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iRobot's budget-friendly Roomba 694 is back on sale for $179

It's part of a larger Roomba sale with discounts up to $300.

Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Robot vacuums are one of the few sci-fi predictions that more or less delivered — there actually are autonomous machines that can help keep your home clean. We've tested over a dozen robot vacs, and right now our top recommendation for a budget dirt sucker, iRobot's Roomba 694, is $95 off both at Amazon and through iRobot's site. Usually $275, the 694 is just $179 right now, which matches the all time low it dropped to a few times previously. The deal is part of a wider robot vacuum sale with discounts ranging up to $300, depending on which model you pick. If you've been thinking of adding one of these smart devices to your life, this might be a good time to snap one up.

Roomba 694, our favorite budget robot vacuum, is $95 off and down to $179.
$179 at Amazon
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$180 at iRobot

In our tests, the 694 proved itself by being both a powerful cleaner and offering an app that's easy to use — even for robot vacuum newbies. You can set schedules to have the bot clean on regular intervals and it can handle both tiled or carpeted surfaces. We found that it roved around cleaning for around 45 minutes before returning itself to the dock for a recharge, which was plenty of time to maintain an apartment, but may need to a pit stop before it can cover a larger house. Unless it tries to suck up an errant cord, you'll likely only need to interact with it to empty the dirt collection tray. That's something you may need to do every couple days or more often, depending on whether or not you have pets or a lot of tracked-in dirt.

If you'd rather not empty your vac quite so often, you can pick up one that empties itself, like the Roomba s9+. We named this the best premium robot vacuum in our guide and were impressed with both its suction power and navigation abilities. It usually comes with a steep $999 price tag but the sale knocks $200 off the list price, which makes it a little more affordable.

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For homes with smooth surfaces that could use a wipe down, a hybrid model could be what you're looking for. The Roomba Combo j7+ combines mop and vacuum functions and is $250 off during the sale, bringing the $1,099 unit down to $849. One of our editors used the j7+ in his home for several weeks, and while the initial mapping runs were a bit of a hassle and the noise of the unit emptying into the clean base was loud, he was impressed with the bot's learning capabilities and the fact that it made a noticeable difference in the general cleanliness of his floors.

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