Roomba Combo j7 Plus review: now with a mop on top

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The Roomba Combo j7 Plus is simply a top-of-the-line robot vacuum that tin besides mop and bare its ain bin. Thanks to its quality to representation your location and debar communal household clutter, it’s 1 of the fewer bots I’ve tested that seldom gets stuck. All this autonomy makes it a bully household cleaning companion, though it’s a amended vacuum than a mop, and you bash person to refill its h2o reservoir reasonably often. But it’s 1 of the lone robot vacuums that tin reliably vacuum all your rugs and carpeted areas and vacuum and mop your floors successful 1 spell without dragging its damp, soiled mop implicit your bully rug.

iRobot’s archetypal combo mop / vacuum, the $1,099 Combo j7 Plus takes the fantabulous j7 robot vacuum and adds immoderate caller sensors, a bigger battery, a tiny h2o reservoir, and a robotic limb that raises and lowers a precise tiny mopping pad. 

That robot limb is key. Almost each different robot vacuum with a mop requires manual intervention: you person to region the mopping pad truthful it volition tackle carpets and enactment it backmost connected erstwhile you privation mopping action. But the Combo j7’s limb keeps the mop pad tucked distant connected apical of the robot erstwhile not successful use, past lowers itself down and underneath the robot erstwhile needed. This cognition is wholly autonomous and worked reliably and smoothly successful my testing. It’s besides precise amusive to watch. 

The mop lone deploys erstwhile the robot is connected a hard level aboveground — wood, tile, concrete. If it’s successful mopping mode and encounters a rug, it won’t spell implicit it (I tried to instrumentality it, but it ever backed away). Cleverly, erstwhile you nonstop it retired connected a occupation it vacuums each the rugs and carpets first, past deploys the mop and and cleans and vacuums the hard floors. It’s not wholly hands-off, though; depending connected the size of your home, you’ll person to refill the h2o reservoir astatine slightest erstwhile to mop it all.

The Plus successful Combo j7 Plus means it comes with iRobot’s Clean Station, an auto-empty basal that charges the robot and sucks the ungraded retired of its bin. The regular j7 vacuum tin beryllium bought with the basal (as the j7 Plus) oregon without it, but you tin presently lone bargain the Combo with the base, which partially explains the eye-watering $1,099 terms tag. 

The Combo works good if you person of hard flooring combined with tons of plush rugs and carpets

Design-wise, the Combo j7 looks astir identical to the j7. The lone quality is the creaseless apical portion of the robot is breached up somewhat by the mopping plate. This is inactive a good-looking robot; it’s easy the champion plan successful the satellite of robot vacs. Its matte achromatic integrative doesn’t amusement particulate oregon fingerprints, and tiny touches — similar the brushed aluminum apical portion with a tiny iRobot logo — are overmuch classier than the large designs of competitors specified arsenic Shark and Roborock. 

The Combo has each the smarts of the j7, including AI-powered obstacle avoidance positive caller onboard acoustic sensors to find the level type. It uses those sensors, positive the cognition it gleans from mapping your house, to find its cleaning pattern. When it enters a room, it vacuums the rugs and carpets first, past mops and vacuums the hard floors earlier moving connected to the adjacent room. There is nary enactment to mop only; the robot is ever vacuuming and sometimes mopping. 

It’s a decent mop

It tin lone mop if you connect the pad (which is removable truthful you tin cleanable it) and if its 210 ml h2o vessel is full. Without some of those successful place, it conscionable vacuums. When it runs retired of water, it continues to vacuum, and you get an alert successful the app to refill the tank. This does necessitate manual intervention: you person to instrumentality the combined particulate bin and h2o reservoir retired of the backmost of the robot and capable the h2o tank. (iRobot says it’s good to usage immoderate cleaning solution successful its bot; astir robot mops lone instrumentality h2o oregon their ain cleaning solution). 

The tiny vessel does not past long: aft mopping my room floor, it was mostly spent. You tin get much mopping retired of it by reducing the h2o travel level successful the app, but successful my testing, the highest mounting was the astir effective. Handily, you tin acceptable antithetic h2o levels for antithetic rooms. I had it instrumentality 2 passes and mop connected the Ultra mounting for the room and eating country floors but had it usage Eco for the surviving room. 

A manus  lifting the mopping limb  of the Roomba Combo j7 positive  to amusement   the mopping pad.

The mopping pad is simply a tiny semi-circle that is easy removable for washing.

The h2o  reservoir is built into the removable bin.

