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Brand recognition goes a long way in establishing consumer confidence. When it comes to robot vacuums, there’s no one with more brand recognition in the category than iRobot and its line of Roomba robot vacuums. They’ve been around for years (DJ Roomba in the house!) and introduced innovations such as obstacle-avoidance technology and room mapping. Some people even refer to all robot vacuums as “Roombas” in the same way people say “kleenex” and “chapstick”.
So what’s the best Roomba for 2022? SPY’s product reviewers tested the entire iRobot line of robot vacuums to find out.
In the past few years, iRobot has released several new models, and we’ve tested them all. Not only are we knowledgeable about all of iRobot’s latest happenings, but we’ve spent months putting the best Roombas to the test. We have evaluated these vacuums side-by-side, but we’ve also compared them to popular robot vacuums from brands like RoboRock, eufy by Anker and Samsung.
With the holidays underway, people are shopping early for the best Christmas gifts, best stocking stuffers and the coolest tech gadgets. If you’re looking for a Roomba to put under the Christmas tree (or to clean up all those loose pine needles), then you’re in the right place. Keep reading for our in-depth Roomba reviews and to find the best Roomba vacuum for your home.
Read More: The 8 Best Wet/Dry Vacuums of the Year
The Best Roombas At a Glance
1. Best Overall: iRobot Roomba j7+ — $599.00 at Amazon
2. Best For Carpets: iRobot Roomba S9+ — $799.99 at Amazon
3. Best Value: iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO — $457.00 at Amazon
4. Most Affordable: iRobot Roomba 694 — $179.99 at Amazon
5. Best Splurge: iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ — $1,099.99 at Amazon
6. Best For Pet Hair: iRobot Roomba i7+ — $499.99 at Amazon
7. Best Mopper: iRobot Braava Jet m6 — $299.00 at Amazon
1. iRobot Roomba j7+
Best For: Cluttered rooms that require an intelligent robot vacuum to avoid obstacles while cleaning.
Why We Chose It: In terms of mapping a room, this is the best Roomba, bar none.
Full Review: iRobot Roomba j7+
The priciest model isn’t necessarily the best model for most people. After testing all of the top Roomba models from iRobot, we believe that the best Roomba is the iRobot Roomba j7+, even if it’s not the most advanced or feature-rich Roomba for sale in 2022 (for the flagship model, see the s9+ below). So why do we believe the j7+ is the best Roomba of 2022? Because it’s relatively affordable but still offers next-generation tech that helps to avoid obstacles better while proving to us that it’s an excellent deep cleaner.
With the help of a camera, the Roomba j7+ is the first robot vacuum in the company’s portfolio to feature PrecisionVision Navigation. We were impressed by its ability to recognize and avoid objects in real-time, including the fake poop we placed on the hardwood floor to see what it would do.
This excellent all-around cleaner picks up crumbs on hardwood floors and sucks up superficial debris from carpets. Furthermore, it comes with the sleekest self-empty charging base we’ve come across, making it much easier to store.
- Above-average performance
- Does a decent job of avoiding obstacles
- Efficiently cleans
- Low-profile self-empty base
- It’s a little aggressive with its movement
2. iRobot Roomba s9+
BEST FOR CARPETS
Best For: Thick carpets and plush rugs that have dirt deeply embedded.
Why We Chose It: Considered the flagship, it does the heavy-duty work of offering that deep clean feel wherever it goes.
If price isn’t a major factor in your decision, then the s9+ is easily the best Roomba of the year. Still classified as the company’s flagship model, the iRobot Roomba S9+ is the most advanced self-emptying smart vacuum from iRobot. It’s the top model for anyone who wants to get that deep-clean feel with carpets. That’s because it has the strongest suction in iRobot’s lineup, offering 40x the suction power of the Roomba 600 series. This was made more believable after we walked on our bare feet over the carpet where it had been vacuumed. The difference was immediately noticeable.
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 its dual rubber brushes. 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. Nevertheless, it’s always good practice to know how to clean a Roomba to get the most out of it.
Even though it lacks the Roomba j7+’s vision to see courtesy of a camera, the s9+ is still an impeccable robot vacuum that efficiently cleans thanks to vLSAM navigation.
- Excellent deep clean performance
- Great for carpets and rugs
- Handles corners and edges very well
- Self-empty base is loud
3. iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO
Best For: Those in search of the best Roombas for their buck with the smarts and self-empty bases of iRobot’s high-end models.
Why We Chose It: You get premium features without paying the premium cost.
Full Review: iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO
Roombas iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO is a notable recommendation because it’s the most affordable in the lineup to include a self-empty bin. It’s cheaper than both the Roomba j7+ and s9+ but doesn’t compromise on its cleaning performance and it has smart mapping too.
Depending on how much the Roomba i3+ EVO sucks up each time, you could go months before replacing the bag inside the bin. No one ever thinks about the nasty baddies hidden in all the debris it gobbles up, but the high-efficiency filter here 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 like a mid-ranger. We were impressed by how it efficiently cleaned and reasonably avoided some obstacles while it was navigating around during our testing.
- Incredible value for what you pay
- Comes with self-empty base
- Navigates rooms with ease
- Side brush can get tangled
4. iRobot Roomba 694
Best For: College students who want an ultra-affordable robot vacuum.
Why We Chose It: You don’t have to spend an arm and leg for it, but it can still clean efficiently.
There’s no denying that robot vacuums don’t come cheap, especially those from the premier maker in the space. Out of the bunch, the iRobot Roomba 694 is the bot you’ll want to check out if you’re on a tighter budget. We didn’t put this one through our standard testing procedures, but we’re still including it and based its worth on user reviews.
