Roomba i3 vs i4: Unveiling the Ultimate Vacuum Showdown 

Photo of author

Written by: Mohammad Sameer

Published on:

Hey there, robot pals! Confused about the Roomba i3 and i4? You’re not alone. These two robot vacuums look like twins, but their similarities make them like distant cousins (who still fight over the good toys).

Don’t worry, I’m here to be your robot whisperer and untangle the mystery. We’ll dive into cleaning power, smarts, and sneaky hidden differences so you can pick the perfect robot buddy for your messy floors.

Ready to ditch the dustpan and join the robot revolution? Let’s go!

Key Takeaways

  • Consider the navigation capabilities of the Roomba i3 and i4 robots to match the specific layout and needs of your rooms and spaces.
  • Assess the benefits of the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal feature of robot vacuums to determine if it aligns with your convenience and maintenance preferences.
  • Evaluate the price difference between the Roomba i3 and i4 robots about the additional features offered by each model.
  • Recognize the distinct differences between the Roomba i3 and i4 robot vacuums to make an informed decision based on your cleaning requirements.
  • Utilize the battery life indicator as a practical tool for managing robot vacuum cleaning sessions and recharging schedules effectively.
  • Prioritize regular maintenance and cleaning based on the specific needs of your home environment to optimize the performance and longevity of your Roomba.

Roomba I3

roomba 13

roomba i4

roomba i4

Roomba i3 vs i4: Navigating the Differences

Roomba i3 vs i4: Navigating the Differences

The Roomba i3 and i4 robots are both powerful robot vacuums designed to make cleaning effortless. Here’s a closer look at how they stack up against each other:

  • Navigation: The Roomba i4 robot vacuum features an upgraded navigation system with vSLAM technology, allowing it to efficiently navigate through complex spaces compared to the i3.
  • Both robot vacuums offer strong suction power, but the Roomba i4 has a higher airflow rate, making it more effective in picking up dirt, debris, and pet hair from various floor types.
  • Filter System: While both robot vacuums have high–efficiency filters that capture 99% of allergens, the Roomba i4 comes with an advanced AllergenLock™ bag that traps particles effectively for cleaner air.
  • Smart Features: The two vacuums share similar smart capabilities such as voice control and personalized cleaning schedules. However, the Roomba i4 includes Imprint Link Technology which allows it to communicate with Braava jet m6 mopping robot for seamless vacuuming and mopping collaboration.
  • When considering cost-effectiveness, the Roomba i3 robot vacuum is generally more budget-friendly than its counterpart while still providing reliable performance.

1. Navigation comparison

Mapping Prowess: Both robot vacuums Roombas wield map-making magic, creating personalized layouts of your home. But the i4 robot vacuum boasts a slightly smarter compass, thanks to its Imprint™ Smart Mapping with Reactive Sensor Technology. This translates to quicker exploration and more precise re-cleaning, especially if you’re the adventurous type who rearranges furniture like a rogue interior designer.

Obstacle Avoidance: Imagine your floor as a minefield of rogue Lego bricks, charging cables, and rugs. Now, picture two nimble robots tiptoeing through the chaos. The i3 and i4 robot vacuums both sport adaptive cleaning and dirt detection, but the i3 leans on bump sensors, while the i4 uses a combination of those and infrared technology.

No-Go Zones and Keep-Outs: Boundaries are everything, even for robot vacuums. The i4 lets you define virtual walls like an invisible force field, keeping your Roomba robot vacuums out of sensitive areas like the forbidden zone under your grandmother’s antique vase. The i3? Not so much. It relies on physical barriers or strategically placed furniture to keep robot vacuums in line.

Multi-Floor Mastery: Do you live in a vertical kingdom of multiple floors? The i4 wears the crown here. The i4 robots can store multiple maps, allowing you to seamlessly switch between floors without the robot freaking out as it stepped into Narnia. The i3 is a single-floor specialist. So, if you’re a loft-dwelling nomad, the i4 is your multi-level map maestro.

2. Clean Base comparison

The Clean Base for the iRobot Roomba i3 is a convenient addition to the vacuuming experience. It comes pre-assembled with a dirtbag and robots, which only need replacement when full, as indicated by a red light. The grey cover on the dirtbag effectively prevents dust and debris from spilling out during removal or disposal. Replacement parts for robot vacuums are readily available on the manufacturer’s website, ensuring easy maintenance and longevity of use.

