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We’ve all fantasized about it. A robot friend to do the cleaning for you so you never have to reach for the vacuum again. Well, as Roomba iRobot vacuums get better and better, that dream can become a reality. The latest i7 and s9 models have epic cleaning performance and autonomous navigation.
And with the option of the self-emptying bin feature, they are more independent than ever. Just sit back, relax and let them do their thing for clean floors and carpets without the effort. So if you are considering purchasing one of the two most advanced Roomba iRobot models on the market, then you probably want to know how they compare to each other.
It’s no secret that Roomba iRobots come with a hefty price tag, the s9 in particular setting you back significantly more than the i7. But is the price of the Roomba s9 worth the technology upgrades and more advanced features? Or is the i7 the way to go? We dig into and review the features and performance of the two bot vacuums so you don’t have to. Check out our findings below.
Roomba i7 vs s9 at a Glance
Don’t have time to read full article? Here is a quick overview summing up the pros and cons for you below! Read further if you want a detailed review of each product.
Roomba i7 advantages
- Less expensive than the s9
- Effective clean, especially large debris
- Self-emptying bin compatability
Roomba i7 disadvantages
- Still pricey
- Less effective side brush
- Doesn’t deep clean as well
- Shorter run time
Roomba s9 advantages
- Better cleaning performance
- More power
- Improved side brush
- Self-emptying bin compatability
- Longer run time
Roomba s9 disadvantages
- Incredibly expensive
- Smaller dust bin
Winner: Don’t want to read the full article? The editor’s choice is the Roomba s9.
Both these models are high-end, state-of-the-art bots, but the s9 comes out on top with its superior suction and cleaning performance, upgraded power and significantly longer run time. However it is also super pricey, so the i7 can be a great option for a (somewhat) cheaper option.
What’s the Difference Between Them?
Time to put these two vacuums to the test and check out how they perform in different areas.
A quick note on the s9+ and i7+
You might have seen that there are plus models available for both the i7 and the s9. What is the difference to the standard models? Basically the plus models come with the iRobot Clean Base, an advanced technology base into which the bot can empty its dust bin automatically.
It can hold up to 60 bins worth of dirt meaning you don’t have to think about vacuuming for weeks at a time. This is an awesome feature but does add a hefty chunk onto the price. If you buy the standard s9 or i7 models, you can always buy the Clean Base separately.
As some of the latest Roomba vacuums on the market, let’s have an overview of the kind of features that the bots offer. We can check some of these out in more detail later.
The i7 has a wide range of features. Smart mapping and high end camera-based navigation help the vacuum learn and move around your home. Keep Out Zones mean you can help your bot avoid obstacles, stairs or out-of-bounds rooms.
The bot can be controlled through the iRobot Home app where you can start or schedule cleans, choose specific areas for cleaning, and even find personalized cleans especially for you. The bot is also compatible with voice activation technology. If the vacuum runs out of charge mid-clean, once it has recharged the battery, it can pick up where it left off.
And finally the bot is compatible with the Clean Base should you want to upgrade into an self-emptying vacuum. The Roomba s9 has a similar array of features and then some. It also has highly intelligent mapping, app-based and voice control, auto-resume as well as Clean Base compatibility for self-emptying cleaning.
As well as all this the s9 has improved extra sensors, higher power, longer battery life and improved D-shape over the traditional round design. It also has an extra wide brush roll and slower-spinning more effective side brush. As well as this, it has compatibility to work in conjunction with the Braava jet m6 robot mop for a doubly effective robot cleaning team.
Winner: Although both have an impressive array of features, the s9 wins out here with more and improved features.
A robot vacuum is only worth the dollar if it actually cleans your home to a high standard. Let’s check out how well both the i7 and s9 perform.
The Roomba i7 does a great job at picking up dirt and debris from hard floors and surfaces. It is a significant leap up from Roomba’s 900 series and you won’t be disappointed with the results from its premium 3-stage cleaning system.
The Dual Multi-surface Rubber Brushes are especially effective at grabbing bigger bits of dirt and debris which is great on both floors and carpets. Some people even reported a crunching noise from the Roomba s9 when cleaning bigger pieces from carpets, so in that respect the i7 does a great job.
On the other hand, one downside is that the i7 has a faster spinning side brush which can be a little messier than the s9 as it can flick debris around on hard floors. However don’t worry, the bot will eventually come back round and clean up all the dirt.
Another small downside is that the i7 is not as successful at picking up hair as the s9, which is worth thinking about if you have pets or a long main yourself. Hair can get tangled around the brush and may need maintenance from you to keep this in check. It also is not as great at picking up sand, worth thinking about if your home is by the beach.
