iRobot has a new line of robot vacuums and we will be comparing all three of them – the Roomba I7+ vs. I7 vs. E5.
We will look closely at its similarities differences to help you find which option is best for your home.
|Recharge & Resume|
The Roomba I7 and I7+ are virtually identical products with the exception of two things – the charging station and dirt bin.
With the I7+, it comes with iRobot calls the automatic dirt disposal system where a second vacuum (on the charging dock itself) is in place to empty the contents of the robot.
Another difference would be the Roomba I7+ has a slightly different dirt bin. It has a slot at the bottom to give access to the clean base station to vacuum.
Overview of the Roomba I7+ vs. I7 vs. E5
Roomba I7+ = Convenience
Of the three robot vacuums, the Roomba I7+ is the best option in my option. This robot screams convenience with the automatic bin emptying feature and the smart navigation cleans with efficiency and thoroughness. It scores high in cleaning tests on hardwood and carpet scoring nearly 100% on debris pickup. Yes, it’s a high price to pay for a robot cleaner, but the convenience you’ll get is worth it. If you don’t want to spend then the I7 is still a good option, but it won’t be as hands-free. The E5 is the cheapest option but does not have the smart mapping or the automatic dirt disposal system.
The I7 does not have this opening. So if you’re planning on buying the I7 and then buy the clean station to save money, you’re better off getting the I7+ right off the bat.
The cheapest of the three is the Roomba E5. It has the same upgraded brushes as the I7+ and I7, but minus the smart navigation system.
Essentially the E5 is an upgrade over the Roomba 890 has the same motor but with better cleaning performance than the latter.
Similarities of the Roomba I7+, I7, E5
Here’s an overview of the parallels of these robots.
- Round Shape: iRobot has not deviated from the round puck like ever since they manufactured their first robotic vacuum.
- Three-Stage System: All these robots have the same three-stage cleaning system but with better brushes with longer deeper threads for better agitation.
- WiFi and Alexa Compatible: You don’t need a remote with these vacuums as much thanks to the WiFi and iRobot Home App. Voice is also another option through Alexa.
- Same Filtration: These robots all have HEPA filtration which means fine dust will stay inside the dirt bin during the cleaning cycle.
- Dust Cup Capacity: The Roomba I7+, I7 and E5 can hold up to 0.5 liters of dirt. Design is such that you can interchange the bins of all three models.
- Navigation: The Roomba I7 and I7+ have the same smart mapping navigation that helps the robot be efficient, avoid obstacles and know exactly where it is. After it saves the map of your home, you can ask it to clean specific rooms at specific days at specific times. That’s the biggest benefit of the latest I-series. The Roomba E5 does not have this smart mapping or the recharge and resume.’
- Self-Emptying Dust Bin: Roomba I7+ is a game-changing product in that it can empty its own bin. This frees you up from having to empty the bin after every cycle. iRobot adds a second vacuum on the charging base that empties it for you. The Roomba I7 and E5 don’t have it.
- Price: The Roomba i7+ with the self-emptying bin is the most expensive of the bunch, the Roomba I7 without the clean base is the cheaper than the I7+ and the E5 is the cheapest.
- Cleaning Performance: All these robots have excellent cleaning performance, at least with dirt pickup on carpet and bare floor. The difference would be how they go about cleaning. The I7 and I7+ with smart navigation will clean multiple rooms efficiently while the E5 cannot.
Design Similarities and Differences of the I7, I7+ & E5
When you look at the button layout of the I7, I7+, and E5, all three are similar with the large round clean button at the middle flanked by two smaller buttons on each side.
The Roomba E5 does not have a camera so the whole top is flat. It’s also the only option of the three to have a handle.
The Roomba I7 and I7+ are virtually identical with the same layout and two-tone color scheme.
What are the buttons on top?
There are three buttons on all the models. Since all these variants have an app and compatible with Alexa, you won’t be using these very much, but just in case, here’s some info about it.
- Clean: Pressing the CLEAN button at the middle activates the default cleaning mode, pause or resume cleaning.
- Spot: Spot cleaning is a great option to clean a specific area. When you activate this mode the robot will go in a spiral motion from the middle going outward.
- Home: Pressing this button tells the robot to go back to the dock regardless if it is done with the cleaning cycle or not.
All of these functions are also available in the iRobot smart home app.
How does the Roomba I7, I7+ and E5 clean?
All three robots use the same three-stage system that’s been a staple in all iRobot vacuums.
If you’re not familiar with their 3-stage system, it consists of a side brush, main cleaning brushes, and suction.
What’s different in the latest Roombas is the upgraded extractors that have deeper grooves.
The underside of the Roomba I7+, I7 and E5 are the same with some minor differences.
Here’s a view all three when you flip it over.
Around the front are cliff sensors that warn the robot of potential drop zones such as stairs and prevent it from falling.
The drop sensors in these robots also can distinguish black carpet and an actual drop point. So you can use it on dark carpet or rugs with black pattern.
On the right is an acoustic sensor that helps the robot detect dirtier areas that need more cleaning.
When you put the dirt bin of the Roomba 980 and the I7 side by side, you’ll notice that the I7’s bin is smaller.
One reason would be the placement of the motor. In earlier versions prior to these robots, iRobot put the motor inside the bin, in these three robots, iRobot moved it right beside the bin.
Hence, the smaller sized dust cup. All three models have the same bin design and capacity.
The difference is that the I7+’s bin has a slot for the smart dock to vacuum contents when it charges.
Filtration: AeroForce System
Another upgrade in all three robotic vacuums is the filter.
