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Roomba j7+ review: A life-changing robot vacuum

The Roomba j7+ may be pricey, but you can't put a price on freeing up my time while cleaning my floors. The suction power, mobility, object detection, and easy-to-navigate app make this an excellent robot vacuum.
beth-mauder
Written by Elizabeth Mauder, Video Producer on
Pros
  • Self-emptying
  • Intelligent
  • Smart Mapping technology
  • User-friendly app
Cons
  • Loud when it self-empties
  • Unimpressive battery life

In my quest to find the greatest robot vacuum to help save me and you time and money, I've succeeded. The Roomba j7+ has transformed my home and, not to be dramatic, my life. 

The Roomba j7+ is a self-emptying robot vacuum that has PrecisionVision Navigation. Roomba is a part of the iRobot family, which is a well-known brand in the vacuuming industry. In order to access the impressive technology, simple integration, and name brand recognition, you'll need to drop $800 to get your hands on one of these. But I promise it's well worth the money.

If you're curious what kind of dirt and debris I've put the Roomba j7+ up against, I have a German Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, a cat, and then just a lot of dirt from everyday life. So pet hair, pet food, kitty litter, my food crumbs, and everyday messes have been tackled by the j7+. Whatever dirt you have, my house probably has it too. 

Specifications

Product dimensions

13.3 x 13.3 x 3.4 inches

Item weight

7.49 lbs

Batteries

Lithium Ion (included) 

Included components

(1) Roomba j7 Robot Vacuum, (1) Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, (2) dirt disposal bags, (1) charging cord, (1) extra filter, (1) extra corner brush

Performance 

Once you get the vacuum up and running, the j7+ is actively mapping your layout and beginning to understand your floor plan. The more you use the j7+, the more it learns your home and layout. It works well on various flooring types, including tile, carpet, laminate, and rugs of various heights. You can tell that the Roomba knows what surface it's on because it gets a bit quieter on rugs or carpets versus tile and laminate. 

After two runs, the j7+ quickly picked up on the layout of my home, and I was able to label certain rooms and block areas that I didn't want to be cleaned. The layout feature is very simple to use and handy -- some days, I just need my kitchen swept instead of my entire house. I can program this directly from the app, and it'll even estimate how long the Roomba will take to clean each area.

Because the j7+ does such a nice job understanding your layout and creating an accurate map of your home, it doesn't smack into your walls or furniture when it's cleaning. It stays right along the edge of the walls and slows down when it's approaching something. This is a great feature because you don't have to worry about the robot damaging anything, but you also don't have to listen to it smacking into things.

The j7+ is equipped with self-emptying technology thanks to its Clean Base automatic dirt disposal docking station. The Clean Base is sleek in design and fits in nicely in my home. It comes with two enclosed bags, so you'll have an extra once you fill the first one. According to Roomba, the enclosed bags capture and trap 99% of pollen and mold, so once all of that dirt is picked up, it isn't re-entering your home in the disposal process. Roomba says that you'll get 60 days of dust collected in the enclosed bag before you need to replace it. When the bag is full, the app will send you a notification, and you'll simply lift the bag away, drop it in the trash, and insert the new bag. Literally, no dust, dirt, or debris will be handled in the disposal process, nor will it get all over your trashcan or floor when you're trying to empty out the j7+. 

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The j7+ docked in its clean base.

Beth Mauder/ZDNet

Mobility 

In my extensive testing of robot vacuums, I've deemed one particular corner of my dining room a robot death trap. It's a tight corner with a floor vent and only about two feet of wiggle room between the corner walls and my hutch. This robot vacuum is the only one I have tested that has yet to get stuck in this corner (knock on wood). With the advanced sensors and smart-mapping technology, the j7+ navigates my floors and wonky layouts beautifully, without ever leaving a section uncleaned. 

As for navigating between carpet and tile or from vinyl to a rug, the vacuum does a nice job of getting itself where it needs to be without veering off the path or getting stuck. Genuinely, I haven't had an obstacle yet where the Roomba j7+ finds itself hung up. This gives me peace of mind when I turn the vacuum on and leave. I know it'll either finish its job or rest peacefully back in its base when I get home. Truly, there isn't much better than coming home to clean floors, and the only finger you lifted was to open the app and turn the vacuum on.

Suction power

The suction power is great. Roomba doesn't specify exactly what the suction power of the j7+ is, but it does say that it packs "10x the Power-Lifting Suction" compared to the Roomba 600 series cleaning system. As always, I ran the Roomba j7+ in my home to tackle everyday messes, but I also tested dog food, cat food, chip crumbs, kitty litter, grass blades, and pet hair. The three-stage cleaning system with an edge-sweeping brush and dual multi-surface rubber brushes cleans up everything in its path.

