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iRobot Roomba i7+ and Combo j7 review: 60 days of vacuum testing

We compare the classic robot vacuum and the robot-mop combo

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The iRobot Roomba i7+ with Clean Base.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ with Clean Base.Photo by iRobot

iRobot Roomba i7+

About the iRobot Roomba i7+: This model is mid-range in the iRobot suite of products. Their most affordable models, the 600 series, offer standard suction and personalized cleaning suggestions. The i7+ model I tested, comes with a Clean Base for automatic dirt disposal, meaning the vacuum automatically empties its bin when full. This is extremely helpful for people living on one floor because you don’t have to think about vacuuming, other than hitting “Start job” on your phone or pressing the “Clean” button on the vacuum. 

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This model uses Imprint Smart Mapping, meaning once you’ve used the vacuum a few times in your home, it remembers your floor plan and can clean more efficiently each time it vacuums. You’re also able to customize room names and cleaning jobs, if you only want your kitchen and bathroom done, rather than the dining room, for example. 

This model also has voice controls, so you can direct it to clean certain rooms just by yelling at it (or using a normal volume, if that’s your style) or via the iRobot HOME app.

Finally, it has edge sweeping brushes that constantly spin, designed to get all of the dust and debris out of the hard-to-reach corners and edges of each room. Follow that with a high-efficiency filter made from a special material that (they say) captures 99 per cent of pollen, mould, dust mite and cat and dog allergens. Sounds like one clean floor.

i7+ specs and facts:

  • Retail box dimensions: 16.52 x 19.63 x 15.75
  • Box weight: 26.5 lbs
  • Robot weight: 7.44 lbs
  • Robot dimensions: 13.34 inches width x 3.63 inches high
  • Battery type: Lithium Ion
  • Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal dimensions: 12.2” W x 15.1” D x 19” H
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days (only if purchased through iRobot directly)
  • Warranty: One-year, limited warranty for parts only including battery (only if purchased through iRobot directly)

The Combo j7's cleaning capabilities explained.
The Combo j7’s cleaning capabilities explained.Photo by iRobot

iRobot Combo j7

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About the iRobot Roomba j7 Combo: This model has all of the same features as the i7+ listed above, plus a new mop feature. iRobot claims to have the first “truly hands-free 2-in-1” vacuum and mop in the world. The retractable mop pad cleverly pops down once the machine moves away from your carpets or rugs and onto your hardwood floors or tiles. It’s quite a seamless experience and fun to watch. 

You can tailor the Cleaning Mode on the app to vacuum only or vacuum and mop, as well as change the Liquid Amount (the level of cleaning solution dispensed when mopping) and Cleaning Passes (the number of cleaning passes the robot will clean a specified area). 

j7 Combo specs and facts:

  • Retail box dimensions: 14.4 x 17.4 x 13.9
  • Box weight: 25.7 lbs
  • Robot weight: 7.35 lbs
  • Robot dimensions: 13.3 inches width x 3.4 inches high
  • Battery type: Lithium Ion
  • Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal dimensions: 12.2” W x 15.1” D x 13.4” H
  • Money-back guarantee: 60 days (only if purchased through iRobot directly)
  • Warranty: One-year, limited warranty for parts only including battery (only if purchased through iRobot directly)
    • This model is also backed by the Pet Owner Official Promise (if your robot hits solid pet waste, iRobot will replace it free of charge)

Overall thoughts on the Combo j7 and i7+

Setting up the iRobot Roombas: The setup was fairly straightforward for both machines, thanks to one-page instruction booklets. Essentially, you download the iRobot HOME app and follow the prompts. You place the Clean Base in an open area with few obstacles, so it can find its way home safely. The vacuum needs to do a few cleans before learning and mapping your space. Once it’s done, it’s very easy to then customize your map using the app and name each room.

My favourite features: The ability to clean the floors while I’m running errands. I have a dog that sheds her weight in fur on a weekly basis, so it’s rewarding to return home from a walk and have hair-free floors. 

I love that the machines empty the bins themselves, though this feature only works on the floor where the Clean Base lives. If you have a multiple-floor home, you need to lift the vacuum upstairs and empty it when prompted by the vacuum itself or your smart app. That said, they both have the ability to map multiple floors and you can customize each, plus you have the option of setting up cleaning schedules so you don’t have to think about it throughout the week.

The j7 vacuums and mops simultaneously, moving from carpet cleaning to hardwood floor cleaning and can identify and avoid obstacles and hazards (including pet waste).

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My least favourite features:  Watching the vacuums learn the ins and outs of my home drove me crazy. It would bump into a chair, turn slightly, then bump into the chair again. It cleans in rows, so I would watch it almost pick up a fluff for ten minutes, before actually getting it. It also takes a long time to figure your space out, so the first few cleans could take up to two or three hours for a relatively small space (my ground floor is roughly 550 sq.ft.) These things may not bother some people, but I’d suggest leaving your house for the first few cleans if you think they might.

The machines are fairly noisy, especially when emptying the bins because of the extreme suction process pulling the dirt and dust up into the Clean Base. It can also be a little scary for pets at first — my dog still steers well clear of the vacuum. 

Final thoughts: These vacuums are excellent for pet owners and even better for people who live on one floor because then you can set it up and completely forget about it. Here’s a surprise — it’s great for those who really dislike cleaning — sweeping, vacuuming or mopping in particular. If you want an all-in-one machine, I would definitely recommend the j7 Combo for its mopping feature.

I want a dishwashing robot now, please.

Where to buy: 

Editor’s note: Originally published in June 2021, we’ve updated this article to include our thoughts on the Combo j7 robot vacuum and mop.

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