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iRobot Roomba i7+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal Review

If you want a top-notch robot vacuum that even empties itself, then the i7+ is a great choice, but expect to pay for it
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $950 List
Pros:  Great home coverage, excellent navigation, automatically empties its dust bin
Cons:  Expensive, struggles with pet hair
Manufacturer:   iRobot
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Nov 9, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Navigation - 30% 8
  • Home Coverage - 20% 8
  • Carpet Cleaning - 15% 7
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 15% 7
  • Pet Hair - 10% 2
  • Smart Connect - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Earning one of the highest scores we have seen so far, the Roomba i7+ does a fantastic job of navigating around your home and cleaning the vast majority of it. It does a great job cleaning both hard floors and carpets, all while having an extensive set of smart features and functions. This robot can even empty its own collection bin, using the automatic dirt disposal base, and offers an almost perfect balance of navigational and cleaning abilities. However, this robot is definitely on the more expensive side, with the robot alone retailing for around $700 and the combo pack of the robot and the dirt disposal base listing for $950-$1000. Additionally, if you have cats or dogs, then this might not be the vacuum for you, as the i7+ delivered an abysmal performance when it came to picking up pet hair.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $950 List$800 List
$696.38 at Amazon
$600 List
$546.99 at Amazon
$500 List
$485.65 at Amazon
$700 List
$449.00 at Amazon
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Pros Great home coverage, excellent navigation, automatically empties its dust binFantastic at cleaning hard and soft floors, packed with smart featuresAmazing at navigating, covers all of your home, solid smart connect abilityGreat value, excellent cleaning abilitiesGood at navigating, solid set of smart features
Cons Expensive, struggles with pet hairPricey, 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 hairGood, not great at navigatingAbysmal at collecting pet hair, cleaning performance isn’t as good as the top models
Bottom Line If you want a top-notch robot vacuum that even empties itself, then the i7+ is a great choice, but expect to pay for itIf you have heavy messes to clean up and want a robot to do it for you, then the D7 is the perfect choiceThis robot does a phenomenal job at navigating through even the most cluttered homes, but definitely could do a bit better when it comes to cleaning performanceIf you want the most bang for the buck when it comes to these products, then this is your best betThis middle-of-the-road robot vacuum retails for about $200 less than the top products, but its performance is definitely second-rate.
Rating Categories Roomba i7+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal Botvac D7 Connected Mijia Roborock V2 Botvac D4 Connected iRobot Roomba 960
Navigation (30%)
10
0
8
10
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6
10
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10
10
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6
10
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7
Home Coverage (20%)
10
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8
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7
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8
10
0
7
10
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7
Carpet Cleaning (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
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5
10
0
7
10
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6
Hard Surface Cleaning (15%)
10
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7
10
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8
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4
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6
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5
Pet Hair (10%)
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2
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6
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2
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6
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2
Smart Connect (10%)
10
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7
10
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7
10
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7
10
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7
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7
Specs Roomba i7+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal Botvac D7 Connected Mijia Roborock V2 Botvac D4 Connected iRobot Roomba 960
Bin Capacity .42L
Clean base holds 30 bins worth
.7L .48L .7L .6L
Dimensions 13.34" diameter
3.63" high
Charging base: 12.2" W x 15.1" D x 19" H
12.5" x 13.2" x 3.9" 13.9" diameter
3.8" high
12.5" x 13.2" x 3.9" 13.8" diameter
3.6" high
Measured Weight 7.4 lbs 7.9 lbs 7.8 lbs 7.4 lbs 8.3 lbs

Our Analysis and Test Results

Three robot vacuums finished right at the top of the group, with the Roomba i7+, the Botvac D7, and the Xiaomi Mijia Roborock V2 all receiving an Editors' Choice Award for their superb performances. The i7+ with Automatic Dirt Disposal is the most expensive of this trio, retailing for around $950, with the D7 the next most expensive at $800, and the Xiaomi being the least expensive at $600. The Xiaomi is by far the best at navigating cluttered areas of your home, but leaves something to be desired when it comes to cleaning performance. The Neato D7 is the opposite, struggling in the more confined and cluttered areas of your home, but doing the best of this trio at cleaning. The i7+ falls right in the middle, better at navigating than the D7, but inferior to the Xiaomi, with the converse being true when it came to cleaning performance.

