I miss clean floors. I’ve used various Roombas over the years to help with my vacuuming, but since my wife and I had our second child in 2022, washing has become an afterthought. And really, a vacuum cleaner can clean your floor that much. I missed the shine of a scrubbed hardwood floor and the smell of Murphy Oil cleaner wafting through the air. Instead, I live with even more toys, crumbs, and assorted bodily waste (to which three cats contribute) on my floor and carpets. Don’t judge me (or any parent!), I’m tired.

When Engadget’s own Daniel Cooper extolled the virtues of iRobot’s first robot vacuum and mop combination, I was intrigued. I had already come to love my Roombas, especially after they gained the ability to dispose of their own waste in their charging docks. But to delete them too? It just sounded like an impossible dream. So when iRobot announced its second combo flagship, the Roomba Combo j9+, I took the opportunity to test it. (Sorry, Dan.)


The Roomba Combo j9+ is the perfect robotic vacuum cleaner and mop. It can easily vacuum up dirt while mopping your floors, and now it’s smart enough to refill its own water tank.


  • Excellent vacuum performance
  • It washes well on its own
  • Great obstacle (and poop) detection.
  • The clean base is well designed
  • Solid battery life

  • expensive
  • The cleaning pad isn’t great for sticky dirt

$999 at Amazon

I tested iRobot’s Braava Jet m6 cleaning robot, which was announced in 2019 and was notable for being able to work alongside the Roomba s9+. But it would have cost me $499 and required cumbersome setup and maintenance. Plus, it was yet another device that had to live somewhere in my home. In the end, it was easier for me to just run the Roomba and clean by hand when I needed to.

Roomba Combo j9+ with clear baseRoomba Combo j9+ with clear base
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

The Roomba Combo j9+ (and the j7+ before it) promises a far smoother experience: It can vacuum and clean at the same time without much extra effort on your part. All you have to do is add some water and cleaning solution to its large tank (stored neatly in the redesigned clean base) and attach a mop pad. The company has developed a unique mop arm that can automatically move up and down when needed, helping to avoid leaving your carpets wet with residue.

Maintenance is also pretty simple: wash the mop pads after a few runs, add more water when needed, and make sure the Roomba’s bristles don’t get tangled with hair. Once the Clean Base is full, changing the custom waste bags takes just a few seconds.

While we liked the Roomba Combo j7+ well enough, the new model addresses some of the issues we encountered. It can automatically refill its water tank from the Clean Base, while the j7+ requires you to manually add liquid to the robot. The Combo j9+ also offers more powerful vacuum suction, allowing it to pick up smaller debris and complete tasks with fewer cleaning passes. His new Clean Base also looks like a piece of furniture with a wooden top that you can use as a regular table. Its door opens from the front and offers space for additional litter bags, accessories and a large tank for cleaning fluid.

Roomba Combo j9+ Garbage BagRoomba Combo j9+ Garbage Bag
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

iRobot claims the j9+ Clean Base allows for 30 days of hands-free washing and 60 days of hands-free vacuuming, numbers that seem extremely ambitious to most users. In my testing, I had to look at the Roomba’s bristles at least once a week to deal with extraneous hair and random toys. And I definitely had to replace the mop pad after two or three runs – after all, there’s no such thing as clean floors with a dirty mop.

Like the Roomba j7+ and s9 before it, and almost every Roomba ever made, you’ll want to clean your floors of small debris and potential hazards before you hit the ground running. As a Roomba user since 2005, I have come to accept that they are not magical cleaning devices. You will they need to put in some work to help them perform at their best. But the key is that it’s still easier than manually vacuuming and sweeping your floors, and significantly cheaper than a cleaning service.

Thanks to iRobot’s OS 7, along with its camera and wide array of sensors, the Roomba Combo j9+ is far better at automatically mapping your home than previous models. After two runs, it correctly labeled my kitchen, dining room, and living room, although I had to go into the iRobot app to differentiate between the living room and family room. Mapping may seem unnecessary if you’re using Roomba for the first time (you can also disable it entirely), but it’s the heart of the vacuum’s routines. Instead of cleaning your entire home, you can program it to clean just the kitchen and dining room. If you connect your app to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, you can also use voice commands to direct your robot to specific locations.

