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iRobot Roomba Comparison: Combo j9+ vs j7+ vs j5+ vs i5+ – Mopping Robots Reviewed

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This week, iRobot announced a new lineup of Roomba vacuum and mop combo products, including their new flagship robot, the Roomba Combo j9+. We thought we would do a complete breakdown of what’s new with iRobot’s robot vacuum mop combo lineup and explain the similarities and differences between each model.

j9+ Amazon j7+ Amazon j5+ Amazon i5+ Amazon

Roomba Combo j9+ vs j7+ vs j5+ vs i5+

New Robots Join the Combo Lineup

iRobot’s new vacuuming and mopping robots now include the Roomba Combo i5+, j5+, j7+, and the top-of-the-line Roomba Combo j9+. The word “combo” in their name means that they can vacuum as well as mop.

RELATED: See our full in-depth review of the Roomba Combo j7+ and Roomba Combo j9+.

Mopping, Vacuuming and Auto-Empty Options

Some of them, like the j7 and j9, also have cheaper versions that do not include mop functionality, so no “combo” in the name for those versions. The “Plus” in their name is a reference to their auto-empty bin. All the models on the screen have an auto-empty bin option.

Roombas that Vacuum and Mop

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

Flagship Roomba

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+

Premium

iRobot Roomba Combo j5 Plus

iRobot Roomba Combo j5+

Mid-grade

iRobot Roomba Combo i5 Plus

iRobot Roomba Combo i5+

Mid-Grade/Entry Level

Similarities

Vacuuming Performance

Starting off with their similarities, they’re all quite similar in terms of their basic vacuuming ability. For example, they all use the same dual brush design, which adapts to floor types, and the same single side brush.

A patent kept other manufacturers from copying Roomba’s dual-brush design until its recent expiration. Roborock promptly incorporated a two brushroll design into their flagship S8 Pro Ultra robot vacuum model.

This is a tried-and-true system that iRobot calls a four-stage cleaning system. When combined with iRobot’s basic cleaning algorithm, which all of these share, it makes Roombas some of the best pure vacuuming robots on the market.

At the time of publishing, the Combo j7+ was actually our top pick for Best Robot Vacuum for Carpet.

Inspecting the iRobot Roomba Combo lifting mop pad mechanism
Inspecting the iRobot Roomba Combo lifting mop pad mechanism.

Cleaning, App and Advanced Features

They all make a map of your home and navigate in straight lines instead of randomly, though there are some differences in how they navigate, which we’ll address later. All of them have the ability to clean individual rooms using either the app or with voice commands.

The Combo j9+ j7+ j5+ and i5+ have a dual-brushroll design
The Combo j9+ j7+ j5+ and i5+ all have iRobot’s dual brushroll design.

They all feature a recharge and resume ability, which means they can continue vacuuming from where they left off if they need to return to their base for charging. All of them also have apps that will automatically suggest cleaning schedules based on historical data, and you can create very detailed customized cleaning routines for all of them as well.

Roomba Combo Model Comparison Chart

j9+ Comboj7+ Comboj5+ Comboi5+ Combo
VacuumYesYesYesYes
Suction+ 100%StandardStandardStandard
MopYesYesYesYes
Lift/Stow MopYesYesNoNo
Change Tank/Bin MopNoNoYesYes
SmartScrubYesNoNoNo
Auto-Empty DustbinYesYesYesYes
Auto-Water RefillYesNoNoNo
MappingYesYesYesYes
DirtDetect (sensing)YesYesYesYes
Dirt Detective (Learning)YesNoNoNo
Row-by-Row CleaningYesYesYesYes
PrecisionVision NavigationYesYesYesNo
Obstacle AvoidanceYesYesYesNo
Recharge & ResumeYesYesYesYes
Schedule SuggestionsYesYesYesYes
PriceHighMidMidMid-Low
Where to BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon
Roomba capabilities from the iRobot website and robot vacuum manuals.

Differences

The differences begin with their prices, with the Combo i5+ being the least expensive and the j9+ being the most expensive.

The j5, j7, and j9 robots all have a similar navigation system. They use iRobot’s top-of-the-line Precision Vision navigation, which uses a single front-mounted camera to map and navigate around the house.

iRobot Roomba Combo on Self-Emptying Clean Base
iRobot Roomba Combo docked on self-emptying Clean Base.

This system enables advanced features like keep-out zones, virtual barriers that you can create in the app. Also, because of the camera, the J-series bots use visual information to recognize and avoid household objects, ensuring they don’t get stuck. iRobot has even guaranteed that their robots will recognize and avoid pet waste.

The Combo i5+, however, does not have Precision Vision navigation. Instead, it relies on a basic floor tracking and algorithm-based navigation system, similar to the Roomba i3. This system is limited with map-related features and does not have obstacle avoidance like the others.

Robot vacuum buying guides

Auto Empty Bin and Mop Management

Another significant difference is the new auto-empty bin functionality for the Combo j9+. While all four can empty their robot’s dust bin into an included disposable bag, the Combo j9+ also has an internal clean water tank which fills the robot’s water tank for mopping.

iRobot claims that the Combo j9+ clean base can hold up to 30 days of water for mopping, making it the most automated cleaning system they’ve ever released.

Testing the Combo robots mop lifting
Testing the Combo robots mop lifting.

Mopping Systems

The mopping systems on these robots vary. The Combo j7+ and j9+ use a design where the mopping pad is mounted on top of the robot. When it senses hard floors, it lowers the pads, and when it senses carpet, it raises the mop pad back up.

This system ensures your carpets won’t get wet from the mop. The j5 and i5+ have a different mopping system where they come with two separate dust bins—one for mopping and one for vacuuming.

We have tested iRobots Dirt Detect System since its 600-series Roomba models.

DirtDetect

While they all have iRobot’s patented DirtDetect—a sensor that can tell if it’s vacuuming a dirty area—the i5+ and j5 only have this functionality when the vacuum-only bin is used. It’s disabled with the mopping bin.

Smart Cleaning Features

The j9+ also boasts upgrades not found in the other models. For instance, it has 100% more suction power. It also has features like Dirt Detective, which learns from past cleanings to prioritize dirtier rooms, and Smart Scrubbing, which doubles the passes over heavily soiled areas.

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ vs j7+ vs j5+ vs i5+
The Roomba Combo lineup.

Which Roomba to Choose

Which Roomba model is the right fit for your home depends on what your needs and budgets are. Pricing is always changing, but at a high level, the i-Series is less expensive than the j-Series and as as model numbers increase, so does the Roomba’s cost.

As far as features and functionality, here’s a quick reference:

  • The J series have advanced navigation and obstacle avoidance.
  • The j7 and j9 have the dual retracting mop system.
  • The j9 can fill its water bin automatically.
  • Only the j9 offers advanced app features like Smart Scrub and Dirt Detective.
iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+

Flagship Roomba

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+

Premium

iRobot Roomba Combo j5 Plus

iRobot Roomba Combo j5+

Mid-grade

iRobot Roomba Combo i5 Plus

iRobot Roomba Combo i5+

Mid-Grade/Entry Level

 

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