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iRobot Roomba J7 Plus review

Robot’s smartest Romba for avoiding obstacles

The side view of the iRobot Roomba J7+
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Veredicto

The iRobot Roomba J7 Plus is a powerful robot vacuum that collects fine dust and larger debris from carpets and hard floors, while also avoiding obstacles such as charging cables and the odd sock that may appear in its path. Simple to use, it's self-emptying and loaded with smarts that ensure it can be set only to vacuum when you’re out. Dual rubber brushes stop hair getting tangled – but this robovac is expensive, and noisy when emptying its own dust box.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent pick-up on carpet and hard floors

  • +

    Can identify and avoid obstacles

  • +

    Self-emptying

Cons

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Side brush flicks larger debris around the room

  • -

    Battery level isn’t clear

One-minute review

Having been around for more than two decades, iRobot was one of the first brands to launch a robot vacuum. Thanks to a combination of innovative technology and powerful suction, the Roomba name continues to dominate the automated floor-cleaning market. iRobot claims 20% of robot vacuums sold are Roombas, so it’s no surprise that many of its models feature in our list of the best robot vacuums you can buy right now. 

The Roomba J7 Plus is the brand’s latest robot vacuum, sitting between the top-of-the-range Roomba S9 Plus and the Roomba i7 Plus. While it can’t match the suction power of the S9, it was able to collect dust and debris from both hard floors and carpets as effortlessly as the i7. 

It’s also iRobot’s smartest Roomba to date, using built-in AI to detect and identify obstacles – such as a charging cable left on the floor, or a sock that’s escaped on its journey from the laundry basket to the washing machine. It will clean as close to such items as possible, without ploughing through them, avoiding them becoming tangled in the brush roller. 

The Plus moniker refers to the fact this is a self-emptying robot vacuum. Supplied with a base station that’s one of the most compact we’ve seen to-date, the robovac will deposit the contents of its 14oz / 0.4-liter dust canister into a 57oz / 1.7-liter bag that is likely to require replacing only around every 60 days – although this will depend on how often the robot vacuum cleans your floors. Note that this does mean there’s an on-going cost associated with this robot vacuum. 

At $799.99 / £899.99, the Roomba J7 Plus is one of the more expensive robot vacuums on the market, especially when you consider that it doesn’t offer mopping functionality alongside vacuuming. However, for those looking for the most hands-off route to cleaning, not having to spend time clearing the floor before the vacuum gets to work, it’s worth the investment. 

The top of the iRobot Roomba J7+

(Image credit: TechRadar)

iRobot Roomba J7 Plus price and availability

  • List price: $799.99 / £899.99 

The  iRobot Roomba J7 Plus costs $799.99 / £899.99 and is available direct from iRobot or online retailers including Amazon. However, currently it isn’t available in Australia. Replacement dirt disposal bags cost $19.99 / £21.95 for three. 

The robot vacuum is also available without the self-emptying base. Known as the iRobot Roomba J7, it’s priced at $599.99 / £699.99. 

The bottom of the iRobot Roomba J7+

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • 14oz / 0.4-liter dust box
  • Dual rubber brush bars to reduce hair becoming stuck
  • Floor and cliff sensors, and built-in camera 

Unlike the Roomba S9 Plus, which sports a D-shaped design, the Roomba J7 Plus is circular in shape. Measuring 13.3 x 13.3 x 3.4 inches / 33.8 x 33.8 x 8.6cm, the Roomba J7 is sleek, fusing matte black plastic with gunmetal accents. The top of the robovac is completely flush, home to only one button to start and pause cleaning, or held down for five seconds to send the robot vacuum back to its base.  

A plastic bumper surrounds the top half of the robot vacuum, while on the underside sit two wheels and a swivel wheel to help the robot vacuum work its way around your home. Dual rubber brush bars flex to accommodate different floor types, says iRobot, and ensure hair – whether human or pet – doesn’t become tangled around them. There’s also a three-arm side brush for cleaning edges and any crevices in a room. 

The J7 Plus comes with a 14oz / 0.4-liter dust box, and benefits from floor tracking and cliff sensors, alongside a built-in camera, to enable it to take a methodical route around your home – and to stop it from plunging to the bottom of a flight of stairs. Unlike many robot vacuums on the market, you can’t manually adjust the suction level here; but the J7 Plus will automatically increase the power if it detects a particularly dirty area of the floor.

As mentioned, the J7 Plus is self-emptying and comes with iRobot’s Clean Base. Measuring 12.55 x 13.39 x 15.35 inches / 31.9 x 34 x 39cm (h x w x d), it’s compact and features a textured design, giving it a more stylish look over most charging and self-emptying docks. There’s even a brown leather tag on the lid, to make opening it easier. 

The Clean Base comes with two dirt disposal bags, one fitted into the Clean Base and a spare. iRobot says the bags can hold up to 60 days worth of dirt before they need to be replaced. 

The iRobot Roomba J7+ cleaning carpet next to a set of stairs

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Excellent pick-up on carpet and hard floors
  • Can identify and avoid an array of obstacles
  • Self-emptying

When it came to pick-up, the J7 Plus made light work of collecting fine dust, cookie crumbs and larger debris – including cereal – from hard floors. However, on hard floors we did find that the side brush had a tendency to push larger debris further around the room, which made the vacuuming process slightly longer than we’d hoped.  

Unlike many robot vacuums on the market, it isn’t possible to manually adjust the suction level of the J7 Plus. However, the robot vacuum can sense if areas of the floor are particularly dirty, and it will increase the suction to accommodate. This was evident through testing, as our decibel meter registered noise climbing by around 5db. As we’ve already mentioned, the J7 Plus can create maps of your home, and it’s possible to save maps of different levels. This meant we were able to clean both the ground and first floor of our home successfully. 

