And I found the perfect one. 

I never really thought a robot vacuum would be a good fit for me. I don't have kids or pets, so my husband and I don't create that much mess. Plus, I live in an old house with a lot of small rooms, lots of furniture and obstacles, all hardwood floors with a lot of rugs, so I always assumed a robot vac would have trouble keeping things clean. We vacuum once a week, and that works fine.

Or so we thought.

And then I tested the Shark AI XL Robot vacuum and discovered something I had not really thought about before. This thing is genius for the kitchen.

Shark Robot Vacuum
Credit: Courtesy Shark Clean

How the Shark AI XL Robot Vacuum cleans my kitchen floors like no other

I cook and/or bake every single day. Sometimes I cook and bake all day. And that means my kitchen floors get dirty faster than any other room in the house with flour, sugar, crumbs, and little bits of things from chopping. The kitchen is the only place I ever need to vacuum between the weekly whole-house project. I am forever pulling out the hand-held to clean up after myself, and those are just the days when I don't do something stupid like drop the whole bag of rice on the pantry floor, or knock over the coffee grinder, or drop a wine glass. Sure, I can do my mini cleanups, but I know that I miss bits here and there that get cleared up during the weekly vacuum. 

The features on the Shark AI XL Robot Vacuum

The thing that surprised me most about working with the Shark were the house mapping and scheduling features. The robot did a complete and accurate floor plan using AI laser navigation, noting and shifting around all obstacles, and then I was able to go into the map it had created and delineate specific rooms or zones. When I went into the associated app, I could schedule the robot to clean the whole space twice a week but to specifically do the kitchen every night.

How well the Shark AI XL Robot Vacuum works

I was pleasantly surprised by the twice a week cleaning—the robot got into more spaces than I thought possible and had no problem shifting from hardwood to rugs and navigating around furniture. We quickly found that we could shift to just doing a bigger deep-clean vacuum now and again as needed instead of every week. But the daily kitchen cleaning was a game-changer. Every morning I had a fresh clean slate (to mess up during the day!). The floors now stay pristine, and I can focus just on cooking and baking. One night I spilled some flour near my baking station and as a test, just left it there for the robot to handle, and the next morning? Not a speck to be found!

I love the interface with the app; I can shift or change the schedule as needed. The robot vacuum is much quieter than I thought it would be, so we have it work overnight while we sleep and are blissfully unaware that it is running. It self-empties into the charging base station, and I only have to change it every 60 days with normal use. And the bonus surprise was the anti-allergen HEPA filter. After a couple of weeks of use, my allergy-prone husband said he noticed a definite improvement in his sinuses.

Is the Shark AI XL Robot Vacuum worth the price?

This unit has been a terrific addition to keeping our home clean in general and is now indispensable as part of my kitchen routine. And while the $650 investment in the machine is on par with any high-end manual vacuum system, the robot features make it even more worthwhile than many of those options. Even better? Right now, there is a $200 discount on their website with code ROBOT200, making it the perfect time to invest.

To buy: Shark AI XL Robot Vacuum ($649, $200 off with code),