Roomba i4 vs i8: Which Robot Vacuum Is Better?

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Choosing between the Roomba i4 vs i8 can indeed be a challenge, especially since these models are exclusive to Costco members, limiting the available information. However, this article aims to provide you with all the essential details you need to make an informed decision and find the right vacuum cleaner for your needs.

If I choose, I go for the Roomba i8. Both of them have impressive cleaning performance, but I found the i8 a little bit better. While it comes with a higher price tag, it offers a more advanced cleaning experience with its superior navigation technology and broader range of app functions.

The Roomba i4 is a compelling option for budget-conscious shoppers. It still delivers impressive cleaning performance. But you don’t have the bells and whistles found in the i8.

Roomba i4 vs i8: Comparison Chart

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THE WINNER (#1)
iRobot Roomba i8+ (8550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum, Automatic Dirt Disposal, Empties Itself for up to 60 Days, Wi-Fi, Smart Mapping, Compatible with Alexa, Medium Silver
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
iRobot Roomba i4 EVO Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum – Clean by Room with Smart Mapping Compatible with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpet and Hard Floors
Model
Roomba i8
Roomba i4
Dimensions (W x H)/Weight
13.26 x 3.63/7.44 lbs.
13.26 x 3.63/7.44 lbs.
Suction Power
1700 Pa
1700 Pa
Brushroll
Dual Rubber Brushes
Dual Rubber Brushes
Edge-Sweeping Brush
Dust Tank Capacity
400 mL
400 mL
Self-Empty
Yes, with Clean Base sold separately
Yes, with Clean Base sold separately
Battery Capacity
2210 mAh lithium-ion
2210 mAH
Run Time/Charging Time
80-100 minutes/ 3 hours
80-100 minutes/ 3 hours
Recharge & Resume
Navigation Technology
Front Camera + Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
Obstacle Avoidance
Keep Out Zones
Yes
No (But it comes with a Virtual Wall)
Number of Saving Map
10
1
Schedule
Compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant
What I Like
Price
$549.99
$297.99
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
iRobot Roomba i8+ (8550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum, Automatic Dirt Disposal, Empties Itself for up to 60 Days, Wi-Fi, Smart Mapping, Compatible with Alexa, Medium Silver
Model
Roomba i8
Dimensions (W x H)/Weight
13.26 x 3.63/7.44 lbs.
Suction Power
1700 Pa
Brushroll
Dual Rubber Brushes
Edge-Sweeping Brush
Dust Tank Capacity
400 mL
Self-Empty
Yes, with Clean Base sold separately
Battery Capacity
2210 mAh lithium-ion
Run Time/Charging Time
80-100 minutes/ 3 hours
Recharge & Resume
Navigation Technology
Front Camera + Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
Obstacle Avoidance
Keep Out Zones
Yes
Number of Saving Map
10
Schedule
Compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant
What I Like
Price
$549.99
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
iRobot Roomba i4 EVO Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum – Clean by Room with Smart Mapping Compatible with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpet and Hard Floors
Model
Roomba i4
Dimensions (W x H)/Weight
13.26 x 3.63/7.44 lbs.
Suction Power
1700 Pa
Brushroll
Dual Rubber Brushes
Edge-Sweeping Brush
Dust Tank Capacity
400 mL
Self-Empty
Yes, with Clean Base sold separately
Battery Capacity
2210 mAH
Run Time/Charging Time
80-100 minutes/ 3 hours
Recharge & Resume
Navigation Technology
Gyroscope + Optical Sensor
Obstacle Avoidance
Keep Out Zones
No (But it comes with a Virtual Wall)
Number of Saving Map
1
Schedule
Compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant
What I Like
Price
$297.99
More Info

Roomba i4 vs i8: Differences

The Roomba i8 clearly comes out on top in this showdown against the Roomba i4, with a final score of 3-1 and 1 tie. Stay tuned as we delve into the details and uncover the key distinctions between these two remarkable robot vacuums.

Cleaning Performance

The Winner: Roomba i8

Hard Floor

Roomba i4Roomba i8
≈ 96%≈ 98%

If you’re in the market for a robot vacuum suitable for homes with a lot of hard flooring, you can’t miss with either the Roomba i4 or i8. They seemed to pick up almost all visible dirt floor from small to large debris on my hardwood easily.

Both the Roomba i4 and i8 are outfitted with a handy side brush designed to reach into tight corners and sweep debris along walls. This brush’s intended purpose is to transfer debris from the outer edges of the vacuum’s path to be efficiently collected by the main brushroll.

