- Bottom Line
The best robot vacuum for people on a budget, with features and capabilities of more expensive models.
Performed well on carpet, rugs, high pile and hardwood flooring in our testing. Removed coffee grounds from underneath chairs and in corners with little to no residue. Rubber rollers move easily from carpet to hardwood and can handle high pile with little problem. Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Cleans in rows for efficient coverage. Accurately maps rooms.
May occasionally get lost despite its mapping features. Emptying its bin is slightly tricky.
About the product
Is the Roomba i4 EVO worth it?
The Roomba i4 EVO from iRobot is one of the better-performing Roombas we’ve come across. It’s smarter than basic models like the Roomba 694, but it costs less than the top-of-the-line Roomba j7 or Roomba s9. With features like smart mapping and row-by-row cleaning, the Roomba i4 EVO is a capable, efficient and appealing robot vacuum.
The BestReviews Testing Lab examined the Roomba i4 EVO closely and found it to be an excellent combination of features, capabilities and user-friendliness. Its low price compared to high-end Roombas makes it an ideal model for first-time robot vacuum owners, especially those comfortable with apps and smart assistants. It’s also a great option for owners of more basic robot vacuums who want to upgrade without breaking the bank.
What is the Roomba i4 EVO?
Battery life: 94 minutes | Dimensions: 13.34” L x 13.26” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes
The Roomba i4 EVO is a self-propelled autonomous robotic vacuum from iRobot. It measures 13.26 inches across and 3.6 inches tall, slightly narrower and taller than entry-level Roombas, and weighs about 7.4 pounds — not too heavy to lift and carry. It has a built-in removable dustbin with a half-liter capacity, which is on the large side for a Roomba.
The original Roomba i4 EVO from 2020 had its name changed to the Roomba i4 EVO in 2022 when it was upgraded to include smart mapping. During our testing, we found it easy to schedule it to clean at specific times and in specific areas via the iRobot Home app, and its orderly row-by-row cleaning was far more efficient than the random bump-and-go technique of 600-series Roombas. As an added bonus, it comes with a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier, a small device that emits an invisible wall the Roomba won’t go beyond.
- Cleans in rows
- Good suction
- Supports mapping
- High-performance filters
- Virtual barrier
- Not self-emptying
- Lacks active object avoidance
- Maps periodically need updating
Testing the Roomba i4 EVO
We tested the Roomba i4 EVO on medium-pile carpet and hardwood flooring with a variety of items such as table salt and breakfast cereal, both in open areas and in corners, along walls and under furniture. We also tested its performance with pet hair and pet litter as well as how well it negotiated transitions between floor types.
We tracked the Roomba i4 EVO’s performance in battery life and charging, measuring area covered and duration of operation. We studied its navigation, taking note specifically of its cleaning pattern. Because it’s a smart-mapping robot vacuum, we closely monitored the process of setting up and using maps, noting accuracy and usability. We evaluated the Roomba i4 EVO on app control and compatibility with voice assistants. Finally, we assessed whether it was easy to clean and maintain it.
Roomba i4 EVO price and where to buy
Roomba i4 EVO setup
Setting up the Roomba i4 EVO was straightforward except for a couple of hiccups. The test model arrived well-packed in an iRobot shipping box. We liked that the i4 EVO does not come in a plastic bag or with extra foam padding. It arrived fully assembled with a partial charge. Physical setup only involved plugging in its Home Base dock in an appropriate location where the Roomba can roll on and off without impediment. Once done, we placed the Roomba i4 EVO itself on the dock to charge to full. Like other Roombas we’ve tested, the i4’s indicator lights only remain lit for a brief time before going dark. This saves power, but makes it difficult to know when the Roomba is fully charged without using the app.
Connecting the i4 EVO to the iRobot Home app was our only other hiccup. The app encourages the use of a QR code to find and automate setup of a new Roomba. However, there was no QR code included in the quick-start materials of the i4. We needed to activate pairing from the test unit and select the i4 EVO from a list to get the app to see it. Once it did, the process of setting up its Wi-Fi connection and connecting it to the app went by in less than 20 seconds.
Design and brushrolls
The Roomba i4 EVO has a sturdy plastic chassis with a fabric-texture top finish and matte sides. This helps hide fingerprints that can accumulate on Roombas with glossy finishes. Like other Roombas, the i4 EVO has three buttons on its top plate that allow control of its operations. In the Roomba i4 EVO, these buttons are located toward the front, closer to its bumper. The i4’s dustbin is semi-circular and pops out laterally from the i4 EVO rather than sliding out horizontally.
On the underside of the Roomba i4 EVO are its rollers, sensors and wheels. The two main independent-drive side wheels feature rugged treads and raise or lower as needed to pass over thresholds less than 5/8 inches tall. A caster wheel in front supports the Roomba as it swivels.