Conversely, the iRobot Roomba i4 does not feature an external dustbin for automatic emptying like its predecessor; instead, it offers improved performance on low and high-pile carpets compared to other models in its line. Users looking for better pet hair cleaning may find that the i7 model of robot vacuums has a larger dirt compartment and is more suitable for their needs.

When comparing the self-emptying functionality of these two robot vacuums, it’s essential to consider individual cleaning requirements. While both robot vacuum and bots offer unique advantages, such as convenience and specialized carpet performance, users should assess their specific needs before making a decision.

These insights provide valuable guidance when choosing between these two robot vacuum models based on personal preferences regarding cleaning habits and flooring types.

3. Price

First things first, let’s dispel the biggest myth: the i3 and i4 are essentially the same robot vacuum under different names. Think of it like a celebrity with a stage persona – same robot, different branding. So, the price difference isn’t about fancy bells and whistles, it’s all about bundling and availability.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • i3: This budget-friendly robot comes in two flavours – solo or with a charging station. The Solo i3 robot is the lean, mean, cleaning machine for minimalists, while the i3 with a station offers a convenient charging haven.
  • i4: This model is all about convenience because it only comes bundled with the charging station. Think of it as a package deal – you get both vacuum and robot in one neat (and slightly pricier) box.

Now, let’s talk numbers. The solo i3 is the clear winner in the “cheapest Roomba on the block” category. But remember, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a charging station later if you want that extra level of convenience. The i3 with a station bumps the price up a bit, but it’s still generally cheaper than the i4 package.

Here’s a quick price snapshot (as of October 2023):

  • i3 (solo): $249
  • i3 (with charging station): $349
  • i4 (with charging station): $399

So, which one should you choose? It all boils down to your budget and cleaning needs. If you’re a stickler for convenience and don’t mind the slightly higher price tag, the i4 package might be your perfect match. But if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind adding a charging station later, the Solo i3 is a fantastic value.

4. Differences between the Roomba i3 and i4

these two Roombas might seem like twins separated at birth. Same sleek design, the same powerful cleaning system, same “I just vacuumed your house while you were at work” smugness. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find some key differences that could sway your robot vacuum allegiance.

Imagine your Roomba, a robot vacuum, conking out halfway through cleaning your epic crumb castle. Not cool. The i4 robot boasts a 2200mAh battery, lasting up to 2 hours, compared to the i3’s 1800mAh and 75 minutes of runtime. So, for those who like their Roombas to clean ’til the cows come home (or the battery dies, whichever comes first), the i4 might be your champion.

Cleaning Prowess: They both pack iRobot’s impressive AeroForce cleaning system, but the i4 edges out the i3 on carpets. Its dual rubber brushes, robot, and increased suction power mean it devours pet hair and deep-seated dirt with more gusto. The i3, however, shines on bare floors, with a larger dirt bin that handles bigger messes (think spilt cereal or a rogue glitter bomb).

Smarts and Convenience: Both Roombas (robot, bots) learn your cleaning habits and schedule, but the i4 comes with a bonus brain. It includes a Dual Virtual Barrier, letting you create no-go zones for areas like precious rugs or the robot’s sworn enemy, the charging cable. The i3, while lacking this virtual wall, might win you over with its self-emptying dock (sold separately). Imagine never having to empty the dustbin again! Pure robotic bliss.

5. Battery Life Indicator

Roomba i3: Keeping it Simple with LEDs

The Roomba i3 robot adopts a classic approach with a series of LEDs nestled beside its clean button. These little lights, like miniature cheerleaders, illuminate to give you a quick on-the-go battery update.

  • Full Battery: All three LEDs blaze with bright confidence, like a trio of freshly charged superheroes and robots ready to vanquish dust bunnies.
  • Medium Battery: Two LEDs remain lit, signifying that it’s time to start thinking about plugging in. Imagine it as a friendly reminder, like a half-empty fuel gauge urging you to hit the gas station.
  • Low Battery: Just one LED flickers, a dramatic plea for immediate recharging. Think of it as the battery equivalent of a flashing red light, demanding your attention before the cleaning party comes to a grinding halt.

This LED system is easy to understand, even for robo-vacuum newbies. No fancy apps or cryptic symbols, just a simple visual cue that speaks the universal language of glowing lights.

