Roomba i3 vs Roomba i8

Roomba i3 vs i8 – Differences Explained

In a nutshell, what are the differences between the Roomba i3 and the Roomba i8?

  • The i8 has “keep out zones”, the Roomba i3 does not.
  • The Roomba i8 uses a camera to navigate, the i3 does not.
  • The i8 has geofencing, the i3 does not.
  • The i8 has a longer runtime than the i3.

For an in-depth comparison, continue reading below!

Difference 1: The i8 has “keep out zones”, the i3 does not.

With the Roomba i8, you can draw keep out zones over the areas in your home that you  don’t want the robot vacuum to avoid. These are called “keep out zones”. You can also draw virtual walls on the map that the i8 won’t be able to pass through.

The i3 does not have this feature. If you want to block access to certain areas of your home to the i3, you will need to purchase the Virtual Wall Barrier accessory, which is a beacon you can place in areas you don’t want the robot to go.

Since this is an additional purchase, it’s better to go with the i8 if you know that there are areas in your home that you need to block access to.

Difference 2: The Roomba i8 uses a camera for navigation, the i3 uses floor sensors.

Both robot vacuums clean in straight lines and around the edges of a room, but they use different tools to navigate around your home. The Roomba i8 relies on a top-mounted camera and sensors to find its way around walls and furniture. Because of this reliance on the camera, it’ll need at least some ambient light to be able to navigate efficiently.

On the other hand, the Roomba i3 uses gyroscopes and floor sensors instead of a camera. Because of this, it doesn’t need light to be able to navigate your home and will thus be able to clean in the dark.

If you typically run your robot vacuum at night or if your house is particularly dark, then the i3 might be a better fit. You can trust it to be able to complete cleaning sessions in the darkness.

See Roomba i3 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba i3+ on Amazon.

Difference 3: The i8 can start a cleaning session based on your location, while the i3 relies on scheduling.

If you have your phone’s location turned on, the iRobot app will be able to determine if you’ve left your home for the day. It will then prompt the i8 to start cleaning your home. This way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of creating schedules for cleaning sessions. You can also leave later or earlier than you usually do, and the robot will only start cleaning once you’ve already left.

However, this function is not available on the i3. You’ll need to set scheduled cleaning sessions if you want it to clean while you’re not at home. If you don’t want to bother with setting up schedules, you may want to opt for the i8 instead.

Difference 4: The i8 has a longer runtime than the i3.

The i8 has a maximum runtime of 90 minutes, versus the i3’s 75 minutes. This allows the i8 to cover more ground on a single charge than the i3.

However, this is not too big of an issue because both models have “recharge and resume”. If their batteries start to run low, both robots will automatically return to their docking stations to recharge. This will happen even in the middle of a cleaning session. Once they’ve recharged, they will pick up where they left off. This means both of these models will always finish cleaning your entire floor, no matter how large it is.

If you want a robot vacuum that requires fewer breaks to recharge, then the i8 is better. If that’s not important to you, the i3 will also do just fine.

See Roomba i8+ on Costco

Similarities between the Roomba i3 and the Roomba i8

Similarity 1: Both models are compatible with the separately purchased auto-emptying docking station.

The i8 and the i3 are both compatible with iRobot’s Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. This base station automatically suctions out the dirt and debris out of your robot vacuum so you won’t have to empty the dustbin yourself. The Clean Base has its own dust bag, which is larger than the dustbin of either robot vacuum model.

Once the Clean Base’s dust bag is full, you’ll have to change it, which takes about 2 months, depending on the size of your house.

However, the Clean Base is sold separately from the i3 and i8. The Roomba i3+ and i8+ are versions of these vacuums that come with the Clean Base bundled in.

Similarity 2: Both models are equipped with dual rubber rollers.

These two rubber brushes work together for a deeper clean. One brush is designed to loosen up dirt, particularly on carpet. Once the dirt is loose, the other brush will sweep it up into the vacuum’s intake.

The brushes are made of rubber and don’t have bristles, so it is very hard for hair to get tangled in the roller. Any hair or fur that doesn’t get sucked into the vacuum is easily removed, unlike with a bristle-style brush.

Both robot vacuums also have a three-pronged side brush, which comes in handy when cleaning along edges and corners. The brush sweeps up dirt in harder-to-reach spots and directs it into the path of the suction.

Similarity 3: Both models can be controlled with the iRobot app and voice commands.

You can use the iRobot app to start and stop cleaning sessions, access saved maps, create cleaning schedules, enable spot cleaning, and more.

Both models are compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Siri, each of which will enable you to give your vacuum verbal commands. This means you can just yell “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean the bedroom”, and come back to a vacuumed bedroom. What a time to be alive.


Does the Roomba i3 have to have wifi?

No, the i3 will still be able to clean without wifi. However, you’ll need wifi to be able to use the app as well as enable voice commands.

Can Roomba i3 clean in the dark?

Yes. The i3 uses floor tracking sensors to move around and navigate your home, so it doesn’t need light to be able to clean.

Can I use my Roomba i8 on multiple floors?

Yes. The i8 can create and save maps of multiple floor levels, though you’ll have to physically carry it up or down staircases if you want it to clean another floor.

Does the Roomba i8 avoid dog poop?

No. The i8 has a top-mounted camera that it uses for navigation, not for recognizing obstacles. Thus, it won’t be able to recognize and avoid dog poop and other small objects on the floor.

Does the Roomba i8 clean carpet?

Yes, the i8 has dual main brushes, which are designed to loosen dirt trapped in carpet to clean them more efficiently.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

While the Roomba i3 doesn’t have as many cleaning functions as the i8, it’s nonetheless a reliable and uncomplicated robot vacuum. It comes with many of the features that come with the i8, including the dual main brush system as well as app and voice control. It’s great for smaller homes, given its shorter runtime.

See Roomba i3 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba i3+ on Amazon.

Meanwhile, the i3 does not have the “keep out zone” feature found on the i8. This makes the Roomba i8 the better choice if you know there are areas in your home that you need to block the robot vacuum from entering.

See Roomba i8+ on Costco

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