Our tests of the newest iRobot vacuum are finally here with the Roomba S9+ review!
Most Advanced Roomba with Self-Emptying Dust Bin
Roomba S9+The Roomba S9+ is arguably the most advanced robot vacuum ever built. It performed exceptionally well in our cleaning tests, removing 99% of all debris across 3 different floor types and against 4 different debris types. The new square front is designed to help improve cleaning in corners / edges. Sensors and cameras ensure great navigation. But the best part is it can empty its own dust bin (up to 30 loads before you need to empty bag). Easily one of the best robots on the market (if not the best).Check Price
- Square front body style may provide advantages at cleaning edges and corners
- Automatic emptying dust bin, much like the Roomba i7+ model
- Smart navigation with zoned cleaning and digital mapping
- Excellent cleaning performance (scored 99% average on our tests)
- Very expensive price point
- Not immune to getting stuck (though it is better than most)
If you would rather watch than read a review, you can find our complete Roomba S9+ video review below:
Table of Contents
- 7 Month Test
- Cleaning Performance
- Size & Dimensions
- Setup & Usability
7 Month Usage Test
We’ve been testing the Roomba S9+ in our lab and in-home over the last 7 months. During the last 7 months the S9+ has:
- Completed 92 cleaning jobs
- Vacuumed for 78 hours and 38 minutes
- Emptied its own dust bin 95 times
Within the last 30 days it has vacuumed 19,200 square feet. Over the last month we’ve been letting the S9+ clean several times per week.
The home where most of our testing occurred is 2,600 square feet and single story.
What’s To Like
- Excellent cleaning performance. During our lab tests and extended in-home tests the S9+ was an amazing performer. It has more than enough suction to handle just about any debris and any floor type. Our floors are as clean as they’ve ever been.
- Smart floor mapping. As the S9+ cleans it learns your home’s floor plan. It takes 2-3 sessions to fully create the map. Once mapped, you can setup room divers, room names, keep out zones, and more. This lets you really take control over how / when / where your home gets vacuumed.
- Self-emptying dust bin. It’s a feature I knew I would like, but didn’t fully appreciate until I got used to it. It just cannot be overstated how nice it is to only need to empty once every 1-2 months. The self-emptying dust bin really takes over the entire vacuuming chore.
What’s Not So Good
- Still Can Get Stuck. Even though the S9+ is incredibly smart, it’s not immune to getting stuck on weird obstacles, shag rugs, cords, etc. The biggest issue we noted was that it frequently got stuck in our bathroom mat. We reached a point where I would just pickup the mat beforehand or close the door to avoid the issue.
- Large and complex floor plans take a long time. With re-charge and resume the S9+ will keep cleaning until its done. That said, if you have a larger or more complex floor plan it can take a long time (several hours) to fully finish. To resolve this, we setup a smart map with a keep out zone, letting the S9+ vacuum one side of our home, while the Roomba i7+ handles the other. Granted, if you aren’t home during the day this really isn’t as big of an issue.
Overall, I’ve been impressed with the S9+. It feels like the next big step for robot vacuums, as the self-emptying dust bin feature is a huge add. Performance, navigation, and usability were all solid across the board.
Continue below for our full Roomba S9+ review.
Cleaning Performance & Tests
Unsurprisingly, cleaning performance on the Roomba S9+ was exceptional. It was effectively perfect across all 3 floor type tests.
It scored 99% on all of our tests. See our complete data and before / after photos below.
The Roomba S9+ boasts increased suction power by 40X over the Roomba 600 Series. For comparison, the Roomba i7+ offers 10X the suction power over the Roomba 600 series, so there’s a big jump there.
The Roomba S9+ did miss a couple pieces of debris on each test. However, the amount left behind wasn’t enough to measure on our digital scale.
The Roomba S9+ is the best robot we have tested to date.
RELATED – Wonder how the S9+ compares to other high-end Roomba? See our S9+ vs. S9 vs. i7+ vs. i7 vs. e5 comparison here.
Roomba S9+ Design
The design of the Roomba S9+ is notably unlike anything we’ve seen from the iRobot showroom. This vacuum takes a direct deviation from the round body style and instead uses a square front body style.
RELATED – The Neato Botvac D7 is another robot with a square front body style.
The controls are also different on the S9+ than any other model we’ve seen from Roomba.
Most other Roomba models have always had a CLEAN button right in the middle of the vacuum. With the S9+, the central part of the vacuum is reserved for a large matte gold accent disk.
The controls are located to the side closer to the straight edge of the D-style body.
- CLEAN – to start or pause a cleaning cycle
- HOME – to send the Roomba back to its charging base
- SPOT – for spot cleaning specific areas in a cleaning cycle
The underside of the Roomba S9+ has many of the same parts as older Roomba models, but the design is completely different.