However, it’s worth noting that at times, these side brushes can inadvertently scatter debris in their efforts. Although the vacuum may make additional passes (or not) to ensure a thorough cleanup, I couldn’t help but feel a bit perplexed by the occasional debris dispersal.

Carpet 

Roomba i4Roomba i8
Low-pile carpet≈ 96%≈ 96%
High-pile carpet ≈ 85%≈ 86%

When dealing with carpets, both the Roomba i4 and Roomba i8 showcase fairly equivalent performances. But their efficiency on carpets doesn’t quite match their effectiveness on hard surfaces.

Their performance on low-pile carpets is consistently impressive, effectively managing both fine and large debris. However, when transitioning to medium and high-pile carpets, they encounter some difficulties although they persist until they finish the job.

During their initial cleaning sessions, I noticed they didn’t perform up to par. However, in my experiment to test their performance after a week of daily cleaning, I was delighted to observe that the Roombas successfully managed to clear away around 90 percent of dog hair, dirt, and debris.

These Roombas are highly effective at picking up dirt and debris that’s on the surface of carpets. Yet, when faced with the task of deep cleaning high-pile carpets or tackling deeply embedded debris, their performance might not meet your expectations.

If you have high-pile carpets in your home, you might consider opting for the Roomba s9 or Roomba s9+ models, as they offer 40x suction power, enabling them to provide a more thorough and deep cleaning experience.

Hair Pick-up 

Roomba i4Roomba i8
5 inch Strands≈ 59% ≈ 59%
7 inch Strands≈ 73%≈ 70% 

The Roomba i4 and i8 both sport the Dual-Multi Surface Rubber Brushes that claim to be tangle-resistant. But let me tell you, in real-life testing, they ain’t completely tangle-proof, no siree!

Initially, I was quite impressed with how these Roombas tackled human hair on my floors. They seemed to gobble up all the hair, leaving me pleasantly surprised. But when I flipped those machines over, lo and behold, I discovered that a whopping 50 to 70% of that hair had wound itself around their side brushes, brush rolls, and axles.

So, folks, don’t let yourselves be fooled. Be diligent and check on your robots regularly, giving them a good once-over to manually extract that entangled hair. Fortunately, the rubber design of these brush rolls made the hair removal process a walk in the park compared to the old-school bristle brushes.

Pesky fur gets stuck at the entrance of Roomba i4 vs i8's dirt compartment.
Pesky fur gets stuck at the entrance of Roomba i4 vs i8’s dirt compartment.

When it comes to dealing with pet hair, the iRobot Roomba i4 and i8 put on quite a show. They excel at picking up pet hair and depositing it neatly into the dustbin, without any of that annoying hair entanglement around the brush roll. 

But, and here’s the catch, their performance with pet hair can be a tad inconsistent. It seems that the pesky fur sometimes gets stuck at the entrance to their dirt compartment. This is why, on occasion, you might discover a few persistent clumps of fur that managed to slip through their fingers.

Design & Usability

The Winner: Roomba i8

Dimensions, Weight & Aesthetics 

Roomba i4Roomba i8
Dimensions (WxH)13.26 x 3.6 inches13.26 x 3.6 inches
Weight7.44 lbs.7.44 lbs.

Both the Roomba i4 and i8 have the familiar circular design found in many Roomba models, offering a low profile of 3.6 inches in height. This low profile enables them to effortlessly slip under most tables, couches, and chairs, and they can climb thicker-pile carpets without much difficulty.

Roomba i4 and i8 can slip under most furnitures
Roomba i4 and i8 can slip under most furnitures

However, the circular shape does have a minor drawback when it comes to the edge-sweeping brush’s performance. While it generally does a decent job, there are times when I’ve had to manually clear debris from room corners. 

If you prefer a robot vacuum that excels in this regard, you might want to consider the D-shaped Roomba s9 or Roomba s9+. The unique D shape allows the s9 to hug walls and corners more closely, allowing its edge brush to be highly effective. Keep in mind that the Roomba s9+ is a premium model and comes with advanced features, so the enhanced design is no surprise.

Both the Roomba i4 and i8 share a similar weight, tipping the scales at 7.44 pounds. This weight makes them quite portable and easy to carry to different areas of your home, whether it’s another room or a different floor. I found it convenient to move them around, and I didn’t experience any arm fatigue when carrying them up or down stairs.

What’s even more convenient with the Roomba i8 is its integrated carrying handle. This feature adds an extra layer of ease when transporting it to various cleaning spots throughout your home.

Battery Life 

Roomba i4Roomba i8
Run Time80-100 Minutes80-100 Minutes
Charging Time3 hours3 hours

The Roomba i4 and i8 share another similarity in the battery department. They both feature a 2210 mAh lithium-ion battery that provides a runtime of approximately 80-100 minutes. I can’t provide an exact number because their runtime can vary depending on various factors such as the type of surface, the age of the battery, and more. 

