When it comes to the Roomba i4 vs j7, the clear winner in my book is the Roomba j7.
Roomba j7 belongs to iRobot’s Premium line, so it certainly has more advanced points than Roomba i4 to deserve to be the winner. The best part is that the Roomba j7 has obstacle avoidance, while the Roomba i4 lacks. Additionally, it allows us to create Keep-out Out Zones and Clean Zones which I personally find extremely valuable. Of course, to get these features, you have to pay more for the Roomba j7 than for the Roomba i4. But I find it completely worth your investment, especially when you have pets or cluttered homes.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly robot vacuum, the Roomba i4 is a solid choice without compromising cleaning performance. But it does miss out on some of the advanced features and obstacle avoidance capabilities found in the Roomba j7. To make up for the absence of the Keep Out Zone feature, it includes a Virtual Wall. Overall, it’s a cost-effective option for those seeking efficient cleaning without breaking the bank.
Roomba i4 vs j7: Comparison Chart
Roomba i4 vs j7: Differences
The Roomba j7 comes out on top in the showdown against the Roomba i4, claiming a clear victory with a final score of 3-1 and 1 tie. Stay with me as we delve into the details and explore the differences between these two robot vacuums.
The Winner: Roomba j7
I’ve tested both the Roomba i4 and Roomba j7 on bare floors, and they both perform admirably. They handle larger debris like cereal with ease and have no trouble picking up smaller items like rice.
However, occasionally the side brush can push larger debris around rather than push it to the main brush’s cleaning path.
Overall, while they might not deliver a flawless performance, they still manage to do a pretty darn good job on bare floors.
Let’s dive into the carpet test with the Roomba i4 and Roomba j7. I was expecting some mind-blowing performances, but it turns out they’re just good, not great. Both of these bots come equipped with nifty dual multi-surface rubberized rollers that do a pretty decent job of stirring things up on carpets, allowing them to suck up the mess more easily.
When it comes to handling larger debris, they’re on point. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, like dealing with fine stuff such as baking soda, things get a tad tricky.
When it comes to tackling the challenge of high-pile carpets, the Roomba i4 and Roomba j7 manage to suck up large debris just fine. However, if your home is all adorned with high-pile, fluffy carpets and there’s an abundance of fine debris hidden within, be prepared to give these bots a bit of extra time and a few more passes to ensure they thoroughly clean up every dust and debris.
During my hair removal tests with the Roomba i4 and Roomba i7, I noticed their impressive ability to pick up 5-inch hair strands, although they did struggle a bit with 10-inch ones.
However, the longer hair did get entangled in their rollers and axles, so I always check and untangle them after each cleaning session. The good news is that dealing with hair wrapped around their rolls and axles is much simpler than untangling it from traditional bristle brushes, thanks to the dual rubber extractors, making maintenance a breeze.
Design & Usability
The Winner: Roomba j7
Shape & Dimension
|13.26 x 3.63 inches
|13.3 x 3.4 inches
Both the Roomba i4 and j7 have the classic circular design that’s typical of iRobot’s robot vacuums. They look pretty sleek and modern.
In terms of weight, the i4 is just under 7.44 pounds, while the j7 weighs a bit more at 7.49 pounds. They’re both lightweight, so I can easily carry them around without any hassle. The Roomba j7 even has a handy carrying handle, which makes it even more convenient.
When it comes to height, the j7 is shorter at 3.4 inches, while the i4 stands a bit taller at 3.6 inches. Although the j7 has a lower profile, the difference in height isn’t significant, and both of them can easily slip under my furniture, and they’ve never gotten stuck.
I’m a big fan of their Dual-Multi Surface Rubber Brush system. I’ve noticed that having two brush rolls sets them apart from vacuum cleaners with just one brush roll, and it translates to better performance in my experience. However, these dual brushes allow them to handle various surface types.
To be more specific, one of these brushes is responsible for loosening dirt and debris, making it a breeze for the vacuum to pick them up, while the other brush then sweeps these loosened particles into the vacuum’s intake.
Moreover, their brush rolls are made from rubber instead of the traditional bristle material. If you have a furry pet at home, you’ll likely experience fewer issues with their fur becoming tangled. However, you still need to keep an eye out for the possibility of long hair wrapping around the roller and axles. Thankfully, removing the tangled hair is quite easy thanks to this rubber design.
Alongside their main brushes, both models come equipped with an Edge-Sweeping Brush that serves the purpose of reaching challenging corners, crevices, and walls. However, they tend to occasionally scatter debris around.
Both the Roomba j7 and Roomba i4 come equipped with a 2210mAh battery, allowing them to operate for approximately 100 minutes. It’s worth noting, though, that this runtime is achievable primarily in low-power mode. If you switch to max power or auto mode, the battery will understandably deplete at a faster rate.
However, the battery life concern isn’t a major issue for me because both the i4 and j7 feature the “Recharge and Resume” capability. When they run low on battery during a cleaning session, they autonomously return to their charging base, recharge, and then resume cleaning from where they left off.
