Thinking about robot vacuum cleaners is thinking about Roomba, an American brand that has been based in Spain for years, behind which iRobot is located.

But this firm increasingly has more competitors in a very attractive market. According to Grand View Research, the global vacuum cleaner market size was valued at $13.65 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10% from 2024 to 2030.

Innovation and having devices that adjust to the demands of users and especially that solve the problems that robot vacuum cleaners usually cause, is usually the differentiating point between one brand and another.

Because spending 300 euros on a robot of this type is not the same as 1,300. But apart from the obvious price difference, what does one of more than 1,000 euros offer?

For several weeks I have been able to test the new Roomba Combo J9, the most powerful and complete robot from the iRobot company to try to see if it makes sense to spend that money on a device of this type.

What stands out the most when opening the new iRobot vacuum cleaner are its dimensions. We are already accustomed to robots of this type that have an emptying base (to eliminate what they vacuum without having to empty it manually frequently), having a large base, and this is normal. But the Combo J9’s is even bigger.

It has its explanation because inside this base, in addition to collecting the dust that is vacuumed, there is also a water tank so that the robot recharges automatically and can scrub without worrying about whether it has water or not. More or less, a tank lasts more than a month, depending on the frequency of use.

On this base there is also the dust emptying bag, which lasts more than two months, and a series of drawers to store vacuum cleaner elements, such as spare washable mops. After all, since you have a large team, make it useful.

So that this base does not look too bad where it is placed, iRobot has played with the design and improved the one the J7 had, putting a sheet of wood on top. Well, it’s plastic, but it feels like wood and it doesn’t really look bad. At the end of the day, iRobot does not want you to hide the robot, but rather to have it visible as another element of decoration without knowing whether it is a Roomba or not, since it is quite hidden.

In my case, I placed the device in a secondary room, I still don’t really like that the machine is taking up space in the living room, but in an office or the bathroom if it is large or in the kitchen, it is less annoying.

In addition to being larger, compared to the previous model, the J7, this one is also smarter. This is due to the iRobot OS 7.0 operating system. which has a function, Dirt Detective, which, as its name says, is responsible for finding dirt to eliminate it.

Specifically, what this function does is make the robot apply itself more in those rooms where it is most necessary and if, for example, it finds a stain, it works hard to try to remove it.

In our tests, the truth is that we notice this intelligence that knows which rooms need more work, such as the kitchen, giving a quite satisfactory result. As for stains, it will depend on the type of stain and how embedded it is, but I have no complaints.

Here we must keep in mind that the scrubbing system of the new Roomba is actually a kind of hood that is put on and taken off when the robot considers it (or when we order it in the application so that, for example, it only vacuums) and which works with a mop that becomes moist to go over the floor. And it is exactly that, moistening the floor to clean it, but not replacing the traditional manual mop in case something has been spilled or a thorough scrubbing is needed.

A little firgasuelos can be added to the water in the tank to improve cleaning. In fact, on the J7 this product came with the purchase, but not on the J9.

As for the operation of the equipment, it is very easy and intuitive through the iRobot application, where the vacuum cleaner will first map the house to know which rooms there are and then be able to program different cleaning areas. With this app it is also possible to specify whether you want a deeper cleaning in one place than another, whether the mop is moistened more or less, or the intensity of the vacuuming. And as in other versions, program its operation.

It is interesting to see how it perfectly controls spaces, avoiding getting trapped in chairs or furniture thanks to the sensors it has.

And the cables? Well, after setting quite a few traps with all kinds of cables, she solved them all quite well. What he usually does when he gets into a mess is remove the mop and get out of the mess. The only insurmountable mishap was with the Christmas tree cables, but it was one of many…

Likewise, before starting it, it is advisable to remove obstacles, because even if it solves it, at the end of the day there will be an area through which it will not be able to pass and it may get trapped.

And if you have carpets, for example, the machine also detects them and raises the mop so that it doesn’t get wet over it.

In short, a very complete robot vacuum cleaner that during these weeks has done the job of vacuuming and scrubbing perfectly, improving the previous version in details such as the water tank or the deeper cleaning.

Likewise, the 300 euros that differentiate the Combo J7, at 999 euros, from the Combo J9, for 1,299, are still somewhat high, with the J7 also being a device to take into account if what you are looking for is a robot that scrubs.

Worth? It won’t save you from having to scrub in certain cases, but it is ideal for maintenance and during these weeks I have forgotten to vacuum or scrub manually unless there was something spilled, so I think it is worth the investment if you look for it. a team that does the work for you.