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iRobot Roomba i3+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal Review

The automated dirt disposal is a neat feature but this pricey product didn't score too well in our tests overall
iRobot Roomba i3+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal
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Price:   $500 List | $544 at Amazon
Pros:  Automatically empties its collections bin, good navigation, plenty of smart features
Cons:  Pricey, poor performance with pet hair
Manufacturer:   iRobot
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jan 19, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Navigation - 30% 8
  • Home Coverage - 20% 7
  • Carpet Cleaning - 15% 6
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 15% 7
  • Pet Hair - 10% 3
  • Smart Connect - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Overall, we weren't terribly thrilled with the overall performance of the iRobot Roomba i3+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, finding that it finished in the middle of the overall group. It does have an automated dust collection system that minimizes the time you need to spend emptying its collection bin and all the smart features and functions that we would expect on a top-tier vacuum. It also has some solid navigation and cleaning abilities but it overall didn't score that well compared to some of our favorites, particularly when you take into account how this robot is usually one of the more expensive options out there.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $500 List$900 List
$899.00 at Amazon
$270 List
$269.99 at Amazon
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Pros Automatically empties its collections bin, good navigation, plenty of smart featuresGreat at picking up pet hair, cleaning carpets, doesn’t miss spotsGreat navigation, low priceFantastic at cleaning hard and soft floors, packed with smart featuresAmazing at navigating, covers all of your home, solid smart connect ability
Cons Pricey, poor performance with pet hairExceptionally expensiveCould be better with pet hair, so-so cleaning performancePricey, struggles at navigating in confined places, little rough on furnitureSo-so carpet cleaning skills, below average at cleaning hard floors, poor at picking up pet hair
Bottom Line While this robot has some unique features and a solid set of smart functions but didn’t score too well overall in our testsIf you want a top-notch robot vacuum that can handle pet hair with ease, then this is the vacuum for youIf you are searching for a solid, low-cost automatic floor cleaner, then we think it’s hard to go wrong with this vacuumWhile this robot struggled cleaning around the tighter spaces in your home, the cleaning power of the D7 can’t be beatWhile this robot handles complicated room layouts with ease and practically never needs assistance, it might take two passes to get your home acceptable clean
Rating Categories Roomba i3+ with... iRobot Roomba s9 Roborock E4 Neato Botvac D7... Roborock S5
Navigation (30%)
8
7
10
6
10
Home Coverage (20%)
7
8
7
7
8
Carpet Cleaning (15%)
6
8
5
8
5
Hard Surface Cleaning (15%)
7
7
5
8
4
Pet Hair (10%)
3
9
4
6
2
Smart Connect (10%)
7
7
7
7
7
Specs Roomba i3+ with... iRobot Roomba s9 Roborock E4 Neato Botvac D7... Roborock S5
Bin Capacity .53L .4L .64L .7L .48L
Dimensions 13.25" diameter
3.75" high
12.4" x 12.2" x 3.6" 13.5" diameter
3.5" high
12.5" x 13.2" x 3.9" 13.9" diameter
3.8" high
Measured Weight 7.1 lbs 9.2 lbs 6.6 lbs 7.9 lbs 7.8 lbs
Battery Li-ion Li-ion Li-ion Li-ion Li-ion
Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited 1 year limited Robot - 1 year limited
Battery - 6 month limited
1 year limited
Recharge & Resume Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charge time 2-3 hours 2-3 hours Up to 4 hours 2-3 hours Up to 4 hours
Multi-Room Navigation (Cleaning) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spot Clean Spiral Spiral Spiral Square Square
App Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barrier Type Virtual (not included) Virtual (not included) Physical (magnetic strip, not included) No Go Lines (in App) and Physical (magnetic strip included) Physical (magnetic strip, not included)
Filter Replacement Cost 3 fr $35 3 for $40 Washable
2 for $33
Standard 4 for $20
High Pre 2 for $20
Ultra 2 for $30
Washable, comes with 2
Brush Width 6 3/4" 9 5/8" 6 1/2" 10 3/4" 6 1/2"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The automated dust collection system does mean that you don't have to empty the collection bin every time - something that makes this vacuum much more convenient to use than many of the other options out there.

Performance Comparison


The i3+ is a solid vacuum but can be a bit pricey.
The i3+ is a solid vacuum but can be a bit pricey.
Credit: Laura Casner

Navigation


We began our testing process by rating and scoring how well each robot could navigate around furniture, how quickly it can dock, and if it struggled with high-contrast floor types. The iRobot Roomba i3+ did decently well, earning one of the better scores of the group.


This robot off to a great start, successfully navigating around all of our test pieces of furniture without getting stuck. This robot could essentially drive wherever it can fit but it did occasionally take a little extra time to figure a way out if it wanders into a particularly cluttered area.

We were quite impressed with the navigation abilities of this 'bot.
We were quite impressed with the navigation abilities of this 'bot.
Credit: Laura Casner

This robot also did very well in our docking test, immediately locating and driving straight towards the dock regardless if it was in the same room as the charging base or not. The edge-detection sensors also never had any false-positive from high-contrast areas of our floors.

