As known, the American iRobot company and the Swedish Electrolux have become pioneers in the robotic vacuum segment. In two decades, the underpowered and clumsy robots have evolved from an expensive fun pet toy to one of the most technologically advanced consumer electronics devices.
Modern models offer almost complete automation of cleaning due to the multifunctional self-emptying base, mopping, smart mapping, obstacle avoidance, navigation, etc. Despite fierce competition, iRobot remains one of the industry leaders due to its impeccable reputation and superb value for money. It offers a wide range of models, which ensures the choice of the optimal model, but requires a brief classification.
The company uses a simple and informative naming system. For example, more expensive ‘+’ models come with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system (self-emptying dock), Combo robots support mopping, and i3 / i4 EVO vacuums have upgraded firmware for Smart Mapping.
The company introduced three new models this year, including the j6+, Combo i5 and Combo i8. J6+ (6550) is an Amazon exclusive version of the j7+, Combo i5 and Combo i8 are Europe only.
The Combo i8/i8+ is the mop-capable version of the i8 and comes with a bin just for vacuuming or a bin for mopping / vacuuming.
The i8 (2019, iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM) is the i7 version with additional HEPA filter, virtual barrier device, and higher capacity battery (sold exclusively at Costco).
The vSLAM (v – ‘visual’, Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) technology is a visual positioning system for creating maps during cleaning.
i7/i7+ (2018, iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM) has memory function for multiple floor plans, customizable cleaning preferences, and the ability to be controlled with the iRobot HOME app or Alexa/Google Assistant voice commands.
Combo i5 and j6
Combo i5 is an improved version of i5 with mopping function.
In turn, i5 / i5+ (2022) is the imptoved i4 version with Imprint Smart Maps. iRobot’s Imprint Smart Mapping technology helps the robot create room maps, floor plans and adapt cleaning to them. In fact, vSLAM is designed to scan the area, and Smart Mapping provides storage of the floor plan as a map.
The i4 / i4+ (2021) is the improved i3 version with upgraded navigation to iAdapt 3.0, a new battery (20% longer runtime), and Imprint Link Technology to sync with the Braava mop.
It’s designated for International markets.
For reference, the i4 EVO (4150) and i4 EVO+ (4552) have a huge amount of rave reviews on Amazon and are on most of the top lists. It cost is just under $ 300, and ~ $ 650 for the ‘+’ version.
Finally, i3 / i3+ (iAdapt 2.0, 2018) has the 3-Stage Cleaning System and control with the iRobot HOME app or Alexa/Google Assistant voice commands.
The i3 EVO / i3 EVO+ (iAdapt 3.0, 2020) is the i3 version with upgraded firmware for Smart Mapping.
The j7 is debuted in September 2021 as an improved Roomba i7 version with increased suction power. According to the company, it has ‘ten times the suction power vs 600 series’.
In September 2022, iRobot announced its improved Roomba Combo j7+ version with mopping and lifting the mop over the carpet.
This year the company introduced the j6+ (6550) as an Amazon exclusive version of the j7+. All j-models use the new Precision Vision navigation system that detects and avoids obstacles, includind cords and pet waste.
The iRobot Roomba j6+ (6550) costs ~ $ 570, comes with 60-days self-emptying base, supports Smart Mapping, Google Home and Alexa.
– 3-stage cleaning system with 10x power-lifting suction vs 600 series;
– Edge-Sweeping Brush.
– patented Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes;
– multiple floor types;
– voice assistant support;
– personalized suggestions;
– cleans neat rows;
– clean by zone or object;
– keep out zones;
– careful drive detects and cleans around objects;
– recognizes and avoids pet waste and cords with PrecisionVision navigation;
– Reactive Sensor technology recognizes impassable areas, reducing the chance of getting stuck;
– Dirt Detect focuses on the dirtier spots.
Roomba Combo i8 / i8+ with Wet & Dry modes cost ~ £ 450 / £ 1,000.
– Imprint Smart Mapping technology.
– switching between Dry & Wet modes only requires a simple swap of a bin.
210ml water tank provides mopping up to 55 m²;
– model works with Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices;
– iRobot Home App control.
– premium 4-stage cleaning system.
– Dirt Detect technology;
– Keep Out Zones and Clean Zones;
– cleaning schedule.
iRobot Roomba Combo i5 / i5+ cost ~ $ 420 (India) / $ 730 (Australia).
The functionality of the model is almost identical to i8. It supports Imprint Smart Mapping technology, has a 4-stage cleaning system that uses Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes, an Edge-Sweeping brush for walls and corners, Power-Lifting Suction, and a mop pad to complete the job.
Using the Roomba Combo Mopping Bin automatically disables Dirt Detect technology and Automatic Dirt Disposal. Like the i5, it has a capacity of 210ml.
iRobot has once again confirmed its leadership ambitions by introducing some great new models. An impeccable reputation, full set of the most popular features, high performance and quite affordable prices promise cloudless marketing prospects for Roomba j6+, Combo i5 / i5+ and Combo i8 / i8+. Of course they will have to compete with superb Roborock, DreameBot, Eufy and Shark models. Like Roborock, DreameBot has been part of Xiaomi’s ecological system since 2017. But eminent competitors are unlikely to be able to significantly oust one of the industry’s pioneers.
The video demonstrates transition to mopping mode in Roomba Combo models with single bin for mopping / vacuuming.