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Roomba i3 vs i3+ (2021): Which Midrange Vacuum Cleaner Is Better?

It seems like just a few years ago robot vacuum cleaners were still a gimmick. Today, these smart cleaning devices are considered a staple in most households, thanks largely to the success of iRobot. And with the release of the midrange models like Roomba i3 and i3+, the company wants more people to own a robot vacuum cleaner. But is there any difference between iRobot’s latest affordable cleaners apart from the self-cleaning base that comes with the i3+? Below, we compare the two Roombas to find out.

Roomba i3 vs i3+ Comparison Chart

ModelRoomba i3Roomba i3+
 iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with...iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal Disposal - Empties Itself for up...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Dimensions (W x H X D)13.26″ x 3.63″ x 13.34″13.26″ x 3.63″ x 13.34″
Weight7.44 lbs7.44 lbs
Power lifting suction10x power10x power
Cleaning patternNeat rowsNeat rows
NavigationRegular mappingRegular Mapping
Self-emptying baseNoYes
High-efficiency filterYesYes
Mobile appiRobot HomeiRobot Home
Anti-allergen systemNoNo
Dishwasher safeNoNo

Design

Outside of the cleaning base, the Roomba i3 and i3+ are the same robot vacuum cleaners.

The Roomba i3 and i3+ are sleek robot vacuum cleaners that pack a lot of power.

Since the Roomba i3 and i3+ are essentially one and the same, the design features are as well. Both vacuum cleaners sport a round design and weigh a little over seven pounds, giving the machines great maneuverability. On top of each robovac, you’ll find the physical control buttons. Meanwhile, all the cleaning power and features are discreetly hidden underneath the Roombas. This includes the vacuum’s suction, multi-surface brushes, and an edge-sweeping brush.

With the i3+, you also get the iRobot’s Clean Base. Just like the robovacs, the cleaning base is understated and functional. It’s about two feet high and a foot wide but shouldn’t pose any problem in terms of storage. Now, the Roomba i3 and i3+ are available only in one variant — a metallic gray top panel bordered by a black, plastic ring. The Clean Base, on the other hand, comes in matte black.

Power and Cleaning Features

The Roomba i3 and i3+ have the same cleaning system although the latter comes with the iRobot Clean Base.

iRobot’s latest vacuum cleaners share the same cleaning system, and is compatible with the Clean Base station.

The Roomba i3 and i3+ are equipped with the same Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System found in other models like the Roomba i7, i7+, and e5. At the core of this technology is a suction that’s 10x more powerful compared to what the Roomba 600 series offered. This helps capture dirt, dust, hair, and even large debris.

Completing the system are dual multi-surface brushes that are counter-rotating, as well as an edge-sweeping brush. As its name implies, the multi-surface brushes are self-adjusting, so they can work on any type of floor without compromising close contact. In contrast, the edge sweeping brush is specially designed with a 27º angle to help sweep debris along hard-to-reach corners and edges for suctioning.

The latest iRobot machines are also equipped with Dirt Detect sensors. Once your Roomba finds an area of your house with an unusual concentration of particles, Dirt Detect is activated and your robovac will focus on running over that area more. You also get high-efficiency filters that trap 99% of pet allergens.

Cleaning the machine, however, is much easier with the Roomba i3+. The robovac comes with the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal station where it can empty its dust bin once full. In addition, the station itself can hold dirt in its AllergenLock disposal bags for up to 60 days. This should make manual cleaning less frequent, and less of a chore.

Smart Features

The Roomba i3 and i3+ are backed by the new iRobot Genius Home Intelligence platform.

You can control your Roomba i2 and i3+ either via the iRobot Home app or through your home’s smart devices.

Users can still manage both Roomba i3s through iRobot’s Home app. The software itself got a recent upgrade with what the company calls the iRobot Genius Home Intelligence. Through the platform, you can now set cleaning schedules or have your robot’s AI suggest when it’s time to start cleaning. You can also mark pre-set cleaning routines as favorites for easy access.

Like any other smart device, the Roomba i3 and i3+ supports voice commands as well, either through the iRobot app or via Google or Alexa voice assistant. These robovacs also come with Imprint Link Technology, which enables cleaning automation between your Roomba and Braava jet m-Series robot mop.

Navigation

The i3 and i3+ vacuum cleaners come with smart navigation but not with smart mapping.

The Roomba i3 and i3+ come with smart navigation and automatic charging.

iRobot’s newest vacuum cleaners are solid, entry-level robovacs. However, like with most affordable options, you do give up a few features. The Roomba i3 and i3+, for instance, comes with smart navigation but not the Imprint Smart Mapping found on higher-end models like the i7 or s9.

With smart mapping, a Roomba can “learn” your home’s floor plan — including the furniture inside a room — and adapt its cleaning performance accordingly. Smart navigation does mean your i3s are still equipped with floor sensors to help it clean your floors in neat rows. But you won’t be able to instruct the Roomba to clean specific areas in the room like under the sofa or desk.

Verdict

The Roomba i3 and i3+ vacuum cleaners are great entry-level models. However, the i3+ package offers better value for your money.

Apart from the cleaning base, there’s really no difference between the Roomba i3 and Roomba i3+. Both vacuum cleaners sport the same cleaning system, filtration technology, and smart features. Since they are midrange models, you do lose some key features available in other iRobot devices like smart mapping. But if you’re keen on just getting a robovac, the i3s are great options.

So now the question is: is the extra iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal station worth it? For convenience-sake, yes. It makes having to clean up your Roomba’s dustbin easier, especially if you’re not fond of handling dirt, dust, and debris all the time. Moreover, you’re saving money with the Roomba i3+. Purchased separately, the Clean Base costs $249.99. With the Roomba i3+, that translates to almost $50 in savings.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between iRobot’s Roomba i3 and i3+ vacuum cleaners?

The Roomba i3 and i3+ are the same vacuum cleaners, except that the latter comes with a Clean Base station.

📌 How long does a Roomba i3’s battery last?

You get about 75 minutes of cleaning time with the Roomba i3 and Roomba i3+.

📌 How long is the warranty on the Roomba i3 and i3+?

The Roomba i3 and i3+ comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

📌 Is the Roomba i3’s washable bin dishwasher safe?

No, the Roomba i3’s bin is not dishwasher safe. According to iRobot, the bin must be rinsed by hand using warm water and making sure the filter has been removed prior to cleaning.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / 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.