Richard Harrison

Roomba J5 vs i5: How They Stack Up Against Each Other

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Combo J5

Combo i5

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SEE PRICE

Combo J5

4.3 out of 5
Main characteristics:
  • Dimensions 13.3 inches in width x 3.4 inches high
  • Weight 7.49 lbs
  • Available colors 1 (black/silver)
  • Carpet Boost No
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Combo i5

4.2 out of 5
Main characteristics:
  • Dimensions 13.4 inches in width x 3.6 inches high
  • Weight 7 lbs
  • Available colors 1 (black and woven textured grey )
  • Carpet Boost No
View on Amazon

Right after their unveiling back in August 2023, I noticed many people were asking which model is best between the Roomba J5 and i5. The ‘5’ in their respective model numbers brought in the confusion.

In today’s review, I will be comparing Roomba J5 vs i5 to find out which model should be on top of your wishlist. As a sneak peek, the two vacuums share a lot in common, but there are differences that you should consider beforehand.

Just to be clear, there are several variants in the j5 and i5 series. The models I have at hand for this review are the Roomba Combo J5+ and i5+.

Remember, we have the Roomba J5, which doesn’t have a mop function, and the Roomba Combo J5, which vacuums and mops (the one featured in this review). Similarly, in the i Series, we have Roomba i5 and i5+. The former doesn’t come with the emptying station, while the latter comes with one.

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Roomba Combo j5
Is Cordless?:Yes
Roomba Combo i5
Is Cordless?:Yes

Roomba J5 vs I5: 13 Tests, 1 Winner

I understand you want to know which Roomba is best, so let's cut to the chase and start stripping the two to see what they have in store for us.
1. Design and Aesthetics
round-shaped

The Combo J5 is identical to all other Roombas except the S9, which is D-shaped, while the J5 is round-shaped.

The compact and low-profile design enables it to maneuver through tight spaces and slide under low-clearance furniture such as sofas, where most dirt accumulates, and my cat hides to groom, leaving lots of hair.

The build quality is exceptional and will easily withstand the common falls when moving it from one floor to another or when your cat suddenly attacks like my Maine Coone does. Regarding the finish, it’s black/silver and sleek.

round-shaped

One of the striking features of the i5 is the meticulous black and woven textured grey look.

But I’m not sure whether the textured pattern can withstand the claws of an aggressive cat unless you make sure your pet gets used to the roving robot.

Apart from the finish, there isn’t much difference as this is also a circular robot vacuum with a minimalistic design allowing it to go anywhere unrestricted.

There is not much to talk about here as the two are similar with just a few negligible differences that shouldn't be the basis of your purchase decision anyway.

2. Cleaning Orientation
vacuum and mop

The Roomba J5 is a great deal if you want to save on the costs of buying a Braava M6 robot mop or a separate cleaner for washing, as it’s a vac and mop combo – talk of killing two birds with one stone.

Besides 2-in-1 cleaning, it’s a multisurface cleaner designed for homes with both hard floors and carpets. I like the fact that it doesn’t wet rugs, something many robot vac and wash combos do.

In my week-long test, the robot also managed to tackle the stubborn long hairs of my Afghan Hound without a problem and wiped paw marks.

vacuum and mop

The i5 is a great purchase because of its versatility – it can sweep and pick up all kinds of debris, from fine dust and pet hairs to sand pebbles on tile, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, ceramic, and many other kinds of sealed floors.

The performance on carpets is also exceptional, but I’m afraid it might disappoint you as it tends to make them wet when mopping.

We're glad the two robot cleaners offer excellent value for money, as you don't need to buy a robot mop again. They can clean all surfaces and tackle pet messes effectively. But here's a tip: if you have carpets, you should consider the Combo J5+.

3. Vacuuming Performance
850-900Pa

The J5 maintains the 3-stage cleaning system used by previous models, where it agitates, lifts, and sucks dirt into the bin. To facilitate suctioning, iRobot equipped the J5 with a 2nd Gen motor that averages 850-900Pa.

It might not be the most powerful model I have reviewed, but the suction is enough to pick up fine and large debris as well.

Unfortunately, there was no way I could adjust suction manually, and besides, there is no Carpet Boost.

850-900Pa

Considering the i5 and J5 are new models, I hoped they would feature a more powerful motor that delivers higher suction.

But iRobot opted for 2nd Gen motors, and worse enough, the i5 also doesn’t have adjustable suction, manual or automatic.

