Over the course of this age of automation smart home innovations we live in, iRobot and its Roomba brand have been a constant. Each year, iRobot improves its lineup of automatic vacuums, bringing new features, quality of life improvements, and design refinements to the table. This year is no different thanks to the iRobot Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum with Genius™ 3.0 Home Intelligence.
Admittedly, this is my first real exposure to a robot vacuum. Living in a Toronto condo, I always felt like an automated vacuum would be overkill for my surroundings. However, as I experimented with the ease of use, smart home features, I quickly integrated the Roomba j7+ into my everyday life. While it won’t remove my need to do a weekly deep clean vacuum, the j7+ does work wonders as a day-to-day spot cleaner, looking after pet hair, dust, and crumbs throughout the day. The self-emptying feature is simply the cherry on top for a forgetful person such as myself.
With the iRobot Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum with Genius™ 3.0 Home Intelligence, you get a robust and reliable device that works to clean your home and can accommodate your schedule and preferences. I found myself quite surprised by the number of core customization options iRobot has included. Additionally, the Genius 3.0 Home Intelligence system enables the j7+ to identify cords and solid pet waste and avoid them. Its adaptive AI learning and mapping is also an impressive feat for the sizeable robot vacuum.
Out of the Box
Unboxing the Roomba j7+, you’ll naturally find the vacuum itself. Additionally, the packaging includes the Clean Base™ Automatic Dirt Disposal dock with power supply and winding apparatus. iRobot also includes two vacuum bags for disposal in the Clean Base, an additional corner brush, and a manual to help set you up.
From a design perspective, I really appreciate the minimal design of the Roomba j7+ itself. The top of the j7+ has a silver Clean Button in the event that you wish to manually pause or continue a clean-up. On the front is the navigation bumper, which the Roomba used to identify walls, furniture or other obstructions. Additionally, the Roomba has a front-facing camera used for mapping and item detection. It measures 13.3-inches wide, which makes it perfect for navigating tighter quarters and corners. Its height is only 3.4 inches, which is great for getting underneath many couches, beds, or other furniture. Underneath, the j7+ features two multi-surface brushes, two heavy-duty wheels and dual caster wheels. A floor sensor can also be found as well as an edge-sweeping brush.
The Clean Base™ Automatic Dirt Disposal is more stout than other Roomba models. Being 12.5” x 12.5” x 14-inches, the base can comfortably fit underneath a desk, table, or against a wall without standing out too much. The Clean Base features the charging dock section, which in turn connects to the disposal canister. Inside the canister, the disposal bag is secured on one side and the other can house extra bags. It’s simple in its design, yet stylish with its leather pull tab for the canister lid.
Nearly the entire setup process is done through the iRobot app. Available on iOS and Android, the Roomba j7+ is controlled and customized through the app. At first, the app will help you connect the vacuum to your Wifi. Using the app or additional smart home devices like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can control and troubleshoot the j7+ whenever you need to. You’ll also be asked to name your device.
One of the first key things to do to get the Roomba j7+ set up is to have your home mapped out. Depending on the size of your home, this could take a few full runs of the device. For my condo, the Roomba j7+ was able to completely map out my first floor in 30 minutes. It’s recommended that you have the space cleared of boxes, shoes, or other items that may frequently move. The Roomba will then meticulously draw a course throughout your home, bumping into furniture and walls to get an accurate read on your home.
Once you feel that j7+ has an accurate map of your home, you can finalize your vacuuming schedule, quality of life features and set Favourites. Having a set schedule in place helps a ton with making sure the Roomba j7+ does a clean around your day. With more people working from home, the scheduling option makes sure that your Roomba can clean your home when you’re done work or not taking important calls. You can set the time of day it cleans and on which day of the week. You can also select which rooms it cleans or choose for it to clean everywhere. Users can also create pre-set options. For example, I have a Favourite set as ‘Clean up my mess’. Selecting this or commanding it through my Google Home, the j7+ will head straight for my kitchen and clean up and crumbs I’ve left after making a meal.
