We will compare two Roomba products at opposite ends of the price spectrum: I3 and J7.
These models have a self-emptying function, but have different sales characteristics.
The I3 + is the cheapest Roomba robot with automatic emptying, while the J7 is their first model with a front camera that allows it to avoid objects better than any robot I’ve tested.
So which option is better? I underwent each of the strenuous tests to find out.
Overview of Roomba J7 + and I3 +
Roomba I3 +
- Air flow: 7.27 CFM
- Deep cleaning: 84.7%
- Navigation:Gyroscope + Optical sensor
- Self-emptying: Yes
- Bag capacity: 2.4 liters
- Net base station: Yes
- Navigation: Neat rows
- Save map: No
- Number of maps: ON
- Detention: Yes
- Keep out of zones: No
- Selective room cleaning: No
- Recharging and recovery: No
- Rubber extractors: Yes
- Trash capacity: 400 ml
- Side brush: One
- Battery: 1800 mAh Li-ion
- Runtime: 75 minutes
- Noise: 64.9 dB
- Air flow: 7.27 CFM
- Deep cleaning: 85.7%
- Navigation: Front camera + gyroscope + optical sensor
- Self-emptying: Yes
- Bag capacity: 2.4 liters
- Save map: Yes
- Number of maps: 10
- Detention: Yes
- Selective room cleaning: Yes
- Recharging and recovery: Yes
- Brush roller: Double rubber pullers
- Trash capacity: 400 ml
- Wiping: Yes
- Water tank capacity: ON
- Type: ON
- Side brush: One
- Battery: 2410 mAh Li-ion
- Runtime: 90 minutes
- Noise: 63 dB
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Introduction of Roomba J7 + and I3 +
iRobot was a pioneer in self-emptying robots and continued to expand its product line.
These two variants are examples of these extensions, and each brings something unique to the table.
Roomba I3 + is iRobot budget alternative to automatic robot emptying and its cheapest variant.
Although it moves in straight lines, it has no map storage function and no holding or selective room cleaning.
He relies heavily on a gyroscope and an optical sensor to track the location and perimeter of the area.
The Roomba J7 + is iRobot’s first front-camera robot capable of avoiding objects that other Roomba products cannot.
Another change is a clean base station. iRobot cut a good chunk out of its height and made up the difference by widening it.
Larger width does not matter because it is within the diameter of the robot.
Cheap Roomba automatic emptying option: Roomba I3 +
With the influx of cheap self-emptying robots, such as Yeedi Vac Station and Ultenic T10, iRobot had to develop its budget version in order to compete. So I3 + was introduced.
Unfortunately, this is the most basic iRobot self-emptying option, which lacks the bells and whistles you’ll see in the higher-end Roomba options.
You will notice that it does not have a camera located on the top, which is part of most Roomba products.
This omission means that it does not have intelligent VSLAM and imprint mappings. Therefore, it cannot save maps.
Not having a map saving feature means that consumers will not have access to zones or selective room cleaning.
It’s basically a smart robotic vacuum cleaner that can’t store maps.
However, one silver rim is that Roomba I3 + is more efficient than J7 + with navigation.
He completed the test run (small room) in approximately 22 minutes, more than 10 minutes faster than the J7.
I’m not sure how it will work in larger spaces, but its algorithm is much more decisive than the more expensive J7 in narrow spaces.
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The best obstacle-avoiding robot: Roomba J7 +
Ever since Ecovacs revealed it T8 AIVIMore brands have adopted some kind of obstacle avoidance technology into their products.
Roborock has S6 MaxV. Dream with L10 Pro and Z10 Proand Roomba now joins the fight with J7 +.
Here’s the kicker. It is perhaps the best obstacle avoidance robot of all.
It’s the first with a front camera and a combination of LEDs to help it avoid objects better than any robot I’ve tested.
LED helps Roomba J7 walk through dimly lit areas and help illuminate the path in front of the robot.
