- Bottom Line
Its suction power captures all types of debris on slick hardwood and even gets into corners more effectively than other robots.
It ran for over an hour and a half on a single battery charge. Its sophisticated mapping allows for cleaning specific rooms or areas. Testing revealed it transitions easily between hardwood and carpet. Its D-shape also fits easily into corners and along baseboards.
It can scatter heavier debris with its fan brush while cleaning hardwood. It is one of the most expensive models we tested.
About the product
Is the Roomba s9+ worth it?
While most people agree that robot vacuums are convenient time-savers, one complaint often lodged against them is that they don’t have enough suction power to fully replace a standard vacuum. Enter the Roomba s9+, one of the most powerful robots for both hard flooring and carpeting.
In fact, the Roomba s9+ offers 40 times the suction power of the Roomba 600-series robots, so it can effectively handle most messes on any type of floor surface. Like other advanced Roombas, it features smart mapping, so you can choose where you want it to clean. It also comes with a Roomba self-emptying base, so it can clear its internal bin out when it’s full and continue cleaning without any assistance from you. But its most unique feature is its D-shape body, which helps it clean in corners and along walls more effectively than round Roombas can.
The BestReviews Testing Lab put the Roomba s9+ to work in real-world situations to determine just how well it cleans on both hard surfaces and carpeting. We also placed various kinds of debris in its path to evaluate how effectively it removed each mess, so we could compare it to other Roombas and determine what types of homes it would work best in.
What is the Roomba s9+?
Battery life: 107 minutes | Dimensions: 12.25” L x 12.25” W x 3.5” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.5 L | Weight: 8.15 lb | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes
Launched in 2019, the Roomba s9+ has an advertised battery life of up to 120 minutes, but during testing, it cleaned for 107 minutes before recharging. It’s roughly the same size as the other Roombas we tested, so it can fit under most furniture except items with especially low clearance. Like other advanced Roombas, it boasts smart mapping, which lets you choose where you want it to clean. However, it doesn’t have the ability to detect objects in its path like the Roomba j-series robots, so it can occasionally get stuck on items around the house.
Like Roomba’s other models that have a plus sign in the name (for example, the i7+ and j7+), the s9+ comes with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, so it returns home when its dustbin is full to empty itself. That means you never have to worry about cleaning being interrupted because you’re unaware the bin is full. The s9+ works with the iRobot Home app to allow for simple, user-friendly operation and is compatible with voice commands via a home assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
To see how the s9+ compares to other products in its space, check out our reviews for the best Roombas.
- Suction power: The Roomba s9+ offers greater suction power than any other Roomba.
- Self-emptying: It does the dirty work for you, emptying its internal bin into its base when full.
- Smart mapping: It creates a detailed map so you can pinpoint where you want it to go.
- D-shape: Its unique shape helps it get into tight spaces more effectively than other robots we tested.
- Battery life: During testing, the s9+ cleaned for over an hour and a half on a single charge.
- Recharge and resume: It can return to its base for a quick recharge and continue cleaning where it left off.
- Price: The high price makes it an investment that won’t fit all budgets.
- No object-avoidance feature: Unlike the Roomba j-series robots, the s9+ doesn’t detect objects in its path.
Testing the Roomba s9+
When we tested the Roomba s9+, we wanted to assess its overall performance and the type of user experience it provided. We started with measurable stats, so we timed how long it cleaned before recharging and how long it took to recharge once its battery was drained. To evaluate its cleaning efficiency, we also noted the time it took to clean an entire room and that space’s square footage. Next, we tested the s9+’s suction power and cleaning performance by running it on hardwood and carpeting with various types of debris. We placed coarse kosher salt, kitty litter, cereal and pet hair in its path on both surfaces and noted how many passes it took to effectively remove the mess. We also sprinkled the kosher salt in the corner of a room with carpeting and another with hardwood, as well as near the end of a couch and the legs of a dining chair, to see how well it removed the particles in those harder-to-reach situations.
After it finished, we cleaned the robot to see how easy the process was and whether any hair collected around its brushes. Additionally, we used the iRobot Home app to send the robot out to map, create a Keep-Out zone, schedule a cleaning session and reboot the vacuum. We also connected the s9+ to Amazon Alexa to see how well it responded to voice commands.
Roomba s9+ price and where to buy
Roomba s9+ setup
The Roomba s9+ was securely packaged in its retail box. The robot came in a suitcase-like box with a handle, while the base was wrapped in plastic and secured with cardboard to prevent scratches and other damage. The handle on the s9+’s box made it very easy to lift out of the box. To set up the Roomba, we only had to remove the base and robot from the box, attach the power cord to the base and plug it in before we set the robot on the base to charge. Setup also required downloading the iRobot Home app. After pressing two buttons on the s9+ until it chimed, it was ready to connect to Wi-Fi. The app asked for a QR code, but we couldn’t locate it. So instead, it asked us for the model and then searched for it to connect the robot.
