iRobot Roomba i3 Review | Smart | Affordable & Self Emptying

roomba i3 review

In the home gadgets market, the name Roomba has become synonymous with robotic vacuum cleaners probably because of their amazing line of robot vacs. And just recently iRobot added a new robot to their vast collection of robot vacuums; the iRobot Roomba i3. 

As you would expect, the new Roomba option should have some incredible new features that improve both cleaning performance and user experience. 

The i3 launched as a mid-range robot and has a variant, Roomba i3+, that comes with a Clean Base for automatic dirt disposal and fully automated home cleaning. Roomba i3 is not as smart as the i7 or the S9 but its features are quite impressive. Find out all about it in this Roomba i3 review.

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1-minute Roomba i3 review

iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with...

Roomba i3 *also available as the Roomba i3+ which includes self-emptying) is a mid-range robotic vacuum cleaner designed for homes with pets and different floor types. It uses the classic Roomba 3-stage cleaning which integrates the actions of dual tangle-resistant rubber brushes with a side sweeping brush, extra-powerful suction and intelligent navigation system to track dirt and keep your floors dirt-free at all times. 

A Reactive Sensor Technology ensures the robot goes where it should and avoid areas in the home where it can get stuck. A smooth power lifting suction enables seamless transition between different floor types and state-of-the-art floor tracking sensors enable the robot to clean in neat rows to never miss a spot. 

The i3 listens to your voice and will get to work when you say so. If you want to clean; give it voice and see it done.

  • Dirt Detect Sensors
  • 12-months Warranty
  • High-Efficiency Filters
  • Redesigned mobile app
  • Automatic Recharge & Resume
  • Intelligent navigation and cleaning patterns
  • Loud motor
  • Can get stuck in certain areas
  • Only compatible with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi
iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with...
  • INTRODUCING - The new Roomba i3 Robot Vacuum. Takes cleaning off your mind, and your to-do list.

Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

iRobot Roomba i3 — full review

Juggling house chores with a busy work schedule can be very challenging and draining to say the least. And when you throw boisterous kids and rambunctious pets into the mix, then you have a lot more to deal with. 

With a full-time job and a growing family, staying on top of chores and maintaining a pristine home is difficult and you certainly need a helping hand. And in comes a robot. 

Over the years, robots have become an incredibly useful smart home assistant and having a robotic vacuum cleaner sweep up your floors even in your absence makes home maintenance much easier and you get to save on domestic help. The robot vacuum giant, iRobot has just recently added a new robot vac to its line of amazing robot vacuums

The Roomba i3 is equipped with intelligent navigation tracking sensors for smartly moving around in the home and a Reactive Sensor Technology helps it avoid obstacles while sweeping up debris. At 13.26 inches wide by 3.63 inches tall, this machine is compact and sleek enough to smoothly slide beneath furniture and sweep up dirt hidden in tight corners. 

It completely automates cleaning, save for emptying its dirt bin but it’s compatible with the iRobot Clean Base which you can purchase as an extra. There is also the Roomba i3+ which is basically the i3 plus a Clean Base and it will automatically drive over to the clean base and empty its own dust bin and resume cleaning.

iRobot Roomba i3 Key Features

  • Powerful Performance
  • Super smart navigation
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Imprint link to pair with the Braava mopping robots
  • New app & smart voice control
  • Great for pet hair
  • Recharge and resume from where it finished
  • Self-emptying option with the Roomba i3+

How The Roomba i3 Works

Roomba i3 is designed to fully automate the process of vacuuming floors and comes with mid-range to high-end features. It comes equipped with a pair of tangle-resistant rubber brushes and a specially designed edge-sweeping brush for sweeping up dirt particles from different floor types and along corners and edges. 

A suite of intelligent tracking sensors enables the robot to move in overlapping straight line patterns and this enables it clean out every part of a room. As it sweeps, the robot employs 10 times the suction power of the Roomba 600 series to suck up debris and particles of different sizes. 

The i3 also features the iRobot’s Dirt Detect technology to identify high-traffic areas in the home with a build-up of dirt, and when it does, it cranks up its cleaning power and runs over these areas more times to deliver extra cleaning. 

The i3 will smoothly transition from hard floors to carpeted floors while cleaning, this transition comes with an increase in suction force to make sure it picks up all debris from both low-pile and thick-pile carpets. 

While the robot is hard at work, a HEPA filter sucks up 99% of pollen, dust mites and allergens from the air. Roomba i3 still features the classic 3-stage cleaning process of all iRobot Robot vacs and when the battery drops to a certain level the robot drives back to the charging dock to replenish its battery juice. 

The entire floor cleaning process is automated and you only have to empty the dust bin, even that can be automated. The i3 is compatible with the iRobot clean base which permits automatic dirt disposal.

A Roomba i3 docked in the iRobot clean base which permits automatic dirt disposal
The i3 docked in it’s self-emptying base

Performance

iRobot designed the Roomba i3 to be a mid-range robot vacuum cleaner and at the same time offer customers a taste of the high-end iRobot bot vacs. 

The i3 comes with many great features for expertly sweeping up dirt and transforming homes from messy to neat and pristine within minutes. Its dual multi-surface rubber brush rolls do not get tangled up with pet and human hair making it great for homes with pets that shed a lot. 

The compact shape and size of the i3 permits smooth movement around the home even under furniture, and you won’t have to worry about the i3 getting stuck under your couch. But it may get stuck in other areas and may need to be rescued. Despite the near-perfect engineering, the i3 can still miss a few spots while cleaning. 