The latest Roombas all use the AeroForce system that uses a smaller HEPA filter that helps blocks allergens.
iRobot changed the configuration of the filter in the AeroForce system.
In the AeroForce 1.0 found in the Roomba 980 and 960, the filter was on top of the dirt bin.
With the I7, I7+, and E5, engineers moved it to the side of the bin. Engineers did this out of necessity to maximize space.
With the motor relocated at the side of the bin, iRobot had to reconfigure everything from the size of the bin to the placement of the filter.
The result is a smaller bin (just 0.5 liters vs. the 0.56 liters in the 980) that’s washable.
This isn’t an issue with the I7+ with the self-emptying feature, but with the I7 and E5, you’ll have to do more babysitting between cleaning sessions.
In terms of dimension, the Roomba I7, I7+ and E5 are the same.
- Width (Diameter): 13.3”
- Height: 3.6”
The smart clean base (only the I7+ has this) is more substantial than the standard charging dock.
- Height: 19”
- Width: 12.2”
- Depth: 15.1:
In terms of weight, the difference isn’t much; perhaps the difference in weight can be attributed to the camera in the I7 and I7+.
- Roomba I7 and I7+: 7.4 pounds
- Roomba E5: 7.2 pounds
One of the best features of the Roomba I7, I7+ and E5 is its ability to clean different floor types. It does not matter if its carpet or hardwood, it will get the job done.
In cleaning tests done with these three robots (technically the I7 and I7 plus are the same machine), the results were almost unanimous.
All these robots are capable of cleaning 99% of surface dirt regardless of the surface it is cleaning.
The difference would be the presence of the smart dock in the I7 versus the normal dock in the E5 and base model I7.
Hard Floor Cleaning
All three robots will do well on hard surfaces such as hardwood. In cleaning tests done, the I7+ and E5 were able to pick up nearly everything scattered on the surface.
It did not do as well as the Neato D7 on the first pass, but thanks to the acoustic sensor, it was able to pick up nearly everything eventually.
If I could nitpick with the performance it would be the fast spinning brushes does tend to kick larger bits of debris around.
Low Carpet Cleaning
These machines are capable of cleaning low pile carpet. Again, all three were able to pick up almost 100% of dirt on low pile carpet.
Medium Pile Carpet Cleaning
Even on thicker pile carpet, the Roomba I7, I7+ and E5 are capable of cleaning medium pile carpet. All the variants did well at picking surface dirt of different sizes. On carpet, it is capable of cleaning stuff like cheerios, pet litter, hair, and dust.
Dirt pickup isn’t an issue with all three robots.
One weak spot of these Roombas would be deep cleaning. The I7+ was only able to pick up 79% on medium pile carpet.
Of the three robot vacuums, the Roomba E5 runs the longest at 90 minutes. The Roomba I7 and I7 will only run for 75 minutes. However, here’s the catch.
The E5 does not have the recharge and resume that the other two models have that negates the lengthier battery life.
All Roomba vacuums have WiFi and compatible with the iRobot Home app and that includes the I7, I7+, and E5.
Aside from WiFi, you can also use voice command through Alexa or Google Assistant. If you have any of these devices, these robots are compatible.
You’ll notice that none of these robots have a remote because you don’t really need it with the WiFi, Alexa, and Google Assistant compatibility.
The Roomba I7 and I7+ will navigate the same way because both use the same Imprint Smart Mapping Technology that remembers your home’s layout.
This technology not only draws a map but also saves it for later use. Some have called this technology persistent mapping and it has some really nice benefits.
After the robot runs several times and map of your whole home in its database, you can assign room names and ask the robot to clean a specific room at a specific day and time.
That’s the flexibility it gives you. Now, the I7 does not have the vacuum on the dock so you’ll have to empty it manually.
The I7+ has it and that changes a lot of things. No, longer will you have to check the bin after every cycle or mid-cycle (if you’re cleaning a large home) to check if it’s full.
There’s no risk of coming home and finding the robot not finishing the task because the bin is full.
Which Robot Has The Better Value?
Each one of these robots has its own strengths and weaknesses and will appeal to a different type of consumer.
Price, of course, is always a primary factor that will decide which of the three you will pick.
The Roomba E5 is the cheapest option of the five that will clean as well as the other two more expensive options. But it won’t be as smart as either the I7 or I7+ because it has no camera or the persistent mapping.
If you need something smarter
Suppose you live in a larger home, the Roomba I7 is a better option because it can clean more efficiently.
It has a persistent mapping feature that isn’t present in the E5. This feature helps the I7 learn and adapt to the environment inside your home.
It is more expensive but the cleaning performance and smart mapping feature make up for it.
The Roomba I7+ provides the ultimate convenience with the automatic bin emptying system. This upgrade over the I7 is crazy expensive, but it’s the most hands-free option available.
After scheduling it, you can leave it alone and let it do the vacuuming for you.
The smart dock changes everything because you don’t need to empty the bin yourself, it does it for you.
It’s not completely hands-free as you’ll have to replace the bag once a month. But compare that to having to have to empty the bin after every cycle is night and day.
This robot is a step in the right direction to having a true robot helper that will do the task for you.
Other Roomba Comparisons
Roomba has a bunch of models in their product line. Find out how each one contrasts with the other plus also comparisons with other brands like the Neato.
Roomba I7+ vs. I7 vs. E5 Specifications
Let’s compare the product specifications of these three robots.
The Verdict: Which Roomba Is Best For You?
All the Roomba vacuums bring something unique to the table. Let’s summarize to what consumer each of the robots would best fit.