As we frequently review different Vacuum cleaner, we have got an opportunity for Roomba i3 + review today. With this Roomba i3 +, iRobot has set itself a challenge of height: gather some of the most premium features of the brand, such as its rubber rollers or the self-cleaning tank, and give up others in order to design a capable model to succeed in the tough fight for the best robot vacuum cleaner in quality price. We thoroughly tested the Roomba i3 + to find out.
Roomba i3 + properties
|DIMENSIONS||Robot: 34.2 cm diameter and 9.25 cm height|
Base: 31 cm width x 38.35 cm depth x 48.26 cm height
|FILTER||High efficiency capable of capturing up to 99% of environmental pollen, mold, dust mites and allergens from cats and dogs (depending on the brand)|
|CONNECTIVITY||WiFi, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant|
|WHAT IS IN THE BOX||Robot vacuum cleaner, Home base charging station, two cleaning bags, cable, an additional filter|
|DRUMS||No manufacturer data|
|AUTONOMY||Approximately 90 minutes|
|LOADING TIME||About 2 hours|
The usual design with a chic touch
Like the vast majority of robot vacuum cleaners of the brand, the Roomba i3 + (although there are exceptions such as the Roomba s9 + ) is shaped like a flattened cylinder. My first impression out of the box is that it seems more compact and lighter than other iRobot models that I have tested. And yes, it is significantly lighter than the Roomba i7 +, although it shares diameter and height. That it weighs 200 grams less does not affect the user much, since it is normal for the robot to move by itself. Of course, if we choose to carry it in our hands, we must bear in mind that it does not have a handle to move it and the Roomba i7 + does, so one thing for the other.
That visually gives the feeling of lightness has an explanation: the minimalism of its design. This Roomba i3 + changes the glossy metallic finishes (although it is actually plastic) common to other models for a set of two textures, one in matte plastic and the other in fabric. If you give a lot of importance to the aesthetics of your home, the design of this robot vacuum cleaner may be a plus , although I also tell you that its bulky base is not the most discreet in the world. But it is useful.
This base is responsible for extracting the dirt accumulated in the robot vacuum cleaner tank, which has two advantages and one disadvantage. If you are allergic, you will minimize exposure to dust and dirt since you will only have to deal minimally with it when removing the bag, although we will see later that this occurs very cleanly and from a hundred to wind.
That it is emptied only means that even if your dirt tank is small, it will be very difficult for it to fill and therefore stop absorbing dirt, something that usually happens if we have to empty it ourselves because we usually ignore the manufacturer’s recommendation and We do not clean it after each use. And the bad? That the automatic operation of emptying the tank is short but extremely noisy.
But let’s get back to this nice robot vacuum cleaner. In the upper part it has three buttons: the house to send it to the base, Spot Clean for localized cleaning and the CLEAN button, the largest and in the central position.
Around this button there is an LED light that will inform us of the status depending on the color and the way of lighting:
- Blink white when charging
- Glows white when fully charged
- Blinks red when battery is low
- It turns blue when it returns to the base
- Blinks blue when detecting a dirty area
We finish the upper part we find the RCON sensor, which serves to detect the position of the base. On the front it has a shock sensor to detect obstacles such as walls. At the bottom it has four cliff sensors that will prevent the robot from falling off the stairs and an optical ground-tracking sensor to optimize its trajectory by drawing lines, the main responsible for its navigation.
As a curiosity, this same sensor is also found in the Roomba i7 / s9 and the Roomba 900 Series, which also accompany it with a camera, something that the Roomba i3 + lacks. Later we will see where this absence takes its toll.
The upside-down robot is worth a look at because one of its strengths is precisely its two central rubber rollers. This material and arrangement is common in the high-end iRobot, standing out for its greater durability and ability to catch hair (very interesting if your home has pets).
Configuration and commissioning
To start cleaning, just take the Roomba i3 + out of the box, remove all the protections, put the base in a place where it has enough space to go out (it is recommended that it has at least one meter on the sides and in front) and connect it. From here, you have two options: click on the CLEAN button or use its connectivity to control it from the application or with voice assistants.
