Roomba Comparison Chart: 11 Models Compared and Tested

Roomba Comparison

Roomba products evolved through the years, and for this comparison, we’ll be comparing the latest models in their product line – the 615, 675, 690, E5, I3, I4, 960, 980, I7, S9, and the new J7+.

Specific model ranges like the 700 and 800 series options are no longer in production.

Here’s an overview of all Roombas in this comparison (675 vs. 690 vs. E5 vs. I3+ vs. I4+ vs. I6+ vs. I7+ vs. S9+ vs. J7+)

Entry-level Roomba options

All robots in this category don’t have smart navigation. It only pinballs around in a random direction.

The options here are split into two groups – 600-series and E-series. 600-series Roombas are equipped with the rubber and bristle combo.

In contrast, E-series robots have newer rubber extractors that require less maintenance.

Roomba 614

Roomba 614
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Random
  • Battery life: 90 mins.
  • Filtration: Standard
  • Dirt Capacity: 300 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No

Roomba 675

Roomba 675
  • Airflow: 9 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Random
  • Battery life: 90 mins.
  • Filtration: Standard
  • Dirt Capacity: 300 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No
  • Deep Cleaning: 83%

Roomba 690

Roomba 690
  • Airflow: 8.2 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Random
  • Battery life: 90 mins.
  • Filtration: Standard
  • Dirt Capacity: 300 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No
  • Deep Cleaning: 85.16%

Roomba E5

Roomba E5
  • Airflow: 6.98 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Random
  • Battery life: 90 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 500 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No
  • Deep Cleaning: 89.66%

Mid-Level Options

Next in the hierarchy are the 900-series robots. There are three options, I3, 960, and 980. Currently, only the 960 is being sold on the iRobot website, while the 980 isn’t. 

All three robots traverse in straight lines, but only the 960 and 980 have the top-mounted camera, while the I3 relies on a floor tracking sensor.

The I3 (“plus” variant) offers the “Clean Base” station, which saves users time because it automatically empties the bin for you.

However, it’s more expensive than the non-plus variant, which is its biggest con.

Another sub-model is available – the I4+. It’s similar to the I3+ with features but with a different color scheme and accessories.

Roomba 960

Roomba 960
  • Airflow: 9.33 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Battery life: 75 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 600 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: Yes
  • Deep Cleaning: 85.6%
  • Map Saving: No
  • Auto Empty: No

Roomba 980

  • Airflow: 19.24 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Battery life: 120 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 600 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No
  • Deep Cleaning: 91.9%
  • Map Saving: No
  • Auto Empty: No

Roomba I3+

Roomba I3+
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Battery life: 90 mins.
  • Filtration: Standard
  • Dirt Capacity: 300 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: No
  • Map Saving: No
  • Auto Empty: Yes

High-End Options

These are the top-spec Roomba options, and there are three available: I6I7, and S9.

These robots are the most expensive but have all the bells and whistles.

Each has VSLAM and the “Smart Imprint” feature – it can save up to 10 map levels.

The Roomba I6 and I7 are similar products with the same motor, extractors, side brush, and navigation. Both products are the same robot but with a slightly different color scheme and accessories.

You won’t see the Roomba I6+ on the iRobot website since it’s an Amazon exclusive product – part of iRobot’s marketing, I’m guessing.

Recently, iRobot launched its latest product, the Roomba J9+, with a front-facing camera, helping it avoid obstacles.

I’m haven’t tested the J7+, so I cannot comment on its performance or obstacle avoiding capabilities, but I’ll update this article once I’m with the review.

Roomba I6+

  • Airflow: 8.2 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Obstacle avoidance: No
  • Battery life: 75 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 400 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: Yes
  • Deep Cleaning: 82.5%
  • Map Saving: Yes
  • Auto Empty: Yes

Roomba I7+

Roomba I7+
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Obstacle avoidance: No
  • Battery life: 75 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 400 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: Yes
  • Map Saving: Yes
  • Auto Empty: Yes

Roomba S9+

Roomba S9+
  • Airflow: 22 CFM
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Obstacle avoidance: No
  • Battery life: 75 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: 500 ml
  • Recharge and Resume: Yes
  • Deep Cleaning: 93%
  • Map Saving: Yes
  • Auto Empty: Yes

Roomba J7+

Roomba J7+
  • Side Brush: Yes
  • Navigation: Neat Rows
  • Obstacle avoidance: Yes
  • Battery life: 75 mins.
  • Filtration: High-Efficiency
  • Dirt Capacity: N/A
  • Recharge and Resume: Yes
  • Map Saving: Yes
  • Auto Empty: Yes

Similarities between iRobot Roomba robots

1. Counter-Rotating Brushes

Roomba I3 vs I6 vs S9 brush and shape

All Roomba products come equipped with counter-rotating brushes.

