A quick search in the market for high-quality robot vacuum cleaners will lead to Roomba vacuums. What gives them a head start over other brands? It is mainly because of their user-friendly design, cutting-edge technology, and high-end features.
So how does a Roomba work? These gadgets utilize a host of technologies to navigate around floor spaces, suck up dirt, and store it until disposal time. The devices aim to replace human effort in vacuuming.
Roombas come in both old and new versions. Whether old or new, each one boasts a set of features that make your work effortless.
How To Keep Roomba Running in Tip-Top Shape
Wondering how to keep your cleaner running at peak performance? Looking for a way to have some fun disassembling its parts? Until the smart, tidy, little Rombas can clean themselves, it is up to you the user to keep them running at optimum performance. After several short cleaning cycles, debris such as fur, hair, dirt, and dust can start to take a huge toll on your Roomba. Too much buildup of foreign items can strain your unit’s battery.
If you prefer videos to reading, check out this one on how to clean and maintain a Roomba.
The most basic level of Roomba maintenance should be after every cleaning cycle. By doing that, you’ll be able to clear all the grime that builds up inside the unit. Begin by emptying the dustbin. Before you put it back, you need to remove the two filters inside your gadget. Because of their significant role in catching dust, it’s prudent that you replace them monthly. The frequency of replacing the filters is mainly based on how often you vacuum.
Clean the filters by tapping them by their side to knock out all debris. Using compressed air can also get the job done. If you desire an even deeper cleaning, use water to wash the filters.
Note: Make sure you allow the filters ample time to dry before placing them back if you choose to deep clean them using water. Putting them before they dry can permanently damage your Roomba.
Midlevel maintenance entails firstly removing brushes as well as their bearings. Once you do that, use one of the provided cleaning tools or a comb to pulls out fur and hair that might be slowing its motor down. Don’t forget to get rid of debris from bearings too. The other part that needs attention is the vacuum’s front wheel. With a little tug, remove the wheel from its housing and thoroughly clean out any debris.
As aforementioned, every month, detox your vacuum with a more in-depth cleaning. A screwdriver is a handy tool in this regard. Start by unscrewing the screw the firmly secures the spiral brush. Thoroughly clean out any hair or debris caught below. Set both the brush and its screw aside. After doing that, remove all the four screws that secure the cover. Two of the screws secure the large wheels while the other two secure the battery door. Once all of them are out, it will be possible to remove the cover. Once it’s out, you will notice your device has been housing debris inside. To effectively clean out this area, use a dry dust cloth or compressed air. After you are done, replace the spiral brush and cover. Tighten all screws.
Roomba 690 poses as the most basic of all Roomba models.
If all you need is a simple vacuum that can remove simple dust from surfaces, this might be your best bet. It is ideal for homes that do not have pets and family members have no long hair that might clog the vacuum. Long hair usually gets stuck in this vacuum.
The 690 sports the design of a modern vacuum. Before picking up dirt, the vacuum agitates the carpet or the floor you need to vacuum with a rotating brush. If hair gets stuck in the vacuum, all you have to do is remove the brushes and use the provided hair extractor to remove the hair.
One good thing about the 690 is the fact that you can program it. It is also self-docking meaning it can start itself on days you are away from home for long. Its low profile allows it to get under most furniture, a feat most upright furniture cannot match. The 690 might be a great choice if you are on a budget. However, if you have more money, go for brushless Roomba models.
Like the Roomba 675, the 690 is Wi-Fi enabled. This allows you to control it via the iRobot mobile app. However, the vacuum does not have a camera and instead navigates in a random pattern – vacuums in a straight line until it hits an obstacle. You might confuse the 675 with the 690 – they are very identical. The only difference between the two is that the 690 comes with an accessory to keep it contained in an area.
- Great price
- Agitates dirt before suction
- Wi-Fi enabled
- Not ideal for homes with hair
The 890 is another basic Roomba model but it comes with brushless rollers. This makes it better than the 690 – though a little bit pricier. Instead of brushes that might get tangled with hair, this model comes with rubber rollers that vibrate dirt as the vacuum moves on the floor or carpet.
It is easy to maintain the 890 seeing that you only need to extract the hair by pulling. With its rollers, the hair will never get stuck. In cases where hair gets stuck, you will only need to pop out the rubber rollers and easily pull out the hair.
This model does not have a camera, just like the 690. It, therefore, navigates in a pseudorandom pattern where it only turns after hitting an obstacle, in this case, your furniture. It is Wi-Fi enabled allowing you control via the iRobot app.
- Brushless for easy maintenance
- Great relative price
- High vibration to get rid of all dirt
- No camera to navigate
Roomba e5 has better features than the 690 and 890 but is still available at a great price. Unlike the 890, the e5 has a larger battery capacity to clean large rooms and a larger washable collection bin.
