Review: iRobot Roomba i3+: budget bot with cool features

By reviews / 27. November 2020

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As a pet owner and a busy person, I’ve owned a robot vacuum of one kind or another for years. The convenience and ease with which they can keep your home tidy between deep cleanings is important to me. While the cleaning properties and helpfulness of these gadgets have been hard to argue with, the price has kept this technology out of reach for a lot of customers. That may change with the launch of the Roomba® i3+ robot vacuum. This iRobot version is packed with advanced features and has a softer new look. Starting at a much more budget-friendly $749CAD, the Roomba i3+ gives you some of the features of the higher end Roombas like intelligent navigation, self-emptying capabilities using the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, and it lets you control almost every aspect of your clean using the iRobot app. So is this budget bot on par with pricier vacuums and how well does it clean? Let’s dig in since I had a chance to have one of these running in my home for a few weeks of review…

What do you get with iRobot Roomba® i3+?

In the package you’ll get a new look round Roomba vacuum; the new look is thanks to a softer woven panel on the top of the bot. While iRobot says it’s mean to be more durable, and that the woven texture will minimize fingerprints and collect less dust, I think it’s more likely you just won’t be able to see the dust and prints so well any more on the textured surface.

Also in this kit is the iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal unit. This automatic empty container was launched a couple years ago on pricier Roombas like the i7 and s9 (the + in the name indicates the disposal base is included). You do also have the option of just purchasing the vacuum bot for a lower price.

What’s the advantage of the iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal unit?

This dustbin is a game changer for vacuum owners and it has a few features which make it an upgrade worth considering.

The clean base means the Roomba can now empty itself. The newest Robot in the Roomba fleet is available with a special dock that contains a dustbin and sealed vacuum bag, so that any time the Roomba is full, it’ll head back to its base station and automatically empty itself. This dock is also a charging station, and the robot will go home to recharge before finishing a clean if it needs to.

Once it docks you’ll hear the internal vacuum come on (yes, this is very much a vacuum within a vacuum!) and it sucks all the dirt out of the onboard dustbin and into a bag inside the base. You’ll never see a grain of dirt.

The emptying process is loud and I’d say it sounds like a regular upright vacuum on full, and it’s definitely quite a contrast to the low noise level of the Roomba itself.

iRobot Roomba i3+: What does it have & What’s missing from other higher cost Roombas?

Let’s talk about what you’re getting and not getting with the iRobot Roomba i3.

When compared to the much more expensive Roombas, smart home mapping is missing. This feature allows the robot to create a virtual map of your home so you can ask your digital assistant to clean certain rooms in your house, or set cleaning schedules for those specific rooms of the house on certain days, for example.

How well does Roomba i3+ clean?

To the question you all no doubt have: how well does this less expensive Roomba clean?

I’ve found overall Roombas clean very well and this robot is no exception; Roombas can pick up a lot of different things, from pet hair, to crumbs, from fine dirt or flour to grittier bits like cereal or crackers. While bigger and looser items like cereal pieces might ger spun across the floor by the brushes sometimes, I find they do gert picked up in subsequent passes.

Overall review: iRobot Roomba® i3+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal

Overall, this vacuum does a lot: it cleans very well, and I love the automatic dirt disposal, since it cleaner and means I don’t need to empty my bot daily.
Any downsides to this device can be fixed by upgrading to different roombas: if you wan to get that home mapping and clean by room, upgrade to a i7 or s9. While I do think Roombas still get caught or stuck more than they should, that’s a hazard of not piccking up dog toys, socks or phone cords before you clean.

I think this roomba is a great blend of useful features and an affordable price point.

The iRobot Roomba® i3+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal sells for $749CAD (robot on its own is $499CAD). The i7+ sells for $999 by comparison and the s9+ is $1399.

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