- A high-quality robotic vacuum does an excellent job of cleaning with minimal maintenance, doesn’t get caught up on obstacles along the way, and is supported by a user-friendly app.
- I like the iRobot Roomba i7+ because it’s the first robot vacuum to empty its own dustbin so you can essentially set it and forget it for up to 30 cleanings.
- Though it is one of the most expensive units around (currently A$1,899 on Bing Lee, it’s backed by an incredible app, has the most cutting-edge features, and comes with a warranty.
Much like Kleenex is synonymous with facial tissue and Breville is used to refer to sandwich makers, Roomba is the name in robot vacuums. In the 17 years since Roomba was first released, iRobot has continued to set trends and remain at the top of the industry. Recently, they took another giant leap in robotic vacuum innovation with the i7+ – a vacuum that empties its own dustbin and cleans specific rooms based on voice commands. iRobot sent me the i7+ to test. Here are my experiences with it.
My first experiences with the Roomba i7+:
The Roomba i7+ comes with the vacuum, the Clean Base, two dirt disposal bags, a virtual wall barrier, an extra high-efficiency filter, and an extra side brush. Due to normal wear and tear, you will need to replace the filters, side brushes, and rubber brushes over time. Fortunately, iRobot makes it easy to pick up replacement parts for your specific model through the iRobot store, which is accessible through the iRobot app and your browser.
When I opened the box, I found the i7+ looked a lot like the 980, my now second-favourite robot vacuum. The vacuum measures about 13 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches high, which was low enough to fit under my couches and other furniture. The Clean Base is a bit big at 19 inches tall by 14.5 inches deep by 13 inches wide. I found I could keep the base anywhere I would normally put one of the smaller, more traditional robot vacuum charging stations.
How the Roomba i7+ performed:
The best part about the Roomba i7+ is that you don’t have to empty the dustbin. The Clean Base automatically sucks all of the debris out of the vacuum when it’s docked and stores it in a disposable dirt bag. It took about 50 cleaning cycles before I finally had to replace the disposable dirt bag located within the base. I love the Clean Base because I can go weeks without having to worry about emptying or maintaining the Roomba. It’s as fully-automated as it gets.
One of the coolest parts about owning a Roomba is the iRobot app. They clearly put a lot of work into making sure it’s as user-friendly as possible. IRobot has the best robotic vacuum app I’ve ever used. With the i7+, they take things to the next level with “smart mapping.” The unit can actually map each level of your house as it cleans. You can then adjust the boundaries of each room, label the rooms, and tell the vacuum to only clean certain rooms. If you have Alexa or Google Assistant, you can also use voice commands to tell the Roomba to clean a room.
In practice, I found the smart mapping worked well. Even after rearranging our living room and placing the Clean Base on the other side of the room, it was still able to get its bearings immediately and only clean where I asked it to.
Scheduling the i7+ on the app is a breeze. You can even tell it to clean specific rooms at certain times of the day. I preferred to just have it clean everything at the same time every day, and scheduling that is effortless as well.
Another great app feature is the cleaning history. The app keeps a log of every cleaning and how long it lasted. As of this writing, my i7+ has completed 93 jobs in 82 hours and cleaned up 300 dirt events.
If you prefer not to have another app on your smart device, you can also operate the i7+ the old-fashioned way by simply pressing the big “Clean” button on top of the vacuum.
When it comes to performance, the i7+ runs relatively quiet. A sound metre placed about 12 inches from the unit during operation registered 63 decibels, which is a little bit louder than a normal conversation and quieter than other robotic vacuums I’ve tested.
To test the cleaning ability of the i7+, I poured a bunch of flour, kitty litter, and coffee grounds on hardwood and carpeting. I then put the i7+ to work on it for one cleaning cycle. I’d estimate the Roomba picked up 95% of the kitty litter and coffee grounds on both the carpet and hardwood. It then got 90% of the flour on the carpet and 75% on the hardwood. I also tested to see how close the vacuum could get to corners by sprinkling flour in the corners on both surfaces. In both cases, it came within about an inch of the corner.
When it comes to pet hair, the i7+ does an excellent job. Thanks to its daily cleanings, I can’t remember the last time I’ve noticed hair from our two cats on the floor.
I also liked that the i7+ almost never got stuck on cords or other items so I didn’t have to take time freeing it.
Cleaning the i7+ was easy. The app let me know when to clean the bin, debris extractors, and core robot elements. And, it provides step-by-step instructions for doing so.
Some concerns about the robot vacuum:
About half the time I ran the Roomba i7+, it would end its cycle stuck in our kitchen. It was able to get over the lip to enter the kitchen, but it couldn’t get back out again. Of course, I could use the mapping function to have it stay out of the kitchen or have it clean the kitchen separately. But, I prefer to have it do one cleaning for my first floor per day, rather than multiple for different sections. So, I have to live with occasionally rescuing the vacuum from the kitchen.
The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is a game changer, but I think it could still use some tweaking. There were a few times when the Roomba and base would have trouble communicating. This wasn’t a big deal. Most of the time, I would just clean the elements, and it would be back to normal. Other times, though, the app would tell me that there was a clog in the Clean Base’s vacuum system when there wasn’t. At one point, the app directed me to undo five screws to check the debris evacuation tubing. This was a pain, and there wasn’t actually a clog.
Overall, this is the best robotic vacuum I’ve ever used. There’s nothing else like it available, and it’s what other manufacturers will be trying to copy in the coming months and years. The Clean Base works as advertised. The smart mapping allows you to clean the rooms you want while avoiding others. And, the vacuum itself has excellent suction. The biggest downside is the high price. But, if you are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it robot vacuum and have a large budget, it doesn’t get any better than the Roomba i7+.
Buy the Roomba i7+ for A$1,899 from Bing Lee
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