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Ultimate Roomba guide: tips, buying advice, and troubleshooting

The iRobot Roomba is what most people think of when it comes to robot vacuums. It wasn’t the first, but it was the first that had some commercial success. Since the first Roomba model came out in September of 2002, there have been quite a few newcomers to iRobot’s line, as well as robot mops. 20 years later, there are a plethora of robovacs available that can map multiple rooms, mop and suck up debris, and even empty themselves. Still, Roomba is one of the most popular names in the robovac business — just ask Amazon. Maybe the company’s acquisition will help make Roomba even better. That’s why we’ve put together this guide that can help you decide which model is best for you, how to troubleshoot any issues you’re having with the Roomba, and how it compares to other robovacs.

Which Roomba should you get?

iRobot Roomba j7+ on hardwood floor.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

When it comes to getting a robot vac, you really need to think about how you’ll use it and the type of terrain in your home it will cover. For example, is your home filled with plush pile carpet or do you have hardwood floors? Will it need to navigate around pets and lots of furniture? Let’s not forget price: Roomba’s range in price starts at $200 for the more basic Roomba 694 and goes to $800 for the S9+ self-emptying model. You can also always find a Roomba on sale.

Other features you should consider when picking a Roomba are how you want to schedule cleaning and if you want a unit that does high-tech mapping (Roomba j7+ and Roomba S9+). Are you interested in a self-emptying Roomba because emptying a vacuum cleaner is so last century? Read our guide to buying a robovac and make a list of all the features that matter to you. Then check out our guide that compares all the Roombas to narrow down your choice.

How does a Roomba stack up against the competition?

It’s true, iRobot isn’t the only game in town. There are plenty of other robot vacuums that cost less or more, and there are also others with more features. Take the Samsung Jet Bot AI+, which can also do a home security patrol while it cleans the floors. To help you decide which robovac is right for you, we routinely compare them. See how the Roomba stacks up:

Eufy versus Roomba: Eufy is well-known for making affordable robot vacuums, but how does it compare to the Roomba?

Samsung Jet Bot AI+ versus iRobot Roomba S9+: Looking for a top-of-the-line robot vacuum? We put these two top models against each to see which is the better performer.

Tips for setting up a Roomba

iRobot Roomba S9+ dirt disposal.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So you did it! You took the plunge and bought a Roomba. Congrats! We want to help you make the most of it. We’ve put together these handy tips to help you get started and keep your Roomba running smoothly.

Name your Roomba

Yes, you can name your Roomba and call it anything you want. All you need to do is go to Settings in the iRobot app on your phone, select About > Robot name, and then change it. Not sure what to call it? We’ve got a bunch of Roomba name ideas for you.

Routine Roomba maintenance

Curious to learn more about how to keep your Roomba in good working order? All it needs is some basic regular cleaning of the unit and bin. Read this tutorial to learn how to empty and clean a Roomba.

Connect your Roomba to Wi-Fi

Many of the features we love about Roombas — the ability to map spaces, recharge themselves, and execute commands in style — all require an internet connection. Learn how to set up your Roomba to connect to the Wi-Fi in your house.

Roomba navigation tricks

A Roomba can often go where other vacuums can’t reach, but that doesn’t mean they should. Perhaps you don’t want it to go under a low-rise couch simply because it might not be able to get out. Follow these tips to keep your Roomba from getting stuck under furniture.

How to map a house with your Roomba

Mapping your house is vital to ensuring that your Roomba cleans the areas you want. Follow these steps to map your house with your Roomba. If you have more than one floor in your house, this tutorial will teach you how to map different floors.

How to fix a Roomba

iRobot Roomba i3 Plus brushes.
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Like all electronics and home appliances, sometimes they break down or just don’t seem right. Not to worry; often, this is just a Roomba’s way of letting you know it’s having an issue. Don’t ignore it; that will make the problem worse. Instead, try these troubleshooting tricks to see if you can get it working smoothly again.

How to get your Roomba to shhhh!

Vacuuming isn’t what we’d call a quiet activity. Yet there are some times when a Roomba might be running too loud. Often, that extra noise is a signal that there might be something wrong with the robovac. If your unit is too noisy, try these six Roomba fixes to help keep it quiet.

Helping a Roomba lost in space

Sometimes Roombas can get lost or, rather, can’t find their way home to their docking station. If you’re Roomba seems to be going in circles, try these steps to help your Roomba return to its docking base.

Wi-Fi connection issues

A Roomba can’t do a lot without a Wi-Fi connection, so if it’s not working correctly, that is usually the first thing to check. The solution might be as easy as moving it closer to your router. If that doesn’t work, try these Roomba Wi-Fi troubleshooting tips.

Roomba, it’s time to move on

Sometimes a  Roomba will fixate on a particular space in your home. There could be a few reasons why it keeps cleaning the same area. The good news is it’s an easy fix. Learn how to keep your Roomba from cleaning the same spot over and over again.

Conquering Roomba charging challenges

If your Roomba isn’t charging or holding a charge, there could be a simple reason for it: the robovac might not be contacting the charging nibs, or something could be blocking the sensors. Either way, it shouldn’t take you too long to get to the bottom of it. Here’s how to troubleshoot Roomba charging issues.

Stop spinning in circles

Is your Roomba making you dizzy because it keeps going in circles, or maybe that behavior is driving your pet a little crazy? Not to worry, there’s probably something happening with the sensors. Follow these steps to stop your Roomba from going in circles.

What’s up with the Roomba’s side brush?

The side brush on a Roomba helps sweep dirt and other debris into the vacuum’s suction. Sometimes the fix is as easy as seeing if something’s trapped, or you might need to replace the brush. Here’s how to clean the Roomba’s side brush and get the vac to stop spinning.

When all else fails, try a reboot

Sometimes all you need to do when something goes wrong with a robot vacuum is reboot and do a factory reset. It’s not always the best option because you’ll also need to reset things in your app as well. Still, it’s more affordable than throwing in the towel and buying a new unit. See how to factory reset your Roomba.

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Joni Blecher
Joni Blecher has been reviewing consumer tech products since before cell phones had color screens. She loves testing products…
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