iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ review


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Mar 14, 2023

iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ review

The iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ combines the j7+ robot vacuum capabilities with

The iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ combines the j7+ robot vacuum capabilities with mopping features, delivering a two-in-one device that is simply brilliant.

iRobot has no shortage of products to help with those dreaded household chores, many of which are superb in their delivery. From the self-emptying robots vacuum cleaners to the robot mops, there's a breadth of choice and at varying budgets too.

The iRobot j7+ sits at the top of the company's range for robot vacuum cleaners and while we highly recommend it, along with the iRobot Braava M6 mop, there's another device that mops the floor with both of those (pun intended) - the Roomba Combo j7+.

As its name suggests, the iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ combines the j7+ robot vacuum capabilities with mopping features, delivering a two-in-one device that is simply brilliant. Here is our review.

The iRobot Roomba Combo J7+ is a brilliant robot to have in your home. It has a great design, excellent performance and the iRobot app interface is so simple and easy to use with a multitude of features that it makes this two-in-one device exceptionally easy to recommend.

The iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ takes its design cues directly from the iRobot Roomba j7+, though it of course makes some adjustments in order to accommodate the mopping functionality.

Like the j7+ though, it's round in shape with a metallic finish on top, delivering a premium look overall that will blend in with most home interiors. The metallic finish is for decorative purposes only - it doesn't lift up to reveal the bin like the iRobot s9+ does - while the rest of the Roomba Combo j7+ is protected by a black plastic bumper. This bumper will pick up scratches and marks so don't be alarmed when that happens.

There are sensors positioned on either side of the Roomba Combo j7+, like the Roomba j7+, and you'll also find camera and sensor technology built into the front edge rather than positioned on top like previous models in the company's portfolio.

On the back of the robot - or the front when docked - is where you'll find a push button to extract the bin and the water tank. There's a rubber pull tab that's clearly marked indicating where you refill the tank so it's nice and simple.

On the top of the iRobot Combo j7+, you'll find one button you can use to start and stop the device, but the easiest way to control it is via the iRobot app that we will go into more detail on a little later.

The top is also where the biggest distinction can be found compared to the standard Roomba j7+ as this is where the mop element is. Only appearing when required, the mop seamlessly blends into the design, with small arm hinges positioned either side to drop it down when necessary and retract it when it's finished or it senses carpet. It's a brilliant design and while we love the Roomba j7+ and Braava M6 mop and their ability to work together, having just one device is a game changer - especially if you are limited on space.

On the underside of the Combo j7+, you'll find an identical layout to the j7+, which includes two main green brushes that you can remove with the press of a button if anything gets stuck or you need to detangle long hair. There's also a corner brush for the harder to reach areas and the corners, the charging connectors and the hole for the automatic dirt disposal, as well as a few extra sensors to allow the Combo j7+ to get around without too many crashes.

The Combo j7+'s automatic disposable bin is identical to the j7+, after it was redesigned from the i7+ and it's a great look as far as bins go. Rather than tall and narrow, it's short and wide, which allows it to go under a bench for example. There's also a ribbed texture and a leather pull tab that reveals the bin bag, which you will have to change every so often, though we haven't had to yet (and it's been four months) so plenty of dust and dirt gets packed in.

Like many of the iRobot vacuum cleaners, the Combo j7+ is packed with features. There's the automatic dirt disposable that we briefly mentioned, meaning the Combo j7+ automatically returns to its base and empties its bin whenever it gets full, returning to where it left off afterwards to finish the job. A job worth doing is worth doing well, as the saying goes.

There's also PrecisionVision Navigation on board - a feature that launched on the j7+. It means the Combo j7+ recognises objects, whether that's a sock, cable or a dog toy, and it won't just avoid the object, but it will take a picture for you to review in the iRobot app.

Through the app you can decide whether the object pictured is a temporary or permanent obstacle and whether you want to add a Keep Out Zone. It's a great feature as it means you don't necessarily need to have a clutter-free home for the Combo j7+ to do its job - something that was necessary for robot vacuum cleaners when they first arrived. The Combo j7+ recognises pet waste too, and although we've thankfully not had to test yet, with a cat and a dog, it's a reassuring feature to have on board.

Elsewhere, there is Imprint Smart Mapping in the iRobot app, which might be one of our favourite iRobot features. Just like the j7+, you can send your Combo j7+ on a couple of mapping runs, after which it will produce a map of your home. You can name the rooms accordingly, as well as add Clean Zones for extra messy areas, like the dining room, and Keep Out Zones for those areas with pet bowls for example.

As you might expect, there is scheduling on board, allowing you to plan a certain job for specific times or days of the week and you can get pretty linear in what you choose too. When setting up a job, you can choose what rooms you want to clean, whether you want to vacuum and mop simultaneously, vacuum only or mop only, as well as how many cleaning passes you want the Combo j7+ to do, and how much water you want the mop to use.

It's then possible to set a job as a favourite that will then appear in the iRobot app as a quick access tile, making it very simple to start a job if you haven't previously set a schedule.

