Robot vacuums, affectionally known as Roombas (it’s a brand by itself, mind you), are seeing a rising dominance as a household essential. The utopian cartoon show of the 1960s, The Jetsons, might have foretold this future. Its pilot episode was dedicated to Rosie, the robot maid that kept the Jetson family in check. She was what inspired iRobot CEO and co-founder Colin Angle to build the first Roomba, he said in an interview with Fast Company.

robot vacuum cleaner
Before the Roomba, there was Rosie.

While the robot vacuum cleaners of today still have a long way before attaining a semi-sentience displayed by Rosie, it doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the technology now. They’re unsuspecting, with most of them sporting a small profile and operating quietly enough for a vacuum. You can turn it on as you’re out for lunch and return to a clean home.

Before you get one for yourself, you need to determine what your needs are. Do you have wood, marble, or carpeted floors? Are there pets running around your penthouse? We help you tackle all these questions and more below.