Roomba i6 vs j7 – Differences Explained

In a nutshell, what are the differences between the Roomba i6 and the Roomba j7?

  • The Roomba j7 recognizes and avoids obstacles, while the Roomba i6 does not.
  • The j7 has a built-in LED camera that allows it to “see” in the dark, while the i6 does not.

Difference 1: The Roomba j7 can recognize and avoid pet waste, the Roomba i6 cannot.

The Roomba j7 comes with a front-facing camera that allows it to identify small things on the ground like cables, shoelaces, and toys. Once identified, the robot vacuum will change its route to avoid these obstacles.

This is a particularly useful feature if you have pets at home. Even house trained pets may sometimes make a mess, which can happen right before a cleaning session. Because the j7 will recognize pet waste and steer clear, it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

In contrast, the i6 does not have this capability and will run into small objects on the ground. Things like wires and cables might get sucked up into the vacuum’s intake.

See Roomba j7 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba j7+ on Amazon.

Difference 2: The j7 uses a front-facing camera for navigation, while the i6 uses a top-mounted camera.

The j7’s ability to avoid obstacles is made possible by its front-facing camera, which is flanked by a built-in LED light.

Robot vacuums that rely on cameras for navigation often need at least some ambient light to be able to clean. This means that they won’t be able to clean when it’s completely dark. The j7’s front-facing LED light allows it to clean even when it’s nighttime and all the lights in your home are turned off.

On the other hand, the i6 uses its top-mounted camera to navigate. However, the i6 does not have a built-in LED light and thus won’t be able to navigate in the dark.

If you find yourself needing your Roomba to clean in the dark, the j7 might be the better choice.

See Roomba i6+ on Amazon

Similarities between the Roomba i6 and the Roomba j7

Similarity 1: Both models can create smart maps.

The i6 and the j7 will take time to make mapping runs and learn the layout of your home and create maps for each level of your house. You can save and use these maps to create custom cleaning schedules and routes.

You can use the maps to draw keep out zones over areas in your home that you want your robot vacuum to avoid. You can also draw clean zones to ensure that your robot vacuum will focus on cleaning specific areas.

Additionally, you can also use the maps to send your robot vacuum to clean specific rooms. For example, if you’re cooking dinner and you’ve spilled something all over the floor, you can tell your robot vacuum to clean your kitchen without having to start a whole cleaning session.

Similarity 2: Both models can start cleaning when you leave your home.

You can create custom schedules that your robot vacuum will automatically follow. However, if you have an irregular schedule, you can turn on the iRobot app’s location tracking feature instead.

The app can detect when you’ve left your home, after which it will send a signal to your robot vacuum to start cleaning. This process is automatic and you won’t have to create any schedules or remotely prompt your robot vacuum to start cleaning while you’re away.

Similarity 3: Both models have “recharge and resume”.

If you have a particular large layout, your Roomba might not be able to finish cleaning the whole floor on one charge.

If they sense that their battery levels are running low but there is more to clean, both models will return to their dock to recharge. Once they have enough power, they’ll go back to where they left off and continue cleaning until the session is complete.

They will pause and recharge as many times as necessary to complete the cleaning session.

Similarity 4: Both models can be upgraded with a self-emptying dock.

The i6 and the j7 are both compatible with the iRobot Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, which is purchased separately.

Note that the i6 and j7’s clean bases are different and not interchangeable. The i6 has the older, taller Clean Base while the j7’s Clean Case has the newer, shorter design.

The Clean Base has an onboard waste bag where all the dust and dirt from the Roombas go. You’ll only have to empty the Clean Base’s waste bag once every 2 months or so.

If you want the auto-emptying Clean Base included, the “plus” versions of these vacuums will have that. The model names are Roomba i6+ and Roomba i7+, respectively.

Similarity 5: Both models allow app control and voice commands.

You can use the iRobot app to access all of the available features and functions of both the i6 and the j7. You’ll be able to access the saved maps, set cleaning schedules, toggle various functions, and more.

Aside from the app, you can also use voice commands to tell your robot vacuum what you want it to do. The i6 and the j7 are both compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Siri, and you can use any one of these digital assistants to enable voice commands.

The iRobot app and the voice commands feature both need a wifi connection to be able to work.

Without wifi, Roombas will still work. But you’ll need to use its buttons to start and stop cleaning sessions and you won’t be able to access the vacuums’ advanced features.

See Roomba i6+ on Amazon

Similarity 6: Both models use a dual brush design.

While other robot vacuums come with just one main brush, the i6 and the j7 come with two. Their main brushes are made of silicone and have no bristles but are nonetheless effective at sweeping up dirt.

Bristled brushes are often difficult to clean because strands of hair tend to get tangled in the bristles, making them hard to rip out. The brushless rollers on the Roombas rarely trap hair, and are pretty easy to maintain.

In addition, this design is better at loosening dirt and sweeping it up into the vacuum’s intake, giving you a better clean, especially on carpet.

Similarity 7: Both models navigate around rooms in straight lines.

Unlike older generation Roombas, both the i6 and i7 vacuum like a human would. This means that they don’t bump around in random directions. Because they move in straight, tight lines, they are able to cover the entire floor. This helps to make sure that no area is left untouched and makes for a more thorough clean.

See Roomba j7 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba j7+ on Amazon.


Is Roomba i6 good for pet hair?

Yes. The i6 has powerful suction and brushes that sweep pet hair effectively into the intake, making it perform very well when cleaning up pet hair.

Does the Roomba i6 tell you when the bag is full?

Yes. The iRobot app will alert you when the i6’s dustbin is full and needs to be emptied.

Does the i6 have mapping?

Yes. The i6 has smart mapping capabilities, so you’ll be able to use features such as zoned cleaning and selective room cleaning.

Does the Roomba j7 have a camera?

Yes. The j7 has a front-facing camera that allows it to recognize a variety of objects that typically clutter the floor, including pet waste.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

While the Roomba j7 and the Roomba i6 have a lot of similarities, the j7 is more advanced and offers more features.

Its biggest advantage over the i6 is its obstacle recognition and avoidance capabilities. It can recognize clutter and pet waste and modify its route to steer clear of these objects.

See Roomba j7 on Amazon

Or click here to see the Roomba j7+ on Amazon.

The i6 does not have obstacle avoidance. It usually costs a bit less than the j7, which makes it a great choice if you don’t have pets and have no need for obstacle recognition.

See Roomba i6+ on Amazon


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