Vacuums

Best Roomba Vacuums in 2020: Buying Guide & Top Product Reviews

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Best Roomba Vacuums 2020

Such is the popularity of iRobot’s Roomba vacuums that the name “Roomba” is now synonymous to robot vacuums. Known for their intelligence, convenience, and great cleaning power, Roombas are the go-to option for many people when it comes to getting a new robot vacuum.

This buying guide has all of the information you need about the best Roomba vacuums to make a buying decision. Later in the article, there are also some recommended models you can opt to buy later down the track.

Can a Roomba Replace a Vacuum?

The straightforward answer is no, your Roomba isn’t meant to replace a full-sized vacuum.

A Roomba can take care of minor, everyday dirt and light debris, thus significantly  reducing your workload. 

Most, however,  have trouble sorting out messes with large debris (like breakfast cereal) or liquid. Roombas are also not the most effective on dense, high-pile carpets and rugs. These are the areas where your full-sized vacuum would come into play.

How to Pick the Best Roomba Vacuums?

Cost

iRobot’s portfolio offers a diverse range of models at different price points. So it’s crucial to determine first how much you’re willing to spend on a Roomba before jumping in.

The more affordable options (in and around $200) will offer you the essentials, including basic navigation and vacuuming abilities. On the other hand, premium models will give you ‘more bang for your buck’ with advanced features like smartphone integration and voice assistant compatibility.

Performance

A Roomba’s cleaning performance comes from two places: its suction motor and its brush system.

Roombas with stronger suction tend to perform better on bare floors. On the other hand, you’ll find better carpet performance on models with more robust brush systems.

The tricky part is that there is really no data in order to see how powerful a Roomba’s motor or brushes are. 

One thing you can do is check out the reviews left by past customers. As the people who have bought and personally used the robot, they will be able to tell you how well a model performs on different surfaces.

Navigation

The hallmark of robot vacuums is their ability to operate independently. iRobot’s Roomba-series vacuums currently have two ways to get around: they either use bump navigation or optical sensors.

Best Roomba Vacuums Navigation

Bump navigation is the most basic navigation method. The robot skitters around the house in random patterns, changing direction when it bumps into a wall or an obstacle. It will do this until its battery runs out or it deems the floor to be totally clean.

Since it doesn’t use a lot of complicated sensors, bump navigation is cheap to implement.

The disadvantages are that bump navigation isn’t particularly efficient. In its directionless wandering, your Roomba could go over the same spot several times and miss others places completely. Furthermore, these robots are more prone to becoming stuck and aren’t ideal for multi-room cleaning (as they tend to have a hard time finding the door.)

On the other hand, premium Roombas have optical sensors to help them find their way. These sensors are basically cameras, allowing the robot to visually detect walls and obstacles on its way. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s significantly more effective than bump navigation. 

Notably, some Roombas are equipped with vSLAM technology. vSLAM collects visual data points from the optical sensor and compiles a full 3D map of your house.

Nonetheless, because these sensors rely on visible light, your optical-navigating Roomba cannot work in the dark. You’ll have to leave the lights on when it works.

Despite there being many robots with advanced Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors on the market, iRobot still hasn’t caught up yet. The top-tier Roomba (iRobot Roomba S9+) is still saddled with an optical sensor.

Smart Features

As previously mentioned, higher-end robot vacuums offer additional smart features. 

This can include smartphone integration, which will connect your Roomba to your smartphone, giving you the ability to control it from anywhere with an Internet connection. Many models are also compatible with popular voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (support for Apple’s Siri isn’t common.)

Some smart features are more passive and subtle. Premium Roomba robots can learn your cleaning habits and create customized schedules. They can also tell when the amount of pollen in the air is high or know when the pet hair shedding season is to suggest a timely cleaning session.

Battery Life

The bigger the battery of your robot, the more thorough a cleaning job it’s going to be able to do. This is especially true if you have a large home or space.

But you don’t have to spend extras on the battery if you don’t want to. It’s alright to be frugal on a Roomba. 

Many Roombas are pre-programmed to return to their charging docks when battery level sinks to critical. Once they’re refueled, they will pick up where they left off. This is called the “recharge and resume” function.

The Best Roomba Vacuums in 2020 Reviews

Here are our selections of the best Roomba vacuums in 2020.

