The Roomba i7+ and the Roborock S5 might be two of the best robot vacuums on the market right now, in fact they both made it to the top 3 on our list of best robot vacuums in a previous “best of article” we published, but we thought we would do a whole new set of tests including some newly developed tests to really figure out which is the best of these 2 robot vacuums. The results were fascinating.
So let’s start with the elephant in the room, the Roomba i7+ has something that the Roborock S5 doesn’t, and that is the “Clean Base” feature which is a self-emptying bin system developed by iRobot. The i7 has a little port on the dust bin that matches up with the Clean Base, and when it docks to charge, the vast motor on the clean base kicks in, and it sucks up all the dirt from the vacuum’s dust bin into the included bag. In practice we found it to do everything they said it did, and we have to tell you, we are a huge fan of it.
As we have said before, using the Roomba i7+ was the first time we felt like we had a truly automated cleaning system. Not having to empty the bin every day made me feel like we had a real deal robot in our home doing its own thing. I’m sure lots of other companies like Roborock will come out with their version of the clean base someday but for now, it gives iRobot a huge advantage, and we think it’s a useful enough feature that we are going to start by giving the Roomba i7+ an extra point.
As far as power and pickup ability, these are two premium robot vacuums that are very similar. We measured the airflow on the S5 at a range of 17 CFM on high power all the way down to 9 CFM on its very usable low power setting which they call “Quiet Mode”. The Roomba i7+ only has one power setting. And although we couldn’t get an airflow measurement on the i7+ due to some sensor changes that iRobot has made recently. We did call iRobot, and they said its power is the same as the Roomba 980 on turbo mode, which we have measured in the past and got 17 CFM. So we will call the max power a tie.
Other tests we did seem to bear that number out. For example, on the crevice pickup test, they both were able to pick up coffee grounds from the 1/8″ crevice but not the 1/4 which is on par with many premium robot vacuums.
In practice, we found that they have very similar pickup abilities on hard floors and carpets. They both were able to pick up everything from very fine debris to pet hair to extra large debris. Much better than the average robot vacuum. Though there were pros and cons to each.
For example, the Roomba’s edge brush spins very rapidly and tends to knock debris around much more than the Roborock, or really any other robot vacuum brand for that matter. It did pick up that scattered debris by the end of its run though, so it wasn’t that big of a deal, and we should say it does seem less of an issue than with previous Roombas.
The Roborock S5 had a much cleaner pickup with the edge brush only doing enough work to get the job done and making very little additional mess.
We also tested them with sand on the hard floor which is very difficult for robot vacuums to pick up due to sand being very heavy, but there was very little difference here, and they both performed better than we expected.
So in terms of pickup ability on hard floors and carpet, it was almost a tie, but we are going to give the point to the S5 because of that fast spinning brush on the i7+ scattering debris more than necessary.
For deep cleaning carpets, the Roomba i7+ wins. We embed exactly 100 grams of sand into a thick medium pile carpet and weight the dust bins before and after. After two tests each, they had an average of 75% for the Roborock S5 and 79% for the iRobot Roomba i7+. Not much of a difference statistically, but the Roomba still gets the point.
We bought the Roomba i7+ on Amazon so we could get the fast shipping and excellent return policy. The price will likely change over time, so click this link to check the current price of the iRobot Roomba i7+ on Amazon.