Roomba i3 vs j7: Choosing the winner in this battle seems like a no-brainer to me; my vote goes to the Roomba j7.
The key distinction between these two Roombas lies in the obstacle avoidance feature, which is unique to the Roomba j7 and absent in the i3. With advanced capabilities like “Keep-out zones” and “Clean zones”, the j7 delivers functionality that I personally find extremely valuable. This is why my choice leans towards the Roomba j7. It comes at a higher price point but is a better choice for pet owners or cluttered homes.
The Roomba i3 offers a more budget-friendly choice, but it lacks some advanced features and obstacle avoidance in the J7. Nevertheless, it still delivers solid cleaning performance.
Roomba i3 vs j7: Comparison Chart
Roomba i3 vs j7: Differences
The Roomba j7 comes out on top in the battle against the Roomba i3 with a final score of 3-1. Keep reading to discover more about their differences.
The Winner: Roomba j7
Both the Roomba i3 and Roomba j7 use the 3-Stage Cleaning System, which delivers thorough and efficient cleaning in your home. While the name might sound high-tech, this system is essentially a combination of three key components: the Dual-Multi Surface Rubber Brushes, the Edge-Sweeping Brush, and the 10x Power-Lifting Suction. It’s a recipe for effective cleaning!
The cleaning performance is quite comparable, with the Roomba j7 generally achieving slightly higher averages overall. Despite sharing the same suction power, the j7 outperforms the i3 on both hard floors and carpets, including embedded debris on high-pile carpets. However, I found the difference isn’t substantial, with just a few percentage points separating them. In practice, both robots visibly perform well, efficiently picking up debris and leaving clean paths.
Both the Roomba i3 and j7 employ the Dual-Multi Surface Rubber Brushes, where one primary brush works to loosen dirt and debris, making it easier to vacuum up, while the other brush sweeps the loosened particles into the vacuum’s intake. This dual-brush system is the secret behind their efficient carpet cleaning performance, ensuring your carpets stay clean and dirt-free.
What sets these dual brushes apart is that they’re crafted from rubber rather than the typical bristle material. This design tweak prevents hair from tangling in the roller. If you have a furry pet at home, you’ll likely notice that their fur rarely causes any issues. However, the long hair may still wrap around the roller and axles, so keep an eye on that.
Fortunately, this design choice simplifies the cleaning process. All you need to do is take out the brushes, remove the hair from the roller or axles, and then reinsert the brushes.
In addition to their main brushes, they both feature a useful Edge-Sweeping Brush that diligently tackles the hard-to-reach nooks, crannies, and walls. However, while these side brushes are effective, they can sometimes scatter debris. Interestingly, I noticed this occurring more frequently with the i3 compared to the j7. Have any of you encountered a similar situation?
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|≈ 95.3%||≈ 96.65%|
Both the Roomba i3 and Roomba j7 deliver respectable performance on bare floors. They’re pretty good at tackling larger debris like cereal and have no trouble with smaller stuff like rice.
But they’re not perfect, and sometimes the side brush can accidentally nudge bigger bits around, making them hard to catch. So, don’t expect a flawless performance, but overall, they get the job done pretty darn well on bare floors.
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|Low-pile carpet||≈ 96.22%||≈ 96.92%|
|High-pile carpet||≈ 84.7%||≈ 85.75%|
When it comes to carpets, both the Roomba i3 and Roomba j7 deliver fairly similar performances, although it’s not quite as impressive as I had expected. When dealing with larger debris, they perform decently, but things get a bit tricky when it comes to finer materials like baking soda.
Now, on to high-pile carpets. If it is bigger debris, they’ll handle it fine. But if your home is all about the plush, high-pile carpets and there’s a ton of fine debris lurking, be ready to give these bots some extra passes to really get the job done right.
Hair Wrap Comparison
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|5 inch||≈ 59%||≈ 59%|
|7 inch||≈ 73%||≈ 70%|
It’s a fact that their brush rolls handle pet hair without any tangling issues. However, when we talk about long human hair, the story takes a turn. Both of them struggled to pick up a significant percentage of both 5 and 7-inch hair strands. So, if you’re dealing with long hair, these bots might not be your best bet, as a substantial amount tends to wrap around their axles.
Now, here’s the silver lining: dealing with hair wrapped around the axles is actually easier to clean compared to hair tangled in traditional bristle brushes. This is one advantage their dual rubber extractors bring to the table when it comes to maintenance.
Design & Usability
The Winner: Roomba j7
Shape & Dimension
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|Dimensions (WxH)||13.26 x 3.63 inches||13.3 x 3.4 inches|
|Weight||7.44 lbs.||7.49 lbs.|
Like most of the robot vacuums out there, the Roomba i3 and j7 rock have classic circular shapes. And they look pretty modern and sleek in their design, too.
