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Roomba vs. Roborock: Which smart vacuum is better?

Roomba and Roborock are two of the biggest names in the world of robot vacuums. Offering advanced smart technology, robust cleaning skills, and the ability to empty their own dustbins, robot vacuums from these two manufacturers are always easy to recommend. But if you’re trying to compare models across the two brands, you might run into a bit of trouble due to the sheer volume of options available in 2023.

Are you trying to find the right robot vacuum for your home, but unsure if you should consider Roomba or Roborock? Here’s an in-depth look at the two companies to help you decide which is best.

iRobot Roomba j7+ in charging base.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Design

When placed side by side, the rounded designs of Roombas and Roborocks look very similar to one another. They both use rubber brushes and automatic adjustments for uneven surfaces and replaceable filters for air filtration. However, there are a few differences worth noting. Roborock has more hybrid models with additional capabilities for mopping (more on this below), and Roomba has more models with side brushes and a flattened front (like the S9 series) to help clean baseboards and corners more effectively.

This has started to change recently, with Roborock offering slimmer products and Roomba launching a handful of robot vacuum and mop combinations. Both companies also offer products with different charging dock designs — though Roomba tends to offer a more compact footprint.

Winner: Roomba

Available models

There are several Roomba models up for grabs, though they largely fall into one of three categories — robot vacuums, robot mops, and robot vacuum and mop combos. This includes products such as the Combo j9+, the j9+, and Combo i5+. For an up-to-date list of all products, check out Roomba’s official store page.

Roborock also has a number of series, including the S8, S7, Q7, and E5 (you can see how it can be easy to confuse these two brands during consumer research). For a full list of products, check out Roborock’s official store page.

While these lines may seem similar, Roborock really delivers when it comes to options. Overall, Roborock has a broader selection of robot vacuums, which gives you more choices and a better chance to find a model that’s just right for you.

Winner: Roborock

Battery life

The most advanced Roomba models last for about two hours (depending on the modes used and other factors), and most models have the ability to return back to their base stations and charge up again, then return to their cleaning duties. That makes battery life less of a factor than it once was, but it can still matter when dealing with particularly large rooms or cutting down on wear and tear.

Roborock’s vacuums can vary, but many have larger batteries that can last up to 200 minutes (again, this can vary based on cleaning modes). Roborock models also typically include the ability to return to their stations for recharging when necessary, but generally, its models can last longer out on the floor with a single charge.

Keep in mind that battery life typically won’t be an issue for most users. But if you live in a sprawling house and expect your robot to clean over 2,000 square feet in a single run, then you might want to opt for something with a larger battery.

Winner: Roborock

iRobot Roomba 692 on a hardwood floor negotiating a mat.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cleaning power

Let’s talk about suction! The more suction a robot vacuum has, the more easily it can tackle larger bits of debris and give carpets a more thorough cleaning. Unfortunately, iRobot doesn’t provide specific suction numbers for its Roomba products. However, most users will find these products to be great at cleaning both hard floors and carpet — especially products with dual roller brushes like the Combo j9+.

Many of Roborock’s models feature a 2,500Pa suction rating. However, Roborock’s latest flagship model, the S8 Pro Ultra, tops out at a staggering 6,000 Pa — which should be more than enough to suck up all the debris hiding in your carpets.

Winner: Roborock

Smart features

Both vacuum brands have apps that are packed with capabilities and bots that are filled with sensors. Roombas use Imprint Smart Mapping to scan, learn, and label rooms in your home. You can control floor plans and schedule individual room cleanings as you see fit, or order the Roomba to perform a spot cleaning if there’s a specific mess to clean up. You can also set barriers around specific furniture or rugs the Roomba should avoid (Roombas will avoid stairs and other drop points on their own). The more advanced models have dirt detection to tell when a spot is dirtier so the bot can increase cleaning power. The app can even give you suggestions on how and when to clean over time. And with the right base station, Roombas can automatically empty their bins so you don’t have to take out the trash for weeks at a time. And Roombas work with voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant for audible instructions.

Roborocks are also seriously smart. They use lidar technology to map out rooms and Adaptive Route Algorithms to find the best cleaning paths. You have full control via the app, from setting schedules and adjusting suction power to creating invisible walls so the vacuum will avoid certain areas. Most Roborock models also have the ability to return to their stations and empty their bins, so you don’t have to worry about monitoring them as much. They also work with Alexa and Google Home voice commands.

Truth be told, powerful smart features can be found on both Roomba and Roborock products. Instead of comparing them across the entire brand, you’ll need to narrow down your options and compare specific products.

Winner: Tie

The Roomba Combo j7+ mopping wood floors.
iRobot

What about mopping capabilities?

It took a few years, but both Roborock and Roomba offer devices that can mop and vacuum without any manual input. The Roomba Combo j9+ is a great example of this, as it employs a mophead that can lift to the top of the device when traveling on carpet, ensuring no water drips onto it.

Roborock doesn’t offer a product that’s quite as sophisticated, but the S8 Pro Ultra works in a similar fashion. Instead of a mop that retracts to the top of the vacuum, it simply lifts itself up 5mm when traveling on carpet. That should be fine for most households, but folks with plush carpets might notice the mop skimming along the top of the carpet and getting it a little damp.

However, many Roborock models can now clean and dry their mops at their docking stations. Instead of having to manually clean mops after each cycle, your robot can essentially take care of itself for weeks before needing any assistance.

Actual mopping performance varies by model, but it’s hard to go wrong with a product from either lineup.

Winner: Tie

Pricing

At the high end, both Roomba and Roborock models tend to cost over $1,000. The Roomba Combo j9+, for example, is $1,400, while the ultra-deluxe Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is $1,600. At the lower end, you can find budget models for around $500. With this much range in choice, there isn’t a lot of difference here as long as you’re willing to compromise to find a price you can live with.

Winner: Tie

Conclusion: Which robot vacuum brand is best?

Roomba and Roborock are two of the best names in the robot vacuum business. And while Roomba once held the crown, things have evened out as Roborock has launched new products and improved its underlying technology.

At the end of the day, the features inside the vacuum are more important than the logo on the outside. And since Roborock and Roomba now produce robot vacuums with a wide variety of price tags — and almost all of them are built to high standards — we suggest perusing through both catalogs to see which one catches your eye.

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
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