iRobot Roomba s9+ Review

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iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
Company: iRobot
Type: Smart Device
MSRP: $1,299.99
CGM Editors Choice
| July 3, 2020

The Roomba s9+ offers a thorough, deeper clean, perfect for those who enjoy the convenience of a vacuuming robot but have to contend with carpeting. While the i7+ had a lot of positives to list, one major downside was that it couldn’t quite keep up with high pile carpeting, particularly when combined with pet hair. The s9+ features a powerful new cleaning system with up to 40X the suction of previous models, noticeably improved Dual Rubber brushes (now 30% wider), and a specially designed corner brush that boasts five angled arms (versus the Roomba’s earlier three-armed brush). All this is to say that if you’ve got a fur-coated carpet to clean, it’s certainly up to the task. 

The iRobot’s patented iAdapt® 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM® technology helps it to easily learn the layout of your home, though it will take a few trips for it to figure it out (so be patient). As the s9+ zips around, it detects the type of flooring it’s on and ⁠— using its Power Boost technology ⁠— adjusts the suction accordingly. The result is a superior clean that actually managed to make my area rugs look brand new and no longer woven with a fine layer of pet hair. 

Irobot Roomba S9+ Review
iRobot Roomba s9 – Review Photo by CGMagazine

The one downside of such superior suction, I noticed, is that the Roomba s9+ found itself more easily tangled up in cords, cables and curtains that might have strayed their way across the floor. In one instance, I spent a few harrowing moments untangling a phone charge cable that was determined to find its way inside the machine. Overall, I felt that I had to keep a bit of a closer eye on the s9+ to prevent it from getting tangled or stuck. That said (as with normal vacuum procedure), if you’re mindful of where such vulnerable obstructions are located and prepare accordingly, you should be fine. As an additional safety net, the iRobot app allows you to set up Keep Out Zones, so once these areas are identified, it’s much easier to make sure they don’t present themselves as an issue later. 

As with previous models, once the bot has completed its job (or once its tank is full), it will automatically return to its Clean Base™ Charging Station to eject the dirt, dust, and debris that it has so diligently collected from your home. The s9+ also features the Roomba’s first and only Anti-Allergen System that traps and locks pollen and mold allergens, keeping them from escaping your handy little helper or its charging base. Within the robot, there’s also a High-Efficiency Filter that captures 99 percent of mold, pollen, and dust mite allergens. So if you’re sensitive to all those natural aggravators, the s9+ will do its darndest to keep them safely secured in the AllergenLock™ Dirt Disposal Bags that come with the Roomba.

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iRobot Roomba s9 – Review Photo by CGMagazine

That said, you do need to fully replace the dirt disposal bag each time it is filled; they cannot be reused. However, it will take quite a bit of cleaning before you get to that point. The Clean Base™ Charging Station holds 30 bins of… whatever it picks up, so you can comfortably go a few weeks at a time (or, roughly 60 days) between replacing the bags. But the necessity of reordering dirt disposal bags is a fair price to pay (literally – they retail at a reasonable rate of $19.99 for a 3-pack). The benefit of keeping dirt, dust, and other allergy-inducing messes physically out of your hands is definitely helpful. 

Speaking of hands-free, the s9+ can connect with your virtual assistant (Google Home or Alexa) to control its actions. The bot uses iRobot’s Imprint™ Smart Mapping technology to develop an editable floor map that you can easily merge, split, and divide into rooms, so you can use your virtual assistant to truly feel like you’re living in the age of the Jetsons by commanding your Roomba to specifically clean the kitchen, living room, or whatever other spaces are assigned. Additionally, the s9+ works in tandem with the Braava jet m6, so you can voice command a whole fleet of robots to clean your home in an order that actually makes sense (vacuum first to collect debris, then mop to make it sparkling clean). The future is now! 

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iRobot Roomba s9 – Review Photo by CGMagazine

Of course, because the future is still in development, it can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find the right way to voice a command. Additionally, if the Roomba is in the middle of a cleaning job, it doesn’t always respond if you try and vocally direct it to another area. And the voice control can be spotty; if I instructed it to clean a specific room, it would go on its merry little way through its usual cleaning routine and ignore my pleas for a clean kitchen. But by using the iRobot app, or your hands and your own two feet (how barbaric), it’s easy to adjust its path. 

Measuring 12.25” W x 3.5” H, this newer, slightly lower height means that zipping under furniture is easier than ever. That said, it does make for a bit of a clunky ride when transitioning from different surfaces. There were a few times when going from high-pile carpet to hardwood seemed like a bit more of a challenge for my bot. But, he persevered, and only once required rescue when a pesky table leg threw off his already shaky balance. And if you’ve ever worried about the practicality of the Roomba’s normally circular shape, rest assured that the s9+’s flat-top Maximized-Edge Design is adept at following along baseboards and getting into corners. 

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iRobot Roomba s9 – Review Photo by CGMagazine

There’s a lot of customization available in the iRobot app, including adjustments to the actual cleaning preferences. You can modify the cleaning power (which adversely affects the volume) and how many passes your s9+ will make (your bot can do one pass, two passes, or set it to automatic for it to adjust based on the room size). The cleaning power calibration is particularly helpful if you don’t have a huge mess to clean, or if you want to hold a decent conversation over the sound of this technological marvel whirring around your feet. 

The Roomba s9+ is undoubtedly a meaner, leaner cleaner than previous models, but it’s susceptible to the technical missteps you’d expect from a self-propelled, self-controlled vacuum. It’s smart, but it does take a while to figure some things out, and there’s only so many crevices it can get into. So if you’re expecting a miracle machine that will sweep up every square inch of your sprawling abode, your expectations should be adjusted. But if you want a good, overall vacuum that takes the work out of your hands and actually makes your home look and feel comfortably clean (carpets included), you can’t go wrong. 

Final Thoughts

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