I never thought a day would come when iRobot would release a robot vacuum/mop hybrid, but it’s here – the Roomba Combo J7+.
Yes, iRobot has manufactured robot mops, but this is the first with vacuuming and mopping functions.
However, Roomba’s design is different from its competitors, like Roborock. Instead of using a fixed pad behind the brush roll, the Combo J7+ uses a retractable pad, adding a layer of complexity that may be good or bad, depending on how well it holds up long term.
It retains the same features as the first J7+, with obstacle avoidance and a low-profile base station with an extra bag and storage.
I’ve put it through a grueling series of tests to determine if it’s worth the premium over the J7+.
Most Versatile Roomba to Date
Navigation - 94%
Surface Cleaning - 97.5%
Deep Cleaning - 88.3%
Quality - 94%
Design - 94%
Value - 92%
Finally, iRobot acquiesced and released a hybrid option with vacuuming and mopping capabilities in the Combo J7+. This variant is (easily) iRobot’s most versatile option. Nonetheless, it retains many of the features of the previous J7 option, like obstacle avoidance and the low-profile base station, but with a slight bump in airflow. This uptick improves the Comb0 J7’s deep cleaning performance over the previous non-mopping version – another reason folks should consider it.
- Most versatile Roomba alternative to date
- Excellent at deep cleaning carpet
- Added mopping functionality
- A slight airflow uptick improves cleaning performance
- Low profile base station is a space saver
- Best-in-class obstacle avoidance (pet feces & wires)
- Ultra-premium cost
- The mopping pad doesn’t have an agitating element
- No pad-washing feature, unlike other options in its price-bracket
- Despite having obstacle avoidance, it tends to bump into furniture
Introduction to the Roomba Combo J7+
After launching the J7+, its first with obstacle avoidance, iRobot introduces the Combo J7+ with the added mopping functionality.
The advertorials look promising, but I doubt the complexity of the retractable mopping element – how it holds up long term.
Aside from the mopping element, everything else in the Combo J7 is similar to the older J7, from the shape and base station to the brush layout.
However, there’s a slight airflow uptick from 7 to close to 10 CFM.
It’s one of the most significant surprises during the testing phase.
The Roomba Combo J7 looks similar to the older J7 except for the cutouts behind the robot housing the pad.
There’s no other area where iRobot can place the pad because of the dustbin location behind the robot and the auto-empty port underneath.
Aside from that, the button placement is similar.
Filip the robot over; there’s a slight variance between the Combo J7 and J7.
These variances include the tire pattern and the drop sensors behind the wheels.
I believe iRobot tweaked the tire pattern to add more traction for the mopping task.
iRobot’s most significant upgrade in the Combo J7 is the retractable mop, where the mopping pad rests above the robot’s dustbin.
It has a retractable mechanism relocating the pad from the top to the base. If you’ve watched the advertorials, the two arms moving the mopping bracket look like a dump truck lugging the large container from the front towards the top.
Unfortunately, iRobot doesn’t have an agitating element like the Roborock S7 and S7 MaxV Ultra – it won’t be as efficient.
Attaching the pad is straightforward, and with iRobot’s sliding mechanism aligning is simple since it has a fixed bracket holding the pad.
Consumers will get two cleaning solution sachets – one for hardwood and another for hard floors.
The manual says to pour the entire sachet into the water tank, filling around half the water tank and the rest with water.
I have one issue with iRobot’s design: the level markers aren’t printed on the container but on the release tab beside it.
So you’ll have to continually detach and reattach the water tank to ensure the water is at the correct level outside the dock since the ramp is inclined.
The Combo J7 retains the same front-facing camera sensor found in the previous J7 variant with an LED underneath.
The LED helps the Combo J7 avoid obstacles even in dark areas.
Unfortunately, it has no CCTV functionality but takes photos of the obstacles.
I’ve tested many robots with obstacle avoidance, and the J7 is the best (by far) at evading pet feces and wires.
The Combo J7 wasn’t tangled with stretched wires, even with this obstacle course.
There weren’t any issues with avoiding pet feces, and it didn’t move any of the fake ones I scattered.
One blemish in my experiments was that it didn’t avoid the weighing scale, which was a surprise since it had a larger footprint than stretched wires.