The robot vacuum took a methodical route around our home when vacuuming, and thanks to the on-board camera, it only occasionally bumped into furniture. We were also impressed that the J7 Plus was able to identify and avoid obstacles, including a charging cable and a sock, which we deliberately placed in its path. Each time we set the robot vacuum cleaning, we were also able to see an estimated time for the vacuuming session – a figure that became more accurate the more we used the unit.  

The J7 Plus robot vacuum proved pleasingly quiet in operation, whether cleaning hard or carpeted floors, registering a maximum of 64db on our decibel meter during use. This is similar to the sound of general chatter in an office. 

Even better, if you interrupt a clean to ask the robot vacuum to tackle a specific area, it will shut down the vacuuming components of the device, so it’s as quiet as possible while moving between jobs. 

Low noise doesn’t extend to those times the robovac docks and empties its dust canister – in this instance our decibel meter hit 90.6db, which is the sound you’d experience standing 20ft from an automatic car wash. This makes the J7 Plus one of the noisiest robot vacuums we’ve tested. 

We were impressed with the J7 Plus’s geofencing feature, however, which started the robot vacuuming once we’d left the house, so it didn’t get under our feet. Even better, we were able to set the robot vacuum to stop cleaning and return to its base station if it hadn’t completed vacuuming by the time we’d returned home. Alternatively, the robot vacuum will pause cleaning if you return home before it’s finished, sending you a notification to ask whether it should continue. Note that this geofencing feature does require an IFTTT account, which is free to set up. 

The side of the iRobot Roomba J7+

(Image credit: TechRadar)

App

  • Simple to use
  • Stores photos of obstacles 
  • Integration with Alexa and Google Assistant

The iRobot app is simple to use once the robot vacuum is connected to Wi-Fi, with you easily able to start a full clean. The J7 Plus will map your home as it cleans, including creating room boundaries and highlighting rooms with carpets. It’s then possible to edit the map, adjust the boundaries and assign names to the individual rooms. This will enable the J7 Plus to clean individual rooms, as well as the whole floor. 

Once vacuuming is complete, the app provides an overview of the session, which covers the area cleaned, the time spent vacuuming, and the number of dirt events – or areas where the robovac noticed more dirt than usual. If the Roomba J7 Plus has encountered any obstacles, it will store pictures of these in the app, which can be reviewed and confirmed as a temporary obstacle, an area the robot vacuum should avoid, or a false positive. Even better, the Roomba can be sent back to clean up the areas it missed as a result of suspected obstacles in just one tap. 

From the app, you can also create a schedule for times the robot vacuum should clean, and to adjust what the robot vacuum does when its dust canister is full. A feature that automatically brings up a feedback form when you take a screen grab proved extremely handy, making it easy to report any issues with the robot vacuum, and to get them resolved. 

The J7 Plus is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use your voice, rather than the app, to start the robot vacuum cleaning your floors.

The iRobot Roomba J7+ docked on the self-emptying base

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

  • Will ‘intelligently recharge’ for the amount of time required to continue cleaning
  • Battery takes around three hours to fully recharge from flat
  • Indicator level doesn’t show a percentage

iRobot doesn’t make claims about how long the Roomba J7 Plus’s battery lasts between charges. However, the robot vacuum will automatically return to its charging station if it doesn’t have sufficient battery remaining to complete a clean. In these instances it will recharge just enough to finish the job. 

We were able to clean both floors of a three-bedroom house on one full charge – but, annoyingly, the battery level doesn’t offer a percentage of time remaining, so we had to take a guess over how much charge was left. It took three hours to fully recharge the J7 Plus. 

Should I buy the iRobot Roomba J7 plus?

Buy it if...

You don’t want to clean up before vacuuming
For those who don’t want to have to pick up items such as stray charging cables, or the odd sock, off the floor before setting the robovac to clean, the J7 Plus is ideal. It will identify such items and avoid them. 

You want a robot vacuum that doesn’t get in your way
The geofencing feature on the J7 Plus means this vacuum can be set to only clean when you leave the house, and automatically return to its base if it hasn’t finished vacuuming by the time you get close to home again. 

You want a hands-off approach to vacuuming
This robot vacuum is self-emptying and can deposit the contents of its dust canister into the Clean Station itself. This means you only need to remove and replace the dirt disposal bag from the base station around once every 60 days, depending upon how often the robot vacuum cleans. 

Don't buy it if..

You’re on a budget
While this isn’t the most expensive Roomba model on the market (that honor goes to the S9 Plus, which comes in at an eye-watering $1099.99 / £1499.99), it’s still one of the more expensive robovacs on the market. If you’re on a budget, consider the Roomba i3 or models from Eufy instead. 

You don’t want on-going costs
The Roomba J7 Plus’s replacement dirt disposal bags cost $19.99 / £21.95 for three. If you don’t want to fork out for these, this is a robot vacuum to avoid. 

You can’t bear noise
While the Roomba J7 Plus is pleasingly quiet while its working its way around carpets and hard floors, it’s excruciatingly noisy when emptying its dust canister – our decibel meter registered 90.6db, making it one of the loudest self-emptying models we’ve tested. 

First reviewed: February 2022

Carrie-Ann Skinner is Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. 


When she’s not discovering the next must-have gadget for the home, Carrie can be found cooking up a storm in her kitchen, and is particularly passionate about baking, often rustling up tasty cakes and bread.