Review: Roomba S9+ – it’s pricey, but it’s the best of the best
It’s expensive, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better robovac.
Three years after its release, iRobot’s Roomba S9+ is still one of the best options money can buy right now.
iRobot released its Roomba S9+ back in 2019, and it’s arguably one of its best offerings to date. I say this because I’ve been a long-time Roomba user and have had numerous hands-on experiences with the company’s previous versions, dating back to the early days when I first started KnowTechie.
Compared to the last robot vacuum I’ve been using from the company, this is a significant upgrade, but we’ll get to that in just a bit.
Truthfully, it’s been a while since I last reviewed a Roomba. The last one I wrote was for the Roomba i7+ way back in 2018, and since then, the company has released a few new additions to its lineup of robot vacuums, most notably, the J7.
Today we’ll be looking at the Roomba S9+. Sure, it’s not the newest robot vacuum cleaner the company has to offer but to be fair, I recently got my hands on one a few months ago and figured it was worth sharing my experience.
And just because it’s a few years old doesn’t mean it’s outdated. The Roomba S9+ is still one of the company’s flagship products.
Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, the Roomba S9+ is the company’s most expensive robot vacuum in its lineup. Clocking in at $1,099.99, it’s certainly not the cheapest option out there.
Thankfully at a price like that, you get the self-emptying base, which means anytime the vacuum is done doing its job, the robot returns to the cleaning base and empties itself.
Compared to past models, what features can you expect to see in the S9+ Roomba? Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available with this option:
- 30% wider Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes
- 40x the suction power compared to the 600 series
- New sophisticated design
- Features the company’s new PerfectEdge Technology and a specially designed Corner Brush that optimize cleaning corners and along edges
- vSLAM navigation actively captures over 230,400 data points per second to optimize coverage
- New Alexa integrations like “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean under the kitchen table.”
- Customizable Keep Out Zones
Compared to the previous Roomba I reviewed, it’s night and day when it comes to performance. My previous i7+ still works like a charm, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. I still use it to clean the second floor of my house. But newer is always better, which remains the case with the S9+.
The S9+ is noticeably more powerful
This puppy offers a whole lot more suction power compared to the i7+, meaning it does a better job at picking up dust and debris from your floor. And the difference is quite noticeable. I was able to see an improvement almost immediately when I initially performed the vacuum’s first test run on my living room’s carpet.
But with more suction, the louder the vacuum gets. Compared to the previous i7+, I found the S9+ to be considerably louder. Sure, it’s not a deal-breaker, but when you have a loud vacuum running in the background, you’ll find yourself scheduling it to vacuum when you’re not home because having it run while you’re trying to work can be a little distracting.
Thankfully, you can adjust the vacuum’s suction power in the iRobot app, which ultimately reduces the noise level. However, if you opt for a stronger suction, keep in mind that it requires more battery power, resulting in shorter battery life.
The good news is that if it runs out of power during a cleaning cycle, the robot will make its way back to the charging base and complete the job when it charges back up.
Compared to its predecessor, another huge difference is the vacuum’s design. Typically, most vacuum cleaners feature a circular design, which in reality, doesn’t make any sense when dirt collects in the corner of a room.
The S9 flips the script and features a D-shaped design, which allows it to clean those hard-to-reach corners that are typically difficult for other robot vacuums to reach. The D-shaped design also helps it clean the borders of your room since it runs flat against the wall.
As for performance, this vacuum is a beast
There’s a considerable difference between the S9+ and the i7, and after the first initial test runs, it was clearly obvious the S9+ packs a bigger punch. While I can’t pin down the specifics, the S9+ came in and vacuumed the same space a lot more efficiently than the one I was using previously.
Remember the adjustable suction power feature I mentioned earlier? Well, that has a lot to do with it. The ability to adjust the vacuum’s suction is a game-changer, and it radically changes how it cleans your home. For example, I keep my Roomba on the highest setting, meaning it uses more suction power to clean. Clean times are longer, and battery life is shorter as a result.
If I don’t have anything going on during a particular day, I’ll have it clean at max suction. But if I’m in a crunch and have someone coming over to visit, I’ll want the vacuum to clean up in a hurry, and setting a low suction power allows it to get the job done faster.
Another quality of life improvement is the S9’s anti-allergen system. According to iRobot, the vacuum’s filter traps 99% of pollen, mold, and allergens. I have two cats whose hair gets everywhere, so it’s comforting to know that the S9 is capable of scooping that all up, along with any residual pet dander that typically triggers people’s allergies.
Compared to the i7, the S9+ requires a lot less supervision. I can perform a job without worrying if the vacuum will get stuck somewhere. I’ve had frustrating experiences with the i7, but the S9+ does a lot better on its own. While it’s not a “set and forget” device 100% of the time, it’s pretty damn close.
The S9+ works hand in hand with the cleaning base. Instead of manually dumping out all the stuff the vacuum picks up in a cleaning cycle, the robot makes its way to the cleaning base and sucks everything up into a disposal bag.
Meaning, you never have to get your hands dirty by emptying the vacuum’s dust bin, which eliminates a lot of leg-work from the equation. The only thing you have to do is replace the bag about every month, depending on how much you use the vacuum.
Another clutch feature is the company’s Smart Maps feature. After a few initial cleaning runs, the vacuum learns the layout of your home and offers you a map in the iRobot app.
From here, you can label the rooms however you like, allowing the robot to clean specific areas of your house. And it’s constantly learning too, so if you end up moving things around in a room, the vacuum will pick up on it, and the app will suggest you assign “keep out zones.”
Speaking of the app, iRobot makes it extremely easy to control the robot vac right from its app. Once it’s all set up and ready to use, you can create a cleaning schedule, adjust its cleaning preferences, and do other things like assigning keep-out zones, as I mentioned earlier. In addition, the app works hand-in-hand with the vacuum and allows you to fully customize how your vacuum works.
I have to say, compared to the previous model I was using, the Roomba S9+ is undoubtedly an upgrade and a step in the right direction.
It performs a whole lot better than the i7+ and requires less supervision, something I can surely appreciate. iRobot has their work cut out for them on the next vacuum they eventually plan on releasing.
But there’s no denying it; the S9+’s price is a bitter pill to swallow – it’s ridiculously expensive. Similar robot vacuums in the same price range include the Roborock S7+, the Narwal T10, and the Dreametech W10, which all sit around the $1,000 mark.
But given iRobot’s proven track record and the consistent wave of positive user reviews, the S9+ seems like the better option. And not to mention, these robots are built to last. Just as long as you keep up with its regular maintenance cycles, you should be able to get your money’s worth out of it for years to come.
For the price, there’s nothing that beats it. Sure, it’s an expensive vacuum, but as the adage goes, “you get what you pay for.” So if money isn’t a problem, it’s one of the best robot vacuums you can get right now.
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