S9 review

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S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 1st, 2019, 2:47 pm

So Mr. UPS just dropped off the S9.

Just finished the set up and now waiting for the full charge before I run my first clean.
Set up was super easy very similar to the i7 and 980. First thing I did notice is that the bot is heavier 8.15 lbs compared to 7.44lbs also the S9 is about 1 inch smaller and 0.13 inch lower. So this bot just might fit in more places like under my bar stools.
Gone is the handle to easily grab it up.

Another observation is that small wheel is now in the back. I wonder if this will help it climb over small carpets or higher thresholds. I do have a carpet that my 980 almost never could climb on. This truly will be a test.

Also, I can adjust the cleaning power with a slide adjust from low to power boost. This offers more choice compare to the 980 which was low (does nothing) or power boost (actually cleans but loud as F#@% ) Maybe find a sweet spot that actually cleans and still quiet enough to say watch tv.
Last edited by rotorwash on June 1st, 2019, 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 1st, 2019, 7:09 pm

First run down with half the house vacuumed waiting on the charge to hopefully complete the house.

I know it's learning the house right now so as far as navigation I won't say much.

When it gets stuck like on a cord or carpet it will have a little explosive move which usually will get it free. I also noticed that it will hit things and push. It actually moved a couple of my chairs a few inches. Yes this still hits objects and walls pretty hard. I was hoping it would sense things better. Maybe as it learns the rooms it will not hit as hard.

Sound when on carpet it is louder than the i7 but much quieter than the 980. It also does not have that high pitch whine that the 980 has. On hard wood I could hear the extractors hitting the floor causing a vibration type noise. I thought at first the gears on the extractors where slipping since it was at that time that it was running on and off that high carpet I mentioned earlier. Yes it can climb that carpet that the 980 rarely did.

At this point it mostly vacuumed the half of our house that doesn't have wall to wall carpet (go figure). I will say the small carpet that other roombas could not get on this roomba had no problem. The carpet has a longer shag and the shag did give the S9 some trouble. One moment it stopped and said extractors where jammed. This was also at a spot where the carpet ended and there is a small gap to the wall. so the wheels might have all been on hardwood and the extractors on the corner of the carpet. The S9 seemed to do well on our waffle pattern waterHog runners. For some reason that type of carpet and pattern is tough for all vacuums except or kirby. The i7 was horrible on that carpet, The 980 will actually do an ok job but leaves a lot behind. I really need to wait for it to be dirty and full of hair to really test the S9, I only really need to wait a day with our dogs.

Anyways while charging I figured I would empty the bin. It was packed with hair! Packed like the 980 would do. Thats a good sign. I also like the fact that the new filter is larger than the 980's filter with much more surface area. So much better than that tiny filter the i7 has. Also the act of removing and emptying the debris bin is so much easier. Opening the debris bin to empty its content gives easy access to the dirty side of the filter which I usually vacuum with my dyson hand held.

So my first run time was over one hour and 30 minutes!
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 1st, 2019, 11:15 pm

Ok my last observation finished the carpeted areas of my house.
I would have to say it did a really good job picking up dirt deep in the carpet. Also all three times the bot went back to the charger I emptied the bin and it was packed with hair.
So my initial first run impression is that compared to the i7 the S9 is a little louder but it also has different modes like the 980. The S9 did a great job with long hair never did the S9 spit anything out like the i7. It also appeared to have great suction as the point with the debris bin being packed with dust and hair. Also when the bot goes back to the base it revs up higher than any other time just before docking. I'm not sure why.
If you have long hair dogs the ends of the extractors do need to be cleaned. Just like every other roomba before, those ends attract hair.
I would have to say the S9 is what the i7 should have been. It's a 980 on steroids.

Next time I think I will activate the training run first, cleaning and learning my house took way too long. If it's anything like the i7 once the house is mapped out, Cleaning should take way less time.

So after my first day I'm pleased with its cleaning. It still acts a little bull in a China shop but that might change as mapping gets completed. It handles hair very well but I will need to maybe skip a day or two of vacuuming and really test the cleaning ability. The noise level is much better we actually did watch Tv as it did the carpet. Finally emptying the dust bin is really simple love the larger filter.

