The Ultimate Roomba Buying Guide (For 2024)

Last updated on January 19th, 2024

Roomba has established such a dominance in the world of vacuum cleaners that it has become a generic term. People often think a robot vacuum is called a Roomba, no matter the brand.

It’s like people using the brand name Xerox for any photocopying tasks. All of this has hyped up these vacuums so good that everyone wants to buy one.

But there are so many of them that choosing one becomes extremely difficult, especially if you are a first-time buyer. We have created this ultimate Roomba buying guide to help you choose the right vacuum for your home.

What is a Roomba?

A Roomba is a smart robot vacuum cleaner. It goes around your home by itself, cleaning up dirt and dust from the floors. It’s like a little helper that keeps your floors tidy without you having to do the work. It vacuums your house with the help of a strong motor and a few onboard sensors.

It can detect obstacles, like furniture and walls, so it doesn’t bump into things. It has brushes underneath that sweep up dirt and a vacuum that sucks it all in.

You can set it to clean on a schedule, and it even knows when its battery is low and goes back to its charging station. It’s a handy gadget for keeping your floors clean without much effort!

These are popular because:

  • They make cleaning floors incredibly convenient.
  • They save you time and effort since they clean on their own, without you needing to push a traditional vacuum around.
  • Their smart sensors help them navigate around your home without bumping into things or falling down stairs.
  • People also like how these vacuums can reach under furniture and into tight spaces that might be hard to clean otherwise.

Roomba buying guide (Here’s what to look)

The robotic vacuum must have all the features that will ensure a seamless cleaning experience. It can get overwhelming because there’s too much to consider. But we hope our Roomba buying guide will help you make a well-informed decision.

1. Price

Roombas come in a wide price range. You can buy one for $99 as well as $999. iRobot has some cheap as well as high-end options. It all depends on the kind of features you want in your vacuum.

If you really like a particular model but think it’s too expensive, then look for a refurbished model of the same make. They come cheaper but give you all those functionalities. But make sure you buy from verified sellers.

Always compare the price of these vacuums with different sellers like iRobot itself, Amazon, Home Depot, Costco, etc. And purchase from where you get the cheapest deal.

2. Wi-Fi connectivity

There are two types of Roombas:

  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Non-Wi-Fi enabled

The major difference between the two is that you can control the Roomba 980 having Wi-Fi connectivity with a mobile app, while the Roomba 790 not having Wi-Fi connectivity can only be controlled via the buttons on it. You cannot control these vacuums without Wi-Fi remotely.

They also don’t have access to tons of amazing features of the app, like personalized reminders, cleaning history, maps and no-go zones, vacuum health, and access to unlimited vacuuming resources.

Personally, we would choose a vacuum with Wi-Fi unless you want the most basic model just to test how a robot vacuum fits in with your home.

3. Camera

Roomba with a camera
Roomba with a camera

Now, this falls under the design of the vacuum. There are ones that don’t have a camera, whereas others that do. All those who do have it mounted on the top of the robot.

But the Roomba j series is an exception. The Roomba j7 and Roomba Combo j7+ have a front-mounted camera which gives them excellent obstacle detection capabilities.

The camera is essential for two purposes: mapping and navigation. We are going to discuss each of these in detail. But, to give you the gist – A Robovac with a camera has better mapping capabilities than one without one.

A vacuum with a front-mounted camera is better at navigation than one with a top-mounted camera.

Our suggestion is to opt for a Roomba with a camera, whether it’s front-facing or top-facing. It’s going to give you a better view of your home.

4. Mapping

Mapping using vSLAM Technology
Mapping using vSLAM Technology

Earlier models like the Roomba 675, didn’t have smart mapping. They moved around the room randomly, bumping into objects until they cleaned the entire floor. They sometimes miss a few spots, but that doesn’t happen with the models that have a mapping system.

Newer models like the Roomba i3+ Evo were introduced with a mapping update. These robots use onboard sensors to create a map of your entire house. iRobot even lets you edit this map to create different rooms, label the rooms, set no-go zones and clean zones, etc.

Though the bump and clean models are good at their job, a Robovac with mapping abilities is even better.

5. Navigation system

Roomba navigating the floor
Roomba navigating the floor

All models use a vSLAM (visual Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) and iAdapt navigation system. Some models have a camera for visual navigation, while others don’t. Check out the models that have an onboard camera here.

The ones who don’t have a camera completely rely on a gyroscope to navigate the floor. The Roomba 890 is a great model, for that matter.