The brushroll is located at the front of the vacuum, instead of the middle, like it is on traditional Roomba models. Because of its new location, it also has a wider design, since it’s not sandwiched in between the wheels.
This longer brushroll provides a wider cleaning path, which could result in shorter cleaning cycles and less navigating back and forth.
There is still a spinning brush on one side to help capture debris from the edges and corners, but the bristles are much smaller than what you’d find on other Roomba models.
The bottom of the vacuum also has a small access port that allows the dust bin to empty directly into the CleanBase unit on the charging station.
We’ve always been really impressed with iRobot’s build quality. Their robots are built like tanks. They look and feel incredibly well made.
However, the build quality on the S9+ really feels like a step up even from that. The parts have a solid feel to them. The matte black plastic parts mixed with the copper accents are incredibly stylish.
Every part, from the body to brush rolls to base, to even the power cord that comes with it, feels like it’s build to last.
Automatic Dustbin Emptying
Like the Roomba i7+, the Roomba S9+ comes with an automatic dustbin emptying technology designed into the charging base. This system is called CleanBase and is an enlarged charging base system that has a disposable dust bag, which the S9+ can deposit debris directly into.
If you think you’ve seen this before, it was likely on the Roomba i7+, where the CleanBase was first introduced. The dust bag on the charging base can hold up to 30 loads of debris from the on-board dust bin.
NOTE: Although iRobot advertises the dust bag on the CleanBase as “disposable”, I found that it was possible to simply empty the contents and reinstall the bag. Unless you have serve allergies and don’t want any debris to become airborne, it is certainly possible to empty and reuse this bag.
The Roomba S9+ is the first robot vacuum from the Roomba lineup that has a square front body style. This makes it easier to access corners and along straight edges.
When paired to a wifi network, you can control the Roomba S9+ directly from your phone or via voice control, when paired with technology like Amazon Alexa.
Imprint Smart Mapping
Imprint smart mapping (ISM) combines a number of smart navigation features into one technology. ISM includes zoned cleaning, navigation in straighter liner, and the creation of digital maps which are accessible directly from your smartphone using the iRobot app.
Smart sensors designed into this robot digitally scan the space up to 25 times per second, resulting in less bumping into obstacles.
Imprint Link is a paring technology that works with the Roomba S9+ and the new Braava m6 mopping robot. When used in tandem, this linking technology allows for the S9+ to vacuum for your carpets and then communicate to the m6 that it’s time for mopping.
The one disadvantage here is that in order to utilize this technology, you’ll need to purchase the robot vac and mop, which would be quite an investment.
Recharge & Resume
As opposed to just making batteries bigger and bigger, iRobot seems to be moving more in the direction of recharge and resume.
This feature allows the Roomba to return to its base and recharge any time it runs out of battery. Then it simply returns to where it left to continue cleaning until the job is done.
Size & Dimensions
Visually, the Roomba S9+ looks to be a similar size compared to other square front robots.
How big is the vacuum?
The Roomba S9+ is:
- 12.25″ diameter
- 3.5″ tall
- 8.15 pounds
How big is the charging base?
The charging base of the Roomba S9+ is comparable in size to the CleanBase charger on the Roomba i7+.
The dimensions are roughly:
- 19″ tall
- 15″ deep
- 12″ wide
On the Roomba i7+, you have the option of downgrading to the vacuum without the larger, self-emptying charging base. They package this deal as the Roomba i7.
RELATED – See our Roomba i7+ review here.
Depending on your needs, it may make sense downgrade to the less advanced charging station and save some cash if automatic dustbin emptying isn’t an important feature to you.
Accessories & Parts
The Roomba S9+ includes the following accessories:
- Clean base (both charges and allows S9+ to self-empty dust bin)
- 2 Disposal bags
- 1 HEPA filter
- 2 Spinning brushes (1 extra)
The charging base is larger than a traditional Roomba charging base since it has the self-emptying technology and large dust bag designed into the actual unit.
The S9+ comes with two disposable bags that install directly into the charging base. As I mentioned above, Roomba calls these bags “disposable”, but if you’ve concerned with maintenance costs, you can certainly empty and reuse these bags. On average, they can hold about 30 loads of debris from the on-board dust bin.
The HEPA filter on Roomba S9+ is the same filters as what you’ll see on the Roomba i7+, i7 and e5. It’s about the size of a cassette tape and a part of the AeroForce system. Roombas with the older AeroForce or the AeroVac system will use a larger, slightly bulkier style filter.
While the filters are the same as what you’ll see on other high-end Roomba, it’s able to remove more particulates due to the completely sealed system. Dust is transferred from rollers through the filter, to the bin, and then finally to the dust bag on the base.
The spinning brush is another accessory that has changed slightly on the Roomba S9+. With the adaptation into the D-style body, the spinning brush on this model is smaller than it is on other round-body robot vacuums.