This feature has been a staple for all their products since the earlier generation 500-series robots.

The difference is that newer Roomba options have bristle-less rubber extractors, whereas the older options (600 series) have a squeegee and bristle combo.

View underneath the Roomba 675 and 690

This combination has been proven in tests to clean carpets well.

The Roomba 690, even with its below-average airflow, was still able to pick up around a tidy 85.16% in deep cleaning tests with 100 grams of sand on mid-pile carpet.

2. Dirt Detect

Roomba 980 dirt detect system at work.

Roomba products do so well in cleaning tests because the dirt detect system instructs the robot to focus on dirtier areas.

For instance, the 690 will go in a spiral motion around zones with more debris. Newer models like the I7 and S9 will do an extra back-and-forth pass.

3. Single Side Brush

Currently, all Roomba robots come with a single side brush. The design from the 614 to the I7 remains the same – three prongs with white bristled tips.

Roomba S9 vs 980 side brush comparison

However, iRobot changed the design with the S9 due to the change in shape, where it used a five-pronged brush with shorter bristles.

You can see the how the difference in the photo above. The Roomba S9+ has a smaller diameter side brush versus the 980s longer pronged version.

I like the Roomba S9+ side brush better since it’s at an optimal position for cleaning edges. And you’ll see later on how much better it is at cleaning edges.

4. Round Shape

Roomba Shape

Except for the S-series robots, all Roomba products have a round shape. Even the latest I3 robot retains this shape as used by earlier models.

I prefer the square front of the Roomba S9 because of its superior cleaning on the edges. It has the broadest brush of all Roomba products, which is a big reason it does well picking up debris on corners and edges.

5. Availability of Parts

Finding components for Roomba products won’t be a problem.

It’s undoubtedly a significant factor in why iRobot is so popular. Not only will you find consumables like filter or brushes but also harder-to-find components like the battery, side brush motor, wheel assembly, and more.

It doesn’t matter if you live in North America, Europe, or Asia.

You can find these components in stores like Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Lazada, and more.

As long as you do your due diligence with cleaning and maintenance, these robots will last a long time.

6. Warranty

All Roomba products come with a one-year warranty from iRobot. If you buy these products from stores like Amazon, you can avail of extended coverage.

But I don’t think that’s needed since these robots are easy to maintain and clean with their modular design where most of the components are easily accessible.

Differences between iRobot Roomba robots

1. Power/Airflow

Since iRobot doesn’t disclose suction figures (in PA), I used an anemometer to measure airflow directly at the nozzle.

Here are the results:

  • Roomba 675: 8.37 CFM
  • Roomba 690: 8.2 CFM
  • Roomba E5: 6.98 CFM
  • Roomba 960: 9.33 CFM
  • Roomba 980: 19.74 CFM (max setting)
  • Roomba I3+: 7.27 CFM
  • Roomba I6+: 8.2 CFM
  • Roomba S9+: 25 CFM (max setting)

You can see in the list above that only the Roomba 980 and S9+ have high airflow (above 17 CFM), while the other variants are fall in the sub-10 range.

The cleaning results further confirm the variance, where the S9 and 980 scored the highest averages on surface and deep cleaning experiments.

2. Navigation

Earlier generation Roomba products like the 614, 675, 690, 860, 890, and E5 utilize a standard algorithm, which moves randomly.

It pinballs around until the battery goes down to 20% and then recharges. These models don’t have recharge and resume, so they won’t resume cleaning until you press the clean button.

The first Roomba with smart navigation is the 980 model with its onboard camera and SLAM algorithm.

Unlike the older Roomba options, it runs in neat back and forth rows and has recharge and resume, so it’ll resume where it left off after recharging if it didn’t finish the task previously.

However, it doesn’t have the smart imprint technology, so it won’t save the map or have advanced features like the keep-out zones and virtual wall that enable users to block the robot from off-limit areas virtually (through the app).

Newer models like the Roomba I7 and S9 have map saving (up to 10) and set off-limit zones. You can see the location of the robot in real-time through the iRobot Home app.

Here’s a summary of the terminology iRobot uses for each generation and what it means.

Adaptive Navigation [Roomba 614, 675, 690, E5]

It’s the most basic navigation utilized by older Roomba models. The robot will traverse in a random direction and relies on a series of sensors around and underneath to avoid obstacles and no fall off cliff points.

iAdapt 2.0 [Roomba 960 and 980]

Roomba utilizes a top-mounted camera to scan and pinpoint its location. It cleans in neat rows, so it’s more efficient.

It has “recharge and resume” that automatically resumes cleaning if it didn’t finish the task previously.

