Is the iRobot Roomba i4+ worth the money? We bought a Roomba i4+ Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum with dirt disposal for my sister in law’s family as a gift but it didn’t work for them. The iRobot Roomba i4+4550 was on sale at Costco so I thought I would share a Roomba i4+ review.
We bought the Roomba i4+ from Costco, so returning it wouldn’t have been a big deal (minus having to endure the pretty much always atrocious returns line up), she suggested that we give it a try for our home. Costco membership is worth it for this generous return policy alone.
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Roomba i4+ Review
Initially I was hesitant, thinking we should go for the cheaper Shark option instead (it is cheaper by about $100) but we decided to just try the Roomba i4+ out instead. I couldn’t find much information about the Roomba i4+ so I thought I would share what I learned about it.
We already had a Dyson stick vacuum and I thought it seemed excessive to get a robot vacuum (we don’t have a central vacuum in our new build) since having over $1000 in vacuums seems ridiculous, but actually, they work really well together (one for spot cleaning and one for deep cleaning). Even Family Money Saver swears by robot vacuums.
Here’s my iRobot Roomba i4 review.
What is the Roomba i4+?
The iRobot Roomba i4+ is a robot vacuum that is similar to the Roomba i3, however the Roomba i4 is exclusive to Costco. It comes by itself but you can also buy the version with the automatic dirt disposal.
With the automatic dirt disposal, it empties itself so you won’t have to empty the vacuum into the garbage bin. It stores the dirt in a bag within base.
The model number for the Roomba i4 is i455020.
I’d say it is a ‘mid-range’ iRobot. There is a more expensive option such as the i7 and there are cheaper options than the Roomba i4+.
You can also command it with Google Home and Alexa, however we don’t have either of these in the home (I am too paranoid about being listened to).
It also works with the iRobot Braava jet m6 robot mop as a ‘tag team’. This mop robot is another $400-$500, boy they know how to drain your wallet!
I was reading that iRobot is in the works to create something similar but for mowing your lawn too! Smart.
Positives about the Roomba i4
Is the Roomba i4 worth the money? There are many great things about the i4+.
The iRobot Home app. The iRobot app is great, you can get it to start cleaning right from the app with a tap of your screen. Also, after it is finished cleaning, you can see the area that it has cleaned, and how long your iRobot cleaned for. You can even program it with Siri to use voice command. You can also program the robot to clean room by room, but you can only have one map at a time (e.g. not both upper and lower floors just one floor).
The deep cleaning. The Roomba i4 goes back and forth in a relatively zig zag methodical pattern. It really picks up hair and dust and does a great job. The floors feel very spotless. This is probably the biggest ‘positive’ about the Roomba i4. If you don’t like going under the bed or under the sofa with your stick vacuum, this is a great tool because it gets all the dust bunnies that are hanging out there.
It has a long battery life. The Roomba i4 has a long battery life. Sometimes it is still going for 1.5 hours and doing fine. It takes about 1.5 hours to recharge fully though.
It navigates on area rugs well. We have bare floors and a few area rugs that are low to medium pile, and it goes on them well without getting stuck. I also like the ‘groomed’ look on the rugs that really look like a well mowed lawn in my opinion.
The Roomba i4 comes with a Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier. This cool gadget acts as a block that you can put near things that you don’t want the iRobot to knock over, like for example your pet’s water bowl or your Christmas tree, or a beloved plant.
You can schedule it to clean. I haven’t been organized enough to set this up but I like that this is the option.
Downsides of the Roomba i4
There are also negatives associated with the Roomba i4+. Here are some of them that make you think twice about whether the Roomba i4 is worth the money.
The self emptying is loud. One thing that I noticed about the i4 was that when it does the ’emptying the bin’ it is REALLY loud. Like it sounds like a jet plane is taking off. I understand that it is because the vacuum is sucking up the contents into the self-emptying bin and you need a lot of suction for that, but it is still a little startling.
You have to prepare the space a bit. Also, in order to optimize your robot vacuum’s cleaning, you have to put up the chairs and other objects that it might have difficulty navigating around, or that it might get stuck in. Initially, I thought- “Geez, this vacuum is supposed to make my life easier, not make it harder by making me put chairs up.”
However, after I realized how clean it can get your floors, I gladly will put up the chairs for a deep Roomba clean once or twice a week. That being said, it’s not only the chairs though, you also have to pick up stuff, the vacuum got stuck with a silk handkerchief in its ‘mouth’ that I did not pick up off the floor.
