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Roomba i3+ Review

The Roomba i3+ and i3 launched in September 2020. It’s a smart robot vacuum with a self-emptying dust bin.

But how’s the cleaning performance, features, and specs? Our i3+ review answers now.

Value-Priced, Self-Emptying Robot

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Roomba i3+

The Roomba i3+ takes the advanced capability of the self-emptying dust bin and pairs it with a more affordable robot vacuum, for a value-packed blend of performance, usability, and price. It has digital mapping, smartphone integration, and great cleaning performance. You miss out on the zoned cleaning and physical virtual walls, but these may be pretty minor issues to most users. As expected, it performed fantastic in our cleaning tests, removing 99% (by weight) of all debris we tested it against (4 debris types, 3 floor types). Roomba’s i-series line continues to impress with the recent i3+ addition.Check Price

Pros

  • Comes with or without the self-emptying dust bin
  • Fantastic performance. Removed 99% of all debris we tested it against.
  • Offers significantly lower price point than the Roomba S9+ and i7+
  • Same suction as the i7+ (10x vs. the Roomba 600 series)
  • Systematic navigation (cleans in straight lines)

Cons

  • No keep out zones
  • No direct room cleaning (ie, you cannot send it to clean a specific room by name)

Table of Contents

Roomba i3+ Design

The Roomba i3+ and i3 is built on the same framework as Roomba’s other i-series robots.

Roomba i3+
Roomba i3+ (top down view)

The i3 is also compatible with the self-emptying dust bin, which is arguably the most attractive feature of the i3+.

Roomba i3+ rubber brushroll
Roomba i3+ rubber brushroll

The look of the i3+ is also a bit different from other Roombas we’ve seen to date. This is one of the first models to have the look of a textured top face.

Roomba i3+ profile view
Roomba i3+ profile view

Still aluminum, but the outer perimeter material on the i3+ has a bit of a textile look with a smooth center.

Roomba i3+ stealth cord wrap
Roomba i3+ stealth cord wrap

The “CLEAN” button is located top and center with a while LED ring around it. The ‘Home’ and ‘Spot Clean’ buttons are located to the left and right of the central Clean button.

What does the bottom look like?

The underside of the Roomba i3+ looks similar to Roomba’s new e, i, and S series robots.

Roomba i3+ (under side view)
Roomba i3+ (under side view)

It uses dual-rubberized brushrolls with a single side spinning brush. There are three navigational wheels, two larger ones for transitioning different floor types and one smaller one for steering or making 360° turns.

Cleaning Performance

To evaluate the cleaning performance, we run a series of tests on three different floor types (hardwoods, low pile and high pile carpet).

Roomba i3+ cleaning carpet
Roomba i3+ cleaning carpet

Within those tests we use a mix of different debris types including cereal, rice, kitty litter, and sugar.

Below is the testing data from our i3+ cleaning tests.

Overall

99%

Hardwood

99%

Low Carpet

99%

High Carpet

99%

Overall, the performance was nearly flawless on all floor types. This vacuum navigates in clean straight lines and has among the best suction and cleaning power of any robot vacuum we’ve tested.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning

On hardwood floors, it was basically flawless and cleaned 99% of all debris on the floor.

Roomba i3+ Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tests
Roomba i3+ Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tests

Low Pile Carpet Cleaning

On low pile carpet, performance continued to be fantastic. Like hardwood floors, it scored a 99% removal rate (by weight) on low pile carpet.

Roomba i3+ Low Pile Carpet Cleaning Tests
Roomba i3+ Low Pile Carpet Cleaning Tests

High Pile Carpet Cleaning

High pile carpets were bascially the same story as low pile. The i3+ Roomba 99% of all debris we tested.

Roomba i3+ High Pile Carpet Cleaning Tests
Roomba i3+ High Pile Carpet Cleaning Tests

While these numbers may feel a bit like a foregone conclusion, they are not. To date, we’ve tested over 50 different robot vacuums.

Of those 50 only 4 have scored 99% or higher across all 3 floor types. Those 4 being the Roomba i3+, i7+, S9+, and e5.

