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Shark IQ vs. Roomba S9+ vs. Roomba i7+

Looking for the best of the best when it comes to top-of-the-line robot vacuums? You won’t want to miss this head-to-head comparison of these top performing robot vacuums.

Today’s review is going to be a matchup of: Shark IQ vs. Roomba i7+ vs. Roomba S9+. Here’s a quick view of the main differences:

Shark IQ
  • Cleaning: 87%
  • Run Time: 70 mins.
  • Run & Recharge: Yes
  • Smart Maps: Okay
  • Price: $$
Roomba i7+
  • Cleaning: 99%
  • Run Time: 75 mins.
  • Run & Recharge: Yes
  • Smart Maps: Great
  • Price: $$$
Roomba S9+
  • Cleaning: 99%
  • Run Time: 75 mins.
  • Run & Recharge: Yes
  • Smart Maps: Great
  • Price: $$$

The Design

All three of these models are designed to be extremely smart, self-efficient robot vacuums.

They have intelligent features like app control, voice control, Recharge & Resume, smart mapping, and even automatically emptying dust bins.

These vacuums are truly designed to be the next generation of autonomous home cleaning.

They’re not cheap, by any means, but if you’re looking for the smartest robot vacuums on the market, a head-to-head of the Shark IQ vs. Roomba i7+ vs. Roomba S9+ will truly show the best that money can buy in the robot vacuum market.

The Shape

One of the most noticeable differences between these models is their shape. The Shark and Roomba i7 are both round robot vacuums while the Roomba S9+ is a D-shaped robot.

Shark IQ

Roomba i7+

Roomba i7+ robot vacuum overall

Roomba S9+

The Underside

Because of the differences in shape, the underside of the Shark IQ and Roomba i7+ looks similar and the Roomba S9+ looks more unique.

The round robots have a centrally located brushroll between two wheels and a side spinning brush to help capture debris along edges and in corners.

The bottom of the Roomba i7+ is quite similar to the 900 series Roomba's

One small difference here is th spinning brush. The brush on the IQ has only one arm, while the brush on the i7 has three arms.

NOTE: We do not believe this spinning brush difference plays any large role in overall cleaning performance between the models.

Underside of the Shark IQ robot vacuum
Underside of the Shark IQ robot vacuum

On the S9+, there are quite a few differences under the hood. The main unique features are:

  1. Edge-to-edge brushroll
  2. Spinning brush with 5 arms
  3. Centrally located charging contact pins
Under side of the Roomba S9+

What about the self-emptying dust bin?

All three models come with “automatic dust disposal” as an advanced feature. When docked, the charging base can use suction to remove all debris from the robot vacuum and deposit it into a larger dust bin or bag at the charging base.

The Controls

All of these models have a basic control system on the face of the vacuum with additional controls accessible through the smartphone app. The Shark IQ has two buttons:

  • CLEAN: starts or stops a cleaning cycle
  • HOME/DOCK: sends the vacuum back to the charging base immediately
Shark IQ robot vacuum (R1010AE)
Controls on the Shark IQ

Both the Roomba i7+ and S9+ use a three-button system. In addition to CLEAN, and HOME / DOCK, Roombas also have an on-bard button for SPOT CLEANING.

One difference between the controls is where they are placed. On the i7+, the controls are basically in the middle of the vacuum, slightly to the top.

Roomba S9 button
controls on the Roomba S9+

Since the S9+ is a D-shaped vacuum, the controls are located in the far right corner.

RELATED See our big Shark vs. Roomba comparison for even more models.

The Brushroll

When it comes to the brushroll, Roomba takes the advantage, in my opinion. The Shark IQ uses a single brushroll that is a hybrid of soft bristles and rubberized paddles to help capture debris.

Shark IQ robot vacuum brushroll
Shark IQ robot vacuum brushroll

By comparison, the Roomba i7+ and Roomba S9+ use a dual rubberized brushroll system. They rotate independently of each other in counter directions to help pull debris into the dust bin. The dual brushroll system also helps to mitigate the risk of tangles or hair wrapping around the axel.

Two rubber brushrolls are used to agitate dirt and debris off of the floor
Two rubber brushrolls are used to agitate dirt and debris off of the floor

One difference between the Shark IQ brushroll, i7+, and S9+ is the width of the brushroll.

The Shark and Roomba i7 have the brushroll situated between two large wheels in the middle of the vacuum.

The Shark S9+ takes a different approach and puts the brushroll at the front of the vacuum which allows the brushroll to be wider for an edge-to-edge design.

