iRobot’s Roomba line of robot vacuums offers a wide array of models, with features ranging from basic to highly advanced. Advanced models like the i3+ EVO and i6+ make cleaning your home even easier than the brand’s entry-level robots but choosing between the two can be tricky.
Both the i3+ EVO and i6+ offer smart mapping, a feature that impressed us when we tried it out in the BestReviews Testing Lab. It lets the robots learn your home’s layout and remember specific rooms for selective cleaning, making them more efficient than models with basic bump-and-go navigation. Both models also offer 10 times the suction power of Roomba 600-series robots, so their performance on carpeting and hard flooring such as laminate, tile and vinyl plank is strong.
But while the i3+ EVO relies on floor-tracking sensors to learn your home, the i6+ goes one better, offering a top-mounted camera for more precise navigation. The i6+ also has more customization options, such as the ability to create Keep-Out Zones.
Ultimately, if you want more cleaning options from your robot vacuum, the i6+ is the winner. It lets you target your cleaning not only in select rooms but also in specific zones or around certain objects, making it ideal for cluttered homes. But the i3+ EVO is ideal if you’re on a budget because it’s more affordable. It’s also available at more retailers, so it’s usually easier to find.
The i3+ EVO and i6+ are fairly similar robots, so many of their specs are identical. However, they differ in one key area that affects their cleaning options, namely their navigation style.
Battery life: 96 minutes | Dimensions: 13.26” L x 13.26” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 Year
The Roomba i3+ EVO has an advertised battery life of 75 minutes, but when we tested it, it cleaned for 96 minutes before recharging. Roughly the same size as other robot vacuums, including the i6+, it can move around and under plenty of furniture. Its dustbin has a capacity of 0.5 liters, which is on the large side for a Roomba. However, the robot can empty itself into its base, so its internal dustbin size isn’t a significant factor because the base can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris.
The original i3+ was released in 2020, but two years later was renamed the i3+ EVO when iRobot added smart mapping to it. It uses iRobot’s iAdapt 3.0 software to learn your home’s layout, however, it lacks a camera like the i6+ has to aid in its navigation. However, it can clean an entire floor or just selected rooms using its smart-mapping capabilities. The i3+ EVO also allows for scheduled cleaning; during testing, we found it easy to set it up to clean every day at a specific time or several days a week at our chosen time.
Read more: iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dimensions: 13.34” L x 13.34” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 year
Released in 2020, the Roomba i6+ has an advertised battery life of 75 minutes, but, just the like the i3+ EVO, it comes with the Recharge and Resume feature, which allows it to return to its base to recharge when the battery is low and pick up cleaning right where it left off. So, the shorter run time isn’t much of an issue. It’s nearly the same size as the i3+ EVO and other Roomba models, except that its dustbin is 100 milliliters smaller than the i3+ EVO. However, it is a self-emptying model, so it returns home to empty its dustbin when it becomes full and then continues cleaning.
The i6+ uses iRobot’s iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM (visual simultaneous localization and mapping) software and has a top-mounted camera to help it learn your floor plan. It can clean specific rooms, but it also learns zones and objects around your home for more precise cleaning. The i6+ also allows you to schedule cleaning to ensure your floors stay as tidy as possible.
The Roomba i3+ EVO and i6+ are both very easy to set up and follow the same steps. After taking the robot and its base out of the box, you have to attach the power cord to the base and plug it in. The robot arrives partially charged, so when you put it on the base, it finishes charging to ready itself for cleaning.
Both robots also require downloading the iRobot Home app to set them up — and later to access many of their features. During testing, it took a few minutes for us to download the app, create an account and then scan the included QR code, so it could identify the model. Next, we had to connect the robot to the same Wi-Fi network as our mobile device before it was ready to clean. The app is very user-friendly, and the setup process took less than 10 minutes.
Like other advanced Roombas, the i3+ EVO and i6+ provide 10 times the suction power of the Roomba 600-series robots. The only model in the line with stronger suction is the Roomba s9 (or s9+), which provides 40 times the power of the 600 series.
The i3+ EVO and i6+ also use Roomba’s powerful three-stage system to loosen, lift and remove dirt, hair and other debris from your floors. Additionally, both models have dual multisurface rubber brushes that never got tangled with hair during our testing and flexed to adjust to different floor surfaces with ease. These three features allow the i3+ EVO and i6+ to successfully clean both hard flooring and carpeting.
Though they have the same suction power, we noted that the i3+ EVO does make a bit more noise while it vacuums than the i6+. The i6+ tops out at about 65 decibels, while the i3+ EVO hits a maximum of 68 decibels. However, both are quieter than a standard vacuum, which usually registers 75 decibels.
