Roomba J7+ vs. I6+

Roomba I6 vs. J7

In this article, we’ll compare the Roomba J7+ (iRobot’s current flagship) and the I6+ (a cheaper version of the RoombaI7+).

The Roomba J7+ is iRobot’s first variant with an obstacle avoidance feature and (currently) the best at avoiding pet feces and wires. At the same time, the I6+ is the cheaper option, minus the obstacle avoidance feature.

Both utilize the same motor, with the J7+ having a slightly larger battery capacity (2410 vs. 1800 mAh).

But the J7+ has the redesigned base station with a lower profile and space for an extra bag.

Cleaning performance will be similar since both use the same motor with roughly the same airflow.

Which option is better? I’ve put both products through a grueling series of tests in various aspects like navigation, cleaning performance, and much more.

Quick overview of the Roomba J7+ and I6+

Roomba I6+

Roomba I6+
  • Airflow: 8.2 CFM
  • Deep Cleaning: 82.5%
  • Navigation:Top-Camera + Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
  • Self-empty: Yes
  • Bag capacity: 2.4-liters
  • Clean base Station: Yes
  • Map saving: Yes
  • Number of maps: 10
  • Containment: Yes
  • Keep out zones: Yes
  • Selective Room cleaning: Yes
  • Recharge & Resume: Yes
  • Brush roll: Twin rubber extractors
  • Dustbin capacity: 400ml
  • Side brush: One
  • Battery: 1800 mAh Li-ion
  • Run time: 75 minutes
  • Noise: 64.5 dB

Roomba J7+

Roomba J7
  • Airflow: 7.27 CFM
  • Deep Cleaning: 85.7%
  • Navigation: Front Camera + Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
  • Self-empty: Yes
  • Bag capacity: 2.4-liters
  • Map saving: Yes
  • Number of maps: 10
  • Containment: Yes
  • Selective Room cleaning: Yes
  • Recharge & Resume: Yes
  • Brush roll: Twin rubber extractors
  • Dustbin capacity: 400ml
  • Mopping: Yes
  • Water tank capacity: N/A
  • Side brush: One
  • Battery: 2410 mAh Li-ion
  • Run time: 90 minutes
  • Noise: 63 dB

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Introduction to the Roomba J7+ and I6+

iRobot has been aggressively releasing new products over the past few years, culminating with the Roomba J7+.

But you may wonder, what’s the difference between it and the I6+?

This comparison will address that question and help you make an informed decision between these two robots.

Best-in-Class Obstacle Avoidance: Roomba J7

Roomba J7 Review

Pros

  • Best at avoiding pet feces and stretched wires
  • A better-designed base station (with storage for the extra bag)
  • Above-average at cleaning embedded sand on mid-pile carpet
  • Robot-only variant is in the mid-price range
  • Automatically sets keep-out zones through the app

Cons

  • Not-so-efficient navigation even with VSLAM
  • Small dustbin (only matters for robot-only models)

This variant is, by far, the best obstacle-avoiding robot I’ve reviewed, and I’ve tested a bunch.

iRobot’s algorithm and the LED/camera combo are excellent at evading stuff like poop and stretched wires, and stuff other brands won’t avoid entirely.

Its algorithm is intelligent enough not to get too close, which other options don’t and why they touch pet feces, even if they initially avoided them.

Aside from the AI system, the J7 retains the same motor as the I6/I7 models.

Flip the robot, and you won’t see much variance between the two.

Roomba I6 vs. J7 underneath close up

And this is seen in the cleaning performance test, where it’s really close.

So consumers will be paying a premium for the obstacle avoidance AI technology.

Fortunately, Roomba J7+ prices have decreased since its launch, and it’s still cheaper than the previous flagship, S9+.

And recently, prices have gone down below the levels of the I6+.

If that’s the case, the J7+ is the no-brainer option. But always check prices and shop around for the best deals.

