iRobot

Finally, this new Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner can empty itself

The new i7+ by iRobot uses a vacuum base station to suck its dustbin empty

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Using a robotic vacuum cleaning to keep your carpets looking their best already feels like living in the future - but there was always the issue of having to empty the small bin after every clean.

Now though, iRobot has announced the new Roomba i7+, a robotic vacuum cleaner which can empty itself into a base station.

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The base station, which is also where the robot docks and charges its battery, includes a vacuum of its own which sucks dust and dirt out of the Roomba and into a larger collection bin.

This then fills a regular vacuum cleaner bag, which can hold 30 times more dirt than the Roomba itself - so you can likely go weeks at a time before emptying the base station, even if the Roomba cleans your floors every day.

Picture of roomba smart vacuum emptying its garbage on new docking stationiRobot

A second major new feature is how the Roomba i7+ maps your home and can identify each room. These are logged in the companion smartphone app, which then lets you tell the robot exactly which rooms you want cleaning.

iRobot's 900 series have included intelligent mapping for some time now, where the robot logs its movements and the light and shade of its environment to efficiently clean each room. But now, this data is retained after each clean and used to create a map of your home, including the boundaries of each room.

Say the Roomba is docked in the kitchen, but the office carpet needs a clean. Tell the Roomba to clean the office and it will head off down the hallway, enter the office, clean up, then return to the base station, empty its bin and recharge the battery.

Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant means you can say: "Alexa / Hey Google, clean the office" and the Roomba will do exactly that. iRobot says the map of your home is uploaded to the cloud, but images taken by the device's low-resolution camera stay on the Roomba itself, appeasing privacy concerns.

Picture of smartphone with Roomba app controlling iRobot Roomba smart vacuum.iRobot

iRobot is not the first robotic vacuum cleaner company to offer self-emptying, as Chinese firm Ecovacs introduced this feature way back in 2012, but it's still good to see the household name of Roomba continuing to innovate with its own product range.

As you might expect, the new flagship from iRobot does not come cheap. The Roomba i7+ is priced at $949 for a package which includes the base station. Alternatively, you can buy the robot on its own (with a regular charging station) for $699, then add the self-emptying base station later for $299.

Bags for the base station cost $14.99 for three, which based on one clean per day should last you for around three months, equating to an annual cost of around $60, but this will depend a lot on the size of your home, how often the Roomba cleans, and whether you have pets.

The i7+ is available for pre-order now on iRobot.com and will begin shipping on September 12.


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