iRobot Roomba i3+ Vacuum Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 03, 2021 at 10:00 am
iRobot Roomba i3+ Picture
7.6
Bare Floor
5.8
Low-Pile Carpet
6.6
High-Pile Carpet
4.9
Pets
6.1
Stairs
5.7
Cars
Vacuum Type
Robot
Bagless
No
Cordless
Yes
Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
Yes

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a robot vacuum with an automatic dirt disposal feature. It automatically empties its dirt compartment into an external dirtbag inside the docking station, so you shouldn't need to worry about spilling dust and debris while emptying its small internal dustbin. It performs best on bare floors, where it easily clears rice and bulkier debris like cereal, but it's not great at picking up pet hair from any surface type and struggles with debris on carpets as well. It has an excellent build quality, but incurs even higher recurring costs than many robot vacuums because you need to periodically replace the external dirtbag.

Our Verdict

7.6 Bare Floor

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is good for bare floors. It has an excellent build quality, maneuvers itself very efficiently, and easily clears debris like cereal and rice from surfaces like hardwood or laminate. Unfortunately, it struggles more with sucking up pet hair and incurs high recurring costs.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Automatically empties dustbin into large external dirtbag.
  • Easily sucks up rice and cereal.
Cons
  • High recurring costs and demanding maintenance needs.
  • Doesn't clean pet hair very effectively.
5.8 Low-Pile Carpet

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is disappointing on low-pile carpets. It picks up a good amount of larger debris like sand but struggles to clear pet hair and fine debris like baking soda. It's a very well-built vacuum that does an excellent job of maneuvering itself, but unfortunately, it has demanding maintenance needs and very high recurring costs.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Automatically empties dustbin into large external dirtbag.
Cons
  • High recurring costs and demanding maintenance needs.
  • Doesn't clean pet hair very effectively.
  • Struggles with fine debris like baking soda.
6.6 High-Pile Carpet

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is okay for high-pile carpets. It can climb onto them and does an okay job of clearing larger debris like sand, but struggles more with sucking up pet hair and especially fine debris like baking soda. It incurs high recurring costs and is hard to maintain, but has an impressive build quality and maneuvers itself very effectively.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Automatically empties dustbin into large external dirtbag.
  • Automatic surface type adjustment feature.
Cons
  • High recurring costs and demanding maintenance needs.
  • Doesn't clean pet hair very effectively.
  • Struggles with fine debris like baking soda.
4.9 Pets

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a poor choice for cleaning up pet hair. While its removable brushroll makes it easier to clear any hair that gets tangled, this vacuum isn't very effective at clearing pet hair from any surface type. It also has demanding maintenance needs and incurs a lot of recurring costs. On the other hand, it has an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, which is nice if you have a shedding pet at home.

Pros
  • Equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
Cons
  • High recurring costs and demanding maintenance needs.
  • Doesn't clean pet hair very effectively.
6.1 Stairs

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a robot vacuum and isn't suitable for use on stairs.

5.7 Cars

The iRobot i3+ is a robot vacuum and isn't suitable for cleaning your car's interior.

  • 7.6 Bare Floor
  • 5.8 Low-Pile Carpet
  • 6.6 High-Pile Carpet
  • 4.9 Pets
  • 6.1 Stairs
  • 5.7 Cars
  1. Updated Apr 19, 2021: Corrected input error in 'Power Adjustment' field of 'Quality of Life Features' section.

Check Price

Blue/grey Roomba i3+
Unavailable
Amazon.com
Woven Neutral Roomba i3+
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The iRobot Roomba i3+ 3550 has a great build quality. The body is made of sturdy plastic and its rubber wheels feel durable. Part of the top is made to look fabric-covered, but it's also plastic. The dustbin is mostly made of hard plastic, with a clear grey lid, but it feels like it could break if dropped.

There are three buttons on top of the robot: a big center one to start and stop a cleaning cycle, and two smaller buttons to send the vacuum home and have it spot clean an area.

The vacuum comes assembled, so all you need to do is set up the docking station, which arrives with a dirtbag already inside.

