Roomba Robotic Vacuum
The Roomba caught our eye the other day when we walked by Brookstones. The Roomba -- a robotic vacuum cleaner -- is one of the first practical household robots. A machine that is basically a vacuum without the handle and with a bit of techno-glitz (buttons, lights, etc.).

How good is it? The Roomba is a light-cleaning vacuum that is designed for daily use, not industrial-strength dirt removal. The fact that it is for sale in techno-gadget stores (Brookstones, Sharper Image, etc.) should be your first clue that this is a gadget rather than an appliance. However, keep in mind we're talking about vacuuming, which is 90% pushing a machine around the floor. With the Roomba, the robotic, self-directed machine takes care of the 90%.

We shopped around online and in traditional stores and found the pricing to be pretty firm -- $200 for the basic model and $250 for the top of the line. Where you buy it may be influenced by other factors, such as sales tax, shipping, return policy, etc.

Okay, we confess, we bought one. We'll let you know in a few weeks what we think.

Written October 15, 2003 - go to our home or life advice page