  1. iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) – Best to Buy Roomba Vacuum
  2. iRobot Roomba 675 – Best Value Roomba Vacuum
  3. iRobot Roomba 981 – Best Roomba Vacuum for Pet Hair
  4. iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) – Best Roomba Vacuum for Carpets
  5. iRobot Roomba s9+ – Best Premium Roomba Vacuum
NameNavigationBattery LifeDust CapacityWiFi CapabilitySmartphone App
Roomba i7+Optical/vSLAM1.5hrDust Bag (unknown capacity)YesYes
Roomba 675Bump Navigation1.6hr0.27 dry qtYesYes
Roomba 981Optical/vSLAM2hrs0.45 dry qtYesYes
Roomba i3+Optical/vSLAM1.2hrDust BagYesYes
Roomba s9+Optical/vSLAM2hrsDust BagYesYes

1. iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) – Best to Buy Roomba Vacuum

iRobot Roomba i7+

Pros

  • Great bare floors performance
  • Efficient map-based navigation
  • Long battery life with smart charging
  • WiFi-capable (with app)
  • Voice assistant integration
  • Automatic dirt emptying

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Extra maintenance costs

In the entire iRobot portfolio, the i7+ is the one with the best balance between design, performance, and cost, by far. It has iRobot’s latest map-based navigation system and a number of smart features such as digital assistant integration

The robot is also versatile, with its high suction and strong brushes, it is able to clean bare floors just as well as carpets.

Intelligent and capable, the Roomba i7+ is well worth the money,if you’re willing to make the investment.

iRobot Roomba i7+ Performance

Performance

Against common dirt and other small particles, the robot performs quite well. This is especially notable on bare surfaces such as hardwood and tiles. The i7+ can also clean up a variety of debris on bare floors, such as chips, pet hair, and cat litter. If your house is predominantly bare floors, this robot would be a great fit.

iRobot Roomba i7+ Performance

On carpets and rugs, while the robot can handle dirt, it won’t make much of a dent against debris. It would be able to pick up between 80% to 90% of debris stuck inside of the carpet piling. However, don’t expect the robot to be able to clean your high-pile carpets thoroughly.

Since the i7+ has a mapping function (vSLAM) thanks to its optical sensor, the robot is very efficient at doing its job. After an initial “trial run” to map out the house, it uses the map to methodologically run from one end of the room to another. 

The map can help it avoid stationary obstacles like walls and doors, while its anti-collision sensors help it avoid furniture.

Design

The robot measures about 3.6 inches tall. It’s low enough that you won’t have to worry about it becoming stuck underneath furniture.

Aesthetically, the robot’s design suits the price with its cool slate grey top cover and large black rubber bumpers. 

The top logo conceals a carrying handle. Directly underneath, you will find the silver Clean button. It serves as both the power button and the action button for the robot. While it’s in its charging dock, just push the button and the robot will roll out and begin a new cleaning session.

The Clean button is flanked by the Dock button and the Spot Clean button. The former directs the robot to return its charging dock. Meanwhile, the latter can be used when you need the robot to focus on cleaning a specific area on the floor.

Underneath the top cover, you’ll find the dust bag compartment. The dust bag contains all of the dirty gunks the robot swept up. But this compartment on the i7+ is a little bit different from traditional bagged vacuums.

The robot is going to come with a Clean Base dock. When the robot is docked, the Clean Base automatically sucks out the dirty content inside of the dust bag. It can store 60 days worth of dirt and debris, according to iRobot. Clean out the Clean Base’s dirt storage occasionally and that’s virtually all of the maintenance work.

But the i7+ dust bag won’t last forever. When it has reached the end of its service, the robot’s app will notify you that it has to be changed. In that case, you’ll have to buy replacement bags to keep the robot running. The extra maintenance cost is one of the few drawbacks of this model.

Underneath the robot, you’ll find a pair of main rubber wheels and a roller wheel at the front for turning. They give the robot excellent maneuverability even in cramped spaces.

Near the center of the robot’s belly, you’ll find the i7+’s suction mouth and its dual rubber-encased foam brush roll. The first brush roll has deep chevron fins to catch all of the larger particles and debris. As for the second one, it has reversed shallow chevron fins to catch smaller granules of dirt.

To the side, there’s a three-spoke side brush to wipe the side walls and clean into the corners of the house.

iRobot Roomba i7+ Brush

Battery Life

The robot uses a Li-ion battery that gives about 1.5 hour of runtime per charge. 

Interestingly, the robot has a smart charging function. When the battery is low, the robot draws in maximum power and charges extremely quickly. In about 90 minutes, the battery can go from 0% to 80%. But once the battery charge level reaches this point, the robot winds down into trickle charge. To reach 100%, it’s going to take you an extra 2 hours.

This is done because if the battery was to be recharged beyond 80%, it would degrade and lose charge quicker.