The Roomba i7+ by iRobot.
The Roomba i7+ by iRobot.

Performance Comparison


To pick out which robotic vacuum cleaners are really the best of the best, we did tons and tons of research, then picked out the most promising robots, bought them all, then set them against each other in a series of side-by-side tests to find our award winners. We compared how each robot cleaned both hard and soft floors, as well as how much ground each one covered and how well it navigated your home. In total, we graded each robot in six weighted rating metrics, with the Roomba i7+'s results outlined below.

The i7+ does an excellent job at navigating even the most crowded areas.
The i7+ does an excellent job at navigating even the most crowded areas.

Navigation


Responsible for the largest percentage of the overall score at 30%, each robot's navigational abilities were first and foremost when we were considering which ones merited an award. We looked at how well the iRobot Roomba i7+ handled our testing room filled with simulated furniture, how quickly it could find its dock, and if the edge sensors delivered any false-positives when trying to clean a black area rug. The Roomba scored quite well, meriting an 8 out of 10 for its performance.


We conducted three different trials with the Roomba in our test room, with this robot delivering an almost flawless performance in each trial. We never had to intervene to free it from a confined area and it dealt very quickly with difficult areas — only struggling for a minute or so to find a clear route in the most problematic areas. However, it is a tiny bit rougher on the furniture.

This robot vacuum also did an excellent job in our docking test, heading directly for its base almost immediately when commanded to, with only a tiny amount of searching. This is true both when the i7+ is in the same room as its base and when it is in a different one.

The i7+ on its dirt disposal base.
The i7+ on its dirt disposal base.

Finally, we tried out this robot vacuum with a black area rug in the room. As its predecessors all falsely detected the high-contrast area as a drop and refused to clean it, we were pleasantly surprised that this newest Roomba seems to have fixed this problem and cleaned the rug without issue.

This robot vacuum will clean almost anywhere it will fit.
This robot vacuum will clean almost anywhere it will fit.

Home Coverage


For our next round of testing, we looked at how much of your home the robot could actually clean, not just how well it could get around. We awarded points for how much of a single furnished room each vacuum cleaned, as well as if it had multi-room cleaning capabilities, the effectiveness of the barriers, and if the robot could automatically pause cleaning to recharge its battery, if necessary. Additionally, we also compared the size and effectiveness of the spot clean functions. The i7+ again delivered an excellent showing, meriting it another 8 out of 10.


This robot cleaned the vast majority of our single room, only omitting the most confined and cluttered areas, such as in the tightest corners or in a few spots under our — simulated — dining room table set. This robot vacuum also has a very convenient and easy to use barrier system. It makes use of a small tower on the floor that can project either a 10' straight line or a 4' diameter circle.

This robot cleans multiple rooms with ease and will even stop to recharge and resume cleaning automatically if the battery level drops too low. Finally, the Roomba i7+ has some of the best spot cleaning abilities of the entire group.

The spot clean function is quite good  though it could cover a bit more area.
The spot clean function is quite good, though it could cover a bit more area.

This vacuum cleans a circular space that measures about 12.3 sq. ft. in area with its spot clean function, which is far from the largest area of the group. We also liked that it covered most of this area multiple times to ensure that it was actually clean. However, it was the app based spot cleaning abilities that really helped set this robot vacuum apart.

The i7+ lets you divide up your house into rooms and clean them separately.
The i7+ lets you divide up your house into rooms and clean them separately.

After the robot has completely mapped your house and you have your rooms correctly set up, you can send the robot to go clean an entire room — not quite a spot clean, but an easy way to quickly clean a room.

This is one of the best at cleaning carpets.
This is one of the best at cleaning carpets.

Carpet Cleaning


Next, we moved on to rating and ranking how well each product actually cleaned, starting with carpet. Our set of carpet cleaning assessments accounts for 15% of the overall score for each battery pack. We used a variety of different messes to see how each robot handled what most of them typically would encounter in a household, as well as how closely each one cleaned along the edges and into the corners of the room. The Roomba i7+ received another 7 out of 10 for its impressive showing in our carpet cleaning challenges.


This robot vacuum got off to a solid start in our edge cleaning test, doing well along walls, but struggling in the corners. It left a strip of debris about 3.5" across along the walls and a wedge of debris about 5" in the corners of the room.