This model was released at the time modern models such as the i7 were released. However, this was meant to offer good performance without the high price tag of the i7. With its slight improvements, this model can outperform other basic models. For instance, instead of the 75 minutes that the 890 runs on battery, the e5 runs for up to 90 minutes.
Most of the functionalities of the e5 are the same as the 890. It comes with rubber rollers that vibrate the floor to remove as much dirt as possible. Easy to maintain as hair doesn’t get stuck and navigates in a pseudorandom pattern.
If you are torn between the e5 and the 890, choose based on your budget as they have nearly all features similar.
- Large battery capacity to clean large rooms
- Large collection bin – the collection bin can be removed and cleaned
- High vibration to agitate dust for collection
- Easy to maintain since hair does not get stuck in it
- Lack of sensors and camera to guide it
- The unit cannot recharge and resume
This model is ideal for most households thanks to its great price-quality ratio. It comes with the same functionalities as the e5 but with slight improvements to make it better.
iRobot started to make the improvements that matter with the 960 to enhance the performance greatly. The model was released back in 2016 but still performs better than most other vacuums on the market. This was one among the first Wi-Fi enabled models. It allows you to program your vacuum from the comfort of an app on your phone and even set preferences on how you need the vacuum to operate. Better yet, the app gives reminders when the bin needs emptying and when the vacuum needs maintenance.
Unlike the 690, 890, and e5, the 960 comes equipped with a camera and sensors. Instead of moving in a pseudorandom pattern, the vacuum uses the furniture and walls in your house to create a map of your home. It is able to vacuum all areas of your home efficiently without much help. The logical cleaning patterns make this model better than the 690, 890, and e5, which clean, in a haphazard pattern.
While vacuuming in a random pattern will give great results, it requires multiple passes. Again, it is more efficient if a vacuum moves in a straight line. The lines left by the 960 look great.
Another great advantage is the automatic recharge. This feature means that if the battery goes off, the vacuum can automatically recharge and resume suction. Irrespective of the size of your room, the vacuum can clean without infinite charging breaks. This saves you time.
It vacuums all areas of your house with the charge in its battery. When the battery drains, it moves to its charging station and then continues to vacuum. This process continues until all areas in your room have been cleaned.
- Great combination of functionality and price
- Charges automatically and resumes cleaning
- Comes with visual sensors to clean in a logical manner
- Does not self-empty like other modern Roomba models
If your budget allows, this might be a great choice for your carpet. It has the same features as the Roomba 960 with a few improvements to make it better for carpets. It was created to offer the best features offered by 960 but to outperform it on battery capacity and carpet cleaning.
One of the added features, on top of what the 960 provides, is an extra Virtual Wall Barrier accessory. Most vacuums come with one accessory but this model has two accessories. You can purchase the accessories separately if you need them but in most cases, a single accessory will work just fine.
Another major difference is the larger battery capacity. The Roomba 980 can run continuously for two hours, 120 minutes, before recharging. This is better than the 980s 75 minutes and better than the e5’s 90 minutes. Given that both the 960 and 980 can recharge and resume, the bigger battery capacity may not mean much especially if you program the vacuum to clean when you are not home.
iRobot claims that the motor fitted on this model offers up to 10 times more suction power compared to conventional vacuum motors in basic Roomba models.
One feature that makes this model special is the carpet boost sensor. This feature enables the vacuum to detect whether it is on carpet or rug or a hard surface. By so doing, the vacuum can rev up its motor and increase suction when on rugs and carpets. It was designed with the view that it is more challenging to suction dirt off a carpet than off a hard surface. The increased suction ensures that happens.
- Offers up to 10 times more suction power
- Carpet boost sensor ensures the vacuum cleans carpets with more suction
- Better battery capacity
- Relatively expensive
Roomba i7 is great. For starters, it comes with all the great features seen on Roomba 980 and some on i7+ but comes at a great price. It features all-new technology features to enhance cleaning without breaking your bank. In many ways, the i7 is better than the 980 but it is still cheaper.
One feature that makes the vacuum ideal for most households is its repositioned motor. It has the same new generation motor that the 980 has but repositioned to enhance the function of the carpet boost sensor. This repositioning ensures the carpet picks up more debris.
Better yet, i7 sports the largest dustbin of all Roomba models. Its 0.7-liter dustbin is only available on e5 and i7+. With a bigger bin, you can clean a large room with fewer bin emptying and clean breaks.
Unlike the 980, this model has a better and more powerful processing unit. This processing unit facilitates the functioning of its new navigation software. When i7 was launched, it featured iAdapt 3.0 tech, which allows a horde of functionalities. For starters, it can detect parts of your home that need thorough suction and pin these parts on its map. Again, the processing unit allows the vacuum to remember up to 10 different floor plans. After a few runs, the vacuum can tell whether it is in the living room, upstairs, your bedroom, or any other room.
