After reviewing the Roomba Combo J7+, one of the first products I’m interested in comparing it to is the Roborock S7+.
Aside from the “7+” designation – implying the presence of an auto-empty base station, these products offer hybrid functionality.
The Combo J7+ is the first Roomba product with vacuuming/mopping features and premium-level obstacle avoidance capabilities.
We’ll examine how it compares against the S7+, Roborock’s first with a self-emptying base station.
I’ve spent many hours testing these robots to discover the good and bad, so let’s get into this comparison.
An overview of the Roomba Combo J7+ and Roborock S7+
Airflow: 9.8 CFM 📝 Sand on Hard Floor: 96.7% 📝 Deep Cleaning: 88.3%
Side brush: One 📝 Brush roll: Dual all-rubber extractors
Navigation: Front Camera + Gyroscope + Optical Sensor 📝 Map saving: Yes 📝 Number of maps: 10 📝 Containment: Yes 📝 Selective Room cleaning: Yes 📝 Recharge & Resume: Yes
Self-Empty: Yes 📝 Bag capacity: 2.4 liters 📝 Dustbin capacity: <400ml
Mopping: Yes 📝 Pad Washing: No 📝 Clean water tank capacity: N/A 📝 Dirty water tank capacity: N/A 📝 Water tank (inside robot): 100ml
Battery: 4460 mAh Li-ion 📝 Run time: 60 – 80 minutes 📝 Noise: 66.2 dB
Airflow: 13.91 CFM 📝 Sand on Hard Floor: 99.8% 📝 Deep Cleaning: 78.85%
Side brush: One 📝 Brush roll: All-rubber brush
Navigation: LIDAR 📝 Map saving: Yes 📝 Number of maps: 4 📝 Containment: Yes 📝 Selective Room cleaning: Yes 📝 Recharge & Resume: Yes
Self-Empty: Yes 📝 Bag capacity: 3 liters 📝 Dustbin capacity: 420ml
Mopping: Yes 📝 Pad Washing: No 📝 Clean water tank capacity: N/A 📝 Dirty water tank capacity: N/A 📝 Water tank (inside robot): 300ml
Battery: 5200 mAh Li-ion 📝 Run time: 180 minutes 📝 Noise: 69.8 dB
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For many years, iRobot has been a dominant player in the robot vacuum industry. However, brands like Roborock have overtaken it and offer more versatile features like the sonic mopping technology introduced in the Roborock S7+.
Now, iRobot is trying to catch up; the proof is the Combo J7+ – its first with the hybrid functionality of a robot vacuum and mop.
Most Versatile iRobot: Roomba Combo J7+
- Two-in-one functionality of a robot vacuum and mop
- The retractable mopping pad enables it to avoid carpets during the hybrid cycle
- Excellent deep cleaning performance
- A low-profile clean base station
- Adequate mopping performance on non-stick stains
- The counter-rotating extractors are easier to clean
- Efficient navigation
- Side brush will scatter debris
- Most expensive Roomba option
- The mopping pad doesn’t have a scrubbing element
- Small water tank
The Roomba Combo J7+ is iRobot’s first product with mopping and vacuuming functions, making this variant its most versatile option.
It retains many of the same features as the earlier J7+ variant, such as obstacle avoidance and the low-profile clean base station, but with the added mopping element.
Whereas other brands like Roborock have fixed mopping elements, the Combo J7+ uses a retractable pad to avoid carpets or rugs during the hybrid cycle.
It’s the only robot mop I’ve reviewed to have this capability – better than any pad-lifting feature since the pad is out of the way.
One surprise upgrade is the (slightly) higher airflow, enabling this variant to pick up more sand in the deep cleaning experiment (88.3%) than the Roomba J7+.
Unfortunately, the retractable arms leave no room for a motor; hence it doesn’t have an agitating element, limiting its efficiency at removing stains.
But it retains the industry’s best obstacle avoidance algorithm, especially at evading high-risk stuff like pet feces and stretched wires.
Cleaning performance is above-average, but the fast-spinning side brush hinders its potential at vacuuming debris because it scatters large piles of dirt.