The Combo j7+ is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant too, so once set up, you can ask one of those assistants to start a job, rather than having to get your phone out and open the app. The only time these won't work is if you have the Do Not Disturb function enabled, which stops automations and stops you hearing the robot's sounds.

In terms of other features, there's Clift Detect to stop the Combo j7+ falling down any stairs you may have, while Dirt Detect means it will focus on particularly dirty spots. The retractable mop will also sense carpet and fully retract back to the top of the device before it hits your rugs or carpet so you won't end up with wet socks.

iRobot products are exceptionally easy to use and that's one of the reasons we love them as much as we do. The iRobot app is brilliant - it not only looks good but the interface is lovely and simple to navigate. Being able to divide your home up into rooms and add dividers wherever you like delivers great flexibility that sometimes is exceptionally useful when it comes to cleaning your home. It's also great that you no longer need to add separate laser devices for keep out areas.

When you want to start a new job, it's clearly labelled in the top right corner of the app, alongside the options we mentioned to get a very specific cleaning schedule. The favourites option is great too, as it gives you the ability to get a clean started immediately, with one simple tap.

The iRobot app is also where you will find features like Pet Lock that stops your cat climbing on the Combo j7+ and starting a cleaning cycle - or the kids playing with the button - both of which have happened in our house. There's also various preferences available for you to tweak to suit, and a cleaning history too.

The iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ delivers fantastic performance overall, in terms of both vacuuming and mopping capabilities. Even better, as you get both done simultaneously, it doesn't take that much longer to do both as it would a standard vacuum.

There's a 3-stage Cleaning System on board with 10x the Power-Lifting Suction of the company's Roomba 600 series, which is evident in use. The Edge-Sweeping Brush does well at covering the edges of rooms and the corners, which the Dual Multi-Surface Rubber brushes handle different floor types well.

Objects were largely recognised and avoided, though we did set a keep out zone around the bar stools in our kitchen. They have a domed reflective base, which confused the Combo j7+ and it got stuck - but this was pretty much the only time.

However, we also found that while it would always make it back to its base eventually, it sometimes took a few goes for the Combo j7+ to make the transition between our living room and our kitchen, where the base is. The kitchen is around 1.5-inches higher than the living room, with a slanted trim, and while the Comboj7+ could manage it, it did often take a few goes.

In fact, we've watched it try for around 10 minutes, and when it can't, it usually goes back to the dining room, vacuums a little more and returns to try again. This happens around 50 per cent of the time, but it does always succeed in the end. If at first you don't succeed, try try again, right Roomba?

The Roomba Combo j7+ delivers good suction that is more than capable and perfect for keeping on top of a daily clean. It won't necessarily replace a corded vacuum cleaner and the power they deliver, but it still does a great job of keeping things clean throughout the week. We have a dog and a cat and we have to do a daily vacuum or the build up of hair on the rugs is not pleasant. The Combo j7+ is perfect for this.

In terms of the mopping element, we were impressed with how well the Combo j7+ coped here too. It won't scrub, so if you have split something sticky on the floor for example, it might struggle to get it all off, and it's not going to stop you ever having to use a mop again, but like the vacuuming element, the Combo j7+ is great for a daily clean.

Keep in mind that the tank isn't huge so depending on how big your home is, you may find that you need to refill the tank for it to complete a job, which takes away some of the convenience. That said, you still don't have to mop yourself so it's a small compromise to make.

Our biggest complaint with the Combo j7+ is that it isn't the quietest when vacuuming. In fact, it's quite noisy, as the j7+ is, so if you're planning to send it around when you're home, be prepared that you won't be putting your feet up and drinking your cup of tea in peace.

We'd also like the option to empty bin later rather than as soon as the Combo j7+ has finished a job. Perhaps a setting that allows you to empty the bin before a new job rather than only when a job finishes. The bin emptying process is very loud for around 30 seconds so it's not something you want happening late at night when kids are asleep for example. Otherwise though, we have very little to moan about.

The iRobot Roomba Combo J7+ is a brilliant robot to have in your home. It has a great design, excellent performance and the iRobot app interface is so simple and easy to use with a multitude of features that it makes this two-in-one device exceptionally easy to recommend.

The iRobot Roomba Combo j7+ is a brilliant robot to have in your home. It has a great design, excellent performance and the iRobot app interface is so simple and easy to use with a multitude of features that it makes this two-in-one device exceptionally easy to recommend.

It's not the cheapest device out there, nor the quietest, and we really would like the ability to choose when the bin is emptied, as well as a slightly larger water tank. But overall, the Combo j7+ does a sterling job at keeping on top of two of our most dreaded daily chores, and comes highly recommended.

Britta is the Deputy Editor of Pocket-lint and has been a part of the team, covering consumer technology since 2012.You'll often see her name on some of our biggest features, including many of the versus articles and the rumour round ups, but she is also responsible for ensuring all the other great features from other members of the team cover off everything you might want to know about.