5.0
Design
User Maintenance

The iRobot i3+ has demanding maintenance needs. Several parts need to be removed and serviced regularly, but fortunately, they're all easy to access.

  • Dirt Compartment: Can be removed by pressing the button on the side of the vacuum. After each use, empty the dirt compartment by tapping it on the side of a garbage can and wipe any debris from the lid with a dry cloth. If necessary you can wash it with water, but be sure to remove the filter beforehand. The dirt compartment should be allowed to dry for 24 hours before it's put back in the vacuum.
  • Dirtbag: The dirtbag inside the docking station needs to be thrown away and replaced when it's full, which is indicated by a red light on the docking station. You can access it by opening the station's lid and pulling it out. The grey cover on the dirtbag prevents dust and debris from spilling out in the process.
  • Filter: The filter is located inside the dirt compartment. Clean it by taking out the dirt compartment, pulling out the filter and it tapping against a garbage can once a week, or twice a week in homes with pets. It shouldn't be washed with water.
  • Brushrolls: The brushrolls are easy to access by lifting the brush cover on the bottom of the vacuum and pulling them out. You should clean them by removing any hair tangles or debris once a month, or twice in homes with pets. It can be a bit tricky to put them back because they need to be properly aligned.
  • Side Brush: This is located under the vacuum and requires a screwdriver to remove. Clean by removing any tangled hair or debris once a month, or twice a month in homes with pets.
  • Wheel: Pull the front caster wheel out of the vacuum and then push it out of its socket. It should be cleaned twice a month by removing any tangled hair or debris.
  • Sensors and charging contacts: The sensors and charging contacts on the vacuum and docking station should be wiped clean with a dry cloth once a month.

2.0
Design
Recurring Cost
Bag Part Number
4640235
Filter Part Number
4639161
HEPA Filter Part Number
4639161

The iRobot i3 Plus has several parts that need to be replaced periodically and incurs high recurring costs.

  • HEPA Filter: The HEPA filter should be replaced every two months.
  • Rubber Brushrolls: The brushrolls should be replaced every 12 months.
  • Front Wheel: The front wheel should be replaced every 12 months.
  • Side Brush: The manufacturer recommends replacing every 12 months.
  • Dirtbag: The dirtbag needs to be thrown away and replaced when it's full.

iRobot sells a 'Replenishment Kit' on its website that includes brushrolls, three side brushes, and three HEPA filters. The parts are also available individually. Note that replacements for the wheel can be tricky to find on the manufacturer's website, but should be available if you search for the specific part number. Take a look at the Shark EZ Robot Self-Empty AV911S if you're looking for a robot vacuum with an external dirt compartment that incurs slightly lower recurring costs.

8.5
Design
Storing
Height
19.09" (48.5 cm)
Width
13.39" (34.0 cm)
Depth
16.54" (42.0 cm)
Cord Storing/Management
Not Needed
On-Board Tool Storage
Not needed
Vacuum Rack/Station
Yes

The iRobot i3+ has excellent storage capabilities. It's a fairly small robot vacuum that can mount itself on its docking station and automatically empty its dustbin. The docking station is taller than most robot vacuum docks because it contains an external dirtbag, but it's still quite compact, and about the same size as the iRobot Roomba i7+'s similar station.

8.0
Design
Dirt Compartment
Dirt Compartment Volume
0.70 gal (2.65 L)
Full Dirt Compartment Indicator
Yes
Bag Included
2

The iRobot Roomba i3+'s dirt compartment is a great size. This vacuum is different from many robot models because, in addition to its small onboard dustbin, there's an external dirtbag built into its docking station. While the internal dustbin is tiny, whenever it's full the vacuum can return to the dock and automatically empty itself into the much larger dirtbag. There's an indicator light on the station that lets you know when the dirtbag is full, or the companion app can also notify you.