The suction power is so efficient that I've even tucked away my regular vacuum and let the j7+ tackle my carpeted bedrooms. Until recently, I've been unimpressed with robot vacuums on the carpet, but the Roomba j7+ really does get the ingrained pet hair sucked out of the carpet fibers. So if you have a home with carpet, vinyl, tile, or hardwood, this device really can handle cleaning all of your home. 

Stairs and ledges: Cliff detect

The Roomba j7+ uses what it calls Cliff Detect technology to avoid stairs in your house to keep from taking a tumble. I tested the stair theory, watching with fear as the robot approached the stair ledge, but was relieved to see the robot went right up to the ledge and then steered itself away from danger. You'll rest easy knowing that your robot and stairs are safe and the ledge will be cleaned. 

Battery

The Roomba j7+ runs for around 85 minutes, give or take, in my house before needing to dock itself to recharge. Where the j7+ may lack in battery life, it makes up for in its ability to take itself back to the Clean Base to recharge and then immediately drives itself back to where it left off to finish the job. 

img-8848.png

A recent job completed by the j7+.

P.O.O.P. Promise 

As a pet owner, Roomba's Pet Owner Official Promise, otherwise known as the P.O.O.P. Promise, makes me feel confident in allowing the robot to run unsupervised. The promise says that the j7+ will avoid pet waste or iRobot will replace the Roomba. My pets have been potty trained for quite some time now, so this wasn't a test I felt like replicating. But my cat did have a hairball in a low-traffic area of my house, and the j7+ cleaned around the mess, interestingly enough! So if you're a pet parent who has avoided robot vacuums because of the horror stories that involve pet waste, the j7+ is the device for you.

Automatic object detection and avoidance

The j7+ also comes with automatic object detection and avoidance. What this means is you don't have to pick up a lot of messes before the vacuum cleans. Roomba is able to offer this through iRobot OS technology to recognize and avoid common, everyday items that end up on the floor. As of right now, iRobot can recognize cords, socks, shoes, and pet waste. I've tested this out several times; the Roomba cleans right around cords, socks, and shoes. And if you opt-in, the j7+ will take pictures and upload them through the app for you to review in case the cord or item is something that should be built into the map. iRobot said it uses "the highest standards of data encryption." 

img-8803.png

After a cleaning run, the j7+ said it detected an object I needed to review -- apparently my dog didn't feel like moving that day.

Connectivity

You'll need to hook up the Roomba j7+ to your Wi-Fi and download the iRobot app to get started. The app is very user-friendly and makes scheduling, selecting rooms, and blocking off sections a breeze. The more access you give the app to other applications, the smarter it is. You can set the iRobot app to see your location, and it will automatically run the vacuum when you're gone and stop if you return before it's done cleaning. You can also connect your Google Home and Alexa, so you can simply give your j7+ commands, and the technology will do the rest. 

One of my favorite parts about the app is the ability to clean particular rooms that you've labeled based on the map that the Roomba created of your home. I'm able to go into the app and select which rooms I want to be cleaned, and those are the only rooms the vacuum will clean. You can simplify the process even more by creating a schedule where the rooms you want cleaned daily are scheduled that way versus the rooms you want to be cleaned every few days. The possibilities are endless. 

Another feature the app offers is the ability for you to grow your iRobot family, connecting other devices, such as theRoomba m6 mop. You can even set the vacuum to run and the mop to follow immediately behind it. The two devices, along with the app, work incredibly well together. 

Bottom line

The bottom line is the Roomba j7+ is worth every penny. If you struggle to keep up with excessive pet hair, dirt, and debris, or just hate vacuuming, invest in this robot and watch your home stay clean and your to-do list consistently stay an item or two shorter. The technology, suction power, and ease of use are going to be difficult to beat. This is a robot that I highly recommend investing in.

Alternatives to consider

The latest robot vacuum from iRobot, the s9+, features a rounded corner design to clean hard-to-navigate areas and delivers better suction and larger cleaning brushes than the j7+.

Another high-end robot vacuum, the S7MaxV learns about your home and understands the level of suction each room needs to thoroughly get the job done.

A robotic vacuuming and mopping system that comes accompanied by an all-in-one Omni station that can self-clean and dry, auto-empty any dust, and automatically refill with water after each cleaning round. A truly advanced way to keep your floors clean. Be sure to check out our hands-on review here.

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