Don’t think you’re getting an inferior model with fewer features and weaker overall performance. The Roomba 694 is designed to clean homes more smartly. You’ll find core features here like a three-stage cleaning system, an 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.
- Ultra affordable cost
- Cliff sensors prevent it from falling
- Great for hardwood floors
- Suction on carpet isn’t as strong
5. iRobot Roomba Combo j7+
Best For: People who don’t mind paying a premium for one single robot that can mop and vacuum, but also intelligently navigate its way through the home with ease.
Why We Chose It: iRobot’s newest robot vacuum is its first ever 2-in-1 combo that does both vacuuming and mopping.
First Look: iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ Perfects the 2-in-1 Vacuum and Mop Design
It was a long time in the making, but after years of seeing the competition put out 2-in-1 bots that could vacuum and mop, iRobot finally released its 2-in-1 offering in the Roomba Combo j7+. The wait was worth it because it’s one of the most efficient robot vacuums we’ve tested, capable of going from carpet cleaning to mop mode in one pass. That’s because it features a unique arm that automatically will pull the mopping pad up and away from the floor when it detects carpet. We named it the best splurge on a Roomba because it has the same intelligent obstacle avoidance and sleek self-empty bin as our number one pick.
- Vacuuming and mopping
- Mopping pad pulls up when it detects carpet
- Super efficient robot
- Good obstacle avoidance
- It does vacuum very loud
6. iRobot Roomba i7+
BEST FOR PET HAIR
Best For: Homes with pets (or humans) that shed a lot.
Why We Chose It: The dual multi-surface rubber brushes are less likely to get tangled from pet hair.
Pets in the home present another set of challenges when it comes to cleaning. However, we were really satisfied by how the iRobot Roomba i7+ fared in our tests, especially when it came to picking up pet hair. We didn’t see a single tangle after the first cleaning. So for any animal lovers searching for the best Roomba for pet hair, we believe we’ve found it.
This certainly helps with maintenance because traditional bristle brushes tend to be overwhelmed by hair, often requiring the brush to be removed and meticulously cleaned after each use. No one has time for all that, which is why we appreciate the Roomba i7+. On top of that, it also intelligently navigates around rooms with ease — and eventually disposes of its dustbin contents into the self-empty base when it’s done.
- Fewer tangles
- Light on maintenance
- Great on carpets
7. iRobot Braava Jet m6
Best For: Hard floors that need a good scrub.
Why We Chose It: It’s one of the few models in iRobot’s lineup that can mop floors, although it’s not a true wet/dry vacuum.
Unlike its competitors, iRobot prefers to separate its robot vacuums and moppers. That’s because this allows them to specialize in what they do best. What we’re calling the best roomba mop, the iRobot Braava Jet m6 ensures that your hard floors are spick-and-span clean.
Just know that it pairs best with a Roomba because you’ll want the floor to be clean and free of debris before sending the Braava Jet M6 to do its thing. Compared to other mopping robots that simply use water to wet an attached cloth, the Braava Jet m6 has a prevision jet spray on its front side to dispense the correct amount of cleaning solution so that floors are spotless, streak-free and dry fast.
- Uses cleaning solution to mop floors
- Navigates in straight lines for efficient mopping
- Smart mapping for multiple floors
- Uses proprietary pads
- Not a wet/dry vacuum
How We Chose the Best Roombas: The Testing Process
For this roundup, we tested only the most recent models in iRobot’s lineup, which is why there are only seven selections. Many of the older Roombas are still available for purchase through select retailers, but they often have older tech. If you’re looking for the best Roomba of 2022, then we recommend purchasing one of the models featured above.
Nevertheless, we tested each Roomba for one week, grading them in several areas. We will note that we’ve spent the most time with the Roomba i3+ and Roomba j7+, clocking in over six months of usage with each because of their excellent performances and features.
To determine the best Roombas, we looked at the following areas in our testing process.
- Cleaning Performance: This category is the most important that we tested because, at the end of the day, you want a robot vacuum that does what it’s supposed to do. We inspected how each one performed on both hard floors and carpets to determine how well they cleaned.
- Loudness: We all know that vacuums are supposed to be loud, but some have been designed to minimize the noise they produce — so we gave higher ratings to quieter models.
- Navigation: Being able to efficiently clean requires a robot vacuum that can navigate homes with ease. Thus, they spend more time cleaning and less time wandering around.
- Obstacle Avoidance: Complementary to navigation is a robot vacuum’s ability to avoid obstacles during its cleaning. We tested to see how each model managed to perform when we placed both small and larger pieces of debris, including the dreaded charging cable, in its cleaning path. The best Roombas managed to stop, then go around these obstacles.
- Software Experience: While they all run the same iRobot app, we did find that each Roomba had minor differences in the software experience. Of course, we looked at how easy and intuitive they were with basic tasks, as well as advanced functions such as setting up virtual boundaries.
- Dustbin Size: The best Roombas managed to clean longer thanks to their larger dustbins. We rated each one according to how frequently their dustbins needed to be emptied.
- Battery Life: We kept each Roomba continuously cleaning to determine how long they lasted before needing to return to the charging base.
About The Author: John Velasco
John Velasco is the Tech Editor at SPY.com and has tested hundreds of smart home products during his decade-long career reviewing gadgets. Since joining SPY.com, he’s reviewed the best home security cameras, flagship smartphones and Amazon’s first smart TV. Previously, John worked as the smart home editor at Digital Trends. He’s also worked for Android Authority covering Android-related news as the editor-at-large, and at PhoneArena as the senior editor. John has been covering mobile and smart home tech for over a decade, and he is also passionate about virtual reality, drones, and electric bikes.
Editor’s note: Erin Lawrence also contributed to this article.