The Best Roombas: Here Are The Top 5 Models – Forbes


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iRobot’s line of Roomba robot vacuums are every busy homeowner’s dream. Like all robot vacuums, they promise to whip around the house, automatically cleaning up life’s messes with the push of a button—no vacuum bags or nozzle attachments required. But which is the best Roomba? The brand makes four different core models: the Roomba 694, Roomba s9+, Roomba j7+ and the Roomba i3+ EVO. They’re not all created equally: some Roombas are smarter and more powerful than others. Before selecting one, make sure to assess how often you plan to use it and the level of autonomy you want your robot to have.

To find the best Roombas, I compared iRobot's core lineup: the Roomba 694, s9+, j7+ and i3+ EVO.

Photo: Retailers Illustration: Forbes

Some models can map and “learn” your house, while others can target specific messes and avoid obstacles. (I tested the Roomba 694 over three weeks to see how well Roomba’s most affordable model cleaned our floors; here’s my full Roomba 694 review.) Roomba now offers a subscription service for the j7+, too, should you want an automatic replenishment of cleaning supplies and an upgraded vacuum every 3 years.

Note that Roomba also sells some variations on their main options, with slight differences in add-on features and accessories. For example, the Roomba 692, is identical to the 694 but doesn’t come with an extra filter. You might see other Roomba options without the “+” symbol—that just means that these models aren’t self emptying. Some models are only available on Amazon, like the Roomba i7.

The best Roomba for you depends on your individual needs, your price range and the amount of smart customization you’re looking for. The good news is there’s an option for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of Roomba’s lineup so you can find your ideal robot vacuum.

  • Best Roomba For Complex Floor Plans: Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
  • Best Roomba For Homes With Kids And Pets: Roomba j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
  • Best Roomba For Homes With Stairs: Roomba i3+ EVO Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
  • Best Budget Roomba: Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum
  • Best Budget Roomba Without An Extra Filter: Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum

Best For Complex Floor Plans: Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum


iRobot Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Self-emptying: Yes | Alexa compatible: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited | Smart mapping: Yes

Best for:

  • You want a completely independent robot that can target messes at the sound of your voice
  • You want to thoroughly clean hard-to-reach spots like inside corners and around edges
  • Your home has a complex floor plan 

Skip if:

  • You’re on a stricter budget
  • You want a robot vacuum that can dodge obstacles and clutter

iRobot’s latest Roomba offering is the Roomba s9+ self-emptying robot vacuum, which the brand designates as their strongest vacuum yet. This robot has multi-surface rubber brushes that are 30% wider than the Roomba 600 series models to cover more ground. A strategically-designed corner brush that’s unique to this model helps it get into hard-to-reach places.

Unlike all the other Roomba models, this unit has a “D” shape that lets it get into corners more effectively. That means it’s perfect for homes with a lot of corners, door frames and other hard-to-reach spots. The round Roomba vacuums often struggle to access dirt that’s deep in corners, so the D shape of this vacuum helps pick up where those models miss. It operates with a 3-stage cleaning system that promises to loosen, lift and eliminate dirt and debris. The extra-large multi-surface brushes mean it will be best for navigating between hardwood floors, tile, and area rugs compared to other Roombas. The larger surface area also means that the vacuum covers more ground, so it doesn’t have to make as many passes across your floor as the smaller models do. This model also has 40 times the suction power of the 600 series, which makes it ideal for removing debris or pet hair that’s deeply tangled in carpets.

Another major benefit of this model is its ability to spot-clean on command. The Roomba s9+ syncs to voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home, and the smart technology learns and maps your home, so you can easily ask it to clean a specific place (like under the coffee table), and it will automatically track and find the mess. (The j7+ is also compatible with Alexa or Google Home).

The s9+ also has the capability to learn your home. Like the j7+, the smart navigation maps objects in your home and allows you to set “keep out” zones that it will avoid. The machine will then self-empty any debris into its bin using an enclosed bag system. It will empty itself and store dirt for up to 60 days.

With all the advanced features, this is the most expensive Roomba model available. It’s ideal for complex homes with a floor plan that has a lot of rooms with corners, door frames, and different types of flooring. The ability to map, learn, and avoid certain rooms makes it a great choice for busy households. However, keep in mind that unlike the j7+, this model cannot detect and avoid obstacles like shoes, socks, pet waste, or toys. Before investing in one, make sure that you’re willing to take the time to let Roomba learn your home.