To pick up dirt and debris, the Roomba i4 EVO uses two rubber multisurface rollers instead of a beater roller and bristle brush combination. Bristle rollers easily get tangled with fiber and pet hair and can be harsh on carpet pile. The rubber fins of the Roomba i4 EVO rollers have a gentle but efficient cleaning action that works on carpet, bare floors and high-pile rugs. They’re also much easier to clean than brush rollers.
Battery life and suction
The Roomba i4 EVO uses a rechargeable 2,210 mAH (milliampere-hour) lithium-ion battery. In our testing, we got 94 minutes of use from a fully charged i4 EVO, during which it cleaned 356 square feet of 90% medium-pile carpet and 10% hardwood flooring. The i4 EVO ran low during this job and suspended cleaning to recharge before resuming. Charging to full took two hours, although the i4 EVO was ready to resume its cleaning job after 90 minutes.
Cleaning performance was impressive. iRobot says the Roomba i4 EVO has 10 times the suction power of a 600-series Roomba model, and our results gave us no reason to doubt that. The Roomba i4 EVO handily removed ground coffee from medium-pile carpet in less than three passes, leaving no visible residue. It removed thin bits of thread, representing pet hair, in a single pass, reporting the job complete quickest among all our tests. Although it crushed some pieces of breakfast cereal as it cleaned, it had no trouble picking them up and sucking them into its dustbin, tracking down all but a few bits that had been scattered by its side brush.
Like all round robot vacuums it had trouble fully cleaning in a corner, but it did better than lower-powered Roombas. Cleaning from underneath a dining table and chairs took the longest, but the i4 EVO delivered satisfactory results.
On hard floor tests, the i4 EVO vacuumed up table salt from hardwood, removing about 50% in the first pass and the rest in subsequent passes with only a few grains remaining. As in our carpet tests, its wheels and rollers and side brush crushed and scattered some cereal, but the i4 EVO eventually tracked almost all of it down. It removed pet litter from hard flooring with only a slight trace of grit left behind, but couldn’t remove all the table sugar we placed in a corner, as its side brush scattered some sugar where our test model couldn’t reach.
The Roomba i4 EVO was pleasantly quiet, although it had a noticeable hum even when the rollers and vacuum weren't active. We registered it at around 56 decibels on carpet and 63 decibels on hardwood, which is about as loud as a normal conversation.
Navigation and mapping
Unlike some Roombas and other robot vacuums that clean in one direction until they hit an obstacle, edge around it and then go off in a new semi-random direction, the Roomba i4 EVO cleans in neat, overlapping rows. This efficient area coverage avoids missing spots and helps cut down on repetitive cleaning of other areas.
Importantly, the Roomba i4 EVO supports smart mapping, allowing it to learn the layout of a space. This helps it avoid large obstacles like walls and furniture and to make its way to specific rooms or areas without needing to find its way anew.
Our Roomba i4 EVO test model offered to do a mapping run the first time it was charged to full. It’s recommended that rooms be opened and small items like throw rugs or power cords be removed prior to a first mapping run. Our first attempt at mapping took 62 minutes, but the results were mediocre. We started over and, in 42 minutes, received an accurate map covering 366 square feet, subdivided into rooms whose thresholds and names were user-editable. From that point on it was easy to send the i4 EVO to clean a specific room directly.
Unlike higher-end robot vacuums, the Roomba i4 EVO can’t actively avoid obstacles like pet waste. However, it uses its map to slow down when it approaches known obstacles like furniture or walls. It doesn’t stop for a stuffed toy, sock or stray foot placed in its path that it didn’t know about before.
The iRobot Home app
The Roomba i4 EVO can be controlled from iRobot’s Home app for iOS and Android. The app provides one-stop control for multiple iRobot devices and is required for most of the advanced features and capabilities of the Roomba i4 EVO.
Setup and interface
The iRobot Home app offers a clean user interface with guided screens that take users step-by-step through setup and common options. Large, simple graphics help illustrate most screens, making common tasks easy to access. The app’s simplicity, however, might seem a bit limiting to users who may want to see all the i4’s capabilities at once, or who don’t want the hand-holding the app’s guided interface offers.
The iRobot Home app is the only way to set up the Roomba i4 EVO’s Wi-Fi connection and add it to your home network. It’s also the only way to access the i4 EVO’s advanced features like mapping, scheduling and automation, as well as control by voice assistants. You must also use the app if you want to keep track of the Roomba i4 EVO’s status, including its battery charge and when the filters and rollers need to be replaced.
