Comparing the Roomba s9+ and Roomba i7+
iRobot makes some of the best robot vacuums available, but with so many Roomba models to choose from, finding the right robot for your home can be tricky. The BestReviews Testing Lab tested the Roomba s9+ and i7+ to better understand their differences and help you decide which is the right fit for your cleaning needs.
Both the Roomba s9+ and i7+ are self-emptying models, so they return to their base when they sense their dustbin is full, empty their contents and return to cleaning. They also use the same navigation software to learn and map your home, which helps them remember the layout of specific rooms.
However, the s9+ has a few big advantages. While the i7+ only offers 10 times the suction power of the Roomba 600 series, the s9+ boasts an impressive 40 times the suction power of the 600 series. Additionally, the s9+ cleans for over 30 minutes longer, removes dirt more effectively from corners and has a wider brush roll for more efficient vacuuming.
Overall, the s9+ is the best choice for those looking for a premium robot vacuum that can replace a standard vacuum. Its suction power also makes it an ideal fit for homes with pets. But if you’re on a budget and still want a model with smart mapping, a self-emptying base and selective room cleaning, the more affordably priced i7+ may be a good fit.
Roomba s9+ vs. i7+ specs
While the Roomba s9+ and i7+ offer many of the same features, their specs differ slightly. In particular, their battery life and dimensions affect how each model performs.
Roomba s9+ specs
Battery life: 107 minutes | Dimensions: 12.25” L x 12.25” W x 3.5” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 L | Weight: 8.15 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 year
Unlike most other robot vacuums, the Roomba s9+, which was released in 2019, isn’t round. Instead, it has a unique D-shape that helps it fit into corners and along walls more easily than other robots. Its dimensions are also slightly smaller than other Roombas we tested, including the i7+. The s9+ has an advertised battery life of 120 minutes on its lowest suction setting and 60 minutes on its highest suction setting. While automatically adjusting its suction based on the flooring, it cleaned for 107 minutes during our testing before needing to recharge. Like the i7+, the s9+ has a self-emptying base, so it automatically empties its dustbin when full to continue vacuuming.
The s9+ features advanced navigation software that allows it to map and learn your home, so you can clean specific rooms rather than an entire floor. However, it doesn’t have obstacle avoidance like the Roomba j7, j7+ and j7+ Combo. That means it can’t sense objects in its path and swerve around them, making it important to remove obstacles like cords and wires before the robot goes out to clean.
Roomba i7+ specs
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dimensions: 13.34” L x 13.34” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.3 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 year
Launched a year before the s9+ in 2018, the Roomba i7+ has the same shape and roughly the same dimensions as most other robot vacuums. Because it is round and slightly larger than the s9+, though, it doesn’t clean corners as effectively. Its dustbin is also slightly smaller than the s9+’s, but it is a self-emptying model, so the internal dustbin capacity doesn’t matter as much as it does for models that can’t empty themselves.
Like the s9+, its base has a dust bag that can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris, so you don’t need to empty it too often. The i7+ can clean for approximately 75 minutes, which is considerably less than the s9+. However, like the s9+, the i7+ has a Recharge and Resume feature that allows it to return to the base when its battery is low and pick up its cleaning exactly where it let off once it’s recharged.
Like the s9+, the i7+ uses smart mapping to learn and remember your home’s layout. It identifies specific rooms, so it can clean a single room rather than the entire floor. However, it doesn’t have object avoidance like the Roomba j series and can sometimes run into issues if items are left on the floor when it’s cleaning.
- Battery life: According to our findings, the Roomba s9+ offers about 30 minutes more cleaning time than the i7+, so it covers more ground on a single charge. Both models have the Recharge and Resume feature, though, so their battery life may be less important even if you live in a large home.
- Suction power: The Roomba s9+ has 40 times the suction power as the Roomba 600 series, which amounts to 2,200 pascals (Pa). On the other hand, the i7+ provides 10 times the suction power as the 600 series, or only 1,800 Pa.
- Brush roll: Both the s9+ and i7+ have an anti-tangle rubber brush roll to discourage hair from getting caught around it. However, the s9+’s brush roll is 30% wider than the i7+’s, which helps boost the s9+’s cleaning efficiency.
- Edge cleaning: The s9+ stands out as the only Roomba model that doesn’t have the classic round robot vacuum shape. Its D-shape allows it to clean in corners and along edges more effectively than the i7+ and other round robots.
- Price: The Roomba i7+ is usually $200 cheaper than the s9+, so it may fit a wider range of budgets.
Cleaning performance comparison
The s9+ is touted as having superior suction power compared to models like the i7+ and even the j7+. Our testing showed that the s9+ offered better performance on both carpeting and hard flooring, but the i7+ still cleaned effectively.
We tested the robots mainly on medium-pile carpeting and low-pile rugs and found that both models could handle these surfaces well. The s9+ was more impressive, needing only a single pass to remove small particles like kosher salt and kitty litter. It occasionally required a second pass for larger debris like cereal when it blew the pieces out of its path. The i7+ had a similar issue with heavier debris, as did nearly all the other Roomba models we tested. It sometimes crushed larger debris on carpeting, leaving behind crumbs that required multiple passes to remove. Generally, the i7+ required more passes to fully clean carpeting than the s9+.
Both robots had stronger suction on hard flooring. However, they occasionally blew debris out of their paths, requiring a second pass. The i7+’s performance on hard flooring was more impressive than its cleaning on carpeting, while the s9+ offered similar cleaning power on both surfaces. The only problem they sometimes faced on hard flooring was blowing debris under nearby furniture they couldn’t fit beneath to retrieve.
