It’s been a few years since I dug in on vacuum cleaning technology. But right now is a good time to be taking another look, since iRobot has just brought out its newest robot vacuum; the iRobot Roomba i7+.
What is iRobot Roomba i7+ with Clean Base?
Roomba is iRobot’s lineup of smart vacuums. Some Roombas are simply programmable and can clean your floors (carpet and wood/tile floors) automatically, while some of the newer ones offer app control.
What’s new with Roomba i7+? Automatic emptying
iRobot has made some significant advancements with its i7+. The big change is that the Roomba can now empty itself. The newest Robot in the Roomba fleet is available with a special dock that contains a dustbin so that any time the Roomba is full, it’ll head back to its base station and automatically empty itself.
What’s new with Roomba i7+? Improved mapping
While the previous generation iRobot Roomba did have mapping capabilities and the smarts to learn its way around your house, the new generation has made significant technological leaps on this front.
In my experience, the i7+ robot now learns quicker, creating a detailed map of your space. Once it gets to know where the walls and barriers and obstacles are, it adopts a much more linear and purposeful cleaning pattern, where previous generations of Roomba were far more random.
Also on this model, the onboard dust container is now washable.
Getting iRobot Roomba i7+ set up
Getting your new robot vacuum set up is quite easy. You’ll want to download the iRobot Home app and sign in or sign up for an account.
Then unpack your robot.
iRobot Roomba i7+: What’s in the box?
Inside the large and heavy box is: the Roomba vacuum, the dustbin tower/charging station base, and a cord. In the accessories box, you’ll find two bags for the dustbin, an extra filter, 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 want an easy access spot that’s free of obstructions. Let the robot charge fully, then connect the Robot to your app. You’ll put the robot into pairing mode by pressing and holding the Home, and Spot clean buttons simultaneously 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 your Roomba quickly. It’s important to note you should keep the brushes, wheels and sensors clean and free of debris or hair to help them function correctly. The maintenance info is 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 multi-surface brushes are the two rubber rollers. They also pop out easily so you can remove anything that gets tangled.
Using the iRobot Roomba i7+
You have several ways to begin cleaning. Press the Clean button on the robot itself and the robot 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 automatically, whenever you choose.
How to set iRobot Roomba schedules
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 a single clean, for example after you’ve left for work, or create a weekly routine. Just adjust the start time and the days of the week.
You can also select which rooms the robot will clean on which days, though you need to wait until your Smart Map is populated to start using this feature.
How does 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 turn it on. It will start mapping the house each time it cleans. It takes about 3-4 cleaning runs for it to generate a full map.
Then you can label the rooms on the map so you can activate the vacuum to clean specific spaces, by asking your Google or Amazon assistant.
Helpful info in iRobot Home App
The iRobot Home app will show you a tonne of helpful information:
- Cleaning preferences
- Cleaning history
- Smart map information
- Find your Roomba
Overall, the app is really easy to understand and navigate, and everything works well.
Remote access from outside your home
A helpful feature of the all-new 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 smartphone, the app connects using Wi-Fi or a cell signal so if you forget to program a clean, or you want a quick sweep before company arrives after work, you can hit the Clean button on your phone and the app will get the Roomba in gear.
Battery life and charging: Roomba i7+
Any time the Roomba isn’t cleaning, it’s hanging out on its charging base, so it’s ready to clean all the time. Once it starts running, the battery lasts about 25 minutes at a time, but don’t be concerned that’s not enough time; when it gets low, the robot will return to the charging station, charge up, then resume cleaning. Cumulatively you’ll get about 75 minutes of clean time.
Cleaning power of Roomba i7+
Overall the Roomba i7+ does a really good job cleaning. of course it does have some limitations; for starters it doesn’t have the power of a corded upright vacuum so don’t expect miracles. It also doesn’t do corners spectacularly, though it does get into corners surprisingly well thanks to its long corner brush. It also slips easily under most furniture.
How well does Roomba clean? Cleaning tests
- Pet Hair: it sweeps up pet hair very easily
- Flour: it swept up about a tablespoon of flour in 2 passes, and when I set it to spot clean, it got the rest on the third pass.
- 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 broken crackers, it knocked them around the floor. Of course, it would make sense to pick up larger debris and let Roomba handle the crumbs.
How does Roomba work with stairs?
Roomba i7+, like previous Roomba models, has special sensors that can detect drops and edges. If it senses one, it’ll learn where it is and avoid it. If it stumbles on one it doesn’t know, the sensors automatically have it back away.
The Roomba i7+ can clean any floor surface from carpets, 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 spits these things out easily.
It might be worth pointing out 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 is iRobot Roomba i7+ for?
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 (a vacuum within a vacuum!) and it sucks all the dirt out and into the bag inside the base. You never see a speck of dirt. The emptying process is loud. I’d say 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 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
You might be wondering what happens if you have pets in the home. For the most part, the Roomba doesn’t care about interacting with them. Your pets may avoid it, as my pup does. Our old dog could have cared less about it … from time to time if she was laying on the floor, the Roomba would bump into her. She’d look at it sideways, 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. 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 having a Roomba. It works well keeping 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 love how easy the app is to use and how simple the scheduling feature is to program. I think the smart mapping feature is brilliant; it’s very accurate and it gives me the ability to customize cleaning.
If there are downsides to this device, it’s that you do need a good bit of space for the base station, and unlike using the Roomba without the new dustbin, you can’t fit it under furniture to keep it hidden. Mine is in my guest bedroom as a result.
The other downside is definitely the price. It’s expensive.
The Roomba i7+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is available as one kit, or you can buy just the vacuum or just the base separately.
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 Roomba i7+ with Clean Base.