However, it can’t save maps. Users will not have access to convenience features like selective room cleaning and keep-out zones.

iAdapt 3.0 [Roomba I7+ and S9+]

A step up iAdapt 2.0. Roomba will remember and save the map. This feature unlocks advanced features like selective room/area cleaning, keep-out zones, and more.

3. WIFI, Compatibility with Alexa and Google Assistant

Not all Roomba robots have WIFI, and these include the 614 and 860 models.

Other variants like the 675, 690, 890, E5, 960, 980, I3, I4, I6, I7, and S9 have WIFI and are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Also, users will have access to the redesigned iRobot Home App, but features will vary between models.

4. Keep Out Zones and No Go Zones

Roomba S9 keep out zones

Only Roomba products with the Smart Imprint feature have access to the keep-out zones.

This feature will prevent the robot from going into off-limit areas. Instead of using a physical barrier, you can use virtual walls to speak through the app.

Unfortunately, the iRobot app doesn’t have an invisible wall feature that’s a staple in their LIDAR competitors, namely Roborock, Dreame, and Wyze.

5. Automatic Dirt Disposal

Roomba ramp

iRobot pioneered the self-emptying feature, and currently, it’s been a staple with the latest releases – Roomba I3+, I4+, I6+, I6+, S9+, and J7+.

These models’ “plus” version has a self-emptying dock with a ramp that offers better stability versus options with vertical ports.

All three options have a specialized charging dock with a second vacuum that empties the robot’s dust container when it docks.

It has a bagged system capable of storing an equivalent of 30 bin fulls for dirt. iRobot says the bag will last for 30 days. However, that may vary depending on the size of your home and the frequency of runs.

6. Dimension

Unlike the Neato BotVac, Roomba robots vary in their dimensions.

For instance, the Roomba I7 measures 13.34 inches in diameter. In contrast, the S9 is narrower – only 12.25 wide, so it fits more spaces.

The older Roomba 690 is wider than the I7 and S9 at around 13.5 inches.

7. Run Time

Roomba products will have varying run times.

Roomba ModelBattery CapacityRun Time
Roomba J7+221090 mins.
Roomba S93600 mAh75 mins.
Roomba I61800 mAh75 mins.
Roomba 9803600 mAh120 mins.
Roomba 9601800 mAh75 mins.
Roomba I3+1800 mAh75 mins.
Roomba E51800 mAh75 mins.
Roomba 6901800 mAh90 mins.
Roomba 6751800 mAh90 mins.
Roomba 6141800 mAh90 mins.

The Roomba 980 has the longest run time at 120 minutes thanks to its large capacity lithium-ion battery (3600 mAh).

Unfortunately, the S9+ doesn’t run as long, only 75 minutes, since it uses a more powerful motor that drains the battery faster.

If you use the max setting, that number further goes down to 45 minutes.

Please note that Roombas with the newer iAdapt navigation [960, 980, I3, I6, I7, S9, J7] have recharge and resume, meaning it will resume cleaning after recharging.

So run time shouldn’t be an issue with these robots except for large homes.

8. Brush roll

While all Roomba products use two counter-rotating brushes, there are variations. Older models such as the 614, 675, and 690 all utilize a rubber and bristle combo.

Roomba 675 counter rotating brushes

iRobot upgraded the 800 series robots’ design, putting in rubber extractors that didn’t have bristles.

iRobot utilized the same extractors in the 900 series and upgraded them further in the newer I and S-series robots with deeper grooves.

Roomba I6 Plus Extractors

The Roomba S9 has the widest brush of all Roomba products that spans the width of the robot.

Roomba S9 extractors close up

Its position at the front and broadness makes it the most efficient with how much dirt it vacuums per pass.

9. Dust bin capacity

The dust bin capacity will vary between the Roomba models. Options with the largest volume are the 960 and 980 – at around 600 ml.

In contrast, the 600 Series robots (614, 675, and 690) have the smallest – only 300ml.

Dust bin opening of the Roomba 675 and 690

The E5 and I3 have the next largest capacity after the 900 series at 500ml.

Roomba E5 dustbin close up inside

The Roomba E5 dustbin.

Roomba 960 and 980 dustbin

Roomba 960 and 980 dustbin

Lastly, the I6, I7, and S9 can hold 400 and 500ml of dirt, respectively.

Roomba I6 dustbin

Roomba I6+ dustbin.

Again, dust bin size doesn’t matter much for Roombas with the “auto dirt disposal system” because a second vacuum in the dock will empty it when it recharges.

Roomba I6 Auto Empty Station

So it frees you up from this task after every run. The bags incur an additional cost, but I think it’s worth it for the time savings.

Cleaning performance comparison

Another difference between these robots is their cleaning performance.

