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Roomba i3 vs i4 (2023): Are They Even Different?

Over the years, cleaning the house has become less of a chore with the advent of robot vacuums. In this area, iRobot’s Roomba has established itself as one of the most recognizable brands. While their top-of-the-line models are popular, the mid-range Roomba i3 and Roomba i4 are more approachable and user-friendly. At first glance, however, both robot vacuums look the same. Their spaces also suggest similar capabilities. Are they even different? Below, we compare the Roomba i3 and i4 to answer the question.

Roomba i3 vs i4 Robot Vacuum Comparison Chart

ModeliRobot Roomba i3iRobot Roomba i4
 
Price
Dimensions (Wx H x D)13.26 x 3.63 x 13.34 in.13.26 x 3.63 x 13.34 in.
Weight7.44 lbs7.44 lbs
Suction Power10x more than the compared to the Roombas 600 series (1,700Pa)10x more than the compared to the Roombas 600 series (1,700Pa)
Cleaning System3-stage cleaning system3-stage cleaning system
FilterHigh-efficiency filterHigh-efficiency filter
NavigationCleans in neat rowsCleans in neat rows
Automatic Dirt DisposalYes, but on select variants onlyYes, but on select variants only
Wi-Fi ConnectivityYesYes
Dual Brush SystemYesYes
Runtime75 minutes100 to 110 minutes

Design and Variants

The iRobot Roomba i3 and i4 brandish the same design.

Roomba i3 vs i4 Design comparison
Compared to the Roomba i3 (left), the i4 (right) sports a darker faceplate

iRobot’s Roomba i3 and i4 sport a design typical of the Roomba brand. Both are round-shaped and measure less than four inches in height. With this low profile, the vacuums glide under furniture and tight spaces with ease.

Both models feature a textured top plate and black edge bumpers. In the case of the i4, however, the faceplate comes with a dark gray faceplate instead of the silver on the i3. It’s a color scheme that lends these models an air of sophistication even if they’re made of plastic. 

You get the same three buttons on the Roomba i3 and i4’s faceplate. There’s also an integrated light ring indicator within the power button. Most of the cleaning components are at the underside of the vacuums, although the sweeping brush protrudes along the right side.

The standard Roomba i3 and i4 included a Home Base station for charging. Roomba also offers plus models (i3+ and i4+), which sport the same robovac design. If you opt for these plus variants, you get the Clean Base station instead of the Home Base.

The Clean Base is a considerably larger component that stands 19 inches tall. However, it allows your vacuums to automatically dispose of dirt and debris.

Cleaning Features

The Roomba i3 and i4 follow a three-stage cleaning system, and are equipped with Dirt Detech Technology for focused vacuuming.

Roomba i3 vs i4 Cleaning Features
A look at the underside of the Roomba i3 (left); Dirt Detect on the Roomba i4 (right)

The Roomba i3 and i4 vacuums have similar cleaning features. iRobot says both vacuums follow a three-stage cleaning system complemented by a high-efficiency filter. They also feature Dirt Detect Technology to focus on dirt spots in high-traffic areas of your home.

Nonetheless, the core of the three-stage cleaning system is suction power. Roomba’s i3 and i4 models claim to deliver 10x the suction power of the Roomba 600 series. Meanwhile, dual multi-surface brushes agitate and loosen dirt, dust, and debris from carpets and hard floors. Since the rubber brushes are bristle-free, they’re also less likely to get entangled with pet fur.

Since the vacuums are round-shaped, wall edges and corners are typically hard to reach. The premium Roomba S9 has a D-shaped form that can work along a 90º. To compensate for the design limitations, the Roomba i3 and i4 feature an edge-sweeping brush set at a 27º angle. While not as effective as the S9, the three-prong brush should be enough for light sweeping.

Navigation

Roomba’s i3 and i4 robot vacuums have decent navigation systems.