The added versatility of the Combo J7+ makes it a compelling option for folks looking for an intelligent obstacle-avoiding robot with mopping capabilities, but don’t expect too much from the latter because it lacks an agitating element.
Better Mopping Performance: Roborock S7+
- Sonic mopping adds an extra layer of agitation, making it more efficient at removing stains
- Large self-emptying port
- Better app features include the live map, 3D map, invisible wall, etc.
- Larger bag capacity at 3 liters
- Bigger water tank
- The 5200 mAh lithium-ion battery will last for close to three hours
- Excellent results during the efficiency test.
- The LIDAR cover adds a noticeable protrusion on top so that it won’t fit under low-clearance furniture below 3.8 inches
- Not as good at deep-cleaning carpet
- Noisy motor, especially at the highest setting
Like the Combo J7+, the Roborock S7+ is a first-of-its-kind variant with an auto-empty base station.
Roborock released the robot vacuum before unveiling the twin-barrel auto-empty base station.
The twin-barrel design is unique because one barrel houses the filter and another the bag, which is redundant since the latter should act as the filter.
But Roborock opted for this design since some markets offer only the bagless design, whereas the second barrel doesn’t have a bag.
Another unique feature of the S7+ is the wide auto-empty port, connecting to the robot’s brush roll, unlike a Roomba with a dedicated port.
Aside from the auto-empty feature, Roborock also introduced the sonic mopping feature in the S7 variant, where the mopping pad has a vibrating element in the middle.
The metal piece in the middle moves from side to side, providing better agitation and improving its mopping performance two-fold, even on hard-to-clean juice stains.
However, one downside with these hybrid products is none can pick up liquid, so residue is merely spread on the surface.
The S7+ retains the same efficient algorithm and is one of the best I’ve tested at navigating tight quarters.
Roborock added the mapping run with the S7 MaxV Ultra and Q-Series, enhancing map creation efficiency.
Next, we’ll look at the similarities between these products, starting with the versatile feature set.
1. Hybrid Functionality
For the first time in robot vacuum history, Roomba and Roborock have this similarity: both can vacuum and mop simultaneously.
With the Combo J7+, iRobot finally added a mopping feature to its robot vacuum since other brands have this function.
If iRobot doesn’t adapt, they’ll be left behind like Neato.
The next similarity is the self-emptying feature. These products have auto-empty base stations that empty the robot’s dustbin after every cleaning cycle.
One variance is the bag size, where Roborock has a 0.5-liter advantage.
3. Efficient Navigation
A surprising aspect of the Combo J7 review was its efficiency during the navigation test, where it completed a two-pass run in (a little over) 18 minutes.
The Roborock S7+ took around 20 minutes to finish a two-pass run, but its algorithm is far better at navigating tight quarters.
4. Round Frame
The Roborock S7+ and Roomba Combo J7+ utilize round frames and similar brush layouts.
Most brands use this design because it’s better at traversing around cramped zones, reducing the risk of wedging between chair legs.
It’s (probably) why iRobot reverted to the round frame after the Roomba S9+.
Now, we’ll look at the differences between these versatile robot vacuums.
1. Auto-Empty Port
One subtle variance is the auto-empty port. The Combo J7 port is smaller, which connects a dedicated slot on the robot’s dustbin.
Roborock uses a larger port, connecting to the primary brush roll.
With the S7’s mopping motor behind the dustbin, it’s the only logical area to place it and is more efficient at removing dirt inside the container (based on experiments).
2. Navigational Sensor
Another difference is the primary navigational sensor. The Roborock S7+ relies on LIDAR (or laser distance sensor), while the Roomba Combo J7+ uses a front-facing camera, gyroscopes, and optical sensor for the same task.
There are pros and cons for each technology. A laser is more precise than a camera since it doesn’t rely on a light source, but most LIDAR robots have a protrusion on top, adding to its height.
VSLAM robots don’t have this issue since the top is flat without protrusion, so it’ll fit under lower clearance furniture than a Roborock.
3. Pad Placement
The Roborock S7’s pad is fixed behind the brush roll with a pad-lift feature, helping it avoid carpets when it goes over them, while the Combo J7 uses a retractable mechanism to engage or retract the pad.
