iRobot Roomba s9+ robot vacuum review


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Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

irobot roomba, vacuum, robot, sweep, floors, review

iRobot has made some pretty serious upgrades to its robot Roomba vacuum and its Braava jet mop, and they can now work together as a team to clean your floors, sweeping up first, then mopping everything down. The new vacuum on the team is the iRobot Roomba s9+ and the mop is the all new iRobot Braava jet m6. I’ll be reviewing both of them here on the channel, but in this post we’ll look at the new s9+ vacuum; what makes it new and better, and how it interacts with the mop.

What is iRobot Roomba s9+?

The new Roomba s9+ with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal is a smartphone controlled robot vacuum with a large built-in dust bin (essentially a tiny garbage can) which is specifically called the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. The vacuum will clean all over your house, recharge itself when necessary, and empty its onboard dust bin into a sealed bag inside that Clean Base when it’s full, then go back out and clean some more.

Some of the other key upgrades over previous Roombas including the i7+ are:

Roomba s9+ hugs edges and gets into corners better with new squared-off front design, and PerfectEdge Technology that gets right up against trim, furniture and walls. I can say this new feature works very well and is definitely noticeable. The s9+ gets right up against everything from table legs to trim and does an even better job than before.

Advanced sensors, and a new corner brush specially designed with 5 angled arms (up from three in the previous i7+). This new corner brush more easily reaches into tight areas, meaning you’ll find a lot fewer missed crumbs.

3-Stage Cleaning System uses Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that instantly adjust and flex to help thoroughly clean carpets and hard floors. The brushes are actually a bit larger than the Roomba i7+.

The new Roomba s9+ offers the most powerful cleaning throughout the entire home with 40 times the suction over previous 600 series Roomba vacuums.

It features an Anti-Allergen System that traps and locks dirt, debris and allergens from escaping from the robot, the disposal bag, or its Clean Base, preventing the release of dirty air back into the home.

New Keep Out Zones let you set up virtual fences around things like the dog dishes or the doormat to minimize spills and disruptions.

Works in tandem with the all new Braava jet m6 mop

The vacuum also cleans as a team with the new iRobot mop, the Braava jet m6. Read that review here.

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What is Roomba Clean Base™ Automatic Dirt Disposal unit?

In a nutshell, it’s a tiny garbage can built into the base charging station.

The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal unit eliminates the dusty and dirty mess that in the past happens when you go to empty the onboard dust bin in a robot vacuum. The Anti-Allergen System of the s9+ traps and locks in 99% of mold, pollen and dust mite allergens – from the robot to the high efficiency filter to the Clean Base – so that they don’t escape back into the air.

The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal will hold up to about 30 loads of Roomba dirt, so depending on how often you vacuum you might not need to insert a new bag for months.

How to Set up iRobot Roomba s9+?

Let’s get to it! Getting this vacuum set up is super easy. You’ll want to plug in your Clean Base base station in an area where it has clear access to come and go. You’ll need the iRobot app, and to sign up for or sign into your account.

From there you’ll choose the hamburger menu in the top left of the app and choose Add a Robot, then you’ll select your device, in this case the iRobot Roomba s9+. You’ll give the robot a name, then connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi by signing into your network. Then you put the robot into Wi-Fi pairing mode by pressing and holding the Spot and Home buttons simultaneously for two seconds. Your app should ‘see’ your robot momentarily.

Once it completes the Wi-Fi connection, it might do a firmware update. Once that’s all done you’re ready to go!

Using the iRobot appirobot, braaja jet, roomba, mop, m6, review, how, clean, floor, robot

The iRobot app is your control centre for your robot army. At it’s simplest you can turn the robots on and off inside the app but you can also do a lot more:

  • Schedule cleanings, either for a single instance in the future, or on a regular series
  • Check the history of the cleanings; so you’ll know if your bot encountered any trouble while it was working
  • Get help
  • Adjust settings
  • Find a lost robot
  • Change cleaning preferences from Detailed Clean, to Quiet Clean
  • Access the Smart Maps (more below)

iRobot Roomba s9+ Home mapping & smarts

The new iRobot Roomba s9+has smart mapping capabilities built in. The robot learns your home’s layout over a few days after you first get it, then allows you to go in and annotate the map, labeling each room so that you can schedule it to clean certain rooms on certain days, or to leave some rooms off. Labelling your map also lets you call out Google or Alexa commands and have your robot sweep certain rooms.

You can merge, split and label rooms as you see fit. After that, you can even set a schedule so that the vacuum cleans certain rooms on specific days at certain times, or an entire level of your home on the days you choose.

What are Keep Out Zones & Room Dividers?

The Smart Maps also allow you to lay virtual room dividers, and establish Keep Out zones, which are perfect for drawing a virtual barrier around pet dishes, for example, to keep the robot from spilling their drinks.

How to Create Keep Out Zones

To create a keep out zone, you first need to have your home’s smart mapping complete. When you do you can zoom into spaces on the map and draw boxes around them. Those virtual areas keep the Roomba out.

In my testing this feature worked well and kept water from sloshing all over the floor if the robot bumped into my pet dishes. I’m also adding Keep Out Zones around the front doormat where the light mat often tangles up.

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Cleans all floor surfaces

iRobot Roomba s9+ : Voice control with Google Home & Amazon Alexa

It’s possible to control your Roomba with Google or Alexa. I won’t get into the nitty gritty on how to do this, but the short and simple version involves linking your Roomba inside the Google Home app. Once connected, you can just say things like, ‘OK Google, start Roomba’, and it will be off and running.

I found the Google Home connectivity worked great, and I was able to command my Roomba s9+ easily just by asking. It was quite convenient. Like asking your kids to vacuum the house, but without the pushback!

