Not since Rosie, the Jetsons' maid, have robots been so helpful around the house - or so cute!
1. Roomba 780
The gold standard in automated vacuums. Has both optical and acoustic sensors to seek out and concentrate cleaning power on the dirtiest areas. Includes a built-in HEPA filter. $600. irobot.com.
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Two cameras, plus ultrasound and infrared technology, help it navigate and thoroughly vacuum without bumping into furniture. The low profile (just over 3/12") can go under cabinets for great edge-to-edge cleaning. It auto-docks and recharges, too. Available late 2011. lg.com.
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3. Scooba 230
This floor scrubber employs a three-stage process to clean and kill germs. It's compact, too (6 1/2" wide), so it can get into hard-to-reach spaces (like behind the toilet). You do have to sweep first, though. $300. irobot.com.
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Uses its own washable microfiber cloths or disposable brands (like Swiffer) to dry-sweep or wet-mop floors. Great for picking up pet hair- and very quiet, so it won't freak out your cat. $200. mintcleaner.com.
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5. Verro 500 PowerScrub
Cleans an inground pool in about three hours, with no tangle of hoses or loud booster pumps (it's a self-contained unit). Brushes scrub everywhere, especially the always-difficult waterline. $1,100. irobot.com.
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6. Turbo T
Vacuums, scrubs, and flush-cleans any configuration of pool with its powerful brushes and water jets. An internal filter removes particles down to two microns- more efficient than your pool's own system. $1,200. aquabot.com for dealers.
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This hybrid electric/solar mower uses less energy than a conventional one. You bury guide wires around the lawn's perimeter, large trees, and other obstacles for precise navigation. It leaves clippings on the lawn as mulch, and will send you a text message if there's a problem. From $3,000. husqvarna.com.
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8. Looj 155
Tackles an essential- yet messy and dangerous- job with ease. Powers its way along your gutters at 500 rpm to break up leaves (dry or wet) and debris, lifting and tossing it all away. Cleans a 60-foot-long section in 10 minutes. $170. irobot.com.
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Would you purchase a robot vacuum?
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