4 of the Best Roomba S9 Plus Alternatives

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on February 24, 2021
updated on February 26, 2021

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Are you disappointed at a one thousand dollar cleaning tool that was supposed to make your life easier but is instead doing the exact OPPOSITE? I mean getting “stuck” on nothing, having its battery die without finding the docking station, constantly pausing with the “bin is full” error, and/or the infamous error 31. 

In case you’re wondering, I just described some of the problems of the Roomba S9 robotic cleaner.

And no–this has nothing to do with defective units since iRobot’s reaction often involve offering a refund or sending a replacement, which is usually back-ordered with no estimated shipment date. But this isn’t even the point. 

The point is, some users are on their third replacement unit. Not to mention, this model is more than two years old with at least three firmware updates in that time which fix, well, not a lot, apparently. And it was v3.12.8, the latest firmware as of the time of writing, that sealed the Roomba S9’s fate. 

It turns out you’re in the right place if you

  • Don’t want to deal with most of the known issues of the Roomba S9;
  • Don’t want to spend one thousand dollars or waste hours with iRobot customer support before realizing that this model isn’t the right choice for you; 
  • Don’t want to spend as high as one thousand dollars to enjoy full automation from a robotic cleaner;
  • Have tried the Roomba S9/Plus and are now back in the market looking for a smart, functional, and reliable floor robot that cleans thick carpets and corners just as good as the Roomba S9.

Without further ado, here are four of the best Roomba S9/Plus alternatives.

The overall best Roomba S9 Plus alternative: Ozmo T8 Plus

deebot_ozmo_t8_robot_vacuum_and_mop
deebot ozmo t8

As the best Roomba S9 alternative–but at half the price (typically selling between $650 and $800)–while it may not have the deep penetrating, corner cleaning, or hair resisting abilities of the S9, the T8 does however get close enough so that the difference is negligible.

The software on the Deebot T8, if it helps to add, is a lot more polished.

Floor maps may get a little messed up occasionally plus the app user interface is also a little quirky. Nonetheless, maps are created more quickly and accurately, and you can follow progress through the app.

Unlike the Roomba, the T8 doesn’t path erratically or get stuck nearly as much or in the middle of nowhere.

Better yet, there’s no lid that will otherwise trigger the “Close lid error.” No random shutdowns, internal communication aka error 31, “bumper stuck” error, or “clean brush” error.

The T8 is also able to find its docking station if and when it needs to.

Feature-wise, the T8 is on par:

  • Multi-floor mapping capability
  • Straight-line cleaning
  • Auto top-up
  • Auto-dirt emptying 
  • Restricted, targeted & selective cleaning
  • Longer battery life (up to three hours on low power)
  • 240 ml electronically controlled water tank (vibrating mopping module available as an add-on)
  • Carpet Boost (in vacuuming mode) &  Carpet Avoidance (in mopping mode) functions, etc.

TL;DR–The Ozmo T8/Plus is by far a better option than the Roomba S9. Not only in pricing but also in functionality and usability

The best quiet alternative to the Roomba S9: Roborock S6

roborock_s6_robotic_vacuum_cleaner_and_mop
roborock s6

Roborock S6 is the second item to feature in this list of the best Roomba S9 alternatives.

Now, for everything the S6 gets right–and that’s worth mentioning–its quietness and nighttime usefulness are hard ones to pass on. 

At only 55 max decibels, the Roborock S6 unlike the Roomba S9 at 75 decibels DOESN’T disrupt conversations or sleep. It’s Lidar-based, too, which lets it clean w/o leaving the lights on. 

Worth mentioning though that the Roborock S6 doesn’t have the vacuuming power or the corner cleaning ability of the S9. You also can’t add the auto-clean dock unless you’re looking at the S7. On the upside, Roborock S6 smart robotic cleaner navigates and cleans excellently. 

Smart, functional, and reliable, the Roborock S6 is ideal if you work from home or relish waking up to fresh vacuumed lines on your carpets.

The best most reliable Roomba S9 alternative: Roomba 980 or 960 or i3 Plus

roomba_980_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
roomba 980
roomba_960_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
roomba 960

Noticed there are three items, unlike previous listings? There are highlights unique to each model that makes them better suited to certain vacuuming situations. You only need to choose one though.

Made to just work, with simple controls and settings (no room mapping or other high-tech features that could complicate things), the Roomba i3 Plus, 980, and 960 clean floors with effectiveness and fewer to zero issues.

The Roomba 980 being the most expensive and powerful of the three, is however an older model. As such, it may not be readily available. If or when this is the case, you can consider the Roomba 960 with lesser power and battery life, but nonetheless impressive carpet cleaning ability, high-pile inclusive.

Moving on, and while the brush design of the 960 or 980 helps to minimize de-clogging routines, they don’t clean dark carpets plus their dust cup is only 600 ml with no auto-clean function. This poses a challenge if you have, say, a German Shepherd or some other super shedding breeds.

Thankfully there’s the Roomba i3 that doesn’t ONLY clean dark rugs and/or in dark environments, but its Clean Base (available as a bundle or an accessory) works just as well for helping to collect hair and fur from the onboard dustbin through an automated process.

 

The best most affordable Roomba S9 alternative: Neato D7 or Roborock E4

roborock_e4_robotic_cleaner
roborock e4
neato_d7_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
neato d7

To conclude this list of the best Roomba S9 alternatives are the Roborock E4 and Neato D7.

If it helps as a reminder, the suction power and brush design of the Roomba S9 are two main reasons it’s able to handle high-pile and thicker rugs. Neither Roborock nor Neato have these features. Meaning, while their carpet performance is quite good (the Neato D7 can do rugs up to 15mm or 0.6in thick), PRICING is where they really shine.

The Roborock E4, for example, is typically selling for $300 or less. That’s at least $500 in savings vis-a-vis the Roomba S9. At this price, while you’ll miss out on personalization (zoning, virtual no-go lines, and room cleaning), clean floors is guaranteed, courtesy of a simple machine that works just as expected.

As for the Neato D7, you wouldn’t get as much in returns as the E4. But $300 in savings isn’t a bad deal, either. Even so, you’d be getting near the cleaning power and effectiveness of the Roomba EXCEPT w/o the headaches, of course, seeing Neato’s hardware and software are better refined. Okay, maybe not as powerful enough for shag or heavily padded carpets. The Neato D7 smart vacuum however suffices if you live in a multi-level home (can save up to three-floor plans) with mostly carpets or rugs.