Roomba i4: Embracing the Tech-Savvy Side

The Roomba i4 robot takes a more tech-savvy approach, ditching the LEDs for a digital battery life display nestled on its sleek body. This LCD screen boasts a numerical percentage readout, providing a precise understanding of your robot’s remaining juice.

Imagine it as a tiny battery life dashboard, constantly updating you on the percentage points ticking away. It’s like having a real-time fuel gauge, letting you strategize your cleaning missions with laser-sharp precision.

But the i4’s battery game doesn’t stop there. It connects to the iRobot app, granting you remote access to its battery status and bots. So, you can be chilling on the couch, scrolling through cat videos, while keeping tabs on your i4’s energy levels from afar. Pretty swanky, huh?

So, Who Wins the Battery Indicator Battle?

It’s a close call! The i3’s LEDs offer instant, easily digestible battery info, while the i4’s digital display and app connectivity provide a more detailed and tech-forward experience. Ultimately, the victor depends on your personal preferences.

  • Team Simplicity: If you’re a fan of clear, no-nonsense visuals, the i3’s LED system might be your perfect match. Think of it as a friendly battery robot giving you the thumbs-up or a low-battery frown.
  • Team Tech Savvy: Do you crave data and remote control? Then the i4’s digital readout and app integration might be your digital dashboard dream come true. You’ll have your robot’s battery life at your fingertips, no matter where you roam.

Remember, the most important factor is choosing a Roomba that keeps your floors sparkling without leaving you in the dark about its battery status. So, weigh your preferences, embrace the battery indicator that speaks to your soul, and let the robot vacuuming adventures commence!

6. Maintenance Picture

Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping both the Roomba i3 and i4 robot models in top condition. Here’s a quick look at their respective maintenance needs and visual differences:

  • The iRobot Roomba i3 3550 bots require regular upkeep, including emptying the dirt compartment and cleaning the filter, brush rolls, side brush, and wheels. Replacement parts like the dirtbag need to be swapped when full.
  • On the other hand, the iRobot Roomba i4 demands similar attention with periodic cleaning or replacement of components such as the dirt compartment, brushrolls, filter, side brush, wheels, and bots.

Both robot models exhibit distinct visual differences in their maintenance processes.

  • The Roomba i3 robot comes equipped with a well-built design featuring sturdy plastic and durable rubber wheels. It boasts an external dirt compartment alongside its docking station.
  • Meanwhile, the Roomba i4 robot offers a low-profile docking station coupled with a conveniently sized dirt compartment. It impresses robot users with approximately 100 minutes of runtime on a single charge.

Addressing these maintenance requirements diligently, based on each robot model’s specifications and design features, ensures optimal performance over time.

7. Pet Hair Floor Performance

Cleaning Prowess:

  • Roomba i3 robot: This little trooper tackles bare floors like a champ, gobbling up 86% of surface-level fur. It also handles low-pile carpets well, snagging 87% of those sneaky hair bunnies with a robot. However, high-pile carpets pose a bit more of a challenge, with only 72% hair removal. Think of it as a dedicated city slicker robot vacuum; efficient on smooth surfaces, but struggles with the wilderness of plush rugs.
  • Roomba i4 robot: This fur-ocious fighter shines on carpets, both low-pile (87% hair removal) and high-pile (58% hair removal). It outperforms the robot i3 on high-pile carpets, making it the hero you need if your pet prefers the lap of luxury. While it still excels on bare floors (100% hair removal!), the i3 robot takes the slight edge in this category. Think of it as the all-terrain robot adventurer, conquering both cityscapes and rugged landscapes.

Tech Arsenal:

  • Both Roombas: Both robot warriors wield the same powerful 3-stage cleaning system, utilizing dual multi-surface brushes and a specially designed edge-sweeping brush to capture hair from corners and along walls. They also boast powerful robot suction to pull in those deep-seated fur demons.

Special Maneuvers:

  • Roomba i3: This robot relies on bump sensors to navigate, bouncing around your home like a playful puppy. While it gets the job done, the robot can be a bit less efficient than its laser-guided counterpart.
  • Roomba i4 robot: Armed with laser-guided Imprint™ Smart Mapping technology, this Roomba plots a strategic cleaning path, ensuring it covers every inch of your domain without missing a single patch of fur. Think of it as a ninja warrior, silently and efficiently eliminating enemy hair.

