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iRobot’s Newest Robot Vacuums Can Talk to Each Other

There are robot vacuums that can both hoover up debris and also mop your floors, but most aren't great at both tasks. Instead of trying to make a 2-in-1 device, iRobot is hoping to convince consumers to buy not one, but two robot vacuums, one that cleans dirt, and the other that wipes the floors afterwards. And, they'll talk to each other to completely automate the process.  But it'll cost you. 

iRobot’s Roombas have made the circular robot vacuum an iconic look. However, its newest vacuum, the Roomba s9+, ditches the now-familiar design for a U-shape that the company says will help it better clean around corners and edges. The S9+ also comes with an updated automatic dirt-disposal base system introduced with the Roomba I7+ last year. At $1,299 (it's called the s9 and costs $999 if you skip the base system), it’s the company’s most expensive robot vacuum yet.

Additional features of the s9’s new design include wider brushes on the underside, as well as a redesigned side brush, which should get at those pesky dust bunnies lurking in the corner. A new 3D sensor on the s9 also scans directly in front of the vacuum to give it a better view of obstacles and the shape of the room.

Using what iRobot calls Imprint Link Technology, the s9 can also talk to iRobot’s newest mopping vacuum, the Braava Jet m6, so that once the s9 has made its rounds, the m6 can start up and give your hardwood and tile floors a nice mop.

The m6 is only iRobot’s second mopping robot, but it’s a lot more sophisticated than the original Braava Jet. For starters, the m6 has the same mapping technology as the S9, so that it can clean more than one room at a time, and can be scheduled and controlled remotely. It can be used as both as a dry sweeper or a wet mop.

The m6 costs $499; cleaning pads come in a box of seven for $7.99, and washable pads come in a pack of two for $24.99.

Both the s9 and the m6 can be controlled via a smartphone app, as well as with Alexa and Google Assistant. Both vacuums, as well as their accessories, are available now. In our tests of robot vacuums, we’ve found Roombas to be generally fast and excellent performers, but if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, there are plenty of good robot vacuums available for less. Still, we're looking forward to seeing how iRobot's two newest vacuums work in concert with each other.