With so many models to choose from, the Roomba name has almost become synonymous with robot vacuums. iRobot, the company behind Roombas, offers nearly a dozen different versions of automated home cleaners. But how do you know which one is best for you?
GO AHEAD The best Roomba robot vacuums
By looking at the best practices for choosing a robot vacuum and the different features that Roomba offers, it can be easier to determine which one suits your needs, space and budget. To get started, let’s consider what a robot vacuum gives you and what features are actually important.
How to buy a robot vacuum cleaner
Everyone’s needs are different, which means that a robovac is not a one-size-fits-all model. When buying one, it is important to think about your personal situation. For example, do you have a large multi-level house? Do you have pets? Is your home mostly carpeted or do you have bare floors? Are you home most of the day? To help you understand the different features of each Roomba, Select reached out to Jason Williams, Senior Corporate Communications Specialist at iRobot, to find out which factors are most important to consider when buying one.
“Suctioning doesn’t always equal better cleaning,” says Williams. “Suction is just one factor in a complex cleaning equation that includes agitation, type of debris, air path, tightness, and more,” he says. While some vacuums provide digital measurements of their suction power, iRobot does not, he said. Instead, it offers vaguer terms like “5x the cleaning power” or “40x the suction power.” Still, paying attention to how each model compares to the others can help you figure out which one is right for your level of clutter. For example, if you have pets that molt, you might want stronger suction. Notice only a little dirt on your floors? One of the lower cleaning power models may be just fine. Besides suction power, other cleaning features to consider are brushless rollers (which can be good at picking up pet hair, depending on the brand) or allergen filters, which trap pollen and allergens of mold inside once they’re picked up, says iRobot.
Williams says there are two navigation methods Roomba vacuums use to move around the house. One is “random multipass/bounce,” he said. “[These] use inputs from sensors on the robot, such as shock sensors in the robot’s bumper, to perform pre-programmed behaviors. He said the Roomba 600 series uses this type of navigation. “It works well in small spaces, like dorms, studios, and apartments where they tend to cover areas of the floor multiple times,” he said. Another type of navigation, which iRobot uses on most of its new smart-mapping Roomba vacuums, is called vision-based navigation, or simultaneous visual location and mapping (vSLAM), Williams said. “These models are able to consistently navigate and clean like a row of corn without a navigation camera,” he said.
Williams said that like all vacuums, Roombas make noise. “However, compared to a traditional upright vacuum, Roomba vacuums tend to be quieter,” he said, adding that iRobot’s Smart Mapping robots have a feature called Quiet Drive, which means when the robot moves from one room to another or to and from its base, it switches off its suction motor. “The goal is to limit noise production when it’s not actively operating,” Williams said.
“Software is what sets robot vacuums apart from each other,” Williams said. iRobot’s smart Roombas (all except 614 and 860 models) are powered by iRobot OS. The iRobot Home app allows users to monitor and control the vacuum from their phone or other device, controlling where, when and how their home is cleaned, Williams said. According to him, Roombas can understand more than 600 voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri; Roomba J Series recognizes and avoids over 80 common objects, including shoes, clothing, cables, backpacks, and solid pet waste; and the Roomba J, S, and I series have smart mapping capability, which allows users to program their Roomba to clean specific rooms or label them as “no-go areas.”
As one of the most popular brands of robot vacuums, it’s usually easier to find spare parts for Roomba vacuums, which will keep it in good shape for longer. But Williams recommends regularly cleaning and replacing the air filters, inspecting and cleaning the rollers, and occasionally wiping down the sensors on the bottom of each robot.
Which Roomba robot vacuum is right for you?
To help you decide which Roomba is right for you, Select asked Williams to identify some features that are most useful in certain environments or situations, including the best Roombas for pet owners, the best Roombas for small spaces , the best Roombas for larger homes, and the best Roombas for homes with mostly carpet.