The Roomba s9 overall has a more impressive cleaning performance. In terms of collecting debris from hard floors, it actually performs similarly to the i7 and uses the same 3-stage cleaning system as well as Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes.
However with more power behind it, and therefore stronger suction, it produces more successful results on smaller particles like sand. The s9 truly does an immaculate job, leaving your home spotless. The side brush has an upgraded design with five rays that spin more slowly and therefore this bot doesn’t scatter dirt around like the i7. Instead it directs the dirt to the suction path with more accuracy.
The specialized D-shape of the vacuum means it is perfectly optimized to clean into corners and along the wall. Say goodbye to unreachable, dirt-collecting nooks. The s9 bot vacuum also has dirt detection sensors and a power boost mode for carpets, meaning it does an excellent job at deep cleaning and picking up hair and can adapt to handle different volumes of dirt.
Verdict: The Roomba s9! Although both reap impressive results, the s9’s upgraded design and superior power mean it outperforms the i7.
Now let’s check out the power of each robot and how that affects their performance.
The i7 has a hefty suction power of 1700 Pa. What does that mean? It has 10 times better power suction than Roomba’s 600 series. It can pull in stubborn dirt from hard floors and carpets. For a significantly lower price than the Roomba s9, you get an impressive clean from the i7.
One drawback is that if you use this Roomba on its lowest setting the suction is poor, so you have to amp up the power for a better clean. The s9 however really shines when it comes to power. With an upgraded power of 2200 Pa, the S9 has 40 times the suction power of their 600 series.
This gives a truly spectacular deep clean and is great for removing pet hair. It also has power boost technology meaning it can amp up the power on carpets and provide a superior deep clean. The higher suction power means it will perform even more highly on hard floors too.
Verdict: The s9 wins on power with improved suction and power boost mode for carpets for an all-over deeper clean.
Want to leave your bot vacuum to do its thing? Having a sufficient run time is important to make sure your Roomba can finish everything in one sitting.
The i7 has a 75 minute run time and is designed with a 1800 mAh battery. This gives a decent amount of time for the bot to get around the house, but for such a high-end robot vacuum, the run time could be better. However, if you have a bigger house and you are worried the bot may end up finishing a clean part way through, don’t worry.
The i7 uses Recharge and Resume Technology. This sophisticated technology means that if your Roomba vacuum runs out of charge, it will take itself back to the charging station, recharge and then resume the clean from where it left off.
The s9 has a seriously improved run time of 120 minutes. This comes from the improved 3300 mAh Lithium Ion battery. If you have a particularly big house, the s9 might be a better choice for you as it has a full two hours to get around.
It does of course come with the same Recharge and Resume feature, meaning it will always complete a clean even if it runs out of charge. It is worth bearing in mind that this bot uses extra power in some modes, like the power boost mode for carpets. This may reduce the run time somewhat.
Verdict: The s9 has a significantly more powerful battery and therefore hugely improved run time.
Design is important, not only for how your robot vacuum looks but for how it performs.
The i7 follows the sleek design of most Roomba vacuums with a round shape and sleek black and gray design. The i7 is 13.34 inches long and 13.34 inches wide with a height of 3.63 inches. This height is pretty low and should fit under most furniture with ease which is great for getting that all-over clean.
The interface is also simple and easy to use, with the main three buttons, home, clean and spot, sitting right on top of the device along with the camera sensor for navigation. The most important button, the intuitive Clean button, is big, central and easy to press.
The bot is also designed to be completely programmable through the app, as well as responding to voice control, making it even easier to use. The s9 has a slightly modified design, coming in a D-shape instead of the traditional round bots.
This shape is more similar to that of the Neato D7 vacuum. The square front means that the bot has an easier time getting into corners and cleaning along walls meaning a more thorough clean. The bot has a matte charcoal aesthetic as well as having a central gold disc on top.
As well as being the dust bin cover, this also adds an interesting and attractive element to the design. The camera sensor used for mapping sits behind this disc. As the design is altered, the interface is also slightly different. The location of the three buttons has been moved to the upper right corner compared to traditional Roombas. They are still easy to access and use and the app is also great for more advanced planning settings. The s9 weighs in at 8.15 pounds.
Winner: The modified shape of the s9 offers a more thorough and skillful clean.
Your bot vacuum’s navigation is the key to making sure it thoroughly cleans your home, doesn’t bang into walls and obstacles, doesn’t fall down the stairs and avoids getting stuck under furniture.
The i7 uses camera-based vSLAM navigation where it can learn the layout of your home. It builds its own personal Smart Maps so it can navigate with ease and effectively clean in neat, straight lines. It can create these maps through the use of its sensors and then saves these in the cloud, even learning the most efficient routes around your house.
