A buyer’s guide to Roomba
Have you decided you’re finally going to invest in a Roomba? If you have, your next big decision is to choose the model that best suits your household or office.
With several Roomba models and bundles on the market, you might be wondering how to narrow your choices. It’s helpful to take stock of your cleaning needs to determine how much cleaning you need the Roomba to do. Also, consider whether it’s a practical investment that fits your budget.
Wondering which Roomba to buy? To help narrow your options, here’s our buying guide to point you in the right direction.
What should I know before I buy a Roomba?
Is it hard to use a Roomba?
Roombas are designed to be as user-friendly as possible, right down to the Home app that controls the robotic vacuum through your smartphone.
Setting up a Roomba is straightforward, too. Once you program basic settings in the Home app, the Roomba runs a few initial cleaning cycles to learn the home’s layout to clean more efficiently. After that, it’s easy to customize and schedule more cleaning cycles.
What type of floors can Roombas clean?
They don’t, however, clean outdoor spaces like decks, patios or porches. iRobot cautions users against using a Roomba outside. If you do — and later experience issues with your Roomba — it’s unlikely the device will still be covered under warranty.
How does a Roomba fit into my cleaning routine?
It’s important to note that a Roomba won’t replace your regular vacuum. If anything, a Roomba shoulders the responsibility for daily cleaning, while your regular vacuum is reserved for deep cleanings.
Roombas clean dry messes on hard floors, so it won’t replace your mop, either. However, if you’d like a robotic mop, there is the iRobot Braava Jet M6. This capable device has a precision sprayer to tackle various messes from sticky residue to coffee spills.
What is a Clean Base?
Some Roombas are compatible with a Clean Base, a receptacle where the robotic vacuum deposits daily debris. It holds up to 60 days’ worth of dirt. Without one, you’ll need to empty the Roomba’s dust bin on a daily or weekly basis.
The Clean Base is available for purchase separately if you already have the Roomba s9, Roomba i7 or Roomba i3. You can purchase the Roomba and Clean Base together in a bundled package. These are referred to as “plus” models, like the Roomba s9+.
What are the different types of Roombas?
To help you choose the right Roomba, here’s a brief overview of each model or series.
Roomba s Series
The Roomba s9 is iRobot’s top-of-the-line Roomba. It’s equipped with iRobot’s best cleaning technology.
Pros: The Roomba s9+ comes with Clean Base. It has 40 times the suction power of other vacuums and offers the deepest cleaning among Roombas. The robotic vacuum is also equipped with an anti-allergen system.
Cons: This Roomba is the most expensive model, so it might not be within everyone’s budget. Some users also feel it doesn’t offer the deep cleaning they expected.
Roomba i7 Series
Pros: This Roomba is equipped with an anti-tangle brush roll, making it popular for households with pets. It offers 10 times the suction power of other Roombas and vacuums, and it’s one of the most reliable models.
Cons: This Roomba doesn’t offer as deep of cleaning as the Roomba s9. It also lacks an anti-allergen system.
Roomba i3 Series
Pros: The Roomba i3 cleans in neat rows and concentrates cleaning in high-dirt areas. It’s equipped with a high-efficiency filter and tangle-resistant brushes. Some consumers report the Roomba i3 operates more quietly than earlier models.
Cons: While efficient, the Roomba i3 won’t offer a deep-cleaning experience. Some users found this problematic, especially if they had medium-pile carpet.
Roomba e5 Series
The Roomba e5 one of the more affordable options, making it a popular choice for those on a budget. It’s considered a reliable entry-level model.
Pros: This Roomba has five times the suction of earlier models. It has a high-efficiency filter and tangle-resistant brushes. The Roomba e5 also has a built-in Cliff Detect feature to prevent falls on stairs.
Cons: It’s not compatible with the Clean Base, and it doesn’t clean in neat rows like premium Roombas.
Roomba 600 Series
The Roomba 694 is the most affordable option. It’s perfect for small households, including those without pets.
Pros: This affordable Roomba has standard suction power and effectively picks up surface dirt and debris. Its dirt sensor keeps high-traffic areas clean, like doorways or kitchen floors. The Roomba automatically adjusts its head position to transition between floor types.
Cons: Like the Roomba e5, the Roombas 694 isn’t compatible with the Clean Base. It lacks a high-efficiency filter and tangle-resistant brushes, so it’s not ideal for homes with pets.
Which Roomba should I buy?
While any Roomba will take house cleaning to the next level, it’s best to choose a model with the features you need. Here’s our take on ideal users for certain types of Roombas:
- If you don’t have pets and only require light cleaning between vacuuming, entry-level Roombas, such as the e5 or 694, are ideal.
- If you prefer a low-maintenance Roomba, spend more on a Roomba “plus” bundle that comes with Clean Base.
- If your home has pets or household members with long hair, stick to Roombas with tangle-free brush rolls, like the Roomba i3 model or higher.
- If you prefer specialized cleanings, including “no-go” areas, opt for top-of-the-line models, like Roomba s9+ or i7+.
- If you have a busy household with a lot of foot traffic, go for a Roomba with 10-40 times the suction power of other Roombas and vacuums, such as Roomba i3+ or higher.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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