Though Roomba didn’t make the primary robotic vacuum as many individuals imagine, it definitely popularised the equipment. And it is nonetheless on the forefront of robotic vacuum innovation, offering self-emptying expertise for weeks of hands-off cleansing, and granular mapping that’ll even allow you to goal the world round particular items of furnishings for a clear.
We’re reviewing the Roomba i7+ with a self-emptying base station, though it’s also possible to purchase one with a typical charging dock.
The i7+ is a traditional, disc-shaped robotic vacuum, with a shiny black and gray end. It has a barely decrease than common profile (its dimensions are 34.2 x 34 x 9.3cm), which could possibly be excellent news for folks struggling to discover a robotic vacuum that matches underneath their furnishings.
Nonetheless, we’d at all times advise measuring the clearance peak of key items of furnishings earlier than shopping for, to make sure that it’ll work to your residence.
On prime is a big button to start out, pause and cease the cleansing, surrounded by a white gentle ring that illuminates when it’s in use and pulses when charging. On both facet are the house button and spot clear button.
There’s a digital camera within the centre and on the entrance is the RCON sensor, which permits the i7+ to seek out its dock and digital boundary marker. Working alongside the entrance is a versatile bumper, which – as you’ll see – will get loads of use.
In addition to the robotic and self-emptying dock, the field additionally incorporates a spare vacuum bag, a spare spinning sweeper and a Twin Mode digital wall barrier, with two AA batteries to energy it.
The digital wall barrier is fairly intelligent. There’s a change that you may toggle to create both a round boundary, defending pet bowls or a fragile lamp, or a straight barrier to shut off a room.
Nonetheless, I nonetheless do not adore it. At this worth level, getting a plastic put up that should stand someplace in a room appears a bit atavistic. It doesn’t look nice, it might simply be knocked over and it’s simply one other factor to purchase batteries for (though iRobot believes they need to final for 8-10 months).
However what’s nice is that there is no want to make use of it. You’ll be able to create no-go zones solely just about by marking areas on the map of your house within the app.
When you’ve arrange the dock, the i7+ might want to cost for at the very least an hour, however three hours is suggested. One factor to notice is that the charging lights on the dock and robotic go off after some time. Not understanding this, I spent a while attempting to repair a nonexistent drawback with the connection.
The subsequent stage is to obtain the iRobot app. It’s free to make use of and out there for each Android and Apple. As soon as the robotic is charged, you’ll have the ability to pair it utilizing your house Wi-Fi connection. It linked immediately in our check.
The robotic vacuum interacts utilizing voice messages, so that you’ll get an audio immediate if there’s an issue charging, or if one thing is caught within the cleansing mechanism.
As soon as it began, the very first thing that struck me was how noisy it’s in operation, with a mechanical whirring sound and a spinning sweeper that mix (particularly on laborious flooring) to overpowering impact. iRobot says its working quantity is 68dB, which isn’t quiet for a robotic vacuum.
But it surely’s an efficient cleaner, with rubber multi-surface brushes that pull hair and particles from carpets and an edge-sweeping brush that will get into corners. The one challenge is on laborious flooring, the place the spinning sweepers might scatter bigger items of particles.
Additionally, if in case you have pets or somebody with lengthy hair in your family, you’ll discover that the sweeping brush will get twisted up with hair that you simply’ll have to chop away.
The i7+ cleans logically, vacuuming first in rows throughout the room, after which cleansing alongside the sides. Though it has sensors to assist it to keep away from obstacles, the navigation is erratic. Typically, it detects the article in entrance of it and stops quick.
At different instances – and actually, there are lots of different instances – it ploughs laborious into chair legs and tables, with an audible thump. Happily, I don’t have any vintage furnishings prone to be broken, however when you don’t need a robotic vacuum taking part in bumper automobiles with any dear items, this must be a consideration.
I examined its object avoidance by placing a shoe in its path. Once more, it was actually hit or miss. It averted the shoe on two events whereas cleansing the room, then returned and shunted it into a settee.
Nonetheless, the i7+ is an effective climber, which suggests fewer rescues and a decrease chance of getting twisted up. That is actually vital in a set-and-forget robotic vacuum. It is no good establishing cleansing schedules and going out, just for the robotic vacuum to seaside itself on a coach after 5 minutes and never handle to scrub.
