iRobot has announced two new robot vacuums in its Roomba line, the Roomba j9+ and Roomba Combo j9+, and they have some serious upgrades over previous models. Not only are they more capable cleaners (they look like some of the best robot vacuums out there), iRobot promises they’re smarter too — with a nicer docking station to boot. in fashion and function.
Thanks to new and improved real-time navigation, Roomba can identify many common floor obstructions such as shoes, chords, backpacks, and pet bowls and avoid them so they don’t cause problems while cleaning. in your house.
iRobot also says this new vacuum can tell the difference between pet waste and, say, a pile of popcorn. This is something that other robot vacuums can struggle with, and sometimes with disastrous results. The brand is so confident in the quality of its smart object detection that it has a Pet Owner Official Promise where it promises to replace any Roomba j9+ that cannot avoid pet waste.
Best of all, the Combo j9+ features the same improved mop design found in the Roomba Combo j7+ model. Usually, the mop attachment sits on the bottom of the robot; it falls when needed and rises when not. However, even in the raised position, there is not always much space between the mop and the floor so it is common for the mop to brush things when your robot is straddling two surfaces of different heights – such as a hard floor and a thick carpet. This can lead to some dirt being transferred from the mop to the carpet and other surfaces, turning your cleaning robot into a dirt-spewing machine.
Both the Combo j9+ and Combo j7+ have a mop that folds out of a compartment on top of the Roomba while in use, and when it’s done it folds back up – meaning there’s no chance of it accidentally brushing surfaces it shouldn’t. In addition, it is very easy to change the mop head to clean it and replace it with a new one while the vacuum is docked in a base station.
Speaking of the base station, it also gets a new design to make it a piece of furniture that you won’t be ashamed to display in your home. As Colin Angle (CEO and co-founder of iRobot) put it in a briefing we attended before this announcement, “Whether you like it or not, your docking station will show up… hide behind your bed.”
With this in mind, iRobot tried to take a more focused approach to fashion. You still get a dock that will automatically charge your Roomba and empty it (with storage of up to 60 days worth of dirt – and 30 days of clean water for Roombas with a mop) but it is already dressed in black textured plastic and a faux wood top that you can decorate with a couple of houseplants, or place it next to your sofa to use the station as a small table . The design really looks good and can hide the simple look of a modern-style house.
iRobot recognizes that this fashion-focused design breaks down when the station gets dirty and smelly, so it takes steps to help keep it clean. The new mop placement helps prevent your Roomba from wiping it with dirt, and since the station only stores clean water instead of dirty liquid it doesn’t need to have a tank that you need to spend hours on. clean every month to prevent odor.
That said, to find out how well the new Roomba and base station designs work we’ll have to try them for ourselves – we can only learn so much from a five-minute demonstration.
If you’re already sold on the new Roomba designs then they’ll be on pre-sale in Europe starting September 11 – with international availability later in September and 2023 (we don’t have exact dates yet). The base Roomba j9+ robot vacuum will set you back $899 / £999 while the Combo model with mop will cost $1,399 / £1,249. We’re waiting to hear about pricing and availability in Australia, but they’ll be around AU$1,400 and AU$2,185 respectively based on charges.
Upgrades for your existing Roomba
iRobot is not only launching new Roombas in the coming months, it is also launching a new iRobot OS 7 update with the j9+ and Combo j9+ models. More importantly, one of the new features will come to your existing j7+, if you have one.
An exclusive feature of the j9+ is Dirt Detective. Based on its cleaning history and your habits, iRobot says, your Roomba will automatically know which rooms need a clean first, how best to clean each room, and which rooms need to be taken care of last – like only washing your bathroom after this. finished with the rest of your home.
The j9+ and j7+ lines get SmartScrub. Instead of just mopping your floors, if there’s a tough mess you can teach your Roomba to scrub the floor with steady downward pressure and a forward and backward motion – just like a human would if they scrub the floor. According to iRobot, this feature provides two times deeper scrubbing compared to a typical robot vacuum.
Again, we’ll have to test this feature to see how effective it is in practice, but it certainly looks like a solid improvement over the new Roomba and the existing j7+ .