Gadget

iRobot Roomba J7+ robot vacuum cleaner review

(Pocket-lint) – There’s no denying that robot vacuum cleaners are a luxury purchase. That’s not just because of the high price tag, but because they don’t fully replace a conventional vacuum cleaner, so they are an additional cost, rather than an alternative. 

That’s not to say they aren’t worth considering investing in though, because when you get a good one, they are worth their weight in gold. We’ve been living with the iRobot Roomba J7+ and let us tell you, we wouldn’t be without it now.

Here’s our review.

Our quick take

The iRobot Roomba J7+ is an excellent robot vacuum cleaner. It offers amazing cleaning performance, alongside some great features which results in a robot that just, well, works.

The obstacle detection on the J7+ is great, the app is very easy to use, there’s integration with Alexa and Google Assistant and the mapping and scheduling features are also exceptionally handy, especially if there are certain rooms in your home that need a more frequent clean than others at certain times.

Does the Roomba J7+ get stuck? Very occasionally yes, but significantly less than other robot vacuum cleaners we’ve tested and rather than blocking areas of your home with furniture to stop the robot cleaning there, you can just put in a virtual keep-out zone in the app which reduces this occurrence even further.

The iRobot Roomba J7+ isn’t the cheapest robot vacuum cleaner around, but you can leave your home and trust that when you come back, your floors will be clean and the robot will be back on its base having completed its task without any issues. The question is, therefore, how much is that worth to you? Because for us, that’s exactly what a robot vacuum cleaner should do and why you would buy one.

iRobot Roomba J7+ review: What robot vacuum cleaner dreams are made of

iRobot Roomba J7+

5 stars – Pocket-lint editors choice

For

  • Automatic dirt disposal to larger bin
  • Premium design
  • Compact base
  • Excellent features including obstacle detection
  • Fantastic cleaning capabilities
  • Excellent mapping system
  • Handles various floor types brilliantly
  • Good battery life
Against

  • Expensive
  • Not the quietest

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Premium design

  • One button control
  • Grey metallic / black finish
  • Round 

The iRobot Roomba J7+ takes design cues from the rest of the iRobot Roomba range, but it opts for a more streamlined approach and this goes for both the robot itself and its base.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 4

Borrowing the premium finish of the Roomba S9+ but opting for the shape of the Roomba i7+, the Roomba J7+ has a metallic finish on the top and it is completely round in shape, delivering a great overall result.

Our review model of the Roomba J7+ has grey metallic detailing on top, which is a little more subtle than the rose gold lid found on the S9+. It is also purely for decorative purposes as it doesn’t lift up to reveal the bin, which the S9+’s metallic lid does. Instead, the bin is accessed by pushing a button at the front on the edge of the J7+.

The J7+ has black plastic bumpers around the edges, with sensors positioned on either side. You’ll find the camera and sensor technology built into the front edge, rather than positioned on top of the robot itself, and there is just one button within the metallic circle on the top to start the robot, rather the several buttons like the S9+ and i7+.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 14

Underneath, there are two main green brushes that can be removed easily should anything get stuck, and there is a corner brush for those harder-to-reach cleaning areas. The charging connectors can also be found underneath, as well as the automatic dirt disposal hole – more on that in a minute – few more sensors that help the J7+ move about unimpeded.

The J7+’s automatic disposal bin has been redesigned compared to the i7+ and the S9+ and it looks excellent. Instead of tall and vertical, the J7+’s bin is short and horizontal, slipping underneath a bench and offering a much more subtle appearance. The shell has a ribbed texture, which looks modern and great and there is a leather pull tab on the lid too, adding to its aesthetic.

Excellent features

  • Automatic dirt disposal
  • PrecisionVision Navigation for object detection
  • Scheduling
  • Clean Zones and Keep Out Zones
  • Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility

The iRobot Roomba J7+ has a multitude of features, like the rest of the Roomba vacuum cleaners, though it offers a couple of additional extras and improvements.

Like the iRobot Roomba i7+ and the S9+, the J7+ has automatic dirt disposal, which means it will automatically return to its base and empty its bin when it gets full. It will then return to where it stopped cleaning if it needs to finish a job.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 12

The J7+ also – uniquely – has PrecisionVision Navigation, which enables the robot vacuum cleaner to recognise objects and take a photo for you to then review in the iRobot app. Along with telling the app whether the object pictured is a temporary or permanent obstacle, you can also choose to add a Keep Out Zone. The feature works really well, with the J7+ able to detect shoes, socks, cables and other objects in real-time and avoid them, but without assuming it shouldn’t clean that area the next time.

