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Roomba J9 vs S9 Face-Off: What No One Will Tell You

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Roomba J9+

Roomba S9+

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Roomba J9+

4 out of 5
Main characteristics:
  • Dimensions 13.3 inches in width x 3.4 inches high
  • Weight 7.5 lbs
  • Available colors 1 (Black/Bronze)
  • Carpet Boost Yes
  • Bin 0.5L Onboard
  • Dirt Detective Yes
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Roomba S9+

3.7 out of 5
Main characteristics:
  • Dimensions 12.25 inches in width x 3.5 inches high
  • Weight 8.15 lbs
  • Available colors 1 (Black/Copper)
  • Carpet Boost Yes
  • Bin 0.5L Onboard
  • Dirt Detective No
View on Amazon


In today’s review, I will compare Roomba J9 vs S9 to find out whether the newer J9 can match the older S9.

There’s no doubt Roomba is the most popular robot brand, boasting the latest innovations and guaranteeing reliability, unlike many cheap brands out there. Recently, the company released a new 9th gen model, the J9, which many are confusing with the S9 from the S series.

You may be wondering what model offers the best value for money.

You are not alone, as this is among the raging debates on many Roomba threads on Reddit.
I will compare the two so we can find out which is the best bang for the buck.

Check Price

iRobot Roomba j9+
Black
iRobot Roomba s9+
Black

Roomba J9 vs S9 Face-To-Face Comparison

Without wasting too much time, let's get started. Just as a heads up, the comparison is based on important factors to consider when buying robot vacuums. We will be looking at all features, from design and maneuverability to cleaning performance and autonomy.
1. Design, Dimensions, and Aesthetics
round-shaped

As far as design goes, the J9 is still that round-shaped robot vacuum despite being a new model. So, while it will clean open spaces effectively, its reach on wall edges and deep corners may be limited.

The craftsmanship and looks met my expectations, just like other Roombas I have tested before. It guarantees years of service courtesy of the premium build quality, and aesthetically, it’s sleek and stylish, to say the least. You’ll be amazed how pets get stunned by their first glimpse of the robot.

The minimalistic design is also worth mentioning as it’s key in ensuring the robot passes between tight spaces and goes under low-profile furniture unrestricted.

For the record, this is the base model and comes with the typical docking station for recharging the robot only, but the Plus model comes with a multifunction dock for recharging and emptying the bin.

D-shaped

iRobot took the industry by storm when it released the Roomba S9 with a whole new design dubbed PerfectEdge Technology, and as the name suggests, it’s meant for effective edge and deep corner cleaning.

Essentially, the robot takes the shape of letter ‘D’ with a flat side specially designed to take on wall edges and corners. Even though the side brush goes a long way in reaching these wall edges, PerfectEdge® Technology takes things a notch higher so you can be sure no dirt will be left around.

The base model, the Roomba S9, comes with the typical charging dock, while the S9+ comes with a station that doubles up as a charging and automatic emptying dock.

On matters of build quality, there’s not much to say, as the S9 is solid and will still slide under furniture with low clearance, such as sofas and beds, without getting stuck.

Design may not be an important consideration, but in this discussion, the shape of the two robots must be taken into account. The S9 has the edge as its innovative design gives it better ability to clean corners, wall edges, baseboards, and other hard-to-reach spots.

2. Cleaning Orientation
2-in-1

Roomba was shying away from incorporating the mopping function into their robot vacuums, but things changed.

Considering other brands are manufacturing 2-in-1 cleaners, iRobot had no option but to follow suit. Unfortunately, the model in this review, the J9 can vacuum only. It doesn’t mop but packs enough power to clean carpets thoroughly.

Like other Roombas, you can also rely on it to handle pet messes, from stubborn pet hair to kitty litter.

vacuums only

Roomba S9 may be a high-end model, but you’ll have to think of getting a separate robot mop, preferably the Braava M6, as it vacuums only.

The good thing is that there’s a feature called Imprint Link Technology, which with the Braava, the two can collaborate for simultaneous vacuuming and mopping. Roomba will first vacuum, and the Braava finishes by mopping.

Like all Roombas, the S9 is ideal for tile, linoleum, hardwood, ceramic, vinyl, laminate, and carpets and is also a reliable Roomba for pet hair and other pet messes, such as kitty litter.

Cleaning orientation is a crucial consideration when choosing a Roomba. But considering they all have the same specialization, there is no contest. Both models are multisurface cleaners and vacuum only.