The iRobot Home app allows users with Alexa or Google Home to control the Roomba i4 EVO with voice commands or automation. It also supports Apple’s Siri voice assistant, but in a more limited way, via Apple’s Shortcuts app for iOS and macOS. This doesn’t provide the level of integration enjoyed by Alexa or Google Home, but it still lets you send the Roomba i4 EVO on a cleaning job with your voice.
Using the app vs. onboard controls
The Roomba i4 EVO has only three buttons on its top plate: “Clean,” “Home” and “Spot.” These buttons are enough for basic use but don’t take advantage of the i4 EVO’s full capabilities. For full control of the i4 EVO and for details on its status and performance, the iRobot Home app is the best choice.
How does it compare to other Roombas we’ve tested
Compared to other Roombas we’ve tested, the iRobot i4 EVO looks and feels more premium. Its styling makes it look cleaner and lets it somewhat blend in with the decor. Its narrower width allows it to navigate underneath dining chairs that Roombas have trouble with. Its additional height helps it avoid getting wedged into spaces previous Roombas tried and failed to enter. It’s also noticeably quieter.
When it comes to cleaning, the Roomba i4 EVO’s suction is clearly superior to that of 600-series Roombas or even the otherwise-comparable i3+ EVO, and on par with the more expensive j7 and j7+. Its rubber rollers are easy to clean and avoid getting tangled in hair the way the brush rollers of other Roombas do. Its mapping and row-by-row navigation make it more efficient as well.
However, the Roomba i4 EVO lacks certain nice-to-have functions, such as the obstacle-avoidance feature available on the j7 and j7+ and the ability to mop like the Combo j7+. Unlike the i3+ EVO, the Roomba i4 EVO doesn’t come with self-emptying and automatic dirt-disposal accessories even though it’s compatible with them.
Roomba i4 EVO benefits
Mapping helps the Roomba i4 EVO clean specific rooms, proceed directly to specific rooms, and navigate its way around furniture and walls, making cleaning faster and more efficient.
Our tests showed that the suction of the Roomba i4 EVO allows it to remove both large and small particles from carpet and hard flooring more completely than weaker robot vacuums.
Cleans in rows
The Roomba i4 EVO has row-by-row navigation, resulting in more complete coverage per cleaning job than robot vacuums that use semi-random navigation. It’s also much less annoying to watch.
The Roomba i4 EVO uses HEPA-style high-performance filters in its dustbin. These filters prevent particles smaller than 0.5 microns from escaping back into the air during operation, a boon to allergy sufferers.
The Roomba i4 EVO includes the Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier in its box. Just a few inches tall, this small device emits an invisible wall or shield that prevents the i4 EVO from passing through. Simply place it on the floor and it can be used to stop the robot from entering a room, or it can be set up around sensitive objects like vases or pet bowls. It costs $60 separately, so having it included with the price of a Roomba i4 EVO is a steal.
Roomba i4 EVO drawbacks
The Roomba i4 EVO is compatible with iRobot’s Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system, composed of a suction-powered dock with dirt receptacle that holds up to 60 days’ worth of debris from your Roomba. But the i4 EVO is no longer sold with either accessory, and they can be hard to purchase separately.
Lacks active object avoidance
The Roomba i4 EVO won’t stop if it doesn’t know there’s an obstacle in its path. If an object isn’t big enough or high enough to make it go around it, it goes over it. This includes soft toys, clothes, feet and, most importantly, pet waste (if your pet has an accident on the floor). It’s important to pick up small objects and clean sticky or wet messes before running the Roomba i4 EVO so that it doesn’t get stuck or create an even bigger mess.
Maps periodically need updating
The maps generated by the Roomba i4 EVO sometimes contain inaccuracies. They may need updating to reflect the layout of a space, especially if furniture has been changed or moved. While the Roomba i4 EVO can track the layout of a room as it cleans, it needs to be sent on a specific new mapping run to change or update its saved map.
Should you get the Roomba i4 EVO?
While the Roomba i4 EVO lacks some higher-end features, its performance and navigation abilities are clearly superior to those of entry-level robot vacuums. The Roomba i4 EVO cleans well on carpet and hardwood, doesn’t easily get tangled with pet hair, can be controlled remotely or by the major voice assistants, all at a price within reach of most consumers. For anyone looking for a dependable and feature-rich robot vacuum that won’t break the bank, the Roomba i4 EVO is a top choice.
Removes small, medium and large particles plus pet hair from all heights of carpet and rug with little to no residue.
Cleans small, medium and large particles including pet hair from hardwood with little to no residue.
Floor transition: 4
No trouble negotiating from carpet to flooring and back, including high pile, padded mats and throw rugs.
Smart mapping and row-by-row cleaning make for consistent and efficient cleaning coverage.
Ease of use: 5
May be operated directly from its buttons but also works