks stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985705)

What does this thing do when it encounters one of the gutter supports? I've typically gone up/down the ladder a few times a year, but my latest idea is using an attachment for my leaf blower that blows the crap out of the gutter... yeah it goes all over and it's a mess, but it works from the ground.

I follow up with a little treatment from the hose and we're done... There's also attachments for pressure washers that blast out gutters from the ground too...

Gutter (4, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985737)

The people who designed this need to get their minds out of the gutter.

Re:Gutter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23985885)

Probably the least funny comment I've ever read on /., including the ones that aren't even trying to be funny.

Dry is good, wet not so much (2, Informative)

Tin_Wisdom (1081631) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985863)

I got one of these off a Woot the other month. It performed as advertised on the vast amount of dry crap on one side of my house. It tossed all the (slightly damp) leaves and twigs out quite nicely. Yes, I still had to get up on the ladder once to put it up there, but I didn't have to climb down, move the ladder three feet, climb back up, rinse and repeat -- the looj probably saved me a good hour.

Unfortunately, the other side of the house was worse with the gutters containing standing water and a kind of vegetable soup. The looj didn't have any problem being submerged, but it was pretty much ineffectual. It simply showered me with foul-smelling water and pushed the mush ahead of it until it got stuck. I ended up doing that side by hand.

So if you use the looj a couple times a year and on non-flooded gutters, I think it's a good little tool. It keeps me off the roof, and that's easily worth a C-note to me.

Re:Dry is good, wet not so much (1)

waterwingz (68802) | about 6 years ago | (#23987165)

Don't you think that the fact they are constantly selling these things off cheap on woot.com tells you a lot about how effective they are are ( or are not ) ?

First Robotics (1)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 5 years ago | (#23985879)

You can see some good First Robotics matches at The blue Alliance [thebluealliance.net] under the match archives. This year Simbotics, ThunderChickens, and Robowranglers won the World Championship.

niG6a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23986049)

I hate ladders (1)

domanova (729385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23986051)

Horrible wobbly tippy things
So I used to use a top-rope from the chimney, and a jumar.
As long as you don't break the tiles, all is fine

Re:I hate ladders (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | about 6 years ago | (#23986781)

How do you get on the roof then?

Re:I hate ladders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23987065)

His friend down the road has a trebuchet. The landing's a little rough, but hey ... no ladders!

Check your clearances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986133)

I've got one and despite having printed out the test template to check gutter clearance, it still gets hung up under some of the support spikes. Check your gutter size carefully before ordering.

Poor choices... (1)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | about 6 years ago | (#23986209)

"Some of my favorites when I was a kid were Short Circut and Runaway."
When you had so many others [robothalloffame.org] to choose from...

Not impressed (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#23986227)

I'm sure a lot of hard R&D went into this, but something you've still got to get on a ladder multiple times for? C'mon.

Am I the only one who thinks home robotics is a VASTLY under-developed market? Yeah, I know how tough AI is, but I still get the nagging feeling we could be doing so much better if someone made a hard run for it. Seriously, look at Windows -- the damn robots don't have to be perfect, they just have to be ok.

Back in the late 70's & 80's the mantra was a computer in every home, today it should be a robot in every home... but I have yet to hear a single person step up and so much as declare it. Imagine the publicity in simply DECLARING such a thing...

battery issues? (3, Informative)

drew30319 (828970) | about 6 years ago | (#23986233)

I have both the Roomba and the Scooba and while I was initially pleased with both, I've been less than happy with battery life. Although iRobot states that the rechargeable battery will last for "hundreds of cleaning cycles" that hasn't been my experience, with the batteries for each dying far short of that mark.

Before the batteries did die I was very happy with the performance of these "robots." But ultimately would not recommend either until either the batteries last longer or the price drops for replacements ($80 for the Scooba battery & $70 for the Roomba). I just checked, and the Looj battery is available for $30 so it may be a non-issue for some.

Obviously YMMV but thought I'd give you a heads up!

They Break Too Easy (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#23986237)

Every 6-12 months I check in on the "Roomba" lines, whether just vacuums, or wet mops, or other kinds like this new "gutter cleaner". They all look pretty cool, and the idea is good. But every time I check with people who actually have them, I confirm that they break really easy. They wear out, or they can't take the kind of hard bump that most moving appliances have to take.

At $99, replacing them once or twice every couple-few years is a little expensive, compared to a $250 vacuum that lasts 5+ years. And when they break, there's the whole hassle of getting a new one.

Why isn't there a version of these clever little slaves that cost twice as much, but last twice or three times as long without breaking?

Your Goatsxe neighbor called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986253)

He wants to borrow your Looj.

Mowing Lawns? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#23986355)

Does anybody have any experience with these lawn-mower robots?

http://www.friendlyrobotics.com/ [friendlyrobotics.com]
     

Why not use wire mesh over the top of gutters? (1)

Tetravus (79831) | about 6 years ago | (#23986395)

Seriously, you put it on once and you're done.

Water flows through the mesh and into your gutters, leaves and twigs are kept out.

Is there something I'm missing here?

Re:Why not use wire mesh over the top of gutters? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986491)

Until the leaves and twigs form a nice layer over the mesh and block the water...

Re:Why not use wire mesh over the top of gutters? (1)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | about 6 years ago | (#23986561)

we have the mesh, but stuff still gets through. i just get on the roof with a water hose and spray them out once or twice a year. maybe a bit risky if you've got a steep or high roof, though. if you've got enough pressure in the hose, you could just move the ladder down a few times until you push all the gunk into the downspout.

Re:Why not use wire mesh over the top of gutters? (1)

waterwingz (68802) | about 6 years ago | (#23987193)

At the end of the day, none of those gutter shield type things really work. Check out :

http://www.leaffilter.com/gutter-guard-comparison.php [leaffilter.com]

They make fun of every system but their own. I'll bet you can find similar things about their system on the competitors sites.

I own one, and like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23986543)

My wife got me one for my birthday this year. We have a 30x60 pole barn on our property with gutters that constantly need cleaning else they overflow.

Before it was an 3 hr ordeal to hike to the top of the latter 15 feet off the ground clean ~3' of gutter climb down move and repeat for all 120' of gutter on the barn...

Now i set the latter up once, run it down and back and im finished! A 10 min job.

Like others have mentioned it does need some back and forth jockeying in heavy debris but otherwise works great.

I have a gutter robot (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 6 years ago | (#23987057)

A teenage son with a leafblower.

Not for Older Homes (1)

GoingLikeSixty (1185867) | about 6 years ago | (#23987281)

I live in a one store home with the "decorative gutters." They have a flat bottom and long runs. Perfect? Not by a long shot. The antenna kept getting hung up in the gutter brackets! Since the brackets are about every six feet, I was moving the ladder constantly. Since it just barely fit between the roof overhang and the gutter it was a booger to even get in the gutter. If it ran into anything lumby - acorn, small pine cone, it would ride up and even flip on it's side. It was a waste of money! It's underpowered. I'll probably pimp it out and use it on halloween to freak out the trick-or-treaters.

I invented this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23987349)

Back when I was in grade school in the late 80's I entered an invention competition, and my invention was a gutter cleaning "robot" which was just a toy car with a squeegie attached to the front.

All they've done is used tank treads instead, and made the squeegie spin!

I won the competition at my school, but I didn't place in the regional competition. :(

And I never bothered to improve on my invention after that, because even when I was inventing it I knew it was a stupid idea. But I guess if you have millions of dollars to spend on marketing, you can sell anything.

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