Compare iRobot Roomba 960 and 860: What Are the Main Differences?
The latest and greatest WiFi and non-WiFi Roomba vacuuming robots available today are respectively Roomba 980 and Roomba 880. These robots come with all the features you need for efficient and thorough vacuuming of your home.
But, if you can't afford the Roomba 980 or 880 robots, you might want to consider instead Roomba 960 or 860.
Indeed, Roomba 960 supports Wi-Fi and comes with almost all the features found on the 980, and the non-WiFi Roomba 860 comes with a good bunch of the important features found on the 880. Therefore, if you want to save some money, Roomba 960 represents a reasonable alternative for the 980, and Roomba 860 represents a reasonable alternative for the 880.
This article will provide a detailed comparison of Roomba 960 and 860, so you may choose the right vacuuming robot that will fully respond to your homes vacuuming needs.
Note: If you prefer to see a comparison of Roomba 980 and 880, please click: Compare iRobot Roomba 980 and 880
Comparing Roomba 960 and Roomba 860
Both robots are equipped with dual counter-rotating debris extractors, one spinning side brush, a removable dust bin as well as a full bin indicator so you know when to empty the dust bin.
The following pictures show the Roomba 960 and 860 robots:
The following table compares the features of Roomba 960 and 860. Please read the table notes that follow for a better understanding of the feature differences.
Table Notes 1 - 22 Explained
The AeroForce technology found in these robots introduces the debris extractors and delivers an ideal balance of vacuum suction and debris extraction:
Tangle free extractors grab and break down debris eliminating hair tangles and jams, and an airflow accelerator creates a sealed channel that concentrates the airflow, sucking in more debris. Thanks to the high efficiency vacuum, the air power is increased 5 times in these robots compared to the previous 600 and 700 series Roomba robots.
Though all Roomba robots are designed to collect dirt and pet hair, only the 900 and 800 series robots are equipped with debris extractors and do it more efficiently and thoroughly than the previous 600 and 700 series robots.
- The iAdapt responsive cleaning technology found in these robots is composed of sophisticated software and sensors that allow the robots to clean more thoroughly the room, making multiple passes, avoiding stairs, getting under and around furniture, and cleaning along wall edges and corners. The low profile design of these robots allows cleaning under most furniture. They also automatically adjust to all floor types, be it carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate or other.
- Note that Roomba 860 is built with iRobot's original iAdapt technology, while Roomba 980 was designed with the more advanced iAdapt 2.0 technology. With Adapt 2.0, Roomba 980 features a visual localization camera used to map out your home in order to ensure complete coverage. It allows the robot to seamlessly and efficiently navigate an entire level of your home and keep track of its location. Roomba 980 uses a high-efficiency cleaning pattern and a full suite of sensors to adapt to real world clutter and furniture for thorough coverage.
- Roomba 960 and 860 robots come both with the iRobot Dirt Detect feature: they are equipped with both acoustic and optical sensors which allow them to find dirtier areas and then spend more time cleaning them.
- Roomba 960 is also equipped with a camera and additional sensors which enable improved visual localization and allows the robot to efficently navigate the entire level of your home and keep track of its location.
- Roomba robots use either Virtual Walls, Virtual Wall Lighthouses or Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers to be kept away from rooms or areas they are not supposed to enter. Both Roomba 960 and 860 come with one Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers. Please see Note 11 below for more details on these small stand alone devices..
Note that Roomba 860 needs to be restarted by pressing the CLEAN button after it recharges itself at its Home Base (unless it had previously been scheduled to restart at a later time). On the other hand, Roomba 960 robot is able to resume automatically the cleaning job where it had interrupted it prior to going to Home Base to recharge. It continues this way until the job is done and the whole level of your home is seamlessly cleaned (multiple rooms)!
When Roomba 960 is connected via Wi-Fi to your smartphone, you can use the iRobot Home App for Android and iOS to invoke remotely operations such as cleaning, scheduling, etc., and set your preferences for how the robot cleans (number of cleaning passes, etc.).
