After finishing the Roomba J7 review, I thought it was proper to compare it with other top-tier robots like the Roborock S7.
These robots are their respective brands’ flagship (currently), and I’m curious how these products compare.
Each brings something unique to the table. The S7 has the industry-first sonic mopping and lift technology, making it one of the best robot vacuums for mopping floors.
And the J7 is iRobot’s first option with a front-facing camera and LED, enabling it to avoid obstacles better than any robot vacuum I’ve tested (so far).
I’ve tested these robots extensively to see which option is better, and the results are fascinating.
But first, we’ll look at the specifications and test results.
- Airflow: 13.91 CFM
- Deep cleaning: 78.85%
- Mopping: Yes
- Auto empty: Yes
- Bag capacity: 3-liters
- Navigation: LIDAR & SLAM
- Map saving: Yes
- Number of maps: 4
- Containment: Yes
- Selective room cleaning: Yes
- Recharge & Resume: Yes
- Dustbin capacity: 420ml
- Water tank: 300ml
- Side brush: One
- Battery: 5200 mAh Li-ion
- Run time: 180 mins
- Noise: 69.8 dB
- Airflow: 7.27 CFM
- Deep Cleaning: 85.7%
- Navigation: Front Camera + Gyroscope
- 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
- Type: N/A
- Side brush: One
- Battery: 2410 mAh Li-ion
- Run time: 90 minutes
- Noise: 63 dB
* If you click this link and purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Introduction to the Roomba J7+ and Roborock S7+
Robot vacuum technology has evolved over the past five years. I’ve seen dramatic improvements in two areas – navigation and obstacle avoidance.
The Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 represent how manufacturers have improved their products.
We’ll look at these unique features in this article, plus the similarities and differences.
Best-In-Class Obstacle Avoidance: Roomba J7+
After unveiling the S9, I wondered what iRobot would do for an encore.
And it didn’t take long to find out. The Roomba J7+ is that encore, and its most prominent upgrade is the front camera sensor, helping it avoid obstacles.
It’s not the first Roomba with this technology, but it’s the first with an LED and camera combination, helping it evade obstacles even in dark areas.
One facet that impressed me was the algorithm. The J7 will not go near obstacles, decreasing the risk of touching pet feces or wires.
iRobot is so confident its technology works they have a POOP guarantee or the Pet Owner Official Promise.
It basically states that if the J7 touches dry poop, iRobot will replace it for free.
I’ve tried it on large and small pet feces (fake, obviously), and it didn’t touch them during the experiment.
iRobot’s app feature further enhances the obstacle avoidance capability, enabling users to mark these zones as permanent or temporary obstacles.
If users mark these as permanent, the iRobot app creates keep-out zones for you.
Another upgrade iRobot is the more compact, clean base station.
iRobot chopped off a good chunk from its vertical real estate.
It’s wider, but it’s still within the boundaries o the robot, so it shouldn’t affect storage.
The J7 retains the ramp-style base station of its older siblings, the I3, I6, and S9, with the same 2.4-liter capacity.
Another benefit of the new design is an extra storage slot for a second bag.
Older bags (I and S-Series) will fit in the J7. I like this forward compatibility because there won’t be any supply issues.
You can use an I7 bag in the J7 without any issues and perhaps save money in the long term.
Best-in-Class Mopping: Roborock S7+
Roborock is one of the more innovative brands I’ve tested, and the S7 is proof of that.
This is their latest robot vacuum, but with the pending release of the S7 MaxV, its flagship status won’t last.
Roborock introduced several innovative features in the J7, coined in one fancy term: VibraRise.
Vibra refers to the vibrating mopping pad, a first-of-its-kind feature, helping it be more efficient at mopping stains.
Rise refers to the pad rising when it detects carpet.
This variant is also the first Roborock with a self-emptying bases station with a generous 3-liter bag.
You’ll notice that the base station has a filter, which is a rarity. I think the S7 has this because some markets offer a bagless version.
Using one mold for all products across different markets makes sense from the cost perspective.
The S7 utilizes LIDAR for navigation and is one of the most efficient options I’ve tested.
Similarities between the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7
Next, we’ll look at the similarities between the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7, starting with the design.
Both robots utilize a round frame with a single side brush. One variance is the J7 using its patented counter-rotating extractors.
