Automatic machine for cleaning large apartments: an overview of the iRobot Roomba i7 + robot vacuum cleaner

This time we have in our hands a robot vacuum cleaner developed by a pioneer in the field of automated

cleaning services - the American company iRobot, whichhas been operating on the market for more than 25 years and, according to statistics, is the world's undisputed leader in the robot vacuum cleaner segment. The company's accumulated experience is embodied in several lines of well-thought-out, well-equipped and truly “smart” devices. Today we will talk about the top model Roomba i7+, equipped with a docking station that automatically empties the dust container inside the vacuum cleaner.

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What is it?

The manufacturing company positions the modelRoomba i7+ as a solution for dry cleaning of large rooms. That is, it does not do wet cleaning; iRobot has a separate line of devices for this (Braava). Actually, the vacuum cleaner itself is called Roomba i7, and “plus” means an expanded version of the base station, which can clean the vacuum cleaner container automatically.

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What does Roomba i7 look like?

The Roomba i7 has a classic shape forrobot vacuum cleaners - a round “puck” with a diameter of 33 cm and a height of 7.5 cm. The front (in the direction of travel) half of the body is surrounded by a powerful bumper with built-in infrared and mechanical sensors for detecting obstacles. There is another sensor located on the front top of the bumper to detect a virtual wall or protective zone, which is created by a docking station or a virtual wall device in “Halo” mode and is a height limiter. The top panel is solid, nothing opens in it, in the front part there are three buttons - one for the main “CLEAN” function (remove/clean) with a ring multicolor indicator. The other two are for returning to base and intensive spot cleaning. Next to them is a handle for carrying the vacuum cleaner. The built-in camera looks forward and upward. With its help, the vacuum cleaner creates a visual map of the room, which helps it navigate. At the back of the vacuum cleaner there is a removable dustbin with a button for removing it.

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The most interesting thing about such devices is below. The quality of cleaning is determined by the number of brushes in the main module near the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner and the mechanism of their work.
IRobot has two in all models. Roomba i7 has two rubber rollers of different shapes that rotate one towards the other. One raises dust and small debris into the air, and the second directs it into the trash can. The side brush is responsible for cleaning near the walls and in the corners, it sweeps all debris into the vacuum cleaner cleaning area.

Symmetrically to her, in the recess, is a sensormovement. Moving and maneuverability is ensured by two large wheels (as large as the height of the casing allows) on an elastic suspension and a swivel wheel in front. Traditionally, sensors are located on the bottom of the case to prevent the vacuum cleaner from falling from the stairs and other elevations, and charging contacts. At the bottom of the waste bin there is a green rubber valve (about its purpose later).

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What is included?

Neatly packed in a large cardboard box:the vacuum cleaner itself, a base station, a “virtual wall” with a set of batteries and consumables. All consumables are already installed in the vacuum cleaner and docking station, and what is in a separate box &#8211; This is a first-time supply: the docking station's garbage bag, a HEPA filter for the built-in garbage disposal, and a side brush.


The “dark tower” included in the kit, but it’s the onethe “plus” in the name of the model, in fact, provides a key feature of Roomba i7 +, that is, the ability to independently clean large areas. For this, not only a charger is built into the station, but also a powerful pump and a disposable garbage bag containing the contents of 30 garbage collectors. When the garbage container is full, the robot returns to the base, where its contents are pumped into the bag in a few seconds through the same valve in the bottom, and you can continue to work. If the battery charge drops below critical, the robot will also return to base and continue cleaning after recharging. This method of cleaning the waste bin eliminates the need to get your hands dirty and breathe dust by shaking it out by hand. But you have to buy bags regularly.

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If suddenly you have already bought only a vacuum cleaner, then a base,officially called the iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, can be purchased separately, complete with a matching dust bag (the “regular” i7 doesn’t have a valve).

The package also includes a “virtualwall”, which, despite the solid word “wall” in the title, turned out to be of a very modest size. It runs on two AA batteries (a pair of “long-lasting Duracell batteries” are included) and lights up beautifully when turned on.