The iRobot algorithm is another advantage. It does not get too close to the object, which reduces the risk of contact with pet feces or tangling in wires.
In addition to the ability to avoid obstacles, the J7 retains most of the I-Series features.
It uses the same counter-rotating extractors and side brush without an upper camera.
Why not the top camera?
The front camera also serves as a navigation sensor. It works like the I6 and S9 cameras above.
Another improvement under the radar is a clean base station with a shorter stance.
iRobot cut a good chunk of its vertical size by expanding and providing plenty of storage space for another bag.
Similarities between Roomba J7 + and I3 +
In this section, we look at the similarities between these robots and there are many.
The most obvious is the shape and size. Both robots use a round frame, similar to most Roomba products.
2. Extractor and side brush layout
Since both have the same shape and dimensions, the brush layout for J7 and I3 is similar.
If you turn these robots over, it’s hard to tell each other because of the similar placement of the extractor and side brush.
The color of the side brush may look different, but the functionality remains the same.
3. Size and location of the bin
These products use the same bin, having the same volume (400 ml) and location (rear).
And it is possible to swap containers for both brands.
4. Motor and battery
J7 and I3 share the same engine and battery (1800 mAh). I say this because they both have the same airflow (7.27 CFM) and run time (75 minutes).
5. Automatic emptying of the bag
The J7 and I3 use the same bag, although they have a different-looking dock with automatic emptying.
So the glory of iRobot for making these components back and forth compatible.
There will be no problems with availability, as consumers can purchase I3 or I6 bags and will be suitable for J7.
6. Ramp style dock
These robots use a ramp dock, which I like because it offers better stability than a vertical port.
The ports are located on the right, which connect to a slot on the robot’s dustbin through which the dirt passes.
One of the differences is the pattern on J7, which is missing in I3. J7 uses it to find a clean base station because there is no longer an IR sensor.
Differences between Roomba J7 and I3
Next we look at the differences between these robots.
1. Avoiding obstacles [Roomba J7 only]
One of the significant improvements that iRobot has made to the J7 is the front camera, which allows it to avoid obstacles that other Roomba options cannot.
It is probably the best robot in dodging objects due to its algorithm, which does not approach.
This feature is as critical as other robots with a front camera or laser that is too close to hit objects.
This is the case with the Dreame Z10 Pro, where he initially avoided wires and poop, but touched them because he got too close.
The J7 is an excellent choice for pet owners looking for a robot that can avoid animal feces.
2. Clean the base station
The following deviation is the base station design, with the J7 having a shorter but wider version.
There is no difference between the functionality, as with both empty the trash every time the robot docks, but the J7 base station is more practical with an extra bag slot.
The added circuit is not a big problem because it does not exceed the width of the robot.
3. Cosmetic abnormalities
While both robots have the same round frame and dimensions, the J7 has undergone some cosmetic changes.
I noticed it didn’t have an IR sensor, the tiny, disc-shaped machine protrudes from the front bumper.
The robot uses this to connect to the base station during docking.
iRobot took it down with the J7 (out of necessity, I guess with the front camera), so it has a slightly lower profile.
It definitely helps to go under low light furniture like the photos above.
There is also a slight change in button layout. The I3 has a three-button layout, as seen in earlier Roomba variants, while the J7 has a one-button interface.
Roomba J7 + and I3 + are compatible with the home application iRobot and for the most part have similar functions.
In this section, we will go through the most useful.
1. Save the map [J7 only]
Roomba J7 has a map storage function (up to 10 map levels) because it has a front camera and VSLAM, while I3 cannot store maps because it uses gyroscopes and an optical sensor, but no VSLAM.
VSLAM unlocks other functions, such as protection zones and clean zones, which are missing in I3.
2. Customize your maps [J7 only]
People can customize each level of the map by adding sections, custom names, clean zones and restrictions.
