When the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum was first released in June 2019, it instantly became known for two main reasons. First, it was iRobot’s most powerful and most advanced Roomba ever. And second, it was iRobot’s most expensive Roomba ever.
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With its staggering $1,400 price tag, people immediately wondered how the Roomba S9+ could possibly be worth that sky-high price. After some time passed and reviews came in, people saw how impressive the s9+ truly was. In a nutshell, this robot vacuum’s performance was completely unrivaled.
On top of that, something huge happened recently: iRobot gave the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum a big price cut to $999. That’s still a tall order for a robot vacuum, but a 29% price cut certainly makes it a more attractive proposition. And an extra discount on top of that sweetens the deal.
Now, a newer model has burst on the scene in the scene. The Roomba j7+ robot vacuum offers a few exciting new features that the older s9+ can’t match. Needless to say, however, the Roomba s9+ vs j7+ debate is much more complicated than a few new features.
iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal
- Extremely powerful suction
- Excellent at picking up pet hair
- Wide rubber roller cleans in one pass
- Careful Drive Mode detects and avoids obstacles
- Very expensive
- No built-in mop
Roomba s9+ vs j7+
There’s no question that the Roomba s9+ vs j7+ debate is a complicated one. They’re obviously both excellent robot vacuums. And they both outshine nearly all of the competition from rival robot vacuum brands.
The easiest way to start comparing iRobot’s flagship s9+ to the j7+ is to run through the core features each model has that the other does not. And if you’d like to see all the core features they share, you can go through the full comparison of features on the iRobot website.
Roomba S9 Plus features that are not on the Roomba J7 Plus
- 40x stronger suction than the Roomba 600 series
- 30% wider dual multi-surface rubber brushes
- Careful Drive 3D obstacle avoidance system
- Specialized corner clean using advanced sensors
- Deeper carpet clean
Roomba J7 Plus features that are not on the Roomba S9 Plus
- 10x stronger suction than the Roomba 600 series
- PrecisionVision Navigation system avoids obstacles like power cords and pet waste
- Obstacle and object review system allows you to add permanent obstacles to your home map
As you can see, the Roomba j7+ has some fancy new features related hazard detection and avoidance. These are intelligent new capabilities that the s9+ can’t match. I discussed these features at length in my earlier Roomba j7+ coverage.
Roomba’s new AI-based obstacle detection features are quite impressive indeed. They go a long way to separate the Roomba j7+ from other iRobot models and from rival brands. But I personally find that the s9+’s advantages far outweigh the newer AI features it’s lacking.
Roomba s9+ on carpet
Performance on carpet is an area where the Roomba s9+ really shines. And that’s especially true when compared to the Roomba j7+.
In my testing, I found the j7+ to be lacking on carpets and rugs. The caveat here is that I’m referring solely to its ability to pick up dog hair.
iRobot’s dual rubber brushes on the Roomba J7+ definitely do a better job than robot vacuums from other brands. They pull up dirt and pet hair from carpets that other autonomous vacuums leave behind.
The problem, however, is that the Roomba j7+ doesn’t always have strong enough suction to pick up all the pet hair agitated by the roller brushes.
Pet hair performance: Roomba s9+ vs j7+
iRobot’s rubber roller brushes agitate much better than other robot vacuum brands I’ve tested. That’s particularly true for the Roomba s9+, which has the widest rubber brushes of any iRobot vacuum.
If you have a long-haired pet that sheds a lot, this is hugely important. Most robot vacuum models will leave most of that pet hair woven into your carpet fibers. Meanwhile, the Roomba j7+ will do a great job of pulling it up and forming what I like to call “dog hair worms”. The problem, however, is that its suction isn’t powerful enough to pick them all up.
Here’s what one carpet looked like every time the j7+ was done cleaning the house where I tested it:
Meanwhile, the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum handled the same carpet with no trouble at all.
The Roomba s9+ handles pet hair with ease, whether it’s on carpet or hard floors. When iRobot says the s9+ has 40x stronger suction than its entry-level 600 series, that’s no exaggeration.
iRobot’s Roomba s9+ is by far the most powerful robot vacuum I have ever tested.
How loud is the s9+?
If you’re wondering how loud the Roomba s9+ is, you’re not alone. It’s a very common question. After all, it features 40x stronger suction than the most popular iRobot Roomba robot vacuums out there.
There are two different things to keep in mind when discussing how loud the Roomba s9+ is.
First, there’s vacuum volume to consider. As you might have guessed, vacuuming is quite loud on the Roomba s9+ because of this model’s powerful suction. This is especially true on carpets and rugs. The s9+ cranks up the suction on these surfaces to ensure that it pulls up as much dirt and dust as possible.
Second, you need to consider how loud the robot vacuum is as it moves around your home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Roomba s9+ is one of the quietest models I’ve tested as it rolls around the house.
When most robot vacuums transition over the edges of rugs or over half rounds, they’re very noisy and clunky. That’s especially true with half rounds on hard floors.
The thick rubber wheels on the Roomba s9+ are centrally located under the heaviest part of the vacuum. Then, the harder plastic wheel that pivots and spins is in the back, under a lighter part of the s9+. As a result, the Roomba s9+ is noticeably quieter than other robot vacuum models as it rolls between surfaces or over half rounds.
So, despite the fact that vacuuming is a bit louder than most rival models, the s9+ is quieter overall while it’s rolling around your home. And when you consider how much better the s9+ cleans than most other robot vacuums, it’s well worth any added vacuum noise.
Is the s9+ worth the money?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re comparing the Roomba s9+ to the new Roomba j7+ or comparing it to other robot vacuum models in general. In either case, the s9+ is going to come out on top in almost every case.
The biggest strike against the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum is definitely the price tag. While $999 is more accessible than the previous $1,400 price, it’s still a lot of money to spend on a robot vacuum.
Thankfully, the s9+ does go on sale with an extra discount sometimes. At the time of this writing, for example, it’s on sale at an all-time low price of $799.
In terms of performance, this flagship Roomba model is as good as it gets. The only minor complaint I have in that department is that it occasionally ignores virtual borders and gets stuck on a step with a wooden half-round in my home. I’d estimate that it only happens once every few months though, so it’s not a big deal.
Another shortcoming some people will frown at is the fact that the s9+ doesn’t have a mop feature. iRobot doesn’t make any robot vacuums with built-in mopping. Instead, the company has a separate line of Braava autonomous mops that work in conjunction with Roomba vacuums.
Braava robot mops are great. But that also means you need to buy another pricey gadget if you have a Roomba and want mopping, too. That being said, no rival robot vacuums with built-in mopping are as good at vacuuming as the Roomba s9+. Most models I’ve tested don’t come anywhere close.
Aside from mopping, the Roomba s9+ robot vacuum has it all. It’s the most powerful model out there and it has a great design with intelligent features. It also has an auto-empty base that lets you go a month or longer before you need to pop in a new bag.
Of note, new dirt disposal bags can be pricey if you buy authentic Roomba bags. Thankfully, there are plenty of third-party options that are far more affordable.
There’s only one quandary left, and it’s the question of whether or not you should buy one. The bottom line is this: If the price tag doesn’t make you balk, the Roomba s9+ is the best robot vacuum out there, hands down.
This article was originally published on March 31, 2022. It has been updated with additional details.
Move home coverage: See the Traeger Timberline XL review.