The recharge and resume feature is a game-changer. When these Roomba is running low on battery, they intelligently pauses its cleaning, heads back to the docking station to recharge, and then resumes cleaning from where they left off. This feature effectively eliminates any concerns about battery life because it ensures that your entire floor gets cleaned, regardless of the initial battery charge. 

Both Roomba i4 and i8 have recharge and resume feature
Both Roomba i4 and i8 have recharge and resume feature

The interesting distinction here is that the Roomba i8 charges only enough to complete its current cleaning cycle, whereas the Roomba i4 goes for a full charge. Personally, I appreciate this about the i8 because it means I don’t have to wait around for six hours or more to complete its cleaning job. 

Nevertheless, battery life can still be a significant factor if you have an extra large floor plan. Even with the recharge and resume feature, nobody wants to wait around “all day” for the robot vacuum to complete its cleaning cycle. So, while this feature is helpful, I can’t help but wish for longer battery life on these two robots.

Navigation & Obstacle Avoidance 

The difference in navigation technology is another key factor to consider. Once again, the Roomba i8 excels in this department, thanks to its more advanced navigation technology.

The navigation technology in the Roomba i4 is quite basic, relying on a floor sensor located on its underside. What I praise is that it moves in an organized and systematic manner, cleaning an entire level of your home in orderly rows instead of going in miscellaneous directions. It does not have a camera. It’s a bit of a pity, but there is also a benefit: you can let it run even in total darkness.

Roomba i4’s navigation system consists of a gyroscope and an optical sensor
Roomba i4’s navigation system consists of a gyroscope and an optical sensor

The Roomba i8 comes with a camera and a floor sensor to navigate and create a smart map of your home and clean it methodically. No more erratic bumping and random turns. However, it requires some light in the rooms for its cameras and sensors to function optimally, so using it in a pitch-dark room overnight might not be the best idea. But honestly, that’s not a deal-breaker for me because I don’t plan to run the robot vacuum while I’m trying to catch some Zs.

By using its cameras, the Roomba i8 incorporates obstacle avoidance into its bag of tricks. It’s pretty good at detecting and steering clear of low-profile objects like bowls, shoes, toys, socks, and pet poop (although it’s not 100% reliable). If you have a furry friend who occasionally leaves surprises indoors, you’d think twice about choosing this Roomba.

I decided to put it to the test by placing some fake poop in its path, and to my surprise (and dismay), it plowed straight into the faux mess. I shudder to think what would happen if we trusted it to dodge the real deal. To avoid such a “crappy” situation, I’d highly recommend checking out the Roomba j7 or Roomba j7+ with P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise).

Control

The Winner: Roomba i8

Manual Control

These buttons come in handy when I want to control the vacuum directly on the robot itself, especially when there’s no Wi-Fi connection available or when I don’t have my phone in hand to control it through the app. However, the features that you can do with these physical buttons are limited to basic tasks.

Roomba i4 vs i8: User Interface
Roomba i4 vs i8: User Interface

You will see 3 buttons on their user interface: 

  • “Spot Cleaning” for cleaning a specific area.
  • “Home” to initiate the return to the homebase.
  • “Clean” to start or stop the cleaning job.

It’s pretty cool that we can also control them with voice commands. They’re compatible with popular voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Siri.

App Compatible & Mapping 

The Roomba i8 takes things up a notch by introducing features such as “Keep out zones” and “Clean zones,” which are not available on the Roomba i4’s app. 

I found the Keep-out zones feature really handy. What is it? When you want the vacuum to stay away from some areas like pet feeding area or kid’s play area, just draw boxes around those areas on the map. 

The Roomba i4 may lack the app feature mentioned above, but iRobot compensates for this by including a nifty addition in the package: the Virtual Wall. Just place it where you want the i4 to avoid, and voila, you’ve essentially established a physical “keep out zone.”

Roomba i4's Virtual Wall creates the physical version of Keep out zone
Roomba i4’s Virtual Wall creates the physical version of Keep out zone

Roomba i8 also has a Virtual Wall in its package. Many people think that it is really redundant given the presence of the Keep Out Zone feature in its app. But to me, this addition is still very worthwhile.

To add the icing on the cake, the i8 can save up to 10 floor plans. This means that if your home spans multiple floors, you can easily move the i8 to different levels. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t possess the ability to climb stairs just yet. But don’t fret, it comes equipped with cliff detection sensors to prevent accidental falls down the stairs.

