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The 4 Best Roombas And iRobot Vacuums of 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Roombas And iRobot Vacuums

iRobot is an American manufacturer specializing in consumer robotics, best known for being a pioneer in the design of robot vacuums, with the introduction of the first Roomba model in 2002. Their lineup of vacuums is popular with buyers due to their easy-to-use design, with the best Roombas also offering a dense feature set. The company also offers a range of dedicated robot mops under the 'Braava' name.

Updates

Best iRobot Vacuums


  1. Best iRobot Vacuum

    The best iRobot Roomba we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This high-end robot vacuum has the most powerful suction motor in iRobot's lineup, and it delivers good debris-pickup performance on both bare floors and carpeting. Its twin rubber brushrolls are great for dealing with pet hair, and since they don't have any bristles that can trap debris, they're easy to clean. The S9+ variant comes bundled with a self-emptying base station, which transfers debris from its dustbin into an external dirtbag, reducing hands-on maintenance requirements. However, this is a pretty expensive accessory. While its vSLAM system doesn't map out a room as fast as a LIDAR sensor and struggles more with navigating in low light, it still does a good job of plotting out efficient cleaning routes after it's mapped out your home. You can use its companion app to send it to specific rooms or create no-go zones where the vacuum won't enter.

    Unfortunately, battery performance isn't especially noteworthy, especially not for a robot vacuum of this caliber. In its most powerful suction mode, it can run out of charge in about 50 minutes, which might not be enough to clean large carpeted areas in a single go. That said, its relatively short battery life isn't that big a deal thanks to its recharge-and-resume functionality, which allows it to pick up a cleaning session from where it left off if it needs to return to its dock.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range iRobot Vacuum

    If you're shopping for something slightly less expensive, the iRobot Roomba j7 is among the best Roomba vacuums we've tested. Compared to the iRobot Roomba S9, it has a less powerful suction motor, so it has a harder time lifting away heavy debris and material embedded deeply within carpet fibers. However, it does have one major advantage over the S9 in its hazard-recognition system, which uses a front-facing camera to spot and identify obstacles that would fall beneath the view of its top-mounted camera. This allows the j7 to identify and maneuver around hazards in real-time, so you don't have to make sure your floors are completely free of things like slippers or loose socks before letting it run. It also has a range of in-app automation features similar to the S9, like support for virtually-drawn no-go zones and the ability to direct it to a specific room in your home.

    The j7+ variant of this vacuum comes bundled with a self-emptying base station, so every time the vacuum docks, it transfers debris into a dirtbag inside the charging station. If you have an iRobot Braava Jet M-Series robot mop, the Imprint Link feature allows it to start mopping automatically after the j7 has vacuumed.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range iRobot Vacuum

    The iRobot Roomba i3 is worth a look if you're shopping at a mid-range price point. It doesn't have the iRobot Roomba j7's real-time hazard recognition system and has a less powerful suction motor than the iRobot Roomba S9. That said, if you go for the i3+ variant of this vacuum, which comes bundled with iRobot's Clean Base self-emptying docking station, you'll have a self-emptying robot vacuum at a substantially lower price than either of those models. It has a pretty advanced suite of automation features. You can use the iRobot HOME companion app to label different areas of your home after it's finished mapping or set up boundary lines to prevent the vacuum from getting stuck in a difficult-to-clean area. It also has a recharge and resume feature, enabling it to pick up a cleaning session from where it left off if it needed to stop a previous job to return to its dock. It's fully compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices, enabling you to use voice commands to issue some commands.

    Similar to the j7 and iRobot Roomba S9, this vacuum has a HEPA filter that does a great job of sealing in allergens like dust or pet dander. Build quality is also impressive, with durable rubber wheels and a plastic top cover with a textured finish resembling woven fabric. Unfortunately, debris pickup performance isn't particularly impressive, especially on carpets, where it'll need to make several passes to collect everything.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget iRobot Vacuum

    The iRobot Roomba 694 is the best option if you're shopping for a budget-friendly Roomba. It's important to note that this is an incredibly bare-bones robot vacuum with few automation features when compared to mid-range models like the iRobot Roomba i3. There's no room mapping capability, with the 694 instead relying on random bump navigation to move around its cleaning area. As such, it isn't capable of recharging and resuming a cleaning session and doesn't support user-generated no-go zones or individual area cleaning. That said, it's a worthy option if your Wi-Fi coverage at home is spotty since you can control all of the vacuum's major functions using the included remote control. Unique for a robot vacuum in this price range, it has a surface detection system that allows it to automatically ramp up its suction power on carpeted floors. This vacuum is sold as the iRobot Roomba 692 in some markets, with the only difference between the two being that the 694 comes with an extra post-motor filter, while the 692 bundle doesn't.

