We tried putting an area rug down, but Pepper assumed this was simply a giant pee pad, and our rug suffered accordingly. We brought a lot of swiffer pads with us, but we can swiffer every day and not keep up with the dust. Part of the problem lies with the roadwork in Baker Lake, or lack thereof. The roads are basically rocky red clay, and in the summer months, a fine red talc covers everything in town. At the Northern, we sprinkle a chemical on the floor to prevent dust from being kicked up. Unfortunately, this is not a practical solution for us, and we left our (read: Lily's) pink Dyson vacuum in storage, so we began looking on-line for ideas. Lily found the solution (on sale!), as usual - the Neato.
For my part, I'd never heard of the Neato before - if someone had said 'robotic vacuum', the only name that came to mind was Roomba, which was the first to introduce the idea. At the time, I thought it was silly - a vacuum bouncing off walls and cleaning areas of one's room randomly. Fast-forward a decade, and robotic vacuums have made large leaps in ability, thanks to improved technology. The Roomba is still in action, but the Neato offers some features that we think are better, and it costs less. It uses an infrared laser light to scan its surroundings 5x a second, so it creates an accurate 360° map of the room. It then cleans in orderly rows, like you would if you were mowing your lawn. If it encounters obstacles, it cleans around them, and as it's only 4" high, it can clean under couches and beds easily - two areas that often go overlooked by regular vacuums (or more accurately, vacuum users, or even more accurately, this particular vacuum user).
I think my favourite feature is that when its rechargeable batteries are low, it returns to its docking station to recharge and goes back to cleaning when it's juiced up (it remembers where it is). That, and it seems to have mystified our dog. Lily said when she first turned it on, Pepper approached it cautiously with a few warning barks, but it ignored him. However, if it detects Pepper in its cleaning path, it moves around him until the way is clear again, which confuses our poor puppy. Here you can see a video of Pepper vs. the Neato so you can better appreciate what we mean (it also shows how Neato maneuvers around chair legs pretty deftly).
So far, it's done a pretty good job, and you can even schedule it to run on its own, so we can set it to start whenever we want, on whatever day we want, and we'll come home to a clean floor. There's even magnetic strips you can lay down in areas you don't want it to clean, and it treats them like walls. It's been pretty entertaining to sit and watch it move around the house, and Pepper is starting to be less wary of it as long as it stays away from his food and water bowls. We've also started talking about Neato like a new pet (ie. "Neato got stuck in the corner again; he's so silly." or "Pepper, leave Neato alone while he's working!")
All in all, a worthy investment, and a big time and work saver for us. Check out the website at http://www.neatorobotics.com. We got ours from Costco when it was on sale and that included free shipping! Although this may sound like an advertisement for Neato, all opinions are our own. We just really like our new vacuum.