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10/25/2021 06:03 am GMT

Mid-Priced Option (Sort Of): Roomba I6+

Roomba I6 with clean base station

Pros

  • A cheaper option than the Roomba I7
  • VSLAM navigation can do advanced tasks like selective room cleaning versus the I3+
  • Decent deep cleaning scores despite the low airflow
  • Self-emptying feature
  • Good cheaper alternative if you don’t want to spend $$$ for the Roomba S9+

Cons

  • Currently more expensive than the Roomba J7+ (always check prices)
  • Fast-spinning side brush will scatter debris
  • Not as efficient as the Roomba I3+

The Roomba I6+ is supposed to be a cheaper version of the I7+, but (currently), the difference isn’t much.

It has similar features as the I7+ – the same motor, dustbin, auto-empty station, brushes, etc.

So (basically), this variant is the same product as the I7+ minus the cosmetic and accessory variances.

I will not tell you exactly what the accessories are because these will vary depending on the retailer.

You’ll have to check and research what exactly comes in the box. Is there an extra filter? or side brush? Bag? Those will vary.

Since the I6 and I7 use the same components, expect similar results with navigation, cleaning, and everything in between.

I have not tested the I7+, but from what I’ve seen – everything looks exact with the I6.

Versus the J7+, the I6 is slightly inferior with the overall scores (93.97% vs. 94.45), primarily because the J7+ was better with deep cleaning sand.

Otherwise, both are nearly identical in the other surface debris tests.

It’s not surprising since both have roughly similar airflow figures – the I6+ is slightly higher, but the variance is negligible.

Navigation is also similar to the J7+, minus the obstacle avoidance system, so the I6 won’t avoid obstacles. I don’t see the point in getting the I6+ unless it’s cheaper than the J7. Check the prices. If the Roomba J7+ is cheaper, I recommend it over the I6.

Even slightly more expensive, the J7+ offers better technology and navigational features.

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06/11/2022 04:19 am GMT

Similarities between the Roomba J7+ and I6+

Next, we’ll look at the similarities between these smart Roomba robot vacuums, starting with their shape.

1. Shape and Dimension

Roomba I6 vs. J7 top view

Aside from the camera relocation, there isn’t much difference in the structure of these robots.

Both utilize the puck-shaped frame found in most Roomba options, and the dimensions are identical.

2. Dustbin Placement

Roomba I6 vs. J7 dustbin placement

Since both have the same shape, the dustbin placement is in the exact location – behind the robot.

The Roomba I6+ and J7+ use the same dustbin with a 400ml capacity. You can interchange these dustbins.

I like the rear placement because there’s no need to pull the robot away from the base station to remove it.

3. Self-Emptying

 

The plus versions of these robots have self-emptying docks that empty the robot’s dustbin after each cleaning cycle.

Until the S9+, Roomba’s design remained the same, but it’s different from the J7+, utilizing a lower profile but broader base with storage for an extra bag.

I like this design better because of the extra storage capacity and the lower profile.

4. Ramp-Style Dock

Roomba I6 vs J7 ramp style dock

Another similarity is the ramp-style dock where the robot sits.

It’s been a staple since the first auto-empty Roomba, the I7+, and has a better design than a vertical port since it’s not surface-dependent.

Self-emptying robots with a vertical port won’t function well on carpets because of alignment issues, and that’s not the case with the J7+ or I6+

5. Navigation

These robots use VSLAM, which, in iRobot products, combines a camera, SLAM, and an optical sensor.

It’s not as efficient as a LIDAR robot with mapping rooms, but it’s decent, taking one or two runs to complete map creation.

Differences between the Roomba I6+ and J7+

This section will look at the differences between the I6+ and J7+.

1. Obstacle Avoidance [J7+ only]

Roomba J7 avoiding poop

The biggest variance between the Roomba I6+ and J7+ is the latter’s obstacle avoidance capability, thanks to the front-mounted camera.

It also doubles as the primary navigation sensor, determining landmarks and tracking location.

You’ll also notice an LED that helps with visibility in low-lighted areas.

One plus for the J7+ is how well it avoids obstacles. It doesn’t get too close, and I didn’t even touch any fake poop I scattered around.