8. Noise

The iRobot Roomba i3 3550 boasts a quiet noise performance during operation, ensuring minimal disturbance to the surroundings. Its noise-resistant design is an added feature that minimizes sound disruptions, making it suitable for use in various settings without causing inconvenience.

On the other hand, the iRobot Roomba i4 offers impressive operating noise output, enhancing user experience with reduced disturbances. The vacuum’s advanced technology enables it to sense and adjust power and height settings automatically based on the surface being cleaned, contributing to its overall noise reduction capabilities.

Both models showcase commendable noise reduction technology that aligns with users’ preferences for quieter cleaning experiences. These features make them ideal choices for households or workspaces where minimizing operational noise is a priority.

It’s important to note that while both models excel in reducing operational noise, they differ in their additional functionalities and battery performances. The Roomba i3 focuses on convenient dirt compartment emptying and sturdy build quality, while the Roomba i4 stands out with its longer runtime and automatic suction power adjustment based on floor type.

9. Automatic Bag Emptying

iRobot Clean Base vs. AllergenLock™ Self-Emptying Bin: A Tale of Two Technologies

The i3 boasts the iRobot Clean Base, a sleek, cylindrical tower that automatically sucks out the robot’s bin after every cleaning. Imagine it: you come home to a sparkling floor and a silent Clean Base, its internal bag happily holding weeks’ worth of dust bunnies. Sounds magical, right?

The i4, on the other hand, rocks the AllergenLock™ Self-Emptying Bin. This dustbin buddy is integrated into the charging station, offering a more compact footprint.

is it a magic trick? A multi-layer AllergenLock™ bag that traps dust, pollen, and even mold spores, sealing them away for good. So, if allergy season is your archnemesis, the i4 might be your champion.

Capacity Clash: Who Holds the Most Dust Bunnies?

The i3 iRobot Clean Base boasts a 2.4-liter allergen bag, which translates to roughly 60 days of cleaning before needing a swap. That’s like two whole months of uninterrupted robot vacuuming bliss! The AllergenLock™ bag in the i4, while smaller at 1.5 litres, still offers a respectable 30 days of dust-trapping power. So, the i3 takes the crown for sheer capacity, while the i4 keeps things compact and allergen-free.

Maintenance Matchup: Emptying Ease and Convenience

Both Clean Base and AllergenLock™ bins are designed for easy emptying. The Clean Base features a simple latch mechanism, while the AllergenLock™ bag uses a hygienic pull-tab system. Both bags are disposable, so no messy bin-washing is involved.

However, the AllergenLock™ bags boast a self-sealing design, minimizing dust exposure during disposal – perfect for allergy sufferers or anyone who values a sneeze-free experience.


Tidy warriors, rejoice! The i3 is your budget-friendly buddy, keeping floors spotless with smarts and suction. Crave high-tech? The i4 mops like a champ, navigates like a ninja, and even empties itself – a self-sufficient superstar, but pricier. Your cleaning needs and budget pick the winner!

Share your choice in the comments, let’s conquer the robot vacuuming battlefield together!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key differences between the Roomba i3 and i4?

The main differences lie in their navigation technology, clean base capabilities, and price point. The i4 features a more advanced navigation system, and a larger Clean Base for automatic dirt disposal, and is typically priced higher than the i3.

How does the battery life indicator differ between Roomba i3 and i4?

Both models feature similar battery life indicators that provide clear visibility of the remaining charge. However, some users find that the display on the Roomba i4 may be slightly easier to read due to its placement and size.

Which model is better suited for homes with pets in terms of floor performance?

Both robots are designed to handle pet hair effectively. However, some users have found that the Roomba i4’s upgraded suction power provides slightly better performance when dealing with pet hair on floors.

Is there a significant difference in noise levels between these two models?

While both models operate relatively quietly compared to traditional vacuums, some users have noted that the Roomba i4 tends to produce marginally less noise during operation compared to the Roomba i3.

How do I decide whether it’s worth investing in automatic bag-emptying features?

If convenience is a priority and you value hands-free maintenance, then opting for a model with automatic bag emptying like the Roomba i4 could be worthwhile. It eliminates manual handling of dirt disposal and enhances overall user experience.

Sharing Is Caring:

About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More