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iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ Review

The Roomba Combo J5+ robot vacuum is an innovative addition to the iRobot 2-in-1 family, complete with vacuum and mopping capabilities, smart navigation, obstacle avoidance, and an auto-empty bin. It’s essentially the previous flagship model, the j7+, but now with mopping and more budget-friendly.

This iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ Review will provide all the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision about your purchase.

Great Vacuuming. Great Mopping.
8.5/10

Verdict

Overall, the iRobot Roomba Combo J5+ is a highly efficient cleaning companion, excelling in both vacuuming and mopping. In our evaluation, its auto-empty bin and mopping system significantly outperformed others in its class.  The Combo J5+ also picks up debris extremely well and at the same level as top-of-the-line Roombas. 

Pros

  • Among the best budget-friendly robot vacuum cleaners available
  • Cleans carpets and hard floors really well
  • Advanced obstacle avoidance system
  • Auto empty bin system conveniently empties debris into a disposable bag
  • Disposable bags can hold up to 60 days of dirt
  • Smart navigation and app features

Cons

  • The mop pad bin has no drip tray
  • Zone setup required to detect carpets when in mop mode
The Roomba Combo j5+
The iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ robot vacuum and mop. © Vacuum Wars

Let’s explore what this robot vacuum can do for your home cleaning.

iRobot Roomba Combo j5+

You can get the iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ with or without the auto-empty bin. And the version without it is simply called the Roomba Combo J5.

Side-by-side comparison of iRobot's combo j5+ and j5.
Roomba Combo J5+ with auto-empty bin and the Combo J5 comparison. © Vacuum Wars

Also, it’s important to distinguish these models from the i5 and i5+, which, while more affordable, lack the J5’s advanced navigation features like camera and obstacle avoidance. Those models offer basic floor-tracking, which limits what you can do in the app compared to the j5 and j5+.

A comparison chart displaying the Roomba Combo j5 and i5 lines.
The  J5 models have advanced navigation features. © Vacuum Wars

Roomba Combo j5+ Evaluation and performance 

For our Roomba Combo j5+ review, we put the robot vacuum through a series of tests, and the Combo j5+ did really well. It was on par with other high-end Roomba products. 

Vacuuming carpets and hard floors

The Combo j5+ didn’t disappoint in our vacuuming tests, and among all the Roombas we’ve tested (all performed well, by the way), the j5+ did better than average in our deep clean test. This test checks how well it picks up deeply embedded sand in carpets, and the j5+ scored 82, above the average score of 77.

Graphic showing the j5+ scoring 82 in the Carpet Deep Clean Test.
The j5+ excelled in our carpet deep clean test, surpassing the average score. © Vacuum Wars

It could handle surface debris and pick up fine to extra-large debris with no issues on both hard floors and carpets.

Combo j5+ navigating a wooden floor test area.
Testing the Combo j5+ hard floor cleaning prowess. © Vacuum Wars
The j5+ in a carpet cleaning test, navigating over a beige carpet scattered with debris.
Combo j5+ robot vacuum on a carpet vacuuming test. © Vacuum Wars

Grabbing hair was also a breeze. The pick-up was efficient, with minimal tangles on its dual brush rolls, which is great, especially if you have pets.

Close-up of the Roomba Combo j5+ dual brush rolls
The Roomba Combo j5+ tackles hair pick-up really well. © Vacuum Wars

Mopping

The Roomba Combo j5+ mopping feature was designed to offer a more budget-friendly alternative to the premium j7 and j9 combos. Both have mop plates that lift automatically and recognize carpets and hard floors, adjusting for each floor type on autopilot.

However, the Combo j5+ mopping system works a bit differently. You’ll need to first add your no-mop zones using the app. Then replace the regular dust bin with the dust bin and mop combo, which you fill with water. Once that’s done, it will simultaneously vacuum and mop your hard floors.

But, unlike its higher-end counterparts, the Combo j5+ robot vacuum doesn’t apply downward pressure, making it best suited for light-duty mopping. Its performance on tough stains also varies, excelling with some and less effective on others.

For example, in our dried-on coffee stain test, the j5+ did fantastic but performed averagely with the dried-on grape juice torture test.

iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ features

Auto empty bin system

The Clean Base auto-empty bin system of the Roomba Combo j5+ is a significant convenience factor, as it simplifies maintenance and promotes a cleaner home environment with minimal effort.

When the j5+ returns to its Clean Base, it automatically transfers debris into a disposable bag.

