Robovacs From $400 to $800 Not Worth the Price Tag, Tests Find

While automatic robotic vacuums like the iRobot have improved, Consumer Reports says households should not rush to ditch their traditional vacs.

In its November issue, Consumer Reports says that robotic vacuums cost more than their full-size counterparts, and tend to miss areas, which is hardly surprising for machines that are programmed.

But the company gives higher marks to the iRobot Roomba 760, a small, disc-shaped contraption that retails for $450.

"The $450 Roomba is the only model that picked up every piece of paper, all of the cereal and sand, and virtually all the rice we laid down on our carpet," Consumer Reports writes.

The company iRobot was founded in 1991 and is based in Bedford, Mass., about 15 miles outside Boston.

The magazine tested 106 vacuums of various categories, including upright and canisters. Robotic vacuums were analyzed on a 12-by-16 foot test area.

The magazine said the LG Hom-Bot Square LrV790R was the "quietest" and at $800, the "priciest by far." The publication said the LG robot vac "cleaned less thoroughly" than the Roomba. LG is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.

The Neato XV-21, priced at $400, was dinged for making the most noise and getting trapped between chair legs.

Neato is based in Newark, Calif., in Silicon Valley. The first Neato floor cleaning robot was released in 2010.

Consumer Reports says that its bottom line is, "No robotic vacuum can match the deep cleaning you'll get with the best uprights and canisters," adding that households should think twice about robotic vacuums if you have shag carpeting or area rugs.

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