Roombas and Roborocks are two of the popular robot vacuum options in the country, both offering advanced smart technology for automated floor cleaning and a range of devices to choose from. In fact, if you’re trying to compare robot vacuum models, you may have a tough time telling the difference at first glance, especially with so many features that are built into the latest Roborock and Roomba models.
It’s all right: We’ve reviewed plenty of robot vacs and know what to look for. Here are the basics behind these two brands, what they bring to the table, and which you should consider first.
Side by side, the rounded designs of Roombas and Roborocks look very similar to one another. They both use rubber brushes and automatic adjustments for uneven surfaces and replaceable filters for air filtration. However, there are a few differences worth noting. Roborock has more hybrid models with additional capabilities for mopping (more on this below), and Roomba has more models with side brushes and a flattened front (like the S9 series) to help clean baseboards and corners more effectively. Overall, the Roomba designs are a bit more durable and versatile in the average home.
iRobot has three different series, the S9 line, the j7 line, and the i3 line. There are older versions, but not many are in circulation anymore.
Roborock also has a number of series, including the S7, S5, Q7, and E5 (you can see how it can be easy to confuse these two brands during consumer research).
While these lines may seem similar, Roborock delivers when it comes to options. Overall, Roborock has a broader selection of robot vacuums, which gives you more choices and a better chance to find a model that’s just right for you.
The most advanced Roomba models promise a battery life of up to two hours (depending on the modes used and other factors), and most models have the ability to return back to their base stations and charge up again, then return to their cleaning duties. That makes battery life less of a factor than it once was, but it can still matter when dealing with particular large rooms or cutting down on wear and tear.
Roborock’s vacuums can vary, but many have larger batteries that can last up to 200 minutes or, in some cases, three hours (again, this can vary based on cleaning modes). Roborock models also typically include the ability to return to their stations for recharging when necessary, but generally, its models can last longer out on the floor with a single charge.
Let’s talk about suction! The more suction a robot vacuum has, the more easily it can tackle larger bits of debris, and give carpets a more thorough cleaning. While iRobot says that their current vacs are 40x more powerful than their original models, that doesn’t say a lot about suction levels, although it appears that Roombas top out around 2,500Pa (a suction rating).
Many of Roborock’s models also offer a 2,500Pa suction rating. However, Roborock also has models that can deliver beyond that, including the 2,700Pa Q7 and the powerful 4,200Pa Q7 Max. If you want as much suction as possible, Roborock offers the best bots for the job.
Both vacuum brands have apps that are packed with capabilities and bots filled with sensors. Roombas use Imprint Smart Mapping to scan, learn, and label rooms in your home. You can control floor plans and schedule individual room cleanings as you see fit, or order the Roomba for a spot cleaning if there’s a specific mess to clean up. You can also set barriers around specific furniture or rugs the Roomba should avoid (Roombas will avoid stairs and other drop points on their own). The more advanced models have dirt detection to tell when a spot is dirtier so the bot can increase cleaning power. The app can even give you suggestions on how and when to clean over time. And with the right base station, Roombas can automatically empty their bins so you don’t have to take out the trash for weeks at a time. Oh, and Roombas work with voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant for audible instructions.
Roborocks are also seriously smart: They use lidar technology to map out rooms and Adaptive Route Algorithms to find the best cleaning paths. You have full control via the app, from setting schedules and adjusting suction power to creating invisible walls so the vacuum will avoid certain areas. Most Roborock models also have the ability to return to their stations and empty their bins so you don’t have to worry about monitoring them as much. They also work with Alexa and Google Home voice commands.
While much of this smart technology gives users the same conveniences, Roomba models can have a few extra features, like spot cleaning and dirt detection, which put them slightly over the edge.
What about mopping capabilities?
Both Roombas and Roborock vacs offer mopping options, but they do it in very different ways. iRobot offers a separate Braava line of robot mops that use wet pads to clean floors, but Roombas themselves don’t have any mopping capabilities.
Roborock, however, specializes in hybrid models that include both vacuuming and mopping on the same device. Instead of using pads, they use sonic mop vibration combined with small sprays of water to help clean stains more easily, plus sensors to tell when the vac has reached the carpet. The most advanced models can even refill their water tanks at their charging stations. It’s some of the most impressive water-based cleaning in the robot vacuum market, and certainly the most hands-off.
At the high end, both Roomba and Roborock models tend to cost between $900 to $100. The Roomba S9+, for example, is $1,000, while the Roborock S7+ is $950 (Roborocks go a bit higher, such as the powerful S7 MaxV Ultra for $1,400). At the lower end, you can find budget models for around $300. With this much range in choice, there isn’t a lot of difference here as long as you’re willing to compromise to find a price you can live with.
Conclusion: Which robot vacuum brand is best?
While Roomba still has superior smart technology, Roborock is seriously impressive with its potential power levels and the frequent combination of suction and sonic mop vibration. There’s a reason we’ve been impressed with Roborock’s latest technology before. If you’re looking for a robot vacuum, we suggest you start with Roborock but don’t leave Roombas out of the running entirely.