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Fox Around the House

Spring cleaning without lifting a finger

Neato-Botvac_80.jpg

Neato BotVac 80 (Neato)

Spring means melting snow, budding trees, and of course, the dreaded spring cleaning. But spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore. Before you start this spring, take a look at some of these robo-cleaners, which will have your house looking great without you having to break a sweat.

Neato BotVac 80

Most robo-vacuums chart a meandering course around the room, with obstacles causing them to veer in seemingly random directions. Not so with the Neat BotVac, which features a laser-guided system that scans your room before it begins to vacuum. By mapping out the room, the BotVac avoids the missed spots and inefficiency of other robo-vacuums, which allows it to get the job done in a fraction of the time it takes other vacuums. The laser-guided feature is a neat trick, but wouldn’t matter much if the vacuum performed poorly. The BotVac, however, does an exceptional job as a day-to-day cleaner. And the ability to schedule it and forget it means that you’ll have spotless carpets with little effort.

The BotVac is a great all-around device, but it’s not without its problems. While smart enough to map out a room and chart the optimal route, the little vacuum isn’t quite bright enough to learn from its mistakes. For instance, the vacuum can become lodged under low-lying couches or book shelves. Rather than avoiding these traps on subsequent trips around the room, it persists in getting stuck every single time. The vacuum also suffers from a small dustbin, which forces you to clean it out nearly every time it runs. However, these are small quibbles with a machine that does an exceptional job, at a much lower cost than some of its competitors.

Roomba 880

The iRobot Roomba 880 packs a ton of horsepower in its small form factor, out-performing most other robo-vacuums when it comes to the core task of cleaning your floors. The top-of-the-line machine from iRobot is the first to feature the AeroForce cleaning system, which replaces a traditional vacuum brush with a pair of rubber extractors that work together to gobble up dirt and dust. The vacuum also comes with a remote control, which allows to you start up a cleaning cycle, or direct the bot to a dirty spot on the carpet, all without leaving the couch. 

While the Roomba 880 doesn’t skimp on performance, it is also one of the most expensive robot vacuums on the market. If you have money to spare, the Roomba 880 is a great vacuum. But as competitors have begun to crowd the market with lower-priced devices, it’s questionable whether this high-end machine is worth the extra cost.

iRobot Looj

Vacuuming is only one task that we can outsource to our robot helpers. The iRobot Looj is a fully automated device to clean out your gutters. Simply place the Looj in the gutter, detach its handle which doubles as a remote control, press a button and the Looj blasts through the leaves and dirt that have accumulated in your gutter. Rather than have to re-station your ladder every few feet as you work your way down the length of the gutter, the Looj only requires you to climb up once per length of gutter.

Dolphin Nautilus

Owning a pool can be extremely rewarding, particularly in the hot summer months, but it can also be a ton of work. The Dolphin Nautilus looks to take most of the work out of having a pool, leaving you with just the fun part. Simply drop the Nautilus into your pool and it crawls across the bottom, scrubbing the surface and filtering the water as it goes. When it’s done cleaning, pull it out of the water and empty out its filtration area (and see firsthand what kind of gunk and scum your pool was filled it). It’s the perfect device to get your pool in shape for summer.