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"Wall" works in two modes:actually, in the mode of the virtual wall itself (an infrared beam is created that can be used to block the entrance to the bathroom, where, for example, there is no threshold, or the exit to the balcony). And in “Halo” mode (creates a restricted zone around itself with a radius of about 60 cm, into which the vacuum cleaner does not enter). This way you can protect dog bowls, a cat litter box, an expensive Chinese vase or a New Year tree from unwanted contact. The difference between the modes is clearly shown in the instructions pasted on the “virtual wall”:

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The “wall”, like the vacuum cleaner, is completely autonomous and can be installed anywhere. If necessary, this accessory can be purchased in the right quantity.

What can Roomba i7 do?

The easiest way to operate Roomba i7 iscompletely autonomous, without a base station and an external waste bin. That is, you can take the vacuum cleaner with you to any place and clean it there, or use it immediately after purchase, without going through the setup procedure. To do this, simply press the CLEAN button on the vacuum cleaner, and cleaning begins. Particularly contaminated areas can be accessed in the intensive spot cleaning mode (SPOT), which is activated by a separate button. In this case, the robot travels first along an expanding spiral, then along a narrowing one, and eventually returns to the starting point. When the container is full or the battery is running low, the robot stops and informs the owner about the problem with a voice message and a red indicator light.

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But this is only a small part of Rumba's capabilities.For him to unleash all his abilities, you need to install the iRobot HOME app on your smartphone (available for both Android and iOS) and add a vacuum cleaner, following detailed step-by-step instructions. Note that to control the robot from this application, the apartment must have a wireless network. Roomba i7 supports both Wi-Fi bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Setup is very simple but takes some time. And if you want to set up the vacuum cleaner for full operation in another room, you will have to go through the procedure again.


After it you get advanced features.

  • More detailed work settings:


  • Information about the status of the robot on the smartphone screen(percentage of charge, operation statistics, remaining life of consumables (filter, brush and scrapers), as well as problems that have arisen that require your intervention):


  • Robot control remotely (via the Internet);
  • Search for a vacuum cleaner (when you press a button in the application, it will give a sound signal).

But the coolest thing is creating a housing map.During the first cleaning or in a special map creation mode, the robot walks around the entire apartment (office, floor) and draws up a floor plan (naturally, excluding those areas where it was unable to get into - furniture, large objects on the floor, closed doors). You can then review this plan and divide it into individual rooms and areas by placing virtual dividers and naming each space. After which it will be possible to ask the robot to clean only one or several separate rooms, right now or on a schedule. The plan may turn out to be inaccurate the first time, and in subsequent passes the robot corrects it, so when breaking down into zones, it is better to wait 3-5 passes until the final clarification (the percentage of map accuracy is indicated in the application).


If you use Alexa, Google Home or IFTTT,You can use Roomba with these services by connecting your iRobot Home account to them. I tried connecting i7+ to Google Home &#8211; nothing complicated, your iRobot Home account is simply imported into this application, and all devices connected to it become available in Google Home. You can control the vacuum cleaner, but the functionality and information content of the native application is richer. My attempts to start cleaning using voice commands did not lead to anything, the best I could &#8211; is to launch the iRobot Home app.


And yet - the vacuum cleaner is not connected directly tophone, and to the cloud service, so the phone with the application does not have to be on the same network and in the same room. That is, you can start cleaning while away from home, and if the robot gets stuck or some other problem happens, you will at least be in the know and be able to at least cancel the task.

How does Roomba i7 work?

Unlike simple inexpensive robotic vacuum cleaners,Roomba i7 has a highly developed intelligence, backed by many different sensors. The cleaning looks like this: the robot starts moving in a straight line until it runs into a wall or large furniture, after which it turns around, shifting slightly to the side, and returns back in a parallel direction. So he walks from wall to wall, avoiding obstacles (and he is able to distinguish a cabinet from which you need to turn around, from a table leg that needs to be circumvented). Obstacles the robot avoids very carefully and methodically. I asked him to clean in two classrooms in which the desks stood, and he climbed under all the desks, going around their legs on all sides and working through the space between the legs.