The i7+ left a decent amount of debris behind in the corners.
The i7+ left a decent amount of debris behind in the corners.

The i7+ did fairly well when tasked with collecting flour, but it did leave plenty of residual material behind.

You can see how much flour the Roomba left behind.
You can see how much flour the Roomba left behind.

It did about the same in our rice collection test, doing slightly better on the low-pile carpet compared to the fluffier carpet. The Roomba does spread the rice around a bit, but only left about an ⅛ of a teaspoon of rice behind in both tests.

The i7+ did pick up practically all the rice.
The i7+ did pick up practically all the rice.

It finished out with a strong showing in our oat and mini-wheat tests, collecting essentially all of the mess in both of these trials, doing well on both types of carpet.

The i7+ also does very well on hard surfaces.
The i7+ also does very well on hard surfaces.

Hard Surface Cleaning


Similar to our set of carpet tests, our hard surface cleaning tests also account for 15% of the total score for each robot. We used the same testing procedure as well, simply substituting a section of hardwood laminate flooring for the two types of carpet. The i7+ did about the same, again earning a 7 out of 10.


Starting with our edge test, the i7+ did fairly well, delivering another above average performance. It left a slightly larger strip of debris on the hard floor when cleaning along a wall, though only by about 0.5". However, it delivered an absolutely phenomenal performance at collecting flour from the hard floor. It left almost no residual flour at all, only failing to get the debris that had fallen down deep between the boards.

The Roomba i7+ will track fine debris around as it cleans.
The Roomba i7+ will track fine debris around as it cleans.

This vacuum also did very well at collecting rice and oats, sucking up everything we spread out without flinging it around, but failed to get any of the mini-wheats, only pushing them around the smooth floor.

This robot vacuum does severely struggle at picking up pet hair.
This robot vacuum does severely struggle at picking up pet hair.

Pet Hair


For our last cleaning test, we graded the Roomba's performance when tasked with collecting pet hair, both on flat and fluffier samples of soft flooring. Unfortunately, the i7+ delivered a very disappointing performance, finishing near the back of the pack with a 2 out of 10 in this metric, which accounts for a tenth of its total score.


We spread out 5 grams of hair on the fluffy carpet and found that this robot only collected about 0.32 grams at the end of its cleaning cycle — with half of that caught on the brushes and failing to even make it into the collection bin. It did even worse on the flat carpet, only collecting 0.13 grams of donated pet hair.

The Roomba has a full set of smart features and functions.
The Roomba has a full set of smart features and functions.

Smart Connect


For the final 10% of the i7+'s total, we evaluated the smart features and functions on this robot. We looked how it could integrate into various smart home ecosystems, how easy it is to set a schedule, what onboard controls there are on the robot itself, and what functions you could access remotely, as well as how reliable the robot is at staying connected to our office network. The Roomba i7+ with Automatic Dirt Disposal finished out with a strong showing, earning a 7 out of 10.


The i7+ has a full set of smart features and can integrate with most types of smart home systems, working with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT. You can view the robot's cleaning history and cleaning map on its mobile app, as well as start the robot's cleaning cycle for your whole home or direct it to clean a certain room.

The robot can take a while to update  but lets you create a cleaning schedule in the app.
The robot can take a while to update, but lets you create a cleaning schedule in the app.

There are some basic controls on the robot itself, allowing you to start it cleaning or send it home, but you can only set up a schedule on the mobile app.

You can also start this robot cleaning without a smartphone.
You can also start this robot cleaning without a smartphone.

We also found the i7+ to be very reliable at remaining connected to our WiFi network, giving us no issues at all throughout our testing process.

Value


While this is an excellent robot vacuum, it isn't the best value option. The automatic disposal base is an extra $300 right at the start and there are other vacuums that aren't that much worse, but cost several hundred dollars less than the i7+.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a robot vacuum with the ultimate set of convenience features, look no further than the Roomba i7+ with Automatic Dirt Disposal. It cleans and navigates very well, with a full set of smart features, but falls a little short when it comes to cleaning up pet hair. However, it is still an excellent all-around robot vacuum that won't disappoint, provided you don't have a pack of dogs and cats that you are expecting it to pick up after.


David Wise and Austin Palmer