Roomba S9+ brush roll
Roomba S9+ brush roll

Size & Dimensions

Exact dimensions of these three robot vacuums is pretty comparable:

Shark IQ

  • 12.6″ diameter
  • 3.5″ tall
  • 6.92 pounds

Roomba i7+

  • 13.34″ diameter
  • 3.63″ tall
  • 7.44 pounds

Roomba S9+

  • 12.25″ diameter
  • 3.5″ tall
  • 8.15 pounds
Shark IQ robot vacuum

Overall, the Roomba S9+ is the smallest in diameter and height, while the Shark IQ is the lightest. But again, these margins are pretty close between all three models.

How big is the charging base?

The charging base for the Roombas is:

  • 12.2″ wide
  • 15.1″ deep
  • 19″ tall
Size & dimensions of the Roomba i7+ Clean Base
Roomba i7+ clean base for comparison

By comparison, the Shark IQ charging base is slightly shorter and less deep. Exact dimensions are:

  • 12.5″ wide
  • 8.5″ deep
  • 15″ tall
Shark IQ robot vacuum at docking station
Shark IQ robot vacuum at docking station

Top Features

One of the most popular way to compare these high-end models is by asking the simple question, “what can it do?” These top-tier robot vacuums have no shortage of impressive features.

Automatic Dust Bin Disposal slot
Automatic dust bin emptying on the Roomba S9+

Here’s a quick list of how they compare. The Shark IQ, Roomba i7+, and Roomba S9+ all have:

  • Smart mapping
  • Zones cleaning
  • App control
  • Scheduled cleanings
  • Voice control (when paired with a smart device)
  • Self-emptying dust bin

Let’s talk about some of the more unique features below:

Self-Emptying Dust Bin

This feature is arguably one of the most coveted features on all of these robot vacuum models.

A self-emptying dust bin allows the charging base to suck up debris from the on-board dust bin and deposit in into a secondary bin in the charging base.

Smart charging base included with the Roomba i7+
Smart charging base included with the Roomba i7+

The Roomba i7+ and S9+ use a bagged system that can hold up to 30 loads of debris from the vacuum.

Roomba S9 Plus dust bag
Debris bag for the Roomba i7+ and S9+ docking station

The Shark IQ can also hold up to 30 loads as well, but unlike the Roomba system, the IQ system is bagless.

There is a clear window on the side of the big to let you know when it’s time to empty it.

Docking station only for the Shark IQ robot vacuum
Docking station only for the Shark IQ robot vacuum

Smart App

Comparing APPles to APPles… the Roomba app is superior to the Shark app, in my opinion.

Roomba has dozens of different robot vacuum models that use the iRobot app. They make periodic updates to refine the usability and features of the app.

On the other hand, Shark has few vacuums that are compatible with an app. While it does have some good features like scheduled cleaning, smart mapping, and zoned cleaning, it just doesn’t have the long lineage of app iterations to produce a refined, user-friendly experience.

Shark Clean app
Shark Clean app

The Roomba smart app is intuitive and documents a lot of detail in cleaning reports. It can track history of area cleaned, amount of time cleaned, error reports, maintenance, etc.

Roomba S9+ cleaning history chart
Cleaning history chart

RELATED – What’s the best robot vacuum on the market?

Mapping & Navigation

Smart mapping and advanced navigation is one feature that helps to separate these three models from other, less advanced robot vacuum. Both Shark and Roomba offer some smart tools, but there are some differences:

Shark IQ

With Shark, navigation and mapping technology includes:

  • On-board camera (maps the ceiling as it cleans)
  • Straighter line navigation
  • Digital mapping (accessible in the app)
  • Room Select (sends the vacuum to a specific room within the map)

NOTE: One thing the Shark IQ lacks is digital ‘no-go’ lines or some other way of blocking off specific rooms or areas within the app.

Shark BotBoundary vacuum barrier
Shark BotBoundary vacuum barrier (image source: SharkClean.com)

The only way to block off areas is with the “Bot Boundary” strip which is a physical adhesive strip that you stick to your floor. When the IQ approaches the strip it turns away and will not clean past it.

Roomba i7+ & S9+

The Roomba i7+ and S9+ have the same app capabilities so we can talk about them together here. Navigation and mapping technology includes:

  • On-board camera (maps the ceiling as it cleans)
  • Straighter line navigation
  • Digital mapping (accessible in the app)
  • Imprint Smart Mapping
  • Imprint Link
Under neither the hood on the Roomba S9+
Under the hood of the Roomba S9+ robot vacuum

What is Imprint Mapping?

Imprint mapping is the most advanced Roomba navigation technology to-date. Using this feature, you can assign names to rooms and then schedule cleaning cycles based on room name. This lets you clean certain rooms more often than others.

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

What is Imprint Link?

The Imprint Link technology allows the Roomba i7+ and Roomba S9+ to communicate with Roomba mopping robots, like the Braava Jet m6.

Linking technology will run a vacuum cleaning cycle and then when it is done, it will signal the mopping robot to get to work.