Again, there are pros and cons for each design.
iRobot’s retractable system enables the Combo J7 to avoid carpets during the mopping cycle since it can retract the pad on carpeted areas.
The S7’s fixed pads don’t offer the same flexibility as the Combo J7, even with the lift feature, since it only raises the pad slightly.
4. Water Tank Capacity
Because of the design variation, the water tank capacity between the Roomba Combo J7 and Roborock S7 varies.
The S7+ has a dedicated water tank that (more than) doubles the Combo J7’s capacity (300 ml vs. 100 ml). So it’ll mop further with fewer refills.
5. Agitation [Roborock S7+ only]
Another difference with the mopping component is the S7’s agitating element, where the middle portion vibrates, enhancing its performance, especially on hard-to-clean juice stains.
iRobot’s retractable design doesn’t permit this feature since there’s no space for a motor.
6. Obstacle Avoidance [Roomba Combo J7+ only]
With the J7+, iRobot introduced its obstacle avoidance technology, featuring a one-lens camera and LED underneath. And based on exhaustive tests, it’s the best I’ve reviewed at avoiding pet feces and stretched wires.
The Combo J7+ retains this technology and advanced algorithm, enabling it to evade these high-risk objects without human intervention.
My experiments were cut-through brutal, with stretched wires all around, and the Combo J7 didn’t tangle.
The S7+ has no obstacle avoidance feature since Roborock introduced it with the S7 MaxV Series.
7. Brush Roll
The Combo J7 uses counter-rotating extractors, which are excellent at debris pick-up despite the low airflow, whereas the Roborock S7 uses a single bristle-less brush roll.
While the S7+ has a higher airflow and better surface debris pick-up, the Combo J7 got more sand in the deep cleaning experiments – a testament to the extractors’ high-end agitation on carpets.
Lastly, for this section, is the dustbin design and placement. The Roborock S7 has a top-mounted dustbin with more capacity of 420 ml compared to the Combo J7’s capacity of around 400 ml.
The Combo J7 utilizes a rear-mounted dustbin, as with most of their products.
And since the Combo J7 added a mopping feature, iRobot had to cram a water tank inside the dustbin, further decreasing its capacity (under 400 ml).
The Combo J7+ and Roborock S7+ have smartphone apps, further enhancing their functionality and autonomy with the scheduling and auto-empty features.
iRobot has slowly added features to its database, but Roborock offers more frequent updates.
We’ll look at the most helpful features of each since these apps are vastly different.
1. Live Map [Roborock S7 only]
Roborock was one of the first brands to integrate a live map into its app. This feature is helpful because it shows the robot’s location in real-time and the areas it has cleaned.
The screenshot above is from an older app version; the new version has a (slightly) different color scheme and layout, but the principle remains the same.
These screenshots are from the newer Q7 Max and S7 MaxV, but the S7+ will have the same interface.
Another feature Roborock introduced in its latest batch is the 3D map, providing a different map perspective to consumers.
What’s helpful with its 3D map is it’s integrated within the primary interface, so it’s easily accessible.
2. Obstacle Areas [Roomba Combo J7 only]
One benefit of the Combo J7’s front-facing camera is it captures snapshots of detected objects during the cleaning cycle.
And consumers can convert these obstacles into keep-out zones through the obstacle areas feature within the history tab.
The Roomba Combo J7 front camera doesn’t have a CCTV feature, which can be good (or bad) depending on your perspective on home privacy, but this aspect makes up for it.
3. Containment [Both]
Both apps have containment features, enabling folks to block specific areas off-limits to robots.
One variance is that the Roborock app has the invisible wall feature, helping it avoid diagonal zones. In contrast, the iRobot app only has keep-out zones capable of blocking boxed and rectangular zones.
Roborock has a similar feature it calls no-go zones.
Again, one variance with iRobot’s app is consumers can automatically set these zones using the obstacle areas feature within the history tab.
