iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ Review: Nice vacuum, but lackluster


That wasn’t great, but at least it made a fairly accurate map of my house. It automatically labeled which floors were carpeted and which were hardwood, and within the app I was able to designate no-go zones and clean zones—especially dirty or high-traffic areas. The cleaning arm went down safely in the kitchen, although the first few passes were always dry and the arm didn’t clean as reliably as the Shark or Ecovacs versions. I checked after each cleaning job and found no wet carpet.

Overall, as you can imagine from my mapping session, the navigation capabilities were disappointing. This came as a shock as iRobot honed its skills in developing robots for the military. Until I tried a robot vacuum, iRobot vacuums consistently came out on top – but unfortunately companies like Roborock and Shark quickly caught up.

When I look at the history of the Combo j7+ in the iRobot Home app, it’s pretty bad. Four of the previous daily runs had different errors or stops. In earlier years, I might have made this excuse—after all, my house is big, colorful, and full of messy kids and lots of animals. Robot gaps occasionally closing doors on themselves and trapping themselves in bathrooms are just part of the game.

However, I took the Combo 7+ to run at the same time as the Roborock Q5+, and the Roborock Combo j7+ effortlessly completed the cleaning tasks that the Roborock Combo j7+ often struggled with. Sometimes the app simply crashes when I try to see what the problems are.

Photo: iRobot

The added functionality means battery life is compromised. The water tank is so small (212ml!) that I needed to fill it up to clean a modest sized kitchen, about 20 feet by 12 feet. I also appreciate the iRobot’s auto-empty bin feature, which means that instead of dragging dog hair across the floor, the bin returns to the dock to empty itself. But with a dust capacity of only 0.3 liters (most bins have at least twice that capacity) it means the battery will often run out before you can complete a single cleaning job.

Most cleanups take four or five hours to complete, which means I forget before the run is over. Every once in a while we all get scared when we sit down to dinner and the vacuum I thought was sleeping suddenly wakes up to finish the cleaning job I started at noon.

It doesn’t help that the iRobot has an auto-vacuum function. out loud. It measured the auto-vacuum level at 95 decibels—15 to 20 decibels higher than other robot vacuums on auto-vacuum.

Ultimately, I found the experience of using the iRobot app too frustrating to recommend the Shark. This does not mean that the shark is perfect – 600 dollars is still a lot to pay for a vacuum-mop, you still have to change the tank, you can’t clean it and clean it at the same time, and you often find yourself with hand-washed cloths. . However, the $1,100 iRobot is by no means the bare minimum. I’d still recommend iRobot’s cheaper (and cameraless) 600, 900, or i3 and i5 series, but that’s too expensive if not as reliable.


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