Design
In The Box

  • iRobot Roomba i3+ robot vacuum
  • Recharge/bag emptying station
  • Charging cable
  • 2x HEPA filter
  • Dirt compartment
  • 2x Side brush
  • Multi-surface rubber brushrolls
  • User guide

10
Design
Range
Cord Length
N/A
Hose Length
N/A

The iRobot i3+ has a practically unlimited range as long as it has some battery life left, but it can't go up or down stairs.

8.0
Design
Portability
Total Weight
7.05 lbs (3.20 kg)
Weight In Hand
0.00 lbs (0.00 kg)
Carrying handle
No

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is very portable. It's small and a bit lighter than the iRobot Roomba i7+. However, it doesn't have a handle to make it easier to carry around.

9.1
Design
Battery
Minimum Battery Life
87 min
Maximum Battery Life
87 min
Recharge Time
94 min
Recharge Dock
Yes
Battery Life Indicator
Yes
Removable Batteries
Yes

The iRobot i3+ has fantastic battery life. It provides roughly an hour and a half of continuous use and takes about the same amount of time to recharge. The main button on top of the vacuum turns from white to red when the battery is running low, and you can also see the battery level in the companion app. Despite its remarkable battery performance, it doesn't last as long as the Shark ION Robot R77.

Design
Quality Of Life Features
Rotating Head
No
Power Adjustment
No
Self-Propelled
Yes
Headlights
No
Easy On/Off
Yes
Surface Type Adjustment
Automatic

Update 04/19/2021: The 'Power Adjustment field has been set to 'No', since the vacuum's suction power can't be adjusted manually. The text has been updated.

The iRobot i3+ has some extra features. It detects areas that need extra cleaning and focuses on them, sometimes going back and forth over a spot it decides needs extra attention. The robot's head height also automatically adjusts to whatever surface type it's cleaning, but you can't do this manually. It can also increase its suction power for dealing with especially stubborn messes, but this can't be changed manually. If you want to be able to manually change your robot vacuum's suction power, check out the Roborock S6 MaxV.

Design
Tools And Brushes
Brushroll
Yes
Brushroll On/Off
No
Removable Brushroll
Yes
Turbo Brush
No
Crevice Tool
No
Upholstery Tool
No
Soft Bristle Brush
No
Hard Bristle Brush
No
Extension Wand
No
Ceiling Fan Tool
No
Pet Grooming Tool
No

The iRobot Roomba i3 Plus is equipped with two flexible rubber multi-surface brushrolls, as well as a side brush to help push debris into the path of the vacuum.

Design
Alternative Configuration

The iRobot i3+ is a robot vacuum with no alternative configurations.

Performance
8.7
Performance
Bare Floor (Hardwood, Laminate, Tiles)
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
56%
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L)
96%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
96%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
96%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
96%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L)
99%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
99%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
99%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
99%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Setting Used "Clean"

The iRobot i3+ has an excellent performance on bare floors. It clears smaller debris like rice and bulkier material like cereal with no issue but struggles a bit with pet hair. If you want a robot vacuum that clears more pet hair from bare floors, try the Roborock S4 Max.

Since this vacuum automatically empties its dustbin into the external dirt compartment, its performance doesn't drop as it fills up.

5.3
Performance
Low-Pile Carpet
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
49%
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L)
61%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
61%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
61%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
61%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L)
26%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
26%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
26%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
26%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Setting Used "Clean"

The iRobot i3+ has a poor performance on low-pile carpets. It picks up a good amount of larger debris like sand but struggles more with pet hair and leaves behind most fine debris like baking soda.

Because it automatically docks and empties its internal dustbin when it's full, its performance won't drop as it cleans. That said, consider the iRobot Roomba i4 if you want a robot vacuum with a better performance on low-pile carpet.

6.7
Performance
High-Pile Carpet
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
51%
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L)
59%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
59%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
59%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
59%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L)
41%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L)
41%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L)
41%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L)
41%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L)
N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L)
N/A
Setting Used "Clean"

The iRobot Roomba i3+ has an alright performance on high-pile carpets. It picks up some debris like sand but struggles a lot with smaller debris like baking soda and pet hair. Take a look at the Shark IQ Robot AV992 if you want a vacuum that does a better job on high-pile carpets.

