Roomba’s have changed the game for busy households that don’t always have time to whip out their regular vacuum to get the place looking fresh again.
Their intelligent technology allows them to memorize the floor plan in your house so they don’t get stuck under any furniture and will know exactly where to go when cleaning your floors.
They provide the flexibility to schedule your vacuuming session whenever you want, allowing you to have your Roomba clean up your floors whilst you’re out of the house at work and then return later to a tidy home.
Up there with the two most popular Roombas are the i3 and i7, which became instant hits with households across the world when they launched.
They are both from the i Series, but the main misconception is that the i7 is an upgraded version of the i3, when in fact, the i3 was released 2 years after the i7.
While they both look pretty similar in design, some key differences separate them and make them different, some of which won’t be made obvious by the iRobot brand.
We’ll be delving deeper into the differences between the Roomba i3 and i7, and showing you what they don’t tell you about these two different Roomba models.
First, let’s look a little closer at the features that come with both the i3 and i7 Roomba’s before we compare them side by side.
The Roomba i3 has a premium 3-stage cleaning system and 10x the power-lifting suction compared to the Roomba 600 series cleaning system which pulls up stubborn dirt for great performance.
It’s constructed with dual multi-surface rubber brushes and an edge-sweeping brush for walls and corners to ensure all areas of your home that are reachable are vacuumed.
It’s built with smart straight-line navigation that uses floor tracking sensors to be able to clean the room in straight lines, and will return to the charging dock when the battery is too low to continue. When it’s fully charged again, it will then resume cleaning from where it left off.
The i3 also features reactive sensor technology, which alerts the Roomba of where it cannot reach so it won’t get stuck under furniture while it is cleaning.
The i3 is compatible with Google Home and Alexa so you can tell them to start cleaning by the sound of your voice. And based upon your cleaning habits or commands, the Roomba will offer up a personalized cleaning schedule to suit your needs.
When the pollen count is high in your area, or your pets are going through their shedding season, then the i3 may suggest extra cleaning sessions brought into your schedule to tackle the problem.
The i3 features Imprint Technology that can link up with mopping devices from the iRobot brand to set up a continuous cleaning schedule.
The Roomba i7 also features a quality 3-stage cleaning system that has powerful suction for improved pick-up performance to leave your floors super clean.
The dual multi-surface rubber brushes help the Roomba to stay in constant contact with the floor to get every last bit of dirt, regardless of how big or small, from the surface.
The i7 features iAdapt 3.0 navigation technology, which helps the robot efficiently navigate your home and creates visual landmarks to remember where it has cleaned in the room and where it hasn’t been yet so it doesn’t miss spots.
The Imprint SmartMapping will also allow your Roomba to learn your home so you can control what room you would like to be cleaned and when.
As your i7 now has SmartMaps, you’ll be able to voice command your Roomba via Google Home or Alexa to clean up messes at the moment.
It has a high-efficiency filter that traps 99% of pet dander allergens to leave your home feeling cleaner and fresh without you having to lift a finger.
The Imprint Link Technology that is used in the i7 allows it to pair robot mops from the Braava Jet series so you can vacuum your floor to remove debris and then follow up automatically with the robot mop to sanitize your floor.
It has smart charge technology which enables the robot to charge for the time needed to resume with its cleaning duties and get the job done, instead of charging until it’s fully charged and then resuming duties. Therefore, your floor will be vacuumed quicker.
With the i7 you can create clean zones and keep-out zones to prevent your Roomba from going to these areas, which is useful if you don’t want them to go near any pet food bowls or play areas where your kids could be.
A Side By Side Comparison: Roomba i3 vs i7
Dimensions & Weight
The Roomba i3 is 13.26 x 3.63 inches and weighs 7.44lbs whereas the i7 model is 13.31 x 3.62 inches and weighs slightly less at 7.28lbs.
This is only a minor difference and may not be noticeable to the eye unless comparing them side by side.
The difference in size and weight doesn’t seem to impact the cleaning capabilities of the models.
Design & Quality
As for the design, the i3 model has a fabric ring on the top of the robot whereas the i7 is all plastic.
