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It’s been exactly 199 days since quarantine began, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work from home ever since. And while it has its upsides (unlimited trips to the fridge, for starters), it’s also got major (albeit, superficial) downsides: little to no socialization apart from Zoom meetings, a longing to just gossip and chat with coworkers, and the constant wariness from never leaving the same place.

While I have adapted in a lot of ways, including investing in blue-light glasses and a laptop stand, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was in a spinning hamster wheel of chores. In a very Groundhog Day way, my days repeated over and over again: Loading and unloading the dishwasher, prepping food, cleaning the house and doing laundry were my extracurriculars when I wasn’t working at the dining room table for my actual day job. Wash, rinse, repeat. Cook, work, clean—avoid the news until it was cataclysmic enough that it demanded attention (which happened to occur every day)—then sleep. Again and again and again. That’s when I decided to give the new Roborock S4 Max robotic vacuum cleaner a try. Clean house, zero effort? I’m in. And I was not disappointed.

The vacuum cleaner was easy enough to set up: remove from box, set up charger, connect to app. Then came the fun part: After explaining a sophisticated Siri-like voice that it was beginning “the cleaning process,” the little guy starts his day. Zooming around the rug in the dining room where my boyfriend and I have set up our temporary offices, hugging corners and couch legs, sweeping up tons of dog hair and giving my boyfriend’s German Shepherd a run for her money. (To be fair, we did stick her favorite tennis ball on top of the vacuum just to see her reaction …which was a comical head tilt).

Now, onto the specifics: The Roborock does what other robot vacuum cleaners do not. Its multi-level mappings and automatic room recognition mean that even without the app, the Roborock is able to sense when, say, it gets close to a staircase or near a ledge. The app gives you more control over where it can and can’t go. For example, when working from home, we told it to clean specific zones during the day (say, the bedrooms and living room) and others at night (the dining room and kitchen). You can also program an exact sequence of room cleaning: kitchen after breakfast and dinner, the living room at night once we’re asleep. When you open the app, you can also see where the vacuum has been and where it still needs to clean, which was honestly just delightful for my visual-learner psyche.

It’s also powerful enough to keep up with a long-haired German Shepherd (yes, a lot of the benefits of this vacuum are centered around our dog), all thanks to its washable HEPA-Type E11 filter, which captures 95-percent of particles including pet dander and mold. The suction sound is low enough to not be heard on a Zoom call but audible enough so that you know it’s really working. It cleans on both hardwood floors, rugs and even low-pile carpeting with a dustbin drawer that didn’t fill up even after 150 minutes of use.

The peace of mind that your floors are clean and pet-dander free? It’ll cost you a pretty penny. The S4 Max retails for $429 but would make an excellent holiday gift for the family member or friend in your life that needs a break from chores (read: literally anyone). Plus, can you really put a price on breaking the Groundhog Day cleaning cycle? We think not.

Buy It ($429)

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