It’s been a while since I tested out new vacuum cleaning technology. But now is a great time to look again, because iRobot has just introduced it’s newest robot vacuum; the iRobot Roomba i7+.
What is iRobot Roomba® i7+ with Clean Base?
Roomba is iRobot’s line of smart vacuums. Some Roombas are programmable and can clean your floors (carpet and wood, or tile floors) automatically, while some of the newer ones offer app control.
What’s new with Roomba i7+? Automatic emptying
iRobot has made some major advancements with the i7+. The biggest change is that Roomba can now take out the trash, so to speak. The newest Robot in the Roomba fleet is available with a special dock that contains a dustbin, so that any time the vacuum is full, it’ll return to its base station and automatically empty itself.
The future really is here.
What’s new with Roomba i7+? Improved mapping
While the previous generation iRobot Roomba did have mapping technology—and the smarts to learn its way around your house— the new version has made major technological leaps.
In my experience, the i7+ robot now learns much faster, creating a highly accurate map of your space. Once it gets to know where the walls, obstacles, stairs and barriers are in your home, it adopts a much more linear and purposeful cleaning style, where earlier versions of Roomba were a lot more random.
Also on this new model, the onboard dust container is now washable.
Getting iRobot Roomba i7+ set up
Getting your new robot vacuum set up is really easy. You’ll need to download the iRobot Home app and sign in or sign up for an account.
Then uncrate your robot vacuum.
iRobot Roomba i&+: What’s in the box?
Inside the box is the Roomba vacuum, the dustbin tower which is also the charging station base, and a cable. In the accessories box, you’ll find two bags for the dustbin, an extra filter, an extra corner or Edge-Sweeping brush and a lighthouse, which lets you place virtual barriers.
With everything unpacked, find a place to plug in the base station. You’ll need an easy access spot that’s free of obstacles. Let the robot charge fully, then connect the iRobot to your app. Put the robot into pairing mode by pressing and holding the Home, and Spot clean buttons at the same time, for two seconds. You’ll hear a tone and see a blue ring around the Clean button that confirms the robot is generating Wi-Fi.
Head to the app and tap the hamburger menu, then select Add a Robot and the app will look for your Roomba. It should pop right up in the app, and mine did. From there it’s time to get cleaning!
Get to know Roomba: What do the parts do?
Let’s get to know the Roomba vacuum. It’s important to be aware you should keep the brushes and wheels and sensors clean and free of debris or hair to help them function correctly. There’s more maintenance info in your manual.
The edge sweeping brush is what gets into corners and along baseboards.
The front caster wheel lets the vacuum move freely. The wheel pops out for cleaning.
The two rubber rollers are multi-surface brushes which also pop out easily so you can remove anything that gets tangled.
Using the iRobot Roomba i7+
You have several ways to begin the cleaning process. Press the Clean button on the vacuum itself and the Roomba will head out. Or open the app and press the virtual Clean button.
You can also set schedules inside the app so the robot will clean what you want, when you want it.
How to set iRobot Roomba schedules
To create a schedule, select the Schedule button on the bottom of the app’s main screen, then choose the plus (+) sign in the top right. You can set it to do just one clean, for example if you want it to com on after you’ve left for work, or you can craft a weekly routine. Just adjust the start time and the days of the week.
You can also choose which rooms the robot will clean on certain days, but you do need to wait until your Smart Map is populated to start using this feature.
How does Roomba Smart Mapping work?
To enable the smart mapping you will need to activate the feature. In the Home app, go to the Smart Maps button at the bottom of the screen and switch it on. It will start mapping the house each time it cleans. It takes about three or four cleaning passes for it to generate a full map.
Then you can label the rooms on the map so you can ask the vacuum to clean specific spaces, either from the app, or by asking your Google or Amazon assistant.
iRobot Home App
The iRobot Home app will show you a lot of useful info:
- Cleaning preferences
- cleaning history
- Smart map info
- Find your Roomba
Overall the app is really easy to understand and navigate and everything works well.
Remote access from outside your home
A very handy feature of the all new iRobot Roomba i7+ is that you can control it from anywhere; you don’t have to be at home on your Wi-Fi network. Using your phone, the app connects using Wi-Fi or a cell signal so if you forget to program a cleaning cycle, or you want a quick sweep-up before your pals arrive after work, you can hit the Clean button on your phone and the app will get the Roomba moving.
Battery life and charging: Roomba i7+
Any time the Roomba isn’t sweeping up, it’s resting on the charging base station, so it’s ready to clean any time. Once it starts cleaning, the battery lasts about 25 minutes at a time, but don’t be worries that’s not enough time; when it gets low on power, the vacuum will return to the base, juice up, then resume its cleaning. All told you’ll get about 75 minutes of clean time.
