Roborock vs. Roomba–The Ultimate Comparison Guide to Help you Make the Right Choice

written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on January 23, 2021
updated on April 7, 2021

With dozens of Roborock and iRobot products out there it can be hard to know which one to choose considering they share plenty of similarities in specs, features, and even pricing.

It turns out you’re in the right place if you want to make better decisions while maximizing value on your purchase(s).

Today’s update will do a straight-to-the-point comparison of popular models from Roborock and iRobot. Let’s get started.

Roborock s6 MaxV vs. Roomba s9

Roomba_s9_robot_vacuum
Roomba s9
Roborock_s6_maxv_robot_vacuum
Roborock s6 maxv

The Roomba s9’s cleaning ability is something to watch out for. EXCEPT this is offset by its quirky software which swings the balance in favor of the Roborock s6 Maxv, not just in terms of having a more refined software but in the overall value it avails. 

Specifically, the s6 MaxV model doesn’t lose programming or terminate cleaning jobs prematurely. False positives and error codes are exceptions rather than the rule. The s6 MaxV robovac also doesn’t get stuck in open areas or start dancing in circles. 

Its laser vision ensures it doesn’t get stuck on chair legs or struggle to clean in a dark environment. And because of the twin front cameras that are backed with serious smart, the s6 MaxV can recognize and avoid common obstacles including socks, kids toys, cords, shoestrings, and even poo. 

The Roborock s6 MaxV is also superior in run time (180 minutes vs. s9’s 120 minutes).

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that the Roborock s6 MaxV probably isn’t going to cut it if you have mostly carpeted home. A Roomba i7 or Ecovacs T8 maybe? That’s because the center brush of the s6 MaxV will stop spinning on carpets or rugs after a period of time given the resistance created by the carpet fiber. This feature according to Roborock is to help prevent the internal system from overheating. That, plus the s6 MaxV’s dustbin is only 460 ml WITHOUT the option for the bigger bin as is the case in the Roomba s9. 

See also: List of the top robotic vacuum cleaners for thick carpets and rugs

Regardless of those drawbacks, if you just returned the s9 for the s6 MaxV you’ll agree the latter is a significant upgrade. If you don’t have experience with the s9 you could just Google away, starting with “Roomba s9 error 31” to get you an idea of what you’re about to get yourself into. 

For the simple reason that the Roomba s9 was supposed to make your life easier but doesn’t–but seeing the Roborock s6 MaxV does EXACTLY that by being hands-free while rendering consistent and efficient service–I’ll go right ahead and tell you that if you want the best value for your money (both machines are priced similarly after all), get the Roborock s6 MaxV.

Continue reading: Full review (including pros and cons) of the Roborock s6 MaxV smart home robotic vacuum cleaner

Bottom line, get the Roborock s6 maxv if you:

  • Want the mopping feature
  • Live in a large, multi-level home
  • Have a complex layout, kids, short-haired pets, or lots of objects on the ground

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Roborock s5 Max vs. Roomba i7

Roborock_s5_max_robot_vacuum_and_mop
Roborock s5 max
Roomba_i7_robotic_vacuum_cleaner
Roomba i7

Both the Roborock s5 Max and Roomba i7 excel in transitioning, mobility (Roborock s5 max does better job path-finding and negotiating around obstacles), and actual vacuuming (Roomba i7 have a specially designed brush that improves pick up performance on carpets and for hair detangling). The i7 if it helps to add supports automatic dirt emptying.

What’s more, the Roborock s5 Max spot the redesigned mop attachment and a bigger, electronically controlled water tank. The cleaning methodology of the s5 Max which entails dragging the wet disposable or washable pad across the length and breadth of a room isn’t the most effective but outputs aren’t bad either especially for removing wet spills. 

Roomba i7 when paired with the Braava Jet m6 (iRobot’s dedicated mop) via the Imprint Technology can replicate the mopping experience of the s5 max considering its back-and-forth movement that kind of mimic a human with a bucket and mop stick. And that’s on top of the reservoir of the m6 which holds 480 ml of water and supports the use of a cleaning liquid. Water flow is adjustable in the app. You can also keep the Braava away from carpeted areas or select rooms (kitchen or bathroom) or zones (dining area) for mopping.

