Robot vacuum cleaners are a boon to the house maker as it takes care of the arduous task of keeping your home clean. Like any robot, you just have to schedule your cleaning routine, and the smart floor cleaner will have your house sparkling clean by the time you return. The problem, however, is that there are so many brands and models of floor cleaning robots, that making a choice is somewhat tricky.
Roomba has always been one of the more famous robot vacuum brands. However, it now has some competition from a new and cheaper brand of automated floor cleaners called ILife. These floor robots are growing in popularity because their models are available at a fraction of the rate offered by most iRobot Roomba models.
This is why today ILife and Roomba vacuum cleaners are two of the trusted brands and manufacturers in the market. Like most things, they too have their advantages and disadvantages which you have to consider before selecting your robotic floor cleaner.
- ILife is affordably priced
The price is one of the most important features to consider if you plan to buy a robotic vacuum. If you compare the two brands, you will find that ILife has a lot of affordably priced models. This is in contrast to the more expensive Roomba robotic cleaners and the reason why buyers like it.
You can buy ILife vacuums for less than $500, where most models lie in the $100 range. However the starting rate of new Roomba models is more than $500. Even their cheapest Roomba model, the Roomba 650 is also relatively expensive at $300.
So if the price is an issue, then ILife is apparently the better choice. But if you can afford something expensive, and are more concerned about features and better navigation, then you may as well consider a Roomba.
- Roomba offers better navigation
When it comes to navigation, iRobot Roomba is the best. It runs on two navigation technologies, the iAdapt for Series 800 in previous floor robots, and iAdapt 2.0 for series 900 robots.
These technologies use the help of sensors and software to get your cleaning done quickly, without colliding with walls and furniture or falling off stairs. In fact, the Roomba 980 and 960 also have a camera that gives the robotic automated floor cleaner a better view of the level for a thorough cleaning. IAdapt also lets them change cleaning modes while cleaning different floor types.
Of course, it’s not that the ILife will not get the work done. It also completes its chores but needs more time and tends to hit things while cleaning. Its navigation depends on the model and usually relies on pre-set cleaning modes.
While there’s no visual mapping feature, the robotic floor cleaners follow paths based on the selected cleaning mode. In case of auto mode, it starts cleaning from the exteriors and moves inwards only after scanning the entire floor.
The auto vacuum cleaner goes spirally to clean smaller areas during spot cleaning mode and scrubs the walls in edge cleaning mode. In case of remote-controlled ILife robots, you direct the vacuum cleaner using the remote’s direction keys.
- IRobot has a longer brand history
Both ILife and Roomba automatic vacuum cleaners come from famous brand names known for home and kitchen products. ILife comes from the 10-year Chinese company ILife Technology and releases at least three new products every year. Roomba is a product of iRobot, which was first introduced 15 years back, in the year 2002 and has many models with unique features to its credit.
- Both ILife and Roomba are well-designed floor cleaning robots
All of Roomba’s vacuum cleaners are 3.6 inches tall, making it easy for them to clean under furniture. They are all circular in design with a diameter of fewer than fourteen inches. However, the successive models have grown heavier in weight. While the Roomba 620 weighs only 7.9 pounds, the latest Roombas are hefty with the Roomba 980 weighing 8.7 pounds.
ILife droids have a comparatively lower profile, measuring less than three inches in height. Even its tallest model, the ILife V7 is shorter than the Roombas. ILife vacuums are also circular, but narrower than Roombas with a diameter ranging from 11.8 inches to 13.4 inches.
They are however more colorful than Roombas where different ILife models have different colors ranging from blue to gold to piano black with glass tops. ILife floor robots are also lighter than Roombas where most models weigh about five pounds, and their most massive model weighs 6.5 pounds.
- Roomba has a better vacuuming technology
The older Roombas used AeroVac vacuuming technology that efficiently pulls the hair off floors and carpets using counter-rotating brushes and sucks dirt. The latest releases use AeroForce technology that is five times more powerful and uses debris extractors. Both techniques however follow a three-stage cleaning process where a powerful motor picks up hair, debris, and dust from the floor and cleans wall edges with side brushes.
ILife also has a three-stage cleaning process where one or two side brushes clean wall edges along with a central brush and powerful vacuum suction system. Its sensors also prevent collisions with walls and falling off stairs.
- ILife vacuum cleaner batteries have a longer life
While the latest Roombas use longer lasting lithium-ion batteries, some models like the Roomba 880 and 870 still use Ni-MH batteries. So the runtime of the Roomba 980 is about 120 minutes while all other Roombas can clean for only 60 minutes on a single charge.
ILife, however, uses lithium-ion batteries for all their models where their higher-end models have a runtime of about 150 minutes. The shortest runtime is from ILife V1 at 70 minutes, which is still longer than most Roombas.
So if battery runtime is essential for you, then ILife robotic floor cleaners are a better choice for you because of its lithium-ion battery.
- Roombas automatically recharge themselves when the battery runs out
Roombas are programmed to recharge automatically when the battery runs out. They can also be manually instructed to recharge by pressing the unit’s ‘Home’ button. While most ILife robotic floor cleaners do locate their charging docks, the ILife V1 doesn’t have a charging dock and has to be manually plugged in for charging.
- Both ILife and Roomba have spot cleaning feature
All Roombas from 600 series up spot cleans an area up to 3 feet in diameter while spot cleaning is one of the cleaning modes in the latest ILife models.
- Only ILife has a wet mopping mode
Some ILife models like V5 and X5 offer a damp mopping mode for hardwood floors. All you need do is attach the cleaning cloth after replacing its dustbin with its water tank. However, no Roomba offers wet mopping feature.