It’s the only robot in the North American and EU market with this feature since iRobot owns the patent.
2. Bagged System
Another similarity is both use a bagged clean base station, meaning a bag stores debris collected from the robots.
I like bagged systems since they keep dirt inside a sealed bag, so allergens stay inside during disposal.
The Roborock bag is slightly bigger (3.0-liter capacity) versus the Roomba bag (2.4-liter).
3. Ramp-Style Dock
These robots utilize a ramp-style dock (which I like) since it offers better stability than a vertical dock.
The robot parts on the dock then a vacuum motor kicks in to suck out contents after every run.
One variance is the port size. Roborock has a larger port that connects to the main brush.
Roomba’s port is smaller and connects to a dedicated slot under the robot.
4. Smart Navigation
The Roborock S7 and Roomba J7 are intelligent navigating robots, so each can track its location.
Recharge and resume are available for both, extending the range.
The S7 uses LIDAR and SLAM, while the J7 uses a camera sensor and SLAM (VSLAM).
Differences between the Roborock S7 and Roomba J7
In this section, we’ll look at the differences between these robots.
1. LIDAR vs. Camera Sensor
The most obvious difference is the primary navigation sensor utilized by each brand.
All Roborock products use a LIDAR sensor. Thus, you’ll see this puck housing the laser sensor above the robot.
Roomba uses a camera sensor in the front.
This could be a deciding factor as the LIDAR cover adds to the S7’s vertical footprint.
The J7 has no vertical excess since the camera is relocated to the front. Plus, iRobot removed the IR sensor, decreasing its overall height (to 3.63 inches).
It fit under this sofa with a 3.8″ clearance, so it’s something to consider if you own furniture like this.
2. Brush Roll Design
The next difference is the brush roll design. Roborock introduced its bristle-less roller with the S7, while the J7 uses the same counter extracting rollers as the I6/I7.
Here’s a close look at the J7’s counter-rotating extractors.
Roborock also went bristle-less when they unveiled the S7.
These brush rolls provide excellent agitation since the S7 (13 CFM), and J7 (7 CFM) don’t have much airflow.
3. Side Brush
The side brush design is another difference between the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7.
The J7 uses iRobot’s three-pronged side brush with bristled tips, while Roborock has a five-pronged, all rubber side brush.
I like Roborock’s design better since it doesn’t spin as fast, and it has better durability.
4. Dustbin Design and Placement
The Roborock S7 has a top-mounted dustbin, while the J7 is rear-mounted.
There’s not much difference with dirt volume. The S7 has a slightly larger capacity at 420-ml versus the J7’s 400-ml volume.
But with the self-emptying feature, dirt volume shouldn’t be a deciding factor unless you opt for the robot-only alternative.
5. Auto-Empty Station Design
While both options have an auto-empty station, there are notable variances.
The J7 utilizes a low-profile base station with a single narrow port for dirt disposal. It has a storage slot for an extra bag.
In comparison, the S7 utilizes a double-barreled design, housing the bag and filter. Unfortunately, S7 auto-empty station doesn’t have any storage for extra bags.
6. App Differences
The Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 have smartphone apps, unlocking all the features.
I’d encourage consumers to download these apps to get the most out of these robots.
Overall, I like the Roborock app since it’s got more usability features like the live map and invisible wall.
It can save up to 4 map levels and has features like selective room cleaning and zoned cleaning, where users can tap a specific room on the map to clean.
The iRobot app lacks the live map or invisible wall feature, but it offers features absent in the Roborock app.
One feature is the clean zone, similar to the zoned cleaning, but one difference is users can save these zones, saving time on having to redraw them everything time.
It helps users set zones, which helps mark high traffic areas.
Another feature absent in Roborock is the iRobot Genius. This feature is available in all Roomba options and uses your phone’s location services for automation features like turning on the robot if you leave home.
The Roborock S7 has a mopping feature absent in the Roomba J7. It has a new technology they call VibraRise, combining two new technologies – the vibrating mopping pad and lifting mop.
The vibrating mopping pad makes it more efficient at removing stains since it has more agitation.
But it still drags a damp pad on the surface, so it’s limited to what stain it can clean.
I wouldn’t recommend it for wet messes or large stick stains.
It cannot suck in liquid like the ILIFE W400 or W450, and it doesn’t have a sprayer like the iRobot Braava.
