Roomba Combo j9+ Review: A Robot Vacuum/Mop With a Clever Design and Friendly App

Roomba Combo j9+ Review: A Robot Vacuum/Mop With a Clever Design and Friendly App

Key Takeaways

  • The Roomba Combo j9+ is a robot vacuum and mop that effectively cleans both carpet and hard floors with three levels of suction power.
  • It stands out from other competitors with its intelligent object avoidance and a stylish, well-organized base station.
  • While the vacuuming performance of the Roomba Combo j9+ had a few issues, it still provides satisfactory results and offers a user-friendly app with clear labeling and easy navigation.

Robot vacuums and mops have largely coalesced around a robust set of features, the best of which include good object avoidance and a base station with automatic emptying and filling. The Roomba Combo j9+ finally puts iRobot in that category of cleaners with most of the features of Roborock and DreameTech. The difference here is that the Roomba Combo j9+ has a refinement to it that products from those other companies don’t.

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ Vacuum

Roomba Combo j9+

$1000 $1399 Save $399

This cutting-edge robot vacuum & mop effortlessly banishes dirt from carpet and hard floors. Three levels of suction power and automatic Carpet Boost ensure thoroughly cleaned floors.


  • Damp mop stays completely away from carpets and rugs
  • Intelligent about avoiding problematic objects
  • Base station is stylish and well-organized


  • Mop pad doesn?t get cleaned or dried
  • No area or spot cleaning option in the app

Overview of the Combo j9+ Vacuum and Mop

The Roomba Combo j9+ flipped over showing the underneath
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

As surprising as it seems, Roomba has lagged in bringing a full-featured vacuum and mop combo to market that also has a refilling base station. That’s the big deal with the Combo j9+. If you were waiting for an all-in-one Roomba unit that required less attention, this is it.

A quick run-through of what this product is offering. It has an auto-retracting mop pad, its object avoidance even avoids pet waste, its Clean Base can hold 60 days of dirt and 30 days of water, plus it can be activated via Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

The company doesn’t get into specifics regarding suction level or decibel level. But there are multiple degrees of performance, each coming with an average amount of noise.

Vacuuming Performance Was Mixed

Overall, I was pleased with its ability to be assigned rooms to clean and then grab most of the visible dirt. When I ran some tests to examine its performance closer, I was a little less impressed.

To get a more definitive sense of its various cleaning skills, I first sprinkled white rice inside a taped area on my kitchen floor to see how much it cleaned in a single pass at the default suction level, and how much of the “big dirt” pieces that it scattered around.

The Roomba j9+ displaced around a fourth of the rice grains, leaving a bunch in the bottom right corner and sucking up the other ones.

When I did the same test with Cheerios ground up into dust to simulate finer dirt, the vacuum had much better success. A few remains lingered, however.

The specific results were not great, but this vacuum does have some bright spots. It seemed to spend extra time around the edges of the rooms to make sure to get those areas well. Similarly, it maneuvered around chair legs longer than I thought it needed to, ensuring it had those areas tidy.

I’ve used at least six premium robot vacuums over the last 12 months, and even the best ones weren’t far off from the results here. As an estimate, the Roomba Combo j9+ probably falls right in the middle with its vacuuming performance across hardwood floors.

This vacuum doesn’t enlist the help of light-scattering LiDAR to get a 3D sense of the rooms it cleans, but overall, I was still impressed with its object detection. It seems to be especially careful around wires and common things left on the floor.

I liked its process for reviewing images of objects in its way, once it finished with a room. If you confirm that something is a permanent hazard, it will automatically add a no-go zone to its map.

Mopping Worked Great But Has a Tradeoff

The mopping pad transitioning on the Roomba Combo j9+
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

To get a good look at the mopping function, I simulated a spill of hot sauce on the ground to see how the robot cleaned the mess.

Most other robots I’ve done this test with brute-forced their way over the spill, wiping until it didn’t show on the floor anymore. Whether they actually cleaned the mess is anyone’s guess.

