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Roomba i3 VS E5 – Which one is Better?

Both the models Roomba i3 and Roomba e5 are Irobot’s best robot vacuums available today.

How do they compare? What are the main differences?

Here is the quick overview:

Roomba e5Roomba i3
roomba e5 model Roomba i3 model
Auto Resume: NoAuto Resume: Yes
Self-Emptying Support: NoSelf-Emptying Support: Yes
Suction Power: 5X SuctionSuction Power: 10X Suction
Navigation System: Adaptive PatternNavigation System: Row-By-Row Pattern (Efficient)
Imprint Link Technology: NoImprint Link Technology: Yes
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Roomba i3

Roomba i3 model

BottomLine: Considering all the key differences and significantly less price difference in between, Roomba i3 is the best model to go.

If looking for the same model with an added auto dust disposal feature, go with the Roomba i3+ (the self-emptying variant of i3).

Side-by-Side Comparison – Roomba E5 VS I3

We compared the two models with all the differences, similarities, specifications here:

Roomba e5Roomba i3
Height3.65 inches3.63 inches
Suction Power5 times (compared to 600 series)10 times (compared to 600 series)
Navigation SystemAdaptiveRows
Battery Life90 minsRecharges and Resumes
Recharge & ResumeNoYes
Self emptying base (Auto dust disposal)NoYes(sold seperately)
Imprint Link technologyNoYes
Alexa, Google home supportedYesYes
Ideal for home with petsYesYes
Spot CleaningYesYes
Auto adjust cleaning headYesYes
Detachable dustbinYesYes
Multi Surface Rubber Rollers (Tangle Free)YesYes
Mobile AppYesYes
Cleaning suggestionsYesYes
Edge CleaningYesYes
Entire level cleaningNoYes
Specific Room CleaningNoNo
Clean reportsNoNo
Keep out zonesNoNo
Edge cleaning modeNoNo
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Roomba E5 VS Roomba I3 – Detailed Comparison

Differences in Suction Power – I3 Versus E5

Roomba I3 is better at removing stubborn dirt from hard surfaces and carpets thanks to its incredible suction power ten times stronger than Roomba base models (Roomba 600 series).

Roomba E5, on the other hand, equips just 50% of the suction force of the I3 but still manages to clean an area without needing a second pass.

At this affordable price range, providing this much suction force is undoubtedly the best specification to state the I3 value compared to any other robot vacuum.

BottomLine: Roomba I3 wins here.

Navigation Technology Difference

Diverse navigation system: Using accurate floor tracking sensors, Roomba I3 navigates your home in a more systematic approach than the E5, which deploys its reactive sensing technology for navigation.

The latter’s navigation feature is only reasonably accurate as the robot’s movement is random and dictated by a clearance-based path rather than a dedicated route like the I3. So you need not worry about missing any spots.

Roomba I3’s advanced mapping technology allows the robot to navigate your home in a row-by-row pattern while it is vacuuming. The superior sensors allow smart mapping and ensure each section of the room or space is covered by the I3. Even tight corners and edges are taken care of by the effective side brush of Roomba I3.

When the I3 roams your home, it recognizes the house’s layout, through this organized cleaning pattern, no same place will be cleaned twice. It only means shorter and more efficient vacuuming activity by the I3.

The sensors on Roomba E5 only detect when there’s an obstacle and keep turning until a clear path is seen before moving in that direction. Although it features the iAdapt 1.0 technology, the robot’s motion is still arbitrary and not on a planned route.

Due to this, Roomba E5 takes longer to clean your home on top of repeating the same cleaning path twice.

BottomLine: So, in terms of efficient and effective cleaning, i3 beats e5.

Runtime Variations – Automatic Recharge & Resume?

Roomba E5 is capable of cleaning your home for 90 minutes before it runs out of battery and re-navigates to the base station for charging.

The I3, however, is capable of pausing any cleaning chore, recharging itself, and resuming work right where it left off. This way, the I3 can work, charge and repeat continuously until you turn off the robotic cleaner.

Although Roomba I3 runs only for 75 minutes per full charge, it cleans more efficiently in resuming operation after a complete recharge (recharge-and-resume enabled). The recharge time for the E5 is 120 minutes, whereas Roomba I3 only needs 90 minutes to charge and get back into action fully.

When the battery is low,

  • Roomba E5 – stops where it left off, reaches docking station, recharges.
  • Roomba I3 – same as e5, recharges, then starts working from where it stopped working (more efficient).

BottomLine: I3 is with the recharge-and-resume feature, which makes the vacuuming process effortless and productive. No human supervision is needed.

Self-emptying base feature – Key Difference

Roomba i3 auto dust disposal feature
Source: Irobot

You don’t need to clear the debris from the dust compartment of Roomba I3 like any other conventional robotic vacuums.

The I3 works with a self-emptying base (available separately) where the robot automatically travels to the base/charging station to unload its dirt into the pre-fixed dust chamber for automatic dirt disposal. Or you can go for the Roomba i3+ model equipped with the self-emptying base (money-saving tip).

Unfortunately, the self dust disposal feature is not available on Roomba E5. You have to clear the dirt by yourself whenever the full bin indicator goes off.

BottomLine: Roomba i3 works with a self-emptying base. Roomba E5 can’t.

Imprint Link Technology

Do Roombas Work in Sync with Braava mopping robots? Yes. Roomba I3 does.

Roomba I3 can connect to the Braava jet robot mops (from Irobot) and works in sync. It means the braava starts mopping immediately after the Roomba model does the vacuuming. No supervision is required. All credit goes to Imprint link technology.

BottomLine: Roomba i3 supports this, where E5 is still aside from this advanced feature.