Best For Homes With Kids And Pets: Roomba j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum


iRobot Roomba j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Self-emptying: Yes | Alexa compatible: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited | Smart mapping: Yes

Best for:

  • Pet messes are an issue
  • Your home is cluttered with obstacles like toys, cords, or shoes
  • You want to target specific messes in a certain room

Skip if:

  • If you have an open, uncluttered house, this model might be unnecessary

The Roomba j7+ is the best Roomba for busy households with kids and pets. This robot vacuum shares a lot of similarities with the s9+: it maps and learns your home, it can self-empty, and works in tandem with your favorite voice assistant. In fact, the Roomba brand calls this their most intelligent option yet. This model, however, is specifically designed to identify and avoid obstacles like shoes, cords or pet waste. This feature means there’s no need to pick up clutter before running the machine, which is particularly helpful if you have kids or pets that leave toys lying around. You can expect a completely hands-off cleaning experience with this machine, so it’s great for busy families. In fact, when the robot encounters an obstacle, it will send you a photo so you can tell it to avoid or continue cleaning around it in the future—which means it gets smarter with each use. It purposely avoids pet waste and if it doesn’t, the company promises to replace it for free.

The j7+ has less suction power than the s9+, but it still has 10 times the amount of suction power than the 694 model, meaning it is both intelligent and powerful at the same time. It uses an edge sweeping brush and dual, multi-surface rubber brushes to avoid getting tangled in pet hair. The specialized technology allows this model to detect dirtier areas in the home and clean them more thoroughly. When the sensors detect a larger collection of debris, the machine will work harder to clean the same area until it identifies fewer particles in that specific area. Like the s9+ and the i3+ EVO, this model works cohesively with the Braava jet m6, which means it can tell the mop to start working as soon as it has finished a cleaning project.

The j7+ also comes with a unique add-on from Roomba: an iRobot Select cleaning membership. If you’re looking to upgrade your Roomba, use your vacuum frequently, or want an all-inclusive subscription service that means you won’t have to think about replacing accessories (or eventually, your robot), you might want to add on iRobot Select. The service, which costs $29 a month after a $49 activation fee, will send you fresh disposal bags, filters, and brushes automatically. It comes with dedicated customer support should you need it, too. You’ll also be eligible for a new vacuum every 3 years, so you’ll have the latest cleaning technology. And if you don’t like the service, or decide you don’t need it? There’s a 30-day money back guarantee. Note: you can add this service to a j7+ Roomba that you already own, as well as to a new robot vacuum.

Best For Homes With Stairs: Roomba i3+ EVO Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum


iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Self-emptying: Yes | Alexa compatible: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited| Smart mapping: Yes

Best for:

  • You want to create maps of your home for routine cleaning projects
  • You have stairs or other ledges that need to be avoided
  • You want to use it in tandem with a robot mop

Skip if:

  • Your home is cluttered with obstacles like toys, shoes, or cords

The Roomba i3+ EVO is a great middle-of-the-line robot vacuum that has many of the same features as the s9+ and j7+ at a more affordable price point. This is a great choice if you want a robot that will learn your home—it creates “smart maps” to follow set cleaning patterns that can be scheduled in advance. However, unlike the j7+ and s9+, this model does not have a targeted clean function, which means you can’t ask it to clean specific areas and it won’t be able to find messes on its own. It will not avoid hazards like shoes, cords or clothes, so be sure to pick up around your house before asking it to clean. This is a great option if you want an intelligent, strong vacuum that can perform independent daily maintenance of large, uncluttered areas.

Like the s9+ and j7+, the Roomba i3+ EVO has cliff detect, so it will avoid stairs or ledges, and it will self-empty at the end of each cycle. It can begin cleaning at the sound of your voice, and it even has a feature that will communicate with the Braava jet m6 robot mop—once it finishes a cleaning project, it will tell the robot mop to get to work.

Best Budget Roomba: Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum


iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum

Self-emptying: No | Alexa compatible: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited | Smart mapping: No

Best for:

  • Your house has an open floor plan
  • You want to maintain cleaner floors on a daily basis
  • You’re looking for a low maintenance, uncomplicated robot vacuum

Skip if:

  • You need to target specific messes

This is by far the simplest, most affordable Roomba option you can buy, but it’s still a dependable robot vacuum that will clean your home independently. It sucks up dirt efficiently, but it doesn’t have the ability to map and learn your home, and it won’t target specific messes or avoid obstacles. That means it might miss messes or get stuck in certain spots—like under a couch or on the ledge of a staircase. It’s an uncomplicated robot that is great for routine cleaning, and will work just as well on carpets as it does on floors. It’s compatible with your favorite voice assistant, so you can tell it to start and stop cleaning, but you can’t give it the same specific instructions as the other, more advanced models. It doesn’t have the self-empty feature, but it’s easy enough to empty manually between uses.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to clear clutter before starting this vacuum. It doesn’t have the mapping technology or advanced sensors to identify and detect an obstacle, which means it will get caught if it encounters phone cords or toys laying around the house. The Roomba 694 is best for someone with an open, uncluttered home that’s looking to tidy up everyday without having to stand over a stick vacuum. It efficiently cleans up dust, dirt, and debris, on hard wood, carpet, and tile.