The J7+ will also recognise and avoid pet waste and iRobot offers the P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise), which sees the company replace your J7 or J7+ for free if this feature doesn’t work. Thankfully that’s not something we’ve had to take up as yet.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ app screenshots photo 2

Additionally, the J7+ borrows from the i7+ and S9+, with the excellent Imprint Smart Mapping feature in the iRobot app. This sees the J7+ map your home and allow you to name the rooms on that map and tell it which ones you want cleaned and when. It means you can choose to clean the kitchen at 6pm straight after dinner, for example. You can also add Clean Zones for areas you want the J7+ to pay more attention to.

There’s a 3-stage Cleaning System on board the J7+, along with 10x the Power-Lifting Suction of the Roomba 600 series. An Edge-Sweeping Brush gets along walls and corners Dual Multi-Surface Rubber brushes adjust to different floor types.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 17

iRobot’s Imprint Link Technology means you can team the J7 or J7+ up with the iRobot Braava Jet M6 robot mop so the mop will clean immediately after the J7 has finished its job, while Clift Detect stops the J7 falling down any stairs and Dirt Detect allows it to focus on particularly dirty spots.

The J7+ is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and there are a few other smart features on board too, such as the ability to set the robot vacuum cleaner to automatically start a clean when you leave the house, clean more during pet shedding or allergy seasons and you can also schedule the J7+ to clean on certain days and times.

Easy to use

  • Simple interface
  • iRobot app

The iRobot Roomba J7+ is setup and controlled by the iRobot app – which is very intuitive and easy to use, taking only minutes to configure. The J7+’s initial cleaning runs will see it map out your home, but once it has enough data, you’ll find said map in the app.

Once you have that map, you can add room dividers and room labels, as well as keep-out zones and clean zones. Previously, you had to use a separate laser device with some iRobot robots to add a keep-out zone – but this is no longer necessary, making everything much easier. The clean zone lets you choose to clean a particular area, such as under the dining room table, for example, though the J7+ also has the Dirt Detect technology to help with this.

When everything is labelled, you can then start a new job in the top right corner of the app and select ‘clean everywhere’ or tick the rooms you want the J7+ to clean. As mentioned, Imprint Link Technology is on board so if you have the iRobot M6 mop too, you’ll see a toggle at the top of the room-selecting page that allows you to set the M6 to talk to the J7+ and start mopping as soon as the J7+ is finished.

The app is also where you will find Scheduling, History and additions such as cleaning preferences. If you want to start the J7+ through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa devices, you’ll need to set iRobot up in the Alexa or Google Home app then you can say “Alexa, tell [name of your iRobot J7+] to start cleaning”.

Great performance

  • Excellent object detection
  • Good suction
  • Handles various floor types well

The iRobot Roomba J7+ performs very well in our experience, better than the company’s S9+, though that is also a great robot vacuum cleaner. The PrecisionVision Navigation is a game changer as it not only means you don’t have to clear up before you send the J7+ on its rounds, but it also minimises the number of times it gets stuck or requires your attention.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 9

The J7+ handled the transition between different floor types well and it recognised and avoided all the objects we would expect it to. We love that you can review the obstacles encountered by the J7+ in the app after the cleaning job is complete so that it knows to clean that area next time.

The only place the J7+ struggled is the same place where all robot vacuum cleaners seem to struggle in our home and that’s the bar stools in the kitchen, which have metal domed bases. Whether it’s the reflection confusing the camera and sensors, or just the shape of the base, all robots get stuck on them. We created a keep-out zone for these though and after that, there were no issues.

Pocket-lintiRobot Roomba J7+ product shots photo 11

Suction is great on the J7+ and while we still do a complete vacuum with our traditional vacuum cleaner once a week, the Roomba J7+ is more than capable of handling the day-to-day tidying – and our test house has a cat, dog and two children so it’s not as if it doesn’t have it’s work cut out for it. It takes around an hour to finish the downstairs of our home and when it is done, the floors are clean, including corners.

Our only real complaint is that the J7+ is not the quietest in operation – though it is quieter than a traditional vacuum cleaner – and the automatic dirt disposal is very loud for around 30 seconds when it empties, but that feature is more than worth the noise. 

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To recap

The iRobot Roomba J7+ is a fantastic robot vacuum cleaner that, while not cheap, has got a lovely premium and compact design, some truly fantastic features, and brilliant cleaning performance overall.

Writing by Britta O’Boyle. Editing by Chris Hall.


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