What makes the iRobot Roomba i7+ a super-smart robot vacuum cleaner? Find out in our detailed review.
To invest in the iRobot Roomba i7+ or not – that is the question. Are you already a Roomba fan? If so, you’ve probably already seen ads for the latest of Roomba’s impressive lineup, including the more recent s9+. You’ve probably also discovered that the i7+ was the first robot vacuum that can automatically empty its dustbin.
But you may be side-eyeing that price tag and wondering if that cool trick is worth the upgrade. And if you’ve never owned a Roomba before, you may get heart palpitations just thinking about such a big investment. Let’s just come out and say it. Is the i7+ worth it? Maybe.
The i7+ is by far one of the most advanced in terms of super-smart tech. When working at peak performance, it’s possible to go for days or weeks without even touching this robot vacuum or your upright vacuum.
It all depends on your specific needs, flooring types, and lifestyle, among other things. So we’ll dive into the ins and outs of this premium robot vacuum. Then you can decide if the investment is worth it.
What do you get with the Roomba i7+
One thing you need to know is that the (+) actually refers to the vacuum PLUS the charging dock/self-emptying bin combo. It is possible to buy just the robot vacuum with regular charging dock. But…that kind of defeats the purpose of its innovative self-emptying power.
Once you unpack your shiny new appliance, you’ll find the Roomba i7, the Clean Base, power cord, 2 disposal bags, virtual wall barrier, extra high-efficiency filter, and 1 extra side brush.
- Battery run time: Up to 90 minutes
- Charge time: 2 – 3 hours
- Noise level ~ 65 – 70 dB
- Roomba i7 Dimensions: 13.3” W x 13.3” L x 3.63” H
- Clean Base Dimensions: 12.2” W x 15.1” L x 19” H
- Weight: 7.44 pounds
- Warranty: 12-month limited
The parts you’ll have to change most often are the dirt disposal bags at the base, then the filter and side brush on the vacuum. There are 2 rubberized brush rollers that will eventually have to be replaced depending on how much wear and tear they have.
The rollers are designed to maintain constant contact with the floor. They’re great at yanking up fur and hair from your carpets, but they’re less likely to get tangled up with hair clogs than other brush and blade designs.
How does it navigate so well? The i7 has a camera that scans up and across the room, finding where your walls and ceiling meet. With the Imprint Smart Mapping, it will take 2 – 3 cycles for it to learn where all the obstacles (furniture, cabinets, etc) are in the room.
There’s actually a battery-saving mode that lets it just explore with no cleaning so it can learn the lay of the land a little faster. Or you can have it learn while it cleans, but be patient. It won’t do a perfect job on the first run. Lewis and Clark didn’t map out the US in one day, either.
When the i7 has finished mapping your floor plan, then you can pull up the app, name your rooms, and add borders. Then it’s ready for specific room cleaning. Unlike most robot vacs, the i7 can determine where it is no matter where it is when you turn it on, provided it’s already mapped that area. So if it gets stuck, you can rescue it, then it can continue its cycle from right there.
You’re in control
No worries that your new smart robot will take over the world. You’re still in control. The hardest part will be deciding just HOW you want to control the i7.
Want to keep it simple? Just press “CLEAN” on the vacuum itself, and off it will go until the battery is low or the bin is full.
Want to micromanage your vacuum? Just pull up the iRobot HOME app, where you have tons of options when it comes to scheduling, zone control, navigation, and much more. The scheduling combined with zones is the most highly advanced in the industry. You can set up to 10 floor plans (with multiple rooms) and choose exactly where you want it to go and what days and times you want the vacuum to battle the dust bunnies. Great for multi-story homes.
Feeling talkative? Pair your i7 up with Alexa or Google Assistant. Say, “Roomba, clean my hallway (or any named area),” and off it will go.
Don’t want the i7 to venture into specific areas? Just set Keep Out Zones in the app with virtual barriers so it knows where NOT to go.
The i7’s superpower
Auto-emptying. Do you really want or need this? Need it – no. Want it – oh yeah. Particularly if you have pets who shed constantly. The Roomba i7 has sensors that can tell when the bin is full. Then it will venture back to the Clean Base, where the base sucks up its dirt load into a disposable bag.
The bag holds up to 30 bins full of dirt. Depending on much hair and dirt your critters shed (both the 4-legged and 2-legged varieties), you may not have to change the bag for up to 2 months. Yes, you want this.
The only downside is that when the dirt is being unloaded, it sounds like a mini jet engine. General operation is fairly quiet though, comparable to other robot vacs.
If you think your i7 is lonely…
With Imprint Link Technology, you can pair up your i7 with a Braava Jet m6 robot mop. Set them up with their bases close to one another. When your vacuum is done and returns to its base, the robot mop will then set out to mop your hard floors.
Tag team cleaning has never been this easy.
Every hero has his kryptonite
Like some other robot vacuums that rely on a camera for navigation, the i7 can’t see in total darkness. So if you just HAVE to run your robot vac at night while you’re asleep, you’re out of luck with this one.
There’s also no real-time mapping on the app so you can see where it is at any given time to determine any spots it may have missed. While it’s not a huge deal, that feature would help you determine how well the i7 is learning your floor plans, especially when you’re not at home. As it is, iRobot suggests that you watch your robot the first couple cycles to see how well its doing.
One more thing – your phone must be connected to WiFi for scheduling. So you may not be able to do that if you’re not at home.
What are customers saying about the Roomba i7+
Not surprisingly, customers raved over the self-emptying dustbin. Tech lovers were giddy over the improved mapping and scheduling features. Previous Roomba owners noticed this one got stuck a lot LESS often than the 960 and earlier models. Pet owners – especially those with heavy-shedding dogs – were very impressed with how well it picked up hair.
Customers with varied types of flooring were pleased with how well the i7 cleaned both carpets and hard floors. It had no issues with most area rugs and thresholds.
Also not surprisingly, customers who weren’t tech-savvy or who had poor WiFi had a lot of issues getting this vacuum set up properly. Customers noticed that the side brush just knocked around some loose dirt like cracker pieces, etc. rather than sucking it up. A few people also had issues with false clog alerts.
It had a little trouble with fringed edges on rugs and sometimes got caught up in thick shag carpets. Just like all robot vacs, it did get tangled in charging cords and other string-type objects. So either keep those out of the way or set no-go zones around them.
For the auto-emptying and super-smart mapping and scheduling, you can’t beat the Roomba i7. It’s good for pretty much any size home and any type of floor.
However, it will cost you. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can get robot vacs with equally good cleaning performance for a fraction of the cost. They’ll just require a lot more manual attention.
You must have good WiFi, a mobile device, and follow set up instructions to a T to get the most out of the i7. If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you may very well get frustrated before you have a chance to really see what it can do.
- Self-emptying bin
- 90-minute battery life
- Superior room mapping
- Versatile scheduling features
- Tangle-resistant brush rollers
- Google / Alexa voice control
- Pairs with Braava Jet m6 robot mop
- Loud when self-emptying
- Can still get stuck from time to time
- Can’t operate in the dark
- No real-time mapping
- Must have WiFi for full use of smart features
- May get stuck on fringed rugs and shag carpets