Sometimes Roomba suddenly changes its bypass algorithm withouthaving reached the end, but he still passes all the missed places later. Sometimes, after passing some place and using the Dirt Detect function to detect a heavily polluted place, the robot stops and returns back, and so on several times. After cleaning “across the area”, having passed the entire territory, the robot switches to a counterclockwise walk around the perimeter, sweeping out debris along the walls and in the corners with a rotating brush. The brush is not omnipotent, and the vacuum cleaner still misses some of the debris, and sometimes there are omissions at the first stage of cleaning, so if you want closer to the ideal, it is better to choose the “two-pass” mode.

After cleaning, having made one or two passes, as indicated in the settings, Roomba returns to the base, empties the waste bin and reports on the completion of cleaning (through the application).

If the doors are open and at startup was selectedthe option “remove everywhere”, or if the maps have not yet been drawn up, i7 will go through all available neighboring rooms, at the same time drawing up or updating the map. Thresholds up to 2 centimeters high are not an obstacle for him, Roomba overcomes them famously, and if he fails to do it the first time, he tries again.

On the command “home”, the robot returns to the base incleaning mode, and if along the way its Dirt Detect system “sees” dirt, then the i7 may delay to remove it, including deviating from the route. It is important to take one nuance into account here. The first thing you need to do is choose a place for the base station, install the vacuum cleaner on it and start the first cleaning from this place. As the robot walks around the apartment, it draws up a map in which the charging station is the starting point. By pressing the “home” button, Roomba returns by coordinates from any place, wherever it is, to the approximate location of the station, and there it searches for its infrared beam and precisely “parks” according to it. The coordinates here are relative, measured from the charging station.

If you move the Roomba i7 to another room and start a cleaning cycle from there and then send it home, the starting point changes and it returns to the place where it started cleaning.

If you transfer the robot to another room and immediatelypress the "Home" button, then the robot starts to search for the base and, not finding it within 10-15 minutes, just stops. The same thing happens if you start cleaning from the base, and then transfer it. At the same time, Roomba can pass the station several times at a new place without noticing it, and then eventually return to the starting point from where it started to move. That is, in the search for "home" the robot relies only on its own cards and turns on the signal sensor only where the base was at the time of launch.

Just search for a station by its signal, systematicallygoing around the apartment, say, clockwise and examining all the rooms, i7 will not be, because of the laid down algorithms designed to clean several floors without using a base. In this case, the “Home” is the starting point.

But what's interesting:Having received an order to clean a specific room, after being transferred somewhere, the robot correctly orients itself and goes to the room that was assigned to it. The robot's memory can store up to 10 rooms (they may not be connected to each other and located on different floors). Apparently, the camera helps him determine which room he is in. In general, after numerous experiments, I learned three simple rules:

  1. It is undesirable to move the charging station, since it is the reference point.
  2. Cleaning should always start from the charging station - if the cleaning is on several floors, the vacuum cleaner will return to the starting point.
  3. If you transferred the charging station, transfer the vacuum cleaner to it, and make a new map for better navigation (see point 2).

Subject to these simple rules, the vacuum cleaner works as intended by its creators.

Single charge lithium ion battery(incompatible with previous Roomba models), according to the manufacturer, enough for 150 square meters. I did not have such an area, but for a two-pass cleaning 40-50 squares were enough with a large margin.

"Virtual Wall" works as intended &#8211;Roomba navigates the "no-go zone" just like any physical object. The only caveat &#8211; if you want to protect an object standing not near the wall, but in the middle of the room, from a collision with the robot, then (depending on its size and shape) you may need two virtual barriers, since the beam of one will be partially blocked by the protected object, and the vacuum cleaner will be able to get close to it from the “shadow” side.

What surfaces is Roomba i7 suitable for?

