Rather not spend close to $1,000 for a Roomba that can both vacuum and mop? If so, get ready for two new iRobot models that perform both vacuuming and mopping chores for less, although you’ll have to do without a key feature.
Available now for pre-order in North America, the Roomba Combo j5+ ($799) and Combo i5+ ($549) can vacuum, mop, map your floors, and empty their own bins, and they can do so for hundreds less than the $999 Roomba Combo j7+, which arrived last year. Of course, there is a trade-off, which we’ll get to in a moment.
The two new Roombas share many of the same features as the pricier Combo j7+, including the ability to create a Smart Map of your floors. You can name each room on the Smart Map, as well as create specific room-cleaning schedules and designate no-vacuum and no-mop zones.
Both Roombas also come bundled with self-emptying bins that hold up to two months of dirt and debris. When the Clean Base (which also acts as a charging station) is filled, you just slide out the disposable self-sealing bag and replace it with a new one.
The Roomba Combo j5+ ups the ante compared to the more affordable Combo i5+ with a built-in camera that allows it to dodge shoes, power cords, pillows, and other common household objects. Even better, the Combo j5+ can also avoid pet poop, and iRobot even says it will replace your bot if it makes a messy mistake.
Both vacuums come equipped with dual multi-surface rubber brushes and edge-sweeping brushes that let them clean a variety of floor types as well as sweep up debris in the corners of a room.
The Roombas each come with a pair of bins: one for vacuuming only, and a second combo vacuum/mop bin that you fill with either water or a liquid cleaning solution. The Combo j5+ and i5+ will change cleaning modes automatically when you swap in the different bins.
So, what’s the trade-off between the Combo j5+/i5+ and the pricier Combo j7+? The latter model has a retractable mopping pad that automatically lifts up when the vacuum detects carpet, allowing it to perform both vacuuming and mopping duties with little assistance.
The Combo j5+ and i5+, on the other hand, lack the Combo J7+’s retractable mopping head. That means you’ll want to swap in the vacuum-only bin before allowing the robots to clean a carpeted room, or remove any rugs if you leave the vacuum/mop combo bin in place.
Both the iRobot Roomba Combo j5+ and i5+ are slated to ship next month. We’ll have reviews of both robots once we’ve tested out review units.