2. Base Station

Roomba I6 vs J7 auto empty base station

Another difference is the base station design, with the J7+ having a lower profile design with room for an extra bag.

The I6+ base station is taller and thinner. Of the two, I like the J7+ better because of the extra bag storage space.

3. Automatic Keep Out Zones [J7+ only]

Roomba J7 obstacle database

Another benefit of the J7+ front-facing camera is the obstacle areas feature, where consumers can add keep-out zones if the objects detected are permanent.

It saves consumers time because this process is automated.

4. Battery

Roomba J7 battery

 

While the difference isn’t much, the J7+ uses a slightly larger battery than the I6 (2410 vs. 1800 mAh), so it runs longer (90 mins vs. 75 mins.).

App Features

The Roomba I6+ and J7+ are compatible with the iRobot home app with similar features, except for a few variances – mostly related to the obstacle avoidance system.

We’ll go through the most helpful features in this section.

1. Map Saving [both]

Roomba J7 map saving

All smart Roomba products can save (up to) 10 map levels with different customization options for each.

It’s the most of any robot vacuum I’ve reviewed and helpful for multi-level homes.

iRobot recommends purchasing another base station, which is a time saver if you’re willing to spend, but I’d recommend moving the base station.

2. Keep-Out Zones [both]

Roomba J7 no-go zones

Consumers can set keep-out zones to block off-limit areas. This feature functions like a no-go zone in Roborock, where it blocks a square or rectangular area.

Unfortunately, Roomba products don’t have the invisible wall feature, so there’s no way of blocking diagonal areas through the map.

3. Clean Zones

Roomba J7 clean zone

One feature of the iRobot app over other brands is the clean zone, where consumers can set clean or boxed zones and save them.

It’s equivalent to zoned cleaning, but the difference is these zones are savable in the iRobot app, so there’s no need to redraw repeatedly.

4. Obstacle Areas [J7+ only]

Roomba J7 obstacle database

As I’ve mentioned, only the J7+ has the obstacle areas feature where consumers can convert these objects into keep-out zones through the app.

Once the areas are saved in the app, it looks like this.

Roomba J7 keep-out from obstacles

5. Robot Health [J7+ only]

Roomba J7 robot health

Another feature iRobot introduced with the J7+ is robot health, where consumers can check the status of different components like the filter and brushes.

It’s not foolproof since it’s time-based, but it does provide a link to the installation guide if you need help with how to clean these parts.

6. Scheduling

Consumers can automate the vacuuming task using the scheduling feature. 

However, one quirk with iRobot’s scheduling system is a minimum gap of around three hours between scheduled runs.

So there’s a cap on how often you can schedule it.

Navigation Comparison

Next, we’ll look at the Roomba I6+ and J7+ navigation. Both use VSLAM, so each will navigate in a similar pattern.

The iRobot app has an exploratory mode that turns off the motor so the robot can explore a larger area.

Unfortunately, it still needs to go through every nook and cranny to draw the map accurately.

It’s the biggest limitation of VSLAM robots since it uses a camera, not a laser.

The Roomba J7+ and I6+ will move in straight lines in the most efficient route after the mapping run.

I tested both in efficiency runs, and there’s not much difference as both needed over 30 minutes to complete the two-pass cycle.

  • Roomba I6+: 32:33 mins
  • Roomba J7+: 34:15 mins

One factor could be the “dirt detect” sensor that does extra passes on dirty areas.

Airflow Comparison

I use an anemometer to measure airflow with all the robot vacuums I review.

Since these robots use the same motor, there isn’t much airflow variance.

  • Roomba J7+: 7.27 CFM
  • Roomba I6+: 8.2 CFM

The cleaning test results confirm this, as the numbers aren’t far off.

Despite the low airflow numbers, the J7+ and I6+ were decent in the cleaning experiments because of the dual extractors and “dirt detect” feature, doing extra passes in dirtier zones.