However, iRobot recommends purchasing extra clean base stations for homeowners living in multi-storey homes, which is an additional expense.
The robot can be moved from one level to another without extra clean base stations, but it requires more babysitting.
3. Keep out of zones
One of the advantages of the map storage function is the protection zones. This feature allows consumers to draw boxes as forbidden areas and block the robot from entering.
This is useful if you have pets or toddlers, because you can block the robot’s way to these places.
4. Clean zones [J7 only]
The opposite of a maintenance zone is a clean zone.
Instead of blocking the area, these “zones” are dedicated cleaning areas, which are useful for targeting high-traffic areas.
This is an iRobot feature that is not available from other brands.
Consumers could draw boxes in areas such as the dining room or living area and vacuum them more often without drawing them again.
The custom naming feature helps with recall and consumers can use it with a scheduling feature to automate the task.
5. Adjust the cleaning [Both]
Consumers have some control over how the robot cleans through the application.
One of these adjustments is the control of the number of passes depending on the need.
Another is whether the robot continues cleaning if the trash can is full or not. If it is full, it will alert consumers and they will have to empty it manually.
6. History of cleaning [Both]
Another similarity is the history of cleaning, which acts as a odometer in the car, which shows how much the robot has been used, and the corresponding maps.
It is the only tab in I3 where users can see maps.
One difference is that J7 uses this function as a stepping stone to another function, which we will look at in the next point.
7. Obstacle areas [J7 only]
One of my favorite features of the J7 is the obstacle areas, where consumers can walk through each object to determine if it is a permanent obstacle or not.
Selecting the first will automatically add protection zones.
This is a useful feature if you have a lot of wires around you (for those who work from home).
8. Robot health [J7 only]
Another single feature of the J7 is the health of the robot, which shows the status of consumables such as the filter, side brush and extractors.
It also provides access to instructions for replacing or cleaning each component.
Roomba J7 and I3 are intelligent robots that move in straight lines, but that’s the end of the similarity.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll do it again. J7 is a smarter alternative thanks to VSLAM.
It can store maps and avoid obstacles better than any robot (I tested).
The I3 relies heavily on a gyroscope and optical sensor for navigation, so it can’t store maps and lacks bells and whistles like the J7.
I tested both robots for how many fragments each collected on a small area.
Not surprisingly, there wasn’t much difference between J7 and I3, as they both use the same engine and brushes.
So it’s in this category too.
One of the silver elements of I3 navigation is that it is more efficient, even though it is “stupider”.
He finished the run more than ten minutes faster than J7 (22:43 min vs. 35 min).
I3 was more decisive when driving through narrow neighborhoods than J7.
However, I3 cannot clean specific rooms or areas.
If you need the additional navigation features that the J7 offers, choosing between these robots will be complicated.
Air flow comparison
Roomba J7 and I3 have the same airflow power at 7.27 CFM. No wonder, because both options use the same engine.
Both have a decent cleaning performance despite the low airflow, as we will see in the next section.
The J7 caught more debris across the deck and made cleaner passages based on an eye test.
However, the difference is not big, but when choosing between the two, you need to think.
Both have the same problems with the fast-rotating side dirt dispersing brush and the narrow extractors.
What’s better for hard floors?
Based on the score, I would choose J7 because it scooped up more sand, which is my barometer for cleaning hard floors (98.46% vs. 95.5%).
It caught more and the cleaner passed. Another thing I noticed is that it didn’t spill as much sand as I3.
It was consistent in the three tests I did, and in the last two rides it was 100%.
The round frame of these robots reduces edge cleaning performance.
Let’s see how J7 performed in this experiment.
And let’s compare it with I3.
There is not much difference between the two, as they both chose a good piece.
I would say that the results are excellent, considering both round robots.
Hair wrap comparison
Another area that both robots face is hair picking. J7 was better with shorter fibers and picked up (49% vs. 42%).
However, I3 is better with longer sources (40% vs. 30%).
