Price (RRP): $1499 and 1899
The Roomba i7 Robot vacuum cleaner is the latest and greatest from iRobot. It’s the smartest iRobot yet and even has an optional Clean Base for automatic dirt disposal – or as we call it ‘taking a dump’.
We received a Roomba i7, its Clean Base (Roomba i7+ bundle) and an accompanying Braava jet m6 robot mop, ironically just after I had splurged on a Vileda microfiber mop kit to ‘properly’ mop my timber and tile floors. There is a separate review on the Braava jet m6 (spoiler alert – it beats hand mopping any day).
Where to start with the Roomba i7?
You see we have reviewed several robot vacs including the ill-fated Dyson 360 Eye that claimed to be the first to clean your home properly. Prophetically Sir James stated, “Most robotic vacuum cleaners don’t see their environment, have little suction, and don’t clean properly. They are gimmicks.”
And we agree with Sir James – including lumping his 360 Eye in that assessment (there was a V2 that was slightly better). Note: Engineers may be good at engineering, but users are the ones that have to live with the practicalities of engineering marvels.
Since then, we have well-developed paradigms to review robot vacuums and ensure consistent scoring.
You will find Thomas Bartlett’s Roomba 980 review here (3.8-out-of-5), and his experience is, “If you have a reasonably neat and orderly home, especially one on a single level, then the iRobot Roomba 980 vacuum cleaning robot could be a great addition. All that will be left for you to do (aside from emptying the bin and doing the other required maintenance every few months) will be using a hand-held vacuum in the corners it has missed.”
Interestingly most robot vacuums score less than 4-out-of-5 because they simply do not live up to marketing hype, nor are they a replacement for a traditional vacuum.
Well, that was until July this year when LG R9 Master Robot at 4.6-out-of- 5 was declared the best so far!
So, we have high expectations for the Roomba i7 Robot vacuum. Spoiler alert it has met them all, so the new winner is…!
Like all reviews, we caution that this uses our standard test home setup (three carpeted bedrooms, large open-plan timber floor living space, two tiled bathrooms, tiled entry foyer and stairs, and a sizeable shaggy feature rug).
We cannot vouch for all surfaces or styles of homes. We can say that if you are not happy with the Roomba i7, then you won’t be satisfied with anything less.
Having said that robot vacs cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, so there needs to be a price/performance paradigm as well. So, match your expectations to your budget.
Roomba i7 robot vacuum and optional Clean Base (Roomba i7+ bundle)
Price: Roomba i7 only $1499 or as a bundle with the Clean Base $1899 online or at major retailers.
Who/what is iRobot?
iRobot is a US company founded in 1990 to develop domestic and military robots. It released Roomba (2002), Braava (2016), and Terra (lawnmowing – 2019). It sold the military arm in 2016 – so no, Roomba is not good for situational awareness, surveillance, explosive ordnance disposal and other missions!
Ken Bazydola at iRobot said,
Robots are inherently a fusion between software and hardware. It’s true that software content has increased dramatically, but hardware also has to some extent. Examples of how hardware has become more challenging include the fact that with Wi-Fi, we must ensure that a robot coexists, and it neither impacts or is impacted by other electronics. iRobot has also added substantial processing capability, and our designs must ensure that those processors are effectively cooled to maximize performance.
Aside from cleaning performance, our customers are very excited about the potential of what connectivity and mapping capabilities can do for their robot and the broader smart home ecosystem. And our customers have no shortage of suggestions— from robots intelligently communicating and working together to clean the house, to more customizable cleaning commands, like vacuuming in specific areas that need attention. The improved memory, processing and mapping capabilities of the new Roomba i7/i7+, combined with the cutting-edge software engineering happening behind the scenes at iRobot, means robotic vacuums have entered a new era of features and functions that has only just begun.
iRobot is solely distributed in Australia by IXL Home, a 150-year-old, Aussie family-owned company based in Geelong.