iRobot Roomba s9+ robot vacuum review: all you need to know
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iRobot Roomba s9+ robot vacuum review: all you need to know

Apr 21, 2023

We review the iRobot Roomba s9+ - a Wifi connected robot vacuum which promises to clean corners and empty itself

Anyone looking to keep their house clean without spending hours vacuuming will love the Roomba iRobot s9+ robot vacuum cleaner. Suited to large or small spaces, on hard floors as well as carpets, and even in corners and under sofas, kitchen islands and beds, it would be a suitable robot choice for most people. Don't be put off by the price tag if you can stretch to it - when you average out the hours it saves you, or a cleaner, it's well worth the investment.

Easy to set up and use

Effective cleaning on a variety of surfaces

Reaches corners


Great app support

It's seriously expensive

Noisy when emptying

There are many options available nowadays when it comes to the robot vacuums, but the Wifi connected iRobot Roomba s9+ self-emptying robot vacuum is one of iRobot's flagship models, and one of their most powerful products in the portfolio. It offers 40x the suction power of the 600 series and has the ability to clean corners and learn maps of rooms to make cleaning more effective.

We put this to the test to see how easy it was to assemble and start using for a busy time-strapped working mum-of-two. We tested it on a variety of surfaces and dirt levels, noting how effectively it cleaned, programmed and self-emptied and whether the app support was useful.

Scroll down to see what we thought or take a look at our rundown of the best robot vacuum cleaners for more.

Rachel is a busy working mum of two very active boys and never seems to have time for housework - so her house is constantly covered in football boots, mud and food remnants!

A self-confessed technophobe, whilst she was impressed by how high-tech this vacuum sounded she was slightly concerned it would involve too much time, effort and technical know-how to get it up and running. She's tested the product over a period of just under three weeks, trying out its room mapping, as well as functions such as scheduling on the app and using the voice control on Alexa.

It's been put through its paces on carpets, kitchen tiles, wooden floors and tasselled rugs, and had to negotiate traversing between floors of different levels as well as rooms with many obstacles!

In addition to how effectively it cleaned my house, Rachel was also interested to discover how easy it was to use and if the app would actually be a hindrance or a help!

My first impressions of the black and neon green packaging of this product were good. It looked sleek, stylish and desirable and the product inside didn't disappoint.

The matt black vacuum and charging unit look and feel good quality and unlike some vacuums, I would be proud to have this on display at home. There was quite a lot of cardboard inside the main box which isn't ideal environmentally, however, it can of course be recycled which is a plus!

As I quickly learnt, you don't have to be a tech lover to quickly fall in love with the iRobot Roomba s9+. Whilst the technology is impressive, it's remarkably straightforward to use and doesn't take hours of reading an instruction manual to work it out either.

You can use it instantly to vacuum but for more effective use long-term the room mapping function allows the vacuum to map out the floorplan of each room. This does take a bit longer to set up the first time you use it so you'll need to allow time for this but once it's mapped out the rooms it's quick and easy to use going forward.

The large bin is perfect for families or bigger homes and the fact it's self-emptying too means that it's ideal for time-strapped people who need a vacuum that looks after itself.

There are a number of functions of the iRobot Roomba s9+ that impact what it's like to use so I’ve broken these down into categories to address each one:

Being Wifi supported means that you simply download the app, link it up to your wifi and are then able to programme, schedule and stop the iRobot Roomba s9+ from your mobile phone or even your Alexa.

I was slightly concerned that this would take hours to do but the basic set-up was quick and very straightforward, and the app guided you through the whole process.

Mapping out each specific room took a bit longer, and depending on the size of your house it could take a few hours to do this properly. But once it's done the app saves the rooms so they don't need to be done again, and the vacuum learns to avoid obstacles in those rooms.

The app provides notifications on your phone if there is a problem. For example one morning when I had programmed the iRobot Roomba s9+ to clean the kitchen whilst I was doing the school run and the app alerted me with a message on my phone explaining there was an obstruction which had caused the vacuum to stop working.

I got home to discover my husband's golf shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor, with one lace sucked up by the vacuum. Fortunately, it pulled out easily and we quickly learnt our lesson about remembering to make sure the floor was clear of obstructions when the vacuum was scheduled to come on!

The app also alerts you with a message if there's a blockage in the brushes or if the bin needs emptying, as well as allowing you to map out rooms for even more efficient scheduling and cleaning.

The Alexa voice activation took a couple of minutes max to set up and worked well too, meaning we could simply say: ‘Alex, Ask Roomba to start vacuuming the kitchen’, and it would!

Another hugely time-saving and convenient function of the iRobot Roomba s9+ is the fact it empties itself. So when the bin on the vacuum is full it automatically returns itself back to the base unit and empties itself into the enclosed bag there.

The first time this happened I did have a shock as it's considerably louder than the vacuum is when it's cleaning. It's for a very short period of time, just a few seconds, but be prepared for it!

This robot vacuum promises to clean corners, something which the website credit to the ‘PerfectEdge® Technology with advanced sensors, a specially designed Corner Brush and 30% wider* Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes’.

My children put these claims to the ultimate test by sprinkling Coco Pops in the corner of the kitchen, and as promised, the iRobot Roomba s9+sucked up every single one!

The iRobot Roomba s9+ boasts 40x the suction power when Compared to Roomba® 600 series. And the 3-stage cleaning system lifts, loosens and eliminates debris from deep within carpets. Our landing carpet runs the whole length of the house and gets lots of use -often by people who forgot to take their shoes off!

