In today’s Roborock vs. Roomba comparison review, we want to find out which is the best brand for what cleaning needs.
It goes without saying that Roomba is the best robot vacuum brand. But with the coming of high-tech models from the Chinese frontier, iRobot’s dominance seems to be on the line.
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Roomba vs. Roborock Popular Models
In today’s review, we have compared two of the best models from each brand to find out which is the best purchase in term of cleaning performance, convenience, and most importantly, value for money.
On one side, we have Roomba 980 and i7+, and from the other corner, we have fronted Xiaomi Mi Robot and Roborock S50. Here are some highlights of the four models.
Roomba 980 vs. i7+
The Roomba 980 band i7 series are the best models from the California-based company.
The 980 is the best model in the 900 series while the i7 series boasts two models; i7 (7150) and i7+ (7550). The i7 is the base model and doesn’t come with the iconic iRobot self-emptying bin.
Now back to our Roomba 980 vs. i7 debate; what brings the difference, and are there similarities?
From the fact that the two models are from the same brand, we definitely have similarities.
- First, the two units have the same design and shape.
- They also share the same 3-stage cleaning system though the cleaning features differ as we will discuss later on.
- When it comes to navigation, both models feature a VSLAM navigation system.
- They also offer smart connectivity for mobile app and voice control.
When it comes to differences, they are profound.
- First, the 980 is best for carpets courtesy of the Carpet Boost feature that steps up suction power to 1700Pa when in max mode. The i7 and i7+ still use an older motor and can manage a maximum of 1000Pa and run on a single speed.
- The 980 also packs a more powerful 3300mAh battery that does an average of 120 minutes and will resume cleaning after recharging.
- When it comes to bin management, both vacuums feature a 0.3L bin with full bin indicator, but the i7+ has an additional CleanBase unit that can empty the primary bin for thirty days straight and this is the i7’s greatest feature.
- As for navigation, the i7 uses iAdapt 3.0, which incorporates Imprint Smart Mapping. This is a function iAdapt 2.0 misses out on.
The i7 steps down to a 1830mAh battery that does 75 minutes only.
On the other hand, homeowners who want personalized cleaning and fully automatic operation will benefit from the i7’s Imprint Smart Mapping and iRobot CleanBase.
Xiaomi Mi vs. Roborock S50
Now, onto Roborock, it is first important to note that Xiaomi Mi Vacuum and S50 are completely different brands. Even though Roborock builds them, the former is under the Xiaomi umbrella while the latter is built and marketed by Roborock as an independent brand.
It is not by surprise that the Roborock S5 is the best choice here. But still, there is some striking resemblance between the two models though the differences are also profound as in the Roomba i7 vs. 980 comparison.
- Just like Roombas, much of the design is intact in the two Roborock vacuums.
- The duo also uses a three-stage cleaning system.
- The filtration system is also a HEPA style for both models.
- When it comes to autonomy, Roborock S5 maintains the 5200mAh battery Xiaomi Mi uses and can last each for 150 minutes.
- The navigation is still a SLAM-based algorithm though the new S5 has some extras on the app.
- Talking of the app, both units support WiFi for mobile app and voice control operation.
Now, coming to the differences, the new Roborock S5 boasts several new additions.
- First, the S5 has a different interface with the circular turret at the center instead of somewhere below.
- Another significant leap is the fact that the new Roborock combines two cleaning functions; vacuum and mopping while Xiaomi Mi only has vacuuming.
- The suction power in the S5 is also improved at 2000Pa compared to Mi’s 1800Pa.
- Surprisingly, operation noise in the S50 is reduced courtesy of the cotton and porous air sieve.
- We also have new larger wheels in the S5 that take its climbing height to 0.78-inches up from 0.58-inches.
- The Roborock also has unique features, for example, Target Cleaning and Zone Cleaning for the busy homes.
- The Roborock also features digital boundaries, but the old Xiaomi is accompanied by physical markets which are quite tedious to set up.
- Other improvements in the new Xiaomi Vacuum 2 include a larger 0.48L bin and a washable filter.
But if you are on a budget, the Xiaomi Mi is still an excellent deal but not an up to date vacuum.
Roomba vs. Roborock Comparison
Now that we are acquainted with what each brand offers and the highlights of the four models, it is time for the main business of the day; comparing the features.
As you are aware, there are several aspects to be considered when buying robot vacuums; they will be our landmarks in this review.
So, without further ado, let’s start the review.
1. Design, dimensions, and aesthetics
Roomba and Roborock have a very different design in terms of dimensions and even aesthetics. As a homeowner, your target should be a slim, and lightweight vacuum to allow it to go under furniture and for easy portability.