With gray and black plastic exteriors, the Roomba i3+ EVO and i6+ are both round and nearly the same size. But lookalikes they are not. The i3+ EVO has a textured ring around the top that resembles fabric, which hides fingerprints and smudges, helping the robot look cleaner after vacuuming. The i6+ has a top-mounted camera, allowing it to navigate more precisely.
As mentioned, both models have dual multisurface rubber brushes that prevent pet and human hair from tangling around them. We found in our testing that this makes them less likely to scratch hardwood and laminate flooring, which can be an issue with some vacuums. The i3+ EVO and i6+ both have two large, rugged side wheels and a front caster wheel that help them transition between different flooring surfaces. Plus, we appreciated that the front wheel pops out for easy cleaning.
The Roomba i3+ EVO uses iAdapt 3.0 software and floor-tracking sensors to learn and map an area. On the other hand, the Roomba i6+ uses its top-mounted camera and iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM software to map and identify landmarks in a floor plan. The camera is a major benefit because it helps the robot calculate its position and orientation in a room to map an area more accurately.
Both the i3+ EVO and i6+ generate smart maps of your home that identify rooms and dividers throughout the space. That means you can send both robots out to clean just the living room or the kitchen and dining room rather than the entire floor. But the i3+ EVO can only store one smart map, while the i6+ can remember up to 10, so you can have one for each floor of your home.
Additionally, the i6+’s smart maps can include Keep-Out and Clean Zones. Keep-Out Zones are areas where you don’t want your robot to clean, such as the spot with your pet’s bowls or a corner where your family takes off their shoes. Clean Zones are areas where you want the robot to clean more carefully, such as a high-traffic spot around your sofa. The i6+ also learns specific objects in your home, so you can send it out to clean beneath your dining table or in front of your kitchen counter. The i3+ EVO doesn’t have these capabilities, so you can’t customize its cleaning as much.
Neither the i3+ EVO nor i6+ has the obstacle-avoidance feature, though. Unlike the Roomba j-series robots we tested, they can’t detect items in their path and move around them. We found that Roombas without this handy feature can get caught on objects around your home, including power cords, wires, clothing and toys. They’re also more likely to run over pet poop if your pet has an accident on the floor.
The Roomba i3+ EVO and i6+ come with the i-series Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. When the robots’ internal dustbins become full, they return to the base to activate the suction that pulls the dirt from the robot into a dust bag at the top of the base. This bag can hold up to 60 days’ worth of debris, so you don’t have to empty the bin after each use.
Both the i3+ EVO and i6+ are also compatible with voice commands through a home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can tell the robot to start vacuuming, stop vacuuming or return to its home base, as well as ask it to clean a specific room or schedule a regular cleaning session. The i6+ also responds to voice commands to clean around objects like the kitchen table or your living room sofa.
Both the Roomba i3+ EVO and i6+ have an 1,800 mAH lithium-ion battery. Their batteries have an advertised run time of 75 minutes, which is on the shorter end of the range for advanced Roomba models. However, both robots have the Recharge and Resume feature, so their battery life isn’t as critical as in models without it.
This feature allows the i3+ EVO and i6+ to return to their base to recharge when their battery is low and then pick up cleaning right where they left off once it’s fully charged. That means you never have to worry about your robot dying in the middle of a cleaning job without finishing it.
The i3+ EVO and i6+ require fairly simple maintenance. iRobot recommends cleaning their brushes weekly — or twice a week if you have pets. You should also clean the dustbin by removing it from the robot, taking out its filter and rinsing it with warm water. While you have the filter out, clean it, too, by tapping it against the side of a trash can to knock off any loose debris. Thoroughly dry the bin, reinsert the filter and reinstall them in the robot. Once a month, it’s also a good idea to wipe the sensors on the front edge of the robot’s bottom, as well as the wheels, to keep it moving around well.
The brushes and filters for the i3+ EVO and i6+ require replacement every so often. The brushes typically last six to 12 months, while you should replace the filter every two months. If you’re unsure whether a component needs replacing, check the Product Health tab in the iRobot Home app to see how many cleaning hours it has left.
The Roomba i3+ EVO costs $349.99 and is available on Amazon, Target and Walmart. The Roomba i6+ retails for $849.99; though it was originally released as an Amazon exclusive, you can now find it at Amazon as well as Target. Both are often on sale, so you’re likely to find them for much less.
The i3+ EVO and i6+ offer very similar performance on both hard floors and carpeting, so you won’t be disappointed in how either cleans your home. However, because the i6+ offers more advanced navigation, it provides more customization options when cleaning your home. It can also support up to 10 smart maps to the i3+ EVO’s one, so it’s also the best fit for a home with multiple floors. The i3+ EVO is more affordable, though, making it a solid option for those on a budget.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.