Roborock and iRobot are two of the biggest brands in the world of robot vacuums. Both companies churn out new products at a regular cadence, with the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra standing as two of the newest (and most compelling) robots on offer from the rivals. The Roomba Combo j9+ and S8 Pro Ultra can vacuum and mop in a single run — and they both carry hefty price tags. Deciding to add one to your home is a big decision, and there are several different variables to consider before picking one up.
From vacuuming and mopping skills to pricing and additional features, here’s a look at the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra to help you decide which is the better fit for your home.
The iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ costs $1,400 and is available in black. Its dock is about the same size as the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra’s, though its water reservoir and dustbin are stowed entirely out of sight inside a swinging door. It also features a wooden board that can be placed on top of the unit, allowing you to place plants or other home decor on its surface.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is $1,600 and is available in either black or white. Its dock doesn’t look quite as premium as that of the Roomba Combo j9+, though its water reservoir and dustbins are slightly easier to access, as they can simply be lifted from the top of the unit (instead of opening a door and removing them horizontally, as is the case with the Roomba Combo j9+).
Both products are often on sale during shopping holidays, and we’ve seen them hovering around $1,000 during Black Friday.
While iRobot doesn’t advertise exact suction power for its robots, the Combo j9+ performed well during at-home testing. Using a dual-roller vacuuming system, it’s able to pick up a wide range of debris — including pet hair, pieces of food, and even small rocks or chunks of mud you may drag inside after a day of hiking. Vacuuming is also aided by a swinging mop design that ensures the mop never drags on the carpet.
It’s a similar story for the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, which also uses a dual-roller vacuuming system to pull all sorts of debris from carpets. It maxes out at 6,000 Pa of suction — putting it near the top of its class. However, its mop only retracts a few millimeters when traveling on carpet, which isn’t ideal for plush carpets.
Winner: iRobot Roomba Combo j9+
Both the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra use a semicircle-shaped mopping pad that will rapidly vibrate back-and-forth while deployed, with the robots applying constant pressure to the floor to tackle tough stains. At the docking station, both can fill up with water to help automate the cleaning process — so you won’t have to pour water into them before each job. Depending on the amount of floor space you need cleaned, both can last weeks without needing a refill.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra has a big advantage over the Roomba Combo j9+, as it’ll wash and dry its mopping pad after a cleaning cycle. This helps prevent the buildup of mold and mildew, and it ensures the mop is clean before the next mopping cycle. This automated cleaning isn’t available on the Roomba, so you’ll need to pay closer attention to the mop and perform more cleanings and replacements than you will on the Roborock.
Winner: Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
The two robots can be customized using companion smartphone apps. These allow you to schedule cleaning sessions, check your cleaning history, set up restricted zones, or perform a one-off customized cleaning. The Roborock app is a bit more robust than the iRobot app (its menus are slightly easier to navigate and it provides tons of details during a cleaning cycle, whereas iRobot largely waits until the end of the cycle to display details), and the Roborock typically cleaned faster than the iRobot.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra also cleaned better in lowlight scenarios and was much quieter during operation.
Both were able to easily avoid obstacles and were very simple to set up. The iRobot product also employs a photo review feature, showing you images of obstacles it encountered before allowing you to say whether these are permanent or temporary hazards.
The big win for the S8 Pro Ultra, however, is its dock, which gives it the ability to clean and dry its mop after each run. This is a massive feature that’s missing on the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+, though its swinging mop arm is a standout feature that can’t be found on the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra.
Winner: Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
For most households, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is the better choice. Along with its great mopping and vacuuming performance, it’s able to clean its mopping pad and dry it after each cycle. That makes it an incredibly hands-off device — exactly what you want from a robot vacuum. It’s also nice having direct access to its dustbin and water reservoirs, which offer an ergonomic access point on top of the dock. The iRobot dock looks more streamlined and modern — though the Roborock’s added functionality is arguably more important.
The iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ is no slouch, and it’s a worthy companion for homes with plush carpets. The S8 Pro Ultra tends to drag its mop along the tops of thick carpets, while weeks of testing the iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ left carpets completely dry. You’ll make a few trade-offs for the feature (primarily the lack of a self-cleaning mop), but consider giving it a look if keeping your carpets dry is a top priority.
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