Cleaning power of Roomba i7+
Overall the Roomba i7+ does a really good job. Of course it does have some limitations; for example, it doesn’t have the power of a corded upright vacuum so don’t expect miracles. It also doesn’t do corners phenomenally, though it does get into corners surprisingly well thanks to its long corner brush. It also slides easily under most pieces of furniture.
How well does Roomba clean? Cleaning tests
- Pet Hair: it sweeps up pet hair like it’s nothing
- Flour: It inhaled about a tablespoon of flour in 2 passes, and when I set it to spot clean, it got the rest on the third drive-by.
- Pistachio nuts: it gobbled them up on the first pass
- Crackers: Not surprisingly, Roomba seemed to have the most trouble with larger flat objects. Instead of sweeping up large pieces of crumbled crackers, it kicked them around the floor. Of course it would make sense to pick up larger debris, and let Roomba handle the crumbs, right?
How does Roomba work with stairs?
Roomba i7+, like previous Roombas, has special sensors that can find drops and edges. If it senses one, Roomba learns where it is and avoids it. If it hits on one it doesn’t know, the sensors automatically have it scoot away.
What kind of floors can I use Roomba on?
The iRobot Roomba i7+ can clean any floor surface from carpets (yes, even shaggy ones!), to tile and wood floors. It has a special mechanism that keeps it from getting tangled in things like cords, cables and fabrics, and I found it only got tied up very occasionally, For the most part it just kicks these things out of its works easily.
It might be worth noting that if the Roomba vacuums up something you don’t expect, like a fallen piece of jewelry, you might never know it, since the bag is designed to be tossed right out, so it might be worth opening it and checking, if you’re prone to losing small things.
Who should get iRobot Roomba i7+ ?
The iRobot Roomba i7+ is, like most of iRobot’s vacuums, for folks who like to keep things tidy day by day. It keeps dust and pet hair from accumulating, and it’s actually great for keeping those pet hair tumbleweeds from building up.
It’s also ideal for sweeping up the kitchen after meal prep or getting small dry spills swept up. It’s not a replacement for a full size vacuum.
How does the emptying on the Clean base work?
When the Roomba’s onboard dustbin is full, it will automatically head back to the base station. Once it docks you’ll hear the internal vacuum come on (yes, it’s actually got a vacuum within a vacuum!) and it vacuums all the dirt out and into the bag inside the base. You never see one bit of dirt. I will say the emptying process is loud; it sounds about as loud as a regular upright vacuum being turned on, and it’s definitely quite a contrast to the low noise level of the Roomba vacuum itself.
How loud is iRobot Roomba i7+
The vacuum isn’t really any quieter, I’d say, than previous models. To compare it to the 980, for example, I’d say if there is any actual decibel difference, it’s negligible.
Pets & safety: iRobot Roomba
What happens if you have pets in the home? The Roomba doesn’t care about interacting with them, or course, but your pets may avoid it, as my pup does. Our old dog could have cared less about it… and most of the time if she was chilling on the floor, the Roomba would knock gently into her. She’d shoot it some side eye, and it would clean around her.
Linking iRobot i7+ with Google home for voice control
During my review period I was not able to get the Roomba connected to Google Home or Amazon Alexa. In getting it set up through Google Home I’d try to log in and link my iRobot account to Google but just kept getting a 401 error message and it would never show up in Google Home. With Alexa the error I got was “unable to link account at this time”. That’s frustrating, and I’m not sure what’s up, if it’s Google Home error or an iRobot issue. If I get this solved in the next few weeks, I’ll definitely share the solution.
**UPDATE: after a few weeks I tried again after talking with the iRobot customer care team. I was able to link both Google and Alexa and now both work perfectly. I’ll post a How-To soon, but it looks like this issue is now resolved, and may have been due in part to a Google Home software update.
Overall review iRobot Roomba i7+
I love my Roomba. It works so well keeping things like pet hair at bay, and the difference is significant and noticeable. It also did really well picking up everything from flour to nuts in spot cleaning tests too.
I appreciate how easy the app is to use and how simple the scheduling feature is to program; anyone could use this. I think the Smart Mapping feature is brilliant; it’s quite accurate and it gives me the ability to program the cleaning room by room.
So what are the cons? For starters, you do need a good bit of space for the base station, and unlike using the Roomba without the new dustbin, you can’t hide it under furniture. Mine is in my spare bedroom as a result.
The other con is definitely the price.
The Roomba i7+ with Clean Base™ Automatic Dirt Disposal sells for about $1249CAD or you can buy just the vacuum for $899CAD. The base sells on its own for about $429CAD. I know that puts it out of reach for a lot of folks.
But on the flip side, if it cuts your cleaning time each week down, maybe that’s worth it for you. And pet owners I think will find this invaluable, so I do recommend the The Roomba® i7+ with Clean Base.
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