With the release of self-emptying robot vacuums, our lives all of a sudden became so much simpler. As if having a robot vacuum wasn’t enough already, we now have something that can truly do it all. We don’t even have to lift a finger. Or almost never anyway.
Both Shark and iRobot manufacture models as part of their robot vacuum lineup that have self-emptying dustbins, and the concept isn’t new, but it sure is exciting. Nothing as revolutionary has been made since, at least not in the robot vacuum world.
Both the Shark IQ and the Roomba i7+ have a self-emptying dustbin, but that’s not all. They can map your floor plan, run for extended periods of time, and are compatible with Wi-Fi for a whole host of other nifty features.
However, what sets the Shark IQ apart is the fact that it doesn’t need a bag for its dustbin. The verdict is still out on whether or not that makes a difference, but let’s look at it together and find out.
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The Main Differences Between Shark IQ and Roomba i7+
The main differences between Shark IQ and Roomba i7+ are:
- The Shark IQ self-emptying dustbin doesn’t need a bag, but the Roomba i7+ does.
- The Shark IQ canister has a viewing window so you can tell when it’s full, but the Roomba i7+ canister is a lot larger and can hold more debris for less frequent emptying.
- The Shark IQ comes with magnetic strips for restricting areas while the Roomba i7+ is compatible with a dual-mode virtual wall.
- The Shark IQ only has 60 minutes of battery life while the Roomba i7+ has 75 minutes of continuous operation.
Ringing up at about half the price of the Roomba i7+, the Shark IQ (read my full review here!) is a great vacuum for those on a budget. You may notice it lacks a few of the same features, but it still has powerful suction, hands-free controls, scheduling, mapping, and a whole lot of other technology that makes it a fantastic value at this price.
The Shark IQ has a dustbin that slides out easily so when it fills up, it will return to the base to empty. The design of the dustbin prevents dirt from escaping while it works and it also is home to the high-efficiency filter.
The side-loading design is very easy to remove, so while you don’t have to empty it straight from the unit, it’s easy to do so if you need to.
The dock has a canister with a fill window, so while it can hold 30 vacuum sessions worth of debris, you can also see when it’s ready to be emptied. Now, instead of emptying your vacuum after every cleaning cycle, you can empty the bin on the dock every 30 cycles, more or less.
A handle on the base allows you to lift up the canister and then open it via a door on the bottom to dump it out. You can also keep allergens away by rinsing the pre-motor and post-motor filters.
Brushes and Power
It’s a struggle to keep any home clean, but with pets or long hair, it’s even harder. Thankfully, the Shark IQ can tackle all of that. With a self-cleaning brush roll, it won’t get tangled, so you can put the scissors back in the drawer. Every time the brush rotates, it loosens and pulls hair away from the blades and bristles.
Two side brushes also work to clean around edges and in corners. They both have high tensile bristles to tackle all types of dirt and debris. Plus, with powerful suction that you can turn up to work triple time, you won’t have to worry about an extremely dirty floor.
The Shark IQ is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that will last about an hour before it needs to return to the dock. That’s not quite as long as some other robot vacuums, but it will return to the dock for recharging on its own when it needs to.
Unfortunately, the batter takes about six hours to charge. You can also enable the recharge and resume feature, so after it’s done charging it will keep cleaning where it left off. You may have to wait for it, but at least it won’t quit on you.
Controlling your robot vacuum may be the highlight of your experience. After all, with Wi-Fi, smartphone apps, and integrations with other smart home devices, you’ll have a wide variety of options for controlling manually, setting up schedules, monitoring cleaning cycles, and programming your vacuum.
The Shark IQ connects to an app on your smartphone for a whole lot of commands in the palm of your hand. You can schedule cleaning sessions and tell your robot vacuum where to clean on your interactive map.
You can also designate priority areas where you want your robot vacuum to clean while keeping it out of others where you don’t want it to go.
Connect your Shark IQ to Google Home or Amazon Alexa, and you can use voice commands to tell your robot vacuum to start and stop. You can also ask your smart home assistant to locate the vacuum or clean a particular room.
Shark IQ has a few different ways in which it navigates a room. With infrared technology and sensors, it can detect edges and cliffs, so it won’t fall down flights of stairs. Good thing, too, because most robot vacuums probably wouldn’t survive the fall. Yikes.
It also has an optical sensor that allows it to create one map at a time. This is perfect for small apartments or one story homes where you only need one floor plan. Along with this mapping technology (that you can interact with on the smartphone app), the Shark IQ can also plan an efficient cleaning cycle so it won’t have to back track or waste energy.
It’s 12.6 inches tall and 3.5 inches in diameter, which is relatively standard. Low profile robot vacuums are slightly shorter and fit better under low profile furniture, but the Shark IQ has a front bumper to protect it and your furniture from dings.