Which surfaces will iRobot Roomba s9+ clean?

The iRobot Roomba s9+ is designed to clean hard floors as well as carpets and rugs.

In my experience it does a great job of both types of surfaces. It gets a bit of a power boost on carpets to pull dirt from down in the fibres. On a day the Roomba s9+ has been working, I can see a noticeable difference in my floors when I come home. Check out the review video for the tests I did with it to see what the s9+ will pick up.

irobot roomba, vacuum, robot, sweep, floors, review

Inside the Clean base – dust bag

What about Roomba dust bags?

For this robot to work correctly you do need iRobot Roomba’s special dirt disposal bags, which are essentially sealed vacuum bags.

They cost about $7CAD each and they keep all the dust, dirt and junk safely inside. In some previous Roomba models you needed to remove the onboard dust bin and physically open and empty it into the garbage, so this actually feels a lot cleaner and more sanitary.

How long before a Roomba s9+ dust bag fills up?

This obviously depends on how often you set your robot to clean but you should get up to about 30 cleanings before the bag is full. You’ll also get a notice from your iRobot app that it’s time to change the bag.

Additional Dirt Disposal Bags can be purchased for $19.99 CAD for a pack of three bags.

Cleaning Modes: Detailed Clean vs Quiet Clean

You can choose different cleaning modes on the Roomba s9+. There’s Detailed Clean mode which cleans more intensely. Quiet Clean mode can be enabled to make less noise. You can also choose a custom setting to balance cleaning power with overall suction power. I found that for my mostly hardwood main floor, Detailed Clean worked great.

Add more cleaning passes

Your Roomba s9+ will be set to Automatic Cleaning mode. This setting automatically optimizes the robot for optimal cleaning over your mapped space.

If you find the Roomba needs to work a bit harder, you can enable Two Pass cleaning mode, which will send the Roomba s9+ out twice. Similarly, if the Roomba is doing great, but you just want it to wrap up quicker, choose One pass mode.

How well does iRobot Roomba s9+ clean?

Overall, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your home’s floors. The s9+ gets into smaller spaces much better in my opinion, and seems to do a more thorough job. It seems to work longer and harder and is quite reliable.

If you have pets, this vacuum is a game changer. It picks up pet hair easily and keeps it at bay; no more dog hair tumbleweeds!

The Roomba s9+ can pick up everything from dust and dirt, to fine particles like flour and bigger debris like crumbs, cereal, nuts, and even crackers.

While it’s probably not getting as deep into longer carpet fibres as a regular vacuum, it does a great job keeping carpets and rugs tidy.

What about stairs, hazards and carpets?

The iRobot Roomba devices are pretty smart. They can ‘see’ their way round obstacles or furniture, unwedge themselves from tight spaces, and they have cliff detection sensors to keep them from tumbling down any steps. In all the years I’ve been using robot vacuums and mops, I’ve never seen one fall.

This bot does a masterful job at carpets too. You can hear it getting a burst of power as soon as it moves onto carpets and it does provide a noticeable clean when it’s all done.

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How does iRobot Roomba s9+ vacuum work with iRobot Braava jet m6 mop?

As noted, one of the biggest new features of this vacuum is its ability to clean in tandem with the new iRobot Braava jet m6 mop. The pair can be set up so the mop will head out after the Roomba s9+ has done its job sweeping up first.

To get your bots working in tandem it’s back to the app. Hit the Clean button, and you’ll have the choice of scheduling just the mopping action, or adding a sweep first. If you choose to sweep first, the mop will wait until the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum has cleaned up, then it will automatically launch itself after.

The new iRobot Braava jet m6, by the way, is an entirely redesigned mop. It maps, remembers rooms, lets you choose between reusable or disposable mopping pads and is the first iRobot mop that works together with the vacuum. But it also features a larger cleaning surface and full app connectivity and operation. There’s a full review on the Braava jet m6 here too.

I was fortunate enough to have both robots to test out together and I found they did a great job. It’s very handy doing the sweep before the mopping and I think it does a better overall job of cleaning the floors.

Overall review: new iRobot Roomba s9+ vacuum

  • Pros:
    Improved Corner brushes and wider rollers (PerfectEdge Technology) help it clean better
    Keep out zones keep Roomba from finding trouble
    Great overall clean
    Works together with the mop
    Works well with voice control
  • Cons:
    Still gets stuck occasionally
    Price is very high

Overall I love having a Roomba in my home. With two dogs, it probably saves me a few hours a month in sweeping and vacuuming. The interface is easy to use, scheduling it is easy and it works exactly as it’s supposed to.

The addition of Keep Out zones is super helpful and can prevent Roomba from entering areas where it might get stuck or caught up, or create a spill. I can clean my whole main floor while I’m out and it does a damn good job on both carpet and flooring. The added connectivity with the Braava jet m6 mop means you almost never need to touch floors again is an outstanding feature that is envy-inducing.

When it comes to the downsides, it does still get stuck occasionally, and it you’re not home to help it, that might be the end of your clean for the day. It’s also very pricey at $1649CAD for the s9+ with Clean Base.

But if you’ve got the funds for this robot, you will not be sorry about hiring it to work in your house.

Available for purchase in Canada starting at $1,649.99 CAD from places like Best Buy, iRobot’s website and Amazon. The Roomba s9 robot vacuum can also be purchased without the Clean Base™ starting at $1,299.99 CAD. The Clean Base™ with Automatic Dirt Disposal for Roomba s9 is sold separately for $499.99 CAD. Additional Dirt Disposal Bags can be purchased for $19.99 CAD for a pack of three bags.

*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.

Erin Lawrence

Erin Lawrence

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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