App and mapping
The app is simple to make use of. The primary time the robotic goes out, it’ll create a map, which you’ll be able to then annotate. Or, at the very least, that’s the idea. In actuality, the i7+ was unable to make its map on its first cleansing run. It took two non-vacuuming mapping runs to construct up its cartography abilities.
However as soon as the map had been created, it delivered spectacular outcomes. You may have the choice to change the room boundaries that the robotic creates, then title the rooms and add in key items of furnishings and different home items.
As soon as your map is full, you may have a granular degree of management over your cleansing. For instance, when you spill some cereal within the kitchen, you’ll be able to request that the i7+ head straight over and clear up across the kitchen desk.
If you happen to join the i7+ to your Google Assistant or Alexa machine, it’s even simpler: you’ll be able to simply say, “Roomba, clear up underneath the kitchen desk”.
It additionally means you’ll be able to arrange schedules in order that it vacuums across the cat’s litter tray (one of many system’s nameable objects) each morning, or across the couch in the lounge as soon as everybody has gone to mattress. It is a game-changing characteristic that may revolutionise your expertise of robotic vacuum use.
Sensible mapping additionally permits you to add “Clear Zones” for prime visitors areas and “Hold Out Zones” to make sure that the i7+ avoids particular spots.
You’ll be able to’t alter the cleansing energy however there are three cleansing system choices, based mostly on how whether or not the i7+ goes over rooms a couple of times.
Self-emptying dock and upkeep
The Roomba’s dock is barely slimmer and extra compact than these of some standard rivals. Plus, because it’s in black, it has a extra discreet look than white fashions.
Nonetheless, it’s significantly bigger than a easy charging dock, which does imply that you simply’ll must discover a new spot for it. You received’t have the ability to cover it underneath a settee, particularly given the truth that the robotic has to trundle up an hooked up slope to cost.
It’s simple to take care of. As soon as a month, you’ll want to scrub the charging contacts and infrared window and contained in the dock.
When the bag within the dock must be emptied, you’ll get an alert through the app. Plus, an indicator gentle will illuminate on the dock itself. The bag will final for as much as 60 days. We are able to’t specify for the way lengthy precisely, as we weren’t in a position to fill it up throughout our testing interval.
If you purchase, there’s a bag within the dock and a spare within the field. Alternative baggage can be found from Amazon, for £29.06 for 3 within the UK on the time of writing.
There are extra suitable bag choices out there within the US, so it is cheaper. You will get six baggage for $20.99. For even higher worth, you should purchase a full package of alternative baggage, filters and brushes for simply $37.99.
Keep in mind that the robotic vacuum is emptied through suction into the dock. When it returns and is emptied, it makes a particularly loud and fairly extended noise.
Pricing and availability
If you happen to’re within the UK, the iRobot Roomba i7 has an RRP of £799.99. However the most effective present worth is direct from the iRobot web site, the place it’s out there for £699.
If you need this mannequin of robotic vacuum however aren’t satisfied by the self-emptying dock, it’s priced at £599.99 – though it’s at the moment out there from iRobot for £499.99.
US residents have extra choices. The i7 and dock can be found from Amazon and Wal-Mart however the most effective worth we will discover for it new is from Finest Purchase, the place it is $799.99.
The i7+ and its dock have each main benefits and drawbacks. The self-emptying expertise, mapping and focused vacuuming options are world-class. It is a good cleaner too, and it is unlikely to get beached in your house. Nonetheless, it is noisy and navigates like a bumper automotive – which isn’t perfect at this worth level. This makes it troublesome to wholeheartedly suggest.
It could make a terrific set-and-forget vacuum cleaner if in case you have sturdy furnishings. However keep in mind that you will wish to schedule it to run when you’re out of the home to take advantage of its options and minimise its flaws.
If you wish to purchase a robotic vacuum and want to see extra choices, take a look at our round-up of the most effective robotic vacuums we have examined.
iRobot Roomba i7+ & Automated Dust Disposal: Specs
Robotic vacuum with self-emptying expertise
Dimensions: 34.2 x 34 x 9.Three cm
Dustbin capability: 0.four litres
Working quantity: 58 dB