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Roomba i7 vs j7: Which is best for you?

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Comparing the iRobot i7 and j7 models

iRobot’s line of Roombas is probably the best-known series of robot vacuums on the market. Many models offer similar features, but if you’re having trouble deciding between the i7 and j7, there are some key differences that set them apart. 

In the BestReviews Testing Lab, we looked at how well the i7 and j7 performed in tests on battery life, suction and navigation. While their size, mapping abilities and suction power are roughly the same, the j7 offers more sophisticated navigation capabilities and object avoidance than the i7 as well as better battery life. Neither model has a self-emptying base, but both are compatible with Roomba’s Clean Base, which allows the robot to automatically empty itself into a bag inside the base when its internal dustbin is full.

Ultimately, while the i7 is an efficient, user-friendly robot vacuum, the newer j7 is our hands-down favorite. It’s especially ideal for pet owners or families with toys lying around because it can avoid objects without skipping a beat. 

In this video, we’ll take a look at the top robot vacuums from three of the most popular robot vacuum brands: Eufy, Roomba and Shark.

Roomba i7 vs. Roomba j7 specs

When it comes to many key product specifications, the i7 and j7 are remarkably similar. But some small differences impact how well and efficiently each model can clean a space. 

Roomba i7 specs

Roomba i7 on hardwood flooring
The testing team is checking the Roomba i7's capabilities on hardwood flooring

Product specifications

Battery life: 75 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3” L x 13.3” W x 3.4” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.3 L | Weight: 7.45 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri | Scheduling: Yes

The Roomba i7, which was released in 2018, is similar in size and weight to many Roombas and other robot vacuums, including the newer j7, which came out in 2021. However, its dustbin holds less than most robot vacuums — and because it isn’t self-emptying (like the i7+), you may find its vacuuming is more frequently interrupted. Its 75-minute run time is also on the shorter end of the spectrum among robot vacuums (the j7 offered nearly 100 minutes in our testing), so you may need to recharge it in the middle of cleaning a larger space. 

Like many of the best robot vacuums, the i7 features smart mapping and camera-aided navigation that allows it to learn your home and clean specific areas, including around a sofa or under a chair. You can also create Keep-Out Zones if there are areas you don’t want the vacuum to clean. It’s compatible with popular home assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, too, so you can give it voice commands like “start vacuuming” or “pause vacuuming.” 

As with the j7 and other Roombas, the i7 works with the iRobot app. That allows you to schedule cleaning sessions, so your floors stay tidy with virtually no effort from you. You can also adjust the cleaning preferences for scheduled jobs, such as its suction power and number of cleaning passes. 

Roomba j7 specs

Roomba j7 on charging dock
Testing team checking charging time of Roomba j7.

Product specifications

Battery life: 97 minutes | Dimensions: 13.3” L x 13.3” W x 3.4” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.5 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Voice commands: Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri | Scheduling: Yes

The Roomba j7 is exactly the same size as the i7 and weighs a mere 8 ounces more — not too noticeable. Where it really differs from the i7 is its battery life, which lasted 22 minutes longer in our testing, and its dustbin, which is 0.1 liter larger, so it can clean longer. However, it isn’t self-emptying like the Roomba j7+, which means it may need to be emptied in the middle of cleaning to keep it vacuuming.

The j7 offers smart mapping and advanced camera-based navigation to learn your home’s layout for zone cleaning in specific rooms. It can even map certain furniture for targeted cleaning. For example, you can send it to clean under your kitchen table or in front of the kitchen counter to pick up crumbs. You can also designate areas where it shouldn’t vacuum to focus your cleaning. Like the i7, it’s compatible with voice commands through Alexa, Siri or Google Home Assistant, so you can tell the robot to vacuum your living room or stop vacuuming whenever you want. 

Like many robot vacuums, the j7 allows for scheduled cleaning through the connected iRobot app. You can set up daily or weekly cleaning sessions and customize each with your vacuuming preferences, so your floors are cleaned exactly how you want.

Suction comparison

Both the Roomba i7 and j7 offer 10 times the suction power of standard Roomba models. However, we noticed some differences in their performance based on the flooring. During testing, the i7 and j7 provided excellent suction on hard flooring, including hardwood, tile and laminate

The j7 did much better than the i7 on carpeting, though, where it fully captured most debris placed in its path, including kosher salt, kitty litter and cereal. It was especially effective with pet hair, removing an entire clump in one pass. The i7 effectively cleaned carpeting in our testing, but it sometimes ran into issues at the edge of a carpet and even got caught on a rug’s tassels. 

