It’s visible proof that my house is clean.

By Melanie Mannarino
Updated: June 12, 2019
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If I’m being honest, I’ve always loved vacuuming. There’s something so satisfying about zooming the machine into the corners of a room, zapping up pet hair and stray dust bunnies to reveal a perfectly clean floor. The act of actually vacuuming was borderline enjoyable—what I hated was removing the vacuum bag.

No matter how careful I was, no matter what machine I was using (upright, cordless stick vacuum—I’ve had them all), gross house debris and dust always spilled out of the opening as I transferred it to the garbage bin. Yeah, I also tried the bagless vacs—they were even messier, and made me want to take an allergy pill asap. In fact, the only type of vacuum I hadn’t tried was a robot vacuum. My home is not palatial, I thought. Surely I can push a vacuum around the house with my own body.

But then, in the same way that I’ve embraced store-bought hard-boiled eggs (so ridiculous but so convenient), I relented and brought home the Neato Robotics D7 (To buy: $690;

I was a little wary of the thing, but plugged in its base, set the machine against it to charge, and downloaded the app. The next morning, I hit “start” on the app and watched Neato take a tour of my first floor (it can map and remember floor plans; you can even customize its maps to avoid certain areas). Then I watched in amazement as it inhaled every crumb, piece of lint, stray leaf, and paper shred it found. I sat back, took a sip of coffee, and smiled.

This little robot vacuum is like my new favorite pet. My 9-year-old sends an entire container of grated imported romano cheese across the kitchen floor? No problem: I grab my phone and activate Neato (through its user-friendly app) to do a sweep. It’s almost as effortless as when my beloved Wendy Dog was alive and leapt for crumbs and spills before I even realized they’d happened. In fact, when I’m home alone and Neato is scooting around the living room, I often talk to it like I do my cats: “Oops, leave those shoelaces alone. Come on, scoot over.” (It listens about as well as the cats, too—so I’ve trained myself to tuck in shoelaces.)

And when I get a phone alert that Neato needs its dustbin emptied, do I grab a facemask and a Claritin? I do not: I simply lift a lid, pull the spacious bin out of the unit, then pinch a latch to remove the cover and dump the debris into the trash. No yanking, spilling, puffs of dust, or frustration. And, honestly, it is SO satisfying to see how much dirt and cat hair and crumbs the robot vacuum is eating up as it moves determinedly around my home. It’s literally a cleaner house at the touch of a button—no more constant mess underfoot. In my newfound free time, maybe I’ll go boil some eggs.