This ability is incredibly handy because it saves you a ton of time. It doesn’t have to relearn different floor layouts every time you move it to a new floor. We all know that initial mapping can be time-consuming. 

If you opt for the Roomba i4, you may run into that hiccup because it can only store 1 map. So, switching between floors could mean retraining it each time.

Cleaning & Maintenance

The Winner: Tie

The Roomba i4 and i8 both come with dustbins that have a 400 ml capacity, and let’s be frank, that’s on the smaller side. If you have pets that shed a lot, get ready to hit the pause button and empty the bin multiple times during each cleaning cycle. It can be a bit of a hassle. But fear not, there’s a solution – the Clean Base. This handy device offers automatic dust disposal. You can buy this Clean Base separately easily. 

Alternatively, you can consider the Roomba i4+ and Roomba i8+ versions, which are identical except that they come with a Clean Base included.

Price & Available

The Winner: Roomba i4

Roomba i4 and Roomba i8 are exclusive options on Costco. However, there’s good news for those who prefer shopping on Amazon – the Roomba i4 is now available on Amazon as well. It’s possible that Roomba i8 may become available on Amazon in the future, but for now, it’s still a Costco exclusive.

The Roomba i8 comes with a higher price tag compared to the i4, but it justifies that cost with a range of advanced features. These include improved navigation, a wider array of app functions, and the added convenience of multi-floor mapping storage.

Conversely, the Roomba i4 takes a budget-friendly approach by omitting some of the premium features found in its more expensive sibling. This results in a significantly lower price. Despite its affordability, the Roomba i4 maintains excellent cleaning performance.

Quick Rundown of Roomba i8

iRobot Roomba i8+ (8550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum, Automatic Dirt Disposal, Empties Itself for up to 60 Days, Wi-Fi, Smart Mapping, Compatible with Alexa, Medium Silver
  • POWERFUL PERFORMANCE & POWERFUL PICK-UP - Pulls in stubborn dirt & messes with a Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System & 10X the Power-Lifting Suction.
  • GUIDED BY SERIOUS SMARTS - With vSLAM navigation, the i8+ learns the layout of your home & builds personal Smart Maps, enabling it to expertly clean & navigate in neat, efficient rows. If it’s running low on battery, it recharges & resumes cleaning.
  • COMPLETE CONTROL OF YOUR CLEAN - With Smart Mapping, your robot knows your kitchen from your living room, so you can decide where it cleans & when. With Keep Out Zones, your robot knows to avoid sensitive areas like pet bowls or play areas.
Pros
  • Its cleaning performance on most surface types is very good. 
  • It has impressive mapping capabilities. 
  • The Smart Maps section allows you to save up to 10 maps.
  • It has the Smart recharge and resume feature.
Cons
  • Small dustbin, and you have to empty it manually.
  • The long hair gets tangled around the brush roll.

Quick Rundown of Roomba i4

Sale
iRobot Roomba i4 EVO Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum – Clean by Room with Smart Mapping Compatible with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpet and Hard Floors
  • 20% LARGER BATTERY – Larger battery for extended runtime. Compared to other Roomba i series Robot Vacuums
  • CLEANS THE ROOMS YOU WANT WHEN YOU WANT - iRobot OS learns and personalizes your cleaning with Imprint Smart Mapping technology so you can direct it to clean any room you want, any time you want—either on a set schedule or in the moment.
  • SWEEPS UP DUST, DIRT AND DEBRIS WITH EASE - Experience a comprehensive clean with the powerful 3-Stage Cleaning System that pulls in dirt, debris, and pet hair from wherever it hides.
  • PRECISION CLEANING IN TIDY ROWS - Cleans intelligently in straight lines back and forth, to thoroughly clean your floors while navigating around furniture. When it needs to recharge, it will resume right where it left off ensuring a complete clean.
  • FOCUSES ON DIRT - iRobot's Patented Dirt Detect Technology allows the Roomba i4 EVO robot to detect dirtier areas of your home and clean them more thoroughly.
Pros
  • Its dual roller design does a great job of vacuuming both carpets and hardwood floors. 
  • Removable rubber brush rolls are great for pet hair.
  • The build quality is really good.
  • It is a more budget-friendly option.
Cons
  • It only offers basic mapping capabilities.
  • The Smart Maps section allows you to save only 1 map.

Product Videos

Related Articles to Roomba I7

  1. Roomba i4 vs i7: Choosing The Ideal Robot Vacuum For Your Home
  2. Roomba i3 vs i7: Which Robot Vacuum Is Right For You?
  3. Roborock S7 Vs Roomba I7: Which Will Win The Battle Of Performance?
  4. iRobot I7 Vs S9: Which High-End iRobot Roomba is Better?

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