Roomba S9+ (9550) Review
In July 2019, iRobot released the Roomba S9+, a next-gen robot vacuum that empties the bin automatically.
For many, this was the much-awaited Technology as emptying the bin was quite hectic.
But then, the Roomba S9’s price is way up high – $1400 is too expensive but worth every penny.
In this review, we want to dissect this robot vacuum to find out why it is deemed as the best robot vacuum yet we have the likes of Roborock S5 and the recently launched S5 Max, Neato D7 Connected, and several other high-performance robots.
Before we go deeper into the details, here are the pros and cons of the Roomba S9+.
- Raw cleaning power – Equipped with a powerful motor, brushes, and filters, you can rely on the S9+ for all your cleaning needs; be it pet hair, cereals, and just any other kind of dirt.
- Carpet cleaning – The S9+ has enough vacuum power to handle both low pile and high pile carpets.
- All-round cleaning – The S9+ is best for bare floor vacuuming – it picks up all kinds of dirt
- Excellent navigation and mapping – With iAdapt 3.0, you will not find it stuck anywhere. It also scans and maps your house intelligently.
- Self-emptying – The CleanBase Technology empties the bin automatically. It can handle a month’s dirt.
- Imprint Link Technology – This is a system which allows the Roomba to sync with the Braava M6 mop for simultaneous cleaning.
- Expensive – The Roomba S9+ is the most expensive robot vacuum we have reviewed so far
- Vacuuming only – Unlike the competition, the expensive Roomba S9+ will only sweep and mop. You need a robot mop for comprehensive cleaning.
- No true-HEPA filters – Despite the high price, the S9+ doesn’t come with true-HEPA filters which are the best for allergy sufferers. But at least it has an Anti-Allergen Seal build.
- No digital boundaries – The latest competition use digital boundaries, which are better than the Virtual Walls devices, the S9+ and other Roombas rely on.
Now that we know a thing or two about the S9+ let’s go to the main business of the day. We have dissected this new iRobot vacuum to find out what it offers.
1. Design and Aesthetics
The aesthetics of robot vacuums have nothing to do with the cleaning performance, but the design does.
You can easily tell the difference between the Roomba S9+ from the rest of the Roombas from its color. The S9+ has a distinct copper interface, while the rest of the body is blackish.
When it comes to the design, the S9 takes a different approach from the rest of the series. This one is D-shaped like the Neato vacuums. PerfectEdge® Technology allows for effective edge and corner cleaning. You will also realize the position of the three buttons is on the right side of the cleaner. There are three buttons; one large CLEAN button, and two smaller ones.
Now, on to dimensions, the S9+ is the thinnest Roomba at 3.5-inches, allowing it to go under most of the low-profile furniture and household fittings. Regarding weight, it is a little bit heavier at 8.15lbs.
2. Cleaning Performance
The cleaning performance of a robot vacuum is the most important consideration before checking out. But then, this is a broad concept as there are lots of components that determine the cleaning performance of robot vacuums.
In this segment, we are going to look at each independently. Therefore, without mincing words, here’s what iRobot offers with their latest model.
- Orientation – The Roomba S9+, despite its exorbitant price, has been designed to sweep and vacuum only. iRobot has been adamant on the idea of combining a vacuum and a mop in one unit. Instead, the California based company is offering the Braava M6, which synchronizes with the S9+ for simultaneous vacuuming and mopping courtesy of Imprint Link Technology.
- Suction power – Here, the component responsible for generating vacuum power is the motor. iRobot engineered this vacuum with a powerful motor which delivers 40x more air power than the average Roomba – say the 600 series. Its power rating is around 2200Pa, making it powerful than the Roomba 980 (1670) and Roborock S5 (2000Pa).
- Brush system – There are two brush systems as usual; primary and secondary brush. iRobot retained the revolutionary anti-tangle dual multisurface brushroll – one for agitation and the other for picking up dirt. The difference is that this time, the entire brush is 30% wider. A side sweeping brush has also been included.
- Filtration – This is one of the areas iRobot still disappoints. The S9+ use HEPA style filters which are 99% accurate but filter down to 10 microns only when true-HEPA filters go down to 0.3 microns. But then, the Anti Allergen Seal design is something allergy sufferers should smile about. At least no captured allergens are released back to the atmosphere.
- Bin capacity – The S9+ features a 0.4L bin and a full bin indicator just like all other Roombas. In addition, it comes with the iRobot CleanBase unit, which empties the bin automatically, once the Roomba docks. The unit has enough capacity to hold up to thirty dirtbags – that is a whole month’s dirt.
- Advanced Dirt Detect Series II – This is an exclusive feature iRobot offers. Dubbed the dirt hunter, it uses optical and acoustic sensors to find areas with concentrated dirt. Once such an area is detected, the Roomba heads there and switches to Spot mode, until all dirt is cleared.
3. Cleaning Tests
At Robotbox, we believe in cleaning tests. We normally put robot vacuums into stringent tests, in a real household setting, using the daily dirt that most American households have.
We tested the Roomba S9+ on bare floors, low pile carpets, and high pile as well.
