Eugene Volokh is inordinately fascinated with his Roomba.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. $200 doesn’t sound bad for a vacuum cleaner (not that I know off-hand what they normally cost). Of course, you need a real vacuum too to get the places the Roomba won’t get.

    I can see the appeal of “plug in and forget” vacuuming. Lord knows I don’t do it enough in the Spacious Bachelor Pad.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Heh. Understood. You can actually get a pretty good upright for around $125. A cannister for much less than that.

  3. My upright is a hand-me-down from my (since-deceased) great aunt once she moved into the nursing home. So I haven’t the faintest clue how much it cost originally. I’d never be any good on The Price Is Right.

    I also have one of those Dirt Devil things, which works pretty well.

  4. 42nd SSD says:

    Hmmm. I’ve had a couple of those “$125” upright vacuums. They weren’t bad, but both of them were veeeery noisy… to the point where I took to wearing noise-cancelling headphones while using them. After I upgraded to a circa $200 model I was much happier, both with increased suction power (this thing sucks up almost anything including small pets; sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad) and reduced noise (acceptable even on hardwood floors and I can comfortably listen to music while vacuuming).

    So: you gets what you pay for, generally speaking. I don’t think $200 is too unreasonable for a drive-itself vacuum… assuming it actually works.

    I’ve been thinking about trying one out. I have two Dalmatians and there’s a lot of hair on the floor (hardwood floors, fortunately). To keep things really neat would require running the vacuum 3x a week, and I only manage to do it once a week or so. Even if it only did a 90% job it would be significantly better than what I have now, and I suspect on hardwood floors it’ll perform very well.