As one of the few companies that’s figured out how to make robots that consumers actually want, iRobot sells a wide range of robo-cleaners, including both vacuums and floor moppers. Its new Roomba Combo j7+ is the first Roomba bot to do both, using a clever mechanism that lifts the mopping tool completely out of the way as the robovac transitions from hard floors to carpeting.
Why create an all-in-one solution when iRobot already sells bots that can do both? It’s probably because robovacs can now come with price tags well north of $US1,000 ($1,388), thanks to all the sensors onboard that allow them to intelligently navigate a home and empty themselves afterwards. Robo-moppers, like iRobot’s Braava jet, are another $US500+ ($694)+ on top of that.
The new Roomba Combo j7+, available for pre-order now and shipping out on October 4, comes in at $US1,100 ($1,527). That’s by no means cheap, but it’s just $US100 ($139) more than the $US1,000 ($1,388) Roomba j7+ bundle (the new mopping model is only being sold with the docking station that charges and empties the bot) and comes with updates that make the Roomba Combo j7+ look like the most capable all-in-one yet.
The most convenient all-in-one robotic floor cleaners available now feature mopping pads that can automatically raise a few millimetres off the ground when the robot transitions from hardwood or tile floors to carpeting, but there’s always the risk of that wet pad still dripping, and no one likes walking around on wet shag. For its new Roomba Combo j7+, iRobot has upgraded the Roomba j7+ with a rather complicated but effective mechanism that uses a pair of belt driven arms to completely retract its mopping pad and lift it onto the top of the robot when it’s no longer needed, completely eliminating the risk of unwanted drips.
Ultrasonic sensors beneath the bot are used to automatically differentiate between hard and soft floor surfaces, and the mopping pad is removable so it can be tossed in the washing machine and occasionally cleaned. Like the Roomba j7+, the new Roomba Combo j7+ (could they have not come up with a more distinct name?) can also autonomously return to a dock for charging and emptying its dust bin, which is now slightly smaller to make room for a water/cleaning solution tank. Unfortunately, the dock can’t refill that tank like Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra’s dock can, but Roborock’s solution is also $US300 ($416) more expensive than Roomba’s latest, so refilling the tank yourself will save you a few bucks, and might make the still pricy Roomba Combo j7+ easier to justify for your budget.
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