Identical cleaning modes

The I3 and E5 models both offer multiple cleaning modes, including Normal, Manual, and Spot Cleaning. Each of these cleaning modes is performed accurately to clean your home.

With Spot Cleaning?

Significantly, the Spot Cleaning mode is handy if you have an area stained with stubborn dirt. Just launch the Spot Cleaning mode and watch the entire zone turn spotless thanks to the Roomba’s robust brushes and forceful suction.

While they excel in multiple cleaning modes, the I3 and E5 do not feature Repeat and Edge cleaning modes, which are only available in high-end Roomba models.

BottomLine: Both models offer multiple cleaning modes.

A perfect home for your furry friends

Thanks to self-cleaning brushes and a superior suction force, Roomba I3 and Roomba E5 can both keep your home tidy and spotless even though you have pets running here and there.

There will be no longer a stressful effort to pull pet hair from the edge of the carpets or in-between furniture. The Roombas got it handled.


Moreover, the highly efficient HEPA filter inside the robotic cleaner captures up to 99% of allergens, making your home the perfect place for your pets.

BottomLine: Roomba i3’s suction force, which is 2x the e5 model, makes it the best option for homes with pets.

Technological Aspects

Roomba I3 and E5, each featured a Drop Sensor and Dirt Sensor in terms of sensing capabilities. Whether the robots are working close to an elevated ledge or handling tough dirt on the carpet, their sensors are there to guide them.

Also to say, Roombas I3 and E5 share more than a few similarities. For example, their sensing technology keeps them abreast of danger-close or stair areas. When I3 or E5 comes close to a staircase leading downward, the Drop Sensor under the robots will trigger an alert almost instantly.

Similarly, the Dirt Sensor on the Roombas is very accurate when identifying a dirty or dusty spot. You will notice the robots performing deeper cleaning at these spots thanks to the Dirt Sensor.

Amazing Dirt Detect Feature

Both Roomba I3 and Roomba E5 have dirt detect technology. The capable dust-detect sensors under the robot work accurately to tell the robots to focus clean any needed area without ever requiring a second pass.

BottomLine: Same advanced technology.

Auto-adjust Cleaning Head

Auto adjust cleaning head
Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head. Source: Irobot

Maintaining a clean home with these models is more comfortable than other market robots thanks to its auto-adjusting cleaning head.

The Roomba models e5 and i3 both can travel on different floor surfaces while adapting their cleaning head’s height for each floor type ensuring constant surface contact. It allows even deep dirt inside carpets or between the wooden floorboards to get dislodged and sucked into the vacuum.

The cool robotic cleaners also feature an edge-sweeping brush on them designed with an incline of 27 degrees to remove the dirt along walls and corners.

A wide cleaning path for the robots

Thanks to the Roombas 7-inch large cleaning width, dust and dirt can no longer escape when they make a pass. The spacious suction inlet covers a reasonably large area that allows Roomba I3 and Roomba E5 to grasp almost everything on their path effectively.

BottomLine: Same design.  

What about the Maintenance? – E5 OR I3

Another cool similarity between Roomba I3 and Roomba E5 is the detachable dustbin. After a few trips, you can quickly yank out the dustbin from the Roombas and give it a quick rinse to wash away the dirt residues. Once dried, you can effortlessly slot the dirt compartment back inside.

Comparing their user-friendliness

Roomba E5 offers only basic ones, where else the I3 delivers more app-controlled features. It means the user can control their robot in terms of cleaning modes, observing the cleaning cycles, and overseeing the scheduling. I3 – Everything is a bit advanced compared to E5.

Efficacy of their Brushes: Tangle-free? Yes

Roomba E5 and Roomba I3 are equipped with Dual Multi-Surface Rubber brushes, ensuring only thorough cleaning is performed on your hard floors and carpets. Interestingly, these brushes are tangle-free, which means cleaning pet hair is a breeze. It adds up when talking about maintenance.

BottomLine: Nearly same. But i3’s more mobile app-controlled options and self-emptying base make it one step ahead compared to the e5 model.

Scheduling and Connectivity – Alexa, Google Home Supported

Voice commands Roomba model
Source: Irobot

Given that both Roomba robots are easily linkable to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can use the personal home assistants to govern the robot’s controls. Just use your voice commands to start, stop, and do everything you can do with the smart robotic cleaners.

What is more interesting, you can even schedule cleaning plans using Alexa or Google Assistant. If that gets boring, whip out your smartphones and launch the iRobot HOME app to get your cleaning sessions ongoing.

On top of that, the I3 and E5 can learn how you designate the cleaning chores and offer customized schedules. Extra suggestions are prompted to you when there is a high pollen count or pet shedding.

BottomLine: Amazon Alexa and Google Home supported.


Comparison of Roomba e5, i3 models

The main differences between Roomba i3 and e5 are:

  • Recharge and resume: I3 is with automatic recharge and resume feature, whereas E5 lacks it.
  • Auto dust disposal feature: I3 auto empties itself when the self-emptying base is attached (available separately). E5 doesn’t support this.
  • Suction power: Roomba i3 works with twice the powerful suction compared to e5.
  • Advanced Navigation System: Roomba i3 navigates in a row-by-row pattern, which is more efficient than E5’s adaptive pattern.
  • Imprint Link Technology: With this technology, Roombas work in sync with Braava models. I3 Supports this. E5 doesn’t.

Overall, Roomba i3 is the winner. Many significant upgrades in i3 compared to e5 and nearly the same price as e5 make it the best choice for almost every household.

Not to make e5 down, e5 works like a pro cleaning all types of surfaces and floors. But considering the advanced features, powerful suction, efficient cleaning with i3, and the main decisive factor affordable price tag, it would make sense to go with the Roomba i3 model.