A great thing about the bot learning the different rooms of your home is that you can request your bot to clean one room at a time and totally personalize your cleaning schedule. It even responds to requests through voice technology like Alexa or Google Assistant making the whole process even easier.
You can also program in Keep Out Zones for your Roomba i7, which is great to keep it out of areas you don’t want it in and to help it avoid things like pet’s bowls. The s9 also uses a smart vSLAM navigation system that uses an integrated camera and sensor technology to learn the layout of your home.
It actively captures over 230,400 data points per second for impressive accuracy. It also has the option to program and customize Keep Out Zones for your bot, meaning it can roam around with total autonomy without you having to worry about it going where it shouldn’t.
The s9 also has an awesome 3D time-of-flight sensor on the front. This helps it navigate around difficult areas and get closer against walls and into corners than other Roomba vacuums. Both the s9, as well as the i7, have auto-resume technology, so if your bot runs out of charge, the vacuum can charge up and navigate back to the same point to resume the clean. Overall the s9 has some of the most sophisticated navigation technology on the market.
Winner: The s9. Both vacuum models have awesome high-level navigation systems, while the s9 has an extra sensor for slightly more accurate navigation.
Robot vacuums have notoriously small dust bins due to their small size. Let’s see how the i7 and s9 check out.
The i7 actually has a bigger dust cup than the s9. It is 0.5 liters which, although fills up quickly, is not bad for a Roomba iRobot. The great thing about the i7 is that it is compatible with the Clean Base charging base.
This allows for automatic dirt disposal where the bot can self empty up to 60 days of dirt into the container, and you can sit back and forget about vacuuming for months at a time. The i7+ model comes with this Clean Base included. Although it costs more, it is definitely worth considering as it can vastly improve your cleaning experience.
The s9 dust bin is only 0.4 liters. Although comparable to other bot vacuums, this does fill up quickly and means that you do have to regularly empty your iRobot. Again the s9 also is compatible with the Clean Base which is totally revolutionary as it means you can let your vacuum do its thing without worrying. The s9+ also comes with the Clean Base included, or you can buy it separately.
Winner: The i7 actually wins this one with a slightly bigger dust bin!
Let’s take a quick glance at the filtration systems used by each bot and if these are effective at trapping dirt and dust.
Both the i7 and the s9, use a HEPA filtration system. This high efficiency filter traps 99% of cat and dog allergens, pollen, dust mite allergens and mold. This means that either bot can be a good choice for those with pets as well as great at protecting your family from getting sniffles or allergies.
To keep your vacuum running at its best, check the filters regularly for build up of dirt and debris. In fact Roomba also recommends you replace the filter every few months so take into consideration these additional maintenance costs. The dust is collected into AllergenLock dust bags which trap 99% of pollen and mold inside using four layers of allergen-blocking material.
Winner: Both! Both bots use the same, effective HEPA filtration system.
Roomba vacuums don’t come cheap, and both the i7 and s9 come at a price. Let’s dig into what they cost and if they are worth the price.
Currently the iRobot Roomba i7 will set you back around $500. This is obviously quite pricey, but for the high-end cleaning performance and features, it is still a good value bot. If you go for the i7+ model which comes with a Clean Base for automatic dirt disposal, you can expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars more on top of this.
Although this might seem expensive, the iRobot, particularly with the Clean Base can totally revolutionize your cleaning regime. You may literally never have to pick up a vacuum again. The Roomba bots are well-made and last a long time too. For that reason many people are happy to make the investment as they can reap the results for many years.
The iRobot Roomba s9, is pricier still. It costs around $900. This is undoubtedly a huge cost to spend on a vacuum, but in return you get the latest features, state-of-the-art navigation and amazing cleaning results.
Therefore it can be worth the investment, as you will not need to spend time, money and effort on extra cleaning but the awesome quality vacuum will take care of everything for you. The s9+ model costs around $1,500.
Obviously a huge upfront investment, but for many totally worth it for completely autonomous cleaning for years to come. Think of the time you can save cleaning! With either model make sure to factor in maintenance costs like replacing the filter and dust bags.
Winner: On price, the Roomba i7 comes out on top as it has a significantly lower cost for awesome features.
So overall, we have to say that the s9 is the superior model. It has higher power and suction, an innovative and effective shape, a super long run time and state-of-the-art navigation and mapping. If you choose to get the plus model or use the Clean Base, you also benefit from the self-emptying feature which can totally revolutionize your cleaning, meaning you can forget about vacuuming for months at a time.
However, all this does come with an incredibly high price tag, and so the i7 may be a great alternative for anyone on a budget. It still has effective navigation, the latest features and great cleaning results for a lower price. Which one will you go for?
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