A few weeks ago, iRobot unveiled a new line of vacuums, the Roomba s9. The new series comprises two models, the s9 and the s9+, which only differ in accessories. More precisely, the s9+ comes with a Clean Base (a larger dirt bin where the robot empties vacuumed dirt automatically), while the s9 doesn’t (just like the difference between the i7+ and i7). iRobot says the new robots are the company’s most powerful. Also the smartest, with improved mapping and navigation capabilities. Let’s see if that claim stands.
If you’re yet to use any of these vacuums and looking for information about them, read on. I will take you through the features and abilities of the iRobot Roomba s9. And towards the end, I’ll do a comparison of the new s9 and last year’s models, the e5 and the i7. These are the models launched before the new s9 robots. As usual, I will start with the specs.
- 1 iRobot Roomba s9 quick specs
- 2 Design
- 3 Features
- 4 Maintenance
- 5 Special Features
- 6 Usability/Movement Algo
- 7 Price and discounts
- 8 iRobot Roomba s9 Pros and Cons
- 9 Roomba s9 vs Roomba i7 vs Roomba e5
- 10 Final Comments
iRobot Roomba s9 quick specs
The Roomba s9 is iRobot’s most powerful vacuum with a suction power that’s one of the highest you can get on a robot. According to the manufacturer, the models in the s9 line are 40 times more powerful than those in the 600 series. Tests indicate the suction power to be an incredible 22 CFM (for comparison, the D7 which is Neato’s flagship at the moment delivers only 20 CFM). For a robot, that’s a lot of cleaning power. As a side note, this still doesn’t allow the Roomba s9 to be used as the main household vacuum, but things are getting there.
The dual rubber brushes are 30% wider than what you see in the 600 series. These adjust continuously to effectively clean all types of floors, but we’ll get to that later.
The robot uses a lithium-ion battery that provides up to 120 minutes of runtime. That means a solid 2 hours of cleaning time – long enough for the robot to vacuum large rooms before it needs to return to the charging base. The battery takes 4 hours to charge. With its smart navigation and mapping tech, the s9 finds its way back to the charging station when the battery runs out. And when ready to start cleaning again, it remembers the last spot cleaned so it can resume from there.
The capacity of the dirt bin is 13 oz (400 ml). This is the average for Roombas as well as a majority of robot vacuums on the market. However, there’s nothing to worry if you get the Plus model. The s9+ empties itself, just like the i7+ from the same company. If you already purchased the s9 version, you can always buy the Clean Base separately, if auto-emptying is a feature you’ll find necessary. In my humble opinion, although it’s a big price difference (and considering that you already have the finances well sorted out, since you’re looking at a premium robot-vac from a premium brand), getting this accessory together with the robot is a must.
The filter on the robot is HEPA, which means allergens such as dust particles, pollen, mold, and dust mites are well taken care of. The manufacturer includes an additional filter, so you won’t be ordering one any time soon. To maintain the s9 and keep its suction at an optimum, you need to ensure that you clean the filter frequently.
Weight and Dimensions
It weighs 8.15 lbs and measures 12.5 by 12.5 by 3.5. Compared to the other Roombas, this model is less tall (e.g. the i7 is 3.63 inches tall), and thus it is compatible with more furniture.
iRobot backs this vacuum with a 1-year warranty. This is a limited warranty and covers parts only. It’s only valid for the robots bought from suppliers that are authorized by the manufacturer.
Being a robot vacuum, the Roomba s9+ doesn’t come with many accessories. In the box is an additional HEPA filter, an extra corner brush, a charging cord, a user manual, 2 dirt bags, the Clean Base and the robot itself.
You should consider cleaning the filter every now and then. Also investigate the side brush, as hair may get stuck at it’s base, and prevent it from functioning correctly. That being said, here are the main parts which need to be changed every once in a while:
The Roomba s9 is the latest upgraded vacuum from iRobot, and you can expect it to come packed with new features and functionalities. And does it? I should say it does, as it offers a cleaning performance not seen before among the other robots from the company. These are the features that you will find on the s9/s9+:
A Redesigned Body
Roombas are known to be round, but the s9 is a D-shape. This new design offers several advantages. First, the robot cleans edges and corners better. It reaches the furthest spots and, assisted by the corner brush, pulls dirt and debris towards the suction inlet. Second, the D-shape allowed the brush roll to be set on the wider end away from the wheel. The result is a broader cleaning path and a robot that takes less time to vacuum surfaces.
Automatic Dirt Disposal
If you get the Plus version, you’ll get this slick charging base which is also capable of storing 30 bins of debris (roughly 3 gallons). If you’re a regular person with regular cleaning needs, it will take months before you need to change the bag in the Clean Base:
Improved Corner Brush
iRobot calls it PerfectEdge cleaning. It comprises sensors and a brush on the robot’s corner. The corner brush features an unique design that enables it to pull debris more efficiently. Apart from sitting at an angle of 27 degrees, the brush is made of bristles that are shorter and softer than those of other Roombas. Its speed of spin is also lower. With these characteristics, the brush doesn’t cause debris to fly around during cleaning, which is a common problem with many other robot vacuums.
Multi-floor Brush Roll
This robo-vac comes with an unique dual and spinning brush roll that cleans both hard floors and carpets. The brush roll is made of rubber that flexes to ensure constant contact with the floor. The rubber material also makes the brushes less susceptible to tangle, making the robot efficient at cleaning hair. In fact, this is one of the best robot vacuums for pets. If you have hairy friends, you know what this feature means for your home’s cleaning needs.
The s9 offers one of the most advanced robot vacuum technologies today. Its mapping hardware and software are top-notch, with the ability to remember the layout of your home and create virtual maps. It comes with cliff sensors and an obstacle detection system. That means you can have the robot clean on its own without the worry that it will hump into things or even fall off the stairway. And after a few cleaning tasks, it can tell the different rooms of your home.