First, let’s look at the results.

Roomba ModelOverallHard Floors (Surface Test)Sand on Hard FloorCarpet (Surface Test)Deep Cleaning
67593.58%96.15%94.1%99%85.1%
69094.25%97.55%96.4%97.92%85.16%
69492.53%96.3%96.8%96.85%80.2%
E596.17%99%98.7297.3%89.66%
96093.92%96.15%96.87%97.06%85.6%
98097.65%99.35%100%99.35%91.9%
I3+92.39%95.3%95.5%96.22%84.7%
I6+93.97%97.57%98.26%97.55%82.5%
J7+94.45%96.65%98.46%96.92%85.75%
S9+97.93%99.5%100%99.25%93%

One issue with early-generation variants like the Roomba 675 or even the E5 is the rapid spinning side brush that scatters debris to a larger radius.

Combine it with random navigation, and you’ll see why these robots don’t clean as well as later-generation options [960 and later].

Deep cleaning results are a good indicator of airflow variance, and only the Roomba S9 and 980 picked up above 90%.

Not a surprise since these variants have the highest airflow of the bunch.

Other options with low airflow weren’t bad, picking up in the 80s, a decent score for a robot, and better than other brands with comparable airflow.

This is where the counter-rotating extractors and dirt detect come into play, as these features help pick up debris, especially on carpet.

Roomba products are also decent on hard floors. However, the rear exhaust tends to blow around fluffier stuff like pet hair.  It is more prevalent in earlier options like the 690.

Lower-end options (600 and E series) won’t do as well at deep cleaning carpet since it lacks airflow.

Which is best on hard floors?

No question the Roomba S9 and 980 stood out in this category.

The high airflow and predictable navigation helped it pick up more debris than any variant on this list.

These are the only two options that got a 100% score in the sand on hard floor test.- a good barometer for airflow on hard floors.

Edge cleaning comparison

The Roomba S9+ is the best option of all the Roomba products thanks to its square front, relocated side brush, wide cleaning path, and high airflow.

Roomba S9 edge cleaning

Its broad extractors and side brush placement make it very efficient at cleaning this area.

Other variants will also do well but won’t be as efficient as the Roomba S9.

First, we’ll look at Roomba I6+ before and after edge cleaning shots.

Roomba I6 edge cleaning

Then the Roomba I3+

Roomba I3 edge cleaning

The Roomba 960 did slightly worst, leaving more debris.

Roomba 960 edge cleaning

Next, we’ll look at the Roomba 980, which had the same results as the 960.

Roomba 980 edge cleaning results

The Roomba E5, despite its random navigation, wasn’t too far off the Roomba 960 and 980.

Roomba E5 edge cleaning

Which is the best Roomba on carpet?

The Roomba models that stand out cleaning this surface are the Roomba 980 and s9, which isn’t a surprise since both have the highest airflow of the bunch.

These variants picked up the highest score on surface and deep cleaning results, making them the best options for cleaning this surface.

There are several factors to consider, and the first is navigation.

While the Roomba 980 has smart navigation, it lacks imprint smart mapping, so it can’t save maps.

Without it, users won’t have access to keep out zones.

The subsequent omission is the clean base station, which means consumers will have to empty the dustbin manually.

And the last deciding factor is the price. The Roomba S9+ is currently iRobot’s most expensive option and several hundred more costly than the 980.

Are you willing to spend on it?

Which Roomba is best for cleaning hair?

Again, the Roomba S9+ is the best at cleaning hair strands, picking up the highest averages with five and seven-inch hair.

Roomba Model
675
690
E5
960
960
I3+
I6+
S9+
5-inch strands
0%
0%
40%
<15%
100%
58%
100%
81%
7-inch strands
0%
0%
40%
<15%
N/A
40%
54%
82%

You’ll notice with these scores that the older Roomba variants with the bristled brush did poorly, barely picking anything.

Most hair strands are stuck on the bristled part of the rollers, and I wouldn’t recommend any Roomba option with this type of brush for cleaning pet hair.

Roomba 675 hair wrap test

Best at Avoiding Obstacles: Roomba J7+

Roomba J7 w/ clean base station

Pros

  • Avoids objects (including pet feces): The Roomba J7+ is the first Roomba with a front-facing camera, helping it avoid obstacles.
  • Self-emptying feature: The “plus” variant comes with a clean base station that empties the dustbin for you.
  • Holds up to 60 days worth of debris: iRobot says one bag can hold up to 60 days worth of trash.