8. Obstacle Avoidance
The Roomba J7, with its front-facing camera, can avoid obstacles better than the S7.
It excelled with evading stuff like wires, even stretched out, thin cables without any issues.
Also, it did well at avoiding pet feces, small and large.
One critical aspect of this is iRobot’s algorithm that doesn’t let the robot get too near the obstacle, reducing the risk of the side brush touching poop or wires tangling on it.
App Features of the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7
We’ll go through the different app features of the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7. I’ll highlight the notable features for each variant.
Please note that some screenshots you’ll see below are from the older Roborock app, but the functionality remains the same.
1. Live Map [Roborock S7]
Only the Roborock app has a live map, which shows the robot’s position in real-time on the map.
It gives users a heads-up where the robot is on the map and helps locate it if something goes wrong.
The iRobot app does not have this feature and only shows a robot graphic during the run.
2. Containment [Both]
The iRobot and Roborock apps have containment features, helping consumers block off-limit areas.
Roborock has more options with the invisible wall, no-go, and no-mop zones.
The latter two are similar in that it blocks a square or rectangular zone, and I think these features are redundant with the S7’s mop lift feature.
The invisible wall feature gives the S7 the advantage since users can block diagonal areas.
The iRobot only has the keep-out zone feature that blocks an area.
One cool feature with iRobot is consumers can use the keep-out zone with the obstacle avoidance technology and mark it as permanent obstacles, thus creating keep-out zones (automatically).
3. Map Saving [Both]
Both apps can save maps, but the iRobot app can save more (up to 10) than Roborock (only 4).
Consumers can customize each map level by manually creating partitions, naming rooms, and adding containment.
However, only the Roborock app has the map detect feature to determine the correct map level based on the initial scan.
iRobot doesn’t have this feature since it uses a camera. It’s one colossal advantage a LIDAR robot like the S7 has over a VSLAM robot.
4. Map Drawings
You can see the differences between LIDAR and a camera-based robot with the map drawings.
The screenshots above show that Roborock’s laser sensor is more accurate at drawing the map.
Its 360-degree scanning helps create a more precise drawing than Roomba’s VSLAM.
iRobot products rely heavily on an optical sensor underneath to determine the perimeter of an area.
Roborock is also more accurate between the two robots are creating partitions if doors are present.
5. Clean Zone [Roomba only]
One of my favorite features of the iRobot app is the clean zone.
It allows consumers to draw boxes on potential high-traffic areas, more than one, and save them (using custom names)
This is a time saver since there’s no need to draw them again, and it’s usable with the scheduling feature, helping target these areas more frequently.
6. Multi-Pass Run
Both apps also enable users to set multi-pass runs. Roborock does two passes by default with a three-pass max option using the selective room cleaning or zoned cleaning tab.
The multi-pass run also unlocks the crisscross pattern in the S7.
Roomba’s system is different. The dirt-detect system gives it the advantage over Roborock as it does extra back-and-forth passes on dirtier areas.
Plus, it has these options.
There are three options: room size clean, daily clean, and extra clean. Choosing one will depend on several factors like room size or surface type.
You could opt for extra clean inside smaller homes and daily clean for larger homes to maximize range.
The Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 utilize SLAM. Thus each variant can navigate intelligently. Smart navigation means that J7 and S7 can track their location and clean specific zones.
Recharge and resume are also available.
These robots will move in straight lines, making them efficient. And both seem to have a crisscross pattern, which helps with thoroughness.
However, the Roborock is more efficient with its laser navigation. I’ve tested it numerous times, and it was more efficient, finishing its run much faster than the J7.
Efficiency is a hallmark for most laser robots, and the S7 isn’t an exception.
It was better at navigating through tight spaces, looking more decisive than the J7.
However, the extra height from the LIDAR cover means it won’t go underneath furniture under four inches, so that’s something to consider.
The J7’s lower profile design is its biggest advantage and somewhat negates the inefficiency disadvantage.
Another advantage for iRobot is the dirt detect feature, providing it with better thoroughness, especially on carpet.
It does extra passes when it detects more debris, and it’s something absent in the Roborock or any other robot vacuum brand since iRobot owns the patent.
The Roborock S7 is better than the J7 with coverage, picking up more quaker oats during its three-pass run than the J7.