This vacuum's performance doesn't drop as it cleans because whenever its internal dustbin is full, it empties it automatically into the external dirtbag.

8.0
Performance
Maneuverability
Under The Couch
Excellent
Under Low Table
Excellent
On Furniture
Not Possible
Rug With Tassel
Ok
Electric Cord
Bad

The iRobot Roomba i3+ has impressive maneuverability. It uses smart pathing to move efficiently, but unlike some other models, it covers an area section by section instead of following one pattern for the entire room. When it's done, it produces a map of the area it cleaned that you can see in the companion app.

The automatic head height adjustment feature allows the robot to move from one surface type to another. It can climb onto rugs and doesn't get stuck on tassels or electric cords, but it does drag them around, and you may need to pick up the vacuum and move it when that happens.

Automation
8.7
Automation
Automation (Robot Vacuum)
Remote Controller
Yes (App only)
Automatic Bag Emptying
Yes
Automatic Recharging
Yes
Schedule Programming
Yes
Boundary Markers
No
Random Pathing
No
Smart Pathing
Yes
App Name
iRobot HOME

The iRobot i3+ has excellent automation features. The vacuum returns to its docking station when its internal dustbin is full, empties it into the station's external dirtbag, and keeps cleaning. It will also return to the dock when its battery is running low, and resume cleaning once recharged.

After a cleaning session, the vacuum produces a map of the area it covered that you can see in the companion app. The app also allows you to start a cleaning session, send the vacuum back to its dock, make a cleaning schedule, view the cleaning history and battery status, and access app updates and push notifications. It's also compatible with Alexa and Google Home, so you can control it with voice commands. Otherwise, the robot has buttons on top that allow you to use it without an internet connection.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The iRobot i3+ comes with a dock for automatic dirt disposal and is available in two color variants: 'Woven Neutral', which is the variant we tested, and 'Blue/Grey'. You can see the label of the model we tested here. It's also sold without automatic dirt disposal as the iRobot Roomba i3. The standalone iRobot Roomba i3 seems to be the same robot as our test model, but we don't know if it will perform similarly, because without automatic dirt disposal it may lose suction as its internal dustbin fills. If your model is different or you see another variant, please let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Vacuums

The iRobot i3+ is a robot vacuum that stands out because of its automatic dirt disposal feature. Like the iRobot Roomba i7+, it automatically empties its small internal dustbin into a much larger dirtbag inside its docking station. It's more affordable than the i7+, but lacks some of that vacuum's automation features, like the ability to set virtual boundaries or individual cleaning times for different rooms. It performs best on bare floors but doesn't clear pet hair very well from any surface type. If you're looking for more options, see our lists of the best robot vacuums, the best robotic vacuums for hardwood floors, and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.

iRobot Roomba i7+

The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a better vacuum than the iRobot Roomba i3+. The i7+ has a better performance on low and high-pile carpets and clears more pet hair from bare surfaces. It also has more automation features, like the ability to set virtual boundaries. On the other hand, the i3+ is much better at clearing bulky debris like cereal from bare floors.

iRobot Roomba E5

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a better vacuum than the iRobot Roomba E5 for most uses. The i3+ has a significantly better performance on bare floors and picks up more debris from high-pile carpets. It's also better at maneuvering itself and has an automatic dirt disposal feature. On the other hand, the E5 clears more pet hair from carpets and has a slightly longer battery life.

iRobot Roomba 694

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is better than the iRobot Roomba 694. The i3+ can empty its internal dustbin into an external dirt compartment attached to its charging dock. It also has a smart pathing feature, yielding superior maneuverability and allowing you to check a map of its cleaning coverage or schedule cleaning sessions in advance. The i3+ also delivers better performance on all surface types. Meanwhile, the 694 has a longer battery life, though this cam vary in the real world.

Shark IQ Robot RV1001

The Shark IQ Robot RV1001 is a better-performing vacuum than the iRobot Roomba i3+. The Shark picks up more pet hair from bare floors and has a better overall performance on low and high-pile carpets. It also has fewer recurring costs. On the other hand, the iRobot is better-built and has an automatic dirt disposal feature.

