Instead of spending just a few days with Roomba’s Combo j7+ before putting together a story about the robot vacuum/mop combo as I often am forced to do with other products to hit embargoes, I took a different approach.
I’ve been using the j7+ Combo for a little under a year. In that time, I’ve changed the layout of my living room, dining room and kitchen several times, including renovating the entire floor at one point. Overall, I’ve really tested the j7+ Combo, likely far more than the average robot vacuum user.
At the outset, the Combo j7+ is relatively straightforward. It features the same overall design as the excellent object-identifying Roomba j7+ I covered earlier this year, including its built-in camera, dirt-dumping dock and mapping capabilities.
What makes the Combo j7+ unique is it can vacuum and mop your home in a single run.
I was admittedly skeptical at first because I’ve heard horror stories about 2-in-1 robot vacuums related to carpets accidentally getting mopped, leaking water bins and more. I use iRobot’s Roombas to make my life easier, not more difficult, and I was concerned that a robot vacuum/mop might take automation too far.
On top of that, iRobot is late to the game with its first 2-in-1. A quick search on Amazon reveals countless competitors with similar devices that have been out for years. Still, given iRobot’s pedigree for excellent robot vacuum navigation, I hoped the company figured things out in an Apple-like late-to-the-party way after carefully watching its competitors’ products.
Thankfully, I was right, and over the past several months, the Roomba Combo j7+ has become my cleaning best friend.
Here’s how the system works. A sleek robot mop arm sits on top of the Combo j7+. When it detects a smooth surface like a tile floor or carpet, it comes down to the back of the robot. If it detects carpet — in my case, I have a few area rugs in my living room — it flips back up and sits snugly on the top of the Roomba, keeping the wet, removable, cloth-covered mop away from your carpet.
In my experience, the Combo j7+ is excellent at detecting carpet — there hasn’t been a single instance where its mop neglected to swing out of the way before cleaning my carpet. Watching the robot move its arm up and down quickly and efficiently as it navigates throughout my home is fascinating (check it out below).
It’s worth noting that the Combo j7+’s reservoir is relatively small, and I find that I need to fill it before every cleaning, which I sometimes forget to do (some competitors offer an automatic filling solution built into the dock). On the other hand, the bin pops off relatively easily with the press of a button and includes a tab that slides out of the way for quick refilling.
Watching the Roomba Combo j7+ move its mop arm never gets boring. pic.twitter.com/JkbQkn7zdJ
— Patrick O'Rourke (@Patrick_ORourke) September 7, 2023
The Combo j7+’s vacuuming works the same as the regular j7+. This means teh robot vacuum features two rolling brushes that easily unclip so you can clean them (mine are often filled with my partner’s hair). There’s also a dock where the robot automatically ends its cleaning session to dump its debris.
Overall, the Combo j7+ vacuums and mops excellently, but I have run into a few situations where random, often slightly damp debris gets stuck on the robot vacuum’s dock or or its bin. A quick wipe-down fixed this, but it’s worth noting because this isn’t an issue I’ve encountered with other Roomba devices, including the j7+ and the older s9+, the latter of which doesn’t feature a camera.
Regarding navigation, my experience with the Combo j7+ has been nearly identical to the standard j7+. This means it’s smart most of the time and can easily navigate around cords (I have a lot everywhere), socks, shoes, bags and more. You’ll also receive notifications via the iRobot app about various obstacles, asking if you want your home map to be altered in a specific way.
I find that the more carefully curated your home’s map is, the better the robot will navigate. This means early mapping runs are important and setting ‘Keep Out Zones’ in specific areas is key to the Combo j7+ finding its way around consistently. This can all be done easily through iRobot’s iOS or Android app. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it situation if you put the initial work in and ensure you have a solid home map. That said, mapping runs can take quite some time, unfortunately.
The Roomba j7+ Combo can still be stupid sometimes despite all the technology packed into it. On a handful of occasions, I’ve found it stuck on an object or in the corner of the room, but generally, like the standard j7+, the new Combo j7+ is the most capable Roomba navigator iRobot has released yet.
“If you’re looking for a helping hand that can mostly hands-free help maintain your floors and carpet between deep cleans, the Roomba Combo j7+ is iRobot’s best device yet.”
I’ve always been fascinated with robot vacuums, particularly Roomba’s devices.
Despite its few flaws, they’re incredibly cool, and the Combo j7+ is by far the robot maker’s best device yet. However, Robot vacuums aren’t for everyone. You’ll be disappointed if you think this rather pricey device can replace your mop or vacuum. I still occasionally use my regular mop to remove debris stuck to my laminate floor or dirt from corners the robot misses.
That said, if you’re looking for a helping hand that can mostly hands-free help maintain your floors and carpet between deep cleans, the Roomba Combo j7+ is iRobot’s best device yet.
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