The Combo j7+ combines advanced sensors and mapping with the addition of mopping, becoming more versatile than ever
Roombas have seen some remarkable improvements in past years, with better mapping, sensor, and suction technology but it felt like every new edition would only offer modest improvements. Microfibre Fabric
However, since iRobot’s last model of Roomba, the j7+ was the most advanced robotic vacuum I’d ever seen, I was confident I wouldn’t hear from iRobot for a little while as I didn’t think there was anything that they could be done to improve on it. But iRobot decided to prove me wrong, their new Combo j7+ offers the same advanced mapping technology and similar design, however, as their name denotes this time with mop functionality built in too.
Looking pretty familiar to most Roombas and bearing a close resemblance to the j7, the Combo j7 follows the standard circular design, it also sticks to the sleek, utilitarian black and silver design but now with the retractable mop plate visible.
Despite the mops inclusion, the Combo j7 isn't any larger with a diameter of 13.3 inches and a height of 3.4cm, keeping that low profile which allows it to go under some furniture. It even weighs the same at 3.3kg, so it's not too heavy if you need to lift it upstairs or into another position.
The Combo j7+ features a 2-in-1 design for vacuuming hard floors, carpets, and rugs and it is also a mopping robot too. This is due to the addition of a fully retractable mop pad, which is visible and lifts itself to the top of the robot when it encounters carpet and rugs.
When first activated the mop pad is simply slid into position on the mop unit and is not visible when retracted. On the back. Just like its sibling the j7, the combo features a single camera and LED light on the front of the vacuum to help it navigate and identify obstacles, it does, however, have the side effect of making it a little more conspicuous compared to models like the i7.
While it is simple to use, either with the one button on top, I miss the spot clean button that was present on some of the older models that made quick clean-ups very easy but it can be controlled in other ways.
The standard way is using the free iRobot app, this is handy as it gives you a breakdown of all kinds of information, including where there Roomba has cleaned, and any issues as well as allowing you to set scheduled cleaning too.
It also allows you to set keep out some like the kitchen if you prefer to do it yourself of the kid's room etc.
The Roomba can also be used with assistants like Google and Alexa allowing you to sit back and not even raise a finger to send your robot on its rounds.
Double brush system that allows it to get a really deep clean, one thing I love about this design is it’s very easy to clean and perform maintenance on.
The dirt bin/tank of the Combo j7 uses the standard filters, which it recommends you do not get wet and they do require cleaning as they get clogged with dirt and debris very quickly, however, replacements are available on the iRobot website.
Just like on the previous model the bin can be opened and cleaned manually if you don’t own the plus version or want to clean it yourself.
The app also gives a very helpful estimate of the condition of replaceable elements like the brushes, filter and mop pad and even the wheels.
One interesting change with the combo model is that the internal dirt bin also features a water tank for adding water and cleaning fluid and can be filled up to 300ml, this too is available online. The water tank, however, unlike the dirt bin is not self-emptying.
I must admit I was very apprehensive about placing water inside such an expensive and complex piece of machinery. Thankfully it was simple to fill and empty and did not leak although I did need to take care when emptying it.
Much like its predecessor, whether on hard floors or carpets, the Combo does a magnificent job of picking up fine dirt and dust and thick pet hair with zero issues.
It also was able to pick up dust, mud, hair rice and even much finer things like flour and cinnamon pretty successfully and without just spreading it around like some vacuums.
Much like most modern models it uses the same edge brush and dual rubber rollers which do a great job of sucking up nearly all mess.
It's also relatively quiet when it’s running, humming at 60dB, however, when emptying itself on the dock it does briefly jumps up to a loud 85dB which is jarring but necessary to effectively empty it.
As for its mopping, it did a fantastic job without leaving the floor too wet and it didn't get my carpets or rugs damp either. By cleverly using its sensor to know how close it could get and retracting the mop pad like a roof on a convertible when traversing the carpet.
I was nervous about how sturdy the arms on the Combo j7 mop actually are, but they have so far held up rather well.
The improved 4,400mAh battery managed to clean my large flat without powering down and lasted around 1 hour 20mins which is a decent improvement over past models.
Like all Roombas with a plus designation, it comes with a Clean Base which the Roomba heads back to periodically to empty its built-in bin and also recharge if the battery is running low, to then continue the job later, which never fails to impress me.
The Clean Base is identical to the j7 with a horizontal bin that can fit nicely in corners or under cupboards and tables.
The Clean base can store up to 60 days’ worth of dirt and debris inside its Dirt Disposal Bags which are the same ones as used on the i3, i7 and s9 as they use the same bags, but there is also additional storage of a few extra bags within the base.
These bags can be replaced but I often empty them out by hand to prolong their use, however, this is quite difficult and takes time.
It's important to note automatic bin emptying doesn't also empty or refill the water or cleaning fluid required for the mop.
Navigation with the Combo j7 is spot on, with its obstacle detection and recognition it was able to avoid nearly anything in its way making it find an easier more efficient route around my home. This is a must for pet owners as it also can recognise and avoid dog poo.
However, it's not perfect it can still be caught out by stray items it doesn't recognise but thankfully this was rare, and while you won't need to clear as much space as with older models, it still needs a certain amount of space to operate and find a route.
It also sent notifications to my phone asking what objects were and if their location was temporary or permanent so it could modify its route.
The app is great for setting the Room off and also setting keep-out zones, giving a detailed breakdown of where it has been, how long it took and if it encountered any obstacles. You can even scheduled times or set it off when you are out and about, as I love to set mine off when I'm on my way to or from and scare the bejesus out of my partner.
Overall, The Roomba Combo j7 is sure to be a hit with those looking for innovative and effective ways to keep their homes clean and save time while cleaning deeper and more accurately than any robotic vacuum before it.
If you only have carpeted floors or aren't fussed with mopping or if you just already own a dedicated moping robot then the j7 wouldn't suit your needs. However, for most users, the Combo j7 offers incredible versatility as a brilliant vacuum and did an impressive job mopping floors while not getting water on my carpet.
Taking the best of the j7’s advanced mapping technology, and improved sensors and combing them with the impressive mopping capabilities the Roomba Combo j7 makes cleaning easier, take less time and cleans deeper than ever before.
The Roomba Combo j7+ is available in the UK for £849 on irobot.co.uk while the Roomba Combo j7 robot vacuum and mop can also be purchased without the Clean Base for £679 on irobot.co.uk
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