Straightforward to program, preset roasts are good for most purposes, east to view roast progress
Negative Product Points
Inconsistent roast results, extremely loud, difficult to clean, overly delicate contruction, poorly designed, expensive "warranty" service
When I first got my iRoast, I was thrilled - I had been using a popper up to that point, and the viewability and batch size were a dream come true for me. After about 5 months, though, I noticed the fan motor was starting to labor during the roast cycle, and the beans would not agitate properly in the roasting chamber. The result was inconsistent roast, where some beans were dark and others light. Shortly after this, the beans wouid hardly move at all, and my batches started to burn. Thinking I had an airflow problem, I redoubled my efforts at cleaning the unit, even using oven cleaner for the more stubborn spots, but there was no improvement.
After a lengthy bout of correspondence with Hearthware (and some side emails to Sweet Maria's for clarification) I had the base of the machine replaced under warranty. Between shipping costs for warranty parts as well as sending the unit back, it cost about $45 to get my unit working again. Part of this cost was for the shipping of a new roasting chamber, which didn't even fit the base properly - chaff and bean bits would blow out through the bottom and onto my stovetop during every roast, so I am still stuck using my old, partially broken chamber. Now, less than 4 months later, the fan motor is starting to fail again, and the unit is now out of warranty.
I know many people swear by the iRoast, but apart from the honeymoon period, mine has been a disappointment. My original popper, by the way, which has seen far more roasts than the iRoast ever did, is still going strong. I paid a whopping $3 for it at a thrift store....I think it was the better investment.
Sweet Maria's was awesome throughout the process, even when Hearthware wasn't. SM's continues to provide great products and service every time I deal with them. A great operation!