Robotic Floor Cleaning

In the 6 years we’ve owned our home, my wife and I have never used a traditional vacuum cleaner. Rather, our hardwood floors have been cleaned by a rotating army of robotic vacuum cleaners. An original iRobot Roomba was followed by several generations of both iRobot and Neato models. Our current dirt-vanquishing robotic assistant is a Neato Botvac 80-HP.

Why You Might Love It

After years of owning a robotic vacuum, from time to time I still stand and watch it clean. The laser-guided navigation, combined with a power vacuum motor, and rotating side brush (secured with a magnet for easy removal/cleaning!) make it so much more than a simple toy.

We have ours set to automatically clean the whole main floor 3x a week and it feels fantastically futuristic to come home after work to freshly vacuumed floors. And when it’s done, it automatically goes back to its charging dock to prepare for the next scheduled cleaning cycle.

Compared to models without a side brush (like the Neato XV), or those that rely on “sweeping” brushes (like the early Roomba) rather than an actual vacuum blower, we’ve found our current model does a more thorough job along walls.

Why You Might Hate It

Although it’s not an issue for us, pet-owners may be concerned that they can’t avoid poop. Also, they can’t climb stairs. Unlike other more recent models, our model is not a “connected” device. This means you can’t monitor progress or start a cleaning cycle from a smartphone. For me, that’s a minor issue and not worth a several hundred dollar premium.


It’s a capable, clever, and rather cute cleaning creature that has found a place in our hearts and our home. If you’ve written off robotic vacuum cleaners as expensive gimmicks, you should take another look. They have progressed significantly in recent years, and can provide automated, thorough, regular, cleaning of your home without breaking the bank.

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