Best Roomba i7 Plus Alternatives

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on September 8, 2019
updated on September 28, 2019

In addition to an ongoing expense on proprietary dirtbags which cost anywhere between 6 to 8 dollars per bag, there are also moving parts to be replaced, some to be replaced as early as four months from the time of first use.

Still, feedback from a section of the Roomba i7+ customers details their excruciating troubleshooting episodes where they couldn’t get their unit to work correctly.

Did I mention that the Roomba i7+ as of the time of this writing hovers around the 1000 dollar price point?

Now it doesn’t matter whether you don’t want to waste precious time or end up with an expensive cleaning tool you can’t use or return. Or maybe you think the dirtbag is a gimmick or flat out a crazy idea.

Today’s update provides insight into critical aspects of the Roomba i7 plus. As a bonus I added three alternatives just in case.

What’s the Rationale Behind This Post?

Having previously considered its prospects, today’s update consider ISSUES Roomba i7+ buyers are likely to face from using this cleaning tool. That way they’re informed and therefore can align EXPECTATIONS accordingly.

I also plan to empower readers with the RIGHT information. This kind of information would lead to better buying decisions. Not only that, this information suffice for people who are upgrading, recommending, or receiving the Roomba  i7+ as a gift.

What Should I Know Before Buying the iRobot Roomba i7 Plus Robotic Vacuum Cleaner?

Roomba i7 Plus Can’t Cope With Low Light Condition

Roomba i7+ not working efficiently in darker rooms is most likely down to its navigation system: VLSAM (visual simultaneous location and mapping). VLSAM is a visual and optical navigation technology that increases cleaning efficiency by ensuring the robot cleans in a systematic, logical pattern.

Better coverage and efficient cleaning being the upside of the VLSAM navigation system of the i7+. One of its downsides is that it requires some level of brightness in order to function at an optimum level.

Multiple Error Prompts

For those unlucky Roomba i7+ users, right out of the box or maybe after a few runs their unit will start donating numerous errors.

On one occasion the Clean Base bag is indicating full when it’s only 2/3 full, or it could report that there’s clog in the base when in fact there isn’t any clog. On another occasion, the app could give notice that sensors are blocked and therefore needed to be wiped. On yet another occasion, having set the i7+ several feet from the docking station, it would run at a much faster speed than usual, stop, and then report a problem with the wheel.

Roomba i7+ Isn’t Suitable for Large Spaces

With estimated run time at 75 minutes, it can take the i7+ several runs until the cleaning job is completed in an ample space.

I wouldn’t know though, but I think the more a robotic cleaner runs, the more its parts wear and tire, therefore requiring maintenance/replacements.

iRobot’s Support is Hit or Miss

Recall the other time I was recounting the unpleasant experience some Roomba i7+ users suffered when their device started misbehaving. Except it gets worse from there seeing these aren’t errors that can be resolved without contacting iRobot customer support.

While I haven’t had a reason to request for support, what I was able to gather from the feedback of people who did is that iRobot customer support wasn’t particularly helpful. Sure there would be enough back and forth and iRobot support will try to reset the Roomba. When this failed, some affected customers received replacement parts/units.

I’d think getting a replacement unit makes sense. What would’ve been absolutely spot on is to never have to wait to receive replacement items after spending so much on an item that’s supposed to work flawlessly. Not only that, personally, calling in incident and trying to explain same thing multiple times is just something that bores and exhaust me.

Ongoing Expenses

There’s a legit reason why most people prefer the BAGGED vacuums–they take care of the dust problems (created during emptying) for which the bagless (canister) vacuums are famous for. This is CONVENIENCE in another word. Worth mentioning though that this convenience comes at a PRICE.

Two non-reusable dirtbags come with a unit of the Roomba. iRobot claims each of these bags will hold about 30 runs of dirt and dust.

The truth, however, is in six months (more or less) of active use, new dirtbags would be required. At the iRobot store, replacement bags cost $16.99 for a pack of 3. Add on the $6.50 ground shipping and $1.47 sales tax, and it’s $24.96 for three bags, making them $8.32 each. On Amazon, a pack of 3 disposable bags is available from $15.

Away from dirtbags, the edge-sweeping brush will wear out and need to be replaced. The i7+ comes with one installed and one spare, but after those are spent, there’s a need to purchase more. A pack of 3 costs $14.99 ($22.84 with shipping and tax). Both these and the multi-surface brushes are recommended to be replaced once a year.

