Motivated by General Geekery

For the Love of Tools: Hands-on Looj Review + Robot Carnage!

Written By: der5er - Nov• 28•07

iRobot LoojI received my iRobot Looj just before Thanksgiving.  So, while I was on a ladder to hang Christmas lights, I tried it out. 

When I received it, I immediately opened it.  The Looj was well packaged, no extra rattling or shaking.  I was a little disappointed to find that the battery ships uncharged, but all batteries do, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  Wait 15 hours for a full charge on the battery.  Minimal assembly was required.  Just attach the 3 stage auger, charge and insert the battery, and you’re ready to go.   So far, so good.

This past Saturday I climbed the ladder to place the Looj in my gutter for the first time.  The shingles on the new house seem to hang quite a ways into the gutter, so it takes a little maneuvering to get the Looj into the gutter past the shingle.  Detach the remote/handle, turn on the auger, and press ‘FWD’ to start the Looj on it’s way.  There are two directions the auger can spin.  I’ll define these as throws-stuff-on-the-ground and throws-stuff-on-the-roof.  Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned installation of my shingles, the throws-stuff-on-the-ground direction did not get enough lift to actually throw stuff on the ground.  The large flap on the auger never gets any lift before it contacts the outside of the gutter, the shingles hold it down and most of the debris stays in the gutter. 

Add to this the fact that if a pine cone happens to be directly under a gutter support bracket, the Looj gets stuck.  About halfway down the gutter I ran into this problem.  I tried backing it up and ramming it forward a couple times, but I eventually had to climb up on the roof (or move my ladder) and manually remove the pine cone. 

The Looj did clean my gutter about half the length of our 50 foot porch before I gave up on it.  In reverse, it looked like the Looj was going to run over it’s own antenna and get stuck, but it did not.  I ended up cleaning this gutter manually as I hung the Christmas lights (more on those later). 

After giving up on the Looj and setting it neatly in the driveway, I continued hanging lights.  Grandma Shirley needed to leave, but her car was parked in front of my truck.  Wanting to show off some un-parking skills, I proceeded to move her car without moving my truck.  This would prove fateful for the Looj, as it was sitting (forgotten) in the driveway directly in front of Grandma Shirley’s car!  The main body of the Looj survived being run over by a BMW e39, but the handle suffered some scarring.  It’s only a flesh wound, but now I cannot return my Looj as planned. 

I received a comment on my last Looj post about the Gutter Sense, and now the Tool Snob has posted about it as well.  When I initially saw this product, I thought that having to pay $19.95 (plus shipping) and then having to find an extension pole long enough was too much hassle.  After this experience with the Looj, I may look into getting the Gutter Sense in the future.

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