    While the 694 has no trouble dealing with debris on bare floors, it struggles on carpets. In addition, its brushroll is of an older design than the pricier iRobot models on this list; it uses an array of closely-packed bristles that get tangled with pet hair. Unlike the more expensive models in iRobot's lineup, it isn't compatible with a self-emptying base station, which would reduce hands-on maintenance requirements. Air filtration performance is also terrible, with fine particles spewing out the exhaust. Thankfully, it feels rather well-built, especially given its affordable price point.

    See our review

Compared To Other Brands


  • Superb pet hair pickup.
    Newer iRobot models come equipped with twin rubber brushrolls that are very effective when collecting pet hair and are much easier to clean than comparable rollers that use fabric bristles.
  • Great build quality.
    Even budget-friendly iRobot vacuums have a premium look and feel. Panel gaps are tight enough to help prevent fine dust from escaping, with some models having an onboard HEPA filter, resulting in great filtration performance.
  • Easy to use companion app.
    While features might vary depending on your model, iRobot's HOME app is fairly snappy and intuitive. Even budget-friendly models offer support for voice commands, so you can control them using your Amazon Alexa or Google Home device.
  • No models currently offer LIDAR mapping.
    iRobot vacuums don't incorporate LIDAR mapping, and their optical sensors tend to map out rooms slower than alternatives with LIDAR sensors. They also don't work as well in the dark.
  • Few models offer both vacuuming and mopping capability.
    Currently, only the iRobot Roomba j7 Robot Vacuum and Mop features both vacuuming and mopping capability in the same machine. The brand tends to rely on its Imprint Link feature for this kind of use, which pairs their Roomba robot vacuums with their Braava robot mops to have the latter run immediately after the former has finished cleaning.
  • Weak debris pickup performance on lower-end models.
    Most of iRobot's mid-range and budget models have trouble dealing with debris embedded deep within carpet fibers and in cracks and crevices.

iRobot vs Roborock

Unlike iRobot vacuums, Roborock equips most of their product lineup with LIDAR sensors, resulting in quicker, more precise room mapping, even in the dark. Many of their models also feature onboard mopping modules, though most are passive systems that provide little surface agitation. That said, iRobots tend to feel sturdier, while their twin rubber brushroll system usually results in better pet hair pickup.

iRobot vs eufy

iRobot vacuums tend to target a higher price niche than eufy models, reflected in their superior cleaning performance, wider array of features, and sturdier build quality.

iRobot currently has a relatively small range of robot vacuums. Unlike alternatives from Roborock, iRobot robot vacuums don't use LIDAR sensors, resulting in slower room mapping, though some newer models offer real-time hazard recognition. Another point in Roborock's favor is that many of their models have mopping attachments, which is rare for iRobot. The best Roomba vacuums are better built than similarly-priced Roborock models and offerings from Shark or eufy.

Lineup

  • Roomba S-series: Robot vacuum series with VSLAM navigation and the most potent suction motor in the company's lineup. Models with the '+' suffix come bundled with a base station.
  • Roomba j-series: Robot vacuum series with VSLAM navigation and real-time hazard identification to spot and avoid obstacles in real time. The j7+ Combo variant is the first iRobot with a swing-out mopping attachment for cleaning stains.
  • Roomba i-series Robot vacuums with VSLAM navigation. Higher-numbered model designations indicate a greater array of automation features and overall cleaning performance, with some exceptions; the i4 and i8 are merely Costco-exclusive variants of the i3 and i7 models, respectively, with no major mechanical differences.
  • Roomba 600-series: Entry-level random-pathing robot vacuums. Newer 690 models offer Wi-Fi connectivity.

Recent Updates

  1. Sep 05, 2023: Minor in-text adjustments to further clarify product information.

  2. Aug 10, 2023: Ensured all main picks remain the best choice for user needs.

  3. Jul 14, 2023: Minor in-text adjustments to improve clarity of information.

  4. Jun 15, 2023: Ensured all main picks remain the best option for user needs.

  5. Apr 21, 2023: Minor in-text adjustments to improve clarity of information for users.

Conclusion

iRobot is a manufacturer specializing almost exclusively in robot vacuums and mops. The best Roombas tend to be well-built and easy to use. However, their reliance on optical sensors means they're generally slower to map out their coverage area compared to alternatives with LIDAR.

Test Results