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After three years, iRobot has finally launched a replacement for the Roomba 980 robotic vacuum cleaner.
The new Roomba i7+ comes with a couple of cool new features plus improved cleaning ability.
The coolest new feature is the automatic dirt disposal function. When the robot finishes cleaning, it empties dirt directly into a larger bin called a Clean Base – it holds up to 30 bins full of dirt.
No more emptying the bin after every clean.
That’s not the only convenient feature they’ve added.
Now you can view and interact with a floor map created by the robot. It can also create multiple floor maps.
These features were not available in the Roomba 980.
As expected, remote app control is present as is Alexa/Google Home voice control.
That said, the Roomba i7+ is one of the most expensive robot vacuums sold today.
But I think the new features and improved cleaning performance are worth it. If you want to clean multiple rooms while you are away, this is the one to get.
The base i7 model awlla for hundreds less, but it doesn’t come with the cool automatic dirt disposal.
Our Impression – Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum Cleaner
The all-new Roomba model takes automated home vacuuming to another level with new features, added convenience and precision-driven cleaning performance. A pricey but worthy investment especially for large homes and homes with pets.
• Low and medium pile carpets
• Pet hair
You are looking for a low cost/mid-range robot vacuum cleaner or you just need a basic robot vacuum for a small apartment or house.
For years, Roomba has been seen as the benchmark for robotic vacuum cleaners. For every new brand launched, one of the first questions people ask is, “is it as good as a Roomba?”
But to be honest, Roomba’s shine has been dulling somewhat over the last 2-3 years.
There’s no doubt they have great products. The Roomba 980, 960, 690 and others still lead the field.
But other brands have been giving iRobot a run for their money with cheaper and sometimes more innovative vacuum cleaners.
The Neato Botvac D7 for example is an extremely capable robotic vacuum with features that are MIA in Roombas.
But Roomba’s new i7+ robot vacuum is here to take the competition to task. In the i7+, iRobot has added new features and tech that actually makes a difference where it matters: cleaning performance and convenience.
Automatic dirt disposal is obviously the biggest new feature. Roomba is the only brand to have it…for now.
But several other new features are just as notable. For example, the i7+’s new interactive floor map, flexible scheduling and the ability to create & store multiple maps are big deals.
iRobot has also increased suction power and improved the brush design for better cleaning performance on hard flooring and carpets.
Bottom-line: If you are buying your first robot vacuum and care about cleaning and convenience, then I highly recommend the Roomba i7 or i7+.
If you currently own a Roomba or another robot vacuum, then you might also want to consider upgrading to the Roomba i7+.
The Roomba i7’s new features are not just empty bells and whistles. They actually help the robot to clean better.
One of the improvements iRobot has made in the navigation system. It’s smarter.
This allows the robot to clean faster and more efficiently without missing any spots.
The Dirt Detect sensor has been carried over from other Roombas. It directs the vacuum where there is more dirt for a more thorough cleaning.
With the new mapping feature, the Roomba i7+ has no trouble cleaning multiple rooms on a single level. You can label rooms on the map and tell Roomba to only clean specific areas.
iRobot has also made significant improvements to the core cleaning features – the brushes, suction, filter, and bin.
The main roller brushes have the same dual design present in most other Roombas.
But they have re-designed the rubber treads on each brush to improve dirt and pet hair pickup.
One brush specializes in agitating dirt especially on carpet, and then the two brushes pick up the debris and push it inside the vacuum.
There is also a side brush which is handy when the vacuum is cleaning along the wall.
The brushes adjust automatically to maintain constant contact with the floor and ensure thorough cleaning whether the robot is on carpet or a hard floor.
iRobot has also increased suction power. According to the company, the i7+ is ten times stronger compared to the Aerovac system in the Roomba 600 series.
It can handle just about any kind of debris and messes from dust to food crumbs with ease. The extra power plus the enhanced brush system make it one of the best vacuums for pet hair.
It can handle carpets noticeably better than the competition. It deep cleans the carpet rather than just picking dirt and pet hair on the surface.
Filter and Bin
The high-efficiency filter captures 99% of the dirt including the tiniest bits of pet dander, fine dust, mold, and other allergens.
The dirt is emptied into a sizable bin.
If you have the base i7 model, that’s where the cleaning process ends. It’s up to you to remove the bin and empty it.
If you have the i7+ model, you are saved all that trouble by the new automatic dirt disposal function.
When the Roomba finishes vacuuming, it makes its way back to the charging dock.
That’s where the Clean Base is also.
As soon as the Roomba docks, dirt is automatically sucked into a disposable bag located in the Clean Base.
This is where you close your ears. The disposal process is much louder than you expect.
Thankfully, it lasts only a few seconds, and it’s a small sacrifice to make for the luxury of emptying the bin only once every 1 or 2 months.
Roomba will notify you when the Clean Base bag is full. You just take it out and throw it in the trash.
The i7+ includes an extra bag.
Extra bags cost $15 for a pack of 3. That’s kinda pricey, but at least you are not buying them often.
A single pack should last you between 3 and six months depending on the size of your home and how dirty it gets.
If you don’t want any extra costs at all, there is the option of getting the Roomba i7. It doesn’t come with the Clean Base.
The Roomba i7+ comes with iRobot’s trademark iAdapt® 3.0 Navigation system plus the camera-powered vSLAM® system.
The robot can map out your floor layout to make cleaning easier, faster and more efficient. You can see the generated map on the app.
One big improvement that iRobot has made is to make this map interactive. This is one of the areas where the competition was ahead of Roomba.
For instance, with the Botvac D7 and Ozmo 930, you can use the generated floor map to create virtual boundaries and identify specific rooms to be cleaned.
