Even the most optimistic tech evangelist would concede that we’re a long way from getting help from the likes of Rosie, the superbly efficient robotic housekeeper in The Jetsons. But we’re getting closer.
While today’s household generally aren’t life-sized and typically don’t have mechanical limbs, they can take care of several chores we’d just as soon avoid, giving us more time to do things we enjoy like collapsing on the couch and chilling with Netflix.
Here are a few of the handiest of automated home helpers:
Some people find cutting the grass relaxing. Others dread pacing back and forth across their lawns while the hot sun sears their skin. Robomow is for that second group. This battery-operated mower can trim yards up to 23,000 square feet (1/2 acre) and can handle slopes of up to 20 degrees. Instead of just cutting once a week, it allows you to take care of your yard as often as you’d like. At $2,100, it is, admittedly, a pricey piece of equipment. But if you’ve long since opted for a lawn service, this could pay for itself in less than two summers (even less if you live where it’s warm year-round).
iRobot Roomba 980
The Roomba automated vacuum was the first household robot to really catch on with homeowners and, while plenty of competitors have come along to challenge it, it’s still a strong choice. The 980 model, which costs $900, works equally well on carpet and hardwood floors and removes debris better than older models. It knows to avoid stairs, can clean under furniture and (because of an improved technology) won’t ping pong off of your tables and chair legs. And as with other robotic vacuums, you can schedule this device to clean while you’re at work, meaning it will never disturb your leisure time.
iRobot Baava 380t
If your house floors are more hardwood and tile than wall-to-wall carpeting, you’ve got the additional chore of mopping them regularly. The $299 Baava 380t, like the Roomba (and from the same manufacturer), can do that when you’re at work. Capable of both dry sweeping the area or wet mopping it, it boasts a strong battery life and is significantly quieter than its robotic vacuum cousins.
Washing windows generally ranks as one of those chores no one likes to do—even the most fanatical of housekeepers. It took technology a while to catch up, and take this task off of our to-do list. The $449 Winbot 850 is compact (it can clean windows as small as 18×26) and powerful. It uses fans to stay firmly attached to glass while cleaning windows on the inside or outside in an “N” or “Z” pattern, squeegeeing them dry as it moves on. It’s especially useful if you live in a metropolitan apartment several stories above the ground. It will clean even the largest window, but you will have to manually move it around the house once it’s finished. Even in this burgeoning robotic age, there’s still legwork for us humans.