3. Vacuuming Performance
2200Pa

Suction power is a critical aspect that determines vacuuming performance. The Roomba J9 has a revamped motor that delivers up to 100% higher suction than its predecessor, the J7.

Though the actual figure is not out there yet, we believe it’s around 2200Pa, as it uses the same motor as the S series models. But still, this is dismal considering the likes of Roborock have models like the Roborock S8 that put up a whopping 6000Pa in our tests and have multiple suction adjustments.

Remember, Roomba has no manual suction adjustment except for the automatic Carpet Boost function.

2200Pa

Roomba S9 uses a 3-stage cleaning system where dirt is agitated, lifted, and sucked into the bin.

The American brand equipped the S9 with a Gen 3 motor that delivers a cool 2200Pa when firing on all cylinders.

But the problem again is that there’s no manual power adjustment, though automatic suction adjustment is available.

AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning Technology guarantees excellent cleaning power because of the power that the two models deliver. This is enough to pick up fine, medium-sized, and even large debris from all surfaces. Considering the yield is the same for the two models, there’s no winner. Below are our vacuuming test results on hardwood and carpets.

4. Mopping Performance
No

Roomba J9 doesn’t come with a mopping function though it features Imprint Link Technology meaning you can pair it up with the iRobot M6. You can also opt for the Roomba Combo J9, which integrates an advanced mopping system, and exclusive features such as SmartScrub and Dry Rug Intelligence.

No

Roomba S9 is designed for sweeping and vacuuming only, so you miss out on mopping. But you can pair it up with the Braava M6, or better still, get any of the cheaper Braavas, either the 240 or 380. There are also many other alternatives from other brands.

Incorporating a mopping function into a robot vacuum is a clever decision that iRobot took. All other brands, including ECOVACS, DREAMETECH, and Roborock, have adopted this, and that's where Roomba had dropped the points. But now that there’s a lineup of Roomba Combos, the American brand will surely reclaim its glory. Back to the Roomba J9 vs S9 debate, none has the edge as they vacuum only.

5. Navigation
iAdapt 3.0

One of the new features the J9 brings on board is an enhanced obstacle detection system, which iRobot nicknames PrecisionVision. It leverages the VSLAM camera and adds a front-facing LED.

The two, combined with the sophisticated software, give the robot the ability to identify with precision over 40 common household obstacles, including shoes, socks, cords, pet toys, and even pets.

Also worth mentioning is Reactive Sensor Technology, which further enhances obstacle avoidance by ensuring the robot reacts fast enough after an obstacle has been detected. Whether in a high-traffic room or low-traffic, low-lit, or well-lit, the J9 performed exceptionally.

iAdapt 3.0

Roomba S9 was among the first models to debut iRobot’s innovative iAdapt 3.0, the same navigation system the J9 and newer models use. It deploys a set of sensors alongside a real-time camera to detect and avoid obstacles, further enhancing navigation and preventing the robot from bumping into walls, baseboards, chair legs, and so on.

In the few years I have used the S9, I have realized it’s accurate and precise in well-lit areas, but in rooms with low light, it doesn’t perform very well. But anyway, you have the option of cleaning during the day or switching on the lights at night.

Reactive Sensor Technology is also onboard to shorten response time once an object is detected in the robot’s path.

Roomba has been at the forefront of innovation, and that's why the high-end models have sophisticated navigation systems that see almost the same way you do. The two robots in this review will navigate with great precision, avoiding all the common obstacles, but the J9, with a much-improved obstacle avoidance system, is the best choice, especially if you have high-traffic rooms with lots of stuff scattered all over.

6. Mapping
Imprint Smart Mapping

Roomba J9 uses Imprint Smart Mapping, but this time, it maps your house 7x faster than older generation models and can save up to 10 maps. One outstanding feature is iRobot OS, which learns from your cleaning routines and offers custom-tailored suggestions.

It also brings on board a host of other features that show you cleaning time estimates and even instruct the robot to clean only when you are away.

We also have Dirt Detective, a new feature intelligent enough to learn from your cleaning routine and prioritize dirty rooms. Dirt Detective can also adjust cleaning settings depending on the room and the kind of mess.

Imprint Smart Mapping

Roomba S9 is well endowed when it comes to mapping as it learns, maps, and adapts to your home’s floor layout and can create and store up to 10 maps, making it suitable for homes with more than one level.

It’s also powered by iRobot OS, so you get all the cool features of this AI-powered technology.

But just ensure you have the right OS version, as iRobot has been constantly revamping its smart features via OTA updates.