Roomba Combo j5+ robot vacuum parked at its Clean Base.
Roomba Combo j5+ and its auto-empty Clean Base. © Vacuum Wars

Each bag can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris, according to iRobot, which is ideal for busy households. 

A person demonstrating the easy bag replacement process for the Roomba Combo j5+ Clean Base.
Changing the disposable bag of the Combo j5+. © Vacuum Wars

Further, the overall design of the Clean Base is better than many others we’ve seen. Certainly one of the better-looking auto-disposable bins available.

Picture of the Combo j5+ Clean Base design.
The j5+ Clean Base is very well-designed. © Vacuum Wars

Obstacle Avoidance System

Another great thing about this robot vacuum is its impressive obstacle avoidance system — a rare feature for products in this price range.

A Roomba j5+ robot vacuum on a wooden floor demonstrating its PrecisionVision Navigation.
Roomba j5+ navigating around objects. © Vacuum Wars

The front-mounted camera automatically identifies and steers clear of common household obstacles, Including toys, cords, and pet waste. iRobot even has a sort of one-year guarantee called P.O.O.P. (or Pet Owner Official Promise), which replaces your unit if a ‘pooptastrophy’ occurs.

In our obstacle avoidance tests, the Combo J5+ scored above average, scoring a 9 out of 12, which matches the Combo j7 and top-of-the-line Roomba Combo j9+ scores. 

In our obstacle avoidance tests, the Combo J5+ scored above average, scoring a 9 out of 12, which matches the Combo j7 and top-of-the-line Roomba Combo j9+ scores. 

App

The app for the Roomba j5+ aligns with the advanced features of the high-end J series. It offers enhanced maps, customizable keep-out and no-mop zones, various routine options, and smart home integration, among other features.

The image shows various screenshots of the Roomba j5+ app interface.
The Combo j5+ app has various functions for day-to-day cleaning tasks. © Vacuum Wars

These intelligent app features of the robot vacuum add significant value, allowing you to personalize your vacuuming experience to fit unique household needs.

Roomba Combo j5+ navigation

To navigate, the j5+ uses a blend of sensors, cameras, floor tracking, and advanced algorithms for precise mapping and efficient cleaning paths. So, it should navigate your house without problems and handle complex layouts and various floor types. Its obstacle avoidance feature, which was covered earlier, illustrates this.

Robot vacuum moves across a mixed flooring of hardwood and carpet.
The iRobot Roomba j5+ makes its way across various floor types. © Vacuum Wars

Cons of the iRobot Roomba Combo j5+

While the Roomba J5+ boasts many strengths, it’s important to consider the potential limitations. Here are the things we found.

Mop pad bin

On the one hand, the mop pad bin feels like an afterthought, which is a good thing, especially since there’s potential for backward compatibility with older models… That is if iRobot decides to make such versions. On the other hand, the lack of a drip tray is noticeable. You’ll need to keep an eye on it to remove the mop pad bin when it finishes its run.

Carpet recognition when the mop pad is attached 

With the Roomba Combo j5+, we had to set up no-mop zones through the app to keep it off carpets when in mopping mode. Auto carpet detection doesn’t work in this mode, which leads to a slight loss in accuracy. However, it still surpasses many cheaper mopping robots that don’t have app-based zone management.

Price

We noticed the price of this vacuum and mopping robot fluctuates weekly, which made the decision to buy more challenging. 

When offered at a substantial discount off its list price, it’s a no-brainer deal because the product is way better than 99% of the low to midrange robot vacuum combos on the market — especially since it has obstacle avoidance. However, with smaller discounts, such as 10% off, it may be worth investing slightly more for a higher-end model like the Roomba Combo j7+.

Roomba Combo j5+ review: value and final thoughts

The iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ is very versatile, providing high-end features like smart navigation, obstacle avoidance, and mopping capability in a more accessible price range. If you want something that’s budget-friendly yet has advanced features, then the Combo J5+ might be for you.

iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ Specifications

Vacuum typeRobot vacuum & mop
Self-emptyingYes
Obstacle avoidanceYes
NavigationPrecisionVision
Robot Dimensions13.3″ (W) x 3.4″ (H)
Clean Base Dimensions15.8 (L) x 12.2 (W) x 13.3 (H)”
Weight7.35 lb.
ColorGraphite (dark grey)
Battery typeLithium Ion
Warranty1 year
8.5/10
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