This experiment highlights LIDAR’s precision since there are fewer missed spots than iRobot’s VSLAM.
The Roomba J7 was decent, but the fast-spinning side brush and lower airflow didn’t pick up as much debris.
Even with dirt detect, it still falls short in this aspect against the S7.
Another advantage of using LIDAR is efficiency, and the discrepancy between the Roomba J7 and Roborock S9 is significant.
The S7 finished its run in 20 minutes and 45 seconds: more than 15 minutes faster than the J7 (35 mins and 26 secs).
Roborock did so well because of its ability to navigate tight areas well with more decisiveness.
The J7 tends to hunt and stall in these areas. Using a camera also affects the precision it traverses through a maze of chair legs.
It was better than earlier Roomba models like the E5 that didn’t do well.
Next, we’ll look at how much power these robots have.
Since robot vacuum manufacturers don’t have a uniform way of disclosing power, I use an anemometer to check air turbulence (or airflow) at the cleaning head.
It’s a good barometer of how a robot vacuum will perform. Typically, high airflow robots like the
There are other factors, but airflow is critical.
Here are the results.
The Roborock S7 nearly doubles the airflow output of the J7 at 13.91 CFM. It’s a big reason why it did better than the J7 in most cleaning tests (more below).
I used a mixture of debris such as coffee grounds, quinoa, pet litter, sand, hair, and quaker oats for the cleaning experiments to check how well these robots clean.
|Sand on hard floor|
|Carpet (Surface Pickup)|
|Carpet (Deep Cleaning)|
Based on the scores, the Roomba J7 was better overall, but that’s because it was better in the deep cleaning tests (85% vs. 78%).
But the S7 was better with surface debris pick-up because of its superior airflow, despite not having dirt detect.
The eye test also shows the S7 slightly better, making cleaner passes, even with heavy debris like pet litter.
Another aspect that helped the S7 clean better was its navigation. The three-pass run, along with the tighter overlaps, help the S7 vacuum more debris.
Which is better on hard floors?
Again, looking at the test results, the S7 is better than the J7 with surface debris experiments.
It picked up more from the quaker oats, quinoa, pet litter, and quaker oats tests. The S7 didn’t have the side brush scattering issue of the J7.
The S7 is also better in the sand on hard floor test (99.8% vs. 98.64%), which is my barometer for hard floor performance.
Edge Cleaning Comparison
The Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 did well for a round-shaped robot, picking up a good chunk on this test area.
Here’s the before and after shot for the Roomba J7+.
And the Roborock S7.
There isn’t much difference with the results. It wasn’t as clean as the
One issue with the low airflow is its inability to pick up debris on the quarter-inch crevice.
Both robots struggled to pick up dirt in that area.
Hair Wrap Comparison
The Roborock S7 is better at picking up hair, both five and seven-inch strands. Again, the high airflow is a factor why it picked up more.
But more hair will wrap on the S7’s roller than the J7. However, the absence of bristles makes it easier to clean.
Most hair is wrapped on the J7’s axles, a silver lining for this test, so it’s easier to remove.
Which is better on carpet?
It’s a mixed bag with carpet performance. The S7 was better with surface debris (98.9% vs. 96.92%), but the J7’s counter-rotating extractors picked up more sand in the deep cleaning test (85.75% vs. 78.85%).
It’s not surprising since Roomba has dirt detect and Roborock does not.
And it’s a reason why Roomba products do well on carpet, despite the lack of airflow.
Only the Roborock J7 has the mopping option. It’s something absent with the J7, and you’ll have to purchase any of their Braava series robots to enjoy this functionality.
If mopping floors is a huge deciding factor, the Roborock J7 is an excellent option.
The vibrating mopping pad is more efficient than a traditional robot mop at removing stains.
It provides an agitation element absent in older robot mops. Take a look at these before and after shots.
The S7 mopping ability is excellent, but there are limitations to what it can mop.
Since it only drags a wet pad, cleaning sugary stuff like juices won’t be practical.
I’ve tried it, and it left a sticky surface afterward.
It’s an inherent design flaw with stationary pads without an agitation element.
Run Time Comparison
One advantage the S7 has over the J7 is its large capacity and 5200 mAh battery.
Roborock says it can run up to 180 minutes, and combined with the S7 efficiency; the S7 will have an excellent range.
