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iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ vs. iRobot Roomba Combo j7+: Which is the better robot vacuum?

The Roomba Combo j7+ was the first robot vacuum from iRobot to incorporate a swinging mop arm into its design. This allowed it to mop and vacuum simultaneously, thanks to the ability to move its mop up when traveling on carpet. Now, iRobot has added the Roomba Combo j5+ to its lineup – and while it doesn’t use the same swinging arm technology, it’s still capable of mopping and vacuuming at the same time.

But is the newer iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ a better robot vacuum than the old Combo j7+? Here’s a closer look to help you determine which one is best for your floors.

Pricing and availability

The Combo j5+ in its dock.

The Roomba Combo j7+ costs $1,000 and the Combo j5+ costs $800. Both, however, are often on sale for hundreds less. But despite its age, the older Combo j7+ is almost always more expensive than the newer Combo j5+.

Winner: Roomba Combo j5+


The Roomba Combo j7+ vacuuming a bedroom.

Unfortunately, iRobot doesn’t readily provide suction details for its robot vacuum lineup. However, both the Combo j7+ and Combo j5+ are listed as having “standard” cleaning power. They also both offer an edge-sweeping brush and the ability to automatically adapt their suction for carpets and hard floors, and they feature dual multi-surface rubber brushes. Both products include charging docks capable of auto-emptying the robot’s dustbin for up to 60 days.

Winner: Tie


The Roomba Combo j7+ mopping wood floors.

The Combo j7+ begins to differentiate itself from the Combo J5+ with its mopping skills. The Combo j7+ features a swinging mop arm that fully retracts when traveling on carpet. The Combo j5+ doesn’t. Instead, it uses a bin-swapping feature that lets you choose to either mop or vacuum and mop. The Combo j5+ won’t, however, automatically avoid mopping carpet – so you’ll need to be careful with how you set up your zones to prevent your carpet from getting wet.

The Combo j7+ uses SmartScrub technology to clean floors, which allows it to move the mop back and forth while also applying pressure to the floor. This results in a deeper clean and the ability to tackle tough stains.

Neither product is capable of automatically refilling mopping solution – so you’ll still need to keep an eye on this after each cleaning cycle.

Winner: Roomba Combo j7+

Additional features

iRobot Roomba j7 plus 7550 robot vacuum in charging dock by entryway.

Aside from its swinging mop arm and additional mopping chops, the Combo j7+ offers much of the same functionality as the cheaper Combo j5+. This includes the ability to set No Mop Zones, the option to clean by room or set specific cleaning zones, collision detection that avoids objects in the robot’s cleaning path, and the ability to navigate under furniture and avoid stairs.

Other cool features found on both robots include voice commands, personalized cleaning recommendations, and support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Winner: Tie

Is the older Roomba Combo j7+ better than the Combo j5+?

Truth be told, it’s hard to go wrong with either product. The newer Combo j5+ is billed as an affordable alternative to the Combo j7+, and it’s ideal for homes without carpet. Since it won’t automatically stow away its mop while traveling on carpet, homes with a mixture of carpet and hard floors will find it less than ideal. But if hard floors comprise most of your home, you can save a few bucks by opting for the Combo j5+.

Keep in mind that the Combo j7+ does offer a few mopping-related perks (such as SmartScrub). Its biggest selling point, however, is the swinging mop arm, which allows it to travel across carpets without getting them wet. This makes it a great companion for homes with both carpet and hard floors. And if you’re looking for a superior mopping experience, the SmartScrub technology found on the Combo j7+ makes it a better option than the Combo j5+.

Looking at other products in the iRobot family? Be sure to check out how the Combo j7+ stacks up to the Combo j9+. If you want something newer, check out how the Combo j5+ compares to the Combo j9+.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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