It technically WILL navigate around chairs (but less efficiently) but if you want a deeper clean and not worry about your robot vacuums efficiency it will be better if you clear the floor and prep the space for your iRobot.
If you are type A then you should not watch it. I started watching it a little bit and got slightly frustrated with the way it was going in one area. I think the best thing to do is to turn it on when you’re out or when you’re busy and not micromanaging your iRobot.
It doesn’t do stairs. But none of the iRobot vacuums actually do. When we first got the robot vacuum, I envisioned that it would be able to navigate stairs and climb up and down the stairs like a real robot. That’s why you’ll still need your stick vacuum.
Maintenance and costs of maintenance. The green brush rolls need clearing out especially if you have long hair that can get it stuck, however, it is pretty easy to clean the brush rolls, but putting them back into the i4 is a little finicky. The iRobot app does tell you if you need to clean certain things so that’s helpful, but otherwise you are supposed to be cleaning the brush rolls, the filter, side brush at least weekly to monthly.
In addition, you are supposed to replace the HEPA filter every two months. It comes with two HEPA filters.
The Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal Bag gets filled up in a matter of 1-2 months (if you use it about once a week). If you want to go about it more frugally, you can empty out part of the filter using some tweezers and pluck out the compacted dust. That will buy you some time but it’s not fun (or pleasant) to do. They sell additional Dirt Disposal bags on Amazon, you can buy a pack of 10 for a fraction of a cost compared to buying it from the iRobot site.
You are also supposed to replace the rubber brush rolls every year.
The saved map can only be for one floor. It can save a map and you can tell it to go to specific rooms on your map, but unfortunately as of this time you can only save one map at a time.
The dirt disposal and base is bulky and heavy. Moving it from upstairs to downstairs is a little tedious and the dirt disposal is bulky (you’re supposed to move the base along with it). However, I don’t think it justifies buying an upstairs and downstairs Roomba, personally!
I’ve seen some Roomba i4 reviews recommend buying one for each floor, haha.
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Is the Roomba i4 Robot Vacuum Worth It?
Personally I think getting a robot vacuum is worth it especially if you purchase it from Costco, since they have a rock solid return policy if you’re dissatisfied with your purchase.
Costco recently changed their return policy so that if you are purchasing electronics, the return policy is not ‘life long’ anymore.
However, the iRobot Roomba (even though it is pretty much an electronic) is not considered in this category and hence their return policy is more than 3 months according to First Quarter Finance. Though this is in the U.S., I have reviewed the Red Flag Deal Forums and it has confirmed the Roomba does not have the 90 day electronics return policy. So yes, the Roomba i4 is worth the money.
In terms of whether it is worth to pay over $500 to $600 for a vacuum, I think that answer depends on whether you are okay with dust on your floors despite using a stick vacuum almost every day.
The clean ‘feel’ is almost like the floors were just mopped, it is great. It is also difficult to ‘go back’ to the way things were (thin layer of dust on the floor).
If you think about it, hiring a cleaner is about $15-20/hour, and it would take about an hour to vacuum (to the extent that the i4 does it). In 30 hours you have your money back which is less than a year of weekly vacuuming.
We’ve used the iRobot for almost two years and it is still running well. We even got a robot mop Braava Jet to help our Roomba out. We call them Bobby and Betty. You set your robot mop to start mopping after your robot vacuum is done.
However, a stick vacuum or central vacuum is more essential than a robot vacuum, in my opinion. This is not ‘essential’ but it is nice to have.
It’s not just convenience, but it is nice to have the deeper clean. Also, knowing that you can check off one less thing to do (vacuum the home) on your chores list is a great feeling and helps offset the Motherhood Penalty. Sure, we can vacuum after the kids are sleep but we are often too tired to, to be honest.
If you bought it from Costco, you could even get $0.50 cash back for submitting your receipt through Caddle.
Unfortunately this model is only limited to Costco, and places like Superstore doesn’t carry it, so you wouldn’t be able to redeem your PC Optimum points for it.
Do you have a robot vacuum?
Do you think they are worth the price for convenience?
Do you think the Roomba i4 is worth the money?
GYM is a 40 something millennial writing about personal finance since 2009 and interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for a free dividend yield spreadsheet and the free Young Money Bootcamp PDF.