The h2o reservoir is built into the removable bin.

The Combo doesn’t usage immoderate scrubbing enactment to cleanable the floors, conscionable the downward unit from the mop arms and the friction from the pad dragging crossed the level arsenic the robot moves. iRobot says that programming it to bash 2 passes is the astir effectual mode to usage the mop for much stubborn stains. In testing, that was true, but with 2 passes, I was filling up the vessel a batch much often.

While its rug-avoiding method works well, its mopping is lackluster.

The lone different robot vac / mop that doesn’t request you to connect its pad erstwhile you privation it to mop is the Roborock S7 line. Roborock handles the “don’t resistance a damp mop pad implicit my rug” occupation by lifting its mop a fewer millimeters erstwhile it encounters carpet. But this lone works connected debased heap rugs and carpets, whereas the Combo j7 tin spell implicit immoderate rug oregon carpet, acknowledgment to that robot arm.

While its rug-avoiding method works well, its mopping is lackluster. This is existent of astir each different combo vacuum and mop I’ve tested, however, particularly compared to a Swiffer-type mop and immoderate manual labor. 

Yes, it works good capable to prime up good particulate the vacuum misses, but it won’t get dried beverage up unless you nonstop it retired 4 oregon 5 times, adjacent with a cleaning solution, by which constituent you whitethorn arsenic good person grabbed the Swiffer. iRobot has a dedicated mopping robot, the Braava Jet M6, which does a overmuch amended occupation astatine mopping — it obliterates dried beverage stains. But it’s precise dilatory and can’t grip rugs oregon high-room transitions successful the aforesaid mode the Combo can.

Both the Roborock S7 Plus and the S7 MaxV Ultra bash a amended occupation astatine mopping floors than the Combo j7. The S7’s mopping pad is doubly the size of the Combo’s and vibrates ever truthful somewhat to simulate scrubbing. The S7’s oscillating question did a amended occupation of cleaning a dried beverage stain successful 1 walk than the Roomba did successful 2 passes, though it didn’t wholly region the stain successful its regular mode. The Roborocks person a high-intensity mopping level wherever the bot doesn’t vacuum astatine all, moves much slowly, and scrubs much intensely. That mode did wholly region the dried beverage and near my floors feeling similar idiosyncratic had really mopped them.

Roborock besides sells an Empty Wash Fill dock for its S7 MaxV Ultra robot that automatically refills the robot’s h2o vessel and scrubs the mopping pad, successful summation to emptying its particulate bin and charging its battery. While the Roomba Combo j7 Plus does travel with an auto-empty dock, filling the h2o vessel and cleaning the mopping pad are connected you. And you bash person to refill the h2o vessel frequently, contempt iRobot’s hands-free claims; it ne'er got done my 800-square-foot downstairs without needing to beryllium refilled.

In iRobot’s corner, the Roomba’s car bare presumption is overmuch little of an eyesore than the Roborock’s, and the Combo j7 Plus with the presumption usually costs astir $300 little than the Roborock with the Empty Wash Fill base. Plus, Roombas don’t speech to you, dissimilar astir each different robot vac I’ve tested, including the Roborocks. Seriously, these things are Chatty Cathys — “I’m going to cleanable the kitchen.” “I’m stuck, and I request help.” “I’m precise annoying.” 

Top-down changeable  of the Roomba’s car  bare  basal  with the lid lifted.

The auto-empty charging basal has a bagged compartment that holds the ungraded from the vacuum and different that holds a spare bag.

...but a large vacuum.

Ultimately, the Combo j7 Plus adds a spot much convenience than astir vacuum / mop models and volition get your floors a spot cleaner than the regular j7. And portion it’s an good mop, it is an fantabulous vacuum. Roombas are the champion astatine really vacuuming of each the models I’ve tested. This is partially due to the fact that of a unsocial dual rubber brushwood strategy that helps it excavation into carpet fibers and prime up ungraded amended from hard floors.

The j7 and Combo j7 person the aforesaid bundle and the aforesaid vacuuming features. I reviewed the j7 erstwhile it archetypal came out, but acknowledgment to respective over-the-air updates to its robot brain (or operating system), it has gotten importantly better. I promote you to work my earlier review of the Roomba j7 for much background, and I’ll spell into immoderate of the updates here.

The underside of the Roomba Combo J7 showing its dual greenish  level  rollers.

Roomba’s dual-brush strategy is precise bully astatine cleaning hard floors and carpet alike.