Although it is true that this robot vacuum cleaner incorporates the intelligence necessary to optimize the path that it follows during the cleaning process, it does not allow to identify and act on cleaning zones preset by the user. Or what is the same, it lacks the very useful room cleaning function, a task that can usually be done from the application.
Later we will have the opportunity to delve into its application, but I anticipate that one of the strengths of iRobot in this regard is its design and ease of use, something that is noticeable from the beginning. The good thing is that both the Roomba s9 + and the Braava Jet m6 use a single app and are configured following the same procedure, although we will have to configure them separately by repeating these steps.
Both in the manual and in the app you will see how to do it step by step, but here is a summary:
1) Download the iRobot app on your phone and create an account. Confirm it and access it.
2) Click on “Add a robot” and look for the Roomba i3 + model.
3) Baptize your Robot (something that will help you, for example, to ask Alexa or Google Assistant).
4) In the next step you will see the Wi-Fi networks that are within your reach. Find yours and add the password
5) Place the robot on the base and press the “Home” and “Spot” buttons at the same time until you hear a beep. The robot just went into listening mode
6) At this time the app will search for the robot, showing it on the screen. You just have to select it and wait a few seconds until the configuration is complete. If updates are available, they will be installed.
How is the cleaning
As we have already seen, the Roomba i3 + has advantages for high-end cleaning such as the double rubber brush system typical of the high-end, and a navigation system that allows you to clean systematically following straight lines, according to the brand.
Also, iRobot explains that its power is 10 times higher than that of the Roomba 600 series – unspecified – and that the vacuum cleaner learns where more dirt accumulates to clean more thoroughly in those areas. This is what the manufacturer says but how does it translate into practice?
Ideally, to achieve the best cleaning results with a robot vacuum cleaner is to launch it to clean in a clear house, that is, picking up cables, raising dining room chairs, removing obstacles… but we usually ignore these recommendations to see how it works behaves. And to be honest, because we know that you don’t either.
His modus operandi room by room consists of making the interior perimeter and later covering the area by drawing lines and the truth is that his expertise is surprising at navigation. We can see the proof on the map of the app: the plan of our house appears in green and that color indicates that the robot has passed through there. Cleaning our home typically takes about an hour, maybe 10 minutes longer than the faster smart models we’ve tested.
In these weeks of testing, he has been locked in rooms a few times (he just closes the door), he has not been able to get down from our tangle of cables in the living room and he does not enter under the legs of the dining room chairs, but he does under those of the dining room chairs. the kitchen (it fits in both, but the latter are narrower). In its favor, it is capable of pushing the curtains that are located on the terrace door and that go to the floor, something that models with more advanced navigation systems tend to avoid.
Regarding the power we have no complaints : it is capable of sucking up crumbs, hair, dust and grit in a general way, although the corners, where some dirt accumulates, are resistant to it. At home we have a fine pile carpet and he has climbed on it without problem, vacuuming it without major problem. There is no special suction on these textiles, so it just sucks like the rest of the floor. Although it gives a good refresher that may be superficial enough for day to day, it is far from achieving the results of our sled vacuum cleaner on carpets .
The Roomba i3 has an additional tool for when we want to carry out a deeper cleaning: go more times. By default the automatic option is marked, so that it is the robot itself that determines to have more influence, something that in practice happens in small rooms. If the space to be cleaned is large, then it only happens once, for a matter of battery optimization.
However, we have the option of changing from one to two passes from the application, something that can be useful if the floor is very dirty. In our case, we have tried to clean the entire house with a double pass and the robot has run out of battery for approximately an hour and a half. The good news is that he just goes back to the base to charge and picks up where he left off, although we’ll have to wait.
How is the app
Although we can use the vacuum cleaner forgetting its connectivity simply by clicking on CLEAN, with the app we can fully squeeze the virtues of the Roomba i3 +.
iRobot has the same application for all its connected robots, although it is true that the options and functions are different depending on their characteristics. Thus, with this Roomba i3 +, for example, we will not be able to select a room for localized cleaning , something that is possible to do with those that have intelligent navigation systems. In any case, the iRobot application shines in terms of clear design and intuitive operation.
