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Roomba vs. Shark Ion robot vacuums: Which Black Friday deals are better?

If you wandered into the murky waters of Black Friday sales in hopes of finding a robot vacuum cleaner, you’re in luck. Both Shark Ion and Roombas are on sale, and both are solid choices – but which one is actually the superior purchase? The answer depends on what kind of cleaning and your budget. As a rule of thumb, Shark Ion vacuums are more affordable than iRobot Roomba.

Both Shark and Roomba have models that can empty themselves

One of the limitations of robotic vacuums is their relatively small reservoir. While the machines can clean your floors for you, the need to empty them regularly means they can’t all be set-it-and-forget-it devices. On the other hand, if you have a self-emptying model, the game changes completely. Although not part of their Ion series, the Shark IQ R1001 has a self-emptying charging base that can hold 30 days of dust and debris from the vacuum. The brush removes long hair from itself as it cleans, so there is no need to manually remove tangles from the Shark IQ. It is on sale for $338 from its usual price of $550.

The iRobot Roomba i7+ expands on this concept by holding up to 60 days of dirt and debris in a patented AllergenLock bag that prevents any dust from stirring up allergies. It also has a more intelligent, more efficient mapping and cleaning system than the Shark IQ R1001, but it comes with a higher price tag. The iRobot Roomba i7+ is on sale at Walmart for $999, down $200 from its usual price of $1,100.

Roomba has a longer average runtime

All robot vacuum cleaners have powerful batteries due to the amount of energy required to sustain suction over an extended period. That said, Roombas typically run for 90 minutes on a single charge, while Shark Ion robot vacuums only run for 60 minutes. If you live in a small space that can be cleaned in an hour, this doesn’t make a huge difference. If you live in a larger home, however, a robot vacuum with better power efficiency might be the best choice.

Roomba has better navigation

A robot vacuum will map your home and navigate around corners with ease. However, it can be tough to stop it from going somewhere you don’t want it to go; for example, an area with a lot of wires or a bathroom. You can block Roomba from entering a space by creating a virtual wall in the app that tells it to turn away when it reaches that point. Shark requires a physical sensor strip to be placed that will turn the machine away from an area.

Shark Ion is less expensive on average

Roomba has name and brand recognition, and that comes with a higher price tag. Right now, the most affordable Roomba is the lower-end iRobot Roomba 670, available for $197 at Walmart, down from its usual price of $330. It has a 90-minute runtime, auto-adjusting cleaning head, and intelligent navigation — but it’s still considered to be the least feature-filled option of the Roomba line.

The Shark Ion R85 is $200 on Amazon right now without a discount. It has features like max mode which improves its suction capabilities, a quiet mode, and seven-day scheduling. Compared to the iRobot Roomba 670, the Shark Ion R85 is a better choice, but that comparison loses steam when you look at higher-end models.

If you are in the market for an affordable, easy-to-use robot vacuum, the Shark Ion series is the way to go, especially if you live in a smaller home or apartment. If you have a larger home or want a more feature-filled device, the Roomba line is where to look.

With that in mind, check out our roundup of the best Black Friday sales on Roombas and the best Black Friday sales on robot vacuums.

If you’re looking for something else, check out our roundup of the best Black Friday deals.

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