You can do that now with the i7 and i7+ on the iRobot Home app – except for the virtual boundaries.
You’ll still have to use the good old Dual-Mode Virtual Wall® Barrier used by other Roombas.
But you can outline and label rooms and then direct the robot to clean only specific rooms.
The robot can generate and store up to 10 unique floor plans. This is handy for multi-level homes or when you want to vacuum your holiday home.
As it cleans, it can identify visual landmarks such as furniture which it uses to determine where it has cleaned and where to go next.
It also has the usual array of sensors to detect obstacles in the way and avoid the stairs.
Note: The robot will navigate a bit poorly on the first run. This is normal. After it generates a floor map, future cleanings will be noticeably faster and smoother.
The Roomba i7 has maintained the 3.6” fairly slim profile of other models.
It can navigate under most low furniture.
When the battery gets low, the robot will automatically navigate to the charging dock and display estimated charging time on the app.
It can also resume cleaning where it left off after juicing up.
Automation and Scheduling
When setting up the Roomba i7+, you’ll have to link it to your home WiFi network.
This allows you to control it remotely from the iRobot Home app when you are away from home. You can start cleaning, direct the robot exactly where to clean and view the current floor plan.
There are three buttons on the robot itself, but most of the functionality is within the app.
Something to note – iRobot has swapped clunky mechanical buttons for touch-sensitive ones. That’s a nice touch, no pun intended, that makes the buttons impervious to dust and water.
Roombas have traditionally been fairly easy to set up, and the i7+ is just as easy except for the first part where you need to set up the home base.
The Clean Base is huge; 19” high to be specific. Finding the right place to locate it can be a challenge especially for smaller homes.
But once you’ve found the perfect place, you’ll be done with the rest of the setup process in a pinch.
You can link the i7+ to Your Google Home or Amazon Echo smart speaker and control it using voice commands.
If you don’t have a smart speaker, you can also use the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant apps.
Scheduling is more flexible than in most other robot vacuums.
Not only can you schedule the robot to clean on certain days, but you can also specify which rooms it will clean on different days.
That’s a seemingly obvious feature that all premium vacuums with the mapping functionality including the Botvac D7 and Ozmo 930 have been neglecting.
It’s great that iRobot has finally added that simple but super convenient feature.
What it Misses
One area where the Roomba i7+ falls short is the same one that affects almost all robots – its round shape.
While it excels at edge cleaning, it struggles with some corners and usually leaves some dirt uncollected.
But the biggest issue for customers is the noise when it is emptying debris. Though it’s only for a few seconds, it will take some time for you (and your pets) to get used to it.
Then there’s the matter of price.
The i7+ is the most expensive of the Roombas…or any other robot vacuum for that matter (except a few).
If you are looking for a budget or even a mid-range robot vacuum, you won’t like the price tag on the i7+ or even the base i7 model.
If you get the i7+ model, there’s also the recurring cost of disposable bags to consider.
Maintenance is much easier compared to other robot vacuums since you don’t have to empty the bin every day.
Depending on how much dirt the robot collects, you only need to empty the Clean Base once every one or two months.
And even then it’s just a matter of lifting the full bag out and throwing it in the trash.
Of course, you’ll need to clean the filter, brushes, and wheels now and then. The sensors also need an occasional wipe down.
Check the manual for instructions on how often to clean and replace various components.
How the Roomba i7+ Stacks Up
Roomba i7+ vs Neato Botvac D7
The main thing that sets the D7 apart is its use of laser mapping to generate a floor plan. Roomba relies on a camera and sensors.
I’m not saying that one is better than the other. Both robots generate great floor plans that you can interact with. They also allow multiple floor plans.
Another huge difference is that Roomba can automatically dispose of collected debris for you. The Neato robot leaves you to do all the dirty work.
With both robots you can identify which rooms are to be vacuumed. But only Roomba i7+ allows you to schedule specific rooms to be cleaned on different days.
Another major difference is in virtual boundaries. With the Botvac D7, you set the boundaries in the app with many users find to be very convenient.
With the Roomba, you use a virtual wall barrier. To be honest, this feels a bit old-fashioned. It’s not as bad as magnetic tapes but still…
With the new smart mapping feature, it should have been easy to add virtual boundaries and no-go zones on the map.
Overall, Roomba i7+ is the better choice in my opinion despite a couple of missed opportunities.
It cleans better, has more advanced features and is so much easier to set up and maintain.
Roomba i7+ vs. Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930
Here’s the biggest difference between these two models: Roomba i7+ is a robot vacuum while the Ozmo 930 is a robot vacuum and mop.
So if you help with both vacuuming and mopping, you know which one to buy.
When it comes to vacuuming, Roomba i7 does better on hard floors, carpets and with pet hair thanks to its more powerful suction and better brush system.
Both robots can map your floor and display a floor plan in the app.
The floor plans are interactive – you can label rooms and select areas to be cleaned – but Ecovacs’ app is less intuitive and more tedious to use.
The Ecovacs robot also lacks the automatic dirt disposal feature, and scheduling is quite limited.
Again, Roomba i7+ wins.
For more on each robot, read our Roomba i7+ vs. Ozmo 930 comparison as well as our in-depth our Debot Ozmo 930 review.
- Excellent cleaning performance on all surfaces.
- Great with pet hair.
- Perfect for large homes with multiple levels.
- Automatic dirt disposal.
- Plenty of smart features.
- Loud when emptying the bin.
- Setting up the large home base can be a bit tricky.
Dimensions: 13.34 x 13.34 x 3.63 inches
Running time: 120 minutes
Recharge time: Around 3 hours
Remote control: no
App control: yes
Multi-room navigation: yes
Entire level cleaning: yes
Smart home integration: yes