Cons

  • Expensive: It’s only slightly cheaper than the S9+ despite note having the same cleaning performance.
  • Sub-par airflow: iRobot says that the J7+ has up to 10x more power than the 600-series robots, which is the same claim as the I-series robots. So it still lags behind the S9+.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/25/2021 06:03 am GMT

The Roomba J7+ is iRobot’s latest product and its first with obstacle avoidance technology.

iRobot calls this “PrecisionVision,” and it comes with a bold claim – it will avoid poop, or they’ll replace it for free.

And after testing it extensively, it works! The front-facing camera and laser sensor enables it to avoid wires and pet feces better than any robot vacuum I’ve tested.

It’s better than the Roborock S6 MaxV, Dreame Z10, Ecovacs N8 Pro, and T8 AIVI.

Other than PrecisionVision, the J7+ comes with improved automation through iRobot Genius, where it learns your habits and offers a personalized schedule based on these.

The robot has a similar design to the Roomba I6+/I7+, and according to iRobot, it has the same power output.

It retains the same brush layout as the I-series robots, so iRobot regressed to the round frame.

Roomba J7 underneath

However, iRobot reworked the clean base station. It still offers the 2.5-liter bag, but the J7+ base station has storage slots for extra bags, which is a nice touch.

Bottom line

The Roomba J7+ will have the same performance as the I6 and I7 since it has the same specs.

But with the advanced obstacle avoidance system should avoid objects better than any other Roomba in this list.

iRobot offers a P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise), but it’s only applicable to dry cat and dog feces.

If obstacle avoidance is a high priority and you don’t mind paying the extra high cost, the J7+ can be an excellent option.

Best Overall: Roomba S9+

Roomba S9

Pros

  • Outstanding at cleaning floors: The Roomba S9+ scored the highest averages in the cleaning tests.
  • Smart imprint navigation: This technology enables the S9+ to save up to 10 map levels and unlocks several features such as selective room cleaning and keep-out zones.
  • Wide extractors: The square front of the S9+ increases its efficiency, especially cleaning edges where it picks up better than other Roomba options.
  • Auto-empty: This feature is available in the “plus” version and automatically empties the robot’s dust bin after each run.
  • Excellent for pet hair: Another benefit of the broader extractors and higher airflow is its ability to resist tangles. Again it picked up the highest averages with five and seven-inch strands.
  • Recharge and resume: Automatically recommences cleaning if it doesn’t cover the whole area in the previous cycle.

Cons

  • Very expensive: The cost of an S9+ is equivalent to buying three or four high-end Dyson upright vacuums.
  • Short run time: It runs for only 75 minutes in the lowest setting. If you use the max, that number goes down to 45 mins.
  • No mopping: No Roomba products have a mopping option like the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV. You’ll need to buy an iRobot Braava, which is an added cost.

The S9+ is the most expensive Roomba option, but it’s one of its best options when you factor in navigation, cleaning performance, containment features, and convenience.

It may not have the mopping capabilities of a Viomi V3 or a Roborock S5 Max, but it’s very good at what it does, which is vacuuming debris on floors.

This model is a complete ground-up redesign from the Roomba I7+. Gone is the round frame all Roomba products utilize before the S9.

I never thought iRobot would utilize a design similar to their main competitor, Neato, but their version is unique in many ways.

First, the S9+ utilizes counter-rotating brushes that are wider, giving it better agitation on carpets.

If you compare the high-end Neato D7 and Roomba S9+, the latter has better pick-up scores in embedded sand tests.

Second, the dirt-detect technology iRobot employs forces the robot to focus on the dirty area – another reason why Roomba does well on carpets.

Lastly, it has the auto-empty feature not found in any of the Neato robots, freeing up the task of manually emptying the dust container.

Bottom line

The Roomba S9+ is currently the best Roomba option for vacuuming debris. It offers superior performance over the other variants (except for the 980) at cleaning various surfaces.

But the high-powered motor does come at a cost, and that’s the shorter run time (between 45 and 75 mins). 

So the question is, are you willing to spend on it?

Cheaper than the S9+: Roomba I7+ (or I6+)

Roomba I6

Pros

  • Less expensive than the S9+: An excellent option for folks who want to enjoy the benefits of an S9+ without having to spend four figures on a robot.
  • Smart navigation: The I7+ retains the smart navigating features and map saving capabilities of the S9+
  • Empties the bin automatically: A second vacuum inside the charging base will clean the dust container’s contents.
  • Still excellent at cleaning carpet: The I7’s lower airflow makes it inferior with deep cleaning, but it’s still decent, picking up a high percentage with embedded sand.

Cons

  • Still expensive: Even if it’s cheaper than the S9+, the I7+ is still more costly than most robot vacuums out there.
  • Not as good cleaning the edges: The round shape of the I7 hampers its ability to clean edges versus the S9. It’s still decent but not as efficient in this area.
  • Fast spinning side brush: One issue with round-shaped Roombas is the fast-spinning side brush that scatters debris.

