Will a Roomba work with my Black carpet?

“I have black carpet, will a Roomba work for me?”

Roomba black carpetI hear this question a lot. Roombas are well known to have issues on black carpet (issues, meaning, going completely berzerk!). Is black carpet and a Roomba really a big problem? Will a Roomba still work in your house if you have black carpet? Read on to find out….

The Problem

Roomba does not go well with black or dark patterns on carpet. Your Roomba will act confused and start going back and forth as it tries to get away from the black (or very dark) carpet in order to keep itself from danger. This is a safety mechanism included in all Roomba models.

Here’s a video of that problem happening on a carpet with some black patterns in it:

Why does Roomba not work on black carpet?

Roomba knows if it is in danger of falling down stairs (as I mention in my article about Roomba and stairs) or not by using cliff sensors. The cliff sensors can “see” drop offs and save your Roomba from falling off of an edge. This is good and bad. Good in the sense that nobody wants their $500 robotic vacuum to commit suicide and end up in bits. Bad in the sense that the cliff sensors are too dumb to know that a dark colored carpet pattern isn’t the Grand Canyon!

Affected Models

ALL Models are affected. That’s right, even the Roomba 980 is affected by this problem. It’s navigation system is completely different than all other Roomba models but the poor thing STILL can’t deal with black carpet. I was hopeful that the “eye camera” would be able to tell the difference between black carpet and a drop off, but no, the 980 still has the black carpet issue.


The Solution

Generally, there are two solutions to this issue:

First off, do you have just a small affected area? Is the carpet removable? If so, then your best option is to just get another area rug without black patterns. If the carpet is permanent, you’re going to be out of luck for this option. New technology usually requires some changes and adapting to the new tech, so for many people getting rid of an old rug isn’t such a big deal.

The second solution to the issue is taping over the cliff sensors with aluminum foil (shiny side down) and duct tape. This COMPLETELY DISABLES the sensors, will probably void your warranty also, so be careful. If you do decide to tape over them and your Roomba falls off a cliff, don’t blame me. You were warned!.  Here’s the location of those sensors on newer models


Other considerations

Dyson 360 Eye: Roomba black carpetOne third option that I haven’t been able to explore much is the Dyson 360 Eye. This bot appears to me to not have the need for cliff sensors, or that it uses a different type of technology to detect drop offs. They’re only available in Japan as of this writing and won’t be in the US for a while yet. If you click the button below you can check to see if the Dyson 360 Eye is available yet

Check Dyson Availability


I hope this article has cleared up some of the confusion about Roomba and black carpet. If you find this post helpful, please share it, using one of the share buttons on the page. Thanks!

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