Cleaning Comparison

Model
Roomba I6+
Roomba J7+
Overall
93.97%
94.45%
Hard Floor
97.57%
96.65%
Sand on hard floor
98.26%
98.46%
Carpet (Surface Pickup)
97.55%
96.92%
Carpet (Deep Cleaning)
82.5%
85.75%

I’ve put both robots through a grueling series of tests on debris like coffee grounds, quinoa, pet litter, sand, and coffee grounds.

There isn’t much variance with surface debris tests – the difference is within one percentage point.

But there’s a three percent variance in the deep cleaning test.

I’m not sure if I’d put much weight on this finding, as Roomba products are above-average for this purpose thanks to the dual extractors and “dirt detect” system.

Which option is better on hard floors?

It’s a toss-up between the I6 and J7. The Roomba I6+ may have a higher percentage (97.91% vs. 97.55%), but the variance is too slight.

Even in the sand on hard floor experiment, the difference is negligible to declare an outright winner.

Here’s the before and after shot for the Roomba I6+.

Roomba I6+ sand on hard floor

And the J7+.

Roomba J7 sand on hard floor

Both were excellent at sand pick-up and didn’t leave too much visible residue.

One issue with Roomba products is the fast-spinning side brush that tends to scatter debris – a significant reason for the lower scores.

Only the Roomba S9+ has a slower side brush rotation, but iRobot hasn’t utilized it with the newer J7 release.

Edge Cleaning

This experiment did not have much variance as both were decent but not highly efficient in sweeping this area.

Here’s the before and after shot for the Roomba I6+.

Roomba I6 edge cleaning

And the J7+.

Roomba J7 edge cleaning

These robots picked up a good chunk but left visible debris on the edges.

The round frame limits the reach, but the results are above-average for a round-shaped robot.

Hair Wrap Comparison

Model
Roomba I6+
Roomba J7+
5-inch strands
100%
49%
7-inch strands
54%
30%

One of the surprises of this comparison is the hair wrap experiment. The Roomba I6+ did better with both tests, picking up 100% and 54% on five and seven-inch strands, respectively.

I can’t explain why the I6 did better since both have (essentially) the same airflow and brush design.

It could be the different wigs I used that could have contributed to the score.

Which is Better on Carpets?

With surface debris, there’s not much difference between the Roomba I6+ and J7+. Both were above average at picking up surface dirt.

However, the J7+ was slightly better at cleaning embedded sand (85.75% vs. 82.5%), which was a surprise given that the I6+ had slightly more airflow.

But I don’t put too much weight on these results since it isn’t that significant.

Also, iRobot products have “dirt detect,” so it does extra passes on dirtier zones – one reason why it’s so popular among consumers.

Run Time Comparison

The Roomba J7+ uses a slightly larger battery (2410 mAh vs. 1800 mAh) and will run longer at 90 minutes versus the 75-minute run time of the I6+.

Both products recharge and resume, so they resume cleaning automatically after recharging.

Also, consumers can use the mapping run where the motor is shut off during map creation to maximize run time.

Noise Comparison

Low noise levels are a plus with low airflow robots like the Roomba I6 and J7.

I used a sound meter to check the noise levels from a few feet away, and here are the results.

  • Roomba J7+: 63 dB
  • Roomba I6+: 64.9 dB

The Roomba I6+ was slightly noisier based on the sound meter test, but only by 1.5 decibels – not much!

Maintenance

Next, we’ll look at the maintenance process for these two Roomba products. iRobot robot vacuums are popular because of the sheer availability of parts.

You can purchase most of the components, even obscure parts like the bumper sensor or side wheels.

The Roomba design’s beauty is its modularity, meaning it’s easy to disassemble without special tools or an instruction manual.

This section will look at what components to clean (or replace) and suggested intervals. These maintenance tasks will ensure that any Roomba robot will last for years.