Roomba i3 vs i4 Navigation
The Roomba i3 and i4 navigate in clean rows and can find their way back to the Home Base Station

Part of the fun in owning a robot vacuum is watching them move across the floor independently. Moreover, the days of having these dust busters randomly go about are behind us. Like many robovacs today, the Roomba i3 and i4 have a sense of direction. 

iRobot’s mid-range robot vacuums employ the older iAdapt 1.0 navigation system, which relies on sensors to avoid obstacles. It’s still quite reliable, but requires a physical landmark to help the vacuum properly locate itself. iAdapt also allows the Roomba i3 and i4 to clean in neat rows. 

Since these are less expensive models, you don’t get advanced mapping and navigation. The i3 and i4 will still map your home but it will only be good for any cleaning in progress. There’s also no support for Keep Out Zones, which may be a dealbreaker if you want certain rooms out of the way.

Fortunately, there are cliff sensors embedded on the vacuums to prevent them from falling off the stairs. iRobot also shares the Roomba i3 and i4 have Reactive Sensor Technology to tell them where they cannot pass like low-profile furniture.

Smart Features and Runtime

While the Roomba i3 and i4 offer ample smart features, the latter has the edge in runtime.

Roomba i3 vs i4 Smart Features and Runtime
Using Alexa voice commands for the Roomba i3 (left); the Roomva i4 charging at the Home Base Station (right)

Similar to their navigation systems, the Roomba i3 and i4’s smart features are enough to please the crowd. They’re not as advanced as what you see in the likes of Ecovacs, but they do enough to make cleaning the house convenient.

For starters, the Roomba i3 and i4 have the ability to learn your home’s layout and cleaning preferences. Again, the robots use iAdapt technology to map out your home and create a custom cleaning schedule. Once the Roomba has mapped out your home, you can use the iRobot app to customize cleaning preferences and set up cleaning schedules that fit your needs.

You can also control and monitor your robot vacuum from your smartphone. Using the same app, you can start or stop cleaning cycles, set cleaning schedules, and even receive alerts when your robot needs maintenance. If you prefer to do things handsfree, both Roombas support Google Assistant and Alexa-enabled devices.

With all things being equal, where do these vacuums differ? It boils down to runtime. The older Roomba i3 model offers up to 75 minutes of cleaning. In contrast, the Roomba i4 can run from 100 to 110 minutes on a single charge.

Verdict

The iRobot Roomba i3 and Roomba i4 are functionally the same robot vacuum, with the latter’s only advantage being a longer runtime.

Despite its model name, the iRobot Roomba i4 isn’t geared to be an upgraded version of the Roomba i3. Instead, it’s more of a replacement — functionally the same as its predecessor but with a slight improvement in runtime. Here, we see iRobot’s focusing on an area where the i3 lacked in comparison to similar models in its class.

The standard models of the Roomba i3 and i4 remain solid options, especially for anyone looking to pick up their first robot vacuum. Still, the sole difference in battery life gives plenty of edge to the Roomba i4.

FAQs

📌 What should you look for in a robot vacuum?

When looking for a robot vacuum, there are a few key factors to consider. First, you’ll want to look for a model with strong suction power to ensure that it can effectively clean your floors. Battery life is also an important consideration, as a longer battery life will allow the vacuum to clean for longer without needing to be recharged. Additionally, advanced navigation and mapping capabilities can help the robot vacuum move more efficiently around your home.

📌 What are Roombas known for?

Roomba is a brand of robotic vacuum cleaners produced by the company iRobot. Roomba vacuums are known for their advanced navigation technology, which allows them to move around and clean a room effectively without bumping into furniture or other obstacles. They are also convenient and user-friendly and, as they can be programmed to clean on a schedule or controlled through a smartphone app.

📌 How long is the warranty of the iRobot Roomba i4?

iRobot’s Roomba i4 comes with a limited one-year warranty.

📌 Does Roomba offer a trial period?

Yes. Roomba offers a 60-day home trial period.

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Mari Bassig

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