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Even if you’re not looking for the most expensive robot vacuum, if you have taken the time to put in the research, there’s every chance that you’re curious as to what you can potentially get for your money. Of course, you might well be happy to pay a premium for quality and convenience. Here in our iRobot Roomba i7+ review, you’re in the right place. This robovac is a luxury model unlike anything you’ll have seen before and there is no harm at all in starting with the most obvious perk. As you can see from the pictures, the base on this unit is bigger than anything we’ve seen before and that is all down to the capabilities here for the robot vacuum to empty itself. Indeed, at the time of this review, this is the first self-cleaning robot vacuum that we have covered. If you want a truly automated home and only want to lift a finger when you well and truly have to, this model is bound to pique your interest. All the perks and features will be revealed below along with our view on potentially the most important question – is the iRobot Roomba i7+ worth the money?
- 1,700 Pa suction to cope with virtually any domestic surface
- Self-emptying functionality using separate dust box in the base
- An outstanding battery with 75 mins of cleaning time and only 120 mins to fully recharge
- Full connectivity through the Roomba app, including Alexa and Google Home support
- Includes iRobot’s patented Carpet Boost technology for tougher areas
- Comprehensive mapping and scheduling
In some ways, it is a good job that the Roomba i7+ comes with a noticeably large base as the robovac unit itself boasts few aesthetic surprises. The i7+ looks, to all intents and purposes, like any other Roomba. It’s reassuringly chunky, black and circular but we already know you do not need to break the bank for those visuals. The likes of the Roomba 671 and the Roomba 606 share similar visual appeal and clock in at less than a fifth of the price. Unsurprisingly, neither model can hope to touch the i7+ for functionality, and there are plenty of exciting enhancements to talk about below.
We always like to talk about what’s in the box first as it gives a decent insight into what we can expect from the functionality. If you’ve owned a Roomba previously, particularly a higher-end model, then everything but the base and a couple of spares will be familiar. Alongside the central vacuum unit, you’ll receive the power cord, a spare filter and a replacement side brush. The luxurious packaging that we have come to expect from the brand is all present and correct too and, if nothing else, the opening experience is worth the price paid.
Logically, if you’re considering an iRobot i7+, you’re considering a self-emptying robot vacuum, so we won’t get you to read the full review before we cover the standout feature. The base unit is relatively standard – the robot vacuum knows how to find it and dock itself for a recharge, but surges upwards like a skyscraper to accommodate the dust box.
Now, you obviously weren’t expecting the robot to empty its own dust box into your kitchen bin. Instead, it does so into the box in the base unit. The dust box on the robovac itself is nothing too outstanding. The 0.5-litre capacity is below our standard benchmark of 0.6 litres, but we can accept a smaller capacity on this one for obvious reasons. Most importantly of all, the dust box on the base unit can hold 30 full loads from the robot. That can potentially make for a month of hands-off cleaning even if you schedule a clean each day.
Incidentally, the other inclusion in the package is a pair of dust bags so that the primary dust box can quickly and cleanly be emptied out as required.
Between the research and development that went into this self-cleaning robot vacuum, together with the additional hardware, we can see why this model would be expensive. That led to a distinct lack of surprise to see that the robot vacuum itself is a fairly run of the mill top-end model in the Roomba selection.
The robot vacuum and its cleaning prowess can easily be compared to the iRobot Roomba 981. At the time of first publication of this review, the 981 occupies a spot in our feature on the best robot vacuums around, so that will give a prospective buyer a fantastic insight into what this robovac is all about.
For a fantastic clean, you need to look no further. The 1,700 Pa suction on this unit may appear slightly weaker than others on paper – even the vastly cheaper Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX has it beaten in pure numbers with its 2,000 Pa. However, there has always been more to cleaning prowess on Roombas than pure suction, and we would go as far as to say that the cleaning capabilities on the iRobot Roomba i7+ cannot be beaten. The suction power is reliable regardless and, in combination with the famously outstanding brushes, filters and cleaning technology, you’ll struggle to find superior results anywhere.
You’d expect a perfect clean for this price, so our coverage above will come as no surprise to anyone. However, when that power combines with the other features on the unit, you have a fantastic proposition. This could be something as simple as switching between power modes between carpets and hard floors or intense cleaning when excess dirt is detected.
