Brand recognition goes a long way to establishing confidence from consumers. When it comes to robot vacuums, there’s no one else with more brand recognition in the category than iRobot and its line of Roomba robot vacuums. They’ve been around for years now, setting the pace and bar for innovation — such as obstacle-avoidance technology, room mapping, and efficient cleaning. There are many reasons why iRobot’s line of Roombas is so valued among consumers.
Over the years, however, the company has released many different models, which can often make it tough to know where they all land in the release timeline. Not only are we knowledgeable about all of iRobot’s happenings, but we’ve tested several of them over the past few years to tell you exactly which are the best Roombas to buy. Whether you’re considering one for a tiny apartment or something for larger spaces, there’s a Roomba for you at various price ranges.
1. iRobot Roomba j9
Anyone who’s ever owned a robot vacuum knows how wires and cables on the floor can be a nagging problem, especially when the bot gets immobilized because of them. That’s not much of an issue for the iRobot Roomba j9+, because it’s accompanied by the latest and greatest tech from the company. Obstacle avoidance is its specialty, which means you’re not required to do some pre-cleaning beforehand to ensure nothing is left on the floor to get in the way of the Roomba while it cleans.
With the help of a camera, the Roomba j9+ is the first robot vacuum in the company’s portfolio to feature PrecisionVision Navigation. Essentially, it provides the robot with vision to recognize objects in real-time and avoid them — including the dreaded poop left on the floor by your pets. It’s actually quite impressive at how the Roomba j9+ avoids obstacles, but it’s still an efficient cleaner because it continually reacts to its environment. It helps, too, that you can add virtual or no-go zones in the iRobot app to help it be even more efficient.
If that’s not enough for you, it’s an excellent all-around cleaner that picks up crumbs off hardwood floors and sucks up superficial debris off carpets. There’s even a version that comes with a self-emptying charging base, the Roomba j9+, that will do the dirty work of emptying the robot’s dustbin. That means you won’t have to get dirty emptying it out yourself, which means more free time back into your life.
iRobot Roomba j7
iRobot Roomba j7
2. iRobot Roomba s9+
BEST FOR CARPETS
Still classified as the company’s flagship model, the iRobot Roomba S9+ is the best one to get that deep clean feel with carpets. Others tout their strong suction power, but the true test is having our bare feet walk on carpet that has been vacuumed by the Roomba S9. The difference is noticeable! Thanks to the PerfectEdge Technology and three-stage cleaning system it employs, the Roomba S9 delivers up to 40x the suction performance over the Roomba 600 Series.
Sure, small pieces of debris embedded in carpets stand no chance, but it doesn’t get bogged down by hair or pet hair either because of the dual rubber brushes that it uses. Unlike traditional bristled-based brushes that other robot vacuums use, tangles caused by hair and pet fur are less likely to happen here because of how the brush is designed.
Beyond the top-notch cleaning performance on carpets, the iRobot Roomba s9+ is an impeccable robot vacuum that efficiently cleans thanks to the vLSAM navigation it uses. Not only does it map out its environment to find the most efficient path for cleaning, but it’ll even detect objects and clean around them.
iRobot Roomba s9+
iRobot Roomba s9+
3. iRobot Roomba 694
There’s no denying that robot vacuums don’t come cheap, especially those from the premier maker in the space. Luckily, though, there’s still a Roomba that won’t be too heavy on your pockets — while still providing consumers with iRobot’s core experiences. The iRobot Roomba 694 is the bot you’ll want to check out if you’re on a tighter budget.
Now, don’t think for a moment you’re getting an inferior model with fewer features and weaker overall performance. That’s hardly the case because the Roomba 694 is designed to clean homes in a smarter way. You’ll still find core features here like a three-stage cleaning system, underside brush for carpets, and a side-sweeping brush for hard floors, but it still has the intelligence to detect stairs to prevent it from falling — as well as detecting dirtier areas of your home, to make sure they’re cleaned more thoroughly.
Best of all, you won’t be spending a fortune on picking one up.
iRobot Roomba 694
iRobot Roomba 694
4. iRobot Roomba i3+
In all fairness, most of iRobot’s newer Roombas can also be purchased with a self-emptying charging basis — hence the ‘+’ in the name of the models, which indicates that the self-empty bin is included. Out of the bunch, the iRobot Roomba i3+ is a notable recommendation because it’s the most affordable in the lineup that includes the self-empty bin. Yes, it’s cheaper than either the Roomba j3 and s9, but doesn’t compromise with its cleaning performance.
This Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal unit takes the hassle of having you empty the robot vacuum’s dustbin, which can sometimes leave you dusty if you’re not careful. Instead of that happening, the bot will simply go back to the self-empty bin to not only recharge but to also empty its contents — so everything is contained in a place. This eliminates the need to frequently clean after the robot, so depending on how much the Roomba i3+ cleans, you can go months before you have to replace the bag inside of the bin. No one ever really thinks about the nasty baddies that are hidden in all of the debris it gobbles up, but it’s also good to know that the high-efficiency filter captures and traps 99% of cat and dog allergens.
Compared to iRobot’s j-series and s-series robot vacuums, the i3+ is categorized more as a mid-ranger. Therefore, you can expect it to efficiently clean and reasonably avoid some obstacles while it’s navigating around.
iRobot Roomba i3+
iRobot Roomba i3+
iRobot Roomba Frequently Asked Questions
The vast majority of Roombas leverage iRobot’s patented vSLAM technology, short for visual simultaneous localization and mapping. Sonar and laser tech are used to provide Roombas with ‘vision’ to see what’s around it, thus knowing its location in proximity. With the help of this technology, Roombas can build a map of your home, which can then be tweaked to include virtual barriers and no-go zones to keep them out of those areas.
Yes, there’s a reason why iRobot’s line of Roombas are continually praised by both critics and users. The company continues to be the market leader in the space, releasing models that can intelligently vacuum without much supervision.
All Roombas can vacuum carpets, but some are better equipped at providing a better, deeper clean. Most of their robot vacuums use a dual-brush system that resists tangles caused by long hair and pet fur. Furthermore, sensors on some of them can actually tell the difference between hard floors and carpets — often increasing the suction performance whenever carpet is detected.
There’s a Roomba for any budget. For those looking for an affordable model, you’ll want to check out the models in the 600-series. Conversely, the j-series and s-series of Roombas are premium offerings accompanied with the latest and greatest robot vacuum tech.
Actually, no. Roombas cannot mop. Instead, iRobot has a separate line of robots strictly for mopping — the Bravva. Currently, the lineup consists of the m, 200, and 300 series. These robots will only mop floors, with some specializing in hardwood floors because iRobot sells a special cleaning solution specifically for it.
Other brands worth looking at include Roborock, Ecovacs, Shark, Neato, Eufy, LG, and Samsung. While the vast majority aren’t brands you might not have heard of, like Roborock, they all have various models that cover the gamut. It’s also worth mentioning that many of the competitive robot vacuums offer two-in-one functionality, as they can vacuum and mop simultaneously.