Smart Functions

The Roomba i7+ comes with a variety of smart functions, the majority of which can be accessed through the robot’s smartphone app.

With it, you can access the mental map of the robot to section out and label each room. If you want the robot to avoid the kitchen, for example, you can adjust the robot’s cleaning pattern accordingly. The i7+ gives you full control over where it should clean and where it should not venture.

The robot can learn your cleaning habits to suggest the most optimal cleaning schedules. But once again, you have full control. There are many customizable routines that you can set up for your i7+ inside the app.

The i7+ can work with digital assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant for hand-free interaction. You can say: “Alexa, tell Roomba to start cleaning” from the couch and the robot would do exactly that without you having to lift an arm. You can check out all of the commands here (Alexa, Google Assistant).

Warranty

Limited manufacturer warranty for the robot is 1 year.

2. iRobot Roomba 675 – Best Value Roomba Vacuum

iRobot Roomba 675

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good bare floors performance
  • Long battery life
  • WiFi-capable (with app)
  • Voice assistant integration

Cons

  • Loud
  • Inefficient navigation
  • Ineffectiveon carpets

The Roomba 675 is the most affordable Roomba with Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone app support. With the robot connected to your phone, you can set up schedules, call on the voice assistant, among other things. These features are more commonly found in medium to high-end models. So the fact that the Roomba 675 offers them while not ‘breaking the bank’ makes it well worth considering if you’re looking for a value buy.

iRobot Roomba 675 Performance

Performance

 The robot works well enough on bare floors against dust and debris. Anything that’s too large for the robot’s suction mouth to pick up, the robot merely rolls over and ignores them; it does this to prevent jams.

Its carpet performance is adequate, but not perfect. It can eliminate dirt on the surface of your carpets and rugs without issues. Nonetheless, the robot doesn’t have the suction or brush strength necessary to deep clean your carpeting.

Unlike the pricier Roomba i7+, the Roomba 675 doesn’t have map-based navigation. Rather, it zig-zags around the house in randomized cleaning patterns. Although it’s less efficient than the i7+, the anti-collision sensors on the robot help it avoid obstacles and walls quite effectively.

Additionally, the robot also has a unique Dirt Detect function, which can scan for spots where heavy dirt accumulates on the floor. The robot would then prioritize cleaning out these areas first before moving onto less-soiled spots.

Despite its relatively good performance, the robot is loud. You could hear the robot working even from another room. Thus, it might be an issue if you’re noise-sensitive, have babies in the house, or have cranky neighbors.

Design

The robot measures 3.7 inches high. A little bit taller than the i7+, but the extra 0.1 inch won’t hinder the robot much while cleaning beneath furniture.

The top cover of the robot is painted black, contrasted by silver function buttons. The large Clean button is situated in the center. At the top is the Spot Cleaning button and underneath lies the Dock button

You also have two indicator lights arranged above the buttons: a WiFi connectivity light and a Battery light. When the robot runs into problems (lost the connection or low battery,) these lights will flash.

Rubber bumpers wrapped around the robot’s circular form protect it from impacts.

Underneath the robot are the wheels, the multi-surface brush rolls, and the three-spoke side brush.

iRobot Roomba 675 Design

The robot’s dust cup can hold about 0.27 dry quart. It’s quite small, but manageable. Unless you have a serious mess at hand, the robot can go through a full cleaning session without needing to be emptied.

iRobot recommends cleaning out the cup after every cleaning session. Additionally, the robot’s filter must be replaced once every two months for optimum performance.

Battery Life

The Roomba 675 has a pretty solid battery life. It can clean for up to 1.6 hour on a full charge. It would take roughly 2-3 hours to recharge the battery once it’s depleted.

If it runs low on power halfway through a cleaning session, it’s programmed to return to its dock to recharge.

Smart Functions

The robot’s WiFi connectivity and compatibility with the company’s smartphone app opens up a lot of smart functions. You can link the robot to a voice assistant and set up clean schedules

You can also view important operational data and statistics like the total amount of runtime, amount of cleaning jobs completed, etc.

Unfortunately, because the robot lacks a mapping function, you cannot section out rooms and set up restrictions within the app. 

If you want to do that, the Roomba 675 works with iRobot’s Dual Mode Virtual Wall. This beacon creates an infrared boundary that marks places where your robot isn’t allowed to enter. When it hits the Virtual Wall, the robot would automatically turn around and move elsewhere.

The beacon can also be used in Halo Mode. Essentially, it creates a circular area where your robot cannot enter. It’d be useful if you have pets and you don’t want your robot to accidentally jostle their food and water bowls around.

