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iRobot’s newest Roombas, the Roomba i7+, and the Roomba s9+ differ from other robotic vacuum cleaners in a key feature – their self-emptying technology.
The new Roombas ship with a large bin-like part called Clean Base that connects to the charging dock.
When the robot vacuum finishes cleaning, it automatically returns to the dock. Once it has docked, Clean Base sucks up the dust and hair from the robot’s bin.
Debris is stored in a disposable bag to make it easy to remove it when it fills up. It does take some time for the bag to fill. A single Clean Base bag holds 30 of the robot’s bins worth of debris.
So depending on the size of your home and how often you vacuum, it could be several weeks before you need to empty Clean Base.
All that sounds great in print, but how well does Roomba’s self-emptying technology work in real life?
Great But With a Couple of Issues
Overall, the verdict from users is that self-emptying technology is a huge time and effort saver. When they would have had to empty the bin daily or several times a day, many stay up to a month or longer before emptying the Clean Base.
It has been especially helpful for large homes with pets. The robot picks up a lot of debris, and the internal bin fills up fast. In some cases, the robot will empty the collected debris and go back to finish cleaning.
It saves a lot of time in maintenance work.
Another advantage of having a self-emptying robot vacuum is that you don’t have to deal with the mess the robot collects.
It is dumped directly into the large bin. When the bin fills up, you throw the debris out along with the disposable bag. You never have to touch the dirt.
So far, there haven’t been any major bugs or problems reported regarding Roomba’s self-emptying technology.
The robot finds the base easily, and the emptying process works without a hitch. Of course, there are a few customers who say their Clean Base didn’t work well or didn’t work at all.
But these seem to be isolated cases. Problematic products and lemons are common with most consumer appliances.
That said, there are a couple of gripes many users have about Clean Base. They are not severe functional issues, just things that would be nice for iRobot to improve on.
The Disposable Bags
Not having to touch dirt is all well and good. But it comes at a cost. You have to keep buying disposable bags for use in Clean Base.
A pack of three will cost you about $15. Assuming it takes you a month to fill one bag, you’ll be on track to spend $60 in a year on the bags.
For a robot vacuum that’s already expensive, any extra costs are bound to hurt.
The obvious solution, as many customers have noted, is for iRobot to make a reusable bag. It would mean touching the dirt as you empty the bag, but that’s a small sacrifice.
Maybe iRobot will introduce one with time.
In the meantime, some third parties are selling reusable Clean Base bags. Others are selling cheaper packs of disposable bags. Some customers have also found a way to re-use the bags.
But we cannot guarantee the effectiveness of any of these alternatives. It could also affect your warranty. Do it at your own risk.
The other issue is the noise that Clean Base makes when emptying debris. It can be quite intrusive, especially if you schedule the robot to vacuum at night.
Because there is no way to tell Clean Base to postpone emptying until another time when it will be less intrusive, you’ll just have to withstand the noise.
Luckily, the noise lasts only a few seconds.
Is it Worth It?
That’s the big question. Should you pay $1,000 or more to enjoy Roomba’s self-emptying technology?
We, as well as so many customers, think it’s worth it.
Remember that you are not just paying for Clean Base. Both the Roomba i7+ and s9+ come with significant improvements in mapping, cleaning performance, and smarts.
They now boast Imprint Smart Mapping, which allows the robot to learn your home layout and adapt to it. The robot generates a map that you can use to select which rooms will be cleaned.
iRobot also introduced a new technology called Imprint Link Technology that allows the Roomba to communicate with the Braava jet m6 robotic mop.
Including the problematic areas, we think the Roomba i7+ and s9+ are a great buy. Roomba’s self-emptying technology is just one of the many perks you’ll enjoy.