The Best Roombas for Small Spaces
According to Williams, the Roomba 600 series is “ideal for dorm rooms, small homes, apartments and condos because they are battery operated and only have 60 minutes of battery life before automatically returning to base to recharge. The iRobot 600 series contains its most basic models, with the Roomba 614 being the most affordable at under $300.It features a three-stage cleaning system that loosens, lifts and vacuums dirt, dust and hair from hard floors and carpets, depending on the brand.It also has a specially designed edge sweeping brush to sweep debris from edges and corners.
Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi
The Roomba 675 is exactly the same as the Roomba 614, just with the addition of Wi-Fi functionality, explains the brand. Using the iRobot Home app, you can program the 675 directly from your phone to start or stop cleaning, or with your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant. It learns your cleaning habits and suggests schedules to meet your needs, explains the brand, and also recommends extra cleaning during allergy season.
Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi
The Roomba 694 was released in 2020 and has all the same features as the 675, just with a bigger bin and a fancier look.
Roomba i3 EVO Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Wi-Fi
With just 75 minutes of runtime, this is another iRobot model that would be better in a smaller space, Williams said, although it’s a step up from the 600 series. The Roomba i series is equipped with tracking sensors, so instead of randomly navigating around your home, the i series can clean bare floors and carpets in straight, clean lines, the brand explains. It also has smart mapping, which means it learns your home and stores a fingerprint of your home in its memory so it can clean any room you want, anytime, on a schedule. defined or on demand, whether you are at home. or far, says iRobot. The Roomba i3 EVO is a stand-alone vacuum, but the i3+EVO comes with a self-emptying docking station.
Best Roombas for Pet Owners
“These can detect and avoid pet bowls, pet toys, and pet waste,” says Williams, adding that they also come with the official Pet Owner Promise (POOP) from iRobot, which means that if the robot touches solid pet waste, iRobot will replace it without charge. The Roomba i7 adds to the functionality of the i3 by using a camera to map your home, allowing you to tell it to clean a specific room or even a specific area of a room (like “under the sofa”) as needed. . Like the i3, there is a raised plus version that comes with a self-emptying dock.
Combined Roomba j7+
Recognizing that most homes have a combination of carpet and bare floors, iRobot just launched its first 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mop combo in September, Williams said. The Roomba Combo j7+ offers all the same great features as the j7+, including iRobot’s official Pet Owner Promise, but it also cleans and vacuums bare floors at the same time. According to the brand, this is the only robot vacuum and mop combination that can easily go from carpet to bare floors, as it has a fully retractable automatic mop that prevents messes from wet carpets. The Combo j7+ also empties.
iRobot Roomba E5
For a more economical option, pet owners should consider the Roomba e5 with Wi-Fi. It’s similar to the 600 models in that it uses random browsing. However, it has increased suction power and two brushless rollers – a design tweak that makes it more effective at cleaning hair without tangling – and an allergen filter, making it ideal for pet owners , depending on the brand.
Best Roomba for Carpeted Homes
If your home is mostly carpeted, Williams said the Wi-Fi-connected, self-draining Roomba s9+ is your best bet. That’s because it’s “iRobot’s most powerful and deepest robot vacuum,” he said. “[The s9+] is 40 times more powerful than the Roomba 600 series and will increase its power automatically on rugs and carpets,” said Williams. He added that the Roomba s9+ also has two counter-rotating rubber rollers that are 30% wider than the 600 series. corners and is designed with built-in allergen filters, making it ideal for pet owners, according to the brand. Like the i-Series, it is available as a stand-alone vacuum or as a plus model with the self-emptying dock.
Braava Robot Mops
In 2021, iRobot launched a series of automated mops under the Braava name. Like a Roomba, a Braava mop will clean your floors for you, using a spray and wipe method. The more affordable Braava 380t offers basic cleaning capabilities. The premium Braava m6 offers more settings, custom mapping, and can even integrate with select Roomba models so the two can clean in tandem. They’ve received good reviews, despite being less popular than their vacuum cousins, and now iRobot is offering the mops with a Roomba vacuum in a bundle.
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