Shark's versatile, affordable lightweight Rocket vac

It's not as sleek or streamlined as the wireless Dyson DC59, but the corded, $179 Shark Rocket features similar attachment options and adequate performance for less than half the price.

While the Rocket never won any of our cleaning tests, it never came in last, either. You might find the cord a nuisance (I'll admit it annoyed me), but Shark tries to make it as easy as possible for you to manage. If you like the look of this handheld-to-stick-vacuum but want to ditch the cord and make more of an investment, you can't go wrong with … Read more

Neato BotVac: A better bot from Neato?

Neato is expanding its robot vacuum offerings with a new "BotVac" series due in mid-April 2014. The initial launch will include four models: BotVac 70e, BotVac 75, BotVac 80, and BotVac 85 with prices ranging from $479.99 to $599.99. So, how do BotVacs differ from the $379.99 XV Essential, $429.99 XV-21, and $449.99 XV Signature Pro we've tested from Neato's existing product line-up?

One obvious difference is the color scheme. All of the XV line of bots have different finishes -- from the black and dark gray XV Signature Pro to … Read more

Trigger great performance with the Dyson DC59

Handy, thoughtful design points like trigger-powered suction and easy-to-change attachments make the Dyson DC59 Animal a strong contender in the field of lightweight vacuums. On the other hand, the $499 price tag may scare off all but the most serious vacuum buyers.

The DC59, an update to the DC44 is an excellent cordless vacuum and, if you're looking for a luxury unit it's hard to argue against it. That it turns from stick vac to handheld unit easily is a particular highlight. It's not the only stick vacuum that impressed us, though. If you love the in-hand … Read more

The Gtech AirRam: not enough vacuum for the price

Don't let the Gtech AirRam's sleek looks and data gathering feature fool you, this rechargeable stick vacuum isn't worth $349. Its price isn't so shocking when you consider the fact that the Dyson DC59 Animal retails for $499. The DC59, however, is a champion performer and with its detachable handheld unit and assortment of attachments offers lots of flexiblity.

The AirRam, on the other hand, offers no attachments, and had a mediocre showing in our lab, coming in last among other stick vacs on our pet hair and fine debris tests. Its Data Bridge feature, which … Read more

How super is the Neato XV-21 robot vacuum?

It's no secret that we're big fans of what Neato Robotics is doing in the world of vacuums. Last year, the XV Signature Pro was one of the big standouts among all the appliances that we tested, offering Roomba-level cleaning power at a fraction of the cost. Last month, we took a look at the XV Essential, which offers a similar level of performance at an even lower price point.

Now, we're taking a look back at the XV-21, a Neato robot vacuum released in 2012 which promises to do a superior job at picking up pet … Read more

Infinuvo seeks robo-redemption with its new floor cleaner

Ah, September of 2013. I remember it like it was only five months ago. There was a pleasant autumnal crispness to the air, the leaves were just starting to turn... and the nascent CNET Appliances team was hard at work testing robot vacuums by repeatedly dirtying and cleaning the floors at the boss' house (our testing facility was still under construction back then).

But the best of times can also be the worst of times -- and I'm not talking about the fact that our boss still can't sweep his floors without kicking up five-month-old, sawdust-coated black rice. … Read more

Dyson to spend $8 million on robotics research lab

Dyson introduced a robot vacuum prototype in the early 2000s, but its founder, James Dyson, wasn't satisfied with the result and the bot never made it to production. We haven't heard much robotics talk from the company since then, but the recent announcement that Dyson plans to invest $8 million in a robotics lab confirms the company sees all kinds of potential in domestic helper hardware.

The new Dyson Robotics Laboratory will be located at Imperial College London and headed up by Andrew Davison, Professor of Robot Vision at the Department of Computing. Professor Davison's initial team … Read more

Get a Neato robot vacuum cleaner for $149.99

In the history of The Cheapskate, I don't think I've ever written about a vacuum cleaner. Because, let's face it, they're boring household appliances, not cool techie gadgets.

Unless, of course, it's a self-guided, hackable robot vacuum. Like this one: Today only, and while supplies last, DealFisher has the refurbished Neato XV-12 robotic vacuum for $149.99 shipped. Regular price: hundreds more. (This is a discontinued model, but I've seen list prices in the $379 to $399 range.)

I'm a Roomba man, myself, but I can safely say that there's nothing like … Read more

A better floor scrubber with the iRobot Scooba 450

LAS VEGAS -- iRobot has just introduced a brand-new floor-scrubbing 'bot to the lineup -- the Scooba 450. This $599 hard-surface-washing robot claims to be able to get rid of up to 99.3 percent of the gunky build-up on your hard flooring surfaces -- that includes potentially harmful bacteria like E. coli and S. aureus. The 450 will round out iRobot's floor scrubber offerings, which already include the $499 Scooba 390 and the $279 Scooba 230.

As the premium Scooba option, the 450 will come with new features and what iRobot says is more advanced tech than previous … Read more

Samsung brings Motion Sync vacuums to US

LAS VEGAS -- While Samsung has long been a competitor in electronics, appliances are a fairly recent addition for the company. With that foray comes a host of new competitors. As appliance manufacturers grapple for the top spots with large appliances, necessity drives them to expand their lines of smaller appliances as well.

Keeping with this strategy, Samsung has used the CES 2014 spotlight to announce the US release of the VU70000 Motion Sync upright and canister vacuum cleaners.

The upright cleaner is a bagless, cyclonic vacuum with nine cyclonic chambers that Samsung says provides better suction and overall vacuum … Read more