The 980 is 8.6lbs and measures 13.6-inches in diameter and stands 3.6-inches high. It has been finished in subtle brown color with a silver button.
As for the i7, it is lighter at 7.5lbs, but slightly taller at 3.7-inches. The diameter is 13.4-inches, and this time, iRobot finished it with a dark black color.
As for Xiaomi Mi Vacuum, we only have a single color; white. When it comes to dimensions, the Roborock 2 is 3.78-inches high and has a diameter of 13.8-inches and weighs 7.75lbs. The old Xiaomi Vacuum, on the other hand, has a 13.58-inch diameter and stands at 3.78-inches like Roborock 2 but is heavier by around 0.6lbs.
2. Cleaning Performance
This is the most crucial consideration when choosing any cleaner; robot vacuums are no exception. Here, we are going to compare several features and aspects to determine whether Xiaomi is as good as Roomba.
This is all about the cleaning function of the vacuum. Here, Xiaomi has the edge over Roomba and here’s why.
First, Roomba i7 and 980 are designed to vacuum only. The i7 is best for bare floors, and low pile carpets as well as pet hair. As for the 980, Carpet Boost makes it ideal for medium to high pile carpets as well. Xiaomi Vacuum is just like Roomba and offers vacuuming only.
When it comes Roborock, it vacuums and mops simultaneously. You don’t need to invest in a separate dedicated mop like Braava. It handles bare floors exceptionally and will wipe out the stains and grime. You can also rely on the two for low to high pile carpets and even pet hair.
The first stage of cleaning is sweeping, and agitation and the part responsible for this is the brush. Robot vacuums come with two types of brushes; a primary brush and a side-sweeping brush. The side-sweeping brush pushes dirt on the path of the primary brush while the main brush breaks down the dirt ready for pick up.
This is an area with stiff competition between the two brands, and here’s why.
Here, the Xiaomi and Roborock vacuums have the edge because the side brushes last fairly long.
However, when it comes to the main brush, Roomba carries the day courtesy of the dual multisurface brush system; there is one brush specialized for agitation, and another for dirt pick up. They work better compared to the single brush Xiaomi and Roborock boast.
As far as tangling is concerned, both brands are awesome save for the old Xiaomi that gets tangles too often.
For starters, vacuum power, also known as suction, is an integral part of the 3-stage cleaning process. Suction is determined by the motor’s output and measured in Pascals (Pa) with higher Pa denoting better performance.
So, how does Roomba compare to Xiaomi and Roborock?
To start, the new Roomba i7 bows out of the competition as it delivers a paltry 1000Pa. At least with the Roomba 980, power is stepped up to 1670Pa in Carpet Boost mode, but this is not enough to match the 1800Pa and 2000Pa delivered by Xiaomi Mi Robot 2 and Roborock S5 respectively.
This is another crucial step in the cleaning process and a fundamental for allergy sufferers.
The ideal filtration system for allergy sufferers is true HEPA, and the discerning aspect is the fact that they are 99% efficient and filter down to 0.3 microns.
As for HEPA filters, they are 99% efficient, but they can filter down to 10 microns only leaving behind the tiny allergens like pollen.
So, which is the best deal for allergy sufferers; Roomba or Roborock?
There are a handful of vacuums that adopt true HEPA, for example, Neato Botvac.
Roombas have the AeroForce filtration system, and even though they are efficient, they are not ultimately the best.
This is the same case for Roborock and Xiaomi which use E11 Grade Filters. But we liked most the Roborock S5 because the filters are washable.
The bin is the final destination of dirt. Robot vacuums are compact and may not have large dirt bins meaning frequent emptying is a necessity.
You also need a notification system to alert you in the event your bin requires emptying.
Here, Roomba is a great deal for several reasons.
First, both Roombas have a 0.3L bin with a full bin indicator to notify you when it requires emptying.
But the biggest addition is the exclusive iRobot CleanBase system that comes with the Roomba i7+. It has been integrated with the docking base and has a mechanism for emptying the dirt in the Roomba after every cleaning session.
The result if more freedom now that you don’t have to worry about bin emptying. Like mentioned earlier, this is a feature only available in the Roomba i7+. But still, if you have the i7 (7150), you can purchase the CleanBase separately.
Here, we look at some of the extras offered by each brand. Roomba is a great deal here for one reason; Dirt Detect.
Roomba 980 and i7 have Advanced Dirt Detect Series II which uses acoustic and optical sensors to locate areas with concentrated dirt. The Roomba is dispatched to such locations and switches to Spot mode until all the dirt is cleared.