These are not that good with obstacle detection and have a high chance of running into objects. You can always block off areas by creating no-go zones and using virtual wall barriers. But objects lying in the cleaning field always remain in danger.

If you keep things neat, the navigation system shouldn’t be much of a bother. You just don’t want to leave small objects and loose cords lying around.

6. Suction power

Roomba buying guide
An illustrative representation working of Roomba

The suction power is one of the most critical aspects when choosing a vacuum. If your home has a lot of carpeting, you should go for the Roomba s9+ as it has the highest suction power of all the other models.

The more the suction power, the more efficiently it will be able to clean. Now, the table below compares the suction powers of some of the popular vacuum series.

Roomba seriesSuction power
600 series1x
i series10x
e series5x
j series10x
s series40x
Different Roombas and their suction power

You’ll notice that even i series and j series vacuums have comparatively higher suction powers. That means the Roomba i2 and Roomba i4 are great for carpets.

7. Battery capacity

Li-ion Battery used in a Roomba
Li-ion Battery used in a Roomba

These vacuums are auto-rechargeable vacuums. So you don’t have to worry about it ever running out of power. But considering its battery capacity is important, especially if you have a large house. Roomba 695 with 1800 mAh battery capacity has a shorter run time than Roomba 980 with higher capacity.

You don’t want your vacuum to go charge 3 times just to complete cleaning the entire house. That will take up just too much time.

So, depending on the size of your house, you should choose a cleaner robot with sufficient battery capacity. The following are the common batteries in these models:

  • 1800 mAh Lithium Ion battery
  • 3300 mAh Lithium Ion battery
  • 2210 mAh Lithium Ion battery
  • 3000 mAh Nickel Metal Hydride battery

Fun fact: A NiMH battery gives a longer runtime than a Li-Ion battery of the same capacity.

8. Self-emptying feature

All the iRobot vacuums that have a ‘+’ in their name come with a Clean Base, like the Roomba i4+. This base automatically empties the contents of the onboard dustbin into a large dirt disposal bag stored in the base itself. This bag can hold up to 30 cycles worth of debris.

With the self-emptying feature, you don’t have to manually empty the bin every time it is full. You can take the bag out and throw it away once it’s full.

Some prefer to reuse the Roomba bags by emptying their contents. This feature is only available for the i, j, and s series.

This feature costs a couple hundred bucks more for the Clean Base, but it is worth it in the long run. You can take vacuuming off your mind for weeks by using vacuum scheduling and self-emptying features together.

9. Dual cleaning modes

There’s only one model that has dual cleaning modes, viz., vacuuming and mopping. The Roomba Combo j7+ has an extendable mop with which you can vacuum and mop your floors simultaneously.

This is for someone who is looking for an all-in-one cleaning solution. It’s a very expensive purchase, but it will save a few bucks if you get this model instead of getting a Roomba vacuum and a Braava mop separately.

10. Auto resume cleaning

We know that an iRobot vacuum automatically recharges itself when low on battery. But some models go a step further. On recharging, they automatically set off to resume cleaning from the area they left off to recharge. This feature is available only in

  • 900 series
  • i series
  • j series
  • s series

This means if your Roomba 960 cleaned the living area and left off to recharge just after entering the kitchen, it will come and start cleaning the kitchen as soon as it recharges.

11. Edge cleaning

iRobot vacuum has a dedicated side brush for cleaning the edges. The round shape of the models doesn’t really fit into corners and edges. That is where the Roomba s9+ comes in with its PerfectEdge technology.

It is a specially designed vacuum with a D shape that can easily navigate edges and corners. All vacuums can clean the edges, but none is as effective as this. If your house accumulates a lot of dirt in the corners, this is the perfect solution.

Different Roomba series

There are several generations of Roombas spanned over 10 series. Each series brings something new to the table. We are often asked which series is the best, and we always say it all depends on your needs.

To clarify this a bit, we have compiled a table of some of the commonly used Roomba series and when you should consider buying a vacuum from a particular series.

Roomba seriesWhen to choose it?
600 seriesYou want the very basic model of a vacuum
700 seriesYou are okay with a non-Wi-Fi connected vacuum
800 seriesYou are okay with a non-Wi-Fi-enabled vacuum
900 seriesYou want to get a few advanced features but don’t want to spend much
i seriesYou are okay with spending a bit to get some really good features
j seriesYou have pets who often cause poop accidents
s seriesYou have a lot of carpets in your house, and you really want to focus on cleaning the edges
Which Roomba is for me?

One thing’s clear – if you are okay with spending on a vacuum, definitely opt for either the i, j, or s series.

