Roomba i3+ next to Roomba i6+.

Roomba i3+ vs i6+: Auto-emptying Roomba Showdown

The Roomba i3+ and the Roomba i6+ are two great new additions to iRobot’s lineup. They are similar many ways, with only a few key differences. I will cover these differences and similarities in detail below. They both are WiFi-enabled, are capable of recharge-and-resume, and can map your house intelligently.

What are the differences between Roomba i3+ and i6+?

The difference between the Roomba i3+ and i6+ are as follows: i6+ has an onboard camera, lets you specify which rooms to clean, and has the “keep out zone” feature in the app. The i3+ does not have these capabilities.

For more details, read on!

Difference 1: The i6+ has a camera onboard, the i3+ does not.

The first difference between the two models is that the i3+ does not have onboard cameras.  The i6+ does have the camera on top that allow it to map out your house and see where it has already vacuumed.  The i3+ has floor tracking sensors on the bottom. Somehow the processing units onboard the i3+ is able to work out an accurate map of your house using just those sensors. 

Difference 2: The Roomba i6+ lets you specify which rooms to clean, the i3+ does not.

The i3+ cleans just as well as the i6+, but it’s not capable of cleaning specific rooms. For example, you can use an Amazon Echo or the iRobot app to tell the i6+ to “clean the kitchen”, and the i6+ will leave its dock, maneuver over to the kitchen, and vacuum that area only.  The i3+ lacks a way to specify areas, and instead just cleans your whole house. If you want it to clean a specific area only, you will have to pick it up, set it down where you want cleaned, and stop the vacuum once it’s done vacuuming that area.

Difference 3: The i6+ has the Keep Out Zones feature, the i3+ does not.

The i6+ has a neat feature called Keep Out Zones. With this, you can set up areas in your home through the app and have the vacuum not go into those areas.  This is really good for if you want to cordon off an area like pet bowls or stairs if the Roomba is on the second floor.   The i3+ doesn’t have this feature.

Difference 4: The i3+ costs less than the i6+. 

Price is probably one of the most important considerations for many consumers when purchasing an expensive item like a vacuum. So if you’re on a budget and are ok with not having onboard cameras, then go for the i3+.  It costs less than the i6+.

Similarity 1: Both Roombas come with an auto-emptying home base.

When the robot vacuum is done cleaning, it will automatically return to its dock, charge itself, empty out any debris into the bin, and then resume cleaning where it left off. This reduces the time you would spend emptying out the small dust bin on the robot itself. Dust is collected into the larger bag located in the dock.

Similarity 2: Both have recharge and resume

With either of these vacuums, you don’t need to worry too much about battery life.  They both are capable of recharging during the middle of a cleaning job and returning to where it left off.  Just press the clean button again, and the vacuum will finish its task.  You can also schedule them clean at a certain time, like when you’re not home.

Similarity 3: Both Roombas clean in a logical and linear pattern like a human would vacuum.

Older and lesser Roombas use a random method to clean. They sort of bounce around randomly, vacuuming wherever they may go. Higher end Roombas, like the i3+ and the i6+, are different; they vacuum methodically, working its way linearly down your room.

What are the differences between the Roomba i3 vs i6 (without the plus signs)?

The differences between the plus versions apply directly to the regular versions of these robot vacuums. The plus in the names refers to the fact they come with the auto-emptying base. It’s the Roomba i3 PLUS the docking station.

In other words, the i3 and the i6 (without the plus signs), are the base versions of these vacuums that do not come with the auto-emptying docking station. They come with a smaller, regular charging dock instead.


These two vacuums are very similar. They have pretty much the same features, but differ in the ways I have mentioned above.  

If you want a vacuum with onboard cameras and the capability of cleaning specific rooms, then go for the Roomba i6+. These are nice features that add to its ease of use.

If budget is your priority, then go for the more affordable Roomba i3+. You can save some money while sacrificing a few features that I believe are not essential.

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