Warranty

The Roomba 675 comes with iRobot’s standard warranty of 1 year.

3. iRobot Roomba 981 – Best Roomba Vacuum for Pet Hair

iRobot Roomba 981

Pros

  • Great against pet hair
  • Efficient map-based navigation
  • Long battery life
  • WiFi-capable (with app)
  • Voice assistant integration

Cons

  • Not suitable for high-pile carpets

The Roomba 981 is the ideal candidate for a pet hair robot due to its two tangle-resistant, multi-surface brushes and high-efficiency filtration

The brush, when combined with the robot’s high suction, can scoop up pet hair effortlessly on a variety of surfaces. Furthermore, all of the disease-carrying particles and creatures hidden inside of pet hair can be filtered out with the high-efficiency filtering system.

The cherry on top of the Roomba 981 is that it has all of the premium features including optical navigation, WiFi connectivity, and app integration while remaining reasonably priced.

iRobot Roomba 981 Performance

Performance

On bare floors, the robot’s strong suction can effectively remove pet hair and other contaminants efficiently. Just like the Roomba 675, the 981 will roll over debris that is too large for it to remove, thereby avoiding clogging and damage to the machine.

For carpets and rugs, the Roomba 981 comes with a pair of motorized brush rolls. Due to their tangle-resistant design, the robot can sort out pet hair-laden carpets without locking up.

iRobot Roomba 981 Design

Although the brush rolls can do their job quite well on low to medium-pile carpets, their performance on high-pile carpets leaves much to be desired. They simply don’t have enough power to comb through thick piling.

Like the i7+, the Roomba 981 has an optical sensor and is integrated with vSLAM technology for mapping. Once the house is scanned, the robot can move and navigate the house fluently.

Design

At roughly 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba 981 is slender enough to fit beneath low-line furniture without issues.

The overall top cover design of the Roomba 981 is markedly similar to the Roomba i7+. The button arrangement is the same with the Clean button in the center, flanked by the Spot Cleaning and Dock buttons to either side. You will also find the concealed carrying handle near the top logo of the robot, as well.

The only visible difference between the Roomba 981 and the i7+ is in regards to coloring. While the Roomba 981 has a catchy gradient paint job, the i7+ has a full black coating.

At the bottom, there are the wheels, the dual anti-tangle brush rolls, and the three-spoke side brush.

The Roomba 981 doesn’t feature the Clean Base docking of the i7+. It also doesn’t use a replaceable dust bag. Rather, it has a large 0.45 dry quart dust cup to store all of the collected dirt.

Battery Life

The robot’s Li-ion battery can give you as much as 2 hours of continuous cleaning. It takes the robot about 3 hours to fully recharge from 0%.

But you don’t have to worry much about the battery since the robot has recharge and resume capability. When battery level hits critical during a session, the Roomba will return to its dock to recharge,resuming its work later.

Smart Functions

The robot is WiFi capable and supports smartphone app linkage. As a result, you will get all of the common Roomba smart features like scheduling and voice assistant. Based on your cleaning habits, the robot can also suggest the best cleaning schedule for you.

Because the Roomba 981 has map-based navigation, you can also view the virtualized home map through the app. You can use the app tools to label each room on the map and set up restrictions.

Warranty

The limited manufacturer warranty lasts 1 year.

4. iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) – Best Roomba Vacuum for Carpets

iRobot Roomba i3+

Pros

  • Stronger suction for carpets
  • Efficient map-based navigation
  • Long battery life
  • WiFi-capable (with app)
  • Voice assistant integration
  • Automatic dirt emptying

Cons

  • Extra maintenance costs

Equipped with iRobot’s Power Lifting suction technology and dual multi-surface brushes, the Roomba i3+ is a real performer on high-pile carpeting. Although it’s relatively pricey, the extra performance power will be well worth it if you have carpeted floors.

iRobot Roomba i3+ Performance

Performance

According to iRobot, the new Power Lifting suction technology of the i3+ gives it 10 times the suction strength of older models. As such, the robot can handle detritus on bare floors as well as carpets a whole lot better.

Strong suction, when combined with the dual multi-surface brush rolls, makes the i3+ particularly great on carpets and rugs. The majority of consumers reported that the robot left very little behind, even on high-pile carpeting.

iRobot Roomba i3+ Design

The robot uses optical navigation and vSLAM technology to maneuver around.

Design

The robot is about 3.6 inches tall, which is acceptably slim for cleaning underneath furniture. It has the same top design as the Roomba i7+ and the Roomba 981. You can differentiate the i3+ from the other robots by its slate grey top.