Smartphone App Control
The robot doesn’t come with a remote module but offers impressive smartphone control. Using the iRobot Home app, you can direct the vacuum in many different ways. Besides the normal cleaning commands, you also get to choose the days you want the robot to clean as well the rooms you want cleaned. Through the app, you can see the cleaning progress as well as view maintenance alerts. The app supports both Android and iOS operating systems.
Other Features of the iRobot Roomba s9
- An auto-adjusting brush roll – this allows the robot to move from bare to carpeted areas or from hard floors to area rugs. The feature also allows the robot to position the suction inlet closer to the floor for a cleaning that’s more efficient.
- Dirt Detection – the s9 features sensors to detect messes and automatically increase suction to pick up more dirt. It will also concentrate on the spot until all the dirt and debris is cleaned.
- Auto Suction – when set to vacuum in the auto mode, the robot increases and decreases suction automatically based on the floor type and the amount of dirt detected.
- Voice control – if you prefer voice to control your robot vacuum, the s9 is your kind of cleaning device. It supports Google Assistant as well as Amazon’s Alexa. While voice control is not a totally new feature for robot cleaners, the s9 allows you several functions with this feature. You can even use it to tell the robot which room to clean among other commands.
The Roomba s9 is one of the smartest robot vacuum around. Coming from a company that has been making such cleaners for more than two decades, you can expect it to come with the most advanced navigation and mapping technologies.
For navigation, the robot uses what the manufacturer calls vSLAM technology. This consists of sensors that can survey the robot’s surrounding 25 times a second. This helps to detect obstacles in time. There are also four sensors to detect empty spaces and prevent the vacuum from falling off the stairs. Additionally, the robot comes with threaded wheels that improve its grip of the surface and make its movements stable. Using the iRobot virtual walls, you can keep the cleaner off the areas you don’t want it to clean.
To map out your home, the s9 uses iRobot’s Imprint Smart Mapping. The robot takes more than 200,000 points of data every second while cleaning and uses that to create virtual representation or layout of your home. This map is what allows you to divide the different rooms, schedule cleaning days and direct which room should be cleaned. After the vacuum has cleaned the various rooms a few times, it can tell the kitchen from the living room and more. According to the manufacturer, the s9 can remember as many as 10 different rooms.
The s9 also uses what the manufacturer has dubbed as the Imprint Link. It’s essentially a way to communicate with the Braava Jet M6, another of iRobot products, but one that mops. Using the Imprint Link, the s9 sends commands to the M6 to start mopping whenever after it has finished vacuuming. The communication feature allows vacuuming tasks to be followed by mopping even in your absence.
Price and discounts
As expected, the s9+ is one of the most expensive robot vacuums out there, with a price tag of approximately $1300. The s9 alone is around $1000. However, you may get lucky and find a nice discount from time to time.
iRobot Roomba s9 Pros and Cons
Here is a quick look at Roomba s9’s good points and downsides:
- High suction power, enough to remove dirt from all types of floors including carpets
- Wide cleaning path for quicker cleaning
- A redesigned corner brush the pulls debris towards the suction path better and without blowing dirt all over
- Rubber brush roll that prevents hair from tangling. It also improves vacuum’s contact with the surface being cleaned
- Long runtime that assures you of continuous cleaning, especially if there are large areas to be vacuumed
- Advanced navigation and floor mapping technologies that make the vacuum a true autonomous robot
- HEPA filtration for protection from allergens
- The steep price, but which matches the abilities of the robot
Roomba s9 vs Roomba i7 vs Roomba e5
Before the launch of the newest s9, the i7 and e5 were iRobot’s best vacuums, having been released only months ago. The robots in the new series came with unique features as we have seen in the specs.
The s9 is different from the i7 and the e5. It features a D-shape while the other models have a round shape. With the D-shape, the s9 offers better edge cleaning and features a wider brush roll. That’s in addition to the unique soft and less aggressive corner brush that greatly improves the cleaning efficiency.
When it comes to the power to pick up dirt and debris, the s9 performs better. It provides superior suction which enables it to clean carpets more effectively. iRobot says the s9 creates 40 times the airflow of the vacuums in the 600 series. The s9’s airflow is 8 times more powerful that of e5, and 4 times more powerful that of the i7. As you can see, the cleaning power of the s9 is pretty high.
The runtime of the Roomba s9 is also longer. It cleans for 120 minutes non stop, compared to the i7’s 75 minutes and e5’s 90 minutes. If you have a larger home, you would definitely want to choose the s9. All the three models will return to the charging station automatically once the battery drains. However, only the i7 and the s9 will resume cleaning from where they left. The reason is that the e5 uses random cleaning and doesn’t store any maps, while the other two use smart linear cleaning and floor mapping.
The dirt bin of the s9 is a little bit smaller, at 13 oz. However, that shouldn’t bother you if you also get the Clean Base.
iRobot just released one of the most powerful robot vacuums that users can buy today. With a completely new design and a host of other features, the Roomba s9 cleans hard floors, carpets, edges, and corners better than what the earlier models could. Although highly priced, the s9 offers what you cannot get from most robot vacuums on the market. With its high suction power and the improved brush roll/side brush, you can comfortably use this robot as a regular vacuum cleaner even if you have carpets or area rugs. The smart mapping function and the smartphone app makes using the s9 not only easier, but also more exciting. You can schedule cleaning in advance, decide the rooms to clean, and use lots of other controls and functions.
What do you think about the new s9? Would you spend $1700 on a cleaning solution such as the Roomba s9+ and the Braava M6 mop?