iRobot Roomba i3 vs i3+ Honest Review

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iRobot has replaced their older Roomba 900 series models of robot vacuums with their new midrange series – the Roomba i3 vs i3 Plus. The Roomba i3+ headline is that they’ve just made the Cheapest Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum out there now. 

If the higher-end Roomba i7+ and s9+ are out of your price range, then the Roomba i3 and i3+ are ones to get. The i3/i3+ give you many of the same smart features, including the great self-emptying feature on the i3+ with Clean Base station.

If you’re in a hurry and choosing between the Roomba i3 vs i3+, go with the i3+ for the self-emptying functionality and the feel of home cleaning automation. If you’re choosing between the Roomba i3+ vs i7+, go with the i3+ again because iRobot has stepped up their game to provide amazing value in the Roomba i3+.

On Sale
iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Vacuum - Wi-Fi...
  • INTRODUCING - The new Roomba i3 Robot Vacuum. Takes cleaning off your mind, and your to-do list.
  • POWERFUL PERFORMANCE AND POWERFUL PICK-UP - Pulls in stubborn dirt and messes with a Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System and 10X the Power-Lifting Suction. Control how you clean with the iRobot HOME app or your voice assistant.

Last update on 2021-01-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

On Sale
iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal Disposal...
  • INTRODUCING - The new Roomba i3+ Robot Vacuum. Takes cleaning off your mind, and your to-do list, for months at a time.
  • CLEANS UP AFTER YOU, AND ITSELF - Forget about vacuuming for months at a time with the CLEAN BASE Automatic Dirt Disposal that allows the i3+ to empty itself for up to 60 days. AllergenLock Bags capture and trap 99% of pollen and mold.

Last update on 2021-01-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Read more below to find out why iRobot’s new midrange vacuums, the Roomba i3 and i3 Plus, should be high up on your list of the best Roomba models

Roomba i3 and i3+ Features

Let’s start off with this before getting into the details of the advanced features. 

I am reviewing the Roomba i3 and i3+ together because they’re essentially the same robot vacuum. The main difference is the self-emptying Clean Base unit that allows the Roomba i3+ to empty itself. 

That’s similar to the Roomba i7 and i7+, as well as the Roomba s9 and s9+. The + Plus is important to have if you want the flexibility of not needing to be around to empty the Roomba to let it keep cleaning. Automatic emptying is the best thing I love about my i7+.

Having that in mind, unless otherwise specified, the features I discuss are for both vacuums. 

Size Dimensions and Weight

The Roomba i3 and i3plus are about the same size as the other mid-high range vacuums from Roomba. 

They’re 13.26 inches wide by 3.63 inches tall, and weigh 7.44 lbs. Both are slightly smaller than the Roomba i7, but only by 0.05 inches. 

Battery and Capacity 

They both come with lithium-ion batteries like the other Roomba vacuums to help it with recharging. 

Brushes and Rollers

iRobot’s patented, unique dual multi-surface rubber brushes make the Roomba i3 and i3+ great for homes with pets. The i3 picks up where the 960 left off with being great at picking up pet hair. 

If you have pets at home who like to shed their hair all over your floors and carpet, the i3 is a great vacuum to have because pet hair doesn’t get tangled. The rubber on the brush rollers help to prevent entanglement of pet or human hair. 

The brush rollers will adjust to different types of floors to stay in contact to pick up pet hair and other dirt and debris.

An edge-sweeping brush is also there to get along the sides of walls and corners. 

iRobot Roomba 3 Stage Cleaning


Suction Power, Cleaning Technology and Filters

iRobot’s 3-Stage Cleaning System continues to power the Roomba line in the latest Roomba i3 and i3+. 

While the Roomba 960’s suction power was 5x the suction of the Roomba 600 series, iRobot stepped it up for the 960 replacement. The i3 and i3+ have 10x the suction power. That puts in on the same level as the high-priced Roomba i7 and i7+. 

That’s going to come in handy if you have multiple types of floors like carpet and hard floors. Carpeted floors could use some extra juice when it comes to carpet, especially high-pile carpet. 

These two Roomba’s also have iRobot’s patented Dirt Detect Technology to find those dirtier areas in your house. The sensors will recognize more dirt and run over those areas more to ensure it’s clean. 

The i3 and i3 plus come with iRobot’s standard High-Efficiency Filters that trap 99% of dirt, dust mites, and cat and dog allergens. It’s not quite the 99.9% of HEPA filters, but it does do enough for me. 