One down side it took only one day for hair or thread (not sure which) to cut into the fins of the one extractor. This is an area I wish iRobot would make stronger. I have had same issue with the 980 and i7. The hair seems to cut that silicone rubber like a hot knife through warm butter.
Last edited by rotorwash on June 2nd, 2019, 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: S9 review

Postby Botty » June 2nd, 2019, 8:31 am

Interesting to read, thanks. Please keep updating the thread with more observations.
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Re: S9 review

Postby fufu » June 2nd, 2019, 3:19 pm

Thanks for the review, rotorwash. Please keep us informed about how the bumping into obsticales evolves after completing the map. A short video about the S9 would be great! At the moment, there are just irobot's marketing videos on youtube.
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 2nd, 2019, 9:11 pm

I'll try this week just ran a training run which took 4 hours and only 50% of the mapping done.Its been hard keeping an eye on the bot while my dogs keep pulling ropes and toys out messing with the bots work.
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 3rd, 2019, 8:46 pm

Just got mine running training now. Something I noticed immediately is that even though they say it's got a lower profile...that is not true. Not sure how they're measuring their robots, but both the i7 and the 980 can fit under my end tables and my dishwasher. The s9 cannot! At least not in training mode. Disappointed to say the least as they are big end tables (and there's 4 of them). The dishwasher I threw a piece for 2x4 duct taped to the tile floor to block it from getting stuck under there again (as it got stuck and the first training run was completely lost as a result).

Not a great start to say the least but, unfortunately for me, I will likely still keep it if its suction is as powerful as everyone is clamoring it is. With one or more heavily shedding dogs, it will be the best way to keep the house and floor clean.
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Re: S9 review

Postby Julian » June 4th, 2019, 4:35 am

VACInc wrote:... Something I noticed immediately is that even though they say it's got a lower profile...that is not true. Not sure how they're measuring their robots, but both the i7 and the 980 can fit under my end tables and my dishwasher. The s9 cannot! At least not in training mode. Disappointed to say the least as they are big end tables (and there's 4 of them). ...

That is disappointing. How much is there in it? By how much does the i9 fail to fit under your end tables vs how much clearance the 980 & i7 had?

I had to raise a few things in my home to give my 560 space to get under them. I used these...

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Medipaq¨-Slide-Glide-Packs-Appliances/dp/B00OTJVRJQ

I put them under various legs and chose sizes such that they were smaller than the base of the leg so are invisible, it just looks as if the legs are floating a few mm above the floor which you can't even notice. This is only good for a few mm, maybe about 7 or 8mm increase in the clearance before it starts looking odd, but if your end-table issue is very marginal them maybe worth a try? I didn't use any screws, I just slid them under the legs and let gravity/compression hold them in place which has been working just fine for me since 2009 although they do need to be reset when I occasionally have cause to move something that is using them (a side table and a couple of sofas)

- Julian
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 4th, 2019, 8:10 am

The s9 seems to be only a few millimeters higher at most. It's also only the IR sensor on the front that causes the issue too. Shame they couldn't do away with it with this redesign.

Good call on the sliders/pads. I'll have to look up ones that keep the furniture in place on the wood floor and will have more height than the ones the tables already came with.

Edit* Another thing I've just noticed is the side brush seems to be deformed already??? It seems the plastic/rubber holding the bristles did/does not retain its original shape/direction. Now the brushes look like they're facing downward and not nearly as effective as you'd expect compared to ANY roomba! Granted this might be less of an issue now due to the really large extractor right next to it (also perhaps a result of?), but it is certainly not a good thing regardless. I'll be contacting iRobot about it for sure.
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 4th, 2019, 8:31 am

I was going to comment on the side brush after one run looks like its ready for a replacement. Along with the extractors mine has three tears already. I tried to post pictures but kept getting rejected
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 4th, 2019, 8:59 am

Here's a picture of the side brushes. Left one is the used one. Right one is the new/unused one:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/UJr78ajmsyyhUtsq6
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Re: S9 review

Postby ps0001 » June 4th, 2019, 11:16 am

I wonder why they went back to a 5-arm design. The older models (~500 series) came with 5-arm side brushes, but they always developed cracks in the center, so they switched to the 3-arm design.
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 4th, 2019, 11:57 am

ps0001 wrote:I wonder why they went back to a 5-arm design. The older models (~500 series) came with 5-arm side brushes, but they always developed cracks in the center, so they switched to the 3-arm design.