The underside of the Combo j7 showing a rotating brushwood  with 3  sets of close-packed bristles a fewer  inches long.

A side-spinning brushwood draws debris into the roller’s path.

The j7 is the lone iRobot vacuum with AI obstacle avoidance. This means it’s astute capable to cognize to spell astir that sock, cable, oregon heap of poop. Roomba’s AI obstacle avoidance is precise good, overmuch amended than the Roborock S7 MaxV, its closest competitor, and amended than the Samsung JetBot AI that I originally pitted it against.

I enactment this down to the Roomba’s quality to fig retired what objects are successful its mode and determine what to bash astir them alternatively than conscionable avoiding thing lumpy. This is key: you privation a vacuum to cleanable close up adjacent to a litter container oregon favored vessel but decidedly not canine waste.

In testing, the j7 astir ever gave favored discarded and cables a wide berth (if it does marque a poopy mistake, iRobot promises to nonstop you a caller robot). It got adjacent to — but not successful a tangle with — socks, shot caps, and backpacks and close up to favored bowls and litter boxes. You tin springiness the robot much definitive directions successful the app, which lets you designate cleanable zones for areas you privation to people cleaning, no-mop zones, and keep-out zones. 

This is worthy doing if you person thing delicate you privation it to avoid; Roombas are precise bullish and volition bang into furniture, and AI avoidance isn’t foolproof. While the Combo j7 seldom got tripped up by thing successful my testing, it did occasionally get stuck nether a portion of furniture.  

Screenshots from the iRobot app. On the left, a surface  showing the vacuum presumption    and immoderate   controls, including a favorites conception  with routines labelled “Kitchen quick” and “After dinner.” On the right, a level  program  labeled “Main Floor” showing respective  designated cleanable  zones and carpeted areas.

The iRobot app is casual to use, and its mapping is effective. It automatically identifies carpeted areas.

You designate these zones connected the representation the iRobot app creates erstwhile you tally the robot. (Of note, iRobot was precocious purchased by Amazon, a determination which whitethorn beryllium to gain much penetration into our homes done those maps. The woody has not yet closed.)

The j7 maps much rapidly than erstwhile Roombas, acknowledgment to its onboard camera. This helps it place not lone rooms but besides furnishings and appliances. I could easy acceptable up a cleanable portion successful beforehand of the stove and nonstop the robot determination with a dependable bid to cleanable up aft dinner. 

The bot tin besides place things similar Christmas trees and favored bowls and suggest cleanable zones for you — though I didn’t person immoderate of these acceptable up during my testing. It volition besides suggest keep-out zones aft each tally if it encounters obstacles.

Voice commands are a large mode to power the Roomba, and it works good with Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri (using Siri shortcuts). The Combo besides has circumstantial mopping commands, truthful you tin archer it conscionable to vacuum oregon to mop and vacuum. 

Smart location information privacy: iRobot

Bringing connected devices into your location besides brings with it concerns astir however the information they cod is protected. The Verge asks each institution whose astute location products we reappraisal astir safeguards it has successful spot for your data.

The superior location information managed by a robot vacuum similar the Roomba Combo j7 are the maps it generates and representation information from its onboard camera. iRobot says it does not merchantability lawsuit information and that no data is shared with 3rd parties without the customer’s cognition oregon control. It outlines its Privacy Principles connected its website.

The robot vacuum collects usage data, the level of ungraded detection, the Wi-Fi awesome spot it receives, and the representation of your home, including furnishings and obstacles. iRobot says this information is encrypted and stored securely.

Image postulation is opt-in and helps with navigation and obstacle avoidance. iRobot says images are not viewable by the institution unless you opt-in some to representation postulation and to sharing each representation with iRobot. If you presumption your representation oregon obstacle avoidance images connected your telephone the information is shared done the Cloud. You tin opt-out of sending representation information to the Cloud successful the app.

You tin besides take to stock information from the robot with 3rd parties specified arsenic Amazon and Google for dependable control.

The Roomba Combo j7 does not request to beryllium connected to Wi-Fi oregon the Cloud to enactment — but you won’t beryllium capable to usage features similar scheduled cleanings, customized cleaning features, and dependable control.

iRobot’s app is besides 1 of the cleanest and easiest to navigate, particularly compared to Roborock’s cluttered interface. A mates of caller app features code immoderate of my biggest gripes with the Roomba. First is simply a caller on-the-fly skip option. When Roomba starts connected a occupation but encounters absorption — say, a hubby watching TV — alternatively of stopping the occupation entirely, you tin archer it to skip this room, and it volition spell disconnected and proceed the remainder of its job. 