Another Roomba option with the “Clean Base” station is the Roomba I7+.

Like the S9+, it empties the dustbin automatically after every run.

It has the same iAdapt 3.0 navigation, so not only will it draw maps, but it also saves them.

But the most significant difference between the S9 and I7 is cleaning dynamics.

The I7 (or I6) retains the round frame found in most Roomba products, while the S9 has the D-shaped body.

One issue with the round frame is it won’t be as efficient. I’ve mentioned earlier that the Roomba S9+ is the most efficient vacuuming robot I’ve tested, which is the case comparing these two.

What’s the difference between the Roomba I7 and I6?

You’ll notice I mentioned the I6 earlier, and I’ll expound on the difference between it and the I7.

There isn’t much with product specifications as both use the same motor, battery, and extractors.

But the I7 is costlier since it comes with more accessories, like the extra filter and side brush.

Don’t expect much difference in performance because these are essentially the same robots aside from some cosmetic variances.

Bottom line

If the Roomba S9+ is too costly, the I7+ or I6+ would be good alternatives.

No, it won’t clean as well as S9+, especially on carpet, but it’s a few hundred dollars cheaper and has many of the same features.

Cheapest Auto-Empty Option: Roomba I3+ (or I4+)

Roomba I3 front view

Pros

  • Least expensive with “Clean Base” station: The I3+ offers consumers a more affordable Roomba with the self-emptying feature.
  • Cleans in neat rows: Despite not having VSLAM, the I3 navigates in efficient rows thanks to its floor tracking sensor similar to the Roborock E4.
  • Decent bin capacity: The I3 can hold up to 500 ml of dry dirt.
  • Recharge and resume: Like the I7 and S9, the I3 has recharge and resume, making it the cheapest hands-free option if combined with the auto-empty system.

Cons

  • No iAdapt 3.0 navigation: This robot doesn’t have the onboard camera found in the I7 – users won’t have access to no-go zones or selective room cleaning.
  • Can’t save maps: The I3 won’t save maps as it lacks a camera or VSLAM.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
06/11/2022 02:35 am GMT

The Roomba I3+ is iRobot’s least expensive auto-empty option.

One feature it lacks is the top-mounted camera and VSLAM, so it can’t pinpoint its location or save maps.

But it retains the optical sensor underneath, plus it has gyroscopes, helping it traverse in straight lines, unlike the Roomba E5 that navigates randomly.

My preference between the Roomba E5 and I3 would be the latter because it’s more efficient.

The navigation makes a considerable difference plus the self-emptying feature adds the convenience aspect missing with the E5.

Cleaning performance is at par with the Roomba I6+ based on my tests. There isn’t much difference between these variants with debris pick up.

Bottom line

iRobot introduced the I3+ to compete with other budget brands like the Shark IQ.

However, it doesn’t have SLAM and a top-mounted camera, so it can’t track its location and save maps.

So it’s limited in this category, but if you don’t mind the commission, it’s a better option than the random navigating E5.

Smart Navigating, Can’t Save Maps: Roomba 960

Pros

  • An excellent option for carpets: The 960 is one of the better Roomba options for cleaning carpets. It picked up an average of 85.6% in the deep cleaning tests – better than the I7.
  • Large dirt capacity: The Roomba 960 and 980 have the largest capacity dirt volume of all the options here at 0.6 liters.
  • Cheapest option with smart navigation: This model is the least expensive with the top-mounted camera and VSLAM, so it moves around in straight lines.
  • Recharge and resume: Along with the I3, the 960 is the cheapest Roomba with recharge and resume.

Cons

  • Weak airflow: With around 9.33 CFM airflow, the 960 doesn’t clean hard floors like other Roomba options with higher airflow like the S9 and 980.
  • Can’t save maps: The 960 only has iAdapt 2.0, which means you can’t save the maps.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/24/2022 12:00 am GMT

The Roomba 960 is a “lite” version of the Roomba 980 with less airflow and a smaller battery. These downgrades affect its cleaning performance and range.

I tested the 960 extensively and found it a notch below the 980 in both cleaning surface and embedded dirt.

For instance, the Roomba 980 picked up 100% of sand on hard surfaces and 91.9% in the deep cleaning tests – higher than the 960’s score of 97.06% and 85.6%, respectively.

It only has iAdapt 2.0 that has the top-mounted camera enabling this robot to traverse in straight lines. But it doesn’t have the smart imprint technology, so you can’t save any plans.

You also won’t have access to the in-app containment features like no-go zones and keep-out zones.

Bottom line

The Roomba 960 is a decent mid-priced Roomba option with above-average cleaning performance on carpet.

