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:

On Sale −9%
Shark IQ R101AE with Self-Empty Base, Wi-Fi Connected, Home Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors Robot Vacuum (RV1001AE), 30 Session Capacity, Black
  • Forget about vacuuming for up to a month with washable, bagless self-empty base. Holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris
  • Unbeatable suction vs. any Shark(R) robot vacuum for pick up for large and small debris, as well as pet hair on carpets and hard floors
  • Self-cleaning brushroll removes pet hair and long hair from the brushroll as it cleans-no more hair wrap
  • Schedule cleanings, target specific rooms or areas with the Shark (R) Clean App or voice control with Alexa
  • Total home mapping with room select maps your home and lets you choose which rooms to clean or avoid

#2: Naeto D7 smart vacuum cleaner

Watch Naeto D7 smart vacuum cleaner review:

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: Deebot Ozmo 950 smart vacuum

Watch Deebot Ozmo 950 smart vacuum reviews:

On Sale −
ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 950 2-in-1 Vacuuming & Mopping Robot with Smart Navi 3.0 Systematic Custom Cleaning, Up to 3 Hours of Runtime, Multi-Floor Mapping, 3 Levels of Suction Power, Hard Floors & Carpets
  • OZMO MOPPING: DEEBOT can simultaneously vacuum and mop to remove up to 99. 26 percent of bacteria on floors (study by Hygiene and Microbiology Research Center); The ECOVACS Home app enables you to adjust the water level of the mopping; With carpet detection, DEEBOT automatically avoids carpets when it mops
  • SMART NAVI 3. 0: Smart Navi 3. 0 enables DEEBOT to efficiently navigate your home and map your floorplan to your smartphone using laser technology; The interactive map gives you the ability to choose how and where you wan to clean; Utilize unlimited virtual boundaries, area mode, and custom mode to clean specific areas/rooms or to avoid others
  • OVER 3 HOURS OF RUNTIME: A longer battery life for large homes. Dust bin capacity is 430 ml
  • 3 LEVELS OF SUCTION POWER: Utilize 3 levels of suction power (Normal, Max, and Max Plus) to tackle any mess
  • MULTI FLOOR MAPPING: DEEBOT can now save up to 3 different maps perfect for multi level homes and multiple cleaning spaces; When DEEBOT starts to clean, it will automatically recognize the saved area it is going to clean

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.

Get every single update about the Roomba S9 (including price slash) straight into your inbox.


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