Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

There's only one Roomba out there, and it's made by iRobot. The brand's dominance in the early days of robot vacuuming was so complete its name went the way of Kleenex and Rollerblade — a shorthand generic trademark for entire industries.

Founded in 1990 by a trio of Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists, iRobot started with the Genghis, an insect-like robot designed for space exploration. Richard Brooks, the designer of the Genghis, and one of the founders of iRobot, wanted to build a robot that could intuitively respond to its environment. As Brooks wrote in the Journal of The British Interplanetary Society, self-learning robots are more effective than humans and could complete missions, like chores, more efficiently.

For a device with a seemingly simple task — roll around the floor and suck up dirt, dust and hair — there are a lot of Roombas to choose from. We broke down each series and model to hopefully help you make a better, more informed purchase from the leading brand in robo-vacuums.

Editor's Note: Some of the following lines and models have been either discontinued or depreciated (no longer promoted, but available at other retailers), but in an attempt to provide you with the most buying options, we have still included them in this guide provided that they are available to purchase new from trusted retailers.

How to Pick a Roomba

If all robot vacuums were the same, then there would simply be one Roomba model that would suit everyone. But, as you can see from the plethora of models on offer, that isn’t the case. There are a few factors that should be considered before purchasing your Roomba, which are laid out below.

Living Space

The size of your space, along with the type of flooring you have and the amount of furniture you’ve got, all play a role in choosing a Roomba. Different classes of Roomba are capable of mapping and cleaning differently-sized areas, so if you’ve got a huge home to clean, you’ll want to be sure and get a Roomba that has both the mapping capabilities and battery life to handle it. All current Roombas are capable of cleaning both carpeted and hardwood floors and transitioning between them, but some do so better than others. If you’ve got high-pile rugs, for instance, you’ll want something with greater suction power that’s capable of lifting dirt from deep in the rug. Finally, if your space is cluttered with furniture and other obstacles, you’ll probably want a Roomba with smart mapping and obstacle avoidance since it will learn your space, know where to go and ultimately clean more efficiently.

Pets

One of the best reasons to get a Roomba is if you have a pet, as their automatic cleaning makes picking up after your shed-happy friends much easier than if you had to do it on your own. But some Roombas are specially designed for pet owners. You’ll want to look for features like obstacle detection that’s tailored to recognizing and avoiding pet waste, along with brushes that are designed for picking up pet hair without getting tangled.

Convenience Level

Generally speaking, the more expensive a Roomba is, the less work it will require from you to get it to clean your home. The most advanced Roombas feature WiFi connectivity so you can control them from your phone or through a virtual assistant like Alexa, smart mapping and obstacle avoidance so they’ll find their way around your home without you having to intervene to pull out an untangled wire and self-emptying bins that keep you from getting your hands dirty — literally.

600 Series

Roomba 614

Roomba 614

amazon.com
$249.99
  • Year Released: 2017 (depreciated)
  • Key Features: Three-step cleaning system, Cliff Detect stair avoidance

    The most affordable Roomba that you can get most of the time (barring sales) is the entry-level 614. The 614 uses a three-step cleaning system that loosens, lifts and suctions dirt, debris and grime. Its multi-surface brushes work on carpet and hardwood floors. The dual brushes work together to get into rug and carpet piles to loosen up and extract dirt.

    Dirt Detect sensors recognize especially dirty areas, and the Roomba's Cliff Detect prevents it from tumbling down stairs. With 90 minutes of power (on hardwood floors), the entry-level 614 gives users a taste of other models' capabilities but doesn’t come with the suite of smart technology and app-driven connectivity that comes standard with more premium (and newer) models.

    Roomba 675

    Roomba 675

    amazon.com
    $251.99
    • Year Released: 2018 (depreciated)
    • Key Features: Three-step cleaning system, Cliff Detect stair avoidance, WiFi connectivity and app/voice control

      The Roomba 675 is essentially the same as the 614 with added Wi-Fi capabilities. Control the vacuum with the free Roomba Home app so you don't have to bend over and manually start the cleaning process. If you have a smart home device, you can tell Alexa or Google to start up the Roomba. Plus, through the app, you can schedule the 675 to clean on a schedule so you can effectively take "vacuuming" off your to-do list.

      Roomba 694

      Courtesy

      Roomba 694

      amazon.com
      $274.99
      $219.99 (20% off)
      • Year Released: 2020
      • Key Features: Three-step cleaning system, Cliff Detect stair avoidance, WiFi connectivity and app/voice control

        The 694 is the only 6-series vacuum currently being offered by iRobot on its website — making it the cheapest non-depreciated model in today's Roomba lineup. And looking at the vac, you'd be hard-pressed to find any differences at all between this model and the 675, as they both offer the same cleaning tech and the same WiFi-connected Roomba OS capabilities. The main difference between the two is their aesthetics, as the 694 is much sleeker-looking and is more in line with iRobot's other current Roombas — hence why they're still offering it online.

        e Series

        Roomba e5

        Roomba e5

        amazon.com
        $379.00
        • Year Released: 2018 (discontinued)
        • Key Features: Hair-detangling rubber rollers, WiFi connectivity and app/voice control

          Designed for pet owners, the e5 is the most effective budget Roomba for picking up after cats and dogs for one simple design feature: treaded rubber rollers that are especially good at picking up pesky pet hair. Its other standout feature is the filtration system, which the brand claims captures 99 percent of allergens (mold and dust mites). It can be operated manually or via your smartphone, too.

          i Series

          Roomba i3

          Roomba i3

          walmart.com
          $349.00
          • Year Released: 2018
          • Key Features: 10x suction power, smart mapping, iRobot OS automatic updates

            The i3 is part of a new generation of Roombas that has been equipped with iRobot OS, a new operating system that allows for features like advanced obstacle detection and smart mapping, along with automatic over-the-air updates via WiFi. It offers ten times the suction power of base models and features Dirt Detect technology that allows it to give extra focus to filthier areas.

