Pulse Style: Ragas Report: Test Drive: I-Robot Roomba Discovery

WHAT: A vacuuming robot.

HOW IT WORKS: The Roomba rolls around your house, literally bouncing off the walls and sucking up everything in its path while you read a book, watch TV, or go to the movies. It actually learns how your rooms are laid out and attempts to cover every accessible square inch, returning to its charger on its own if it gets low on juice.

THE PROS: Hmm, it’s a robot that vacuums. What more do you want? It’s also quieter than your average vac, it’s smart enough not to fall down the stairs, and it’s a great conversation piece.  

THE CONS: The Roomba doesn’t like hardwood floors nearly as much as carpet, on which it does a fabulous job. It also doesn’t avoid shoelaces, antique vases or Scrabble tiles—all things it took a crack at in my apartment. And if you have pets, it will scare the bejesus out of them. But maybe that’s a good thing?

PRICE: $249.99 at area Targets.