Roomba’s brushroll, suction power, and overall cleaning system is still a healthy step above most others we’ve tested, especially high pile carpet.

The Roomba i3+ navigates and cleans in straight paths.

In our navigation tests, it did a great job at avoiding common obstacles and did not get stuck on any obstacles in our living room / kitchen setup.

You can watch our full navigation test video below:

Roomba i3+ vs. i3 – What’s the Difference?

The difference between the i3+ and i3 is simple. The i3+ includes the clean base, which offers a self-empty dust bin. The i3 does not, and instead only includes the standard charger.

Roomba i3+ Clean Base
Roomba i3+ Clean Base

The physical robot on both the i3+ and i3 is exactly the same. As a result, you can purchase the i3 and buy a standalone clean base in the future if you want to add the self empty dust bin.

Roomba i3+ auto dirt disposal slot
Roomba i3+ auto dirt disposal slot

So while the i3+ is more convenient with the self-empty dust bin, the cleaning performance, suction, run time, navigation, and other operational characteristics are exactly the same on both the i3+ and i3.

Roomba i3+ vs. i7+ – What’s the Difference?

Roomba i3+
  • Self-Emptying Yes
  • Navigation: Systematic Navigation
  • Suction: 10X Roomba 600 Series
  • Virtual Wall: No
  • Zoned Cleaning: No
Roomba i7+
  • Self-Emptying Yes
  • Navigation: iAdapt 3.0
  • Suction: 10X Roomba 600 Series
  • Virtual Wall: Yes; one
  • Zoned Cleaning: Yes

The differences between Roomba i7+ and Roomba i3+ comes down to just a few small factors—custom cleaning control and virtual walls.

iRobot Roomba app smart mapping
iRobot app making a digital map of the Modern Castle home

The i7 offers more a more customizable cleaning, keep out zones, and the ability to clean specific rooms.

The i3 still has the ability to digitally map floor plans, but it can’t interact with those maps in as many ways as the i7+. This limits the ability to customize cleaning routines, recommendations, and specific room cleaning.

Here’s a complete list of features that the i7 has that the i3 lacks:

  • Custom cleaning control
  • Clean zones and keep out zones
  • Selective room cleaning
  • Visual navigation

Both have the same suction power, scheduled cleaning, smartphone integration, and the ability to partner with the Braava mops.

Roomba i7+ robot vacuum on smart cleaning base
Roomba i7+ at docking station
Braava Jet m6
Braava Jet m6

This technology will vacuum the floors and then communicate with the Braava mop to start a mopping cycle after the vacuuming is complete.

RELATED – Read our Braava Jet m6 review here and Roomba i7+ review here.

Size & Dimensions

The Roomba i3+ and i3 is almost the exact same size and weight as the i7. It’s fairly wide compared to other models we’ve tested and a little tall, but still well under 4″.

It’s a nice balance between power, dustbin capacity, and the ability to maneuver under furniture.

How big is the vacuum?

The Roomba i3 is:

  • 13.26″ diameter
  • 3.63″ tall
  • 7.44 lbs
Roomba i3 size
Roomba i3 size

How big is the charging base?

The Roomba i3+ model is available with the standard charging base or with the self-emptying charging base.

When sold with the advanced charging base, the i3 package is called the i3+. You can also buy the Clean Base charger separately.

The Self-Charging Base (Clean Base)

The self-emptying base is significantly larger than the standard base. Here are the exact dimensions to the Clean Base:

  • Height: 19″
  • Depth: 15.1″
  • Width: 12.2″
Roomba i3+ clean base size
Roomba i3+ clean base size

After the Roomba docks into the charging base, the system will suck debris from the dust bin and deposit it into the larger cavity of the charging base.

The Standard Base

If you don’t need the self-emptying dust bin, you can also opt for the standard charging base (shown below).

Roomba standard charger
Roomba standard charger

This base is just large enough to engage with the charging contact pics and provide a sensor beacon for the Roomba to navigate around and find the charger when the cleaning cycle is complete.