Additionally, a pack of 3 replacement filters costs $27.99 ($36.65 total). i7+ comes with two (one installed, one extra), and recommends replacing them every two months.

The fact remains that besides the premium price of the i7+, there are ongoing (fairly steep) expenses to be incurred on dirtbags and parts.

Are There Better Alternatives Than the Roomba i7+?

Don’t mind emptying the bin of a robot vacuum if it means you don’t have to pay for bags? Or maybe you can’t just bring yourself to the idea of paying so much for an automatic cleaner that offers not as much.

Fortunately, there are a quite a number of options to choose from besides the Roomba i7+.

The following are three Roomba i7 plus alternatives.

#1: Roborock S6

Similar to the i7+, the Roborock S6 support restricted areas/zoned cleaning, as well as selected room cleaning. Except, while the i7+ allows users to save up to 10 maps, the S6 allows just 3 maps.

i7+ or S6 though, both clogs and gets stuck although the i7+ appears to have a way around the pet and long human hairs (considering its brushless roller) plus it’s more purposeful trying to break free (thanks to its back wheel).

Or maybe you’re on a budget. First off, S6 is around $600 on Amazon. Next up, maintenance is as low as it gets as parts are cheap and reusable (S6 has a washable filter, for example).

And talking about the battery strength of the two models. The S6 offers increased run time, about 180 minutes as against i7’s 75 minutes. This perhaps explains why the S6 is more suitable for large spaces than the i7. Not only that, the S6 has both vacuuming and mopping capabilities (the i7 lacks mopping capability). Navigation is another strong point of the S6; it uses the LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) navigation technology, therefore, can cope under low light condition while providing good coverage in less time.

Bottom line: With all the functionalities of the i7 (except automatic dirt disposal) also available in the S6, if you live in a multi-level house and find yourselves stuck trying to decide between buying one i7 or two Roborocks. I’d suggest you get the two Roborocks (maybe S5 for your first floor then an S6 for the second floor). This is fair enough, no? At least if one stops working–which rarely happen in my experience with Roborocks so far–you’ll have a backup in the other.
Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum, Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop with Adaptive Routing, Selective Room Cleaning, Super Strong Suction, and Extra Long Battery Life, APP & Alexa Voice Control
  • Astonishingly efficient: Using adaptive routing with edge optimized cleaning, S6 gives you comprehensive room cleaning fast.
  • Selective cleaning: Control exactly where you want S6 to go, and not go, from your phone. Including selective room scheduling, zone cleaning, and virtual no-go zones and barriers. No add-ons devices or magnetic tape required.
  • Powerful clean: Intense suction, enough to lift AA batteries, cleans deep into carpets and cracks in the floor. All without sacrificing a cleaning time of up to 3-hours in Quiet mode.
  • Easy mopping: Get your floors gleaming with a quick mop. Just snap on the mop unit, adjust the water flow rate to your preferences, and start a cleanup.
  • Quiet and convenient: With a cleaning volume of just 56db (equivalent to a typical conversation) in Balanced mode, you can clean any time day or night without disruption. S6 is also easy to maintain, and the integrated cable tidy in its dock keeps things elegantly wire-free. Any questions, 9 hours customer service from 20:00-5:00 am Eastern Time at 1-831-217-6425

#2: Naeto D7 BotVac Connected

The Naeto D7 shares several commonalities with the S6 to include mapping capabilities, navigation technology, suction, run time, brush design. As a result of the brush design of the D7, which isn’t brushless like the i7, a little more effort might be needed during maintenance.

And similar to the i7 but unlike the S6, the Naeto D7 is a sweeper-only robot vacuum. Also, for a robotic cleaner that doesn’t self-clean, an extensive dirt container (Naeto’s is 700 ml) is in order.

In terms of price, the Naeto D7, while a bit on the high side than the S6, is a few hundred dollars lesser than the i7. I’d attribute the price of the D7 being higher than S6 to its wider brushes and D shape that allows efficient cleaning in corners, which the S6 lacks. D7 is, however, lesser in price given that the Roomba i7 has the self-cleaning capability. Cleaning performance is about the same on the three units if the mopping capability of the S6 isn’t a consideration.