Regardless, these robots will fight longer hair strands with low airflow and narrow extractors.
What’s better about a rug?
Roomba J7 again captured more in the deep cleaning test than I3 (85.75% vs. 84.7%) and had a higher surface impurity capture score (96.92% vs. 96.22%).
But the difference is smaller than on a hard floor, so I would say they both have the same results in the real world.
The J7 + has a larger battery (2410 mAh vs. 1800 mAh), so it lasts longer than I3 (85 minutes vs. 75 minutes).
It’s not a big difference, but it’s still an improvement.
It is strange that the Roomba I3 is noisier in the noise test according to the sound level meter than the J7.
I tested how much noise they both produce from several tracks and I3 is a bit louder (64.9 dB vs. 63 dB).
All Roomba products will require maintenance to operate at their peak for years. You’ll spend hundreds of dollars on any of these options, and it makes sense to make sure they last you as long as possible.
I will list the components that you will need to clean or replace and the intervals.
- Extractors: Check these rollers for hair at least once a week and clean them if necessary.
- Side brush: As with the extractors, make sure that no strands of hair are tangled on the tips or base. Remove the screw that holds it to remove the accumulated hair on the base. Do this at least once a week.
- Dustbin and filter: For the “plus” versions with a clean base station, it is not necessary to empty the dustbin manually. However, consumers will need to check the dustbin and filter at least once a month. Clean the filter and dust container to reduce dirt build-up.
- Bag: When the clean base station bag is full, empty it. IRobot notifies consumers when it reaches capacity.
- Net base station: Make sure there are no obstacles on the port for the self-emptying feature to run smoothly.
- Fall sensors: J7 and I3 have several fall sensors below them that help the robot avoid falling off the cliffs. Clean these sensors once a month with a Q-tip or a clean microfiber cloth to prevent the error code from running.
Another plus of Roomba products is the availability of parts. There will be no problems with parts such as batteries, hoods, side brushes, etc.
The neat thing is that even hard-to-reach parts are not hard to find. These options are therefore excellent for long-term use.
Where can I buy these robots?
Roomba J7 and I3 are available in online stores such as Amazon. For the latest pricing information, see the links below.
- Roomba J7 +
- Roomba I3 +
Disclaimer: I get a commission if you buy through any of the links above, but at no additional cost to you, so it’s an advantage for us!
Which is better choice, Roomba J7 or I3?
These robots offer something different on the table.
The Roomba J7 is a more expensive variant, but its best obstacle avoidance feature in its class can be useful for pet owners who may not immediately clean animal feces when running this robot, as it can be avoided.
I3 is a cheaper variant, but without bells and whistles.
Below I list the reasons to choose I3 or J7.
4 reasons to choose Roombu J7 +
- The best obstacle avoidance in its class: The front camera and LED J7 are excellent at avoiding obstacles, better than any robot I’ve reviewed.
- Extra bag: Its clean base has a slot for an extra bag. For me, it’s not a massive offer, but for some consumers it could be.
- Slightly longer operating time: The J7 runs 10 minutes longer thanks to a larger lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 2,410 mAh.
- Bottom profile construction: The body without an IR sensor gives it a sleeker design and fits under furniture with a lower clearance.
2 reasons to choose Roombu I3 +
- Cheapest variant: Roomba I3 + is the cheapest option for automatic emptying of Roomba.
- More efficient navigation: The I3 is a surprisingly more efficient navigation robot that completes a run more than 10 minutes faster than the J7.
Verdict: The choice will depend on the preferences
Two options. Two different strengths and prices.
The choice between these robots will shrink to how much you are willing to spend and, if you want, navigation bells and J7 whistles.
The Roomba I3 + is the cheapest option for several hundred dollars and is something that budget-conscious customers should consider.
It doesn’t have top features or the ability to avoid obstacles like the J7, but it cleans almost as well and is more efficient.
The choice will depend on your preferences.