There isn’t much which is different about the underside of the robot, either. There are the wheels, the dual primary brush rolls, and the side-sweeping brush.

Roomba i3+ is compatible with the Clean Base docking station and uses a replaceable dust bag to store everything it picked up.

Battery Life

The i3+’s Li-on battery can provide roughly 1.2 hour of clean time and take approximately 2-3 hours to recharge. It also has the recharge and resume function.

Smart Functions

In terms of smart functions, the i3+ doesn’t offer anything unique in comparison to the other models. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as all of the available functions are essential to the robot’s easy use.

It is WiFi-capable, thus, it can link up with your smartphone. Through the app, you can view the map, set up areas in the home and restrictions. Smart scheduling function is available, and of course, you can call on the voice assistant to do your bidding anytime.

Warranty

The warranty lasts 1 year.

5. iRobot Roomba s9+ – Best Premium Roomba Vacuum

iRobot Roomba s9+

Pros

  • Excellent suction
  • Design optimized for corner cleaning
  • Efficient map-based navigation
  • Long battery life
  • WiFi-capable (with app)
  • Voice assistant integration

Cons

  • Expensive

If you want the best robot vacuum that iRobot has to offer (at the time of this writing), the Roomba s9+ would be it. It has all of the company’s latest technologies to boost performance and ease of use. 

Notably, the s9+ has a 3-stage cleaning system that, according to iRobot, provides 40 times more suction than older models. That’s on top of all the other premium features such as optical/vSLAM navigation, WiFi connectivity, and more.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Performance

Performance

As previously mentioned, thanks to the new 3-stage cleaning system, the s9+ gets a marked power increase. This makes the robot several times more effective against dirt and debris on bare floors.

Carpet performance also benefits from the stronger suction, but the dual multi-surface rubber brushes also help with the job. The brushes are 30% wider than older models, thus, it can clean up more per pass.

While other Roombas have a three-spoke side-sweeping brush, the s9+ has a five-spoke brush. It can clean up sidewalls better and reach deeper into corners, as well.

For navigation, the s9+ uses optical and vSLAM technology. At this price point, however, the fact that it doesn’t use LiDAR sensors for navigation like other premium robot vacuums is quite disappointing.

Design

The robot is adequately slim for cleaning beneath furniture, measuring 3.5 inches tall.

The design of the s9+ is very distinctive. Instead of the traditional circular shape of your average robot vacuum, it has a D-shape that iRobot called “PerfectEdge”. The linear, flat face of the robot allows it to fit snugly into corners to effectively remove dirt and debris from traditionally hard to reach areas.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Design

Another distinguishing feature of the s9+ is the large brushed bronze disk situated in the center of the robot. You can immediately tell the robot apart from the others by looking at the disk alone. But it’s more than a decorative piece. Underneath the disc is the compartment containing the replaceable dust bag and the filter.

Control and function buttons are positioned to the side rather than the center. You still have the three standard buttons: Clean, Spot Cleaning, and Dock.

On the underside, the basic components are still there including the wheels, the dual brush rolls, and side-sweeping brush. But in addition to that, you also have an Automatic Dirt Disposal port. This port connects to the Clean Base dock and all of the detritus the robot collected would be offloaded from there.

Battery Life

The s9+ battery can sustain operation for about 2 hours and take 2-3 hours to recharge. It has recharge and resume functions for cleaning especially large homes or for extensive cleaning sessions.

Smart Functions

As we mentioned previously, the s9+ (as the spearhead product) has everything that iRobot has to offer.

It is WiFi capable and can be controlled via your smartphone with the iRobot app. Map view, sectioning and labelling, setting restrictions, smart scheduling, and voice assistant, etc. are all available features for use.

The s9+ doesn’t have new functions compared to older models in this department.

Warranty

Despite the premium price, the s9+ still only has the standard 1-year warranty package.

How Long Do Robot Vacuums Last?

Robot vacuums can last for a very long time if they’re given proper maintenance. According to reports, a high-end robot vacuum can last for about 5 years. This is mostly because the battery in robot vacuums isn’t replaceable. When the battery finally fails to hold a charge, your robot has technically finished its life of service and you must get a new one.

Should I Run My Roomba Everyday?

We highly suggest that you set up at least one cleaning session a day. There’s really no reason not to do so. If you have a Roomba model with smart scheduling, the robot will suggest for you a personalized cleaning schedule based on your habits.

Conclusion

iRobot is a fairly reputable name on the market and many have placed their trust in the company’s best Roomba vacuums. We hope that you have found the right Roomba for you, using this comprehensive buying guide.

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