First off, you’d prefer your clean to be quick and efficient, and it does not get much better than this. The i7+ combines cameras and sensors to work its way around your home, and it is so proud of its results that it will even map out each floor as it travels. These maps can then be viewed within the Roomba app, and you can make any adjustments as required, such as blocking off individual rooms for any reason you see fit. You can store up to 10 maps and then modify them as you see fit – if you have particularly high traffic areas of the home and others that do not require a daily clean, you can program this in easily without affecting the regular maps.
If anyone would appreciate a robot vacuum that empties itself, it would be pet-owners, and the i7+ shines there too. The silicon brushes mean that there is no need to spend half an hour untangling pet hair every week and the HEPA standard filters ensure both hair and dander are picked up expertly.
iRobot is renowned for the use of excellent batteries in their robovacs, and the Roomba i7+ is no different. It falls slightly short of the Roomba 981 in overall runtime, with 75 minutes compared to 120, but the clean is so intelligent that it will be fully capable of covering an entire floor at least on a single charge, and possibly a full home. Failing that, the return and recharge feature will kick in. If the battery gets low, but the job is not done, the i7+ will head back to base for a recharge and then pick up where it left off.
We’d expect excellent connectivity at this price, and this Roomba delivers, much as it does throughout the range on all but the very cheapest models. Surprisingly few robot vacuums support the 5 GHz Wi-Fi spectrum, with only recent and premium models like the Neato Robotics D7 doing so. The iRobot Roomba i7+ joins it in this capability, and if you’re after a premium model because you have a larger home, that is another check in the positives column.
The Roomba i7+ works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice commands, and the mobile app is outstanding. All that is missing from a connectivity perspective is a standard remote control – and we have never seen an infra-red remote in a Roomba box. As we have mentioned in other Roomba reviews, it sometimes strikes us as a shame. In this case, the self-emptying feature on the i7+ would be convenient for those with limited mobility, but a fair few potential users will not use a smartphone. Without a smartphone, the functionality of the i7+ is handicapped somewhat, and the unit takes a significant hit in the value for money stakes.
The other slight downside to this unit is also one that is shared among several different robot vacuums in the Roomba range, that being the noise. The power levels justify an operating volume of almost 70 dB to a certain extent, but when there are 50 dB robot vacuums out there today, it is potentially another turnoff for anyone with sensitive hearing or that likes to watch TV while their robotic friend does the hard work.
iRobot Roomba i7+ – Pros and Cons
- Perhaps the most independent and hands-off robot vacuum around
- Suitable to clean any surface in the home except for the very thickest rugs and carpets
- Fantastic sensors for a quick, efficient clean throughout multiple floors in the home
- Eye-wateringly expensive – although worth every penny for anyone that can make full use of the features
- Fairly loud in operation, like most Roombas, at 68 dB
- Requires more space around the base (four clear feet each side) than most rivals
iRobot Roomba i7+ – The Verdict
The iRobot Roomba i7+ and the Roomba 981 are not identical, but their cleaning prowess is similar. It makes sense that they would not share every single feature, as it is still possible to get hold of the standard Roomba i7, which is the same robot vacuum as the i7+ but without the self-emptying capabilities. Regardless of which of the three you opt for, you’ll get outstanding cleaning, but the fact that the i7+ can empty itself is what makes for your primary consideration here. We can compare the standard i7 and the Plus model directly here to ascertain that you’ll pay a shade over £300 for the robot vacuum to empty itself. Emptying schedules can soon add up, so we are happy to say that it can be worth it in some circumstances. At the same time, that is a significant price increase, and not one everyone will be happy to swallow.
iRobot Roomba i7+ Review
Going back to our original question of whether the iRobot Roomba i7+ is worth the money, we would have to say that it is, in the right circumstances. At the risk of repeating ourselves, it is a top-end robot vacuum at a top-end price. If you are happy to make the investment, it is unlikely you’ll be disappointed with your purchase. Along those lines, if you own a large home with multiple different surfaces, have several pets and have better things to do than to empty your vacuum cleaner every day, you cannot do much better than this. The price means that this model is unlikely to enter the mainstream like the Roomba 671 or various Eufy RoboVac alternatives, but it is doubtful that you’ll find superior technology, flexibility and connectivity in a single package any time soon.
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