The Roomba i7 is versatile in this regard.It removes dust and debris well both on smooth hard surfaces (parquet, laminate, linoleum) and on carpets with different pile lengths. When moving on a hard floor, rubber scrapers make a rather loud, unpleasant sound, but on a carpet they are completely inaudible. To test performance on soft surfaces, I took a carpet that had been lying outside for a couple of hours during a children's party &#8211; Children danced on it and simply crawled and lay around; as a result, the carpet ended up covered on both sides with dust, small debris and fallen leaves trampled into small crumbs. After cleaning with Roomba in one pass on each side, the debris was successfully collected, although if you look closely (see photo below), not everything was pulled out of the pile.

Cleaning the carpet from the front side &#8211; before and after:


With the same garbage that crumbled into linoleum when it was deployed and the carpet was spread out, the vacuum cleaner coped almost perfectly.

Is it difficult to clean / maintain?

Nothing complicated here. Of course, hair, thread and pet hair are wound on rubber scrapers, but thanks to a well-thought-out design, these parts are very easy to remove and clean:

The rubber edges (especially the dark green scraper) are quite delicate and can be damaged when the hair is wound and especially when trying to remove it by force (tear). It is better to cut hair carefully.

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The side brush can be cleaned without removing it, but if necessary &#8211; Removing it is also easy, just unscrew one screw.

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The front wheel is also easy to remove withholder, which greatly facilitates cleaning. The wheel itself can also be pulled out of the mount, but this should only be done if the wheel is locked and does not rotate, and cleaning without removing does not help.

Thanks to their thoughtful design with minimal gaps, nothing is wound around the drive wheels, at least for a couple of weeks there were no problems with them.

The waste bin is easy to remove, it can be washed with water, after removing the HEPA filter, which cannot be washed.


The battery is located between the front wheel and the scraper brushes, under a cover that is held on by two screws. Consumables and accessories can be purchased in the online store

In the dry residue

Overall, the cleaning quality of the iRobot robot vacuum cleanerThe Roomba i7+ can be rated as very good and thorough. But it’s better to clean large rooms with Roomba when there’s no rush and there’s a lot of time to spare—after all, you’ll need it not only for cleaning, but also for recharging. A common scenario is to schedule cleaning while you're at work, but leaving the vacuum running unattended all day isn't everyone's cup of tea. You can also schedule different rooms to be cleaned at different times and on different days of the week. The app for working with the vacuum cleaner is convenient and hassle-free, the functionality is thought out and implemented intelligently - perhaps this is the best app for robot vacuum cleaners that we have ever encountered. Together with a base that allows you to dump the contents of the waste container, this vacuum cleaner represents today the most advanced cleaning gadget that has been in the hands of the editorsgg. For which he receives our highest award "editorial choice."

3 reasons to buy iRobot Roomba i7+

  • you have a large apartment for which the vacuum cleaner without a docking station does not have enough battery power or container capacity;
  • you want as little contact with the dust and debris that the vacuum cleaner collects;
  • If you already have (or are planning to buy) an iRobot wash vacuum, you can control them all from one app.

1 reason not to buy the iRobot Roomba i7+

  • you have a small apartment, which the vacuum cleaner model can handle easier.

Technical specifications of the iRobot Roomba i7+ robot vacuum cleaner

Type of cleaning

52×42×43 mm

3.37 kg

1850 mAh

Special features
Wi-Fi support, smartphone control, automatic cleaning of the internal container

Types of coverage
carpet, linoleum, laminate, parquet, tiles

Modes of cleaning

zigzag, around / along obstacles, parallel lines, along the perimeter, in a spiral

Contents of delivery

Automatic Clean Base™, Dual Mode Virtual Wall® Barriers (with batteries),
additional disposable garbage bag, additional HEPA filter, extra side brush Extra Side Brush

iRobot Roomba i7+

Very smart robot vacuum cleaner for large apartments, powerful and persistent

Top model of robot vacuum cleaner for largeapartments and private houses, which cannot be praised enough. The best technology for building a room map, the best smartphone application (simple and convenient), maximum control over all functions of the vacuum cleaner and fully automatic operation - with the Clean Base docking station, the user will only have to throw away a disposable bag once a month.

Editor's Choice