See also: List of the top iRobot robot mops

Get the Roomba i7 and Braava m6 if you:

  • Have significant carpeted and hard floor areas to cover
  • Have hair problems from animals and humans
  • Live in a multi-level home with fewer obstacles

The Roborock s5 max smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you: 

  • Live in a huge, multi-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hardwood, vinyl, or tile
  • Have pets with short, thin hair
  • Want the mopping feature

Product titlesProduct imagesPurchase links
Roborock s5 max robot vacuum
Roborock_s5_max
Roborock s5 max robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
iRobot_i7_robot_vacuum
iRobot i7 robot vacuum
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
iRobot_i7_self-emptying_bin
iRobot i7 self-emptying bin
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot i7 Plus (total package)
iRobot_i7_Plus
iRobot i7 Plus
Check current price on Amazon
iRobot Braava Jet M6 robot mop
iRobot_Braava_Jet_M6_robot_mop
iRobot Braava Jet M6
Check current price on Amazon

Roborock s6 vs. Roomba i7

Roborock_s6_robot_vacuum
Roborock s6
Roomba_i7_robot_vacuum
Roomba i7

Faced with a decision between these two I’d say it depends on your situation or needs as you’ll soon see. Nonetheless, both models are solid performers (in the unlikely event of a defective unit), as such worth it in my opinion.

The Roomba i7, a vacuum-only bot, deep cleans carpets, with an uncommon ability to handle pets and thick long human hair given its dual brushless rollers and auto-empty dirt station.

Roborock s6 on the other hand vacuums and mops (albeit the mopping feature recommended for light-duty tasks). Not only that, the Roborock s6, just like the i7 is also smart and versatile, acing cleaning on hard surfaces with the ability to track floors more precisely while carefully negotiating obstacles. It’s very quiet (55dB), too, and supports cleaning in the dark thanks to its LIDAR technology. 

As for price, without discounts or the auto-empty tower of the Roomba i7, they’re typically selling for $600.

Continue reading: Full review of the Roomba i7 smart vacuum

Roomba i7 robotic cleaner is therefore ideal if you:

  • Have significant carpeted and hard floor areas to cover 
  • Can prep the floor beforehand
  • Have hair problems from animals and/or humans
  • Live in a multi-level home
  • Can’t deal with emptying the dustbin multiple times
  • Don’t want the mopping feature

Roborock s6 is a better choice if you:

  • Live in a large, multi-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hard floors and/or low pile carpets
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Care for some personalization (keep out zone, room/zone cleaning, etc.)
  • Want to clean at night without leaving the lights on
  • Want to clean during the day without interrupting sleep or conversations
  • Don’t care too much or at all for mopping

Roborock s5 vs. Roomba i7

Roomba i7 is essentially a more reliable Roomba s9 WITH decreased suction and airflow while the Roborock s5 is Roborock s5 max WITHOUT the advanced mopping

Talking about performance, carpet vacuuming, in particular–you can trust the i7. Its navigation, obstacle recognition and avoidance, however, can use some improvements. And, from previous experience, new firmware updates, while it can improve usability and/or fix bugs, also tend to break some functionalities.

As for the Roborock s5, while it does as well receive updates, these do more improving functionalities than breaking one. Also, its laser eyes give it an edge in path-finding and obstacle recognition and avoidance, so that it rarely locks itself up, wasting battery power in the process, or getting stuck on nothing or everything as noticeable in the i7.

The s5 mops if it helps to mention. If you’re choosing the s5 be informed the mop attachment is very modest in its offerings: The water reservoir is only 140 ml without the option to adjust water settings; you can’t use a cleaning solution, either. Plus, there’s no scrubbing effect (just a wet cloth being dragged around). It’s the cheaper of the two though especially since it’s an older model.

Roomba i7 robotic cleaner is ideal if you: 

  • Have significant carpeted and hard floor areas to cover 
  • Can prep the floor beforehand
  • Have hair problems from animals and/or humans
  • Live in a multi-level home
  • Can’t deal with emptying the dustbin multiple times

Roborock s5 smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hardwood, vinyl, or tile
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Don’t mind mopping
  • Don’t have a deep pocket or unwilling to splurge

Roborock s6 vs. Roomba 980

Roborock_s6_robot_vacuum
Roborock s6
Roomba_980_robot_vacuum
Roomba 980

Faced with a decision between these two I’d say it depends on your situation or needs as you’ll soon see. In any case, both models are well built and do brilliant jobs (in the unlikely event of a defective unit), as such worth it in my opinion.

