Best Roomba S9+ Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Alternatives

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on November 17, 2019
updated on November 20, 2019

Can’t afford or maybe you aren’t convinced with the offerings of the Roomba S9?

Here are three cheaper alternatives that work as well, if not better, than the Roomba S9.

Roomba S9 cost of ownership

Without mentioning other costs that would be incurred on parts (battery, wheels, filters, rollers, etc.). At $1400 (for the unit with a clean base), the S9+ still uses non-reusable dirtbags. A pack of three bags on iRobot is $19.99. There are cheaper knockoffs on Amazon like this one selling currently at $21.99 for 10 bags.

Click here to read a detailed break down of the cost of owning a bagged robotic vacuum.

Roomba S9 cleaning ability

Forget about product reviews and instead focus on customer reviews. On the S9 page on iRobot, the same as the S9 page on Amazon, my observation from customer reviews is that the edge cleaning (despite the D-shaped design) and carpet cleaning ability (despite advertised at 20× more suction) of the S9 can use some improvements.

Moreso, and while iRobot assures the S9 will vacuum on dark floorings–this may not be entirely true, at least for some users. 

For cleaning in dark environments: well, in complete darkness, the Roomba S9 wouldn’t vacuum thoroughly or at all. Either run the S9 at daytime or if you’d be running at night, ensure the closet lights is on.

To put it simply, S9’s cleaning ability is pretty the same as (or even below if you consider its inability to clean in dark conditions) other machines at half the price.

Roomba S9 user-friendliness

When I analyzed all the reviews, about 130 apiece on iRobot and Amazon–it turns out the bumper, flat surface, brush and lid errors is one nasty attitude of the S9 that users are struggling to cope with.

Elsewhere, feedback suggests that mapping is slow and sometimes inconclusive.

And what about the unresolved jamming and bumping problems of the S9?

Although far and in between, there’s also negative feedback on the S9’s inability to dock or self-empty properly.

There’s also a mention about how the S9 may just decide to cancel cleaning jobs or select rooms it wants to clean while leaving other rooms uncleaned (notwithstanding the uncleaned rooms had been selected and scheduled for cleaning).

My Roomba S9 isn’t working correctly. What do I do?

I observed from customer feedback that the only difference between the replaced and new unit is that the performance of the new machine maybe canceled out a particular defect of the old unit, only to introduce new ones. Which is why I’d recommend a REFUND as against getting a REPLACEMENT (but of course that’s after iRobot support can’t fix the problem). 

Is the Roomba S9 worth it?

Considering its deficiency in terms of functionality and usability, coupled with the cost of ownership, currently, and in my opinion, the Roomba S9 isn’t worth it.

Buying a Roomba S9 now could mean you’ll end up spending most of your time with iRobot tech support diagnosing, resetting, moving the base station, clearing smart maps, etc.

Maybe wait until some of the issues highlighted above have been addressed as I believe they can be fixed over a couple of firmware updates.

Are there alternatives to the Roomba S9? 

Quickly, here are three Roomba S9 alternatives along with their images, video reviews, and purchase links.

#1: Shark IQ RV1001AE smart robotic vacuum cleaner

Watch Shark IQ RV1001AE smart robotic vacuum cleaner review:

[amazon box=”B07S864GPW”]

#2: Naeto D7 smart vacuum cleaner

Watch Naeto D7 smart vacuum cleaner review:

[amazon box=”B078MPFN55″]

#3: Deebot Ozmo 950 smart vacuum

Watch Deebot Ozmo 950 smart vacuum reviews:

[amazon box=”B07TL6CTLZ”]

Key takeaways

  • There are apparent software and hardware flaws that haven’t been fixed (yet).
  • The S9 may not clean satisfactorily well, especially on carpets.
  • The S9 (currently) doesn’t clean reliably unattended.
  • While it’s true that not all S9 users are experiencing problems, it’s also true that not all S9 users are pleased with their device.

Final thought

While I used other sources to include Amazon, my primary source of information was the iRobot S9 product page. This at least gives a pointer to the credibility of the reviews giving it’s an iRobot-controlled system.

Coupled with users’ feedback suggesting iRobot support is ready and want to help, yet somehow they can’t. Or maybe iRobot’s support is, in fact, helpful since they’ll offer to replace faulty units rather than get them fixed. Maybe they care about their customers considering the price of the machine. Or could it be that they admit the Roomba S9 isn’t prime for the market?

Regardless, for the price of the Roomba S9 (at well over a thousand dollars), not forgetting to mention the cost of ownership, you could ACTUALLY get multiple quality, high-performing robot vacuums with solid performance and fewer to no usability issues. The Roomba S9 alternatives recommended in this post, which include Shark IQ RV1001AE, Naeto D7, and Ozmo 950, is a great starting point.

Ready to take the next step?  

As I believe the bulk of the issues associated with the Roomba S9 can be fixed over a couple of Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware updates. I’ll make sure to update this post if and when this happens or if anything changes going forward.

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