            Roomba i3+

            Roomba i3+

            amazon.com
            $549.99
            $430.00 (22% off)
            • Year Released: 2020
            • Key Features: 10x suction power, smart mapping, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

              The i3+ is the same robot as the i3, but it includes in its price Roomba's Clean Base automatic emptying system. After the robot docks, it empties itself, and you'll only have to empty the bin once every two months or so rather than every time you vacuum.

              Roomba i7

              Roomba i7

              amazon.com
              $699.99
              $418.00 (40% off)
              • Year Released: 2018 (depreciated)
              • Key Features: 10x suction power, smart mapping, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

                The i7 has since been put on the back burner in favor of the more affordable i3, which was released at the same time. The biggest difference between the two is the i7 has more advanced sensors, making it better at obstacle avoidance and smart mapping. Users can also create "Keep Out Zones" to prevent the i7 from buzzing through specific areas (like a thicket of cables). Plus, if you have the Roomba's smart wet mopping robot, the Braava m6, you can program the device to automatically power on after the Roomba is finished.

                Roomba i7+

                Roomba i7+

                walmart.com
                $699.99

                • Year Released: 2018 (depreciated)
                • Key Features: 10x suction power, smart mapping, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

                  Again, the addition of a plus to the i7 means you're getting iRobot's Clean Base auto-emptying dock, which allows the i7 to empty its own dustbin. If you vacuum every day, the dock can hold up to 60 days worth of dirt. Dirt disposal bags cost anywhere between $15 to $20 for a three-pack. If you bought the i7 and later decide to add the automatic dirt disposal dock, you can buy the self-emptying dock separately. The model is the same as the standard i7 otherwise.

                  j Series

                  Roomba j7

                  Courtesy

                  Roomba j7

                  amazon.com
                  $599.99
                  $469.00 (22% off)
                  • Year Released: 2021
                  • Key Features: 10x suction power, pet waste detection, advanced obstacle avoidance, iRobot OS automatic updates

                    If you're looking to lose your lunch today, go to Youtube and look for "Roomba pet poop." (Just kidding. Don't do it, and take our word for it.) Roombas and other robot vacuums are notorious for running straight into pet droppings and spreading them around the home. The j7 avoids this by using PrecisionVision Navigation to avoid obstacles in its way, specifically pet waste, to the point where Roomba even guarantees that the model will successfully avoid any pet waste for a year through their P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise) guarantee.

                    Over time, the robo vac will learn what parts of your home need more cleaning and what floor obstacles to avoid. The j7 also has features like Clean While I'm Away, which uses your phone's location services to determine when you've left your home so it can start cleaning; Quiet Drive, which makes the vacuum as quiet as possible when you need some cleaning but also some quiet time; and Cleaning Time Estimates, to give you a ballpark estimate of how long a cleaning session will take.

                    Roomba j7+

                    Roomba j7+

                    amazon.com
                    $799.99
                    $599.00 (25% off)
                    • Year Released: 2021
                    • Key Features: 10x suction power, pet waste detection, obstacle avoidance, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

                      Like the i7+ further up the list, the "+" here indicates the inclusion of the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal dock that keeps you from having to empty the j7 yourself every time you use it.

                      s Series

                      Roomba s9

                      Roomba S9

                      amazon.com
                      $949.00
                      • Year Released: 2019 (discontinued)
                      • Key Features: 40x suction power, Power Boost, extra-wide brushes, corner cleaning, iRobot OS automatic updates

                        The Roomba s9 is Roomba's most powerful vacuum, boasting 40 times the suction of the 614, with 40 percent wider brushes and double the runtime. A special five-armed corner brush reaches dirt stuck in corners, brushing it towards the vacuum's suction. The s9 is the first Roomba to employ Power Boost Technology, which automatically increases suction when vacuuming over carpet.

                        Roomba s9+

                        Roomba s9+

                        amazon.com
                        $999.99
                        $890.00 (11% off)
                        • Year Released: 2019
                        • Key Features: 40x suction power, Power Boost, extra-wide brushes, corner cleaning, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

                          It's the s9, but not discontinued and with the addition of Roomba's Clean Base automatic dirt disposal dock. For those who seek a deep clean and want to do as little work as possible, get the s9+.

                          Combo Series

                          Roomba Combo j7+

                          Courtesy

                          Roomba Combo j7+

                          amazon.com
                          $1,099.00
                          • Year Released: 2022
                          • Key Features: 10x suction power, auto-lifting mop, pet waste detection, advanced obstacle avoidance, iRobot OS automatic updates, automatic emptying

                            Roomba's newest vacuum is also the brand's biggest innovation in some time. The Combo j7+ is Roomba's first vacuum-mop combo, and while we've seen these types of devices before from other brands, there are a few things about Roomba's effort that are notable. First and foremost is the mop pad, which retracts onto the top of the Roomba itself whenever the robot senses a rug or carpet, thus preventing the device from dragging a wet pad across a surface that it might damage. It also vacuums and mops simultaneously, and there's no human interaction needed to switch between the two once you load up its tank with water and cleaning solution. The Combo j7+ also brings you everything you get in the mop-free j7+, including smart pet waste avoidance, automatic dirt disposal, Clean While I'm Away and more.

                            Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Associate Staff Writer.
                            Johnny Brayson is Gear Patrol's associate home editor.