I'm going to take a guess and perhaps because the brush spins slower? It seems like the brush here spins slower and I'm going to assume that's because the motor is smaller and is actually moving a component through what I'm assuming are a few additional plastic gears. Didn't seem very robust honestly when I took the bot apart and took a peek.
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 6th, 2019, 9:45 am

So with a couple days under my belt. and messed around with some settings
Running on "detailed clean" the vac is louder than an i7 but not as loud as the 980 the cleaning is good. It seems to do more than one pass but nothing is noted in their writings.

"custom" has low medium and high settings. The medium setting is same as detail. The high setting is loud similar to the 980 with great pick up and low run time.
Low setting is quiet and ok pickup. Also with custom settings the choice of automatic/one pass/and two passes can be chosen. I wish one pass could be chosen when on detailed clean.

The bot actually does a good job handling the dog hair and dirt. I also notice more debris being pulled. So I am pleased with its ability to actually vacuum. It truly is the best I have used thus far.

The smart mapping took me 9 hours of running to do my first floor about 2,000sqft thats training mode. It sometimes can't find a room gets frustrated returns to home and says the pathway has been blocked or returning from a room gets lost cleans half of another room before finally comes back to base. Speaking of base I have it on carpet and had one issue where it could not get off base and complained path was blocked. I noticed more than once when returning to the base the bot would hit the platform from the side causing it to move and the bot getting stuck. Unlike the 980 which always seemed to line up to the base and drive straight in. The S9 on more than one occasion would hit the base on a 30 degree angle and try to turn last moment causing the base to move etc.

The side brush is so curled up it barely projects from the side of the bot and that was after only one training round. It looks like I have a years worth of runs on it. Horrible design. Also the extractors I have notice not as much hair collecting on ends but still has to be cleaned after every run. (on custom High suction even less noticed)
The larger finned extractor is getting shredded from the long hair and random threads from our dogs rope. Really wish that was stronger or more durable. I also notice very little hair getting past the bearing. My 980 I always have to pull the bearing cap off and remove debris. I have pulled the extractors and the bearing shaft on the 980 was extremely hot from friction a few times. Also the guide wheel in the back doesn't get clogged up with hair like the front wheel on the 980. It must help to roll on post vacuumed floors.

Shape. The shape I was expecting it to be stuck more but actually does a great job. I think it being an inch smaller helps. I haven't notice the back climbing up like I have seen with the D7. It will work the corners to get a square approach.

So my opinion: I like the power. It seems to be picking up way more debris. Cleaning seems to take longer per room. Strange since its larger head. Side brush seems useless and extractors ripping easily. The Mapping doesn't seem any better than the i7. I really wish iRobot would have a real time mapping setting and setting for no go lines.

Yes I like this Bot way better than the i7 for handling hair and debris. I would also say on high the S9 beats the 980 for pick up. At this point I think its a keeper for my applications. I still don't think the self empty base is worth it unless you own no carpet and no animals and only need to vacuum dust. Otherwise emptying the bin is super simple and for me, I still need to inspect the extractors for hair/threads wrapped around them.
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Re: S9 review

Postby Julian » June 8th, 2019, 5:17 am

Many thanks for taking the time to update your review thread with a very honest and balanced review.

Fully accepting that I am in a position of trying to justifying a purchase hence in danger of subconsciously emphasising positives and downplaying negatives, I would however make the following observations...