4. Mapping Run [Both]
Another similarity between the Roborock and iRobot apps is the mapping run. iRobot is an early adapter of this because of the inherent limitations of its products: lack of range and boundaries of VSLAM.
iRobot’s version shuts off the vacuum motor but (still) needs to go through every nook and cranny to create the map.
Since the Roborock S7 uses LIDAR, it takes advantage of LIDAR’s 360-scanning to create the map in a fraction of the time compared to a VSLAM robot.
Again, the screenshots above are from the Roborock Q5, and the S7+ has the same feature.
5. Map Saving [Both]
These apps have map-saving features enabling consumers to save multiple levels. The iRobot app can save up to 10 levels, while the Roborock app can only save up to 4.
One advantage of the Roborock app is that it has an auto-detect feature that loads the correct map level after the initial scan.
iRobot doesn’t have this feature since it relies on a camera, so there’s no way of scanning the area.
Also, the increased size of these auto-empty base stations may discourage consumers from moving them up and down inside multi-level homes unless necessary.
6. Mopping Options
With the added mopping feature, consumers will have varied deployment options, varying between these brands.
The Roborock app has a fixed water flow setting since it has an agitation element.
And with this element, consumers can adjust at four different levels. I used the moderate (second highest), and it was enough to remove juice stains.
Another flexible option is the mop route. The standard route uses the default overlap and is best used for light-duty tasks, whereas the deep route has tighter overlaps best suited for heavier mopping needs.
The Combo J7+ has no agitating element, so consumers can only adjust the water level and the number of passes.
While the Roomba Combo J7+ and Roborock S7+ use different navigational sensors, both utilize similar patterns with some nuances.
After map creation, these products will navigate in a crisscross pattern but with some variances.
The first variance is that the Combo J7+ does it even during the default cycle, whereas the Roborock J7+ crisscross pattern is engaged during the selective room or zoned cleaning.
One plus for Roborock is it does a complete edge-cleaning run before every pass, and there’s an option for a three-pass run.
iRobot doesn’t have this complete edge cleaning cycle but makes up for it with “dirt detect,” which does extra back-and-forth passes on dirtier zones.
The Roborock S7+ was better at picking up debris during the efficiency test, leaving fewer remnants after the first pass.
Even with the massive debris quantity, its high-end cleaning dynamics enable it to be nearly as efficient as a high airflow robot like the
Several factors made it better than the Roomba Combo J7 in this category.
One is the advanced algorithm with tighter turns and overlapping passes.
Another is the side brush not spinning as rapidly, so it doesn’t scatter debris.
The Combo J7+ was decent, but there were noticeable missed spots.
Its algorithm isn’t as precise since it relies on a camera, not a laser, so there will be compromises.
Surprisingly, the Roomba Combo J7+ finished the two-pass run faster at 18 minutes compared to the Roborock S7’s time of 21 minutes.
But factoring in the missed spots and inefficient debris pick-up (at least on quaker oats), I’d give the Roborock S7+ the advantage.
Robot vacuum manufacturers are pretty vague at disclosing power figures. Most brands like Roborock use pascals, while others like iRobot don’t have any definite metric.
So I use an anemometer to measure airflow at the cleaning nozzle and compare different brands’ models.
Roomba Combo J7+
Neither of these robots is considered high airflow, but the Roborock S7+ has more, maxing at over 13 CFM compared to the Combo J7’s output of 9.8 CFM.
One thing to note is that the Combo J7’s figure is an uptick over the previous J7 model at 7.27 CFM, and a significant reason why it got higher deep cleaning scores.
Roomba Combo J7+
|Sand on hard floor|
|Carpet (Surface Pickup)|
|Carpet (Deep Cleaning)|
Two things stand out with these experiments.
First, the Roborock S7+ was better at cleaning surface debris, while the Roomba Combo J7+ did better in the deep cleaning experiments.
The latter was the difference in the scores since the S7 results were enough to drag the overall percentage down.
Which option is better on hard floors?
The Roborock S7 is better on this surface, picking up better scores overall.
And the impressive aspect is its efficiency at vacuuming debris, despite the below-average airflow.
Roborock has excellent cleaning dynamics, including the seal and improved side brush design – rotating fast enough to funnel dirt but not too fast scattering debris.