Clean Base Station
The Combo J7’s base station is similar to the older J7, using a low profile with a slot for an extra bag.
The 2.5-liter capacity is (pretty much) industry standard and should last around a month or so, depending on what the robot will clean and how often folks will run it.
Like all Roomba options, the Combo J7+ is compatible with the iRobot Home app, with some compelling features.
Unfortunately, the current app (still) doesn’t have the live map, something absent in all Roomba products and most VSLAM robots except Yeedi.
iRobot was one of the pioneers of the mapping run, where the vacuum motor is shut off to maximize run time for map creation.
But since all Roomba intelligent robot options use VSLAM, it still needs to go through every nook and cranny to create the map, a considerable disadvantage compared to a LIDAR-based robot, so map creation will take some time to finish.
After map creation, consumers can save these maps, and the iRobot Home app can store up to ten levels in the cloud.
One helpful feature introduced (recently) is importing map levels saved in older variants. Let’s say you’ve purchased a Roomba I6 or S9; the iRobot app can import the maps saved in those models into this robot’s database.
The iRobot app offers several options for containment, namely, keep-out zones and no-mop zones.
These boxes act as no-entry zones, preventing the robot from venturing into them.
Unfortunately, the iRobot app doesn’t have the invisible wall feature, so there’s no way of blocking diagonal areas.
Keep-Out Zone Database
Aside from avoiding obstacles, another benefit of Roomba’s front-facing camera is taking snapshots of these objects and enabling consumers to convert them into keep-out zones.
The “Keep Out Zone Database” feature is in the history tab, which lists all the previous cleaning cycles, maps, duration, and other information.
Aside from adding to the obstacle database, the history tab acts like an odometer.
One of the most helpful features of the iRobot app is the clean zone, where folks can add and save designated “clean” zones and access them on demand.
It’s a similar feature to zoned cleaning in other brands like Roborock and Dreame, but the difference with iRobot’s version is these areas are savable.
Selective Area Cleaning
Another benefit of the map-saving feature is selecting rooms or clean zones to vacuum or mop through the “new job” tab on the upper right portion of the main interface.
Consumers can select mop and pass settings or schedule these in the scheduling tab.
The iRobot app shows carpeted areas it detects during the mapping run, informing the robot not to mop them during subsequent cleaning cycles.
It’s one advantage of the top placement of the mopping bracket since the mop is (entirely) out of the way.
There isn’t much, but consumers can adjust several options in the J7, specifically cleaning passes, full bin behavior, and obstacle detection (whether to turn it on or off).
The app makes purchasing Roomba Combo J7 components possible – everything from extra pads and filters to bags.
How does the Roomba Combo J7+ navigate?
Like all Roomba intelligent robot vacuums, the Combo J7+ utilizes VSLAM, relying on a top-mounted camera, SLAM, and an optical sensor underneath.
After the mapping run, the robot goes in a crisscross pattern. There’s an option to choose the number of passes or let the algorithm decide through the app.
This variant also has the “dirt detect” sensor, which does extra passes when it senses more debris, adding to the thoroughness and the cleaning scores that reflect it.
Unfortunately, the algorithm lacked precision because it missed some spots during the coverage test, where I scattered this much debris.
After a two-pass run, here’s what’s left.
If you’d zoom in, there are noticeable remnants near the door.
Another thing I noticed is the aggressive algorithm that tends to bump into furniture with some force.
Not surprising since it doesn’t have LIDAR, but it’s more aggressive than other brands like Yeedi – just an FYI.
How much power does the Roomba Combo J7+ have?
I use an anemometer to check airflow levels at the cleaning nozzle for all robot vacuums I review.
It’s (pretty) accurate at gauging a robot vacuum’s potential cleaning performance, especially on carpet, since airflow is essential in picking up debris under carpet strands.
The Combo J7 has a (slight) uptick in airflow at close to 10 CFM (9.8 CFM), resulting in an improved carpet cleaning performance.
I put the Combo J7+ through a grueling series of tests to check how it fares on various debris types.
- Overall: 95.2%
- Hard floors: 97.85%
- Sand on hard floors: 96.7%
- Carpets: 97.97%
- Deep cleaning: 88.3%
I noticed the improved deep cleaning performance compared to the previous J7 model (88.3% vs. 85.75%), confirming the airflow uptick.
