The New Roomba j7+ Promises to Avoid Pet Poop, So We Put It to the Test
Picture this: you're headed home from work a little later than you'd hoped and you're expecting guests at any moment for a little holiday celebration, so you open up your robot vacuum app, hit "clean," and hope that it gets the place looking fresh before you or your guests arrive. There's only one problem: your adorable puppy had an accident while you were gone, and your robot vacuum ran straight through a major poop while it was cleaning up. So instead of coming home to a clean space, you arrive to find Fido's accident spread all across your kitchen floor. Way to go from bad to worse!
The team at iRobot took note of customers who reported these types of messy incidents and created a new Roomba model that steers clear of pet poop: the iRobot Roomba j7+ robot vacuum. They're so confident in the technology that the j7+ comes with a P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise) guarantee—if the robot vacuum runs through solid cat or dog pet waste within the first year of use, they will replace it. That's a pretty big promise, so of course we had to put it to the test.
Does This Robot Vacuum Really Avoid Pet Poop?
How We Tested:
I placed a dollop of chocolate pudding in the middle of my kitchen floor, held my breath, and hit "Vacuum Everywhere" on the iRobot app. The vacuum identified the chocolate mess (I could actually see it pause for a moment to register it), then proceeded to clean everything around the chocolate pudding, maintaining about a two-inch radius between the mess and the edge of the vacuum as it maneuvered around.
After the cleaning cycle finished, the iRobot app showed me a picture of the chocolate mess and asked if it was a temporary obstacle or a permanent one. If it was permanent, like a power strip on the floor, it would create a "keep out" zone. Since it was temporary, I marked it as such so that the vacuum won't always skip that spot on the kitchen floor.
I was relieved that I didn't have to clean up a chocolate pudding mess smeared all over the tile, but still a little curious, so I decided to test the iRobot Roomba j7+ on real pet poop. In a similar scenario to the one above, I came home late from work one night to see that my elderly Chihuahua had missed the wee pad by a good bit and left her own dollop of poop on my kitchen floor. I had scheduled the Roomba for a run that was set to begin in a few minutes, so instead of cleaning up the accident myself, I decided to see what the j7+ would do.
It expertly avoided my pup's poop. I was absolutely in awe. Once again, after the clean, the iRobot app asked me if this was a temporary obstacle, and I confirmed.
iRobot Roomba j7+ Robot Vacuum
Besides avoiding pet waste, there are a few other features that I loved about the Roomba j7+ robot vacuum.
Set-up is quick and straightforward.
I've tested other robot vacuums that took up to 45 minutes to set up. With the j7+, you do have to download the iRobot app, but it prompts you at every step along the way, making the process quick and simple. It was ready to use in just a few minutes. It also allows you to name your robot vacuum, so I lovingly named mine Fancy, and I actually enjoyed getting updates about Fancy's performance while using the app.
It maps and learns your home.
Before it vacuums for the first time, the Roomba will create a map of your home by showing itself around and learning its perimeters. You can even opt in to a program that will allow it to take pictures of obstacles so that it can keep learning your home over time. In addition to successfully avoiding pet poop, the Roomba identified several cords in my home and allowed me to create "keep out zones," since they are permanent obstacles.
At first, it only mapped my living room and bedroom because there's a slight incline between my kitchen and living room, so I placed it in my kitchen for the next run, and it added it to the map. As someone who is not particularly tech-savvy, I liked that the j7+ was smart enough to figure that out on its own.
It cleans up pet hair, dirt, and dust with ease.
In addition to expertly avoiding pet poop, the j7+ does a solid job of keeping floors clean, sucking up pet (and human) hair, food crumbs, dust, and dirt. While you'll still have to rely on a broom to clean the nooks, crannies, and other hard-to-reach spaces around your home, this Alexa- and Google Home-compatible device delivers on its promise to do most of the work for you. The self-emptying base automatically disposes of the collected debris for up to 60 days and keeps the robot vac charged so you can set it and forget it.
No dust. No debris. No hairballs. I had no direct interaction whatsoever with the messes this thing sucked up from my floors. When the vacuum finishes its run, the base sucks up the debris into its bag, which you can easily replace as you see fit. It's worth noting that the suction noise the vacuum makes is quite loud and surprised both my dog and myself.
Things to keep in mind:
While I love that the Roomba j7+ avoids pet poop and electrical cords, I do wish that it used its visual technology to avoid running into other things, like my baseboards and bookshelves. While this vacuum does learn your home, it still ran into my baseboards several times. For a vacuum that so expertly avoids pet poop, I wish it would avoid permanent, larger obstacles with the same expertise.
It also wasn't great at picking up cat litter on the first pass, so if you're a cat owner, know that it might take a few runs to pick up the debris that finds its way out of Mr. Whiskers' litter box.
The team at iRobot says that the next phase of their technology will focus on avoiding other common small obstacles (like crayons and socks) that are often left lying around on the floor. Like an iPhone, you can update the software of your iRobot vacuum so that when that updated programming does come along, you won't need to buy a new vacuum. You can just update your current one.
Final Thought: A pricey piece of cleaning technology that's worth the investment
As a product reviews writer, I am always impressed when a product delivers on its promise, and the iRobot Roomba j7+ absolutely does that. While the $200 price difference between the regular iRobot Roomba j7 and the j7+ might give you pause, investing in the j7+ is worth it for pet owners who worry about small accidents turning into major disasters. As promised, the iRobot Roomba j7+ avoids pet poop and gives your home an intelligent clean. Shop it now on Amazon.