Comparing the Roomba i8+ and i7+
iRobot’s famous Roomba line of robot vacuums offers many impressive models with convenient features. If you’re trying to decide between the i8+ and i7+, you’ll probably struggle quite a bit since these two robots are incredibly similar.
Both the i8+ and i7+ are self-emptying models, making them easy to maintain. They offer excellent suction, too, providing 10 times the power of Roomba 600-series models, so they can work well on hard floors and carpeting. They also learn your home’s layout, allowing you to send the vacuum to clean specific rooms or zones.
The BestReviews Testing Lab put the i8+ and i7+ through their paces to see how well they stack up against one another. Ultimately, while they are very similar, the i8+ earned our top spot because of its improved battery life. The i7+ may be a good fit for small to midsize homes, but because there isn’t much of a price difference, there isn’t much reason to not choose the i8+.
Roomba i8+ vs. i7+ specs
The Roomba i8+ and i7+ are very similar robots, so many of their specs match up almost exactly. However, a key difference in battery life between the two does impact their performance and usability.
Battery life: 89 minutes | Dimensions: 13.26” L x 13.26” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.4 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: Yes | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 year
Like most other robot vacuums, the Roomba i8+ is round and roughly the same size as other models, including the i7+. Released in 2020, it is slightly narrower than the i7+ but has the same height and weight. The i8+’s dustbin is a bit larger by 100 milliliters, but it is a self-emptying robot, which makes dustbin size less important. It has an advertised cleaning time of 90 minutes, like many advanced robot vacuums, and during testing, it ran for exactly 89 minutes before recharging.
The i8+ features advanced smart mapping like other premium Roombas, including the i3+, j7+, s9+ and the i7+. It can learn and remember specific rooms for more targeted cleaning, but it doesn’t have an obstacle-avoidance feature like the Roomba j series, so it can’t steer around objects in its path. However, it does come with a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier device, which allows you to keep the robot out of areas where it might encounter obstacles it could get stuck on.
Battery life: 75 minutes | Dimensions: 13.34” L x 13.34” W x 3.63” H | Dustbin capacity: 0.3 L | Weight: 7.44 lb | Navigation software: iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM | Mapping: Yes | Self-emptying: No | Object avoidance: No | Scheduling: Yes | Selective room cleaning: Yes | Warranty: 1 year
The Roomba i7+, which was launched two years earlier than the i8+ in 2018, has a smaller battery than the i8+, so it can only clean for 75 minutes before recharging. Its size is similar to other robot vacuums, but it is slightly wider than the i8+ — though not by enough to make much of a difference. While its dustbin is also smaller, its self-emptying base makes it less of an issue than it is for models requiring manual emptying.
Like the i8+, the i7+ uses iRobot’s iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM software to navigate. It can map a floor plan and learn specific rooms, so it’s able to clean certain areas rather than the entire floor. It doesn’t have an obstacle-detection feature, though, making it essential to pick up items like cords and wires from the floor before it vacuums.
Key differences between the i8+ and i7+
The only significant difference between the Roomba i8+ and i7+ is their battery life. The i8+ can run for nearly 15 minutes longer than the i7+ before recharging. If you have a large home, you may find extra time is necessary to get your entire floor clean in a single vacuuming run.
However, the i8+ and i7+ offer the Recharge and Resume feature that can make battery life less important. When these robots run out of power, they return to their base to recharge. Once the battery is fully charged, the vacuum will go back out to clean, picking up where it left off.
Both the Roomba i8+ and i7+ come with additional accessories, but each robot includes different items. The i8+ has an extra high-efficiency filter, four dirt disposal bags for the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal and a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier that allows you to keep the robot out of areas you don’t want to clean. On the other hand, the i7+ only includes five dirt disposal bags for the Clean Base.
The Roomba i8+ and i7+ provide 10 times the suction power as Roomba’s entry-level 600 series robots, so their performance on both hard flooring and carpeting is relatively similar. We tested the robots mainly on medium-pile carpeting and low-pile rugs and found they did well. In particular, both were impressive with pet hair during our testing. The i8+ picked up an entire clump of pet hair off medium-pile carpeting without leaving any strands behind, while the i7+ noticeably improved the amount of pet hair on low-pile rugs in a testing area with two dogs.
The i8+ and i7+ both had enough suction to remove large debris from hard flooring. However, they occasionally blew some particles out of their path and required a second pass to recover the pieces, like many robot vacuums we tested. The i8+ removed kitty litter effectively, while the i7+ picked up large pieces of dog and cat food without issue.