Bottom line: At run time more than two hours coupled with the LIDAR navigation technology, if you live in a large house and are looking for a robovac that bosses corners while giving solid coverage on multiple flooring, the Naeto D7 is highly recommended.
On Sale −18%
Neato Robotics Botvac D7 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
  • Corner-cleaning 'D' design -- round robots can't reach corners, and corners are where the worst dirt hides. Our industry-leading design gets you a complete floor clean
  • Intuitive & Easy. Neato's advanced engineering is all under the hood. What you get is complete vacuuming at the touch of a button.
  • Laser-guided mapping -- D7 technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning in straight lines instead of a random pattern -- for a better clean
  • Floor cleaning for carpets, hardwood, kitchen tiles -- equally powerful and effective on every surface
  • Pet hair specialist -- imagine your floors without pet hair. Neato has a 70% larger brush than leading round robots, proven to remove more pet hair

#3: Roomba S9+

The Roomba S9+ combines Naeto D7’s shape with all of i7+’s top-of-the-line cleaning abilities. And of course, a sequel to the i7+ and the highest priced Roomba yet–at more than $1200.

Bottom line: the S9+ does pretty well on edges and corners. A bit loud, but you get serious suction in return for your carpet and rug.
iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal- Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Powerful Suction, Anti-Allergen System, Corners & Edges, Ideal for Pet Hair
  • The World's Best Robot Vacuum- Empties on its own, Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal holds dirt, dust and hair. Anti-Allergen System with AllergenLock Bags captures and traps 99% of pollen and mold allergens.
  • Superior 3- stage cleaning system. Delivers up to 40x the suction* for our deepest clean yet. Automatically increases suction to clean deep into carpets. *(Compared to Roomba 600 Series)
  • PerfectEdge Technology with advanced sensors, and a specially designed Corner Brush optimizes cleaning deep into corners and along edges.
  • Intelligently maps and remembers multiple floor plans to clean your entire home. Using advanced vSLAM navigation technology, the robot gathers over 230,400 data points each millisecond to optimize coverage. Enhanced sensors constantly scan ahead at a rate of 25 times per second to detect obstacles in the cleaning path.
  • Imprint Smart Mapping enables the robot to learn, map and adapt to your home, allowing you to choose which rooms are cleaned and when. Keep Out Zones offer added control to actively avoid specific areas and objects in your home.

In summary, if you hate emptying the debris bin of a robot vacuum or lack trust in Chinese brands, then either the i7+ or S9+. Otherwise, the Roborocks (S5 and/or S6) is game. But this is assuming you don’t mind emptying their debris bins. Actually, the D7 would’ve been my bet given its larger bin size. But I figure it has the same problem as most Roombas: fluctuating user experience.

That mentioned, if you aren’t fixated on particular functionalities (auto dirt disposal, selected room cleaning, multi-floor capability, voice control, scheduling, etc.), there are decent robot vacuums that offer the best value for the money. You could buy multiples for the price of one Naeto or Roomba. Besides this protect against losses, you could as well have each stationed on different floors (maybe one downstairs, two upstairs… whatever works for you).

My Roomba i7+ Isn’t Working Properly. What Do I Do?

Preceding subheadings addressed potential Roomba i7+ customers.

This subheading is dedicated to people who already own the Roomba i7+ but can’t get useful life out of their luxury gadget. If you fall into this category, your best bet is to get in touch with Roomba customer support via Facebook, Twitter or on their website. For some persons who for some reasons bought this for keep or for folks who got it as a gift, I recommend putting Roomba to the test right away. This is to maximize the return window.

Let me add that you should return if an issue is being experienced more than once. Also, be careful with replacement items. I read somewhere a lady claiming iRobot support confirmed to her that replaced i7+ don’t have a warranty.

Special mention: potential buyers should ALWAYS buy units from iRobot’s website or if they’re buying from Amazon or other resellers, they should ALWAYS ensure they’re buying from an authorized seller as this is the only way they’re eligible for any post-purchase support.

Key Takeaways

  • The i7+ plus has got quite some pending/unresolved issues.
  • Roomba i7+ being referred to as an improvement over–and therefore a better alternative to–similar products from competing brands is HUGELY debatable.
  • Most claims about the prospects of the Roomba i7 plus are vague and/or misleading.
  • There are alternatives to the i7+, and they can help you save money while helping to keep your sanity.

Take the Next Step

Switch to the comment section and let me know what you learn about the Roomba i7+ from today’s update. Already a customer? Let us know for long you’ve owned the i7+, and if it’s still holding on.

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