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I’ve spent a fair amount of time watching videos of robot vacuums wreaking household havoc with pet accidents. For the uninitiated, this means that, yes, the robot vac rolled through dog poop and tracked it all over the floor. Sound like a morbidly addictive Youtube pastime? It is.
So, when we got two of the newest and flashiest robot vacuums of 2021 in our labs at the same time, and they both claim to be able to avoid Fido’s feces, we said, well, what an opportunity we have before us. That’s right folks: We created a robot vacuum vs. fake dog poop challenge.
Cue the iRobot Roomba j7+ and the Samsung JetBot A.I.+. Both are high-end robot vacuums with forward-facing cameras and software with the ability to discern feces on the floor. It’s a bold claim that we decided to put to the test.
Here are our challengers
While the Samsung JetBot A.I.+ and the iRobot Roomba j7+ share a lot of similarities in what they want to achieve, they go about it in different ways.
The JetBot is massive, standing nearly 6 inches tall and tipping the scales at 9.5 pounds. The j7+ stands at only 3.4 inches tall and weighs just 7.3 pounds.
Both offer a wide variety of smart features. iRobot wants its robot vacuum to be highly programmable and integrated into your home. Samsung’s JetBot doubles as a mobile security camera that streams a feed right to your smartphone.
These two robot vacuums can also self-empty, but the iRobot’s self-emptying dock is warm looking and oriented horizontally, while the Samsung’s dock is stark white and vertical.
The iRobot j7+ comes with the Pet Owner’s Official Promise (P.O.O.P). iRobot pledges to replace any j7+ that runs over a pet accident within the first year of operation. For Samsung's part, in addition to avoiding excrement, the JetBot A.I.+ has even more features for pet parents, including a service called SmartThings Pet—a smart program that sends your JetBot A.I.+ to patrol and send you videos of your fur baby.
Yes, we made the (fake) poop
There was much discussion around the lab about how we were going to test these poop-avoiding robots. Everything from using the real deal to making a visit to a joke shop were on the table.
In the end, we decided to make some fake poo by hand. We decided to use a recipe that consists of brownie mix, chunky peanut butter, powdered sugar, and milk. It does sound tasty!
In order to get a proper test, we made our turds into a variety of shapes and sizes. Then, we ran our end product by a panel of judges and got the go-ahead.
We also thought about using a more liquid analog, but had to drop the idea due to the risk of electrical shorts.
Time for the challenge!
In order to isolate as much of the performance to just object recognition, we placed the j7+ and the JetBot onto a featureless conference room table. We constructed a sort of maze using the brownie splats.
Then, we set each robot vacuum to perform a standard cleaning cycle.
Like the robot-vac-vs.-poop-video-watching junkies we are, we stood by as the robot vacuums cleaned, and we made note of any contact or issues.
Drum roll: Here are the final results
Overall, the iRobot Roomba j7+ and the Samsung JetBot A.I.+ offered a neck-and-neck performance, but we have to award victory to the iRobot Roomba j7+, which suffered zero mishaps. At one point, the Samsung JetBot A.I.+ nudged one of the faux poop piles, but it quickly backed away.
We ran the test multiple times and from different starting points and got the same results.
In our more traditional cleaning lab tests, the Samsung JetBot A.I.+ proved to have more powerful suction and cleaned more surface area than the iRobot Roomba j7+, but the iRobot navigated tight spaces better than the JetBot A.I.+.
If you’re in the market for a very high-end robot vacuum, we recommend the iRobot Roomba j7+. It’s a little bit more affordable, offers better usability, and, as we can now confirm, it avoids poop like a pro.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.