Vacuum from the Couch: iRobot Roomba s9+ Review

A high-powered robot vacuum that expertly tackles pet hair

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iRobot Roomba s9+

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum

The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

What We Like
  • Does a great job in corners

  • Reduces allergens in the home

  • Expertly handles pet hair

What We Don't Like
  • Occasionally has trouble docking itself

  • Expensive

  • Loud cleaning and emptying

Bottom Line

If you have some extra cash to shell out, the iRobot Roomba s9+ is a worthwhile investment with stellar cleaning ability.

4

iRobot Roomba s9+

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum

The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

We purchased iRobot's Roomba s9+ so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

The thought of never having to vacuum again manually is a dream come true. And it’s a dream that I would pay big money to turn into a reality. But what I’m not willing to do is pay big money for something that over-promises and under-delivers. That’s why I had to know if the iRobot Roomba s9+ lived up to its hype—and its price tag.

iRobot has been in the robot vacuum game for a long time, and the Roomba s9+ is the smartest robot yet. It has advanced features that enable it to get deep into corners and uses a specialized home mapping process that allows you to precisely control where the robot goes. 

Like other smart robot vacuums, it also connects to Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices so you can operate it from your couch with just your voice.

But if you’ve ever used a smart appliance before, you know that sometimes additional features equate to additional problems. I did not have that experience. Although I had read some mixed reviews about functioning issues, I remained highly impressed with the s9+’s performance.

To test the s9+, I set it up right next to my bedroom, the midpoint of the upstairs area. The entire area, except for the bathroom, is carpet. It’s about 900 total square feet.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

Right out of the box, the iRobot was pretty much ready to go. All I had to do was plug the power cord into the housing base and the wall and then place the vacuum on the housing unit properly by lining up the metal charging contacts on the robot with the ones on the base. After about 20 seconds, the vacuum made a chiming noise to let me know it was ready to clean.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

The next step was to download the iRobot app, which prompted me to create an account, which went through a 45-second pairing process to connect the robot vacuum to my WiFi. At this point, you also have to name your robot. I went with Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em. That went smoothly.

Once the app was paired, and the robot indicated that it was ready to clean, I pressed the robot's clean button. Aside from making a little chiming noise, nothing happened. I pressed the button again and...still nothing. I tried the app and chose the button, instructing the robot to vacuum everywhere. That worked; the vacuum started.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

I think the vacuum needed to spend some more time on the charging station. The s9+ comes partially-charged, but it’s probably a good idea to get it fully charged before you start using it. You can check the charge level on the iRobot’s app to double-check it.

Once the robot got moving, my first thought was, “Wow, this thing is loud!” I’ve had several other robots before it, including one from iRobot, and this one was by far the loudest. It sounded just like a regular high-powered vacuum, which makes sense since it is a high-powered vacuum.

However, since robot vacuums tend to take longer to clean a room than if you were manually pushing a regular vacuum, the noise can be a little off-putting. It’s definitely not something that you could run while a baby is down for a nap or while you’re on a Zoom call for work. But, I thought the noise was a worthwhile trade-off for its extra power and effectiveness.

iRobot Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
The Spruce / Lindsay Boyers

I was pretty impressed with the way the Roomba s9+ handled corners too. It has a specialized design and a corner brush that allows it to get closer to the edges than other round robot vacuums. While it didn’t do a perfect job, it was definitely better than others I’ve tried.

The s9+ also has a spot-cleaning function, which is a nice additional feature that many other robot vacuums don’t have. When you press the spot-clean button, the s9+ will clean a small area about 3 feet in diameter instead of running through a full cleaning cycle. This is nice if you accidentally spill something or if your cats just had a royal rumble, and there’s a pile of fur left behind.

iRobot claims that the s9+ can empty itself into its automatic dirt disposal for up to 60 days without the need for emptying, but that definitely wasn’t the case. My disposal bin needed to be cleaned out after a couple of weeks of cleaning my carpets. If you don’t have any pets or a small household, you may be able to go longer.

...it also connects to Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices so you can operate it from your couch with just your voice...

After the s9+ cleans your house a few times, it creates a smart map of the cleaning area you can view in your iRobot app. With the map, you can mark off the areas you want the robot to avoid for future cleanings. I tested it to see if it works, and it does—really well. The robot uses its memory to clean the mapped areas while avoiding the off-limits zones.

When the s9+ is done cleaning, it will automatically go back to the housing unit. While it was really good at finding it, there were several times that the S9+ wasn’t able to dock itself. It would find it’s housing base and try to climb up sideways. It was smart enough to realize it wasn’t properly lined up, so it would back out and try again, but it still couldn’t complete the task.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does it handle pet hair?

I have two dogs and three cats; their hair has broken several belts on other vacuums. I’ve literally gone through two regular vacuums marketed toward pet hair and one other robot vacuum before this one.

Not only was the s9+ able to suck up all of the pet hair, but it also hasn’t gotten jammed yet. With my previous robot vacuum, I would get error alerts every 5 minutes or let me know that there was something stuck in the brushes—and it was always pet hair.

I imagine it’s able to stand up to the pet hair because it cleans regularly. When I manually vacuum, I don’t do it as often as I should, and things can get a little built up. But with the s9+, I was able to schedule daily cleanings through the app, which really kept the floor clean and helped me stay on top of things.

Does it work on the stairs?

The s9+ can’t clean stairs but has an edge sensor that prevents it from falling. It can also effectively clear thresholds to move over small lips as it travels from room to room.

Will this work on wood floors?

While this robot is designed for carpet, it also works well on wood and tile floors. You can adjust the app's cleaning power from low to high to adjust it for different floor types.

How long does the charge last?

According to the manufacturers, a single charge lasts 120 minutes, but in my experience, the battery died after around 60 minutes of use every time. I used it on 900 square feet of carpet, and this time frame was enough to clean that area, but it would occasionally die in the middle of cleaning, and I would have to return it to its base manually.

Does it work without the app?

You can control basic functions of the s9+, like clean, spot clean, and home, without the app, but you do need the app to use any advanced features, like smart mapping, “no” zones, and scheduled cleaning times.

Competition: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs. iRobot Roomba i7+

If you have your heart set on an iRobot, the Roomba i7+ is one of iRobot’s most popular—and most highly rated—robot vacuums. The two models share many similarities, like a self-emptying dock, custom cleaning control, and smart connectivity that lets you control the vacuum through the app or Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices. There are also some pretty significant differences.

Compared to the Roomba 600 series, iRobot’s entry-level models, the S9+ has 40 times the suction power, while the i7+ has 10 times. The i7+ is also missing the advanced sensors that allow for specialized corner cleaning and the anti-allergen system designed to trap 99% of pollen, mold, and pet allergens. 

If you don’t have any pets, you might not need the extra suction power or the allergen-trapping, but for me, these advanced features made a world of difference and are worth the extra $300.

Final Verdict

Buy it if you can.

All in all, the iRobot Roomba s9+ pulled out all of the stops and ended up with a list of pros that totally outweighed the list of cons. If you have animals and room in your budget, it’s definitely a winner.

 

Specs

  • Product Name Roomba s9+ Robot Vacuum
  • Product Brand iRobot
  • Price $1099.99
  • Weight 8.15 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 12.2 x 19 x 15.1 in.
  • Color Black and rose golg
  • Warranty 1-year limited warranty and 60-day money back guarantee
  • What's Included s9+ Robot Vacuum, Clean Base with Automatic Dirt Disposal, 2 Dirt Disposal Bags, 1 Extra Filter, and 1 Extra Corner Brush