The i3 tips the scales at a hair under 7.44 pounds, while the j7, weighs a teeny bit more at 7.49 pounds. Now, when it comes to height, the j7 takes the low road with 3.4 inches, while the i3 stands a tad taller at 3.6 inches. Shorter vacuums like the j7 can wiggle into tight spots under furniture and all that jazz. But honestly, the difference is not big, and I’ve never seen either of these machines get stuck under my furniture.
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|Run Time||70-75 mins||85 mins|
|Charging Time||3 hours||2 hours|
The Roomba j7 packs a 2210 mAh battery, while the i3 rolls with an 1800 mAh battery. As a result, the j7 can run for about 85 minutes, a bit longer than the i3, which lasts around 75 minutes. It’s not a massive gap, but every extra minute counts, right?
However, for me, battery life is no longer a deal-breaker because if the i3 or j7 start running low on battery while they’re in the middle of a cleaning session, they’re no quitters. Nope, they’ll hightail it back to their charging base, juice up until they’re fully recharged, hop back out, and keep on cleaning. They’ll do this as many times as needed until the whole area is clean. That’s what we call the “recharge and resume” feature.
|Roomba i3||Roomba j7|
|On carpet||59.5 dBA||57.5 dBA|
|On hardwood||63.8 dBA||63.0 dBA|
Roomba i3 and j7 operate at a reasonable noise level. Even in their most powerful suction mode, I can still hear nearby conversations while they’re running. On hard surfaces, they can be a bit louder due to the spinning brushes, but carpets help dampen the sound.
However, regardless of how quiet or loud they may be, listening to their continuous humming for extended periods before waking up in the morning isn’t an ideal soundscape. As a result, I typically schedule their cleaning sessions to coincide with the times when I’m away from home. This way, I can return to a freshly cleaned space without having to endure the noise during my downtime.
Navigation & Obstacle Avoidance
The navigation technology of the Roomba j7 is a cut above that of the Roomba i3.
The j7 has a front camera that helps it identify various kinds of objects that typically clutter floors. When the j7 spots one of these potential obstacles, it simply changes its path to avoid them. So, if you are a pet owner or have a hectic schedule that doesn’t leave much time for decluttering, Roomba j7 is the best companion. With the j7, you can breathe easy – it’s got your back!
The navigation tech of Roomba i3 is much more basic. There’s no camera at all, it just uses the gyroscope and an optical sensor down at the robot’s base for navigation. And of course, it doesn’t have obstacle avoidance skills. So, if you’ve got pets or your place tends to be a bit cluttered, you might run into some trouble. The Roomba i3 won’t sidestep obstacles; it’ll just plow right through them. So, if you buy a Roomba i3, make sure you tidy up before you let it loose for a cleaning session.
The camera gives the j7 a precise map of your home by pinpointing its location in relation to the furniture pieces. This fancy mapping ability unlocked some nifty features like the handy “keep out zones” and “clean zones” that Roomba i3 does not have.
The Winner: Roomba j7
For all the app and voice control magic, both the i3 and the j7 crave a dose of good Wi-Fi. No Wi-Fi? No problem. You can still power them up and kickstart a cleaning session using the buttons on the robots themselves. However, you won’t be able to access the full spectrum of features the app has offered.
Specifically, the user interface of Roomba i3 includes:
- Home Button
- Light Ring Indicator
- CLEAN/Power Button
- Spot Clean Button.
The j7’s user interface is somehow more basic than the Roomba i3, it only consists of a button and the light ring indicator that surrounds it.
App Compatible & Mapping
While both versions can be managed through the iRobot Home app, the Roomba j7 provides access to a wider range of features compared to the Roomba i3.
Once these clever robots have scanned your home’s layout, they provide detailed virtual maps that allow you to label, devise, and merge rooms as you please. If you prefer to clean only specific rooms, both the Roomba i3 and j7 can accommodate that request. These smart mapping features are shared by both models. These are the only extent of the smart map features available on the Roomba i3.
Ah, the Roomba j7 can save up to 10 different maps, while the Roomba i3 is limited to just 1 map. So, if you’ve got a multi-story home or a tricky layout, the j7 is the way to go for added convenience.
Moreover, with its front-mounted camera and VSLAM technology, the Roomba j7 offers additional practical features that the Roomba i3 lacks. These include the ability to set Keep-out zones and Clean zones, which can be very useful for customized cleaning.
The Keep-out zones feature allows you to draw boxes to mark areas where the robot shouldn’t go. This is especially useful if you have pets or little ones around, as it keeps the robot out of those areas.
You can also create “Clean zones” to specify areas where you want the robot to focus on thorough cleaning. For instance, I often set my Roomba j7 to pay extra attention to my pet’s feeding area, where there’s usually more debris to clean up.