Indeed, this is an excellent feature which Xiaomi and Roborock lack but then, you don’t need Dirt Detect if you have Manual Cleaning which we’ll discuss later on.
As you are aware, robot vacuums are cordless and require no human intervention during cleaning – this is called autonomy.
In this section, we want to analyze the battery performance and navigation system Roborock and Roomba use in their vacuums.
Roomba is a top player here and is among the first vacuums to have the auto-resume function. Both the 980 and i7 have a recharge and resume function, and so do Xiaomi and Roborock.
That takes us to the next aspect; capacity. The higher the capacity, the longer the runtime. Roomba 980 has a 3300mAh battery which lasts an average of 120 minutes whereas the i7 steps down to a 1830mAh battery that does 75 minutes. Xiaomi and Roborock carry the day here with enormous 5200mAh batteries which can do 150 minutes on a single charge.
Navigation and mapping
Next up is how these vacuums maneuver their way around your house. The navigation system ensures that your robot vacuum moves around seamlessly, from one room to another, avoiding obstacles and the stairs.
We have two types of navigation algorithms; SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) and VSLAM (Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping). While SLAM uses sensors only for localization, VSLAM navigation adds to it a real-time camera.
When it comes to mapping, this is also a crucial consideration as it determines the efficiency of the robot vacuum – whether it will clean the entire floor without missing some spots and most importantly, the turnaround time.
Roomba is a great deal here as it comes with a VSLAM navigation. But there are already three versions; iAdapt, iAdapt 2.0 and the new iAdapt 3.0. Roomba 980 comes with iAdapt 2.0 for precise navigation and most importantly, a systematic and methodical cleaning pattern that guarantees fast cleaning, and entire floor coverage. The older systems lack an elaborate mapping system and will skip some spots.
The new Roomba i7 comes with iAdapt 3.0, and this is just the same as iAdapt 2.0 but has an additional feature; Imprint Smart Mapping. This feature enables homeowners to decide which rooms to clean and which ones to skip. For busy homes, it is a great feature that allows you to vacuum only the dirt hotspots like the kitchen instead of the entire house.
Now, on to the Roborock and Xiaomi, the two units use SLAM navigation. The old Xiaomi doesn’t do very well in high-traffic rooms, but at least the new Roborock, equipped with extra sensors and upgraded software will navigate smoothly around your house.
The question is, does the SLAM algorithm in Roborock S5 beat the VSLAM algorithm in Roomba? Well, we have tested both models and found out that the difference is negligible.
In terms of floor mapping, Xiaomi is not a great deal as it lacks any elaborate floor mapping and scanning system, but the upgraded Roborock S5 is an excellent option. It comes with Zone Cleaning meaning you can also select where you want the robot to clean and where it is not necessary. Above all, it has Manual Cleaning that allows you to manually drive the robot where there is dirt using the app.
4. Smart Connectivity
Smart home technology is increasingly becoming popular. Talk of convenience, security, plus other benefits. Today, we have smart robot vacuums that can connect with Smartphones, intelligent hubs, and even Alexa/Assistant.
We’re glad all the four vacuums in this comparison have 2.4GHz WiFi.
Roborock and Roomba all work with Alexa and Google Assistant. They also integrate well with several other third-party integrations.
When it comes to the mobile app, we like that both Roborock and Roomba have mobile apps (iOS and Android).
But what about the app features?
Well, the standard features include Clean Map reports, notifications, advanced cleaning setting, and remote operation.
Roborock vs. Roomba; Who’s the winner?
Finally, we finish with the most important discussion; price and value for money.
Starting with price, Roombas are damn expensive. The 980 will set you back around $900.
The Roomba i7+ has a slightly higher price tag – $950, including the CleanBase unit. If you’re not interested in the CleanBase, get the Roomba i7 for around $650. These are the standard retail prices, but you may find them at discounts from time to time.
So, about value for money. To be honest, Roborock S5 offers the best value for money. The fact that it combines a vacuum and a mop in one unit make it a better choice for homeowners. In addition, it has higher suction power than Roombas by far, and that means better performance on carpets.
When it comes to smart connectivity and app features, Roomba can’t beat the extras Roborock offers like manual driving, and digital boundary marking. But still, Roomba rocks. VSLAM navigation is something you want if you have a large apartment. Another thing, Roombas are tested and proven – in fact, it remains the most popular robot vacuum!
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, a Roborock vs. Roomba comparison review. It is clear that iRobot finally got serious competition.
Which is your best choice – is it Roomba or Roborock? Talk to us in the comments section below.