Introducing the Roomba® i3+ | iRobot®

Navigation and Mapping

The Roomba i3 and i3+ come with Smart Navigation, but not Imprint Smart Mapping like the i7/i7+ and s9/s9+. I was personally hoping they’d bring Smart Mapping to the mid-range Roomba too and make that great feature available for more people. 

Smart mapping lets the Roomba map your house and save that map for future cleanings and customizations. One of the coolest features of smart mapping is the ability to draw “Keep Out Zones.” You don’t have to put away the dog food dishes in the kitchen pre-cleaning. You can now draw a square around it on iRobot’s mobile app and the Roomba will avoid that area. 

What the i3 and i3+ do have is Smart Navigation in-line with iAdapt 2.0 from the past Roomba 960 model. The intelligent navigation tracking sensors allow the Roomba to navigate and map your home to create the most efficient cleaning paths. Imagine cleaning in rows, rather than in random directions like the Roomba 614 and 675. 

Rows also have furniture and other obstacles, but its Reactive Sensor Technology helps the i3 and i3+ avoid obstacles and getting stuck. You’ll need to worry less about it getting stuck under your couch or other furniture. 

iRobot Roomba i3 vs i3+ Smart Navigation

The navigation is also used for the Recharge and Resume function. When the battery is running low, the Roomba i3 will find its way back to the charging station and recharge. Once it’s finished recharging, the i3 will pick up from where it left off.  

One other great feature is that the mapping with work across other iRobot products like the Braava jet for mopping to bring an extra level of cleanliness. 

iRobot Genius, Home App and Voice Control

The iRobot Genius Home Intelligence app is iRobot’s latest innovation to personalize the cleaning experience for each owner. The Genius app is a redesigned Home App with more features and functions to make it easier to keep floors clean. 

The Genius App for iOS and Android acts as your home cleaning command and control center to give you the ability to schedule cleanings, maps and other features. What iRobot Genius does is add personalized cleaning experiences and suggestions for you. If you have allergies, it’ll even suggest more cleaning sessions to make life easier for you.

iRobot Genius will suggest cleaning schedules and Clean Zone areas to you based off what it’s learned from past cleanings. Voice commands are easy with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home through compatible smart devices. 

iRobot Roomba i3 vs i3+ Genius App Peronsalized Cleaning Pet Hair

Smart home automation is what I’m constantly striving for and the Genius app helps with that. You’ll be able to integrate with other smart home devices like smart locks if you want, including cleaning routines with IFTTT. 

Imagine leaving your home, the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock locks the door behind you, and now that the Roomba i3+ knows you’re not home, the robovac automatically starts cleaning. 

Self-Emptying and Clean Base Station

Self-emptying only pertains to the Roomba i3+ because the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal emptying station is needed. 

The Roomba i3+ will automatically empty its dustbin when full and like the i7, i7+, s9, and s9+ Clean Bases, it will hold up to 60 days worth of dirt and debris. 

That’s a long time before you’ll need to empty the AllergenLock bags. These bags that hold the dirt and debris uses four layers of material that blocks and traps 99% of allergens, including pollen and mold. 

Cleans up after you, and itself | Roomba® i3+ | iRobot®

Roomba i3 vs i3+ Pros and Cons


  • Roomba i3+ brings Self-Emptying capability at a great price
  • iRobot Genius app update is exciting with the personalizations
  • Home automation integration with other smart home devices


  • No Smart Mapping

Roomba i3 vs i7 (i3+ vs i7+) Comparison 

The Roomba i3 vs i7 and Roomba i3+ vs i7+ comparison may seem unfair, but there aren’t that many differences between the two. The main difference is the i7’s Smart Mapping features that allow it to remember your home’s floor layout for future, customized cleanings.

Read the Roomba i3 vs i7 and i3+ vs i7+ full comparison review article here.

If you don’t need to draw Keep Out Zones on a map and can relocate breakable items off the floor, then the Roomba i3+ is the easy choice. 

When the choice was Roomba 960 vs i7+, I preferred the i7+ easily because it was night and day with features and offered the better overall value. But the price difference and value derived were more significant between the 960 and i7+.

Final Thoughts

iRobot has done it again with the Roomba i3 and i3+ robot vacuums. If you have a slightly higher budget, the self-emptying solution on the Roomba i3+ is well worth it. 

I hope that this is the trend to provide more affordable self-emptying lineups of robot vacuums to  the world. 

Last update on 2021-01-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Also, if you’re looking for this in Costco, the Costco version is named the Roomba i4 (4150) model. Read the full Roomba i4 review.

Costco’s i4 does not come with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal docking station. I haven’t been able to find out whether they will stock the Plus version. It’s probably safer to buy it on Amazon if you want it.