I've been using an iRobot Roomba for years, and can confidently say that it's one of those high-tech devices I simply can't (or certainly wouldn't want to) live without. The concept is simple, yet iRobot has made it even simpler and more convenient with its latest version, the Roomba i7+ , along with its Clean Base and Automatic Dirt Disposal bin.
What Is It?
The iRobot Roomba i7+ robot vacuum works the same as previous-generation models, and other similar robotic vacuums. Once the circular vacuum is set-up, docked on its charger and fully charged, press a button on the unit and it will scoot all over, cleaning up carpets and floors. It can clean around corners and obstacles, and sense stairs so it won't go tumbling down.
But the i7+ adds some interesting high-tech features.
First, Smart Mapping maps the floor and intelligently remembers the layout, including where typical obstructions are like furniture. With Imprint Smart Mapping, it can remember up to 10 different floor plans or rooms, which is great for both large homes and offices. It can recognize what room it's in, and clean as instructed based on the previous mapping of that room. Patented iAdapt 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology allows the vacuum to recognize areas where it has already been, and where it still needs to clean. It can also adapt to changing home environments, such as when you get new furniture, or have a Christmas tree set up in the living room during the holidays, and adjust for the best way to clean.
Second, it is Alexa and Google Assistant-compatible, which means if you have an voice assistant-enabled device at home, like an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, or a Google Home, you can download the iRobot skill and control the unit by voice. Simply say "Alexa, ask Roomba to clean" or "Hey Google, clean the living room" and the machine will spring the life. Alternatively, you can control the unit, both in the home and remotely, using the iRobot Home app, which boasts additional features as well (more on that below.)
Have a look at Alexa commands in action below.
But the most compelling feature of the i7+ is the option to get the Automatic Dirt Disposal bin. With previous-generation Roombas, once the clean is done, you need to remove the dirt bin and dump the debris into the garbage. With this model, once the vacuum docks, the dirt is automatically sucked up into a bag in the large bin called a Clean Base, and kept there until it needs to be emptied. The bin can hold up to 30 bins of dirt, which means if you vacuum once a week, you'd only need to empty the bin twice every year. And it doubles as the charging base.
How It Works
As with other Roomba vacuums, the i7+ is super simple to set up. Plug in the charging base, and dock the vacuum to gain a full charge, which takes about three hours. In the meantime, download the app and connect the vacuum to your home's Wi-Fi network by pressing the two touch-sensitive buttons simultaneously and following the in-app instructions. You can also download the appropriate voice assistant skill if you want to use that feature. The longest part of the process was installing a required software update.
My home is all flooring, with a few carpet runners in specific hallways. I used the i7 to clean the main floor of my home, including my living room, entryway and hallway, dining room, kitchen, and landing before the stairs to the basement. I positioned it where my previous Roomba was, in between the wall in the dining room and the buffet. With a small home, it was tough to find a spot with the recommended at least 1.5 feet of space on either side and four-feet in front. If the vacuum doesn't have sufficient room around it, it won't come out from its dock and start a clean. While my space is not as big as that, it still seems to work fine, as it has a relatively clear path in front, and room to dock once done.
The Clean Base is pretty big, so you'll want to set it up in a spot where it won't obstruct anything, making it better suited to larger homes.
The vacuum itself is sleeker and sexier in design than previous-generation models, with nice touch-sensitive buttons, camera, and sensors. Status reports are sent directly to the iRobot Home app on your phone. That includes battery level, as well as the status of the bin so you know when it's time to change it. You'll also be notified if the vacuum encountered an issue or obstruction, or if it didn't leave its base for some reason, so you don't think a clean that was initiated while you weren't home happened when it actually didn't.
The vacuum uses Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that work together to clean both carpets and hard floors. The height of the cleaning head automatically adjusts so the two cleaning brushes can directly engage with the floor. One brush is designed to loosen and agitate dirt while the second moves in the opposite direction to extract and pull dirt in. Unlike bristles, which iRobot says can bend and miss dirt, the flexible rubber brushes hug the floor to clean small particles, hair, and large debris.