This time, however, the Roomba j9+ surprised me a bit by mostly avoiding the mess on purpose. I knew iRobot touts Roombas’ ability to avoid things like dog poop so it doesn’t get smeared around, but here, the spilled liquid was less obvious than a steaming pile.

Even though I wanted to see its mopping heavily put to the test, it ultimately did the right thing by trying to avoid the spot that it wouldn’t have been able to clean effectively.

So after it maneuvered around it—quite delicately—and finished its job, I wiped up most of the sauce. I purposefully smeared it around and let it sit for a while to dry and harden a bit. If the Roomba wasn’t willing to dive into the hot sauce, I wanted to see if its SmartScrub mopping would at least be able to remove the residue left behind.

With SmartScrub, the machine will go back and forth over each spot on the floor to scrub more than a quick pass. The Combo j9+ was able to remove the remaining hot sauce residue and left the area clean.

This brings me to an oddity of the Combo j9+’s rotating mop arm: it doesn’t get cleaned. Other competitors drag the mopping pad around across all areas, but then the high-end units, like the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra, clean the pad and dry it with hot air in their base stations to avoid smells.

Because the mop lives on top of the Combo j9+ unless it’s being used, it doesn’t have a spot to be cleaned by its docking station. I don’t know how this will fare in the long term, but it wasn’t a problem over a few weeks.

For the record, I don’t think this is the wrong way to do it. More so, I think the best way depends on where the robot is being used.

For homes with more hardwood or tile, where the mop is used and drags more, it probably makes more sense to have the mop pad cleaned regularly. Roomba’s Auto-Retract arm that gets the mop away from the floor completely is probably better for homes that have a lot of carpet or rugs.

More Than a Boring Base Station

Roomba Combo j9+'s Clean Base with the door open
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

It’s gotten to the point that the most interesting design element of a robot vacuum is its base station. It’s the largest and most cumbersome piece of the puzzle with these multi-purpose cleaning products. The Combo j9+ changed things up and features a Clean Base with a pleasant-looking exterior and useful interior.

I have a coat closet full of random dust bags and parts from robot vacuums. So when I saw that the base station for the Combo j9+ had internal storage for those pieces, I was ecstatic. It’s a tiny design element, but in comparison, it does go a long way in making the prospect of adding this product to your home much nicer.

The wood-looking top was fine from a distance, but up close its plastic material was more obvious. Still, it is currently one of the better-looking and unintrusive docking stations around.

iRobot’s Roomba App

Hands down, apps for robot vacuums are not good. The biggest reason is because there’s so much utility crammed onto a few screens. Usability goes out the window. It’s one of my biggest concerns when recommending this category of products to people. I worry they’ll get frustrated by the app experience.

Thankfully, the Roomba app, available on iPhone and Android, is very different than the rest of the field. The text is bigger, the sections are labeled more clearly, and the most common tasks are front and center.

That being said, I do wish there was more advanced functionality available—even if I have to go digging for those things like the ability to spot clean or see the vacuum live, on a map, while it’s in progress.

In the context of being friendly and accessible, the app succeeds.

Roomba Combo j9+ Price and Availability

The Roomba Combo j9+ retails for $1,399 but has been on sale for as low as $999 at the end of 2023.

Should You Buy The Roomba Combo j9+?

Roomba Combo j9+ sitting on a hardwood floor
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

There were a few things that stuck out to me and drove me crazy like the lack of area or spot cleaning with the Roomba Combo j9+. The vacuuming performance was also a little more hit-and-miss than I would have liked. But overall, it was intelligent, for a vacuum, and was simple to use.

I wish iRobot would add in a few more niche features and stay on the cutting edge of what cleaning robots are capable of. Still, the company’s measured approach means that it’s the least intimidating for most people to use and does nearly as good of a job cleaning as other comparable peers.

iRobot Roomba Combo j9+ Vacuum

Roomba Combo j9+

$1000 $1399 Save $399

This cutting-edge robot vacuum & mop effortlessly banishes dirt from carpet and hard floors. Three levels of suction power and automatic Carpet Boost ensure thoroughly cleaned floors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


iPhone 11 with unlimited data is now mega cheap


Telegram’s latest update adds a slick new Thanos Snap effect