Robot Vacuums

This robot vacuum is the best money I ever spent as a pet owner

I finally feel like I'm winning the war against pet hair

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When we got our beautiful puppy, Addy, I warned my boyfriend that golden retrievers shed—a lot. Despite my warnings, he didn’t fully comprehend just how much hair one dog could produce. At first, he just kept saying it must be a seasonal shed, but after three months of daily Swiffering, he finally accepted that our apartment and clothing would simply be covered in dog hair forever.

A few weeks later, it was Black Friday, and while I was browsing the daily deals on Amazon, I saw that the iRobot Roomba i7+ was on sale for $700—that’s $300 less than its list price. Even though I haven’t been that impressed by robot vacuums in the past, I decided it would be a nice Christmas gift for our pet hair–infested household, and I made an impulse purchase.

It’s the end of January now, and both my boyfriend and I agree that Ruby, our darling Roomba, was an incredible purchase—seriously, the best $700 I’ve ever spent! Here’s why.

Why I took a chance on the Roomba i7+

Ruby Portrait
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

I haven't always been impressed by the performance of Roombas.

Several years ago, I owned an early model of the Roomba, and to be honest, I didn’t love it, for reasons I explained in this article.

However, the Roomba i7+ is one of iRobot’s newer models, and it comes equipped with a lot of new advanced features. For instance, this particular model is supposed to be ideal for pet hair, as it has two rubber brush rollers that can pull hair out of carpets—you know how effective this is if you’ve ever tried the “life hack” of dragging a squeegee over your rug. The i7+ also has a high-efficiency filter that traps 99% of pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust mites.

The feature that caught my attention, though, was that the i7+ automatically empties its own dirt bin. One of my major complaints about my old Roomba was the dirt bin had to be emptied after every session, so this feature was one of the main reasons I was willing to give Roomba another try.

All of these new features were calling my name, but I still wasn’t ready or willing to spend $1,000 on a vacuum—after all, we already own a Dyson Ball Animal 2, as well as a Swiffer for daily hair pickup. However, as fate would have it, the price dropped to $700 for a few days during Cyber Weekend, and I had a moment of weakness and decided to pull the trigger.

Everything I love about this robot vacuum

After just a month of use, Ruby the Roomba has become an integral part of our family unit. Even Addy, who was terrified of the robot vacuum at first, has started to warm up to its presence and now follows Ruby around as she cleans. It's pretty cute. One day maybe I'll even get my cat to hop on Ruby's back to create a viral video of a cat riding a Roomba.

Anyway, I digress. The following are the main reasons we absolutely love our i7+.

The smart mapping is amazing

Roomba Map

Here's the map of our home that Ruby created.

The first few times we ran our new Roomba, it completed its “smart mapping” process. Basically, it goes around the whole house, creating a map of each room as it cleans. (You'll notice there's no bedroom on our map—we locked it out of there because there's a thick shag carpet that we knew it couldn't handle.) Once the mapping is complete, you can then draw lines on the diagram via the app, creating and labeling each room in your house.

Why is this so cool? For one, you can then ask your Roomba to clean just one or two rooms at a time. I regularly use this feature after I brush Addy, a task that leaves the carpet covered in stray hair. All I have to do is tell Ruby to clean the living room, and she’ll drive right to the space and efficiently pick up the hairy mess left behind.

You can also use this feature to draw virtual “keep out zones,” aka places you don’t want the robot to go. We use this option to protect Addy’s food dishes, which Ruby tends to push around the floor. It’s a lot more convenient than having to pick up the dishes every time the vacuum is running.

It handles pet hair like a champ

Addy Vs. Roomba
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Don't let the sweet face fool you—this one leaves our floors a mess.

The main reason I invested in this particular robotic vacuum was because of our pet hair problem. Seriously, if we don’t sweep or vacuum every day, you can see Addy’s light-colored hair allllll up and down the hallway, and there are regularly rabbit-sized dust bunnies hiding under furniture.

Needless to say, Ruby had her job cut out for her, and we were impressed that she rose to the challenge. We have her scheduled to run three times a week, and she does an amazing job picking up hair from both the hardwood floors and our living room carpet. The i7+ gets along the edges of the room, as well as under several pieces of furniture (unfortunately, she can’t fit under the couch), and when she’s done, there’s very little hair left hanging around.

With Ruby around, there’s no more need for daily Swiffering—instead, our trusted dust mop has been relegated to quick touch-ups.

And, best of all, it empties itself

Roomba i7 Bag
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

We've gotten more than a month of use out of one debris bag.

I’m happy to report that the self-emptying aspect of the Roomba i7+ is every bit as wonderful as it seems. Every time Ruby finishes cleaning, she returns to her dock and empties out the pet hair, dirt, and debris she’s collected into the base. Sometimes she even has to pause to empty the dust bin mid-cycle, then she returns to where she left off. It’s pretty amazing to watch!

The disposable AllergenLock bag inside the base is supposed to be able to hold up to two months worth of debris, and I was initially concerned that it would need to be replaced much more frequently due to the amount of hair in our home. However, it’s been around a month, and the bag still isn't quite full. If I had to guess, it probably won’t last all the way to 60 days, but it can definitely hold several weeks worth of dog hair!

The (very) short list of things we don’t love about the i7+

Is there such a thing as a perfect product? Arguably not. Everything has its flaws, and as such, the iRobot Roomba i7+ isn’t perfect. Here are the details we don’t like.

It’s fairly loud

Roomba Loud
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

The Roomba definitely won't sneak up on you...

There are some robot vacuums that claim to be so quiet you can run them while you’re sleeping, but let me tell you, Ruby isn’t one of them. This robotic vacuum is pretty loud while running—around the same volume as my old Roomba, if not louder. Plus, when it empties into its base, it makes this huge whooshing noise caused by the powerful suction.

Is this the end of the world? No. We just run it during the day. But it will probably be bothersome if you’re trying to talk on the phone or watch TV.

It doesn’t clean around its base

Roomba Base
Credit: Reviewed / Camryn Rabideau

Ruby doesn't do a good job cleaning around her own base.

Personally, this doesn’t bother me too much (probably because all robot vacuums have this issue to some degree), but my boyfriend can’t stand that Ruby doesn’t clean the area around her base. The vacuum doesn’t clean on either side of the Roomba dock, presumably so it doesn’t accidentally knock it out of place.

However, this means that dog hair regularly collects in this area, and we either have to get out the Swiffer or, more commonly, push the hair into Ruby’s path for her to grab.

Should you get a Roomba i7+?

iRobot
Credit: iRobot

There's so much to love about the Roomba i7+.

If you asked me whether I would buy the iRobot Roomba i7+ again, the answer is a resounding yes. It's definitely changed our lives for the better, helping to keep our multi-pet household a little cleaner. Plus, it's more useful than it is a nuisance—my ultimate qualm with previous "dumb" robot vacuum models. Heck, I like the i7+ so much that I might even pay full price for it! (Luckily for you, though, it's almost always on sale now.)

It probably goes without saying at this point, but yes, I would wholeheartedly recommend this product to pet owners who are looking for a way to fight back against pet hair. The Roomba i7+ does a great job picking up hair off rugs and hardwood, and its smart features make it convenient and easy to use. It's a worthwhile investment, if you ask me, especially for those who are sick of daily sweeping.

For more details on the more technical aspects of the Roomba i7+, you can always check out our full product review.

Get the iRobot Roomba i7+ on Amazon for $799

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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