Irobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum Review & TESTS w/ Clean Base vs i7 vs 980

December 11, 2018



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We are super excited to be reviewing the brand new Irobot Roomba i7+ robot vacuum with automatic dirt disposal. We put it though a ton of tests, and I’ll get to those in a bit, but, first, I really want to get to all the new features with the i7 and i7+.


Links above for current prices and reviews, and let’s get started.


So, we have tested and reviewed the previous top of the line Roomba—the Roomba 980, and the Roomba i7 and i7+ are similar to the 980 with a few key upgrades.


The best upgrade in our opinion is the automatic dirt disposal system which is a large charging dock which has a bag inside that pairs with the dust bin on the robot whenever it docks. When it docks, a suction motor kicks in and empties the dust bin into the bag. Irobot says the bag can hold up to 30 full dust bins worth of debris.


This really does change everything! With other robots vacuums I have owned it never really felt like I had a truly automated cleaning system because I would have to basically babysit the vacuum during its run and empty the bin several times. And the scheduling features are great, but if you come home and find the robot only cleaned 1/3 of the house because its dust bin was full, then it really creates a bottleneck. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about this feature, and I didn’t have a single problem with its operation during our tests.


I should also mention that the automatic dirt disposal unit will work with the i7 as well as the i7+ but, in the case of the i7, you have to buy the dirt disposal dock or Clean Base separately, and it wont work for any previous models since they don’t have the new kind of dust bin that pairs with the new dock.


Another key upgrade with the i7 and i7+ is the mapping and navigation system which Irobot calls “Imprint.” So, I called Irobot for clarification on this. There are several changes from previous versions. The first is that the new navigation software allows for more detailed maps. For example, after the i7 has made a few cleaning runs, it then allows you to customize a map of your home, where you can choose specific rooms for it to clean and specific rooms to avoid.


You can also customize this on the scheduling feature. So, if you wanted it to clean certain rooms on one day and different rooms on another day you could.


The other upgrade of the new mapping and sensor technology from the previous versions is that it’s a lot better at actually remembering the layout and various obstacles. So, it dramatically reduces the bumping of furniture and other obstacles once it learns more about its surroundings.


Another game changing upgrade is the ability for the Robot to make multiple maps to accommodate multi floor homes. I don’t know why this feature took so long for robot vacuum manufacturers to introduce, but it’s finally here. Irobot says it can remember up to 10 different floor plans.


The i7 and i7+ also have redesigned brush rolls, they have slightly longer treads, and are mounted on a new self-adjusting plate which keeps them in contact with floors and carpets more, meaning it has better pickup ability than previous generations. We noticed this especially on carpet where our tests showed a marked improvement from the Roomba 980.


The new i7 and i7+ also only have one power setting now, which is equivalent to the Roomba 980 on high power. So, it has the same airflow numbers as the 980. It also has similar battery life numbers to the Roomba 980 on its high-power setting. The official battery life numbers are 75 minutes per charge for the i7, and like the previous versions, it also automatically recharges and resumes cleaning jobs.


I should also mention that though it has the same power specs in high power, it’s actually a lot quieter than the Roomba 980. We tested it at 68 decibels compared to the Roomba 980 which we tested at 78 decibels in its turbo mode, and it really was noticeably quieter.


So, with our tests, we saw improved performance on carpet as it picked up all the debris—from fine debris to pet hair to extra-large debris—by the end of its run. And, although Robot vacuums aren’t exactly known for deep cleaning carpets, it did very well with our deep clean test, scoring the same as the Roomba 980.


On hard floors, its performance was as good or better than the Roomba 980 turbo power, again, picking up all the debris in the test by the end of its run.


So, with regard to cleaning ability, it has the top of the line performance you would expect from a robot vacuum of this caliber.


As far as navigation, it has the same straight line cleaning path which makes very good obstacle avoidance decisions, the camera and its software work together very well in this regard, and I have loved the more efficient cleaning of the smart navigation Robots since they came out. I really did notice the Robot remembering obstacles as well once it had completed a few jobs, so kudos to Irobot for another very efficient smart navigation system.


It can’t all be roses and sunshine, though. So, let’s move on to the cons.


The edge cleaning wasn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong—it’s as good or better than the previous versions, but it’s likely to miss some spots when it comes to edges and corners.


Also, the new dust bin had to be modified to be able to work with the clean base so its actually a bit smaller than the already pretty small dust bin of the Roomba 980. The i7’s dust bin is .46 liters compared to the Roomba 980’s .56 liters. Granted, this will essentially be irrelevant if you get the i7+ with the automatic clean base, but it will be disappointing if you only got the i7 without the clean base.


The Roomba i7 has a nice low profile at 3.6 inches, which is actually a pro since it can get under just about everything, but the low profile also causes it to not be able to climb steep 90-degree obstacles. It actually did climb our ¾ inch board in our test, but only if it hit it at the right angle. ¾” is pretty high, though, and i7 can climb just about anything you are likely to have in your home, but if you have a particularly high door threshold in your home, you may need to make a little ramp. 


The last con is the price. Here again, there is a caveat. The i7 by itself is actually cheaper than the Roomba 980 was when they released it, but the i7+ with the clean base is pretty expensive, but, again, it’s a game-changing technology which, in my opinion, actually makes for a truly automated cleaning experience, and, so, I think it’s worth it if you can swing it.


So, links at the top for current prices on the i7 and the i7+ with the clean base, and consider a like if this video helped you out. Also, consider a subscription to Vacuum Wars if you want to see more videos on the current Roomba lineup as well as comparisons with other Robot vacuum competitors.


Thanks for watching.


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