There isn't much to talk about here, as the two have the same specifications. I was interested in how they perform in a real household setting. So I carried out thorough tests using common household dirt on my hardwood floor and a thick carpet, plus a few area rugs. Below are the results.

4. Mopping Performance
basic

Roomba J5 Combo comes with a basic mopping system. I found it a bummer having to swap the standard bin for the Interchangeable Combo Bin when mopping.

I’m used to robot vacuums that have all vacuuming and mopping components in one unit, for example, the Roomba J7 and J9, which don’t need any swapping. The tank is big enough but doesn’t have any innovation for precise water dispensation.

The microfiber mopping pad attached under the Combo Bin was gentle on my hardwood floor and left no messes around, not even streaks.

basic

The i5, despite being a hyped Roomba, also doesn’t have a reliable mopping system, in my opinion, because I’ve come across models such as the Roborock S8 and Deebot X1 and X2 series that take mopping to the next levels with sophisticated features such as Sonic Mopping, OZMO Mopping Technology, and VibraRise among others.

All the same, the i5 got the job done, cleaning all kinds of messes on hardwood, including paw marks, urine stains, wine spills, and so on.

But just like the J5, you have to put up with the tedious swapping of the bin and tank and the robot wetting the carpet.

I feel it was smart for iRobot to cater to its budget buyers by offering mid-range Combos. The J5 and i5 are sweet spots for anyone looking for an affordable and reliable vacmop. But, I would recommend the J5 Combo because, even though it can't automatically avoid washing carpets, you can set No Mop Zones so it doesn't wet surfaces that shouldn't get wet. Here are our exclusive mopping test results.

5. Navigation
PrecisionVision

Among the outstanding features of the Roomba J5 is PrecisionVision, which gives the robot better obstacle detection. It leverages a sophisticated system of algorithms that enable the robot to detect over 40 common household obstacles.

I tried this in my tests, and I was amazed it detected belts, power cords, headphones, chargers, socks, and pet toys with high accuracy. iRobot says it can also detect dog poop, but this isn’t something I was ready for.

The J5 managed to find its way around my house without many problems, avoiding obstacles and changing direction immediately courtesy of Reactive 3D Obstacle Detection.

N/A

I had a little problem with the i5’s navigation. But before telling you why there’s room for improvement, I must say that it also did a good job finding its way around and transitioning from hard floors to carpets.

On the other side of the coin, it’s not up to the mark when it comes to obstacle detection.

For example, it wasn’t detecting power cables with the same accuracy as the J5. The reason is that it lacks PrecisionVision, which is the J5’s magic.

Navigation is key as it determines where the robot can reach and where it can't. , the J5 is a step ahead when it comes to navigation. The i5 uses an older system, while the J5 comes with the latest innovation from the American brand.

6. Mapping
Imprint Smart Mapping

iRobot has been an industry leader in matters of mapping and continues to shine, with the Roomba J5 boasting the company’s latest features.

By deploying Imprint Smart Mapping, it creates and saves up to 10 maps, making it superb for homes with more than one level. The map it generates is hyperaccurate and is the reason it leaves no spot untouched and cleans pretty fast.

You also get access to all smart mapping features so you can clean by room, clean specific spots, set boundaries, and set zones that don’t require mopping.

Imprint Smart Mapping

The i5 is also an intelligent robot vacuum that scans and maps your home for efficient cleaning, but there are several shortcomings.

To start, it can save just 1 map, meaning it limits homeowners with more than one level, but if you live in a single-level house like me, no problem. Second, while it creates accurate maps and cleans every inch, it lacks some core features, including Zone Cleaning, Keep Out Zones, and No-Mop Zones.

You can’t clean specific spots or set boundaries where the robot shouldn’t reach when vacuuming, and carpeted areas where it shouldn’t mop. Fortunately, you can tell the i5 to clean specific rooms, for example, the kitchen only or the master bedroom.

As for mapping, the J5 Combo carries the day as it can save more maps and is fully featured.

7. Filtration System
High-Efficiency

The Combo J5+ will vacuum, mop, and even freshen up your ambiance.

Even though I have my Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty air purifier, I still noted some differences, especially with pet-related dander. Under the hood, it packs a high-efficiency filter that captures 99.97% of allergens such as dust mites and pollen.

If you are the type that will immediately start sneezing after you come under allergens, it’s a superb choice.

