iRobot Roomba s9+ Review
iRobot really impressed us with the Roomba i7+, the first robot vacuum we tested than can clean your home and then clean itself by emptying its own dustbin. Can it get any better than that? It turns out it can. iRobot's latest vacuum, the Roomba s9+, takes what we like about the i7+ and puts it in a new shape that's better at reaching difficult areas, with four times the suction power. And with plenty of sensors and camera-based navigation, it learns the layout of your home over time. At $1,399.99, it's the most expensive robot vacuum we've tested to date. But its powerful suction, smart navigation, and ability to empty itself out makes it the best one you can buy and our Editors' Choice for high-end models.
Rather than the standard circular shape you see on most robot vacuums (include every other Roomba), the s9+ has a D shape similar to the Neato Botvac D4 Connected. This allows it to get deeper into corners and align itself against walls.You Can Trust Our ReviewsSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)
Aside from the change in shape, it also looks a lot sleeker than the i7+, with an eye-catching copper-like lid that matches the accents on the Clean Base (more on this in a moment). It's also smaller, measuring 12.3 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches tall, compared with the previous model's 13.4-by-3.7-inch dimensions.
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The top of the vacuum is home to the RCON sensor (room confinement), clutter sensor, a camera, and buttons for Clean/Power, Spot Clean, and Home. There is also an LED ring indicator that glows red when charging, white when cleaning, and blue when connecting to Wi-Fi. The side of the vacuum houses a wall sensor. Beneath the lid you'll find the dustbin and filter along with the carrying handle.
The bottom of the s9+ is home to a corner brush, multi-surface rubber brushes, brush caps, a brush latch, a brush frame release tab, charging contacts, and cliff sensors. It also houses the dirt disposal port, floor tracking sensor, and rear caster wheel.
Then there's the Clean Base (which needs to be plugged into a wall outlet), where the robot docks, charges, and empties its dustbin. The front holds an LED indicator, along with the canister lid, exhaust vent, wheel wells, and debris evacuation port. When the s9+ docks itself, all the dirt it collected is automatically sucked into the Clean Base, which holds up to 30 cleanings of debris; the app notifies you when it's time to swap it out for a new one. The vacuum comes with two bags, and you can buy more in packs of three for $14.99.
Additional accessories include an extra filter and an extra corner brush. More Clean Bases are available for $299 if you want to add them to other rooms. On the flip side, you can buy the s9+ without the Clean Base as the regular s9 for $1,099.99.
Setup, App, and Voice Control
To pair the s9+ to your phone, you first need to download the iRobot Home app, which is available for Android and iOS devices. Setup is as simple as creating an account, choosing your specific vacuum model, selecting your Wi-Fi network and entering the password, then pressing the Spot and Home buttons on the vacuum until you hear it beep.
Once connected, the main screen of the app features a big Clean button to start and stop vacuuming, with the battery level displayed above. The bottom of the screen has tabs for Schedule, History, Smart Maps, Help, and Settings. Tap the Schedule tab to assign the vacuum to clean on a specific day and time. The History tab brings up a log of your cleaning sessions. Smart Maps shows the layout of your house, which takes a few rounds for the vacuum to learn. You can then label specific rooms to send the vacuum to if you don't want it to clean the entire home. The Help tab houses care and maintenance manuals, an owner's guide, FAQs, and warranty information. The Settings tab is where you can change your Wi-Fi information, switch the language, locate the vacuum, and perform a factory reset.
You can also connect the s9+ to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant via their respective apps. Once connected, you can issue voice commands through your phone or other compatible devices to tell the vacuum to start, stop, pause, or go back to the dock.
The s9+ has terrific navigation capabilities and rarely required manual intervention in testing, something important for a completely hands-off experience. I followed the s9+ around as it cleaned, as watched as it managed to wiggle its way around chairs and tables with ease. Its relatively low profile also allows it to make its way under most low-clearance furniture.
It also has the strongest suction we've seen in a robot vacuum. In testing, the s9+ sucked up dust, hair, and all other manner of debris with no issue at all. It also changes its suction strength automatically depending on whether it's cleaning carpet (heavier suction) or wood and tile (lighter suction). For the most part, it cleans in a back-and-forth pattern in open spaces, and its D shape is great for tough-to-reach areas. In testing, it would graze against walls, allowing the side brush to grab dust and debris in corners.
Once finished cleaning, the s9+ automatically heads to the Clean Base to empty itself out. I'd like to stress just how nice this feature is. After all, you're likely buying a robot vacuum in order to do less manual labor. Without having to empty the vacuum after every cleaning session, the process becomes truly hands-free. Sure, you have to change the bag in the Clean Base every once in a while, but compared with nearly any other vacuum out there, robot or otherwise, it doesn't get any easier than this.
With the Smart Map feature, the s9+ learned the layout of my apartment after a few pass-throughs. After it was mapped out, I labeled each room and was able to send it exactly where I wanted it to clean.
It isn't all perfect. For starters, the s9+ is a lot louder than most robot vacuums. Be prepared to turn up the volume on your TV if it's cleaning in the same room. It gets even louder when it docks and empties itself into the Clean Base. Considering the suction power here, it's understandable that it gets louder than many other vacuums. And you can get around it by setting it to clean when you're out of the house.
In terms of battery life, I was able to squeeze 60 minutes out of the s9+, which is the same result we saw from the i7+, and not terribly impressive. For comparison, the Neato Botvac D7 Connected is the longest-lasting vacuum we've seen, with up to 130 minutes of battery life.
The iRobot Roomba s9+ is the strongest, most autonomous robot vacuum we've tested. At $1,399.99, it's also the most expensive. That said, if you're looking for a truly hands-free cleaning experience, and you want the most powerful vacuum possible, the s9+ is to one to get, and our Editors' Choice. The $999.99 i7+ remains a strong buy, even if it isn't quite as powerful. Of course, you can also spend less. The aforementioned Neato Botvac D4 Connected has a similar D shape to the s9+ and longer battery life for $499.99. And for just $229, the Ecovacs Deebot N79S offers app control and Alexa compatibility. Neither is nearly as powerful as the s9+, however, and neither can empty itself out. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you're willing to pay for convenience.
iRobot Roomba s9+4.0Editors' ChoiceSee It$999.00 at AmazonMSRP $1,399.99
The Bottom Line
iRobot's Roomba s9+ is expensive, but its intelligent navigation, super-powerful suction, and ability to empty itself out make it the best robot vacuum we've tested.
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