Roombas are among the best robot vacuums when it comes to smart mapping. They have sophisticated features that ensure the robots cover every inch of your home such that no spot is missed, be it under the coffee table or corners. New innovations such as iRobot OS and Dirt Detective give them almost humanlike intelligence for detailed cleaning and convenience.

7. Filtration
AeroForce

Like its predecessors, the J9 has a filtration system to ensure your ambiance is always fresh and free from allergy triggers. If you have allergies, you know how stressful it can be when pollen and pet-related dander linger around.

Here, iRobot hasn’t changed its choice of filter, AeroForce high-efficiency filter, which captures 99% of allergens and other elements.

AeroForce

There is nothing different with the S9 in terms of filtration, as it has the same filter as the J9 and is just as effective. You’ll need to take care of the filter at least monthly for optimal performance.

Pop it out, remove excess dust, wash and dry it before putting it back.

Roomba's choice of high-efficiency filters is not bad, but I could have preferred true HEPA filters, which filter down to 0.3 microns. The filters used in the two can filter down to around 0.6 microns. But with 99% efficiency, it's still a worthy addition to these robot vacuums.

8. Brush System
Multisurface Brushroll

Over the years, iRobot has not updated its brush for all the newer models. This is the same for the J9, as it’s still using the same AeroForce Dual Multisurface Brushroll with Antitangle Technology.

I like how it agitated and loosened dirt while the other brush lifted dirt to the suction vent. For homeowners with pets, there’s no worry, as the tangle-free design prevents brushroll jamming.

Besides the main brush, the Roomba has a single spinning side brush for covering the wall edges and corners.

Multisurface Brushroll

The same Dual Multisurface Brushroll is responsible for agitation and dirt lift-up in the Roomba S9.

There’s one for loosening dirt and the other for lifting. This is alongside a spinning side brush.

However, in terms of performance, I realized the S9’s brush had better coverage because of PerfectEdge Technology, especially on baseboards and walls.

iRobot invented the dual brush design, and we’re glad it has been a game changer. Both models in this review have this brush. The fact that each brush is specialized for a specific purpose makes Roombas the best multi surface cleaners. They are effective on both hard floors and carpets and can pick up all debris sizes, from fine dust to large debris.

9. Bin System
self-emptying

The J9 comes with a 0.5L onboard bin that is quite large enough to hold dirt for a few days, from bread crumbs and coffee to pet hair and kitty litter.

The model in this review, the J9+, comes with an automatic self-emptying dock station, so you can forget about bin emptying for around 2 months, as the 2 disposable bags supplied can hold dirt for 30 days each.

self-emptying

The S9 also comes in two variants – the S9 is not a self-emptying robot vacuum but is compatible with the technology, while the S9+ can empty itself automatically as it comes with the iRobot CleanBase Unit that can hold dirt for up to 60 days.

In this age, you can never settle on a robot that doesn't have self-emptying capabilities. Even a large onboard bin and a full bin indicator can't cover up for this. But I love the fact that either model you go for comes with the mechanism so you can enjoy hands-free cleaning at least for a month.

10. Battery and Runtime
2210mAh / 90 Minutes

Roomba has equipped the J9 with a 2,210mAh Denali battery that offers up to 90 minutes runtime when on hard floors and dealing with average dirt.

However, when suction is stepped up on carpets and maybe those dirty spots, the runtime drops significantly, but you can be sure the robot will finish cleaning as it has an auto-resume function. Recharge time is around 2-3 hours.

3,300mAh / 120 Minutes

On the other hand, the S9 packs a lithium-ion battery known for higher density and longer lifespan. With a 3,300mAh capacity, the S9 can run for a cool 120 minutes, so it’s best for larger apartments now that there’s no quick charge function.

The S9 can get a full charge in an average of 3 hours and go back to where it left to get the job done.

The best robot vacuum should have extended runtime, and we’re glad the two can cover quite a large area on a single charge. Besides, they can resume cleaning after getting enough juice. But I feel it's time iRobot brings on board a quick charge function, at least in the next iRobot OS update. With such a feature, the robot gets just enough juice to complete the task at hand instead of waiting for hours to get fully charged.

11. Automation and Smart Features
WiFi, App, Alexa

If you are in the smart home frenzy, you’ll love the J9 as it supports mobile app operation if you connect it to the iRobot Home App, which is available on iOS and Android.

On the app, you get access to all controls, and cleaning customization features. You can also set boundaries and target specific spots to clean.

In addition to app operation, I liked it when paired with Alexa as I only needed to tell the robot I wanted the kitchen cleaned, and that was it – Roomba reported to duty ASAP.

