If you have a full-size vacuum to deep-clean your carpets, you might consider getting a little helper for daily pickups. The prices of robotic vacuums are dropping, making these automatic assistants more accessible.
Consumer Reports has rounded up a team of robo vacs that do a great job picking up surface litter, for under $300.
Charly Ann Oddo depends on her robotic vacuum to help keep the floor clean. She has three children under the age of 5.
"I will put it on and an hour or two later I'll come home and the floors are clean," she said.
Although robotic vacuums aren't meant to deep clean the way regular vacuums do, they are handy for keeping the floor free of surface dirt.
"Robotic vacuums are best for uncluttered rooms with either bare floors or low-pile carpet. Thicker rugs will make the robotic vacuum work harder, and it might not get to the rest of your room," said Consumer Reports Home Editor Haniya Rae.
You can pay as much as $1,000 for a robo vac, but increased competition has brought prices down. Here are three that landed near the top of Consumer Reports' ratings - for less than $300.
The Eufy RoboVac 11 has an impressive run-time, a little less than two hours on bare floors and just over an hour on carpets before returning to its docking station. The Eufy does an excellent job inhaling surface debris on carpeting, and gets top marks for quietness.
The iRobot Roomba 618 does a top-notch job on bare floors. It quietly moves around, doing a good job picking up dirt even in corners. Consumer Reports testers noted it does a good job of not getting tangled in the fringe of area rugs.
This is Shark's first entry in the robot world: the Shark Ion 720. It sometimes scattered Consumer Reports test paper squares as it moved about, but eventually picked everything up.
With the prices lowering on these little vacuums, considering picking one up, so they can pick up for you.
"I feel great when I walk in the house to a clean floor," Oddo said.
Consumer Reports recommends that to keep any of your vacuums, large or small, running their best, keep the filters clean and replace them according to manufacturer's instructions. Your appliances will last longer in the end.
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Consumer Reports: Best robotic vacuums under $300