- Some Roomba and ILife models have remote control
It’s possible to remotely control some Roomba robot vacuums like Roomba 880 and 770 while you can control the 900 series from anywhere in the world using your Smartphone. The better ILife models also have a remote control and can be controlled using their Smartphone app.
- Later ILife and Roomba models use HEPA filters
The earlier Roomba models used AeroVac filter which wasn’t as useful as the HEPA filters used in later Roomba models. HEPA filters retain even small dust particles in the bin instead of expelling them into the air you breathe. Similarly, the earlier ILife models used dual-layer filters while the latest use HEPA ones.
- Latest Roomba robotic floor cleaners indicate a full dustbin
Most of the most recent Roombas have an indicator to tell you to empty the trash. However, ILife advises emptying the canister after each cleaning.
- Both Roombas and ILife robot vacuums have one-year warranties
While the Roombas have a one-year limited warranty, ILife robotic floor cleaners have a twelve-month money-back guarantee.
ILife A4 vs Roomba 960
There are two trendy and successful models, one from each company, the ILife A4 and Roomba 960. They are the most frequently bought models on Amazon and have the highest ratings.
Besides, they are both mid-priced, and the ideal choice for people on a budget. They also deliver satisfying results even though they don’t have the best features or cleaning capabilities.
So here’s a brief comparative analysis of the two if you plan to buy either of these reliable, functional and smart floor cleaning robots.
- Set-up and ease of use
Both models are quickly set up to start cleaning.
- Customer support
Both companies have excellent customer support teams.
The ILife A4 weighs 4.9 pounds, has a low profile of 12.2 inches and is grey with a single on/off button.
The traditional looking circular Roomba 960 is black, weighs 8.6 pounds and has a 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches with a ‘CLEAN’ and other buttons for commanding and navigating it.
The ILife A4 is one of ILife technology’s best floor cleaning robots that can handle large debris and hold lots of rubbish in its dustbin. It, however, has a random cleaning style, poorly judges the room it works in and can’t distinguish obstacles, dirt, and walls. So it’s perfect for everyday vacuuming but may not give a thorough cleaning of your home.
The Roomba 960 is one of iRobot’s successful robotic vacuum cleaners that thoroughly clean rooms. It, however, needs some manual guidance to complete its cleaning chore as it also uses a random cleaning style and has trouble charting the room and identifying obstacles.
Both ILife A4 and Roomba 960 have pretty useful features. ILife A4 offers features like deep cleaning and a 3-step cleaning system, auto dock and recharge, auto scheduling, sensors preventing entangling, MAX mode and runs 150 minutes once wholly charged.
Roomba 650 also offers a host of features like a 3-stage cleaning system, autodocking, auto recharge and resume, automatically adjusts according to floors, virtual wall technology, scheduling to your convenience, spinning side brushes and dirt detectors.
Of the two, the Roomba 960, however, has more useful and diverse features.
- Cleaning prowess
ILife A4 cleans criss-cross by moving forwards and backwards and keeps cleaning till the battery runs out. It doesn’t know if the room needs more cleaning because it doesn’t have a proper navigation system or artificial intelligence. So it is its criss-cross cleaning that helps a lot in cleaning here.
The ILife A4 can’t clean several rooms at a time as it doesn’t remember where it had cleaned. It’s better cleaning one room at a time. You, however, cannot wash its HEPA filters which have to be changed every 3-6 months with regular dirt exposure. It’s scheduling is, however, better and though it cleans well, it does leave stains behind.
The Roomba 650, like other iRobot models, uses iAdapt to scan the room with infrared sensors to detect only obstacles and walls. But as it can’t see things like furniture legs, it still collides into them.
It also randomly cleans like the ILife A4 and tends to leave some spots untouched. However, it can clean all floor types to remove 90% of dirt, and its dustbin is always full after cleaning. And as its quiet, you can have it clean your home even while you are asleep. Its only drawback is that you have to keep checking its dustbin as you are not notified if it’s full.
Looking at ILife A4 vs Roomba 650, it seems like the Roomba 650 is a far better vacuum with its better features, capabilities, and quality. While the ILifeA4 does exceed in some aspects, the Roomba 650 is a better long-term investment. But if your budget does not permit the little extra for the Roomba 650, the ILife A4 can keep your house clean.
Roomba vs ILife – Which is better
It’s difficult to choose between the two as both brands have their strengths and weaknesses. For starters, both ILife and Roomba models are high-quality, lightweight and portable. They are both fit for cleaning under furniture and hard-to-reach places, and most can also self-charge.
However, if you look at Roomba’s latest models, they feature Wi-Fi support and work with their Smartphone Home app. Some models offer entire-level cleaning where it recharges and continues cleaning till the entire level is cleaned. You also have carpet boost mode for deep cleaning carpets and edge cleaning mode where it goes along wall edges twice for a thorough clean.
In case of ILife, there’s the ILife V7 that connects to your Wi-Fi network and Smartphone and the brand is continually improving its motor with a ten times stronger air power.
Roomba seems to win if you compare generic features between the two brands. If you consider specific models of both brands, then ILife A6 is a high-end model that’s better than Roomba 650 and is more affordably priced.
Price is, in fact, the reason why many people buy ILife floor cleaning robots, despite Roomba’s many unique features. ILife vacuum cleansers are affordably priced, fluctuating around $200. Roomba vacuums are much more expensive and vary from under $300 to more than $1000 for some models.
So while Roomba seems to be a brand that’s difficult to beat, ILife is not far behind. The company is looking at novel ways to overcome Roomba by bringing out models with features Roomba doesn’t have, like wet mopping.
The final choice between ILife vacuum vs Roomba lies in your hands. You have to decide if you want a Roomba vacuum cleaner with more unique features or if you want a cheaper ILife robotic floor cleaner that delivers a compatible clean with a better battery life.