iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Review

Robot vacuums are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. After all, they’re convenient. With the press of a button, they’ll clean the house for you. They can be used on a variety of surfaces as well including hardwood, tile, and carpet. And depending on the model, you might also be able to control it via your smartphone.

Compared to traditional vacuums, however, they’re much more expensive. That is, they can easily cost you hundreds of dollars. If anything, that’s to be expected, though, seeing as how they’re essentially small computers. The good news is that they tend to last several years so you should be able to get your money’s worth. Also, you can always get them on sale!

Are you thinking of getting one of these vacuums? If so, why not consider one by iRobot? If anything, they’re one of the biggest names in the robot cleaner industry. Take the i3, for example, it’s relatively affordable compared to other models.

What smart features does it have? Does it come with any extra add-ons? What about drawbacks—does it have any? Find out by reading our review!

The iRobot Roomba i3

iRobot is a technology company that specializes in behavior-based robots. As of 2021, they sell three types of home robots—the Roomba, an automated vacuum cleaning machine (which we’ll be talking about in this post), the Braava, a floor mopping robot, and the Create, which is a hobby robot. Where can you find their products? At most large retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and Bed Bath and Beyond. If you want, you can also make a purchase through their official site.

Product Description

The Roomba i3 is a robot vacuum that features 10x the power-lifting suction. You can use it on hardwood, carpet, tiles, almost any type of flooring. Also, it features state-of-the-art tracking sensors that allow it to navigate and map your home in neat rows. That’s not all, it can also focus on cleaning where it’s needed most with its dirt detect technology. The best part? The multi-surface rubber brushes are tangle-resistant. In other words, it’s ideal for homes with pets!

What’s In the Box?

Here’s a list of everything that you’ll get with the iRobot Roomba i3:

  • 1 iRobot Roomba i3
  • 1 Home Base Charging Station
  • 1 Extra High-Efficiency Filter

As you can see, the robot doesn’t come with many extras. With that said, it does come with everything that you need to use it including the side brush and the rubber brush, both of which are shown in the image above. And for those who are wondering, yes, iRobot does offer replacement parts in case anything happens.

And like most robot vacuums, the dustbin is incorporated into the body. To take it out, press the bin release button on the back. It’s worth noting that the HEPA filter is also located inside the bin. In terms of buttons, there are three of them on the unit. More specifically, there’s a home button (returns the robot to the charging station), a clean button (starts a cleaning session), and a spot clean button.

Then there’s the home base aka charging station. The cord is attached to the back so all you have to do is plug it into a wall outlet (make sure that there’s nothing around the station). Once that’s done, you can charge the i3 by placing it on the dock.

Last but not least, the kit also comes with an extra HEPA filter. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t have to use it for a while—the one that’s already in the dustbin will last ~2 months (remember to clean it after each use).

Smart Features

Smart Navigation

The Roomba i3 comes with smart navigation technology. Not only is it capable of mapping your home, but it also knows how to navigate and clean in neat rows. In other words, there will be less missed spots.

Mobile App

Like all Roombas, the i3 can be controlled with the iRobot Home App. For example, you can use it to schedule cleanings. Connecting the device to the app is easy as well—all you need is a stable WiFi connection.

Smart Charge and Resume

The i3 will automatically return to the Home Base when the battery is low. Once it’s fully charged, it will resume its previous job.

Voice Controls

The Roomba can be used with Google or Alexa voice assistant. In other words, you can control it with simple voice commands.

A Few Drawbacks

The robot vacuum does have a few drawbacks, which we’ll be talking about below.

Dustbin Requires Constant Emptying 

The dustbin isn’t very big given the size of the robot. In other words, you’ll have to empty it constantly while it’s running (remember, it won’t run if the bin is full) and if you’re not careful, the dust can go everywhere. Depending on the size of your house, this might mean that it won’t be able to clean the entire area if you’re out.

Note: You can always get the automatic dirt disposal system if you don’t want to have to empty it out each time.

“Bin Full” Sensors Aren’t Reliable 

The “bin full” sensors aren’t very accurate. Nine times out of ten, the bin won’t be full even though it’s telling you that it’s full. Despite that, you’ll still have to empty it out, or else it won’t work. If anything, this seems to be a problem with most Roombas, not just the i3.

Not the Best For Pet Hair 

The suction is decent, however, it likely won’t get rid of all the hair, especially if you have pets. For one thing, it tends to leave clumps of hair behind, which you’d have to manually pick up and get rid of.

No Smart Mapping 

Unlike the i7 and s9 series, the i3 does not come with a smart mapping feature. As a result, it can get lost while it’s cleaning. For example, it might not be able to return to the Home Base without intervention. Also, it has no memory of the vacuumed areas. With that said, it does clean in neat rows as opposed to a random pattern.

Connectivity Issues 

Many people have experienced connectivity issues with their i3. For example, it’s not uncommon for the WiFi connection to disconnect randomly. If this happens, you’ll have to re-connect it, otherwise, you won’t be able to use it with the mobile app.

No Keep Out Zones 

The i3 does not allow you to create Keep Out Zones with the app. The only way to restrict the robot to one area would be to use the virtual wall barrier, which is sold separately (also, you’ll likely need more than one).

How Well Does It Clean?

The Roomba i3 does a decent job of removing small particles such as dust and dirt. The fact that it’s small also means that it’s able to get into tight areas (e.g. behind furniture). The only thing is that it’s not that great for pet hair as it tends to leave it in clumps on the ground.

Who Would We Recommend It To?

  • People who live in smaller condos and houses
  • People who don’t have pets

How to Use the iRobot Roomba i3

Step 1: Plug the home base into a wall outlet. Make sure that the surrounding area is free of obstacles.

Step 2: Place the robot vacuum on the charging station and wait for it to charge. It shouldn’t more than two hours.

Step 3: Download and install the iRobot Home App while it’s charging. It can be found on both Google Play and in the App Store.

Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts to connect the i3 to your mobile app.

Step 5: Start a cleaning session by pressing the “clean” button on the unit or the app.

Regular Maintenance

Dustbin: Empty after each use
Main Brush: Clean once per week (more often if you have pets) and replace every 6-12 months
Filter: Clean once per week and replace every 2 months
Side Brush: Clean once per month
Sensors: Clean every 2-4 weeks

Pricing and Cost Information

The iRobot Roomba i3 has an MSRP of $399.99. Since its release, however, many retailers have dropped its price to ~$350. Shipping is also free so you won’t have to pay anything extra besides tax.

In terms of replacement parts, you can get extra filters, brushes, dustbins, etc from their shop. There’s also the automatic dirt disposal system that’ll allow you to go longer between cleanings. Keep in mind, however, that it is quite expensive ($250).

Our Take
The iRobot Roomba i3 is a bit cheaper than the i7 and s9 series, both of which have a few more features. That doesn’t mean that the i3 isn’t capable of cleaning your house, though. If anything, it’s just a little “simpler.” And when it comes down to efficacy, it’s comparable to the other Roombas. In fact, it shares many of the same issues as the other models. For example, the bin full sensors aren’t very reliable. The dustbin is also small, which means that you’ll have to empty it out frequently (you could always remedy this by getting the automatic disposal system).
Easy to Use
Smart Features
Vacuuming Ability
Value (Price)
Reader Rating1 Vote
Can be used with the automatic dirt disposal system
Cleans in neat rows
Will automatically recharge when battery is low
No smart mapping
Dustbin is small
Not the best for pet hair

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