Setup & Usability
Setup on the S9+ is similar to setting up any other robot. Unbox it, plug it in, charge it, then turn it on.
That’s about it.
Setting up the Vacuum
All Roombas come pre-assembled. The spinning side brush and brush roll was already installed.
While most Roombas arrive with an almost-full battery it’s still a good idea to charge it up before starting a cleaning cycle of any new space.
After a quick charge, you can simply press “CLEAN” and let it get to work, or you can choose to pair it with the app.
Pairing with the app helps to enable advanced features and control, as well as improve overall usability.
Setting up the App
Installing the app takes just a few minutes.
- Install the iHome app on your device.
- Follow the prompts to pair with the S9+.
- Start a cleaning cycle, set schedules, view cleaning performance, or check out recommended maintenance tasks.
When connected to a wifi network, you can also control the S9+ with simple voice commands. This does require you to have a voice-activation device like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The advanced navigation and Imprint technology (both for mapping and linking) provide some real advantages in terms of usability.
Smart sensors on the Roomba S9+ scan any space up to 25 times every second resulting in better navigation and less bumping into obstacles.
Does the Roomba S9+ have zoned cleaning?
Absolutely. As part of the Imprint smart mapping technology, the S9+ creates digital maps of your home, which you can later assign names to those spaces for specific zoned cleaning.
In addition, you can create Keep Out Zones, which tell Roomba to stay out of those areas.
When paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant you can even access zoned cleaning through voice command.
Simply speak short commands like, “Roomba, clean the living room” and the S9+ will get to work.
Is the Roomba S9+ a good value?
Ok so bottom line… is the Roomba S9+ a good value? Really it depends on what you’re looking for.
The Roomba S9+ is bleeding cutting edge, no doubt about that. If you want the absolute “best of the best”, the Roomba S9+ is the robot vacuum for you.
It has all of the most advanced technology and 40X the suction over the Roomba 600 Series. In addition, it’s the only robot we’ve seen to date that has linking technology to pair it with a mopping robot (the braava m6).
That being said, it’s significantly pricier than even the 2nd most advanced Roomba, the Roomba i7+. While it does have a new body-style, greater suction, and a wider cleaning path, it is hard to say that this adds a significant amount of value to justify the higher cost.
Even the Roomba i7+ was able to operate at 99% overall cleaning performance, which just doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvement between the two models.
Roomba S9+ Specifications
|Model||Roomba S9+ (9550)|
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bin Capacity||Unknown|
|Imprint Smart Mapping||Yes|
|Imprint Link||Yes (pairs the S9+ vacuum with the braava M6 mop)|
|Self-Emptying (Advanced Base)||Yes|
|Washable Dust Bin (on-board)||Yes|
|Includes Digital Wall||Yes|
|Returns||Varies by retailer, other retailers will vary|
Should You Buy the Roomba S9+?
For the best-of-the-best that Roomba has to offer, the Roomba S9+ is an amazing machine. While it is incredibly pricey, it also comes with the most advanced features on the robot vacuum market.
I would recommend the Roomba S9+ if you want the following in a robot:
- Want a self-emptying dustbin: Aside from the Roomba i7+, the Roomba S9+ is one of the only other models on the market to offer a self-emptying dustbin. This feature can be useful if you want a “set it and forget it” approach to your robot.
- Want a square front body: For the first time, iRobot has designed a square front robot with the Roomba S9+. While the body style certainly does remind us of comparable models to come from Neato Robotics, it’s a big change for Roomba. In addition to excellent edge cleaning, the square front body also allows for a wider cleaning path with longer brushrolls.
- Want excellent cleaning performance: It scored 99% on all 3 of our floor cleaning tests. It offers incredible suction and that suction results in incredible cleaning performance. The Roomba S9+ is among the very best robots we have tested to date.
To learn more or to buy the Roomba S9+, you can check it out here.
- March 27, 2020 – Updated our review with our 7 month test notes. Added a few pictures, removed comparison info (it is now located here), and fixed a few other minor issues.
- October 3, 2019 – iRobot informed us that they call the new design a “square front” instead of “d-shaped”. They did not ask us to change it, but we felt we should as it feels more clear. iRobot also provided us with more information about the filter, which we felt was helpful so we decided to add it as well.
- September 30, 2019 – Updated our review with our testing data, photographs, and refined information, opinions, and analysis. Quality score improved from 96% to 100%, which resulted in overall score improvement from 98% to 99%.
- June 4, 2019 – Initial version of the page was published as a pre-test review.
Bleeding Edge Design & Performance
The iRobot Roomba S9+ is the most advanced robot vacuum ever built. It features a self-emptying dust bin, something only available in one other robot we’re aware of (the Roomba i7+). The recharge and resume feature allows it to continue charging itself up and cleaning until the job is done, no matter how big. Digital mapping, map control, edge cleaning, and more make this one of the best robot we’ve ever seen.