The absence of one feature in the Roomba i3 puts it several steps behind premium iRobot bot vacs like the i7 and S9 — the Imprint Smart Mapping. 

The i3 doesn’t have the Imprint Smart Mapping feature seen in i7 and S9 which enables them to capture and store a digital map of your home, with which they identify every room in your home within your assistance. This means that with the i3, you can’t set specific cleaning zones for the robot or keep-out zones which are areas the robot should avoid.

However, it comes with an Imprint Link Technology which enables it to team up and work in perfect sequence with the Braava Jet M6—an iRobot mopping robot—to keep your smart home spotless and shiny.

Man using the new iRobot app with Imprint Link Technology
The new iRobot app includes Imprint Link to match with the Braava mopping range

Ease of use and set-up

The Roomba i3 is controlled with the newly updated iRobot Genius Home Intelligence app which allows you to personalize your experience and create a cleaning schedule for your robot. The redesigned app comes with more functions and better features to facilitate easier cleaning and improve user experience. 

The app is available for both iOS and Android and connecting it to the robot is very simple and straightforward. Roomba i3 is also compatible with voice commands including Google Home and Amazon Alexa. With the voice assistant you can quickly tell the robot to start vacuuming, the robot listens to the sound of your voice which is super convenient.

Reliability

The robot works much slower than manual vacuums, but it also cleans without your help which more than makes up for the speed, or lack of it. 

The i3 is designed to learn your cleaning habits, adapt to it and offer customized cleaning for an optimal experience. The robot will be able to tell seasons when pollen and allergens are high or when your dog sheds more and suggest extra cleaning times to ensure your home continues to stay very neat. 

It’s built with superior materials and comes with a 1-year warranty from iRobot. The i3+ comes with a clean base and enough AllergenLock bags for capturing debris and allergens in your home for up to 60 days. These bags are specially designed with four layers of materials to ensure that the captured dirt and debris stay locked in even when the debris bags are emptied into the clean base.

Ongoing maintenance

Despite being a fully automated vacuuming robot, the i3 also need some form of maintenance to always perform at its peak. The brushes of robot vacuum cleaners need to be tangle-free for excellent cleaning, thankfully the i3 comes with tangle-resistant sweeping brushes designed to prevent entanglement with hair strands. 

But you will have to clean the sensors every once in a while to prevent a build up of dust particles that can interfere with the performance. How often you clean the sensors will actually depend on how often you use your robot. 

With continuous use you will have to change a few wearable parts of the robot, iRobot recommends that replacement parts should be purchased from authorized dealers and retailers only.

The underneath of the iRobot Roomba i3 where all of the parts can be easily placed and regular checks are required.
The underneath of the Roomba i3

Extra purchases and ongoing costs

Although the i3 doesn’t come with a clean base, it’s compatible with it and you can purchase one as an extra feature. Or you can just go ahead and purchase the Roomba i3+ which is a variant of the i3 that comes with the clean base. When purchased with the clean base, the i3+ comes with enough debris bags that will last for up to 2 months before you can make any purchase.

FAQs on Roomba i3 Review

  1. What's the difference between the Roomba i3 and i3+?

    The Roomba i3 and i3+ are the same robot in every aspect, they have the same features, same designs and the same cleaning performance. The only difference between the two is seen in the packaging and price tag. 
    The iRobot Roomba i3 comes with one extra high efficiency filter and a charging dock while the Roomba i3+ has in its box an extra high-efficiency filter, a clean base that doubles as a charging dock and 2 dirt disposal bags. 
    With the clean base, the i3+ is able to automatically empty its debris bag which makes for a fully automated cleaning. The i3 is also compatible with the clean base and you can buy one as an extra for it.

  2. Can I push a button to turn on, or does it always have to be via the App or Alexa?

    You can get the robot to work in 3 different ways. There is a CLEAN button at the top of the Roomba i3 which you can push to start it on a cleaning cycle. You can also instruct the robot to clean using Alexa or Google Assistant voice controls, or via the upgraded iRobot Genius smartphone app.

  3. Can this function at night in the dark?

    Both the i3 and i3+ models of Roomba are designed to operate in the dark and low light setting. Therefore, you can schedule either of them to vacuum at night when everyone is asleep and wake up to thoroughly swept and properly vacuumed floors.

  4. Can I set barriers for this robot to keep out of certain areas?

    Yes, you can. The i3 is compatible with the Dual Mode Virtual Wall and you can use this to cordon off certain sections of your home to prevent the robot from wandering into areas where it may end up getting stuck. This gives you more control over your cleaning experience with either the i3 or i3+.

  5. Does it work with high pile carpeting?

    All Roomba robots are designed and built to tackle a variety of different surface types and the i3 is no different. Roomba i3 is built to vacuum both hard floor, rugs and thick-pile carpets up to ⅝” deep. The robot will efficiently clean low and thick-pile carpets, but carpets deeper than ⅝” will present a big challenge for the i3 and it may not pick up debris effectively.

Final thoughts on the Roomba i3 review

Roomba i3 may not be the absolute best robot and neither does it have the most premium and high-end features, but it does strike a balance between performance and price. 

It doesn’t quite match up to the i7 but for its price, it offers some high-end features seen in top of the line Roomba i7 and S9 and coupled with a good performance, the i3 makes an excellent cleaning machine. 

If you want a fully automated vacuum cleaner that will not only sweep debris off your floors but will also automatically dispose of the collected dirt for the extra convenience, then you may want to purchase the i3+ instead of the i3. But if your major concern is the floor, the i3 will do more than just fine and is worth every penny you spend on it.

You can also read about: Roomba alternatives

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About the Author: Matt Hulland

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