iLife vs Roomba

Despite all looking almost identical, robot vacuums come in all kinds of budget ranges. If your starting out and comes across endless brands such as Roomba, Neato or Shark Ion, it can be confusing to understand what the differences are between them. This article features and compares iLife vs Roomba, two well-known names with competing devices.

iRobot, the company behind Roomba, has solidly cemented itself as the best-known robot vacuum brand, with a reputation for quality. If you are interested in finding out more about Roombas check out our article on Roomba Models.

iLife is one of Roombas main competitors, although it is more geared towards lower prices and budgets. This article will explain how and why these robot vacuums differ in price and feature so much considering how similar they look. This includes looking at the cleaning systems, navigation technology, and many other factors.

iLife vs Roomba Comparison Table

i7 roomba

ilife a6

1. Design & Dimensions

Differences in the dimensions and styling of the robot vacuums from Roomba and iLife aren’t particularly notable. As you can see from the measurements above, iLifes robot vacuums are marginally smaller and quite a bit lighter, but when it comes down to performance these won’t make any impact. iLifes models vary between 2.8-3.15 inches whilst all Roombas are 3.6 inches. Roombas are quite a bit broader, typically one to two inches wider than iLife robot vacuums.

  • Roombas are slightly bigger and heavier

2.Navigation Technology

roomba 980 iadapt 2.0 navigation

Roombas and iLifes either use a more simplistic navigation technology found in older or more basic models or a more advanced camera mapping technology in their newest and most advanced models.

In the Roomba i7+, 960 and 980, this is called Smart Mapping & VSLAM, whilst in iLifes A8 model, it is known as Panoview Navigation. This technology is the same, it builds up a map of your home that the robot vacuum uses to choose the most efficient navigation routes. A more expensive feature found in the more expensive robot vacuums, such mapping technology speeds up the cleaning of the home significantly.

All other iLife and Roombas use a relatively random sensor driven navigation, which is a little blunter in taking its cleaning routes. In Roombas, this is called iAdapt 1.0, which simply uses infrared to identify objects and move around them accordingly. Cliff Detect is another sensor driven technology that identifies drop-offs and accordingly prevents the Roomba from falling down stairs.

iLifes more basic models have four Standard Navigation Cleaning Modes that navigate slightly differently. These are activated by pressing their button on the body of the iLife model. Auto mode is the default cleaning mode that is equitable to iAdapt 1.0 in Roombas. Additionally, there is an  Edge mode for corners, Spot mode for focus on a small area and finally Manual mode, where you can take the wheel.

  • Roombas have better navigation technology

3.Smart Home Enabled & App Features

iRobots Home app is more complete and reliable compared to the equivalent iLife app. The Roomba 690, 890, 960 and 980 all have the ability to connect to the iRobot Home App. This makes operating Roombas that bit easier whilst getting some cool features:

  • Control the Roomba (play, pause)
  • Scheduling plans
  • Real-time cleaning notifications
  • Contact support
  • Customize & set preferences

With the Roomba 960 and 980 Smart Mapping &  VSLAM navigation, detailed Map Reports and various statistics about the cleaning are available. Going a step further, through the iRobot app, Roombas can be added to smart home ecosystems and be used with IFTTT and controlled by Alexa.

The iLIFE Robot App is a poor piece of software that barely works with most users finding they can’t even connect their robot vacuum.

  • Roombas app is far better
  • iLifes app barely works

4.Cleaning Performance

Roomba 3 stage cleaning system

The cleaning ability of your root vacuum is mostly dictated by the power of your vacuum as well as the configuration of brushes. Roombas have more powerful motors and suction Pa compared to iLifes robot vacuums. Roombas have one of three of the following motors:

  • Gen 3 Motor (10x original)
  • Aerofroce 3-Stage Cleaning System (5x original)
  • 3-Stage Cleaning System

With their Gen 3 Motor, the Roomba i7+ and Roomba 980 has a maximum 1700 Pa,  far more powerful than the top iLife V8s 1000 Pa. The weakest iRobot motor, the 3-Stage Cleaning system which models like the Roomba 690 have, has a suction of 800 Pa. Although iRobot is secretive about their Pa levels, we can be sure that models such as the Roomba 960 and 890 have more suction power than any iLife model too.

The significance of this is that Roombas are better choices for carpets, especially in the case of the Roomba i7+ and Roomba 980. iLifes models may be able to match the performance of Roomba models on hard floors in many situations.

  • Roombas have much better cleaning performance
  • iLife will struggle on carpets


Some of iLifes models have wet mopping modes built into their systems, such as the V5 Pro or X5. iRobot, on the other hand, has divided its product range into separate robot vacuums and robot floor moppers. The Roombas are the robot vacuums and the moppers are called Braavas.

  • iLifes has some models with mops

6.Battery type & life

roomba 980 lithoum ion battery

Roombas range in battery life between 60 to 120 minutes, with the more advanced and newer models being capable of the longer duration.  On average, iLife ranges from 70 to 150 minutes, with the iLife A4s achieving this upper figure on a good day. Charge time of both iLife and Roombas tend to be around two to three hours although this can vary due.

  • iLife has long battery life

7.Self-recharge & self-resume

Most robot vacuums have the ability to return to their charging station when a low battery level is detected, but only a few can start cleaning again without being turned on manually.  Roombas 960, 980 and i7+ and the iLife A8 will continue cleaning until the job is fully done. This feature makes the battery life of these robot vacuums less important as they can keep on cleaning indefinitely.

  • Roomba and iLife both have models with self-recharge & self resume
  • Most of their models don’t

8.Full bin indicator

All new Roombas come with a full bin indicator that lights up red when the bin full and needs emptying. iLifes vacuums do not have this display and instead, they recommend emptying the bin after every clean.

  • Some Roombas have a full bin indicator


iRobot Roomba 960

Roombas are a premium robot vacuum with high price tags in exchange for the most modern and effective features, . Although older models are cheaper, the most recent wave of Roombas bundles cost typically upwards of $400 with some being more towards $1,000. iLife are budget robot vacuums, priced far below this range, typically around $200 to $300, making them a brand that supports a lower budget.

  • Roombas are a more expensive premium brand
  • iLife is a budget brand

Final Word

Roombas are the old and well-established robot vacuum company that leads the market. Having been in the game for years, they have been able to release quite the range of products that vary in price, motor power, and features.

Any purchaser who is looking for a top end robot vacuum should go with iRobot as models such as the 960 and 980 have the most rounded and cutting-edge features. Those with carpets should also go with these Roombas for extra suction power.

iLifes robot vacuums still provide solid cleaning outcomes and a few perks, such as mopping mode. The defining difference and benefit of iLife is the budget which is reach of far more customers.

Please also read out other brand comparisons articles against Roombas:

Comparison Table

 Height (inch)Diameter (inch)Weight (lbs)NavigationSmart Home AppMotor Max Suction (Pa)MopBattery Type(s)Battery (mins)Self -RechargeSelf -ResumeFull Bin IndicatorPrice RangeWarranty
Roomba 3.613.7-13.9 7.9-8.7 "Smart Mapping & VSLAM
iAdapt "
Yes"3-Stage Cleaning System
Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning System
3rd Gen Motor "
1700No"Nickel metal hydride
Lithium ion
3,000 mAH lithium ion"
60 - 120 YesYesYes$270 - $9001 Year
iLife2.8-3.15 "11.8-13.4
4.5-6.5"PanoView Navigation
Modes: Edge, Spot, Manual, Scheduling"
Yes (but not functional)3-Stage Cleaning System1000Yes2,600 mAH lithium ion70 - 150 YesYesNo$160-$3501 Year

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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