High-Efficiency

The i5 also has the same filtration system, so you can get rid of those allergens and other unwanted elements that may cause foul odor.

Just to mention, the i5’s filter has the same efficiency as the J5’s and requires periodic maintenance: washing after a month and a replacement after three.

Even though we may have air purifiers in our homes, the filter in a Roomba is still a worthy addition, especially for allergy sufferers. Plus, I liked the disposable bag that comes with an Allergen Seal, so all captured dust and pollen remain in the bag, and you won't get exposed to the allergens when disposing of the bag.

8. Bin System
Self-Emptying

Gone are the days when you had to empty your Roomba after every cleaning session. The J5+ supports automatic self-emptying. It has a large capacity onboard bin, together with a full bin indicator.

However, the Plus model comes with a multifunctional dock with a disposable dust bag and a mechanism that sucks dirt from the onboard bin into the bag. It’s fantastic that the bin can hold dirt for up to 60 days, so you have more time to focus on other chores.

Self-Emptying

You also get the convenience of automatic self-emptying with the Roomba i5+. But remember the base model, the i5, doesn’t come with the self-empty dock.

But still, the large 0.5L bin is enough to hold dirt for a few days, and besides, you can always upgrade your i5 to an i5+ by purchasing the CleanBase Unit.

Even though the two are mid-range models, I'm glad they support automatic self-emptying. Furthermore, you have the choice of going for the base model and upgrading to the CleanBase later on if you are on a tight budget. When buying my S9, this is what I did. I first bought the S9 and the charging dock and, later on, got the empty station. But now I'm stuck with a charging dock I don’t use…clutter!

9. Brush System
Dual Multisurface Brushroll

Sweeping, agitation, and dirt lift-up are core to the functioning of a robot vacuum. Roomba has a robust brush system specialized to make all these possible.

The primary brush consists of two brushes – one for loosening dirt and the other for lifting. It’s effective in eliminating embedded dirt and will pick up even those long hair strands without getting jammed.

The main brush is complemented by a side brush, which sweeps the wall edges and baseboards effectively but isn’t practical for the deep corners, as iRobot says.

Dual Multisurface Brushroll

The i5+ is similar as it also has the Dual Multisurface Brushroll with Tangle-Free Technology.

It’s designed to pick up fine, medium, and large debris on hard floors and carpets.

We also have a spinning side brush on one side to sweep wall edges and direct dirt to the main brush area.

iRobot has remained consistent with its brush design for one reason: it's effective. It works on all surfaces, is tough on dirt, and is gentle on fragile hardwood floors and carpets.

10. Battery and Runtime
2210mAh / 90 Minutes

These days, the runtime of robot vacuums isn’t so crucial as most, including the Roomba J5 Combo, come with the auto-recharge and resume function.

Unlike old models, the J5 will recharge and, after getting juiced up, complete the cleaning task from where it left off. Under the hood, it packs a 2210mAh i8 Denali battery that offers around 90 minutes of runtime.

1800mAh / 75 Minutes

The i5 switches to a lithium-ion battery, which I like for its durability. The runtime is shorter at 75 minutes as the battery has a 1,800mAh capacity.

But the icing on the cake is that the i5 isn’t the lazy robot that will wait to be prompted to go and finish cleaning after recharging. It knows where it left off, so you won’t find a house halfway cleaned.

Of course, you'd expect the two cleaners to have a decent runtime and intelligent power management. But I think it's time iRobot gives us a quick charge feature. The robot's full recharge time is 2-3 hours, which is a long wait.

11. Automation & Smart Features
WiFi, App, Alexa

This is the smart home era, so iRobot made sure that the Combo J5 is smart home-ready courtesy of 2.4GHz WiFi compatibility and iRobot OS.

It works with the iRobot Home app (iOS and Android), meaning you get access to the full controls remotely as long as you are connected to WiFi.

For example, you can set cleaning schedules, set zones, set cleaning preferences, customize cleaning, check cleaning locations, plus a lot more. You basically have the full remote controller of the robot.

Interestingly, you can use voice control by hooking up Alexa or any other voice assistant.

WiFi, App, Alexa

Roomba i5+ is equally packed here as it also has WiFi support, so you get the convenience of remote operation.

For instance, you can start a cleaning schedule from the office via the app or shout at Alexa, ‘Clean the kitchen,’ and Roomba will be at your service.