But it lacks Imprint Smart Mapping, so it cannot save maps, and users won’t have access features like keep out zones.

Better Value Than the 960: Roomba 980

Top view of the Roomba 980

Pros

  • High-airflow: With over 19 CFM, the 980 can clean various debris types – surface or embedded.
  • Excellent at cleaning embedded dirt: It picked up 91.9% on average in deep cleaning tests – one of the best robot vacuums at such.
  • Large dustbin: It can hold up to 600 ml of dry dirt.
  • Great for hard floors: Another benefit of the high airflow is its pick-up on hard floors.

Cons

  • Can’t save maps: It lacks Imprint Smart Mapping, so it can’t save maps.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/25/2021 06:25 am GMT

The Roomba 980 is an underrated option that doesn’t make many “best robot vacuum” lists.

It has more power than the 960 (more than double the airflow), which cleans more debris with better efficiency.

This high airflow shows itself during cleaning tests, where it scored one of the highest marks of any robot vacuum I’ve tested – better across the board than the 960.

I’m not sure why iRobot isn’t promoting this model on their website over the 960 since it’s the better-performing product.

The Roomba 981 and 985, in specific seasons, are cheaper than the 960. If you can find it at a lower cost, it’s a no-brainer decision for me.

Bottom line

The Roomba 980 is a better option than the 960 since it offers better performance for around the same price.

It lacks the self-emptying feature of the Roomba I3+ and I6+. But it cleans as well as the S9+ for a fraction of the cost.

A Step Above the 600 Series: Roomba E5

Roomba E5 top

 

Pros

  • Resists tangles better: The rubber extractors in the E5 is the same one found in the I7 and I3 that resists knots better than the more traditional brushes in the 600 series.
  • 5-liter dirt capacity: The Roomba E5 dust container is larger than the Roomba 675 or 690. It’ll cover a larger area before you have to empty it.
  • Washable dust container: You can wash the E5 dust bin under running water thanks to the relocated motor.
  • Excellent on carpets: Rubber extractors enable this robot to pick up embedded dirt on carpets better (89.66%) than the Roomba 675 (85.1%) or 690 (85.16%).

Cons

  • Inefficient navigation: This Roomba lacks the intelligent navigating algorithm of more premium options (960, 980, I7, and S9), so it just pinballs around.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
06/11/2022 02:45 am GMT

The Roomba E5 is an upgrade over the 675, with the rubber extractors and a larger dust container.

Roomba E5 extractors

These upgrades address some issues with the 675 and 690 – hair tangles and small dirt capacity.

And you don’t need to pay a hefty premium for it. If you buy it from Amazon, you’ll only have to pay just a little extra for these upgrades.

As long as it’s under $300, the E5 is a better buy than the 675.

The rubber extractors will resist tangles better, and the dustbin holds close to 50% more dirt versus the 675.

Roomba E5 dustbin

Unfortunately, it retains the same random navigating pattern, so don’t expect it to be efficient.

But the upgraded brush and airflow should give this robot better overall performance on carpets or hard surfaces.

Bottom line

The Roomba E5 adds a high-end touch to its entry-level features with the rubber extractors.

It won’t navigate efficiently like the I3, I6, or S9, but the upgrades with the brush make it a better option for cleaning hair.

Entry-Level Options: Roomba 675 and 690

Pros

  • Great on carpets: Both robot vacuums are excellent at deep cleaning carpet.
  • Thorough navigation: The standard algorithm may be random, but it will cover the whole area with only a few missed spots.

Cons

  • Side brush spins too fast: One big issue with the 675 and 690 is the fast-spinning side brush that spins too rapidly. In numerous tests, it scattered large piles of debris.
  • Hair magnet: The bristle part of the brush is prone to hair wrapping on it. I wouldn’t recommend this model for pet owners.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/22/2022 03:07 am GMT

I put these two models together because both are virtually the same robots. Each has the same motor, battery, brush, and dustbin capacity.

There are variances in the color scheme and dust bin latch, but those are just cosmetic.

The Roomba 675 and 690 will traverse in the same way, and both will struggle with hair (pet or human) because the more traditional brush design is a magnet for those types of debris.

One thing with Roomba products, regardless of price, is how good it is to clean carpet.

The 690 and 675 were excellent at picking up embedded sand on mid-pile carpet (85.16% and 85.1%, respectively).

These scores are in the upper echelon for robot vacuums and are a good reason why these models are popular.

The 690 is no longer available on the iRobot website, and the 675 replaces it as their flagship entry-level option.

Bottom line

Consumers looking for an entry-level Roomba without the bells should consider the 675 or 690. It’s iRobot’s least expensive robot vacuum option.

