iRobot debuted the Roomba in 2002. The firm has continued to innovate and produce high-quality models. The i7+ with auto-empty Clean Base was one of the most advanced features introduced in 2018. This eliminated the need to clear your Roomba’s dustbin, a tedious and filthy operation.
iRobot released the s9+ near the end of 2019, which is similar to the i7+ but has additional improvements based on user input. It has a longer battery life, two distinct main brushes, a D-shaped design, and four times the suction force.
I used the i7+ and s9+ for months. While they share many similarities, the s9+ is perfect for hardwood floors and pet hair.
Specs vs. price
The s9+ is presently $300 more expensive than the i7+. But the s9+ has better specifications.
Less priced newer robot vacuums have additional functionality. The s9+ is around $300 more expensive than the i7+. Also, the i7+ is typically discounted during discounts, whilst the s9+ is rarely discounted. Both vacuums are available on Amazon and iRobot with monthly payments.
The graphic’s “specific corner clean” refers to the s9D +’s shape. The s9+ is likewise smaller (12.5 inches vs. 13 inches for the i7+). But the s9+ has longer primary brushes. The 9.5-inch brushes make more contact with the floor and suck up more.
Finally, each unit is about 3.5 inches tall. A clearance of less than 3.5 inches is required to clean beneath furniture. You won’t find a vac thinner than 2.75 inches.
Compared to setup
It’s a tie. Both vacuums have the identical setup process and bonuses, albeit the i7+ has a mostly unnecessary virtual wall barrier.
The two vacuums are set up in a similar manner. To begin, remove all packing. Then you plug in the Clean Base. Charge the Roomba on the charging dock. Download the iRobot app, link it to your vacuum, and update the firmware. Aside from the upgrades, setting up your robot should take less than 30 minutes, including scheduling it to operate regularly.
Scheduling is quick and easy. I like my Roomba to run at the same time every day, preferably when I’m not around to avoid particle exposure.
It has a high-efficiency filter, a side brush, and a replacement dirt bag. The i7+ also came with a virtual wall barrier, which you can place in your cleaning area to create a virtual wall or border that the Roomba should avoid. However, you can set up virtual boundaries in the app without a device.
Creating no-go zones and virtual barriers in the app is part of the setup. This is only possible after three or more cleaning cycles to map your floor. Once the map is ready, you can identify the rooms and mark the no-go zones on the map in the app. This is the same for both vacuums.
vs. carpet cleaning
Every robot vacuum I review goes through the same rigors. I tested each model on carpet by spreading kitty litter, flour, and coffee grounds on 18-inch-square pieces of carpet. I also put pet hairs to the area. Then I clean the vacuum again and compare the photographs of the debris areas before and after. I estimate the vacuum’s pickup based on the side-by-side comparison.
Both vacuums removed the coffee grounds very well. After the cleaning processes, I found no indication of the grounds, but that was all. The s9+ was considerably better in removing pet hair. The vac removed all pet hair, but the i7+ left roughly 20%.
Flour and kitten litter performed considerably better. The i7+ caught all the litter, while the s9+ left roughly 5%. The i7+ also surpassed the s9+, eliminating 95% of the material vs 90% for the s9+.
The i7+ outperformed the s9+ in two of four materials, indicating it is superior on carpet. With pets and plenty of carpets, the s9+ may be better.
vs. hardwood cleaning
The Roomba s9+ outperformed the i7+ on hardwood floors, but it still fared well.
I use the same test for hardwood as I do for carpets. Thrown on the hardwood are litter and pet hair. I compare before and after photos to assess the vacuum’s performance.
On hardwood, the s9+ outperformed the i7+ by a wide margin. In my tests on hardwood flooring, the S9+ is the best. After cleaning, I found no pet hairs, coffee grounds, or kitty litter, and only a smidge of flour.
So did the i7+. But it couldn’t clean up flour or kitty litter. After two cleaning cycles, the hardwood floor still had 15% flour and 10% kitty litter.
vs. corner cleaning
Winner: The Roomba s9+ cleaned corners better than the Dyson DC40, coming within 1.5 inches of each.
A spoonful of flour in carpeted and hardwood corners tests corner performance. 4 inch flour extension from corner Then I vacuum twice more. Take before and after photos to compare flour picked up. Measuring the vacuum’s proximity to the corner
Getting within two inches of the corner and gathering up at least half the flour is good. Neither vacuum met these standards.
The s9D-shape +’s and extra-long forward primary brushes improve corner performance. And it worked on hardwood. It was 1.5 inches closer to the corner than the i7+ (3 inches). It also scooped up more flour than the i7+, leaving only 15% behind versus 75% for the i7+.
But carpeting was another story. The s9+ got close, but didn’t pick up much flour. It left 70% of the debris. The i7+ took up about half the flour in two inches.
The i7+ is quieter than the s9+, my loudest vacuum.
A robot vacuum’s suction power tends to increase with its volume. I held a sound meter 12 inches away from the Roombas as they cleaned a room to test their volume. I could test the s9+ on high and silent. I just tested the i7+ at maximum suction.
The s9high +’s and quiet settings were louder than the i7 +’s. The s9+ has the loudest suction of any Roomba model I tested. That’s about as loud as a city street at 77 dB. Louder than an average conversation at 64 dB in silent mode. The i7+ was slightly quieter at 63 dB.
With the vacuum running, it may be difficult to converse. The American Association for Aerosol Research president, Andrea Ferro, Ph.D., and Dr. Luis Javier Pea-Hernández of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Disorders Institute both recommend running your robot vacuum in unoccupied areas to avoid resuspended particles.
The s9+ boasts stronger suction, longer runtime, and an anti-allergen system than the i7+.
Both Roombas have high-end features. The self-emptying Clean Base charging dock is my fave. In the dustbin, a suction pulls debris into an inside dust bag. When the bag is full, usually after a month or two, it’s thrown out and replaced.
Targeted cleaning and no-go zones are also quite useful. Both vacuums have an iRobot app that lets you block certain regions from the Roomba. You may even program your robot to clean specific rooms at specific times. The procedure is the same for both robots.
In an October 2019 phone discussion with iRobot, officials emphasized the s9primary +’s advantages over the i7+. The D shape, corner brush, bigger brushes closer to the front, and 3D sensors all help clean corners. These improvements did not assist, as our corner cleaning tests indicate.
The s9+ has a bigger battery for extended runtime. However, both vacuums can return to the dock to recharge and begin cleaning.
Aside from having four times the suction, the s9+ has an anti-allergen technology that traps in debris and keeps 99 percent of pollen and mold allergens out of the air you breathe.
Overall winner: The s9+ outperforms the s9 in terms of performance and features. If you find an i7+ at a fair price, grab it.
I thought the Roomba i7+ was the best robot vacuum I’d ever tested, but iRobot outdid itself with the s9+. While the two vacuums have many similarities, the s9+ excels at what counts most: cleaning. In some circumstances, the i7+ may be better.
The i7+ is $100 cheaper than the s9+. The s9performance +’s and somewhat superior features warrant the increased expense. The s9+ is the most popular brand’s best vacuum. It’s easy to use, minimal maintenance, and comes with a great app that lets you designate no-go zones, target cleanings, and schedule your robot from anywhere.
But the i7+ is sometimes $300 cheaper than the s9+. If the i7+ is on sale for $600 or less, we recommend it over the s9+ since the savings outweigh the somewhat useful added features and enhanced performance. In homes with lots of carpeting and no dogs, the i7+ performed better with most debris.
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