You also get the latest AI-based features, including iRobot OS, that give you personalized cleaning suggestions, among other bells and whistles. The i5 might be an entry-level model, but it fully met my expectations.

Smart connectivity is now a standard in the robot vacuum industry. All the new releases come with WiFi connectivity, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities. However, there have been concerns over privacy, but I'm glad iRobot has cleared the air on the matter in their privacy policy.

12. Warranty & Aftersales
1-year

As is Roomba’s tradition, the J5 is covered by a one-year warranty, so in case of a manufacturing defect within the first year of purchase, talk to iRobot for repair or replacement. You can get help via live chat and telephone.

You could even check out troubleshooting guides and tutorials. Roomba parts and supplies are available on Amazon and other outlets. But as I have always reiterated, Amazon has the best deals, plus variety.

1-year

The i5+ is also covered in case it develops any problem as long as it’s a valid case. Just to caution you, adhere to the terms and conditions.

We have seen many instances where buyers void the warranty unknowingly and end up losing their cases to iRobot. Help is readily available. As for filters, disposable bags, brushes, and components, you can get them at affordable prices.

Roomba is among the top brands and has an excellent reputation. As long as you play by their rules, you don't have to worry about them failing to honor your warranty. The company is responsive and has made all supplies available so you won't get stuck with a worn-out brush or run out of dust bags.

13. What's in the Box?

The Roomba j5 package I received from Amazon had the following items:

  • Roomba j5
  • Home base charging station
  • Extra side brush and filter
  • Combo bin for mopping
  • Reusable microfiber mopping pad
  • Line cord
  • Drip tray
  • Documentation

For the i5+, the included components are:

  • Roomba i5
  • Home base station
  • Interchangeable Combo™ Bin
  • 1 Extra high-efficiency filter
  • Mopping pad
  • Drip tray
  • Line cord
  • Documentation

Cleaning Tests:

Vacuuming Test on Hardwood Floor

10/10
10/10

Vacuuming Test on Hardwood Floor

  • Pet hair
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Sand pebbles
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Flour
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Sugar
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Rice
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Coffee
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Popcorn
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Cheerios
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Kitty litter
  • 99%
  • 99%

Vacuuming Test on High Pile Carpet

9/10
9/10

Vacuuming Test on High Pile Carpet

  • Pet hair
  • 97%
  • 97%
  • Sand pebbles
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Flour
  • 95%
  • 95%
  • Sugar
  • 97%
  • 97%
  • Rice
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Coffee
  • 96%
  • 96%
  • Popcorn
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Cheerios
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Kitty litter
  • 97%
  • 97%

Mopping Test On Hardwood

9/10
9/10

Mopping Test On Hardwood

  • Porridge
  • 95%
  • 95%
  • Margarine
  • 94%
  • 94%
  • Wine
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Soda
  • 99%
  • 99%
  • Yogurt
  • 95%
  • 95%
  • Milk
  • 98%
  • 98%
  • Raw Eggs
  • 94%
  • 94%
  • Honey
  • 94%
  • 94%
  • Urine Stains
  • 96%
  • 96%
  • Paw Marks
  • 99%
  • 99%

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Roomba Combo j5
Is Cordless?:Yes
Roomba Combo i5
Is Cordless?:Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use vinegar in my Roomba Combo?

No. You shouldn’t use vinegar or any other cleaning formula in your vac mop except the recommended formula by iRobot, Bona Cleaner.

FAQ

2. Which is better, Roomba j5 or i5?

While they offer the same cleaning performance, are self-emptying robots, and have the same runtime, the J5 is better as it’s more advanced, featuring better navigation and mapping features.

3. What’s the difference between Roomba J5 and Combo i5?

The difference is the cleaning orientation. The J5 can vacuum only, while the Combo J5, as the name suggests, vacuums and mops.

Wrapping Up

We’ve now come to a close, so the big question is, what’s the best Roomba, and why should it be on top of your wish list? Well, the two are quite similar. They are both 2-in-1 multisurface cleaners with the same cleaning performance and the same autonomy.

But, the Combo J5+ has the edge because it can save up to 10 maps, while the i5+ saves just 1 and has better obstacle avoidance courtesy of PrecisionVision. The J5+ is also better at mapping and has exclusive features that let you set boundaries and facilitate targeted cleaning. Besides, the extra 15 minutes of runtime can go a long way if you have a large apartment.

What’s your pick? Regardless of your choice, check out the best Roomba deals you can snap today on Amazon!

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