  1. Counter-rotating extractors: These are the most abused components of a Roomba. It agitates and picks up debris, accumulating on the surface and axles. Remove once a week to check and clean.
  2. Side brush: Another abused component where hair builds up. Unfasten the screw to detach and remove all accumulation to prevent unnecessary friction.
  3. Dustbin and filter: Empty the dustbin after every run (applies only to non-plus model owners). Detach and clean the filter monthly to remove any build-up on the folds. One trick is tapping it on an old newspaper to dislodge fine dust.
  4. Drop sensors: Use a cotton bud or clean microfiber towel to wipe the drop sensors monthly to prevent an error code from firing and disabling the robot.
  5. Base-Station: Ensure that the port connecting to the dustbin slot underneath the robot is free from any blockages. Check this part visually once a week.
  6. Bag: Throw the bag once it’s full. The robot seems to have a sensor to notify consumers about this, but it’s best to do a visual check to be sure.

Product Specifications

Model
Roomba I6+
Roomba J7+
Roomba I6+
Roomba J7+
Width
13.34 "
13.34 "
Height
3.63"
3.63"
Filter
High-Efficiency
High-Efficiency
Navigation
VSLAM
VSLAM
Run time
75 mins.
90 mins.
Recharge and Resume
Yes
Yes
Map Saving
Yes
Yes
Number of Maps
10
10
Dustbin capacity
400 ml
400 ml
Auto empty capacity
2.4-liters
2.4-liters
Airflow
8.2 CFM
7.27 CFM
Warranty
1-year limited
1-year limited
Price

Where can I buy these robot vacuums?

The Roomba I6+ and J7+ are available in online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest pricing information.

  • Roomba J7+ on Amazon (with clean base station)
  • Roomba J7 on Amazon (no clean base station)
  • Roomba I6+ on Amazon (w/ clean base station)
  • Roomba I6+ on Amazon (w/ clean base station)

The Roomba I6 and I7 are similar products with some color and accessory variances. Please do your due diligence to check what the inclusions are before purchasing.

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!

Which is the better option, the Roomba I6+ or J7+?

The answer will depend on the price. I’d go with the Roomba J7+ in a heartbeat, even if it’s at the same or slightly higher.

Its obstacle avoidance system is excellent at what it does and will avoid pet feces since it doesn’t get too close.

The I6+ isn’t a bad product, but I can’t fully endorse it over the J7+ without a significant price drop.

To help you out, I’ve enumerated reasons for each model, but ultimately, it’s you, the consumer, who has to decide.

4 Reasons to Choose the Roomba J7+

  1. Best-in-Class Obstacle Avoidance: The Roomba J7 is, by far, the best robot vacuum (I’ve tested) at avoiding pet feces and stretched wires.
  2. Extra bag: Its redesigned base station has a slot for an extra bag.
  3. Low profile base station: I like the J7 base station compared to the I6 because of its lower profile design.
  4. App enhancements: The obstacle avoidance sensor also has benefits in the iRobot app, like the obstacles area feature that automatically creates keep-out zones for detected objects – a time saver for consumers.

3 Reasons to Choose the Roomba I6+

  1. A cheaper option (supposedly): The I6+ is supposed to be the cheaper option to the I7 and J7. But that isn’t the case with its current pricing, but that may change.
  2. Above average cleaning performance: There isn’t much variance between the J7 and I6 with cleaning surface or embedded debris.
  3. Excellent at picking up short hair: One area the I6 was good at was cleaning short five-inch hair strands, getting a 100% score.

The Verdict: Roomba J7+ is the Better Option

After testing both robots thoroughly for countless hours, the J7+ came out on top versus the I6+.

Both use the same motor, with the J7 having a slightly larger battery, so it runs longer (90 vs. 75 mins).

Expect similar cleaning performance because of its, and it shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor.

However, one aspect to consider is the obstacle avoidance system and the underlying benefits – only available in the J7+.

When the J7+ was released, the price difference with the I6 was considerable, but that has changed.

With the current pricing, I can’t find any reason to put the I6+ above the J7+. The only reason to opt for the I6+ is if it falls a few hundred dollars cheaper than the J7.

Otherwise, go with the J7+ with its superior obstacle avoidance capability, app upgrades, and lower profile base station with a slot for an extra bag.

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