The Roomba 980, a vacuum-only bot deep cleans carpets. Added to an uncommon ability to handle pets and thick long human hair given its dual brushless rollers and auto-empty dirt station. With the 980 you’ll miss out on no-go zonesroom cleaning, room scheduling, auto-empty station, and map editing/saving

Roborock s6 on the other hand allows you to edit created maps (3 supported) so that you can edit or name rooms, select rooms for cleaning, or block off areas you don’t want it in. Further, the s6 vacuums and mops (albeit the mopping feature recommended for light-duty tasks). Not only that, but the Roborock s6 is also agile and versatile, acing cleaning on hard surfaces with the ability to track floors more precisely while carefully negotiating obstacles. It’s very quiet (55dB), too, and supports cleaning in the dark thanks to its LIDAR technology.

As for price, without discounts, the Roomba 980 and Roborock s6 are typically selling for $500.

Roomba 980 robotic cleaner is ideal if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home
  • Have a huge area with carpets and hard flooring 
  • Have pets that shed or a wife and/or daughters with long hair
  • Don’t care for personalization (exclusion zone, room level cleaning, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required 

Roborock s6 smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you:

  • Live in a large, multi-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hard floors and/or low pile carpets
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Noise and navigation are big factors
  • Care for some personalization (keep out zone, room, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t care too much or at all for mopping

Roborock s5 vs Roomba 980

Roborock_s5_robot_vacuum
Roborock s5
Roomba_980_robot_vacuum
Roomba 980

Given the Roomba 980 is essentially the Roomba i7 WITH limited functions (digital barriers, room cleaning, room scheduling, auto-empty station, and map editing/saving), similar to how the Roborock s5 is the Roborock s6 WITHOUT multi-floor support. Regardless, both devices are worth it for their sheer cleaning ability and overall functionality.

Both the 980 and s5 are older models though. Meaning they might not be as commonly available for purchase. Thankfully, s5’s parts like brush and filters are interchangeable with the s6 and s6 pure. And while the 980 parts aren’t compatible with other Roomba models, they’re readily available and quite affordable too.

The 980 bot doesn’t receive routine firmware updates which speaks to its reliability. The s5 still receives firmware updates but the software engineers at Roborock have been able to ensure updates mostly improve usability/fix bugs rather than break functionalities. 

Roomba 980 robotic cleaner is therefore ideal if you:

  • Live in a single-level home
  • Have a huge area with carpets and hard flooring 
  • Have pets that shed or a wife and/or daughters with long hair
  • Don’t care for personalization (exclusion zone, room level cleaning, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required 

The Roborock s5 smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you 

  • Live in a single-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hardwood, vinyl, or tile floors
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Don’t mind mopping
  • Don’t have a deep pocket or unwilling to splurge
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required
  • Care for personalization

Roborock s6 vs. Roomba 960

Roborock_s6_robot_vacuum
Roborock s6
Roomba_960_robot_vacuum
Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 being a Roomba 980 WITH reduced power and battery life, just as the Roborock s6 is the s5 max WITHOUT the advanced mopping feature.

It turns out the reduced suction and battery life in the 960, relative only to the 980, still prove adequate for thorough vacuuming of hardwood, tile, laminate, marble floors, etc. with spare power for deep cleaning low, medium, and high pile carpets.

The Roborock s6 excels in cleaning, too, particularly on hard floors, except its suction, airflow, and brush design does it a disservice with long pets and human hair and on anything but low pile area rug or carpet.

While the 960 track floors and clean in logical straight lines (the s6 does as well), floor maps can’t be edited. You also can’t create exclusion zones or do selective cleaning.

The s6 if it helps to mention allows you to divide or name rooms having successfully generated a map, with support for two additional maps.

As far as pricing, you can’t get the Roomba 960 for around $300 with the s6 typically selling within the $500 price mark.

Roomba 960 robotic cleaner is therefore ideal if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home
  • Have a huge area with carpets and hard flooring 
  • Have pets that shed or a wife and/or daughters with long hair
  • Don’t care for personalization (no-go lines, room level cleaning, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required 

The Roborock s6 smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you:

  • Live in a large, multi-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hard floors and/or low pile carpets
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Noise and navigation are big factors
  • Care for some personalization (keep out zone, room, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t care too much or at all for mopping
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required
  • Want a quiet machine that doesn’t disrupt sleep or conversations

Roborock s5 vs. Roomba 960

Roborock_s5_robot_vacuum
Roborock s5
Roomba_960_robot_vacuum
Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 being a Roomba 980 WITH reduced power and battery life, just as the Roborock s5 is the Roborock s6 WITHOUT multi-floor support.