  • The j series is perfect for households with pets and children.
  • The Roomba i7+ is a top model from the i series, which has almost all the features iRobot offers in its vacuums.
  • If you are looking for budget-friendly options, the 900 series would be a good choice as it adopts some high-end features while keeping the price nominal.

Which Roomba is best for me?

If you are still not able to decide which vacuum is best for you. Don’t worry! We know it’s not an easy decision, and we intend to help you out to the fullest extent with this Roomba buying guide. To make things more clear, we have categorized some of the common models into three categories.

  • Beginner friendly
  • Economical
  • High end

Let’s get into more details.

Beginner friendly vacuums

Roomba 694

Top view of Roomba 694
Roomba 694

This is a budget-friendly smart vacuum cleaner valued at $249.99. With its 3300 mAh battery capacity, it gives a runtime of 90 minutes. It’s enough to clean a small apartment in one go. It doesn’t have mapping but uses the bump and clean method to cover the entire floor.

It has almost 600 Pa of suction power, which is the minimum a Roomba has. Its 0.3 L dustbin is a bit smaller than other Roombas, but it’s a great option for the price.

Roomba e5

Top view of Roomba e5
Roomba e5

It is known for its efficiency in picking up pet hair due to its 5 times more suction power than the 600 series. Despite being an older model, it offers a solid mid-range vacuuming experience.

With a runtime of 90 minutes on just 3 hours of charging, it provides decent cleaning coverage. Although it is not as advanced, it gets the job done with its basic navigation system. iRobot doesn’t sell the Roomba e5 directly, but you can find refurbished models online for $124.

Economical vacuums

Roomba 980

Top view of Roomba 980
Roomba 980

It features a powerful 10 times more suction power. It is equipped with an iAdapt 2.0 Navigation system with which it can seamlessly maneuver around furniture and obstacles.

It has Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can control it remotely with the iRobot Home app. In spite of having a mere 3300 mAh battery capacity, it gives a longer runtime than Roomba 692 of 120 mins. You can buy a refurbished model for as low as $200.

Roomba i3+ Evo

Front view of Roomba i3+ Evo
Roomba i3+ Evo

It is an upgraded version of the original Roomba i3. It has retained all its features while introducing smart mapping and enhanced app capabilities through iRobot Genius. It navigates efficiently, but it lacks the ability to set no-go zones on the map.

The standout feature is its self-emptying dustbin. This excellent model can be bought at just $399.99 from the iRobot official website.

High-end vacuums

Roomba s9+

Top view of Roomba s9+
Roomba s9+

It is iRobot’s latest vacuum cleaner, available at $649.99 on the iRobot website. It features a unique D-shaped design that is perfect for tackling corners and edges.

It is the best for cleaning carpets with its 40x suction power. It boasts a large 0.5 L dustbin and an automatic dirt disposal system, which means it takes fewer detours to empty the bin.

Unfortunately, in spite of having a 3300 mAh battery, it can run only for 45 to 120 minutes.

Roomba j7+

Top view of Roomba j7+
Roomba j7+

It is a premium self-emptying vacuum. It gives a unique Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P.) guarantee. Which states that if it runs over solid pet waste within one year from purchase, iRobot will replace it for free. It has the most advanced obstacle detection and mapping capabilities than any other vacuum.

It runs for up to 90 minutes on a single charge and has a recharge and resume function. While it comes with a higher price tag of $799.99, its exceptional features make it a worthwhile investment, especially for pet owners.

Conclusion

This Roomba buying guide sums up everything you should look for in an iRobot vacuum. First, decide how much you can spend on a vacuum and then start looking for models in your price range. Compare vacuums based on their battery capacity, runtime, navigation system, dustbin capacity, mapping ability, app features, and more. Choose the one that offers the most features.

We recommend the j7+ as it has the best features of all of the vacuums.

Some of the models are discontinued by iRobot, but you can still buy refurbished models. You can even consider renting a Robovac if you don’t want to spend a lump sum. For any further assistance in buying, reach out to us in the comments.

FAQs

What is the latest iRobot vacuum series?

The s series is the latest iRobot vacuum series.

What are the disadvantages of an iRobot vacuum?

One of the major disadvantages of these vacuums is their loud noise. It can get really loud, especially if it’s emptying its bin in the Clean Base.

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Siddhi Gurav

She is the editor and content writer at Smart Home Bulls. Siddhi merges her passion for language with SEO expertise. With 4 years of experience as a creative writer and a passion for smart home technology, she fits in perfectly at Smart Home Bulls. Her wide experience in content marketing has been an excellent addition to our team.

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