The intelligent navigation and thoroughness are also reasons for the above-average scores across the board.
Hard Floor Results
- Quaker oats: 98.4%
- Coffee grounds: 98.4%
- Quinoa: 99.2%
- Pet litter: 95.4%
The 97.85% hard floor cleaning average is another confirmation of the (slight) airflow improvement from the Combo J7+, making it a better option on hard surfaces.
Picking up debris isn’t an issue, but the fast-spinning side brush scatters debris.
It’s an ongoing issue with all Roomba options except for the S9+.
Sand on Hard Floor
The Combo J7’s score with the sand on hard floor experiment wasn’t great, but the eye test shows that pick-up wasn’t an issue.
Again, the side brush scattering issue is the culprit for the below-premium-level results.
One selling point of Roomba’s bristle-less extractors is their resistance to hair tangles, but the low airflow hampers their performance.
I tried the Combo J7 on five-inch strands, and it only got 42%, with most strands wrapping on the axles.
Another potential trouble spot is hair wrapping on the side brush base.
Another potential issue with the Combo J7 is its performance at vacuuming the edges.
It wasn’t excellent, leaving a good chunk at the edges, but considering the quantity, but decent for a low-airflow robot vacuum.
Unfortunately, it won’t be as good as high airflow options like the Roomba S9 and 980. The S9, in particular, was the best Roomba option for vacuuming this area.
The airflow improvement is most felt in the carpet cleaning results, where the Roomba J7+ got (slightly) higher averages since the debris-scattering issue from the fast-spinning side brush isn’t as glaring.
- Quaker oats: 96.6%
- Coffee grounds: 94%
- Quinoa: 99.2%
- Pet litter: 100%
The Combo J7 struggled (somewhat) with quaker oats and coffee grounds, at least with the scores, because the small capacity dustbin regurgitated some of the debris.
Since these are lighter, quaker oats and coffee grounds occupy more space even at 50 grams, hence the below-average results.
- Quaker oats: 97.4%
- Coffee grounds: 96.4%
- Quinoa: 100%
- Pet litter: 100%
Surprisingly, the results on mid-pile carpet are (slightly) better than low pile with two 100% scores.
The cleaning pattern is a potential reason it picked up more since it wasn’t (kind of) erratic without the base station, which is one downside of a VSLAM robot.
Still, these results represent the potential of the Combo J7 with its improved airflow inside homes with carpets.
Another improvement in the Combo J7+ is its better deep cleaning performance, getting an 88.3% score, around 2% better than the previous J7 variant.
One experiment I was eagerly awaiting was the mopping aspect since there’s plenty of hype for the Combo J7’s mopping feature.
With its current configuration, the only area iRobot could put in the mop was above the dustbin behind the robot.
There’s a good and bad side to this design.
The plus is that the mopping pad is out of the way when it goes over the carpet, and a better design than the mop lift feature I’ve seen in other brands like Roborock and Draeme.
It has a motor for the retractable arms holding the mopping bracket, adding complexity.
However, the rear top placement means it can only use a small mopping cloth, thus, reducing the surface area it can mop without having to replace it.
And there’s no way of putting an agitating element since there’s no space for the motor.
Now, to the mopping results, I tested it on red wine and juice stains to see how well it cleans these messes.
It was good in the red wine experiment, which was removed all after the second pass.
The lack of an agitating element caught up with the Combo J7 in the juice stain experiment, where it stalled badly trying to mop the prune juice stain portion.
I did the same test with the Dreame L10S Ultra, and it got everything out after the first pass.
The stalling issue persisted after a second run and a fresh pad, so I stopped to prevent overheating the wheel motor.
Removing juice stains wasn’t an issue as it got it out what it mopped, but the juice residue prevented it from moving forward.
Please note that I used the cleaning fluid that supposedly helps remove stains, but it wasn’t enough.
I don’t recommend the Combo J7 other than for light-duty mopping tasks.
How noisy is the Roomba Combo J7+?
I used a sound meter to check the Combo J7 noise levels, and it recorded a max of 66.2 decibels, slightly noisier than the older J7, which isn’t a surprise because of the higher airflow.