Accessories & Parts

The Roomba i3+ includes the following parts and accessories:

  • Roomba i3 robot vacuum
  • Charging base (standard base with the i3 or self-emptying Clean Base with the i3+)
  • Spinning side brush
  • HEPA filter (x2)
  • Dirt disposal bags (x2; with the i3+ only)

The parts and accessories included with the i3 is nearly identical to the parts included with the i7+ and S9+ models.

One item that is not included with the i3 is any virtual walls (but you can buy them standalone here), similar to the Roomba e5. This is one area cutback that helps to keep the cost lower.

Here’s a closer look at exactly what you’ll get in addition to the vacuum itself.

Roomba i7 robot vacuum

Self-Emptying Base (i3+)

Charger included with the Roomba vacuums

Standard Base (i3)

CHARGING BASE | As mentioned above, the i3+ comes with the self-emptying charging base while the i3 comes with the standard charging base.

Roomba i3+ spinning side brush
Roomba i3+ spinning side brush

SPINNING BRUSH | The spinning brush snaps into the edge of the i3 on the underside. The rotating bristles capture dirt and debris along corners and edges.

Roomba i3+ Filter
Roomba i3+ Filter

HEPA FILTER | The HEPA filter that comes with the i3 is the same filter that comes with the i7 and e5 models. It’s about half the size of older Roomba filters and also more efficient.

Roomba i3+ disposal bag
Roomba i3+ disposal bag

“CLEAN BASE” DISPOSABLE BAG | The Clean Base charger is designed to hold up to 30 loads of debris from the vacuum. These bags are marked as “disposable”, but I found the quality to be better than expected.

This bag could easily be reused multiple times before needing to be replaced.

When it is time to replace, you can find Clean Base disposable bags here.

Features

There are quite a few really great features on the new Roomba i3+.

Here’s a quick list of some of the best features on the i3+.

Self-Emptying

Of course, one of the best features we’ve got to highlight is the self-emptying dust bin. This feature is about as handy as it sounds.

Roomba i3+ clean base with self empty dust bin
Roomba i3+ clean base with self empty dust binRoomba i3+ clean base with self empty dust bin

It is the exact same system that is available with the Roomba S9+ and Roomba i7+, although the aesthetics and finishes may be a little different.

Digital Mapping

The Roomba i3+ has Systematic Navigation with enabled digital maps. With this technology, you can view the cleaning path of the Roomba using the smartphone app.

Roomba i3+ Digital Mapping
Roomba i3+ Digital Mapping

While you’re able to view those cleaning paths, you cannot interact with them after the fact to create custom cleaning routines, keep out zones, or clean specific rooms.

However, it still cleans in systematic straight lines.

Scheduling

Like many other Roomba, the i3+ offers scheduled cleaning. You can schedule recurring days and times or one-time cleanings in advance.

Setup takes just a few moments using the iRobot app.

Roomba i3+ cleaning schedule setup
Roomba i3+ cleaning schedule setup

NOTE: One thing the i3+ cannot do is allow for Selective Room Cleaning. Meaning you cannot send to to clean a specific room by name as you can with the i7+ and S9+.

Usability

The usability of this vacuum is excellent, namely due to the self empty dust bin and app integration.

Roomba i3+ app
Roomba i3+ app

The smart navigation and digital mapping also help the Roomba i3+ to be more self-sufficient. You don’t really need to babysit this model like you would less advanced models.

Recharge & Resume

If it can’t finish the cleaning before the battery runs down, it will recharge mid-cycle and then return to the spot that it left to continue cleaning after the battery is refreshed.

Setup

Setup on all of the newer Roomba models is straightforward.

Here’s the process:

  1. Remove all parts from the box.
  2. Plug charging base into the wall.
  3. Place Roomba on the charging base.

All Roomba come with quite a bit of charge, but it’s still a good idea to fully charge any robot vacuum before using the first time.

By fully charging and fully draining the battery right away, you’re helping it get off on the right foot with regard to battery longevity.

Starting a Cleaning Cycle

To start a cleaning cycle there are a couple of different techniques.

  1. Press clean on the robot itself.
  2. Use the Roomba app to start, pause, or schedule a cleaning.
  3. Use voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

With any of the methods above, you can start a cleaning cycle and the i3+ will get to work.