There’s besides a caller quiescent thrust feature, truthful erstwhile you nonstop it to cleanable a circumstantial room, it doesn’t commencement up its loudest motors until it’s there, again making it little apt idiosyncratic volition crook it disconnected due to the fact that it’s annoying them. Roomba is 1 of the fewer robot vacs wherever you can’t acceptable the suction level; others connection quiescent and mean modes successful summation to regular and ultra.

Of course, the champion mode to guarantee a robot vacuum finishes its occupation is to tally it erstwhile nary 1 is home. You tin bash this with the iRobot app utilizing IFTTT and your phone’s determination oregon events from different connected devices you mightiness person — specified arsenic an August astute fastener locking, an Ecobee thermostat going into Away mode, oregon by connecting it to a astute location level specified arsenic Alexa. 

I tested the IFTTT and the Alexa integrations, and successful some cases, the Roomba started to tally erstwhile I near and docked itself erstwhile I arrived home. If you don’t privation it to halt each clip you get home, you tin besides acceptable it to intermission and inquire if you privation it to continue. 

These quality-of-life touches spell a agelong mode to making Roomba’s robots immoderate of the champion you tin buy. And the iRobot OS that runs them is connected each the bots the institution presently sells, not conscionable the high-end models. Another happening I similar astir Roombas compared to overmuch of the contention is their repairability. You tin bargain (not inexpensive) replacements for galore of the moving parts connected these bots, greatly extending their lifespan. 

Floor-level photograph  of the Combo J7 close    alongside a tasseled rug. The mop is is deployed but is not touching the rug tassels.

The Combo tin observe rugs and won’t spell implicit them with its mop is extended.

The Combo j7 Plus is simply a comparatively tiny betterment implicit the j7 Plus. I would person liked to spot much scrubbing enactment from the mop and besides a bigger footprint (that mop is truly small). But it does cleanable hard flooring amended than the j7, truthful from that perspective, it’s worthy the terms difference, especially if you person a batch of rugs successful your home. But I’m not definite somewhat cleaner floors are worthy the $300 premium. If you person a j7, you surely don’t request to upgrade, but if you are looking for your archetypal Roomba, it is simply a tiny measurement up implicit the non-mopping j7.

If you privation a robot to truly mop your floors, I similar the Braava Jet M6, a dedicated mop bot that you tin get in a bundle with the j7 often for little than the Combo j7 Plus. But it is dilatory and constricted successful its maneuverability, truthful it’s champion suited to keeping azygous rooms similar a room oregon bath clean. And 2 robots instrumentality up doubly the room. 

Another enactment is robot vacuum mops from Ecovacs, DreameBot, and Yeedi, which usage 2 ample circular oscillating mops. In my testing, these bash a precise bully occupation of scrubbing your floors, and immoderate travel with bases that tin refill the mop for you. But these won’t cleanable carpets and hard floors successful the aforesaid run; you person to manually connect the pads erstwhile you privation to mop.

This is wherever the Combo j7 does champion — amended than the Roborock S7 line, acknowledgment to its quality to cleanable high-pile carpets. Just property the fastener and it volition cleanable it each (until it runs retired of water). If you person tons of hard flooring with tons of plush rugs and carpets, past the Combo j7 volition enactment good for you. Otherwise, the regular j7 vacuum, without the speech portion robotic mop arm, is simply a amended choice.

Speaking of that robotic arm, it is an awesome portion of engineering design. It’s not excessively retired determination to extrapolate that this benignant of accessory mechanics could beryllium deployed successful different ways. A robot limb to prime up clutter, perhaps, oregon a robot ft to assistance the vacuum ace the last frontier for these awesome cleaning bots: stairs.

Photography by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Agree to continue: iRobot Roomba Combo j7 Plus

Every astute instrumentality present requires you to hold to a bid of presumption and conditions earlier you tin usage it — contracts that nary 1 really reads. It’s intolerable for america to work and analyse each azygous 1 of these agreements. But we started counting precisely however galore times you person to deed “agree” to usage devices erstwhile we reappraisal them since these are agreements astir radical don’t work and decidedly can’t negotiate.

You request to registry for an iRobot relationship utilizing an email code to usage the app (Android or iOS) and hold to iRobot’s Terms of Service, which include:

  • iRobot Terms & Conditions
  • iRobot End User License Agreement
  • iRobot Privacy Policy

In total, you get 3 mandatory agreements.

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