The robot was ready to clean once it was connected to the app. All in all, the process took less than 10 minutes.
Roomba s9+ self-empty base
The Roomba s9+ comes with the s series Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, which is a must if you can’t picture yourself regularly cleaning out the dustbin. When the robot’s internal dustbin becomes full, it automatically returns to the base, where suction is activated to pull all the debris from the robot into a bag positioned at the top of the Clean Base. To make things even easier, this bag can hold up to 60 days’ worth of dirt, so you only need to empty it every two months.While this is certainly handy, we were surprised by how loud the s9+ was when using the Clean Base. It registered over 80 decibels, which is noisier than the average standard vacuum and closer to the roar of city traffic. Fortunately, during testing, the emptying process took less than 15 seconds each time, so — while it might startle you at first — it’s not disruptive for very long.
After the s9+ used the Clean Base to empty itself, we checked the robot’s internal dustbin to see how well the automatic dirt disposal had worked. The bin only had a few pieces of small debris and hair stuck in a corner, so, overall, the Clean Base was effective.
Another thing to note is that the s9+’s Clean Base is fairly large. It measures 19 inches tall, compared to the Roomba j-series Clean Base, which is 15.4 inches tall. Because of the size, it may be a little harder to find a spot for it that’s hidden out of the way.
Battery life and suction
The Roomba s9+’s advertised battery life is up to 120 minutes. During testing, it cleaned for 107 minutes on a setting that automatically adjusted its suction based on the flooring. When the battery was fully drained, it took an hour and 59 minutes to recharge. Most of the Roombas we tested took about two hours to recharge, so it was in line with other models. The s9+ also offers the Recharge and Resume feature. If its battery runs low during cleaning, the robot returns to the base to charge. Once the battery is sufficiently charged to finish the job, the s9+ picks up vacuuming where it left off, so you don’t have to worry about it not completing its cleaning session.
While other advanced Roomba models like the i3+ EVO, i8+, j7+ and Combo j7+ offer 10 times the suction power of the more basic Roomba 600-series robots, the s9+ provides 40 times the suction power. Our testing found that it had stronger suction than the other Roombas we tested on both hard surfaces and carpeting and handled both heavy and light debris well.
We tested the s9+ mainly on medium-pile carpeting and low-pile rugs. It removed an entire clump of pet hair from carpeting in a single pass. It also captured nearly all the coarse kosher salt and kitty litter, though it needed a second pass to remove a few stray particles from the fibers after its initial pass. Unlike the other Roomba models we tested, the s9+ didn’t crush any cereal we placed in front of it on carpeting. Instead, it removed all but two pieces, which were blown out of its path and under a nearby sofa where it couldn’t fit.
The s9+ also removed all the pet hair in a single pass on hardwood and laminate flooring. It captured nearly all the kosher salt and kitty litter, too, but needed a second pass to get a few stray particles of each that blew out of its path. It removed all of the cereal we placed in its way on hard flooring except for two pieces, which were blown to the side of the room. However, it sucked those up on a second pass.
When it came to corner cleaning, the s9+ was the best Roomba model we tested. On carpeting, it left behind only a few particles of kosher salt in the corner. In a room with hardwood, it removed nearly all of the salt but blew a few pieces away from the corner. It removed those on the following pass.
Navigation and smart mapping
Like many other advanced Roomba models, the s9+ uses iAdapt 3.0 software to navigate with its top-mounted camera. It features smart mapping to learn your home, identifying rooms and zones to help focus your cleaning. You can send the robot out for a mapping run before cleaning, so it knows the space prior to vacuuming and can clean more efficiently. We sent the s9+ on a mapping run before cleaning, and it needed 32 minutes to map 420 square feet, accurately identifying all four rooms. Once the robot’s smart map is established, you can edit it for accuracy and create Keep-Out Zones for areas you don’t want it to clean or Clean Zones where you want it to focus its cleaning. During testing, we successfully sent the s9+ out to vacuum just the living room and dining room. We also created a Keep-Out Zone around pet water bowls to prevent the robot from bumping into them, and the s9+ successfully avoided the area during every cleaning session.
The s9+ navigated floor transitions well. It had no issues moving from carpeting to rugs, carpeting to hardwood or hardwood to carpeting. It also transitioned from hardwood to rugs better than other Roombas we tested, but it took a little more time than its transitions between other types of flooring.
Unlike the Roomba j-series robots, the s9+ doesn’t have the obstacle-avoidance feature, which helps it steer around objects in its path. However, we found that it dealt with objects on the floor better than other models not in the j series, including the i3+ EVO or i8+. When we placed a stuffed pet toy in its path, it bumped into it once and then maneuvered around it. It attempted to pass over a shoe in front of it but then stopped, backed up and moved around it.
Roomba s9+ application
Like other Wi-Fi-enabled Roombas, the s9+ uses the iRobot Home app to make operation easier. The app is extremely easy to download and navigate, offering a straightforward interface that provides instant access to the robot’s features.
