Roomba i4 vs i7 – What Are the Differences?

In a nutshell, what are the differences between the Roomba i4 and the Roomba i7?

  • The Roomba i7 uses VSLAM for navigation, while the Roomba i4 relies on sensors.
  • The i7 can create and save maps, while the i4 cannot.
  • The i7 has “keep out zones”, a feature missing on the i4.

Difference 1: The Roomba i7 uses its camera for navigation, whereas the i4 relies on sensors to navigate.

Once you start the i7 for the first time, it will explore your home and learn the location of specific markers, such as your furniture. To do this, it relies on its camera for navigation, which means that it will need to have some ambient lighting when cleaning your home. This also means that it won’t be able to clean in the dark.

The Roomba i4, on the other hand, doesn’t have any onboard cameras. Instead, it uses floor tracking sensors to find its way around your home. This means it can clean your home even in total darkness. Even though the i4 doesn’t have a camera, it is still able to navigate your home in a logical, efficient manner.

Click here to see the Roomba i4+ on Amazon.

Difference 2: The i7 can save up to 10 maps of your home, while the i4 cannot.

The i7 will take some time to learn the layout of your home upon first use. Once completed, it will create maps that you can save with customized labels. Up to 10 maps can be saved, meaning the robot vacuum can remember every floor of multi-story homes (and more).

If you live in a smaller home and you don’t have much need for the mapping feature, the i4 will be able to give you what you’re looking for. However, if you have a large home with multiple stories and you’d like to be able to use the map-dependent cleaning functions, the i7 might be the better bet.

Difference 3: The i7 has the “keep out zones” feature, the i4 does not.

The Roomba i7 has the “keep out zones” feature, which allows you to set up areas that you don’t want your robot vacuum to clean. This is a great way of directing it away from fragile items and preventing it from getting stuck in tight places. You can draw these zones using the iRobot app.

The i4, on the other hand, lacks this feature. This means you will need to rely on physically blocking off areas you don’t want the Roomba to roam, or purchase an iRobot Virtual Wall Barrier to mark these areas.

If you know there are areas in your home that you’ll need to block off, the i7 is the better choice.

See Roomba i7 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba i7+ on Amazon.

Similarities between the Roomba i4 and the Roomba i7

Similarity 1: Both models have a self-emptying, “plus” version.

The Roomba i4 and the Roomba i7 are both compatible with the iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. The Clean Base is a docking station that will recharge your robot vacuum as well as automatically empty its dustbin after every cleaning session, or whenever necessary.


You can buy the Clean Base separately from the robot vacuum, or you can get it in a bundle. As designated by the “plus”, the i4+ and i7+ are models that come bundled with a Clean Base.

Without the Clean Base, you’ll have to empty your robot vacuum’s dustbin yourself. You’ll have to do this basically after every cleaning session. With the Clean Base, you will need to change the waste bag every two months or so, depending on the size of your home.

Similarity 2: Both models automatically recharge once their batteries start to run low in the middle of a cleaning session.

The Roomba i4 and the Roomba i7 will both automatically return to their docking stations to recharge when their batteries start to get low in the middle of a cleaning session. Once recharged, they will resume from where they left off until the job has been completed.

This feature is especially useful for large homes with multiple rooms, taking battery life out of the equation.

Similarity 3: Both models have two main rubber brushes.

These rubber brushes are more efficient and easier to clean than brushes with bristles. Strands of hair tend to get tangled in bristles and can be difficult to untangle and remove. On the other hand, rubber brushes don’t have bristles for hair strands to get tangled into. Hair will usually get sucked into the dustbin itself.

One brush in the dual brush system is designed to loosen dirt. The second brush will then sweep the dirt up into the robot vacuum’s intake. The two brushes work together to efficiently clean any surface, be it carpets, hardwood floors or tile.

Additionally, both models also come with three-pronged side brushes. These side brushes reach into corners and edges and sweep dust and dirt into the path of suction.

Similarity 4: Both models can be controlled using voice commands or the iRobot app.

The iRobot app will give you access to all the features and functions that both the i4 and the i7 have to offer. You can use the app to turn on your robot vacuum, prompt it to start cleaning, customize its cleaning routes, set schedules, and more. You’ll also be able to access and use the i7’s saved maps on the app.

If you’ve got your hands full and you can’t access your phone to use the app, you can use voice commands to start and stop cleaning sessions.

The i4 and the i7 are both compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, and a software update has also made them compatible with Apple’s Siri. This makes it possible for you to shout commands like “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean the living room.”

It’s important to note that a Wi-Fi connection is required for the app and for voice control. You’ll still be able to turn your robot vacuum on and off and start cleaning sessions by using its buttons, but that’s all you’ll be able to do without Wi-Fi.

Similarity 5: Both models have smart navigation.

The i4 and the i7 are both able to navigate and clean your home in a logical pattern. They clean in straight, tight lines, making sure to cover your entire floor. This is in contrast to older generation vacuums, which use a “bump and turn” style navigation and roam around randomly to clean a room.

Click here to see the Roomba i4+ on Amazon.


Does the Roomba i4 self-empty?

Only if you pair it with the iRobot Clean Base. You can buy the Clean Base separately or buy the i4+, which is a version of the i4 that comes with both the robot vacuum and the Clean Base in one package.

Is the Roomba i7 worth it?

Yes. While there are more affordable robot vacuums, the i7 offers a smooth cleaning experience and has many features you want in a robot vacuum.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

The Roomba i4 is an efficient robot vacuum that can work well for smaller homes. Like the Roomba i7, it uses dual rubber brushes for a better clean and easier maintenance.

In terms of cleaning performance, there’s not much of a difference between the i4 and the i7. Both have good suction and are designed to clean in straight lines to cover your entire home.

Click here to see the Roomba i4+ on Amazon.

The main advantage the Roomba i7 has over the i4 is the keep out zone feature. If you know there are areas in your home that you need to block access to, it is better to go with the i7.

See Roomba i7 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba i7+ on Amazon.

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