Roomba i3+ cleaning
Roomba i3+ cleaning

It will drive around your home, mapping out each room, and vacuum your floors.

After it has reached max capacity within the dustbin (or it runs out of battery), the i3+ can return to the charging base, empty the debris from the dustbin, charge up if needed, and then return back to where it left off cleaning last.

Using the App

The Roomba app is one of the most intuitive and easy to use robot vacuum apps we’ve tested. After opening the app, users can place the robot in automatic cleaning mode by just clicking the “Clean”.

Roomba i3+ cleaning history
Roomba i3+ cleaning history

Is the Roomba i3+ a Good Value?

I would say that the Roomba i3+ is one of the best values of any Roomba released to date. It is a self-emptying robot vacuum for significantly less than other models with the same feature.

Roomba i3+ cleaning carpet
Roomba i3+ cleaning carpet

Granted, you do give up a few other bells and whistles in order to get the price so low. The features lacking on the i3 includes:

  • Uses Systematic Navigation instead of iAdapt 3.0 (as the i7+ and S9+ do)
  • No physical virtual walls, but it is compatible with them (buy standalone walls here)
  • No keep out zones

For more on Roomba see our full Roomba review series:

Roomba i3 Specifications

Below you’ll find a complete list of specifications on the Roomba i3+.

SpecificationsRoomba i3+
ModelRoomba i3+
Length13.26"
Width13.26"
Height3.63"
Weight7.44 lbs.
Floor TypeAll (indoor)
Battery1,800 mAh
Dust Bin Capacity~0.5 L
NavigationSystematic Navigation
Imprint Smart MappingYes
Self-Emptying (Advanced Base)Yes; smart base is included
Washable Dust Bin (on-board)Yes
Virtual WallNo, but it is compatible with virtual walls (buy here)
ReturnsYes (usually), Varies by retailer
Warranty1-Year limited
PriceCheck Price

Who Should Buy the Roomba i3+?

If you’re in the market for a self-emptying robot vacuum that won’t break the bank, the i3+ is a solid option.

I would recommend the Roomba i3+ if you:

  • Want a great value: The Roomba i3+ is a fantastic value if you want the advanced digital mapping, excellent performance, and the self-emptying dust bin. It’s not the least expensive Roomba out there, but it is the best value if you’re specifically looking for these top-of-the-line features.
  • Want a self-emptying dust bin: The self-emptying dust bin is largely the best feature that separates the i3+ from other more basic models, like the Roomba e5. The Clean Base charger holds up to 30 loads of debris so you don’t have to worry about emptying it often.
  • Want excellent cleaning performance: The cleaning performance of the i3+ was simply amazing. It removed 99% of all debris (by weight) we tested against across 3 different floor types. In terms of raw cleaning power it just couldn’t get much better than this.

For more information or to buy the Roomba i3+ see here.

Updates

  • October 5, 2020 – Updated the page with our completed testing data and test photographs. Clarified a number of sections based on our data to provide a more complete and accurate picture of performance, features, and usability.
  • September 30, 2020 – Initial version of the page was published. Initial version was pre-test format, based on specs, features, and comparative performance to similar models we’ve previously tested. Full testing data and complete review will be available as soon as the robot arrives at our office.
Self-Empty Dust Bin That's Less Expensive
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    Design - 99%
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    Performance - 99%
  • 96%
    Quality - 96%
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    Usability - 100%
  • 95%
    Value - 95%
98%

Summary

The Roomba i3+ is a robot vacuum with digital mapping, app control, and a self-empty dust bin. The i3+ is the least expensive model on Roomba’s lineup that also contains a self-empty dust bin. It uses iRobot’s systematic navigation technology to digitally map your home, which allows for serviceable navigation. It misses out on room-named cleaning and keep out zones, a feature you’ll find on the more expensive S9+ and i7+. Nevertheless, the i3+ packs a lot of value into the price point, the most significant of which is the self-emptying dust bin.

About Derek Hales

Derek HalesDerek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ModernCastle.com. He has been featured in Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Insider, Realtor.com, She Knows, and other major publications. Derek has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University. Hales has been testing and reviewing products for the home since 2014.

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