The most common and basic thing we are going to do is hit “PLAY” to start cleaning the whole house (although you can always do the manual work of closing doors or leaving it “confined” in a room). From here, you will see the evolution of cleaning on the map with a green area. If everything goes well, he will return to the base and you will receive the warning… and if not, as can be seen in the last image, you will have to go rescue him.
What else can you do from the application?
- Empty the robot tank (although it does so automatically after each cleaning).
- Pause and resume cleaning
- Cleaning schedule choosing days and hours
- View the cleaning history with the date and time required.
- In care and maintenance, you will check the condition of the main parts with instructions for cleaning and replacing them.
- From Settings you can change the Wi-Fi network, change the language, unlink the robot or reset the factory settings.
With this Roomba i3 +, iRobot has “brought” a premium feature, until now exclusive to the brand’s high-end, to a more affordable model like this one: the tank that empties itself. Every time the robot returns to the base, it sucks the dirt from the tank in a few noisy but few seconds, taking it to a bag that is located at the top of the tower.
Fortunately, the system is identical in all iRobot models, so we can use the same bags. According to iRobot, the capacity of the bags lasts about 60 days, but in my experience they last much longer.
Cleaning itself is very convenient because it reduces the need to worry about emptying the tank often, but it also has its application for people with allergy problems, since contact with dirt is minimized. When the bag is full, we simply open the lid, pull the piece that fixes it and the bag will close itself with a quick, easy and robust mechanism. You do not touch the dust at any time.
Both in the manual and in the application itself we can find out how the Roomba i3 + should be maintained and cared for, but it is not very complicated:
- To access the robot’s tank, we will simply turn it upside down and press the tab to release it simply by pulling it.
- The filter is located on one side, so we only need to put the part in view and pull it. Once extracted, we can clean it.
According to iRobot, these are the recommended cleaning and renewal frequencies:
|MAINTENANCE FREQUENCY||REPLACEMENT FREQUENCY|
|Filter||Once a week (two if you have a pet)||Every 2 months|
|Side brush||Each month||Every 3 months|
|Full tank sensors||Every 2 weeks||–|
|Pivoting wheel||Every 2 weeks||Once a year|
|Multi-surface brush||Once a month (two if you have a pet)||Once a year|
|Sensors and load contacts||Each month||–|
Roomba i3 +, Our Opinion
The Roomba i3 + review is based on our usage of the product. The summary of my experience with the Roomba i3 + is that it is very comfortable and easy to use, it goes through my house quite well, the vacuuming of floors and carpets is adequate and for a daily cleaning battle it fulfills both results and autonomy.
I usually have the Roomba i7 + as my resident robot vacuum cleaner, so these weeks with the Roomba i3 + could a priori be a step backwards. After all, the model we are analyzing is inferior in performance. And yes, it is: I have noticed that I am used to sending him to clean the bathroom floor after ironing or doing the same in the kitchen after preparing food. It is clear that for someone who pulls the application for zone cleaning this absence is a chore , but not everyone needs it. Whoever is looking for a simple interface and does not require this function does not represent a major problem.
It is also necessary to put everything else on the scale: it has the same roller system, the suction results are similar, the application is just as simple and pleasant and when I finish I forget to empty the tank. Now, the Roomba i7 + costs 899 dollars for the 699 dollars of the Roomba i3 +. Two hundred euros of difference that can equalize the balance .
However, it is also time to put the Roomba i3 + in perspective against the competition. This mid-range from iRobot is in the price range of flagships like the Conga 7090 ) or Roborock S7, so it’s not cheap either.
Of course, iRobot has some more aces up its sleeve : its navigation algorithm is the most refined and the application of the North American firm stands out above the rest for its careful interface. And there is also an intangible plus that attracts: the brand is an institution in the sector for quality and durability.
It is important to note that the Roomba i3 + differs from the Roomba i3 to dry in the base, being the plus model that we have analyzed the one that has that “hulk” that empties the tank automatically. If you go for the Roomba i3 model, the price is 449 dollars. So if you are not allergic and / or do not mind touching the dust, it is a considerable saving.
In short, this Roomba i3 + is a highly recommended model for those looking for an easy-to-use robot vacuum cleaner, with connectivity, good results and a benchmark brand.