So, whether your home is compact or sprawling, you can count on these Roomba models to get the job done and ensure no spot is left untouched.
Navigation & Obstacle Avoidance
The j7 uses a front camera to navigate and identify objects. When this smart vacuum spots potential obstacles like my kids’ scattered toys, it deftly alters its path to steer clear of them, preventing any accidental mishaps.
Additionally, it’s a real lifesaver with pet accidents. If my dog has an unexpected “oops” moment, the vacuum detects it and avoids the mess, saving me from a messy cleanup. This feature takes the stress out of vacuuming and keeps my floors spotless, even in the midst of daily life’s little surprises.
The Roomba i4 doesn’t rely on cameras like the Roomba j7; instead, it uses a gyroscope and an optical sensor underneath to navigate and clean following a methodical, organized, row-by-row pattern. While it may not boast the advanced features of the Roomba j7, it’s a significant upgrade from the bump-and-go style of the older Roomba 600 series.
The Roomba i4 lacks obstacle avoidance capabilities, which means it won’t gracefully navigate around obstacles like pet waste or clutter. Instead, it’ll simply crush on them. So, if you’re considering the Roomba i4, you should tidy up your floor before letting it run.
The Winner: Roomba j7
You access their functions directly via a set of buttons.
Specifically, the user interface of Roomba i4 includes:
- Home Button
- Light Ring Indicator
- CLEAN/Power Button
- Spot Clean Button.
Meanwhile, the j7 only has a single button: tap it once to start cleaning, tap it again to stop, or press and hold it to let it return to its charging station.
App Compatible & Mapping
Once you’ve got these robot vacuums synced up with the app, you’re in for some remote control action and a treasure trove of advanced features. While the i4 and j7 can both be bossed around via the iRobot Home app, it’s worth noting that the Roomba j7 offers a bit of a fancier buffet of features compared to the i4.
After these smart robots have done their home scan, your home floor plan is shown on the app. Then you can label, divide, and merge rooms.
Moreover, you have the ability to instruct Roomba i4 or j7 to clean specific rooms. Say I’ve just finished baking a batch of cookies in the kitchen, and there are crumbs everywhere. Rather than cleaning all of my house, I simply use the app to target the kitchen area, and my trusty robot takes care of the cleanup.
Roomba j7 is also more convenient than Roomba i4 when it comes to saving maps. It can save up to 10 different maps, while the Roomba i4 is limited to just 1 map. For a multi-story house, thanks to the j7’s ability to save multiple maps, it effortlessly switches between floors without rescanning the floor.
The Roomba j7’s front camera and VSLAM tech bring some seriously cool features to the table. Here are a couple of practical examples of how they’ve made my life easier:
Clean Zones: I have a couple of furry friends who love to eat in their designated spots, and they always drop food on the floor. With the j7, I can set up Clean Zones around their bowls to keep these places always clean.
Keep Out Zones: It is incredibly handy as it lets you create virtual boundaries to keep the robot out of specific areas. I personally use this feature to set up Keep-out Zones around my display shelves and delicate decorations. Now, I don’t have to worry about the robot vacuum bumping into and damaged them.
The Roomba i4 doesn’t have this feature in its app. However, it makes up for it by including a Virtual Wall accessory in the package. Think of it as a physical version of a Keep Out Zone. You simply place it where you want to create a barrier and prevent the vacuum from going there.
Both the Roomba i4 and j7 seamlessly integrate with Alexa and Google Assistant, which is a feature I absolutely love. It’s so convenient to be able to start and stop cleaning runs with simple voice commands. Plus, it adds a touch of futuristic charm to my cleaning routine!
Cleaning & Maintenance
The Winner: Tie
Both the Roomba i4 and j7 come equipped with identical 400 ml dustbins. While this capacity is decent for regular cleaning tasks, it might feel a bit small for those with pets or larger areas to clean.
Neither of these robots offers the convenience of self-cleaning bases or automatic disposal systems. Instead, you’ll receive a standard charging dock without the fancy auto-dust disposal feature, which means you’ll need to manually empty their dust bins when they reach their capacity.
If you prefer a more hands-off approach, both models are compatible with the Clean Base accessory, which you can purchase separately. Alternatively, you can opt for the “plus” models, the Roomba i4+ and Roomba j7+, which include the Clean Base from the get-go for automated dust disposal.
The Winner: Roomba i4
When it comes to price, the Roomba i4 is a bit lighter on the wallet compared to the Roomba j7. The j7 is in the premium category, so it tends to come with a higher price tag. However, if you’re looking for advanced features like obstacle avoidance and more control options, the j7 might be worth the extra investment. But if you’re on a budget and still want a solid robot vacuum, the i4 is a great choice that won’t break the bank.
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 i4
- 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.
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- Roomba i4: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba_i4/I415020.html
- Roomba j7: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba-j7-robot-vacuum/J715020.html
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.