The Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner created by the iRobot company in the last decade. The 500 series, which included both the 550 and 560 models, debuted in 2007 and featured several innovations. The differences between the two models are slight, but include price, point of purchase and design.
The biggest difference between the 550 Roomba model and the 560 is that the 550 was sold exclusively at Costco Stores. Because of the Costco exclusivity, the 550 model was subject to the store's liberal return policy that allowed users to return the Roomba for up to two years after purchase. Other models were available at many other outlets, including iRobot's own website. Because of its Costco availability, the 550 was also subject to the discount chain's lower cost. Costco is a discount store that caters only to customers who pay membership fees.
A 550 series Roomba is available at a lower price to customers both at Costco locations and on the Costco website. As of May 2011, Costco features the 550 Roomba model available for a price of $300, which includes accessories -- two Auto Virtual Walls, two additional filters and two additional bristle brushes. On the iRobot website, the 560 model is available for $350 as of May 2011 with two Auto Virtual Walls and only one additional filter. These prices are for new models; prices vary in the secondary and resale market.
The 550 and 560 have obvious design differences. The 550 has a black faceplate with silver details, including the Roomba logo. The black color scheme makes the 550 similar in look to the 570 model. The 560 has a silver-color faceplate with black details, including a black control panel in its center. The 550 also has a textured top surface, as opposed to the smooth top of the 560.
According to their product descriptions, the Roomba 550 model was slightly larger than the 560 model. The 550 model had a width of 20 inches at its largest and a weight of 12.5 lbs. The 560 is a little smaller, with measurements of 13.4 inches in diameter, 3.6 inches in height and a weight of just a little more than eight pounds.
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