Both models have 3 buttons on the front, a home button that sends the Roomba back to its base, an on button which alerts the Roomba to clean, and also a spot clean button that activates the Roomba to move 3 feet away from its base and clean before returning.
The i7 does look like a higher quality product than the i3 model due to the darker and sleeker design.
When turned upside down though, they both look pretty similar with the wheels and filter being located in the same place.
Both the i3 and i7 are made with rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries.
Both models have a recharge and resume feature which means they’ll automatically return to their charging base when they’re running low on battery in the middle of cleaning and then resume where they left off.
However, the main difference is that the i7 smart charge + resume, which means it’ll only charge the battery back up to the amount it needs to finish off when it resumes compared to the i3 that will recharge fully and then resume.
This means the i7 will finish the job sooner.
The i3 has a battery life of 75 minutes before it will need recharging and the i7 can also run for 75 minutes on one fully charged battery.
The i3 and i7 take between 1.5 to 2 hours to charge back up to resume their cleaning duties.
Cleaning Capabilities & Power
The i7 and i3 have the same 3-stage cleaning system which provides a great cleaning performance around your home.
They both feature regular cleaning and spot cleaning modes to suit your needs.
They are both equipped with dual brush rollers and edge sweeping brushes to ensure they adjust and reach all different surfaces in your home, including rugs and carpets.
However, the i7 and i3’s downfall is vacuuming high pile carpets, as it doesn’t perform well compared to the S series of the Roomba.
Both models come with a high-efficiency filter to trap pet dander and allergens to keep your home fresh.
The one difference is that the i7 comes with an extra filter included in the box so you won’t have to purchase another one straight away as you would with the i3.
When it comes to navigation on these models, the i7 wins due to the more advanced iAdapt 3.0 Smart Technology in comparison to the i3’s iAdapt 2.0 Smart Technology.
This may be unnoticeable to users, and both models will still give an efficient clean in your rooms.
Where the i7 does take the lead is with its vSLAM (smart mapping) technology, which learns the layout of your house and helps to build a map for future cleaning.
This means you’ll be able to ask your i7 to clean certain rooms through the app or voice control and it will be able to find its way there.
As the i7 has this feature, you can then program it to stay out of certain areas of your home which should make automated cleaning schedules easier.
For example, if you know your children will be playing in a certain area at that time then you can create a Keep Out Zone so the i7 won’t get broken.
The i3 is unable to do this and will forget the room it has just navigated once it is done cleaning.
The i7 and the i3 both have the same reactive sensor technology which alerts the Roomba of where it can and cannot reach so it doesn’t get stuck under furniture when cleaning.
Both the i7 and i3 are compatible with the iRobot app that is available on Android and Apple devices, which allows you to personalize your cleaning schedule, as well as the app offering you recommendations for cleaning times based upon your cleaning habits.
Both models are compatible with Google Home and Alexa devices which allows you to activate the Roomba via voice recognition.
Along with Smart Maps and smart device enabled technology on the i7 model, you can ask Roomba to clean up messes in certain areas of your home (i.e under your dinner) table at the moment and it will know where to go. However, the i3 is unable to do this.
Both models have Imprint Link Technology which allows the Roomba to pair with the Braava mops from the iRobot brand to vacuum and then mop the floor in sequence, without you having to activate them separately.
What’s The Difference Between Them?
One main difference is the fabric ring on the design of the i3 compared to the i7, which does make the i7 look more premium than the i3 model.
The i7 has smart mapping technology through the built-in camera which creates floor maps of your home so you can tell it to clean specific rooms or even spot clean in a certain location.
Due to this smart mapping upgrade that the i7 has, it means it can also create a Keep Out Zone, unlike the i3.
Whilst both have the recharge and resume feature, the i7 has the Smart charge technology which allows it to only recharge to what it needs to be able to continue cleaning the rest of the area.
Which One Is Better?
The i3 is generally more highly recommended to consumers, as it offers most of the same features and technology as the i7 but at a more affordable price point.
However, consumers with a higher budget that want the added convenience of the smart mapping technology should choose the i7 model.