Consequently, the pale grey pile is often covered in fluff, crumbs, and the small stones from our driveway that get lodged in my boots. The iRobot Roomba s9+ sucked all of this up on the first clean and even managed to get small flecks of cotton that our usual vacuum always fails to grab.

Because it's self-emptying the iRobot Roomba s9+ automatically knows when it needs to empty its bin into the bag in the base unit, and does it. Occasionally we had notifications that meant we needed to intervene. The first time this happened it told us to empty the bin. Page 5 of the Owner's Guide explained this in three very simple steps which involved pressing the bin lid release on the top, which made the big silver disc pop up.

When I lifted the bin out I discovered a Bob The Builder playing card lodged in there which was clearly the cause of the problem and once the bin was emptied normal service was quickly resumed.

The iRobot Roomba s9+ came with a spare filter which also looks very straightforward to do. We didn't need to change this, however, and the owner's manual suggests it will need changing every two months. It also came with a spare bag and corner brush.

Once my long hair got wrapped around the corner brush but again the instructions in the manual were extremely straightforward and we used a small screwdriver to loosen the screw holding the corner brush in place and removed the hair before tightening it again.

Another huge draw for us was the fact that the iRobot Roomba s9+ had the ability to reach and clean places that we often struggle with when using a traditional manual vacuum, for example under our kitchen island, under the sofa and under beds. For this, it was brilliant and discovered no end of shrivelled food scraps and long-forgotten Lego pieces!

And whilst the vacuum can't go up and down stairs, it did cope really well with the majority of the different levels of floor surface between our carpeted landing and the bedrooms which have wooden floors. There was just one particularly big change in height between one of the wooden floors and the carpeted landing where it sometimes got stuck.

The base unit came to just below my knee in height and the vacuum that sits on the bottom of it is approximately the length of a piece of A4 paper and slightly wider at the front where the curve comes out. This needs to sit on the floor where it takes up barely any more space than a decent-sized dog bowl. It needs to be positioned by a plug socket though and it advises to locate it somewhere that it won't get knocked. Fortunately, we had a spare plug socket at the end of the kitchen, which is our largest room and the one we use the most.

The additional accessories such as the spare filter, corner brush and bag come in a small box which can easily be stored in a kitchen cupboard or drawer.

On Amazon, the iRobot Roomba s9+ gets a 4 out of 5, with 197 ratings. This is split into a breakdown which includes 4.6 for cleaning up hair, and just 3.1 for Alexa Integration.

One review entitled ‘Actually saves time and effort and does a decent job’ mentions the fact that on first use it took hours to map out the floor plan but was really easy to set up. I agree with both of these. It also flags up the fact it's expensive, however as someone pointed out to me, when you think of it in terms of the time it saves you or the money for paying a cleaner, it's not actually as much as it seems.

The same review said a downside was that it had a small waste bag in the home unit and the robot itself can't carry much.

For me how much the robot could carry wasn't an issue, because it regularly self-empties anyway. And our waste bag wasn't full after three weeks of regular use.

Another reviewer pointed out that it won't replace her existing vacuum because you still have to clean the stairs yourself with an iRobot Roomba s9+.

Whilst it is brilliant at working out where the top of the stairs is - we put this to the test on our landing during which I hovered nearby worried it would fall over the edge, but it didn't! Although it can't navigate itself down the stairs so you do need another way of cleaning these.

Another review entitled ‘What a life saver’ pointed out that the iRobot Roomba s9+ ‘struggled with my dog hairs and leaves little bundles on the cleaned carpet which are easy to pick up but I shouldn't have to.’

We don't have a pet however often have friends and family visiting with their dogs, and it had no problem with picking up occasional dog hairs. However, this suggests it may be different if it's constantly having to suck up pet hairs.

The reviewer also said: ‘Love the lines it leaves and it's an absolute godsend in keeping clean but it struggles with rugs (my ‘rugs’ are made up of my extra carpet pieces) if it gets underneath the rug which is carpet on carper it gets stuck and I have to save it. I have to remove all rugs which is annoying.’ Before concluding: ‘I wouldn't do without it even though it should be better.’

We have a rug in the living room with tassels along two sides so I was a bit concerned about it sucking up these, however, it cleaned the rug well and apart from lifting up the edges of the rug slightly the tassels remained intact, so we had no issues with our rug.

The Wifi Connected Roomba i7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum is considerably cheaper than the iRobot Roomba s9+, however, it doesn't offer a number of the same functions, including the ability to achieve a much more thorough clean.

Miele also has a robot vacuum, the Miele Scout RX3 Home Vision, which retails at just £899.00. Whilst this has Amazon Alexa compatible app control it doesn't seem to be self-emptying which is one of the really time-saving aspects of the iRobot Roomba s9+, and also some of the reviews point out that the waste bag is small and needs emptying frequently when used on carpets. For me that would be a big downside.

Now that we’ve started using the iRobot Roomba s9+ we can't imagine life without it! Anyone looking to keep their house clean without spending hours vacuuming should definitely buy this. Suited to large or small spaces, on hard floors as well as carpets, and even in corners and under sofas, kitchen islands and beds, it would be suitable for most people. We would also say don't be put off by the price tag, when you average out the hours it saves you, or a cleaner, vacuuming it's well worth the investment!

After graduating with a BA Hons in English Literature from The University of Leicester, in 2002 Rachel Tompkins studied for a Postgraduate Diploma in Periodical Journalism at City University, London. She began her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines before leaving her Features Director role to go freelance after having her son in 2012.. Now the mother-of-two lives in Oxfordshire and writes in a freelance capacity across a range of national newspapers and magazines.

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Model number: Battery run time/ charge time: Number of settings: Bin capacity Suction power: Weight and accessories: Noise level (if available):