Your observations on the durability of the side brush and larger extractor are extremely disappointing. I hope there is some comfort to be had from the well-perfected modular design principles that iRobot have adopted for over a decade now. At least those are usable-replaceable parts and while I am not suggesting that replacing them is a satisfactory option, at least it gives us hope that iRobot might realise that this is a design (or maybe manufacturing) issue and might drop more durable units into the accessories supply chain at some point. Then again, there's a danger that they value the accessories revenue stream too highly and so deliberately engineer in a lower-than-one-would-hope expected lifetime for such parts. Let's at least hope that iRobot get the message that even in they have deliberately engineered in a reduced life they have simply gone too far in this case.

I wonder if it would be worth sending back the affected parts, particularly the side brush since there is a spare in the box anyway, and asking for a warranty replacement. If enough people do that within the first few days or weeks of buying a new unit then maybe iRobot product management will get the message that they need to go and look at the design, or very possibly go talk to whoever makes those brushes for them, and rectify the issue. Even though it is a user-replaceable accessory subject to wear and replacement I would have thought that showing iRobot items that have been totally trashed within a couple of weeks should be considered unacceptable and not fit for purpose.

On some of the mapping and driving-onto-base issues it sounds as if that might be things that could get better with firmware updates providing that the sensors themselves don't have issues.

One question. You talk about custom/low, custom/medium, custom/high and detailed-clean settings. Is it possible to set those differently for each mission, e.g. could I have a setup whereby a custom/high is used for the Wednesday and Saturday scheduled cleans with the other days being custom/low or custom/medium for instance?

Thanks again for starting and updating this thread.

- Julian
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 8th, 2019, 8:17 am

I've already contacted iRobot regarding the side brush. They offered to replace it immediately but instead I opted to have them escalte to engineering. I provided them with the used/new picture comparison I posted here. So we will see how that turns out. Either way, I likely ask for a few replacements as they try to close out the issue.

As for scheduling, I checked and you can indeed customize the schedules to have different power selections (which I was surprised about honestly)!
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Re: S9 review

Postby Tripmeister » June 8th, 2019, 8:30 am

UPS delivered S9+ on Monday, I've given it a few runs around the house.

Past Roombas:
650 - Upgraded to 980 when it was released, needed something that would clean an entire floor and the randomness wasn't cutting it.
980 - I have literally run this roomba into the ground. We have 3 cats + 1 dog and they all shed so much. The roomba app states 589,800 sq ft. cleaned, 1648~ hours of runtime.

We have a 2 story house, roughly 3000~ sqft, and set it up so that the 980 would startup when my wife was more than a mile away for work as she can't stand the loud motor on it, and also set to dock if she is on her way home. Once or twice a week I would run it upstairs manually, but a bulk of the hair was downstairs.

Pros of s9+ vs 980:
- Even on the loudest setting (Custom, high motor speed) it is noticeably quieter than the 980's jet engine. Probably not quiet enough for my wife, but she would definitely be ok with the low fan setting. It seems to pick up the dirt/debris/hair just as well as the 980 on medium/high motor speeds.

- The s9+ seems to be more aggressive with obstacles and trying to see if it can push it around. Ex: Dog bed. The 980 would hit it, push it a few feet then give up and turn around. The s9+ will hit the dog bed and push it all the way to the wall. Could be a negative for some people, but I kinda like it.

- The 980 was able to enter our bathroom which has a transition strip between the wood and tile, but would be unable to leave the bathroom. The s9+ is able to enter and leave the same bathroom without any problem.

Cons of s9+ vs 980:
- The more obstacles the slower it is to clean compared to the 980. If it's a giant square room with no chairs, the s9+ is probably 10-20% faster than the 980... but add in some chairs/tables/etc and the D-shape starts to slow it down some as whenever the s9+ runs into a barrier it has to do a mini-3-point turn to turn around. It's not significant enough to be a game-breaker, but In my case it takes 10-15% longer to clean the first floor compared to the 980.