In your box are BotBoundary strips that create a magnetic signal, keeping your robot vacuum out of certain areas if you need those types of restrictions.
The Roomba i7+ is truly one of the most technologically advanced robot vacuums on the market. It beats out all other robot vacuums in almost every category. That’s not to say there aren’t other robot vacuums out there that will better suit many purposes, especially if you’re on a budget, but the Roomba i7+ is one of the best.
If you’re in the market for a robot vacuum that’s equipped with almost anything you could ever want, look no further. Just be aware that it comes at a price. Let’s take a look at some of the spectacular features of the Roomba i7+. (Click here to check out our full Roomba i7+ Review!)
The Roomba i7+ empties from the top. It’s also a self-emptying dustbin, but by lifting up the top of the robot, you can access the dustbin on the unit if you need. This increases the dustbin capacity to 13 ounces, which is quite large. It’s also rinsable with a high-efficiency filter.
When the on board dustbin is full, it will return to the dock and as it charges, suction will remove the contents of the dustbin into a bagged canister. This canister can hold about thirty days worth of debris, so you can forget having to worry about emptying it every time your unit vacuums the house.
When it’s time to empty the canister, simply open the top, remove the bag, discard, and insert a new bag. While you do have to fiddle with bags with the i7+, the capacity of the canister is a lot larger.
In fact, the bags keep the canister much cleaner, too, so you don’t have to spend time rinsing the canister out regularly to keep it clean and free of allergens and other debris.
Brushes and Power
The Roomba i7+ has two large brushrolls and only one side brush. The two main brushrolls are made of flexible rubber, so they can conform to your flooring and enhance the level of clean. There is also a floor plate on the bottom of the unit that rises and falls based on whether it’s cleaning carpet or bare floor so it can get closer to the action.
The side sweeper is a brush with five blades that can gather dirt from edges and corners while suction will automatically change as needed to tackle the mess. You can also manually increase or decrease suction if needed.
Roomba robot vacuums always provide impressive battery life and the i7+ is no different. It can run for 75 minutes before needing to head back to the dock, and it only takes 120 minutes to charge up fully.
The docking ramp is elevated slightly to prevent the unit from getting stuck, and once it’s done charging, it’ll head back out to start cleaning again where it left off.
The Roomba i7+ also has Wi-Fi, so you can download the smartphone app and connect it to your smart home assistants. With the app, you can control the suction, create cleaning schedules, view a performance log, tell your vacuum to clean a certain room, or restrict access from the interactive map.
By connecting your i7+ to Google Home or Amazon Alexa, you can tell it what to do. You can start and stop cleaning and well as name your rooms and then tell it to clean that room by voice.
The controls on the Roomba i7+ are virtually identical to those on the Shark IQ, so either option is great if you’re looking for this type of functionality and ease of cleaning.
The Roomba i7+ has sensors that can detect stairs so it doesn’t fall. It also has sensors that will continually search for objects to avoid bumping into them. It also uses these sensors to draw a map of your home. The Imprint Smart Mapping allows it to remember more than one map, which is perfect for large homes with more than one floor.
The Roomba i7+ is 13.3 inches tall and 3.62 inches in diameter, making for a pretty large robot vacuum. However, this size enables more dustbin capacity and more room for lots of features.
The dual-mode virtual wall allows for blocking off restricted areas without using the map, if needed. This replaces annoying and unsightly magnetic tape across your floor. Unfortunately, you need to buy the virtual wall separately.
Overall, the Roomba i7+ wins out in terms of features, but you can’t beat the Shark IQ price. And because the Shark IQ is still loaded with plenty of features and powerful suction, it might be your best bet.
The areas in which you may prefer the Roomba i7+ are when it comes to memorizing more than one map or enjoying the huge capacity of the canister. Runtime and charging time are also much better.
Both robot vacuums have the same controls with excellent brush roll abilities, but the Roomba i7+ does boast a cleaning plate that adjusts to the height of your floor as well as automatic suction increase as needed.
Luckily, because of the quality of manufacturing, you won’t go wrong with either choice, and the Shark IQ definitely won’t let you down if you’re looking at a lower price point. The fill window and bagless canister make emptying easy.
Both robot vacuums will auto charge and resume, they both have mapping, they both have Wi-Fi, and they both integrate with other smart home technology. If you’re in the market for a robot vacuum, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by either unit. The final decision is up to you and will depend on your price range, the features you need, and your personal preference.
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Justin obtained his MBA at Baker University. He loves learning and writing about smart home technology and has a passion for its application. Justin brings a wealth of writing experience to the All Home Robotics team and enjoys discovering new and creative ways to implement smart home technologies into his own home (and sharing his findings here)!