Braava Jet m6 robot mop

If you like the idea of a 2-in-1 robot vacuum and mopping system, Roomba’s Imprint Link technology is vital and unique in the robot market.

LEARN MORE: Click here to read our full review of the Braava Jet m6 mopping robot.

Cleaning Performance

Roomba S9+ cleaning on hardwood floors

Shark IQ

87%

Roomba i7+

99%

Roomba S9+

99%

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re only cleaning hardwoods, the lower-priced Shark IQ would definitely be the better deal, but for large debris cleaning for floor plans with variable floor types (especially carpet), Roomba excels. The i7+ and S9+ take the cake for carpet cleaning performance.

Shark IQ Cleaning Tests

The Shark IQ excelled on hardwood floors, but really struggled with larger debris on carpet. Cereal, especially, tended to clog the dust bin, which made it impossible to auto-empty.

In addition, the navigation seemed to focus more on the straightaways by walls and didn’t cross into the middle of the space too much.

Hardwoods

98%

Low Carpet

74%

High Carpet

90%

Shark IQ hardwood floor cleaning tests
Shark IQ hardwood floor cleaning tests

Roomba i7+

The Roomba i7+ had nearly flawless cleaning performance on all three floor types and all debris types. The navigation was thorough and thoughtful. All in all, a successful cleaning run.

Hardwoods

99%

Low Carpet

99%

High Carpet

99%

Roomba i7+ hardwood cleaning performance test
Roomba i7+ hardwood cleaning performance test

Roomba S9+

Similar to the performance of the i7+, the S9+ also was exceptional. The suction power is a bit stronger on the S9+ compared to the i7+ so I would guess that if you have a lot of high carpet in your home, the Roomba S9+ may eventually start to edge ahead of the i7+, in my opinion.

Hardwoods

99%

Low Carpet

99%

High Carpet

99%

Roomba S9+ cleaning vs. hardwood floors
Roomba S9+ cleaning vs. hardwood floors

RELATED What’s the best Roomba you can buy?

Setup & Usability

It’s fast and easy to get to cleaning with any of these vacuums. Simply follow the basic steps below:

  1. Unbox the vacuum and remove all packaging.
  2. Charge it up to prepare for a full cleaning. This is an important step to make sure it has enough juice to map your areas properly.
  3. Install the app onto your smartphone.
  4. Follow the in-app prompts to join the app to your vacuum.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance with any of these robot vacuums includes basically the same short list with a couple of minor distinctions.

1. Maintain the docking station.

You won’t have to worry about emptying the on-board dust bin for these robots, but make sure to empty the large dust bin or bag at the docking station.

For the Shark, there’s a clear window to easily see when it’s time to empty. You can also periodically check the docking station for debris or clogs.

Automatic emptying feature on the Shark IQ
Automatic emptying feature on the Shark IQ

For the Roomba, the app will let you know when the bag is full. You can seal the bag and throw it away or you can empty the bag’s contents and reuse.

Roomba S9+ parked at CleanBase

2. Clean or replace the filter as needed.

Although the dust bin empties automatically, be sure to properly maintain the filters. Remove the filter after every few cleaning runs and knock out and debris or use the provided cleaning tool. Replace filters as needed.

Which one should you buy?

Depending on what your exact needs are, any one of these three robot vacuums could be right for you. It’s important to consider your budget and which features are most important to you.

If budget is most important…

I would recommend the Shark IQ. This robot is less expensive than the Roomba models and still offers many of the same features.

Shark IQ robot vacuum cleaning debris from rug
Shark IQ robot vacuum cleaning debris from rug

The cleaning performance is a little lacking, but would be less noticeable if you’re mainly cleaning hard surface floors (like wood, tile, or vinyl).

Not only is the sticker price less, but because it is a bagless system, you won’t have to worry about the added expense of debris bags for the docking station.

If performance is most important…

I would recommend the Roomba S9+ or Roomba i7+. Both of these models use dual rubberized brushrolls (for fewer tangles) and have great performance across all floor types.

Roomba S9 cleaning high pile carpet

If you want faster cleaning cycles, go with the Roomba S9+. It has the D-shaped body that allows it to have a wider brushroll and can clean more area in the same amount of time.

The Roomba S9+ also has more suction. Roomba states that the S9+ has 40X the suction power (compared to the Roomba 600 series) while the Roomba i7 has only 10X the suction power.

Roomba i7+ cleaning hardwood floors

If you want a better value, go with the Roomba i7+. It has a lower sticker price and minimal differences. The main things you’re giving up with the i7+ is (1) the wider brushroll, (2) a little suction power, and (3) D-shaped body style.

Still have questions?

Click here to read the reviews of each model below:

And of course, drop us any questions you have in the comments down below. We do our best to respond within 24 hours.

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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