My Roomba journey has been a satisfying one so far. I’ve tested the Roomba j7+ and Braava Jet m6 and both delivered on their promises to keep my floors clean. So when Roomba announced a new robot that combined the two, I was thrilled.
The Roomba Combo j7+ is essentially the Roomba j7+ but with the addition of retractable arms to raise and lower a mop head. It has the same matte black design, auto empty base, PrecisionVision Navigation, and of course, intelligent iRobot OS software.
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The difference? The Combo part. Thanks to the hands-free nature of the robot, it’s quickly become my favorite smart vacuum with mopping capabilities.
To test the Combo j7+, my household of dust and hair-shedding culprits included a German Shepherd, a German Shorthaired Pointer, and a cat. Then, there’s the everyday dirt and grime from walking around. Here’s how the new Roomba performed.
13.39 x 13.39 x 3.64 inches
|Compatibility||iRobot Home app on iOS and Android|
Roomba Combo j7, Clean Base, 2x dirt disposal bags, charging cord, an extra filter and corner brush, mopping solution samples
What’s new with this model
The Roomba Combo j7+ mirrors the Roomba j7+ with its vacuuming performance. Straight out of the box, you’ll have to set the Combo j7+ up within the iRobot app and then let it gather the layout of your home by doing a few mapping runs. Once that’s done, the fun begins. Here’s what’s new (and what’s important) in terms of features.
1. A retractable mop that just works
The new Roomba’s design is unique in that it now has retractable arms that lift and lower the mop head as it’s needed. When you go to start a job within the iRobot app, you can select what type of function(s) you want it to do, including just vacuuming or both vacuum and mopping. The Combo j7+ defaults to the latter, and in that same menu you can choose the liquid amount and if you want one or two cleaning passes.
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Intelligently, when the Roomba is cleaning a carpet, it acts like a normal j7+, vacuuming without ever lowering the retractable arms. But once it encounters hardwood, vinyl, or tile, it pauses to roll out the mop head and continues cleaning with the cleaning solution now, too. After numerous runs throughout my home, I haven’t had an issue where the retractable arms didn’t lower or raise when needed. The technology is truly impressive, especially since this is iRobot’s first attempt at the mechanic.
2. Improved object avoidance
Arguably my favorite feature within the Roomba Combo j7+, and the iRobot lineup in general, is the PrecisionVision Navigation that it uses to avoid common household objects. The sensors that Roomba has equipped the Combo j7+ allow it to operate even if you haven’t picked everything up around your house. If there’s a shoe or a cord out of place, the robot will automatically detect and avoid the item. At the end of the cleaning run, you can look in the iRobot Home app to see what objects and obstacles the Roomba detected during its cleaning sessions.
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Just as cool is how the Combo j7+ will take pictures of objects it encounters to better understand your home. For example, if it consistently captures an image of a lamp cord, you can mark it as a permanent object and the robot will always avoid it. But if the robot encounters an object that’s not often found on the floor, you can mark it as a temporary avoidance.
3. P.O.O.P. is still worth highlighting
Roomba first introduced its Pet Owner Official Promise (POOP) with the original j7+ model, an object avoidance technology made specifically for pet waste, so it’s great to see it carried over to the Combo. As a pet owner, I know very well that accidents happen and the last thing I want is for my robot vacuum to smear any pet waste throughout my house. While I’ve been fortunate enough to have never experienced that (knock on wood), there was an occasion during testing when the Combo j7+ managed to identify and avoid a pile of pet vomit, which was both horrifying and exhilarating. Not every robot vacuum supports such a feature, so I’m highlighting it for the pet owners out there.
What I’d like to see in the next model
The Roomba Combo j7+ is performant, and it clearly does a great job of keeping my floors clean. But if there’s anything that Roomba could do better in the next model, here’s what’s on my wish list.
1. A larger liquid tank size
As for the mopping performance itself, the Combo j7+ does a decent job. The mop head is much smaller than the Braava Jet m6‘s and cleans can leave streaks (unless you opt for the Ultra liquid setting). Given its incredibly small liquid tank, this requires a lot of intervention on my end. The only way I can use the Combo’s mop system is when I’m home to manually intervene and refill the liquid tank as needed. I do like that the Combo j7+ utilizes an actual cleaning solution instead of water, like most other two-in-one robot machines, though the liquid is stored inside the dust bin so, again, you only get so much volume out of it.
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Roomba needs to find a way to increase the liquid tank size for this to be a feasible option for consumers. The point of a robot vacuum, in my opinion, is to have it do your dirty work and remain out of sight and out of mind. That’s difficult to do when I’m refilling the liquid tank several times per run.
2. Quieter disposals would be next level
No matter where the Combo j7+ is in its journey throughout my home, as soon as the dirt disposal compartment is full, it will retreat back to its Clean Base to empty itself. The only problem I have with this cleansing process is how loud it gets when the base is suctioning the dirt and debris from the robot. It’s easily one of the loudest clean bases that I’ve tested to date. While the whole process takes no longer than 15 seconds, it’s a frequent occurrence if your pets shed as much hair as mine do.
The Roomba Combo j7+ is a fantastic first-generation, 2-in-1 robot that has a bevy of promising features. On the surface, the Roomba’s $1,099 price tag seems like a big ask, and it very much is, but it’s also a 2-in-1 robot that delivers the functionality of a standalone smart vacuum and a mopping machine. Best of all, Roomba, somehow, nailed the retractable arm mechanism on its first attempt.
Should I buy one?
For apartments and small to medium-sized homes, the Combo j7+ could easily tackle your messes. Thanks to the convenience of the vacuum and mopping system, paw prints, pet hair, and other gross stains will be the least of your worries. But, if you want the most effective mopping solution out there, I’d still recommend getting a dedicated robot mop, like the $449 Braava Jet m6, which I’ve reviewed and personally suggested to family and friends.
Alternatives to consider
BEST 2-IN-1 ALTERNATIVE
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra
On the more expensive side, this 2-in-1 machine is arguably the best robot vacuum and mop on the market.
BEST MOPPING ALTERNATIVE
iRobot Braava Jet m6
The Jet m6 ensures that every inch of your floor is adequately cleaned with a proprietary cleaning solution included in the box and an effective, automated mopping motion.