Despite (or because of) their high price, iRobot's Roomba robot vacuums have always been pretty smart when it comes to cleaning. However, the company is releasing an update to its app as well as to its vacuums which will allow for more targeted cleaning, as well as proactive alerts.
The new suite of features, subtly named iRobot Genius Home Intelligence, will roll out to all of the company's Wi-Fi-connected robots. The features each robot vacuum receives will vary based on that particular model's capabilities and sensors.
For instance, the Roomba S9+ and S9, as well as the Roomba i7+ and i7 and Braava Jet m6, will be able to identify objects such as kitchen counters, tables, and chairs, and let you create Precision Cleaning Zones. After it's set up, you'll then be able to tell the vacuum to "clean in front of the coffee table" or "clean under the dining room table."
Conversely, these robots can now learn trouble areas, like shag carpets or around pet bowls, and suggest areas to avoid as they make their rounds.
You'll also be able to create event-based automations, so that when you leave your house (not that you leave very often), your vacuum will start cleaning. This can already be done to some extent, but the update will make it easier to connect your Roomba with other smart home devices, such as an August smart lock, Ecobee smart thermostat, MyQ smart garage door opener, or via IFTTT. As before, you'll also be able to control the robot vacuums via Alexa or Google Assistant.
The iRobot Home App, which has also been cleaned up, will also recommend cleaning schedules based on your habits, and you'll be able to set up favorite cleaning routines, such as a daily routine to clean under the dining room table after breakfast or dinner.
Last, the app will suggest different cleaning schedules around seasonal events, such as allergy season or times when your pets might shed more.
The app update, as well as updates to the robot vacuums, will start rolling out today (August 25), and should be complete by Labor Day. It will be available for all Wi-Fi connected Roombas: The 600 series, the e Series, the 900 series, the S Series, the i Series, and the m and 200 and 300 Series robot mops.
After testing dozens of robot vacuums, we consider iRobot's models to be among the best; we're interested to see how well this app update improves the overall experience of using their products.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.