When you move furniture in your room, the i7 doesn’t need to remap your room. Instead, it will only adjust to the new locations of the furniture as it cleans. The iAdapt 3.0 has enhanced dirt
There are better features such as the Imprint Smart Mapping. This feature allows you to label your rooms such as kitchen, bedroom, utility room, etc. By so doing, you can program the vacuum to clean specific rooms. You can program it on the iRobot home app or use Amazon Alexa or Google devices. Just use the voice command and the vacuum will run off to clean the specified room.
Everything about the i7 is great except when you have to empty the dustbin. If emptying the dustbin feels like a chore you do not want, consider paying a higher price for the i7+.
- Imprint Smart Mapping allows the vacuum to clean specific rooms
- Can be controlled using voice commands or via the mobile app
- iAdapt 3.0 tech makes it better at cleaning different areas in your house
- Relatively high price
- Lacks automatic dock – the dock can be purchased separately
The i7+ is not any different from the i7; it is only better because it can empty itself. In essence, you will be paying a higher price for the emptying ability. This model has a large docking station that enables self-emptying. It also features a special charging station, the Clean Base, which further facilitates its self-emptying ability.
Most Roomba models compared here feature the same dock size – the dock is low profile and takes up less floor space. The Clean Base charging station, however, is larger. It will automatically empty the bin by sucking everything out of the robot when the vacuum docks.
Even though the self-emptying ability is great, it is a loud process. Most Roomba models produce minimal noise when cleaning, unlike most upright vacuums. However, when the Clean Base turns on, the vacuum sounds like a corded upright cleaner. The good thing, however, is that the noise will only last a few seconds. The noise is advantageous if you want to confirm that the vacuum is still working even when you are in a different room.
iRobot did their best to design the Clean Base and ensure it does not interfere with the functionality of the vacuum. While the Clean Base looks big, it does not take more room than the vacuum itself. When the vacuum docks, Clean Base takes up 18.5 inches of space above the Roomba to empty the bin. This space is not significant.
To enable the self-emptying ability, the i7+ comes with a slightly different dustbin. The bin is the same size as the i7 bin but it features a rubber flap that allows Clean Base to suck the dust, out. This rubber flap ensures that dirt does not find its way back to your floor. Clean Base will recognize the rubber seal and start suctioning dirt out of the vacuum cleaner.
Besides the Clean Base and the rubber flap on the bin, the i7 and i7+ are identical. If you have an i7 and need to upgrade later, you can easily do so. You will love the i7+ if you hate emptying the bin, which is a minor task anyway. However, if you can empty the bin, save yourself the emptying noise by going for an i7.
- Can empty the bin when it docks – ideal for users with allergies
- Better cleaning functionality thanks to iAdapt 3.0 and Imprint Smart Mapping
- Easy to control using voice command
- Clean Base functionality is loud. Again, it uses disposable vacuum bags.
Roomba s9+ might be the most advanced and perhaps the best vacuum on the market. It comes with a horde of features that allow it to stay on top of the i7 and i7+, and for all these, you will have to pay a hefty price.
One feature that makes the s9+ better than the i7+ is the edge and corner cleaning functionality. In short, the s9+ was designed to address issues raised with the i7+. The shape of the Robot and the wide brush roll allows it to clean edges and corners perfectly. iRobot seems to have taken inspiration from Neato, their competitor, to change the shape and the general look of the Roomba.
The s9+ sports a D shape. Instead of having the brush roll in the middle of the robot, it is now in front. This design is ideal when you need corners and edges cleaned as perfectly as other parts of your room. The D shape is great. Combined with the front-fitted rollers, the robot is 30 percent wider and can clean corners more efficiently.
The s9+ has better suction power than the i7 and i7+. This way, the robot can pick up more dirt embedded on your carpet in between the naps. Its suction comes from its new generation motor.
Another added advantage over the i7+ is the great navigation feature on the s9+. iRobot used improved navigation algorithm on this model making it better at picking a navigation path. While the i7+ is relatively fast and navigates relatively well, the s9+ will take a shorter time than the i7+ to clean a room.
If your budget allows, get the s9+. However, if you are trying to decide between the i7+ and s9+, you can instead go for the Roomba S9 (without the +) which lacks the self-emptying ability but performs the same as the S9+.
- Powerful suction to get rid of all dirt
- Better at cleaning corners and edges
- Better navigation allowing it to clean a room relatively fast
- Most pricey model of all Roomba models
- The Clean Base is still as noisy as on i7+
Over the last 25 years, countless Roomba models have been released. Overwhelmed by the huge number of models available? We have taken our time to conduct extensive research on almost all Roombas in the market today. From our in-depth research, we have finally arrived at the above products.
In a nutshell, here’s a preview of the ones highlighted on this primer: