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Roomba gets an upgrade and a new floor mopping sidekick

iRobot's most automated Roomba and robot mop look awesome but cost a heck of a lot.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
3 min read

iRobot pulled the tarp off of two new, highly advanced robot cleaners. The first is the $1,299 Roomba S9+ robot vacuum, the company's latest flagship product. The second is the $499 Braava Jet m6, a fresh iteration of its Braava line of robotic mops.

These two robot floor cleaners don't merely boast updated smarts and enhanced cleaning abilities. iRobot says it designed its new robots to work together, where the Roomba vacuums first, then it instructs the Braava to mop up behind it. The goal is to replicate the way you would clean your floors yourself.

Read more from ZDNET: How iRobot used data science and the cloud to design its next-gen smart home robots 

A high price for hands-off cleaning

If you're stunned by the steep price tags of these robots, I don't blame you. The cost of automatic floor cleaners has plummeted in recent years. You can now get a basic robot vacuum model for a little as $224. Why would anyone spend five times more for the Roomba S9+, let alone twice as much for the Braava Jet m6 mop? The answer is convenience, at least according to iRobot.

Like the Roomba i7+ that iRobot announced last year, the Roomba S9+ will, by and large, clean itself. The robot comes with a CleanBase docking port that charges its battery. The dock also empties the Roomba's dustbin after each vacuum session.

Neato's D4 and D6 robots target dirt, deal seekers and pet owners

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Equipped with a large, disposable vacuum bag, the CleanBase holds 30 dustbin loads of debris -- enough for weeks of hands-free cleaning. And when it's time for a new bag, just remove the sealed pouch from the CleanBase then toss it in the trash.   

iRobot's new Roomba i9+ is designed to clean edges and corners well.


Made to hug tight corners

The Roomba S9+ has other design enhancements, too. On this model, iRobot decided to ditch its classic round body in favor of a half-circle chassis. It's a design right out of competitor Neato's playbook.

Read more:  Forgot to turn the Roomba on before you left? Amazon Echo can help | The 10 best vacuums to use for kitchen cleanup

Robot vacuums made by Neato have had a similar "D" shape for years. Neato says the design translates to superior cleaning in room corners. Examples include our Editors' Choice Award-winning Botvac Connected, along with the Botvac D3, D4, D6 and D7.

Apparently the Roomba S9 takes things a step further. The machine has something iRobot calls "PerfectEdge" technology, a behavior that drives the Roomba to hug room edges tightly. It will even back up and reposition itself, all for the benefit of attacking corners and edges with minimal clearance.

iRobot's latest Roomba and Braava mop will communicate to coordinate floor cleaning.


One mean mopping machine

For the mop, iRobot says the Braava Jet m6 is its biggest, baddest, mopping robot yet. Unlike its Braava predecessors, the new model comes with its own charging dock. iRobot also says it boasts the same intelligent floor mapping skills as its Roomba vacuum brethren. That means it can cover multiple rooms on the same floor, just like premium Roombas can.

To make this happen, iRobot gave the m6 a bigger water tank, plus the ability to return to its dock to recharge, then resume cleaning until its task is complete. You can either fill the Braava's tank with plain water or a special cleaning solution. This liquid sourced from iRobot will add a sheen to hard surfaces, along with a pleasant fragrance.

And since both the Braava Jet m6 and Roomba S9+ speak to the same iRobot mobile app, they will coordinate to clean your floors. Through the app you have the option of commanding the two machines to tidy up single rooms, or the entire floor, with one screen tap.

Read more: Best Robot Vacuum Cleaners for 2019 | Magical new Roomba empties its bin by itself Trifo's robot vacuum cleans with speed and on the cheap

Ready to buy right now

American and Canadian shoppers can buy both floor cleaners immediately through iRobot's website. The Roomba S9+ and Braava Jet m6 will also hit retailers on June 9, 2019.