Additionally, you can use the Roomba app to set up “zones” within your home. Using the map the j7+ has created, you can begin naming each room of your house ie: living room, kitchen, office, etc. You’re also able to register Keep-Out zones, for the Roomba to avoid. With the holidays coming up, it may be an opportunity to block off the area in which a Christmas tree may reside over the coming month or so. You can also set the device to clean while you’re away. The app will recognize when you’ve left your home and the j7+ will start its run. There’s a lot of personalization you can do within the app to fit your home and lifestyle.
Over the course of the last three weeks, I’ve been using the Roomba j7+ on a nearly daily basis. With two cats, one who sheds a ton, it’s been great to maintain a certain level of cleanliness without having to constantly break out my upright vacuum. Like clockwork, the j7+ automatically leaves the Clean Base every evening at 7 PM and roams around my home for 30 minutes. Having no expectations of how thorough the j7+ would be, I’ve been pretty impressed with it. The device has been able to reliably pick up pet hair, cat litter, and crumbs that may have found their way on my hardwood floors.
Having not been exposed to the use of a Roomba prior, I was slightly hesitant to see how it would work on my rugs. Surprisingly, the j7+ transitions between hardwood and my rugs with ease. It does a decent enough job. I’m hesitant to say its performance is comparable to the Boost mode of a Dyson V-series. Though, I’ve been happy with how thorough the j7+ is on my flooring. The device has spring-loaded wheels, which makes it capable of maneuvering over thicker objects or lips between rooms.
A big new feature the iRobot is touting is the Roomba j7+’s PrecisionVision Navigation technology, which enables the device to identify cords or other hazards and avoid them. This means that if you happen to have a phone charger, pair of wired earbuds, or solid pet waste laying on the floor, the Roomba will recalibrate its path and steer clear of the obstacle. Additionally, the j7+ is integrated with what iRobot calls the Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P.). This protects users and guarantees that the Roomba will not run over solid pet waste or iRobot will replace the unit. The PrecisionVision Navigation tech works as intended as far as my own testing is concerned. I tried my best to fool the Roomba j7+ into running over an old charger. Low and behold, the camera was always able to detect it. Even using a darker cord on dark flooring, the device avoided it. iRobot has confirmed that the detection of socks and shoes will come at a later date via a software update.
A small note on the build quality of the Rooba itself. I have noticed small scratches beginning to form on the bumper of the device over the last three weeks. This could have come from a number of different furnishings but as it does heavily rely on the bumper for navigation, wear and tear is expected.
The J7+’s automatic dirt disposal system works exactly as intended. To my surprise, when the device empties, it creates a TON of noise. Perhaps I wasn’t prepared but it is demonstrably loud. iRobot suggests that the j7+ can empty itself into the Clean Base for up to 60 days before swapping out the disposal bag. This is obviously very dependant on the size of your home and how much dirt it picks up on a regular basis. Apartments and condos may get more mileage from a bag.
That said, the app will inform you when it requires a replacement. Additionally, you’ll be notified when the j7+;s filters need a cleaning or a replacement. iRobot suggests cleaning the filters every two weeks and replacing them every two months. Again, this is the default suggestion.
This being my first chance to test out an iRobot device, I’m walking away very impressed. The AI functionality built into the Roomba j7+ is phenomenal. The device does all the heavy lifting for you and easily integrates itself into your daily routine and smart home family. While it won’t replace my weekly deep clean vacuuming endeavours, it’s been nice to have a reliable device to clean my floors on a regular basis.
It does come with a steep investment price, however. In Canada, the iRobot Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum with Genius™ 3.0 Home Intelligence costs $1,049.99. That said, it’s worth the investment for the quality of life and customization features that iRobot has brought to the table. It’s also a recommended addition to any household with pets. Set up is intuitive and usage is as easy as any other smart home device thanks to the iRobot app and Google Home/ Amazon Alexa commands.