Roborock S6

The Roborock S6 is better than the iRobot Roomba i3+. The Roborock is better-built, less demanding in terms of maintenance, incurs fewer recurring costs, maneuvers over obstructions like electrical cords with less difficulty, and delivers notably superior performance on bare floors and low-pile carpet. It also comes with a mopping attachment, though we don't currently test that feature. Meanwhile, the iRobot features an automatic dirt disposal function, as it can empty its internal dustbin into an external dirt compartment built into its charging dock. It also charges a lot faster than the Roborock, though its maximum runtime is much shorter.

Shark IQ Robot AV992

The Robot Roomba i3+ is better for most purposes than the Shark IQ Robot AV992. The Roomba i3+ is better-built and has a significantly better performance on bare floors. It has an automatic dirt disposal feature, so you shouldn't need to empty its small internal dustbin, and it does a much better job of maneuvering itself. On the other hand, the Shark does a significantly better job of cleaning low and high-pile carpets. It also incurs fewer recurring costs since it doesn't use a dirtbag.

iRobot Roomba i4

The iRobot Roomba i4 is a better robot vacuum than the iRobot Roomba i3+. The i4 has a better cleaning performance on low and high-pile carpet. Since it doesn't have an external dirtbag, it has fewer recurring costs. Also, it comes with a Dual Virtual Barrier Device, which lets you mark areas for the vacuum to avoid while cleaning. That said, the i3+ does a better job of cleaning bare floors, and it has a larger dirt compartment. Also, it comes with an external dustbin attached to the docking station, so it can automatically empty its dirt compartment. 

Roborock S6 MaxV

The Roborock S6 MaxV is better for most purposes than the iRobot Roomba i3+. The two models deliver a fairly similar performance on bare floors and carpets, but the Roborock is better-built, easier to maintain, and incurs fewer recurring costs. You can use its companion app to manually change its suction power and set virtual boundaries to keep the vacuum out of certain areas. On the other hand, the iRobot has an automatic dirt disposal feature, so you shouldn't need to worry about emptying its small internal dustbin.

Shark AI Robot

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a better vacuum than the Shark AI Robot. They perform fairly similarly overall, but the iRobot does a much better job on bare surfaces and high-pile carpets. It's also better-built and has an automatic dirt disposal feature. On the other hand, the Shark has a better performance on low-pile carpets and lower recurring costs.

iRobot Roomba 675

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a better-performing robot vacuum than the iRobot Roomba 675. The i3+ delivers better performance on all surface types and uses smart pathing to maneuver itself more efficiently. It also has an automatic dirt disposal feature. Nevertheless, the 675 has a longer battery life and is more portable, because it has a carrying handle.

iRobot Roomba 692

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a better vacuum than the iRobot Roomba 692. The i3+ has a better performance on all surface types, an automatic dirt disposal feature, and is equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. Nevertheless, the 692 has a longer battery life and fewer recurring costs since it doesn't use a dirtbag.

Shark ION Robot R77

The iRobot Roomba i3+ is a better vacuum than the Shark ION Robot R77. The iRobot has a better cleaning performance on all surface types, especially on bare floors, where it has no problem picking up debris like rice and cereal. It also follows a more efficient cleaning path and even returns to the dock automatically to empty its dirt compartment. That said, the Shark's battery lasts quite a bit longer.

Shark EZ Robot Self-Empty AV911S

The iRobot Roomba i3+ and Shark EZ Robot Self-Empty AV911S each have advantages, meaning one may suit you better than the other, depending on your needs. The iRobot has a larger external dustbin mounted to its base station, feels better-built, has fewer parts that require periodic maintenance, maneuvers itself more effectively, and delivers superior performance on bare floors. It also charges much faster, though it doesn't last as long as the Shark on a single charge. The Shark also outperforms the iRobot on carpeted floors, especially with pet hair, and incurs fewer recurring costs.

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