WiFi, App, Alexa

Roomba S9 is also a smart robot vacuum, so usability is top-notch as you can operate the robot remotely from your office or while commuting as long as you have reliable WiFi.

Setting it up is pretty easy, and there’s nothing you can’t do on the app, from setting cleaning schedules to setting boundaries and viewing cleaning maps.

You also get the convenience of voice assistant compatibility if you hook it up with Google Assistant, Siri, or any other platform.

Both vacuums work with 2.4GHz WiFi, which facilitates app and voice assistant operation. They share pretty much the same features, so the round ends in a tie.

12. Warranty & Aftersales
1-year

A good brand should offer a warranty on its products, and that’s exactly what iRobot does. The J7 is covered by a standard 1-year warranty, so you can get sorted in case the robot fails and the reason for failure is likely to be manufacturing defects.

When looking for support, live chat is the best option, though there’s a telephone line and tons of resources and troubleshooting guides. Last, you won’t struggle to source parts and supplies as they are in plenty on Amazon.

1-year

You shouldn’t expect things to be different for the S9 as it’s also an iRobot product with a standard iRobot warranty. As long as you don’t void the warranty, you are good to go in case the robot ceases to function for no apparent reason.

Just contact iRobot or the retailer and cross your fingers that you get sorted. Last, brushes, filters, disposable bags, and other replacement components are available.

Here, no Roomba gets my nod, as they are all from the same company. But from experience, it's now easier to get Roomba S9 parts as the robot has been here for a while, attracting even 3rd party manufacturers who sell generic supplies known to be cheaper.

13. What's in the Box?

The Roomba J9+ package includes:

  • Roomba j9 unit
  • Clean Base® unit
  • Extra high-efficiency filter
  • Extra edge-sweeping brush
  • Extra disposable bag
  • Power cord

The S9+, on the other hand, comes with the following:

  • Roomba s9+
  • Automatic dirt disposal unit
  • 2 dirt Disposal bags
  • North American Line Cord
  • Extra high-efficiency filter
  • Extra corner brush

Considering their cleaning orientations, the J9 and S9 will have different accessories and supplies. The J9 has everything required for vacuuming and washing, while the S9 has all that's required for vacuuming.

Cleaning Tests:

Vacuuming Test on Hardwood Floor

10/10
9/10

Vacuuming Test on Hardwood Floor

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

Vacuuming Test on High Pile Carpet

9/10
8/10

Vacuuming Test on High Pile Carpet

  • Pet hair
  • 98%
  • 97%
  • Sand pebbles
  • 99%
  • 98%
  • Flour
  • 97%
  • 95%
  • Sugar
  • 99%
  • 97%
  • Rice
  • 99%
  • 98%
  • Coffee
  • 98%
  • 96%
  • Popcorn
  • 99%
  • 98%
  • Cheerios
  • 99%
  • 98%
  • Kitty Litter
  • 99%
  • 97%

Check Price

iRobot Roomba j9+
Black
iRobot Roomba s9+
Black

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Roomba J9 and Combo J9?

The two are quite similar, save for the fact that the J9 doesn’t have a mopping function, whereas the J9 Combo can vacuum and mop.

FAQ

2. Does the Roomba S9 clean in the dark?

Nothing can stop the Roomba from cleaning in the dark, but now that it doesn’t have a front LED like the J9, expect it to have compromised obstacle detection in those dark spots.

3. Is the Roomba j9 worth it?

The J9 is worth every penny, considering it vacuums, mops, self-empties, and self-refills the water tank. Besides, obstacle avoidance is also a notch higher.

Wrapping Up

Indeed, Roomba is a top brand with high-end robot vacuums that guarantee excellent multisurface cleaning performance. Now, having come to the end of this comparison review, it’s time I declare the winner.

Well, I like the S9 as it has been my reliable cleaning partner for 4 years and counting. It has been reliable in vacuuming my hardwood floor while leaving no scratches or damage and has been effective in picking up pet hair and other daily dirt and debris. It also has better edge and baseboard cleaning and a longer runtime. However, if you want better navigation and obstacle avoidance, the J9 is a great deal as it features PrecisionVision.

Check out the best Roomba J9 and S9 discounts today on Amazon!

Check other comparisons

RP

Very Nice review. Thanks very much, for the comparison. Isn’t it Ironic that this type of comparison is not found on the iRobot.com site?

Also why is Roomba still using bags?!?! in its base? The Vacuum world is moving fast forward to bagless. But the constant need to have continued revenue must be the driving force to keep bags alive.

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