After getting into hot water for its earlier plans to sell data for home mapping, iRobot made a hypocrite move, abandoning that idea and starting to emphasize privacy. The says the company your mapping data is stored in the iRobot cloud for processing (something you can also disable), which is a “secure” environment with “strict access controls, data encryption at rest and in transit, and periodic audits to ensure , that access is given only to those who request it.”

in 2020 MIT Technology Review reported that development versions of the Roomba J7 captured images of a woman sitting on a toilet and a child playing on the floor that made it to a library used by the Scale AI labeling service. iRobot said that the people using these devices had consented to their data being captured – they were not regular users. One downside to using any cloud-connected device, especially one that aims to learn about your home, is that it will require sharing some data. It’s up to you to determine if this is a worthwhile trade-off for more convenience.

Roomba Combo j9+ mop padRoomba Combo j9+ mop pad
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

When it comes to cleaning, the Roomba Combo j9+ practically hypnotizes me as it balances between vacuuming and washing. At the start of each cleaning, the robot would exit the Clean Base, turn around, and painstakingly fill its tank with liquid. It’s like watching R2D2 go to the toilet in reverse. As each job began on my wood floor, the Roomba removed its mop pad from its top (it has a little mop cap!) and spun its vacuum. It then continued to move forward, sucking up the dirt while the cleaning pad cleaned right behind, a virtuoso show of autonomous cleaning acrobatics.

If you don’t need a thorough clean, you can also use the iRobot app to have the j9+ only vacuum or mop (useful if you’ve just gone to town on the floor with a handheld vacuum). The iRobot app lets you control the number of cleaning passes for a job (one, two, or “room size,” which handles large rooms once and smaller spaces two to three times), as well as the amount of water for each job with cleaning (eco, standard or ultra). You can also choose between low, medium, and strong suction options (which get progressively stronger, as you’d expect).

Roomba Combo j9+Roomba Combo j9+
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

The iRobot app also lets you turn Roomba’s obstacle detection on and off, though you’ll probably never want to disable it. In my testing, the Roomba Combo j9+ was able to avoid shoes, toys, and other objects in its path. It also quietly stopped when my kids or cats stepped in front of it. iRobot’s promise to avoid pet poop (the aptly named Official Pet Owner Promise) also applies to the j9+. If the company stool-optimized computer vision algorithms somehow miss a dog or cat messing around in your home, iRobot says it’ll send you a new Roomba for free within the first year of purchase. However, the company will only send one replacement and the guarantee does not apply to non-solid waste (including diarrhoea) or faeces from another animal.

Before you ask, yes, I tested this. I placed some cat poop in front of the j9+ and watched with concern as it approached the stench. Fortunately it stopped about six inches away and immediately backed away as if terrified of the horrors it was about to inflict on itself. My floors were grateful and so was I.

Roomba Combo j9+ avoids poopRoomba Combo j9+ avoids poop

The Roomba Combo j9+ performed great as a mop. It wasn’t always perfect and I could make out streaks every now and then, but it still looked a lot better than when I relied on just vacuuming. After my first cleaning session, my floors glistened in the sunlight with a shine I hadn’t seen in months. And the best part is that it required very little effort on my part other than a little tidying up. Even my famously picky mom noticed that my floors shined more when they visited right after the Roomba worked its magic.

According to iRobot, the j9+ has twice the cleaning performance of the j7+. While I couldn’t test the difference directly, I can attest that it’s a tenacious little bot when it comes to tough situations like dried paw prints and caked-on dirt. It was able to completely clean these messes, but I’d be wary of letting it deal with anything worse, at least not without changing the cleaning pad right after. The j9+ may be able to avoid poo around your house, but painting your floor with a muddy mop can also be awful.

Roomba Combo j9+Roomba Combo j9+
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

The rogue j9+ can do a lot of damage in your home as its battery life is also improved. It usually cleared my first floor in about two hours without needing a charge break. At one point he worked for two and a half hours without breaking a sweat. That should make this Roomba quite capable, even if you have a large home. Fully cleaning the floor took between 30 minutes and an hour longer than the j7+, but that makes sense since it also washes and vacuums more diligently.

At $1,400, the Roomba Combo J9+ is too expensive for most people looking to buy their first robot vacuum. Even when iRobot is having a sale (we’ve seen it drop the price to $999), the Combo j9+ is quite expensive, but this discount makes the j9+ more palatable for longtime Roomba owners who have learned how to fit the bot into their cleaning routines. iRobot isn’t completely out of line with its prices: the competing Roborock S7 Max Ultra offers similar vacuuming and washing functions, and normally retails for $1,299 (also on sale for $999 right now).

There’s still no robot vacuum cleaner equivalent to the Jetsons’ robot Rosie, but Roomba Combo j9+ is the closest we have so far. iRobot has built its excellent robot vacuum platform to deliver something that can finally mop your floors without sweat. And while it may seem a bit excessive, the price can be worth it for parents who, like me, have forgotten what real clean floors look like.