This robot has an automated dirt disposal base so you don't need to...
This robot has an automated dirt disposal base so you don't need to empty its collection chamber after every cleaning cycle.
Credit: Laura Casner

Home Coverage


After navigation, we moved on to scoring each robot on how much of your floor you can expect it to successfully clean. We looked at how each robot handles multiple rooms, their spot clean functions, how much of our test room they successfully cleaned, the effectiveness of their barrier system, and if these robots can automatically pause cleaning to recharge if necessary. We also compared the performance of each robot side-by-side in our test room to compare the percentage of floor cleaned. The iRobot Roomba i3+ delivered another solid performance, earning an above-average score.


This robot systematically maps your home as it cleans, making it great for cleaning your entire home. However, it does have a slightly smaller spot clean area than average, covering just a bit more than 12 square feet. It covers this area by spiraling out and in from wherever you start the robot.

This robot can use iRobot's virtual barrier system, though it wasn't included in the package. It also will automatically pause cleaning, locate its dock, recharge, and then resume cleaning if the robot's battery level drops too low.

The iRobot Roomba i3+ did very well in our room cleaning test, easily reaching just about every nook and cranny

This robot delivered slightly above-average results in our carpet...
This robot delivered slightly above-average results in our carpet cleaning tests.
Credit: Laura Casner

Carpet Cleaning


Our next set of tests rated and compared the cleaning ability of each robot vacuum on both low-pile and medium-pile carpets. We used flour, rice, oats, and mini-wheats, as well as comparing how closely each robot can clean along the edges and in the corners of a room. The performance of the iRobot Roomba i3+ dropped a bit but it still scored just slightly above average.


This vacuum got off to a good start in our edges test, doing slightly better than average. It left a strip of uncleaned floor that measured about 3.5" across along the edges of our test robot pen. However, this area expanded to about 5" across in the corners, as this round robot couldn't quite fit, though the spinning side brush does help with this a bit.

The rotating brush helps this vacuum clean in corners but it could...
The rotating brush helps this vacuum clean in corners but it could do a lot better.
Credit: Laura Casner

This robot continued its solid performance in our flour test, getting the bulk of the flour we spread out and delivering another above-average performance. However, it did considerably better with the rice, picking them all up from both the low-pile and only leaving a few grains behind on the medium-pile carpet. It seemed like the Dirt Detect feature engaged on the low-pile carpet, causing the iRobot Roomba i3+ to complete a second pass.

This vacuum also did very well in our oat cleanup test, leaving just a few flakes behind on both types of carpet. We also were impressed that this robot has sufficient clearance to successfully clean all of the mini-wheats in our large items test.

This vacuum delivered one of the better performances on hard surfaces.
This vacuum delivered one of the better performances on hard surfaces.
Credit: Laura Casner

Hard Surface Cleaning


We repeated the same set of tests in the previous metric on a section of hard floor for our next round of evaluations. The iRobot Roomba i3 continued to do very well in this metric, earning one of the better scores of the entire bunch.


The iRobot Roomba i3 performed a little bit worse on the hard floor, leaving a slightly larger area of uncleaned floor than on the carpet.

The rotating wheels and spinning brush design proved to be quite...
The rotating wheels and spinning brush design proved to be quite good at cleaning hard floors.
Credit: Laura Casner

The iRobot Roomba i3 did a fantastic job in our flour cleaning test, with this robot cleaning up all of the flour on the surface of the floor. However, it did leave a little residual flour in the cracks between boards.

However, the performance of this robot rebounded when it came to rice and oats. It easily collected the vast majority of the grains while only flinging one or two to the side.

This robot doesn't have the clearance to clean larger items, like...
This robot doesn't have the clearance to clean larger items, like mini-wheats.
Credit: Laura Casner

Unfortunately, the clearance is too low for this robot to collect any of the mini-wheats

This vacuum didn't do the best with pet hair, struggling to clean it...
This vacuum didn't do the best with pet hair, struggling to clean it up effectively, with plenty of hairs getting trapped in the vacuum rather than the collection bin.
Credit: Laura Casner

Pet Hair


Our last cleaning metric rated and compared the proficiency of each robot vacuum when it came to picking up pet hair. Unfortunately, the iRobot Roomba i3+ didn't perform particularly well, meriting it a below-average score.


This robot only collected about 8% of the hair we spread out on the fluffy carpet. It improved a bit with the flat carpet, but not by all that much, only increasing its cleaning yield to 14%.

This robot has an impressive set of smart features.
This robot has an impressive set of smart features.
Credit: Laura Casner

Smart Connect


Our last set of tests evaluated all the internet-connected features of these products. We looked at how reliable the WiFi connection was during our testing, the different functions in the companion app, if you can connect the robot to your existing smart home system, its interface, and the scheduling abilities. The iRobot Roomba i3+ finished out with a solid performance, earning one of the top scores of the group.


We found this robot to be quite reliable when it came to maintaining an internet connection, as we never really had to reset it to fix a dropped connection. Its companion app has most of the basic features, such as letting you locate the robot if it's stuck, track its cleaning history, and see a cleaning map. You can also adjust the number of cleaning passes the robot does and create a schedule. We like that the scheduling option is quite versatile as well.

This iRobot Roomba i3+ can integrate with Alexa and Google Home smart home systems, as well as with IFTTT. It has onboard controls to start it cleaning, send it home, or spot cleaning.

Value


Unfortunately, we don't think this product is a great bargain option, as it is one of the pricier options out there and didn't score amazingly well.

Conclusions


All in all, the iRobot Roomba i3+ does have some unique features but its overall uninspiring performance makes it a little hard to recommend, especially when its above-average price tag is taken into account.

David Wise and Austin Palmer