Best Budget Roomba Without An Extra Filter: Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum


iRobot Roomba 692 Robot Vacuum

Self-emptying: No | Alexa compatible: Yes | Warranty: 1-year limited | Smart mapping: No

Best for:

  • You don’t mind buying a replacement filter separately
  • You want the absolute best deal on a Roomba
  • You want to maintain cleaner floors on a daily basis
  • You’re looking for a low maintenance, uncomplicated robot vacuum

Skip if:

  • You need to target specific messes

For the absolute best deal on a Roomba, look to the Roomba 692. This model is the same as the 694—it just doesn’t come with an extra filter, and it’s only available at Amazon. If you can handle thinking ahead and ordering filters down the line, you can usually save money upfront with this model.

Just like the 694, the 692 is a great basic robot vacuum for daily cleanings to suck up dirt, pet hair, or dust. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, too. You’ll need to empty this vacuum yourself, and you won’t be able to program it to avoid obstacles or spot-clean. But it may be worth sacrificing some convenience if you’re on a budget—and using the Roomba will still be easier than maneuvering your vacuum around the house.

My Expertise

I’m a freelance food, home, and kitchen writer with experience reviewing household gadgets for sites like Food & Wine,, Real Simple and Better Homes & Gardens. With a degree in journalism from Penn State and a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, I focus on writing thorough, analytical, and authoritative product reviews to help consumers run a more efficient household. A dog owner and mom of a 10-month-old, I’m no stranger to mess, so I have no shortage of real-life insight into the need for a robot vacuum.

How I Chose The Best Roombas

For this piece, I performed extensive research to understand the qualities of each Roomba model. I personally tested the Roomba 694 and the Roomba j7+, and I looked into the benefits of each product for use in the average home. I assessed the different types of consumers that would benefit from having a robot vacuum, and determined what specific qualities were necessary for different types of homes.

I took into account a variety of different characteristics in the search for the best Roomba. Price range, smart features, battery life, and ease of emptying are all important factors to consider. I evaluated each model’s individual characteristics and assessed what type of consumer would benefit from them the most.

What About The Braava Jet m6 Robot Mop?

iRobot also makes a robot mop, the Braava Jet m6. This robot mop can use wet or dry cleaning pads. You can pair it to robot vacuums from the Roomba i, j, and s series if you want to vacuum, and then mop your floors with ease. You may be able to find a bundle deal on the Braava and a Roomba, too. (For more information, check out Vetted’s best robot mops review.

Which Roomba Model Has The Best Suction?

The Roomba s9+ promises to have 40 times the suction power of the 600 series, which makes it the strongest robot vacuum with the most powerful suction. That means even dug-in dirt, tangled pet hair, and ultra-fine dust will get sucked up.

Can Roomba Work In The Dark?

Roombas work best with light and even ambient light. That way, the sensors can work more efficiently and don’t have any trouble navigating through the home. If your Roomba has a mapping feature, ambient light will help it navigate more efficiently.

Can I Pick Up Roomba And Move It To Another Room?

If you pick up a Roomba and move it manually while it’s in the middle of a cleaning cycle, it may obstruct the navigation function. As a result, the Roomba could have trouble finding its home base at the end of a cleaning cycle. I found this to be true with the Roomba 694—the more I picked it up and moved it around my house, the more trouble it had finding its home base at the end of a cleaning cycle.

Which Roomba Models Work With iRobot Select?

Only the j7+ Roomba works with the company’s subscription service, iRobot Select. This vacuum is our recommendation for people with busy homes. It self-empties, can map your home, and pairs with voice assistants.The iRobot Select add-on automatically sends you a refresh of supplies, makes it seamless to swap out bags, filters, and brushes when needed.

When Should I Replace The Bag On The j7+, i3+ EVO and i7+ Roomba?

iRobot advises that you should replace your self-emptying bag when a solid red LED lights up on the base of your robot’s dirt disposal. They also note that the red light can mean that the bag isn’t detected—make sure it’s fully secured in place before you close the lid. Make sure to also clean and replace your Roomba’s filter regularly to ensure it’s running smoothly.

Where Can I Buy Roomba Replacement Parts?

You can purchase Roomba accessories on Amazon or on the iRobot site when it’s time to replace your filters, bags, brushes, and more. Roomba advises that you replace your filter every 2 months, and clean it weekly.

Where Can I Find Roomba Deals?

Roomba robot vacuums are frequently discounted during major sales holidays. iRobot also has robot vacuum deals and offers on their site if you’re looking to save.

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