The icing on the cake (so to speak) is the sand on hard floor test, where the Roborock S7+ got (nearly) a perfect score (99.8% vs. 96.7%).
Edge Cleaning Comparison
There isn’t much variance between the Roomba Combo J7 and Roborock S7 at vacuuming edges.
Here’s a before and after shot for the Combo J7.
And the Roborock S7.
The results aren’t perfect, but for round-shaped robots, these are impressive, especially the former, since I scattered more debris.
Hair Wrap Comparison
Roomba Combo J7+
One advantage of the Roborock S7’s higher airflow is hair pick-up, with higher averages on five- and seven-inch hair.
The 42% score is terrible, but the good news is removing hair from the brush is straightforward without the bristles – most of it wrapped on the axles.
Another trouble spot is the side brush which is another hair magnet.
The Roborock S7+ was better, with barely anything wrapping on the primary brush.
And more hair wrapping after the seven-inch experiment.
Which is better on carpets?
Whereas Roborock is better on hard floors, the Roomba Combo J7 is better on carpets, picking up more sand in the deep cleaning test (88.3% vs. 78.85%), with a variance of nearly 10%, which is significant.
If there’s one reason to choose the Combo J7 over the Roborock S7, it’s this aspect.
iRobot’s counter-rotating extractors are excellent at embedded debris pick-up even with their low airflow nature, and a huge reason why it’s popular.
However, despite the gap in deep cleaning, the Roborock S7+ is better, with surface debris picking up better averages (98.9% vs. 97.97%).
The mopping performance is one deciding factor between the Roomba Combo J7 and Roborock S7.
For this category, the Roborock S7 wins because of the sonic mopping system, which has an agitating element absent in the Combo J7.
Whether you’ll want the extra agitation is the compromise I’m talking about with Roomba’s retractable mopping system.
Here’s a before and after shot of the Roborock S7+ on red wine stains.
And hard-to-clean juice stains.
Since it has a vibrating element, no stalling issue was present in the Combo J7.
Even without the extra agitation, the Combo J7 did well mopping red wine stains, but it needed two passes to remove them.
But it struggled with sticky juice stains, stalling badly before completing the first pass.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t recommend either for cleaning sticky stains because neither can pick up liquid and will leave a sticky residue afterward.
If you need a robot mop for heavy-duty mopping, consider the ILIFE W450 or the W400.
Another advantage of the Roborock S7+ is its larger battery (5200 mAh), nearly twice that of the Roomba Combo J7 (2410 mAh).
It runs further, up to 180 minutes in the lowest setting, so it’s the better option inside bigger homes.
Combined with the more proficient mapping run, the Roborock S7+ will create maps in a fraction of the time compared to the Combo J7.
iRobot doesn’t specify the Combo J7’s run time, but it’s around 60 to 80 minutes based on tests.
For the noise tests, I used a sound meter to check loudness near the robot vacuum, and here are the results.
Roomba Combo J7+
Despite having more airflow, the Roborock S7+ decibel output isn’t far off the Roomba Combo J7 (69.8 vs. 66.2 dB).
The Roborock S7 is the winner in this category because the 69.8 dB reading is in the max setting.
It’s less noisy than the Combo J7 in the lower settings, so it’s another aspect to consider.
Related Roborock and Roomba Comparisons
- Roomba vs. Roborock – Which Brand is Better?
- Roomba J7 vs. Roborock S7
- Roomba S9 vs. Roborock S5 Max
- Roborock S7 vs. Roomba S9+
Next, we’ll look at the maintenance procedures for these robot vacuums, the components to clean or replace, and more.
As with all robot vacuums, these machines need some upkeep to function at their peak for years. Moreso for these hybrid options because of the added complexity.
- Brush roll: Clean it weekly to remove dust and hair accumulation on the roller and axles to prevent unnecessary friction.
- Side brush: Like the primary brush roll, clean the side brush weekly, particularly the base where hair builds up.
- Dustbin: Check the dirt container monthly and clean any accumulation inside and around the lip.
- Filter: Clean the filter bi-monthly by tapping it on a solid surface to dislodge dust on the folds.