The J7 has a (larger than usual) 2410 mAh lithium-ion battery with an 85-minute run time.
It won’t run as long, and I wouldn’t recommend it inside larger homes, even with recharge and resume.
It negates the run time discrepancy but might not be a practical option inside big homes.
There’s little difference between the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 with noise.
The S7 is (obviously) louder at close to 70 decibels at the max setting, but the 6-decibel discrepancy isn’t that much, considering the S7 nearly doubles the J7 power output.
However, the J7 clean base station is loud, screaming at over 84 decibels. The good news is it only engages for a few seconds, but it’s not something you’d want to run late at night.
As with all robot vacuums, the Roomba J7 and Roborock S7 need regular maintenance to function at their peak.
I’d argue that robot vacuum is more critical than any other vacuum type since these rely on sensors to function.
Any additional friction will hamper its efficiency and performance. I’ll enumerate the list of components that you’ll need to clean or replace and their respective intervals.
- Primary brush: The rollers are the most abused component in any robot vacuum. It’s responsible for debris pick-up. Clean it once a week to remove any dirt and hair buildup on the roller and axles.
- Side brush: Another part consumers need to check is the side brush. Hair tends to wrap on the prongs and base, so make sure to clean it once a week to prevent unnecessary friction.
- Dustbin and filter: There’s no need to empty it manually with the self-empty feature. But you’ll need to check it twice a month for any debris accumulation, especially on the filter.
- Drop sensors: Use a clean cloth to clean the drop sensors to prevent an error code from firing and disabling the robot. Do this task once a month.
- Auto-empty base station: Dispose of the bag once full. Make sure the port is free from any obstruction.
- Base station filter [S7 only]: Check the Roborock S7 filter once a month and wash if needed. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry before reattaching.
- Robot body: Use a clean microfiber town to wipe down the robot body and clean any dust and fingerprint buildup.
Availability of Parts
Roomba will always have the advantage of parts availability because of its popularity. But Roborock is slowly catching up as more third-party brands sell parts like filters and brushes.
Nonetheless, Roomba has more options and availability, especially with hard-to-find parts like the side brush motor and battery.
Washable E11 Rated Air Filter
|Recharge and Resume|
|Number of Maps|
|Auto empty capacity|
|Water tank capacity|
7.27 CFM (Max)
Where can I buy these robots?
You can buy these robots from 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 J7+ on Amazon (robot + dock)
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 J7+ or the Roborock S7+?
Each model offers something unique to the table, so choosing one will depend on your preferences.
The Roborock S7 is more versatile and efficient with its mopping capability and LIDAR navigation.
The Roomba J7 is better at obstacle avoidance thanks to its front camera and LED combo.
Because of its superior airflow, I’d lean towards the S7 with cleaning performance, specifically on hard floors.
But if you have pets and need a robot capable of avoiding dry feces, consider the Roomba J7.
5 Reasons to choose the Roborock S7
- More versatile: The Roborock S7 is one of the best robot vacuum and mop hybrids at both tasks.
- Better efficiency: Its LIDAR sensor and SLAM algorithm make it more efficient to navigate tight quarters.
- Larger battery: The 5200 mAh battery provides the S7 better range (up to 180 minutes).
- Better value: Consumers will get better value from the S7 because it can vacuum and mop without buying another robot.
- Excellent cleaning performance: In most cleaning tests, the S7 did better than the J7.
4 Reasons to choose the Roomba J7
- Avoids obstacles: The J7 is the best robot vacuum I’ve tested at avoiding wires and pet feces.
- Deep cleans better: It is no surprise that the J7 did better than the S9 at cleaning embedded sand with its counter-rotating extractors and dirt detectors.
- Extra bag storage: The J7 clean base station has a storage slot for an extra bag.
- Set permanent obstacle zones: The iRobot app has this cool feature that allows users to set permanent zones, automatically creating keep-out zones.
The Verdict: Choice Will Depend on Your Preference
While the Roborock S7 is the better-performing robot vacuum in most cleaning experiments, the Roomba J7’s obstacle avoidance feature is tantalizing.
If you want a robot vacuum that can avoid dry pet feces or wires, you’ll have to consider it.
Otherwise, I’d recommend the Roborock S7 since it’s more efficient, cleans better, and is more versatile.