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Roomba i3 vs e5 (2022): Which Budget Roomba Is Better?

Homeowners who aren’t comfortable with the idea of a robot vacuum cleaner mapping their homes โ€” and keeping that map stored โ€” might warm up to budget alternatives instead. iRobot’s Roomba i3 and Roomba e5, for instance, are affordable robovacs that come with standard cleaning technology but without advanced mapping features. And since both are within the same price range, choosing between the two can be a challenge. Below, we take a look at their key features to see which budget Roomba is a better deal.

Roomba i3 vs e5 Comparison Chart

ModelRoomba i3Roomba e5
Suction Power10x suction power compared to Roomba 600 series5x suction power compared to Roomba 600 series
Cleaning System3-Stage Cleaning System3-Stage Cleaning System
Smart NavigationYesYes
Smart MappingNoNo
Tangle Resistant BrushesYesYes
Automatic Dirt DisposalYesNo
Create Keep Out ZonesNoNo
Recharge and ResumeYesNo
Battery TypeLithium IonLithium Ion
Dimensions13.26โ€ณ x 3.63โ€ณ13.3″ x 3.6″
Weight7.44 lbs.7.2 lbs.


The round design of the Roomba i3 and e5 is typical of most robot vacuum cleaners.

Here’s a side-by-side look at the Roomba i3 (left) and e5 (right).

The Roomba i3 and e5 both sport the puck-shaped design that has largely defined the robot vacuum cleaners as we know them today. While the round form makes for a sleek and futuristic-looking robovac, they don’t always stand out against the competition. Higher-end models like iRobot’s own Roomba s9 have instead found success in the D-shape approach, both in aesthetics and corner-cleaning performance.

But for budget robovacs, there’s little to complain about here. The Roomba i3 looks great for its price, with its metallic silver disc and black, edge bumpers. On the other hand, the e5 makes a strong case for a more minimalist robovac, thanks to its solid black plastic body. One might even say that the Roomba e5 looks trendier than the i3, which only proves simplicity is timeless.

Now both robot vacuum cleaners have the same three buttons on its faceplate, although the e5 comes with more indicators. On the Roomba i3, the light ring indicator is integrated with the Power button. iRobot’s newest machine is also slightly thicker and heavier than the e-Series favorite.

Cleaning Features

Compared to the Roomba e5, the Roomba i3 has more suction power plus compatibility with automatic dirt disposal.

The Roomba i3 (left) is compatible with the Clean Base automatic dirt disposal. Meanwhile, the Roomba e5 (right) boasts 5x power-lifting suction.

A look at the underside of the Roomba i3 and e5 shows they mostly share the same cleaning components. You get dual multi-surface brushes โ€” one that loosens dirt, another that sweeps and draws them into the suction. There’s also an edge-sweeping brush specifically designed with a 27-degree angle to clear debris along walls and corners. The Roomba i3, however, boasts more powerful suction than the e5, especially when compared with iRobot’s best-selling 600 series. All of these features work together as part of the i3 and e5’s three-stage cleaning system.

Because of their circular design, the Roomba i3 and e5 do struggle with 90-degree corners. Nonetheless, their sleek enough to fit under most furniture with the caveat there’s enough clearance. Both the i3 and e5 also come with high-efficiency filters that do well in trapping allergens, dust, and debris. And since their brushes are tangle-resistant, they can handle pet hair quite well, too.

If you’re looking for added convenience, then the Roomba i3’s compatibility with automatic dirt disposal might tip the scale in its favor. Beside its dust bin is a dirt disposal port that connects with the Clean Base. With this unique docking station, the i3 can automatically empty its tray which the base stores in AllergenLock bags. These bags can hold up to 60 days of dirt, making cleanup less frequent and less of a hassle, something the e5 cannot boast of.

Navigation and Mapping

While both robot vacuum cleaners come with smart navigation, only the Roomba i3 has a mapping feature.

The Roomba i3 cleans in neat rows thanks to smart navigation (left) and like the e5 (right), comes with Dirt Detect technology.

Both the Roomba i3 and e5 are equipped with a smart navigation system to maneuver inside homes, including around obstacles. These vacuum cleaners are also fitted with cliff sensors to keep them from falling down the stairs. The Roomba i3, however, comes with a regular mapping feature. This guides the robovac into learning and adapting to your home’s layout. Keep in mind that it doesn’t save whatever it has mapped for future use like what the Roomba s9 does with its smart mapping. However, this should make it a convincing purchase for those worried about privacy.

Without mapping features, is the Roomba e5 clumsier? Well, not necessarily. The e5 still comes with advanced sensors for navigation. Like the i3, the Roomba e5 also brandishes iRobot’s patented dirt detect technology. This feature allows both robovacs to find the dirtiest areas of your home โ€” particularly high-traffic zones like the kitchen, foyer, or living room โ€” and clean them more thoroughly. Plus, you can pair the e5 with iRobot’s virtual wall barrier to keep your robot out of rooms you don’t want it to clean.

Additional Features

The Roomba i3 and e5 are smart vacuum cleaners with support for voice commands.

The Roomba i3 and e5 can be managed through the iRobot Home app and controlled using voice commands.

Homeowners will definitely appreciate the smart features of the Roomba i3 and e5. Both devices are WiFi connected, allowing users to control and manage them through the iRobot Home app. With the app, you can schedule vacuuming and get cleaning recommendations based on your routines or even the season.

Smart home connections can also be set up since the i3 and e5 are also compatible with voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for hands-free controls. Both the Roomba i3 and e5 are also resume-and-recharge vacuum cleaners. This means they can automatically return to the charging base when their batteries are low, and return to where they left off during cleaning once charged.


The Roomba i3 offers more value for money compared to the Roomba e5.

The Roomba i3 and e5 are reliable robot vacuum cleaners with reasonable price tags. Both machines boast iRobot’s 3-stage cleaning system, smart features, and advanced sensors for navigation. Between the two robovacs, however, the Roomba i3 gives more value for your money. It’s a little more expensive than the Roomba e5 but the difference is negligible considering the extra features it comes with.

For starters, you get a robot vacuum cleaner with more powerful suction. The Roomba i3 is also equipped with mapping for improved navigation. Lastly, the i3 is compatible with the Clean Base automatic dirt disposal, which should make cleanup more convenient and less messy. If you’re looking for a solid, entry-level robot vacuum cleaner for your home, then the Roomba i3 is definitely worth considering.


๐Ÿ“Œ What is the difference between the Roomba i3 and Roomba e5?

Compared to the Roomba e5, the Roomba i3 comes with more suction power, compatibility with automatic dirt disposal, and a regular mapping feature.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Roomba i3 store maps of your home?

No, the Roomba i3 only maps your home for any cleaning in progress. It doesn’t store the layout of your house for future use.

๐Ÿ“Œ How long is the runtime of the Roomba e5?

The Roomba e5 has a runtime of 90 minutes.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can you create Keep Out Zones for the Roomba i3 and e5?

The Roomba i3 and e5 do not support setting up Keep Out Zones on the iRobot Home app. If you need this feature, you can get the Roomba i7 or Roomba s9.

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.