We used flour, sugar, rice, kitty litter, pet hair, cereals, and sand pebbles to test the power of iRobot’s latest vacuum. Below, we have shared the exclusive results;Bare floors On bare floors, there was no need for using Power Boost mode, and the Roomba did a satisfactory job.
It cleared all the dirt we put on its way except for a patch of cloud left by the finest flour particles.
But upon the second and third pass, the patches vanished.
Even if they remained, the Braava M6 would finish the job, leaving the hardwood floor sparkling clean.Low pile carpets
On the carpet, we had the chance to test the Braava in both low and high power modes. We started with low power, and it did an excellent job clearing all the large dirt particles.
However, for sugar and flour, it was somewhat overwhelmed.
Much of the flour was left behind, and a few sugar patches.
But on switching to Power Boost, nothing was left behind. But we don’t recommend Power Boost on low pile carpets.
High pile carpets
On high pile carpets, we were able to test the S9 in Power Boost mode only.
We laid it on a high pile carpet in Eco mode, but it automatically switched to Power Boost. This is how it is designed to work.
Here again, flour was quite a headache, and it took several patches to flush out the fine flour particles which hid inside the deep carpet pile.
But at the end of the day, the cleaning was satisfactory.
4. Battery and runtime
How long can the Roomba S9+ run? And will it resume cleaning after recharging? Those are two pertinent questions you need answers for when buying robot vacuums.
The Roomba S9+ has improved runtime courtesy of a larger 3300mAh battery. When running in the low power mode, it can yield a cool 120 minutes when in low power settings. But when the Power Boost mode is activated, runtime drops to around 90 minutes which is still impressive.
Now, once the power levels go down, the Roomba S9+ will go to the charging base. The recharge time averages 3 hours, and after recharging, it will go back to complete the cleaning without further prompting.
5. Navigation and mapping
Floor and mapping may not be directly connected to cleaning performance, but it determines where the robot will reach, and the turnaround time.
The Roomba S9+ boasts the new iAdapt 3.0 navigation, a VSLAM based algorithm. It uses sensors as well as an onboard camera for localization. Hardly will it bump into obstacles or get stuck. The only problem comes in when it is dark, but in sufficient light, the camera goes a long way.
We tested the S9+ in a reasonably crowded household, and the results were impressive. It intelligently avoided the stairs and household fittings.
Now, when it comes to floor mapping, the new SO comes with Imprint Smart Mapping. Simply put, this is an intelligent system that learns, maps, and adapts to the floor layout of your home. Imprint Smart Mapping boasts several features.
First, the Roomba S9+ learns your floor layout, plans the floor and remembers every floor map. Once the Smart Map feature has your floor’s layout, it will remember it for future reference. You can also choose to clean a specific room, multiple rooms, or the entire house.
Another aspect here is boundary marking. Unfortunately, iRobot has been slow in adapting to the new digital boundaries. While most brands offer virtual wall right from that app, the S9+ works with the cumbersome, and expensive Virtual Walls physical nodes.
6. Smart Connectivity
In this smart home era, you want a robot vacuum that can connect with other devices, including your Smartphone, and Alexa, among other smart home platforms.
The Roomba S9+ comes with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and works with the iRobot Home App, Google Assistant, Alexa, and smart home hubs like Wink 2 Hub and SmartThings.
Of interest is the mobile app features. Roomba S9+ boasts several app functions, including Customized cleaning and Clean Map reports.
Roomba S9 vs. S9+
No hitting about the bush, the S9 is the base model of the S9+, and the difference is that the latter does not include the iRobot CleanBase.
But the good news, you can buy the Roomba S9 (9150) and still buy the CleanBase unit separately – if need be.
Roomba S9+ vs. 980
But how does it compare tom the Roomba S9+?
- Price – If you’re lucky enough, you will find the Roomba 980 on major online stores or the iRobot website, but the model has been discontinued. The retail price is around $900.
On the other hand, the S9+ is quite an expensive model that costs well over $1400, together with the CleanBase unit.
- Cleaning performance – The Roomba 980 offers excellent all-round performance. It picks up all kinds of dirt, including pet hair and kitty litter on all surfaces, from the bare floors to low and high pile carpets. While most of the cleaning components are same for the 980 and the new S9+, the latter has higher suction power – 2200Pa compared to the 980’s 1670Pa. That is to say, the Roomba S9 and S9+ are more powerful than the Roomba 980.
- Bin management – The new S9 and S9+ boast iRobot’s patented CleanBase Technology. The Roomba 980 lacks this feature.
Roomba S9+ vs. i7+
- Price – The Roomba i7 is a little bit cheaper at $900 for the Plus model. But definitely, there are a few sacrifices in terms of cleaning performance.
- Cleaning performance – While they both feature a 3-stage cleaning system, the S9+ has a longer brush and higher suction power. While the i7 delivers 1000Pa, the new S9+ boasts 2200Pa.
There you have it folks, the Roomba S9+ review. Well, the choice is yours – go either for the S9 or for the S9+.
If you want an affordable option, go for the latter. But for the ultimate experience, the S9+ is the best choice.