Because their suction power is similar, we found they made a similar amount of noise. The i7 generally hits 62 to 68 decibels, while the j7 typically ranges from 60 to 66 decibels. Both were noisier than the Roomba s9+ but weren’t as loud as lower-end Roombas, like the 692 and 694. Neither was as loud as a traditional vacuum, so we didn’t find them particularly disruptive when vacuuming. 

Additionally, the i7 and j7 also feature tangle-free rubber brushes designed to keep long hair from getting stuck around them. If hair gets caught around the brushes, it can stop them from moving and block airflow, causing the vacuum to lose suction power. After running the robots, we didn’t find much hair on the rolls that needed to be removed, so neither model experienced a drop in suction power when tested in an area with pet hair.

Navigation comparison

Both the i7 and j7 feature smart mapping that allows them to learn a space’s layout and even the location of specific objects. During testing, the maps developed for each testing area were highly accurate. With the i7, we allowed it to map as it cleaned, so it took approximately a week to capture an accurate floorplan. But for the j7, we sent it out on a mapping-only run before it began cleaning, which reduced the amount of time it took to learn the space. It mapped the space and correctly identified the specific rooms in just under an hour and a half. We sent the i7 and j7 out to clean certain rooms or areas, and they both successfully vacuumed the requested zones without issue. 

However, while the mapping capabilities were similar for the two robots, there was a noticeable difference in their obstacle avoidance. Both the i7 and j7 use cameras to navigate, but the j7’s camera is on the front of the robot, while the i7’s camera is on top of the vacuum, so it doesn’t have a completely clear view as it approaches items. The j7’s front-facing camera allows it to see objects in its path more easily and better avoid those obstacles.

We definitely found this to be true during our testing. The i7 ran into issues with obstacles like power cords and cables, which got caught in its rollers until we intervened. On the other hand, the j7 had no problems with cords or other items on the floor. We placed a handbag, a shoe and a stuffed pet toy in its path, and it seemed to sense the objects were there and swerved away from them. 

Pet owners concerned about robot vacuums that can’t detect when their pet has had an accident on the floor (and, instead, smear the mess everywhere) can also rest easy that the j7 will detect it. It can also navigate tight spaces without getting stuck or hung up, so vacuuming continues uninterrupted. Because of its outstanding navigation abilities, the j7 is the clear choice for cluttered or small homes and pet owners.

iRobot Roomba Clean Base
Both the Roomba i7 and j7 are compatible with the iRobot Roomba Clean Base, which allows a robot to empty its dustbin on its own. However, when purchased separately, the base costs an additional $250.

Cleaning base comparison

Both the i7 and the j7 feature a standard Roomba home base that only charges the robot. However, the j7-compatible home base has a more streamlined, compact design. The i7 base measures 4.49 inches tall, 5.87 inches wide and 6.26 inches deep, while the j7 base is 4.2 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Both bases are considerably shorter than the large Clean Base that comes with the i7+, which is 19 inches tall, and a bit shorter than the Clean Base included with the j7+, which is 13.3 inches tall. But while the j7’s base takes up slightly less space than the i7’s, our testing found that both would fit well in small homes. 

Emptying the dustbins for the i7 and j7 was a similar process as well. Both robots feature a button to press on the front of the vacuum that releases the bin. Once the bin was removed from the robot, we held it over a trash can and pushed the door release button to deposit all the dirt, hair and debris into the trash. 

While it was easy to empty both internal bins, these models required more time and effort than the self-emptying i7+ and j7+. We also found our fingers occasionally getting dirty during the process. But the biggest downside to the lack of a self-emptying base was that we didn’t always realize immediately that the i7 or j7 bin was full, and vacuuming was paused until we emptied the robot. 


The iRobot Roomba i7’s retail price is $699.99, but it’s often marked down on Amazon. The Roomba j7 typically retails for $599.99, and you can also find it at Amazon, also usually at a discount. 

Bottom line

With its front-facing camera and superior object-avoidance technology, the j7 is the clear winner in this matchup. In fact, iRobot created the j7 as the replacement for the i7, which is now discontinued. While the i7 is still available from some retailers, you’ll have a much easier time finding the j7. 

Best of all, though, it’s a perfect fit for a home with pets because it won’t run into pet waste and track it all over your floors. Obstacle avoidance also comes in handy for cluttered homes, so families with small children won’t have to worry about it getting caught up on toys and other items, either. The j7’s longer battery life and larger dustbin make it a better choice for larger homes, too. 

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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