Increased suction power often means a noisier vacuum, but the i8+ and i7+ register at around 60 decibels on carpeting and 65 decibels on hard flooring. That is about the same volume as regular conversation, so both models made less noise than a standard vacuum.
The i8+ and i7+ are nearly identical in design and appearance. Both are round and have a plastic exterior. However, they differ slightly in color — while the i8+ is predominantly black with a silver insert on top, the i7+ is mainly black with a charcoal insert.
Both models have an anti-tangle rubber brush roll rather than traditional bristle brushes. The rubber brushes discourage hair from getting tangled around the roll, so airflow isn’t reduced during cleaning and suction remains constant. After testing, we didn’t notice much hair on either model’s brush roll and the hair that was present was easily removed with our fingers.
The i8+ and i7+ also feature the same large, rugged side wheels and front caster wheel that allow the robots to move around easily. The side wheels are sturdy and durable, while the caster wheel pops out easily for cleaning.
The i8+ and i7+ use the same iAdapt 3.0 with vSLAM navigation software to help them move around. They have onboard cameras on top that help them identify landmarks throughout your home and map the space. But unlike models like the i1+, which can’t remember the rooms it vacuums from cleaning run to cleaning run, the i8+ and i7+ both create smart maps and learn your home’s rooms. Even better, they can store up to 10 smart maps, so you can use these robots to clean every floor in your home.
During testing, we sent the i8+ and i7+ to clean specific rooms. For example, we scheduled the i8+ to clean the living room. It left its base and went directly to the proper room and cleaned without stopping anywhere else for more efficient vacuuming. We also sent the i7+ out to clean the kitchen, and it knew immediately where to go and clean.
However, neither model avoids objects like the Roomba j series, so they aren’t the best fit for cluttered homes. This was evident during our testing when the i7+ ran into issues with cords and the tassels on a few rugs. The i8+ bumped into a pet bowl several times during testing, too. We found it was important to go around and pick up items that might be an issue for these models, such as wires, cords and other small items.
The i8+ and i7+ are both self-emptying models, so they come with an identical Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, which measures 12.2 inches wide, 15.1 inches deep and 19 inches tall. Instead of requiring manual emptying, these vacuums return to their base when their dustbin is full. Once they pull into the base, its suction is activated, so all the dirt in the bin is emptied into a dust bag at the top of the base. That means you don’t have to get your hands dirty emptying the bin each time the i8+ or i7+ cleans. The Clean Base’s bag can hold up to 60 days’ worth of dirt and debris, too, so you only have to empty it every couple of months.
Both the i8+ and i7+ are compatible with voice commands through a home assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant. We used Alexa to test basic commands for both robots, such as “start vacuuming,” “pause vacuuming” and “stop vacuuming,” as well as more complex prompts like “start vacuuming the living room.” Both robots responded within a few seconds to each command.
Additionally, the i8+ and i7+ not only remember specific rooms and areas but also allow for the creation of Keep-Out Zones. These are areas where you don’t want the robot to clean during a vacuuming run. For example, we created a Keep-Out Zone around pet bowls for the i8+ and near an area with heavy wires in the living room for the i7+, and they avoided those spots during their next cleaning run.
The i8+ also came with a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier that allows you to keep it out of areas you don’t want to clean. During testing, we used it in Virtual Wall mode, and it effectively kept the i8+ out of a cluttered laundry area each time we tested. However, the device’s Halo mode, which is designed to create a circular barrier, wasn’t as successful. We placed it near pet bowls to keep the robot from bumping into them and causing a mess. Unfortunately, it not only bumped into the bowls but also hit the device and moved it a few inches out of the way.
The Roomba i8+ regularly costs $899.99 and is available at Best Buy and Walmart. The i7+ usually costs $799.99, and you can find it at Amazon and Walmart. However, both can often be found on sale at a much lower price.
How we tested
To better understand how these robots stack up, we started by timing how long they could clean before the battery ran out and how long the battery took to fully recharge. We also noted how long they took to clean a room, recording the space’s square footage as well.
When it came to suction power, we tested the robots on both hard flooring and carpeting to evaluate how they cleaned. We also fully tested the iRobot Home app by scheduling cleaning, sending the robots out on mapping runs, customizing maps and creating Keep Out Zones. We also used voice commands through Amazon Alexa to see how well they responded.
Since the Roomba i8+ and i7+ are such similar robot vacuums, you can’t go wrong with either model. However, we give the edge to the i8+ because it can clean for nearly 15 minutes longer than the i7+. That makes it a better fit for larger homes.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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