- Drop sensors: Wipe it monthly using a clean towel or microfiber cloth to remove dust build-up.
- Robot vacuum: Wipe the robot vacuum body using a clean microfiber towel to remove any dust accumulation on the surface and underneath.
- Wheels: Clean the wheels (caster and side wheels) using a slightly damp paper towel or cloth to remove any dust or gunk on the surface.
- Base station: Ensure the auto-empty port is clear of any blockages that could affect the self-emptying cycle.
- Bag: Dispose of the bag once it’s full. Consumers will need to visually check it since neither of these vacuums has a sensor that accurately alerts consumers.
iRobot is the king of this category because of its popularity in the market for decades.
Roborock is catching up, but the parts availability from third-party manufacturers isn’t up to par with iRobot.
Plus, the Roomba Combo J7 shares similar components as the J7, I6, and I3, so there’s even more availability.
Roomba Combo J7+
Washable E11 Rated Air Filter
|Recharge and Resume|
|Number of Maps|
|Auto empty capacity|
|Water tank capacity|
approx. 100 ml
9.8 CFM (Max)
The Roomba Combo J7+ and Roborock S7+ are available in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.
- Roborock S7+ (robot + dock) on Amazon
- Roborock S7 (robot only) on Amazon
- Roborock S7 Auto Empty Dock on Amazon
- Roomba Combo J7+ on Amazon
Disclaimer: I will earn a commission if you purchase through any of the links above, but at no extra cost, so it’s a win-win for us!
While these products are similar, several critical variances could be deciding factors.
The first is whether to opt for the more efficient agitating mopping element of the Roborock S7 or the Combo J7’s retractable pad.
Each has its benefits, but there will be compromises. The Roborock S7’s sonic mopping feature will remove stains more efficiently, but the mop lift feature does little to avoid carpet since there’s only a slight lift.
It has a carpet sensor to counteract this, but it’s not perfect, as the robot will (still) go over carpets.
The Roomba Combo J7’s retractable pad makes it better at carpet avoidance since the pad is out of the way, but there’s no agitation element, and it will struggle with heavy stains.
Another deciding factor is the cleaning performance – Roborock is better with surface debris, especially on hard floors.
In contrast, the Roomba Combo J7 is better with embedded dirt, thanks to the counter-rotating extractors and “dirt detect.”
5 Reasons to Choose the Roborock J7+
- More efficient mopping: The sonic system has an agitating element, making this variant more proficient at removing stains.
- Proper mapping run: Roborock maximizes LIDAR’s 360-scanning ability to create maps in a fraction of the time compared to a camera-based robot.
- More proficient pick-up: This product offers better cleaning dynamics, evidenced by its surface debris pick-up.
- Larger auto-empty port: A bigger port makes the self-emptying process more efficient.
- Better app: The Roborock app has more useful features like the live map, invisible wall, and more, helping consumers maximize this product’s autonomy.
4 Reasons to Choose the Roomba Combo J7+
- Avoids carpets better: The retractable pad helps the Combo J7+ avoid carpets (completely) during the hybrid run.
- Premium-level obstacle avoidance: This variant retains the J7 series’ high-end obstacle-avoiding capabilities and is the only one I’ve tested that can evade stretched wires and pet feces.
- Better deep cleaning performance: The Combo J7’s counter-rotating extractors and dirt detection sensor enables it to deep clean carpet better than the Roborock S7.
- More parts availability: iRobot’s popularity ensures the availability of parts, even obscure ones like drop sensors.
Outside the Combo J7’s incredible obstacle avoidance and deep cleaning performance, the Roborock S7 is better in nearly every (other) aspect.
It’s more efficient at debris pick up, especially on hard floors where it excels with the sonic mopping technology.
So while the Combo J7 had better deep cleaning scores, the S7+ trumps it in other surface debris tests, even hair.
Combining that with the more extended range, better app features, and highly efficient mapping run, I’d recommend the Roborock S7+ over the newer Roomba Combo J7+.
If obstacle avoidance is top-priority, consider the cheaper Roomba J7+ without the retractable mop. Otherwise, the S7+ is the better option.