It’s worth noting that the s9+’s superior suction power comes with a minor drawback — it’s noisier than some other robot vacuums, including the i7+. The s9+ can range from 65 to 74 decibels while cleaning (a standard vacuum is around 70 decibels), but the i7+ tops out at approximately 65 decibels, which is closer to the level of a normal conversation.
Pet hair performance
The s9+ and i7+ were tested in areas with multiple pets, so they had to contend with plenty of pet hair.
The s9+ pet hair performance was impressive during specific tests, removing a clump of pet hair on both hard flooring and carpeting in a single pass. When it went out on general vacuuming runs while testing, we also noticed a significant difference in the amount of pet hair on all surfaces and were especially pleased with how well it pulled pet hair from carpeting.
The i7+ also handled pet hair pretty well, and we observed a night-and-day difference in the amount of pet hair in our testing area after general vacuuming runs. However, some hair remained on carpeting and rugs, so it wasn’t as effective as the s9+.
The Roomba s9+ and i7+ feature fairly different designs. Like most robot vacuums, the i7+ is round. It’s made of black and charcoal plastic and has its dustbin located at the robot’s backside. On the other hand, the s9+ has a D-shape and features black plastic, as well as a rose-gold circular lid at the top of the robot. Its dustbin is beneath this lid, so we found it easier to access than the i7+’s bin when it was time to clean it.
Both models have an anti-tangle rubber brush roll rather than the usual bristle brushes that entry-level robots often have. These rubber brushes prevent hair from tangling around them. After testing, we observed no hair tangled around either model’s brush roll. We found a few loose pieces on both robots’ brushes, but we easily removed those with just our fingers.
The s9+’s brush roll is also 30% wider than robots in the i and j series, including the i7+. The additional width allows the robot to cover more ground on each cleaning pass and clean more efficiently.
The Roomba s9+ and i7+ use the same navigational software, iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM, so they navigate similarly. They have top-mounted cameras that help them learn and map your home’s layout, and we found that both models produced highly accurate maps of our testing areas. Because they identify specific rooms, the s9+ and i7+ allow for selective room cleaning. For example, we sent the s9+ out to clean just the living room and the i7+ to vacuum the kitchen. Both robots went to those areas and cleaned completely before returning to their base.
Neither model has the obstacle-avoidance feature, so they can run into items while cleaning. The i7+ had issues with cords and wires during testing, while the s9+ bumped into some objects, such as a stuffed pet toy, and tried to go over a shoe before backing up and moving on. As a result, these models wouldn’t be the best option for a cluttered home with lots of items lying around that they could run into.
Both the s9+ and i7+ are self-emptying robots, so they come with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. We found this feature highly convenient during testing because the robots sensed when their bin was full and returned to the base. As soon as it parked itself in its base, the unit’s suction was activated to remove the dirt from the robots’ internal dustbin and transfer it to the bag at the top of the base. That means neither robot was interrupted during cleaning, and we never had to get our hands dirty emptying the bins.
These models are also compatible with voice commands through a home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. During testing, we connected the robots to Alexa and used commands such as “start vacuuming,” “pause vacuuming” and “vacuum the hallway.” Both robots responded within seconds to the prompts, which made operation even more convenient.
Cleaning and maintenance
While both the s9+ and i7+ have anti-tangle brush rolls, you can still find hair around the brushes after cleaning. Fortunately, the brushes are easy to remove and clean. Turn your Roomba over, and press the brush-release tab located near the bottom of the brush roll. The brushes will easily come out, and you can then use your fingers to pull off any hair around the brushes. You can also wipe the brushes with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris.
Even though both models are self-emptying, you should clean their dustbins regularly. Remove the bin from the robot, and press the release button to empty it over a trash can. Take out the vacuum’s filter — which should never get wet — and rinse the bin in warm water. Dry it thoroughly before returning it to the robot.
While you have the filter out, clean it, too. You only have to tap it against the side of the trash can to knock off the dirt.
When the dust bag in the top of the s9+ or i7+’s Clean Base is full, you must dispose of it. Open the lid at the top of the base, and pull the bag out by the plastic card at the end. This card seals the bag as you remove it, so you don’t have to worry about dirt and dust flying around as you carry it to the trash.
Like all Roombas, the s9+ and i7+ have a filter and brushes that must be replaced every so often. To determine whether it’s time for replacements, check the Product Health tab in the iRobot Home app to see how many cleaning hours each component has left.
How we tested
We started our testing by timing how long the robots cleaned before their battery ran out and how long it took for the battery to fully charge after it was drained. We also observed how long they took to clean an entire room, as well as how many square feet the space contained, to better understand their efficiency.
To evaluate their performance, we tested the vacuums on both hard flooring and carpeting, placing different types of debris, like kosher salt, kitty litter, cereal and pet hair, on the surface to determine how they cleaned each mess. We also observed the robots during general vacuuming runs and mapping runs to see how they cleaned in real-world conditions. Finally, we used the iRobot Home app to schedule cleaning and adjust cleaning preferences to determine how the app aids in the robots’ performance.
The most powerful model in the iRobot line, the Roomba s9+ regularly costs $999.99 and is available at Amazon, iRobot, Walmart and Best Buy. Its price is definitely steep, but it offers excellent navigation and superior suction power that can make your standard vacuum obsolete.
After careful testing, the Roomba s9+ emerged as the clear favorite over the i7+. Its suction power and cleaning performance surpass the i7+ and similar Roomba models, making it an excellent choice for homes with heavy carpeting or pets. It is one of the most powerful robot vacuums you can find, so it’s also ideal if you want your robot to do all of your home’s vacuuming.
That said, the i7+ is still a solid model, with excellent navigation, a self-emptying base and above-average performance on carpeting. If the s9+ doesn’t fit your budget, the i7+ is certainly worth considering.
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.