You can send your s9+ out for one-off cleaning when the kids spill cereal on the kitchen floor, or your dog makes a mess with his favorite treat in the family room. But to keep your floors consistently mess-free, it helps to set up a regular cleaning schedule in the app. You can choose the days and times the s9+ goes out to clean, and it will automatically vacuum at those selected times. During testing, we scheduled the s9+ to clean once in the morning and once in the evening. Like clockwork, the robot went out to vacuum at our chosen times without us having to lift a finger.
You can also use voice commands through a home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to schedule the s9+ to clean.
Before the s9+ starts cleaning, you can use the iRobot app to send it out on a mapping run, so it focuses on just learning your home. You also have access to your existing smart maps for editing. You can label or rename rooms and move dividers to make the map more accurate. You can also create Clean Zones and Keep-Out Zones for your map.
The app provides access to the s9+’s cleaning preferences, so you can control how it vacuums your home. You can adjust the number of passes that the robot does — its default setting is one, but you can increase it to two passes or choose “room-size clean,” which balances the room size with cleaning time for greater efficiency. You can also adjust the suction power from the standard default setting to Eco for less power or Turbo for increased power.
The s9+ also offers a Careful Drive feature in its Cleaning Preferences setting. When this mode is selected, it cleans along walls and furniture as closely as it can without touching them. We turned this feature on during testing but found it didn’t allow the s9+ to clean corners and along walls as effectively, so we preferred to have it clean without Careful Drive engaged.
Design and brush rolls
The Roomba s9+ is one of the sleeker, more attractive robot vacuums on the market. Instead of the usual round shape, it has a D-shape, so it looks more compact and can clean in corners and along walls more precisely. It has a primarily black design, but its lid has a metallic rose-gold finish that makes the s9+ look stylish and modern. Instead of housing its dustbin at the back of the robot, the s9+’s bin is beneath the rose-gold lid at the top of the robot. That makes it much easier to remove for emptying and cleaning than models with the dustbin in the back.
The s9+ also has anti-tangle dual multisurface rubber brushes that discourage hair from wrapping around them and automatically flex to adjust to different flooring surfaces. Other advanced Roombas, including the i1+, i3+ EVO, i8+ and j7+, also have this type of brush roll, but the s9’s brushes are 30% wider to make cleaning more efficient.
During testing, we didn’t observe any hair tangled around the s9’s brushes after it finished vacuuming — and the few strands we did see were easily removed with our fingers. We also found that the s9+ was pretty efficient, cleaning 240 square feet in 37 minutes.
Roomba s9+ benefits
Of all the Roombas we tested, the s9+’s has a clear advantage thanks to its mighty suction power. It removed virtually all of the debris it encountered on both hard surfaces and carpeting, including pet hair. That makes it ideal for homes with a mix of flooring surfaces and pets. The self-emptying design also means that the robot needs no assistance during cleaning and eliminates the need to deal with a dirty bin afterward.
With its smart-mapping feature, the s9+ learns your home well enough to clean more efficiently. It also lets you clean a specific room or an entire floor based on your cleaning needs. The unique D-shape helps it clean along walls and in corners better than any of the other robot vacuums we tested, too, so you don’t have to worry about hair and debris collecting there. Because it can clean for more than 90 minutes on a single charge and has the Recharge and Resume feature, it can easily handle medium and large homes.
Roomba s9+ drawbacks
No doubt, the Roomba s9+’s price is steep. Depending on your budget, it may be hard to justify paying $1,000 for a robot vacuum. That can become even harder when you consider the s9+ doesn’t offer the object-avoidance feature the Roomba j-series robots come with. So even though it’s a powerful, highly advanced robot, it can still get stuck around your house — and if you have a pet that occasionally poops on the floor, it could potentially run right over the mess and make an even bigger one.
Should you get the Roomba s9+?
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that allows you to ditch your standard vacuum — or at least relegate it to your back closet for occasional cleaning — the Roomba s9+ is the one for you. It is, hands down, the most powerful Roomba we tested, impressing us with its ability on hard flooring and carpeting. It handles pet hair like a champ, and its brush roll won’t get tangled with it afterward. It can also clean homes of most sizes, though it does require a little more prep work than the Roomba j-series models because it can’t detect and avoid obstacles on its own. When it comes down to it, the only reason to not get the s9+ is if its price exceeds your budget. But if you can find it on sale, there’s no need to hesitate — for the level of convenience it provides, the s9+ is worth every penny.
It may not be quite as powerful as a standard vacuum, but it offers very impressive suction on carpeting, even when it comes to pet hair.
It can remove nearly all debris from hard flooring but occasionally blows particles out of its path, requiring a second pass.
Floor transition: 4.5
It moved easily from floor to floor, though it transitioned a little more slowly from hardwood to rugs.
Its smart mapping of rooms and objects is excellent, but it doesn’t have an obstacle-avoidance feature.
Ease of use: 5
From setup to mapping to cleaning, the iRobot Home app made it extremely easy to use.