Upkeep is critical for a multi-faceted robot vacuum like the Roomba Combo J7, but the process is simple with its modular design, as nearly everything is detachable.
- Extractors: Remove and clean weekly to remove dust and hair accumulation on the roller and axles.
- Side brush: Like the extractors, detach and clean weekly to remove hair wrapping on the base.
- Dustbin: There’s no need to empty it since the base station will do this task, but remove it monthly to clean any dirt accumulation around the edges.
- Filter: Clean the filter monthly by tapping it on an old newspaper to dislodge debris on the folds to extend its service life.
- Bag: Replace the bag once it has reached maximum capacity. Do a visual check monthly to ensure it doesn’t overfill. The app will flash a base station clogged error which is another sign that you’ll need to change the bag.
- Mopping pad: Remove and wash the pad after every mopping cycle under running water and light liquid detergent soap. You could throw it in the washing machine, but handwashing is sufficient.
- Drop sensors: Wipe the drop sensors underneath the robot month to prevent dust accumulation from flashing an error code and disabling the robot.
- Wheels: Use a (slightly) damp microfiber towel to wipe the side and caster wheels.
- Auto-empty port: Ensure that this component is free from any blockages. The port assembly is transparent underneath, so spotting potential clogs are easy.
Related Roomba J7+ Comparisons
- Roomba Combo J7+ vs. Roborock S7+
- Roomba Combo J7+ vs. J7+
- Roomba J7+ vs. I6+
- Roomba 694 vs. J7+
- Roomba J7 vs. I3
- Roomba J7+ vs. S9+
- Roomba J7 vs. Roborock S7
|Model||Roomba Combo J7+|
|Battery||2410 mAh Li-ion|
|Run time||Up to 90 mins.|
|Dirt Capacity (dry)||400 ml.|
|Auto empty capacity||2.4 liters|
|Recharge and Resume||Yes|
|Extra Filter||Yes (1)|
Where can I purchase the Roomba Combo J7+?
This robot vacuum/mop hybrid is available in online stores like Amazon. Check the link below for the latest pricing information.
- Roomba Combo J7+ on Amazon
Disclaimer: I will earn a commission if you purchase from the link above, but at no extra cost, so it’s a win-win for us!
Is the Roomba Combo J7+ worth the added premium?
The most significant question mark for this robot vacuum is the added cost over the J7. Is it worth it?
This variant has the same best-in-class obstacle avoidance capability as the older J7, with a slight bump in airflow, helping it deep clean carpets (slightly) better.
But I was disappointed with its mopping results since it wasn’t efficient and stalled during the juice stain test.
The lack of mopping agitation is its biggest drawback against its competitors – the Dreame L10S Ultra and Roborock S7+. Both are much better in this aspect but lag behind the Combo J7 at obstacle avoidance.
Aside from the mopping issues, the Combo J7 is a decent option for an intelligent robot vacuum with premium-level obstacle avoidance, but not as precise as a LIDAR-based robot, so you’ll have to weigh these if the pros are must-haves.
5 Reasons to Purchase the Roomba Combo J7+
- Top-notched obstacle avoidance: Roomba’s J7 series options utilize the best algorithm for evading obstacles. I’ve done many experiments with stretched wires, and neither the Combo J7 nor J7 tangled with these cords.
- Better cleaning performance: The uptick in airflow (albeit slight improvement) helps it pick up more debris, especially embedded sand.
- Efficient navigation: It completed a two-pass run in just (a little) over 18 minutes.
- Low profile design: Not having LIDAR enabled iRobot to use a shorter frame, helping it go underneath low clearance furniture better than a LIDAR robot.
- Intelligent carpet avoidance: The algorithm is smart enough to retract the pad when cleaning carpets and deploying it on hard floors. It’s the only option with a proper carpet avoidance system.
The Verdict: Best-in-Class Obstacle Avoidance, Better Cleaning Performance, But Not-So-Efficient Mopping
Whether the Combo J7 upgrades warrant the premium cost will depend on your spending appetite.
Other brands at the same price bracket have more efficient mopping but at the expense of sub-par obstacle avoidance and deep cleaning performance.
But the iRobot’s option doesn’t have a pad-washing feature, which could be a deal breaker for some.