However, it only has the standard navigation, which means it’ll only pinball around. It will not remember maps nor has recharge and resume, so it’s just a basic robot.

Most Basic: Roomba 614

Pros

  • Least expensive option: The 614 is the cheapest and the most basic Roomba option.
  • Cleans carpets well: The 600 series robots are excellent at cleaning this type of surface with dirt detect and counter-rotating extractors.

Cons

  • No WIFI or App: Users cannot access the iRobot Home App. You’ll have to push the “Clean” button on the robot to engage the default cleaning cycle.
  • Inefficient navigation: Like the 675 and 690 above, the 614 will transverse randomly.
  • Terrible for cleaning hair: Don’t expect the 614 to clean hair well since most strands will wrap on the brush.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
06/11/2022 04:40 am GMT

Lastly, in this comparison, we’ll have a look at the most basic Roomba option – the 614. It’s the most basic alternative iRobot has to offer.

This model doesn’t have WIFI, so users will not have access to the iRobot Home App.

It moves around like the 675 and 690 – in a random direction. All 600 series robots use the same rubber and bristle brush, so cleaning performance will not be far off.

Bottom line

The Roomba 614 is the most basic Roomba option, and it doesn’t even have WIFI, so taper your expectations.

If you don’t mind not having access to the iRobot Home app, it’s an excellent cheap alternative that I’d recommend in tiny homes with lots of carpets.

Where can I buy these Roomba robots?

You can buy these robots in online stores like Amazon and Walmart. Please click on the links to check the latest prices.

Disclaimer: I’ll earn a commission when you purchase through any of the links above, but at no extra cost to you, so it’s a win-win for both of us.

Are Roombas worth the money?

Yes, Roombas are expensive relative to the features you’ll get from other brands. However, it has two features other robots don’t have, which I think is worth paying extra.

These are the dirt-detect and the dual brush system. Since iRobot has a patent on these features, other brands won’t be able to copy them. And based on tests, it’s what makes iRobot products great, especially at cleaning carpets.

Another reason Roombas are worth the money is the aftermarket support.

You can purchase virtually any spare part, even for older models.

The modular design makes replacing components like the battery, side brush motor, and side wheels easy. You can even buy hard-to-find parts like drop sensors on eBay.

The sheer availability of these components makes Roomba products an ideal option if you’re looking for a robot vacuum for the long term.

Do Roombas make noise?

Unfortunately, Roomba products are some of the noisier options than other brands like Roborock. For instance, the Roomba 980 went over the 74-decibel mark, which is Dyson territory.

The Roomba 690, even with the low airflow, produced over 65 decibels.

It’s a trade-off you should consider, as Roombas will clean floors very well.

How does Roomba handle bumps and rugs?

Roomba products don’t have much climbing ability. I tested it on five and eight-inch rugs.

It was able to go over the shorter five-inch rugs, but going over the thicker eight-inch rug is a struggle – it has to approach at the right angle.

You may also want to remove light area rugs or use the keep-out zones (only available with the S9 and I7) since they’ll push these objects.

How does Roomba handle cords?

The short answer is it can’t. My advice is to tidy up those cords. None of the Roomba models can avoid cables or wires.

I haven’t seen or tested a robot vacuum that avoids cords altogether. The Roborock S6 MaxV came close but has blind spots, so if the cord falls into these zones, it won’t avoid them.

Which Roomba is the Best?

In terms of outright performance, convenience, navigation, and ease of use, the Roomba S9+ is the best option.

However, the S9+ is expensive, and not everyone can afford to buy such a high-tech robot.

You’ll have to find the right compromise between price and the essential features in the home.

The I7+ or the I3 are excellent alternatives to the S9 if you want a cheaper robot with the “Clean Base” dock that automatically empties the bin for you.

The I7 (or I6) is more expensive since it has camera-based navigation capable of saving maps. You’ll have access to advanced features like selective room cleaning.

In contrast, the I3 doesn’t have a camera and only relies on a floor tracking sensor for navigation.

It cleans in straight lines, but it can’t save maps, and no access containment features in the app.

The I3+ is an excellent option with or without and self-empty base.

The prices drop to entry-level ranges without it, making it a more compelling option than the E5.

The Roomba 960 and 980 are in the next tier, with intelligent navigation but without map-saving features. These two robots can save maps, and there’s no access to the no-go zone and keep-out zones.

Lastly, the next tier is the entry-level options – E5, 690, 675, and 614.

These models will only pinball around the area. It doesn’t have the floor tracking or the camera sensor found in more premium Roomba options.

But these options are cheaper. Choosing one will depend on how much you’re willing to spend.

For me, the Roomba E5 is the best option in this entry-level category since it has the largest dustbin, and the bristle-less extractors resist tangles well.

Recommended Reading