- As I mentioned above about the dog bed, the s9+ is a bit more aggressive than the 980 -- I haven't seen any scuffs/marks yet but the s9+ seems to ram walls/furniture harder than the 980 did. The 980 would slow down 1 second before hitting a wall, the s9+ seems to be like your typical american -- waits until the last possible moment before slamming on the brakes. The s9+ DOES slow down before hitting the wall, it's just 0.1 seconds before impact.

- I've submitted this to Irobot's customer support -- On the bottom of the S9+ where the extractor plastic is closest to touching the floor, there is a strip of felt on one side and a strip of rubber on the other. I'm really not sure why they didn't put felt on both sides, as this strip of rubber will occasionally touch the floor and make that weird rubber on floor noise as the extractor skips a little. My 980 would do this when the treads on the wheels were really low and needed replacement, but not on brand new tires. The strip of rubber already has some wear on it due to this behavior, and I'm thinking that after a few weeks it'll wear enough rubber off that it will no longer make this noise. However, Irobot has escalated it to engineering after I sent a video of it happening, so we'll see. I haven't seen anyone else mention this problem so maybe it's just a defect that needs a part replaced.

- I have similar concerns about the side brush as mentioned above, but it hasn't led to any issues grabbing dust/hair so far, we'll see if it becomes an issue long term.
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 8th, 2019, 8:47 am

julian
Let's be clear with one thing. I have two long haired dogs that shed constantly. So I might be on the extreme as far as the hair cutting the extractor. I mean I have to run my bot every day and it still seems like I never vacuum.
My 980 has one cut but I have something over 60,000sq run on it. So to have three cuts with 2,000sq makes me wonder if it's because the extractor is lower closer to the floor or is it cheaper made.
The side brush I'm not as concerned I don't think they did much anyways. Half the time when it's running its not even spinning. Check out VacuumWars on youtube you can see an example of it.

It has gotten better getting to base although sometimes it still goes one way to clean say the bedroom but returns to base going a different way. Strange.

I have to edit this and YES!!! it can be programmed to run various preferences per mission under scheduling. VACInc is correct. Thanks totally missed that since I usually don't schedule since I have to do a path check for various dog toys and random conference calls.
Last edited by rotorwash on June 8th, 2019, 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: S9 review

Postby VACInc » June 8th, 2019, 9:41 am

Tripmeister wrote:I've submitted this to Irobot's customer support -- On the bottom of the S9+ where the extractor plastic is closest to touching the floor, there is a strip of felt on one side and a strip of rubber on the other. I'm really not sure why they didn't put felt on both sides, as this strip of rubber will occasionally touch the floor and make that weird rubber on floor noise as the extractor skips a little. My 980 would do this when the treads on the wheels were really low and needed replacement, but not on brand new tires. The strip of rubber already has some wear on it due to this behavior, and I'm thinking that after a few weeks it'll wear enough rubber off that it will no longer make this noise. However, Irobot has escalated it to engineering after I sent a video of it happening, so we'll see. I haven't seen anyone else mention this problem so maybe it's just a defect that needs a part replaced.

I have not noticed this...I'll have to keep an eye out for it on my hardwood and tile floors.

rotorwash wrote:So the settings under preferences would need to be changed for every mission. It would be nice to program certain missions at different cleaning levels. Like high for problem carpets and low for hardwood. per room. Sadly that option isn't available but maybe soon with an update. great idea!

Not true. At least not true with the android app (version: 4.0.0-release). When you go to setup your schedule you can see the options right there and setting different options for different schedule periods does not alter your core/default preferences under "More"=>"Preferences".
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Re: S9 review

Postby rotorwash » June 8th, 2019, 9:51 am

rotorwash wrote:So the settings under preferences would need to be changed for every mission. It would be nice to program certain missions at different cleaning levels. Like high for problem carpets and low for hardwood. per room. Sadly that option isn't available but maybe soon with an update. great idea!

VACInc wrote:Not true. At least not true with the android app (version: 4.0.0-release). When you go to setup your schedule you can see the options right there and setting different options for different schedule periods does not alter your core/default preferences under "More"=>"Preferences".


You are correct sorry I missed that It can be programmed when scheduled.
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