The $350 iRobot Roomba 560 is my pick for a robot vacuum cleaner.
First thing’s first: a robot vacuum cleaner is not a replacement for a traditional vacuum. These bots are designed to supplement, not replace, manual cleaning. As I found when I compared several models for Wired last year, a robot will rid you of ignorable, but irritating dirt and dust that gathers on your floors, extending the time between major household cleanings, but eventually, you’ll still need to vacuum by hand to pick up the grime that the robot couldn’t wrestle free. But they will give you more time between major cleanings—you can go a month or two between manual cleanings rather than sweeping or scrubbing once every two weeks. Or if you’re concerned about allergens, every day. For anyone that has pets that shed, or allergies to dust or pollen, the little bit of cleaning a robot vacuum can do on a daily basis can go a long way.