Another incredibly handy feature I appreciate while using the app is the obstacle avoidance feature. With the “obstacle areas” tab within the app, you can categorize obstacles as either permanent or temporary. Opting for the permanent designation automatically generates keep-out zones. This feature takes obstacle avoidance to a whole new level.
Both the Roomba i3 and j7 worked perfectly with Alexa and Google Assistant. I love how I can start and stop cleaning runs with just simple voice commands.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The Winner: Tie
It’s interesting to know that both the Roomba i3 and j7 have identical dustbins with a 400 ml capacity. I tried swapping these containers between the two models, and there were no issues. However, it’s important to mention that the 400ml volume may be considered small for those who have pets or need to clean larger areas.
This capacity becomes more of a concern since neither of these robots comes with self-cleaning bases or automatic disposal systems. What you receive is a standard charging dock – no fancy auto dust disposal included. So, you’ll have to manually empty their dustbins when they fill up.
While the Roomba i3 and j7 do not include the Clean Base, they are both compatible with this accessory. If you own either of these models and find manually emptying the dustbin a chore, you have the option to purchase the Clean Base separately.
The Winner: Roomba i3
Price is undoubtedly a deciding factor, given the substantial difference in cost between these two models.
If budget-friendliness is your top priority and you can overlook the navigational limitations, the i3 presents a compelling choice. While it lacks advanced smart mapping features, it doesn’t compromise on its cleaning performance.
On the other hand, if you prioritize top-notch obstacle avoidance, advanced features, and cutting-edge technology, the j7 is a clear choice.
When evaluating these models, it’s important to consider more than just the price tag. In a fair and realistic comparison, the i3 may seem like a budget-friendly option. However, when you factor in the overall quality and features, I firmly believe that the investment in the j7 is justified – you truly get what you pay for.
Quick Rundown Of Roomba j7
- CLEANS WHEN & WHERE YOU WANT– Only iRobot brings you Imprint Smart Mapping allowing you to control & schedule which rooms are cleaned and when, while storing multiple maps for easier cleaning on each level of your home; Plus customizable Keep Out Zones and Clean Zones allow you to tell them the exact area to avoid and clean
- DOESN'T GET HUNG UP; JUST GETS IT DONE; - A full suite of advanced sensors allow this robot to navigate under and around furniture, and along edges, while Cliff Detect keeps it from falling down the stairs
- SET TO AUTOMATICALLY CLEAN WHEN YOU'RE AWAY - Now with iRobot Genius, you can choose to set your robot to automatically start cleaning when you leave and stop when you come home, so you only notice the clean and never the cleaning
- Only iRobot brings you Imprint Smart Mapping allowing you to control and schedule which rooms are cleaned and when, while storing multiple maps for easier cleaning on each level of your home; Plus customizable Keep Out Zones and Clean Zones allow you to tell them the exact area to avoid and clean
Quick Rundown Of Roomba i3
- POWERFUL CLEANING—SCHEDULED AROUND YOUR LIFE - Whether you’re relaxing at home or out enjoying life, Roomba i3 EVO takes care of dirt and messes with a Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System and 10x the Power-Lifting Suction*. *Compared to Roomba 600 series.Runtime : 75 minutes
- CLEAN BY ROOM, YOU’RE IN CONTROL - Roomba i3 EVO learns your home and creates an Imprint Smart Map so you can direct it to clean any room you want, any time you want—either on a set schedule or in the moment.
- CLEANING IN TIDY ROWS - Cleans intelligently in straight lines back and forth, to thoroughly clean your floors while navigating around furniture. When the i3 EVO needs to recharge, it will resume right where it left off ensuring a complete clean. Charger : 120V and 60 Hz
- FOCUSED CLEANING - Patented Dirt Detect Technology allows the Roomba i3 EVO to detect dirtier areas of your home and clean them more thoroughly. Integrated sensors tell the robot where it can and can’t fit, so it doesn’t get stuck under furniture.
- PERFECT FOR HOMES WITH PETS - Instead of using a single bristle brush, Roomba i3 EVO uses Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that flex to adjust to different floor types and avoid getting tangled with pet hair.
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Richard B. Schmidt is a prominent figure in the vacuum cleaner industry, boasting over 15 years of expertise. Armed with a Robotics Engineering degree from Northeastern University and a Master’s in Consumer Science from Harvard, his unique blend of technical knowledge and consumer insights positions him as a sought-after authority in vacuum cleaner evaluation. Richard’s career began at Dyson, where he contributed to the development of innovative vacuum models. Transitioning to advocacy and reviews, he co-founded the first Vacuum-focused blog in 2008, offering comprehensive analysis and user guides for various vacuum cleaners. In 2020, he founded RoboMop.net, providing ongoing insights through columns and buyer’s guides.