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Roborock vs. iRobot (Roomba): A Comprehensive Feature Comparison

Dear friend,

As our homes get smarter, robot vacuums have become the next big thing in home automation. These clever little devices can clean your floors with minimal effort on your part. With so many brands out there, it can get confusing to decide which robot vacuum is best suited for your needs and budget.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll be comparing two of the biggest names in robot vacuums – Roborock and iRobot‘s famous Roomba series. I‘ll be digging deep into the features, performance and prices of both brands so you can make an informed decision if you‘re considering a robot vacuum purchase.

Here‘s a quick overview before we get into the details:

  • Roborock is a Chinese brand that makes robot vacuums and mops with advanced laser navigation and integration with Xiaomi‘s ecosystem.
  • iRobot is an American company that pioneered robot vacuums back in 2002 with the launch of the Roomba. They have over 30 years of experience.

Both make excellent robot vacuums, but have some differences when it comes to technology, capabilities and pricing. Let‘s explore those in-depth!

Getting to Know Roborock and iRobot

First, a little background on these two popular robot vacuum brands.

Roborock was founded in 2014 by Chinese home appliance maker Xiaomi to develop smart home and cleaning robots. Their first robot vacuum cleaner was released in 2016 through a partnership with Xiaomi‘s crowdfunding platform. Since then, Roborock has established itself as one of the leading robot vacuum brands in Asia and globally.

On the other hand, iRobot is a much older company founded in 1990 in Massachusetts. Their first product was not a vacuum bot, but a wheeled robot called the Genghis programmed for military use. After developing robots for defense agencies and hazmat missions in the 1990s, iRobot turned to the consumer market in 2002.

That was the year they released the Roomba, the first automatic vacuum cleaner robot for homes. It became an instant hit and led to iRobot dominating the robot vacuums market for nearly two decades. Today, Roomba remains one of the most popular robot vacuum brands worldwide.

Over the past 5 years however, Roborock has emerged as a serious competitor with their continued focus on innovative navigation technology, cutting edge software features and integration with home automation ecosystems.

Now that we know a little about the history of both companies, let‘s compare their current robot vacuum product lines.

Robot Vacuums Comparison

Roborock and iRobot take quite different approaches when designing their robot vacuums in terms of features and capabilities. Let‘s look at some of the key differences:

Navigation Technology

One of the biggest differences is the navigation systems used by the two brands:

  • Roborock uses advanced laser navigation powered by LiDAR. A laser distance sensor on top of the robot scans the room upwards of 1800 times per second to map the surroundings. This allows Roborock bots to build multi-level maps and identify objects and obstacles with precision. The navigation algorithm uses SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology to plot the most efficient cleaning path after mapping.
  • Roomba relies on a suite of sensors – acoustic, optical, cliff detection and dirt detection sensors – to navigate and clean. It uses vSLAM (vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) along with iAdapt 3.0 software to clean rooms row-by-row efficiently. But unlike Roborock‘s laser scanning, it has some limitations in multi-floor mapping.

So in summary, Roborock uses more advanced LiDAR tech for smarter navigation while Roomba uses multiple basic sensors. But both get the job done well!

Cleaning Performance

Now let‘s look at actual vacuum cleaning performance on different types of flooring:

  • On carpets, most experts found the Roomba to work a little better than Roborock models. That‘s because Roombas have dual multi-surface rubber brushes that adjust automatically to carpet height and maximize pickup of pet hair and fine debris. They also have superior edge cleaning.
  • On hard floors, the Roborock had slightly better pickup of messes like flour and rice in consumer lab tests. Reviews show Roborocks left very little debris behind on wood or tiles. The built-in mopping function also makes them very effective on hard floors.
  • Suction power is strong on both brands, ranging from 1500 to 3000 Pa on premium models. Roborocks may have slightly higher max suction but Roombas are no slouch. Overall, cleaning performance is excellent across floor types for these two industry leaders.

Smart Home Integration

When it comes to controlling your robot vacuum with smart speakers or smartphones, both Roborock and Roomba provide excellent integration:

  • They work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for basic voice control. You can tell your robot vacuum to start or stop cleaning and send it back to the dock with simple voice commands.
  • The iRobot HOME app and Roborock app allow scheduling cleanings, customizing suction power, setting no-go zones, monitoring cleaning jobs etc. They also enable multi-map saving so you can customize cleaning in different areas.
  • Both robots also support popular home automation platforms like SmartThings and IFTTT for integration with other smart devices and automations. You can really customize how the bots work in your connected home.

So for smart home lovers, you‘ll be happy with the voice control and automation integration provided by both brands nowadays.

Runtime and Battery Life

Here‘s where we see a big separation between the two competitors:

  • Roborock robots have much longer battery life, ranging from 120 minutes to 180 minutes of constant vacuuming on a full charge depending on the model. This allows them to cover larger homes of 200-250 sqm or 2200-2700 sq ft on a single charge cycle.
  • Roombas have a 60-90 minute runtime before they automatically dock and recharge. This makes them suited for smaller homes or apartments under 100 sqm or 1200 sq ft. You may need multiple cleaning cycles for larger spaces.

The longer battery definitely gives most Roborock models an advantage when cleaning larger homes in a single session.

Special Features

Some exclusive features give each brand their unique advantages:

  • Roborock vacuums have "mopping" capabilities thanks to a water tank and microfiber cloth attachment. This lets them vacuum and mop hard floors in one go. Roombas can only vacuum and you‘d need a separate robot mop.
  • Roomba has "Dirt Detect" sensors that detect areas with more debris and focuses extra cleaning there. Roborock bots don‘t have this capability.
  • Roborock supports "No-Go Zones" where you can use app maps or magnetic strips to block off areas. This keeps the robot away from pet bowls or fragile objects.
  • Roomba offers "Self-Emptying" docks on some high-end models like the S9+ and J7+. These automatically empty the robot‘s dustbin so you don‘t have to empty it yourself for weeks! Roborock doesn‘t have self-emptying bases yet.

So in summary, Roborock is better for mopping while Roomba offers unique advantages like Dirt Detect and self-emptying docks that can minimize maintenance.

Prices and Models

Both brands offer a range of models at different price points:

Roborock Robot Vacuums iRobot Roombas
Entry-level S7 – $359 Entry-level 600 Series – $199 to $299
Mid-range S7+ – $549 Mid-range e5 Series – $299 to $499
High-end S7 MaxV – $759 High-end s9 Series – $549 to $999
Flagship S7 MaxV Ultra – $1,159 Flagship i7 Series – $799+

As you can see, Roborock models are generally cheaper than the equivalent Roombas. The entry-level and mid-range Roborock models offer better value-for-money if you‘re budget conscious. But the high-end Roombas have unique advantages like self-emptying docks.

Conclusion – Which is Better for You?

Now that we‘ve explored the brands, features, performance and pricing in depth, let‘s summarize the key differences between Roborock and iRobot:

  • Roborock offers stronger navigation with LiDAR, mopping functions, much longer battery life of up to 3 hours and excellent value-for-money.
  • Roomba has specialized carpet cleaning prowess, unique features like Dirt Detect, self-emptying docks on premium models and shorter 60-90 minute runtime.

Either brand is an excellent choice – it ultimately depends on your needs:

  • Go for Roborock if you have mostly hard floors, a large home, want longer battery or mopping features.
  • Choose Roomba for smaller spaces, mostly carpets, advanced features like self-emptying docks.

I hope this detailed feature comparison helps you pick the perfect robot vacuum for your needs! Let me know if you have any other questions.