Hybrid robot vacuums — ones that can both vacuum and mop — have become increasingly popular, but iRobot was the one company yet to release a hybrid model — until now.
The Roomba Combo j7+ is the first from iRobot that can handle both your hardwood floors and your carpets in one go, which could save you from yet another household chore.
We had a chance to see the Roomba Combo j7+ in action; here's our initial thoughts, as well as when this new robot vacuum will be available.
Roomba Combo j7+: Price and availability
The Roomba Combo j7+ is available for preorder starting today (September 27) for $1,099 on iRobot.com. It will start shipping on October 4, at which time it will also be available in Canada, Europe, and at other online retailers.
Roomba Combo j7+: Design
The Roomba Combo j7+ looks a lot like its non-mopping sibling, the Roomba j7+. For that matter, it looks like many other robot vacuums: It's a large black circle with a shinier circle in the center. It's a very clean look for a robot vacuum.
What sets the Combo J7+ apart is a semicircular panel on the top rear of the vacuum; when it senses that it's on a hard surface, like a wood or tile floor, this panel— which has a small pad — lifts up and then slides underneath the robot so it can start mopping the floor. Unlike other robot vacuum hybrids, iRobot says its approach helps ensure that your rugs don't get wet.
When it reaches a carpeted surface, the mopping panel lifts back up to its resting area atop the robot. Watching it during our brief hands-on session, it's both neat to watch but also seems a little fussy.
The Roborock S7 — our current favorite robot vacuum/mop hybrid among the best robot vacuums — also has a mop head that lifts up, but in this case only raises by 5 millimeters. However, the S7's design also allows for its mop to oscillate, which helps to remove more stubborn spots.
iRobot says that the Combo J7+ should do good job mopping, but it won't be quite as thorough as its dedicated iRobot Braava Jet m6+.
As with the Roomba J7+ and iRobot's other premium robot vacuums, the Combo J7+ has a self-empyting base, so you can have it vacuum your floors up to a month before you have to remove the dust bag from the base. Like other self-empyting bases, the J7+'s is as loud as a traditional vacuum; fortunately, this only lasts for a second or two.
While the Combo J7+ can empty itself of dirt and debris, you'll have to add water to it each time you send it on its rounds; it has a small removable reservoir in its rear.
Roomba Combo j7+: Features
The Combo J7+ has the same smarts inside as the non-Combo version of the J7+, which makes it one of the more intelligent robot vacuums out there. One of its most-touted features is the ability to avoid pet poop and other things that might have been left on the floor by accident, such as pet toys, socks, and cords.
You can also command the J7+ to clean specific rooms, as well as specific areas in rooms — such as around a dining room table, or in front of your kitchen counter. If you happen to be sitting in a room that the robot is about to clean, but don't want to be disturbed, you can tell the vacuum/mop combo to skip that room temporarily.
All this can be done in the iRobot app, or through Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.
Roomba Combo j7+: Outlook
It was only a matter of time before iRobot released a hybrid mopping/vacuuming robot, and the Combo J7+ has a unique take on how to avoid wet carpets. iRobot says it's best for those who want something that can both mop and vacuum, but don't have enough space for two bots.
At $1,099, the Roomba is a little more expensive than the Roborock S7+ ($949), which might be better at scrubbing your floors, but doesn't look to have the same smarts as the Combo J7+. We'll reserve our judgment to see where it ranks on our list of the best Roombas until we've had a chance to test out the Roomba Combo J7+ to see how it performs.