It turns out the reduced suction and battery life of the 960, relative only to the 980, still prove adequate for thorough vacuuming of hardwood, tile, laminate, marble floors, etc. with spare power for deep cleaning low, medium, and high pile carpets.

The Roborock s5, too, excels in cleaning, particularly on hard floors, except its suction, airflow, and brush design puts it at a slight disadvantage with long pets and human hair and on anything but low pile area rug or carpet.

With the 960’s ability to track floors and clean in logical straight lines (Roomba s5 do this as well), floor maps can’t be edited. You also can’t create exclusion zones or do selective cleaning. The s5 if it helps to mention allows you to divide or name rooms having successfully generated a map, with one backup version which CAN’T be engaged.

As far as pricing, and considering both are older models, $300 should get you one of these.

The Roomba 960 robotic cleaner is ideal if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home
  • Have a huge area with carpets and hard flooring 
  • Have pets that shed or a wife and/or daughters with long hair
  • Don’t care for personalization (no-go lines, room level cleaning, or zone cleaning)
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required
  • Don’t have a deep pocket or unwilling to splurge

The Roborock s5 smart robotic vacuum is a perfect choice if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home with fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hardwood, vinyl, or tile floors
  • Have pets with short hair
  • Don’t mind mopping
  • Don’t have a deep pocket or unwilling to splurge
  • Don’t mind emptying the onboard dustbin as many times as required
  • Care for personalization

Roborock s4 vs. Roomba 960 

Roborock_s4_robot_vacuum
Roborock s4

Roomba_960_robot_vacuum
Roomba 960

With speed-sensitive side brushes for proper cleaning along walls and to avoid scattering debris in open areas. That’s on top of their ability to clean in a back and forth pattern while automatically recharging and resuming cleaning missions.

The Roborock s4 and the Roomba 960 don’t disregard commands by going into troubled zones/unwanted places (the latter uses beacons for restriction). 

And because they’re intentional in their movement, they don’t get lost, confused, or mindlessly ram into objects, resulting in a decreased tendency of getting stuck and less babysitting.

Moving on to their differences, the s4 allows map saving (4), plus you can divide or name rooms. You can schedule rooms for cleaning, command the bot to clean a specific spot, or restrict it from unwanted places. Roborock runs longer too at around 150 minutes on low power, compared to 75 minutes on the Roomba 960. Even so, is the upgraded processor and constantly updated software of the s4 that minimizes errors while allowing for efficient and convenient cleaning. 

The Roborock s4 has one major drawback though which is carpet cleaning. With a 15mm max climbing height the s4 often struggles to clean anything but low pile rugs. The Roomba 960 does a better job here, thick carpets even, considering its strong suction, airflow, and silicone rubber rollers.

Related: Full review (including pros and cons) of the Roborock s4 robotic vacuum cleaner

The Roborock s4 robotic cleaner is ideal if you: 

  • Live in a big (~2000sqft), multi-level house with a complicated layout and/or fewer obstacles
  • Have mostly hard floors (wood, tile, stone, laminate) or a mix of hard floors and low pile carpets
  • Have pets or people with short hair
  • Want a robot that cleans systematically and is less hands-on
  • Want a quiet machine that supports nondisruptive conversations or sleep
  • Want to clean at night without leaving the lights on

The Roomba 960 robotic cleaner is a perfect choice if you: 

  • Live in a single-level home 
  • Have a huge area with carpets and hard flooring
  • Have pets that shed, or wife and daughters with long hair
  • Don’t care for personalization (keep out zones or room level cleaning)

Conclusion

There goes a comparison of some of the best robot vacuums from Roborock and iRobot. Assuming you missed it, iRobot Roomba bots are solid performers on carpets whereas Roborock is the king of navigation.

Talking about the reviews, I went for brevity. In other words, only key highlights of the featured items were summarized. This is to allow for quick decision-making. That way when you make your choice of a brand or product you may then proceed into reading an in-depth version (links provided) where benefits and limitations are discussed in greater detail. 

Suffice to add there’s no one complete robovac (yet). While it depends on what you want or what you’re willing to forgo–which in any case was clearly highlighted as much as possible in the reviews–the Roomba s9 is the only item from the list that I wouldn’t recommend given the disparity in price and performance.