HEPA stands for "High Efficiency Particulate Air" and is a filter grade defined by the US Department of Energy which requires the filter to be able to remove more than 99.97% of allergens, pollen and particles as small as 0.3 micron. Note that Roomba 960 and 860 have AeroForce HEPA filters which are even more efficient and can remove particles as small as 0.1 micron.
This feature is not available on either Roomba 960 or 860. It is only available on Roomba 980.
All Roomba robots are equipped with a side brush to clean wall edges. But Roomba 960 features additional edge cleaning action to make sure that stubborn dirt and debris along wall edges are all removed. After Roomba 960 finishes cleaning the open areas of your floor, it uses the Edge Clean feature to ensure that it has cleaned along walls and around furniture legs. If you prefer a quicker clean, you can disable Edge Clean.
Edge Clean is turned on by default and can be turned off using the App.
Roomba 960 is equipped with a camera that enables visual localization making possible seamless and efficient navigation of an entire level of your home. Note that for the camera functionality too work properly some light in the room where the robot will be vacuuming may be needed.
Tangle free dual extractors grab and break down debris eliminating hair tangles and jams, and an airflow accelerator creates a sealed channel that concentrates airflow, sucking in more debris.
Scheduling can be programmed for up to 7 times per week. The unit starts vacuuming as soon as the scheduled time is reached.
Note that with Roomba 960 scheduling is done only using the iRobot Home App, while with Roomba 860, scheduling is done on the robot itself.
- Virtual Walls are tiny devices that emit an infra-red beam that the Roomba will not cross. They are used to stop the Roomba from going through restricted doorways. They can be set to block an area ranging from three to eight feet long.
- Virtual Wall Halos are tiny devices used to protect restricted areas within the room.
- Virtual Wall Lighthouses are small devices that can be set to either Virtual Wall mode or to Lighthouse mode. In Lighthouse mode, the device keeps the robot cleaning in one room, then sends it off to tackle the next room for guided cleaning (up to 3 rooms).
- Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers, like Virtual Walls, can be used to block off an open doorway, but they can also be used as Virtual Wall Halos, to protect some restricted area within the room (like for instance your dog's food area). Both Roomba 960 and 860 come with one Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier.
When the bin gets full, Roomba 960 provides you with two options regarding the action to be taken by the robot:
- Finish Job: Even if the bin is full, Roomba 960 will continue cleaning until it has covered the entire space. Once the bin is emptied, Roomba is ready for a new cleaning job. The full bin behavior is “Finish Job” by default.
- Pause Immediately: As soon as the bin is full, Roomba 960 will return to where it started and pause the cleaning job. Once the bin is emptied, you just need to press CLEAN to resume.
In most cases, Roomba will remove dirt and debris with just one pass over each area of your home. With Roomba 960, two pass cleaning can be requested and can be particularly helpful in homes with pets or for periodic deep cleaning. The number of cleaning passes is one by default.
This feature can be invoked from the App.
A molded soft touch bumper cushions the contact made between Roomba's bumper and walls, furniture and other objects, protecting household items as the robot cleans.
When batteries run low, all Roomba robots return to their Home Base to dock and recharge.
Note that, as mentioned, Roomba 860 needs to be restarted by pressing the CLEAN button after it recharges itself at its Home Base (unless it had previously been scheduled to restart at a later time).
On the other hand, Roomba 960 is able to resume automatically the cleaning job where it had interrupted it prior to going to Home Base to recharge. It continues this way until the job is done and the whole level of your home is seamlessly cleaned!
All Roomba robots cab be asked to spot clean. When spot clean is invoked, the robot will spiral approximately 3 feet in diameter and then spiral back to where it started for an intense, localized clean.
All Roomba robots are equipped with a Home button that can be pressed to send the robot to dock at its Home Base. Of course, the robot will also go automatically to its Home Base when battery runs low.
Both Roomba 960 and 860 are equipped with a Lithium-Ion battery. Lithium-Ion batteries are designed to provide longer cleaning sessions than Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries and last longer before needing to be replaced.
Battery Run Times:
iRobot has specified the battery run time for Roomba 960 as 75 minutes.
For Roomba 860, the average time is about 60 minutes, but note that for all robots (including Roomba 960) run times can vary extensively depending on the amount of work the robot has to do to clean the floors. That is because different types of carpets, different floor plans and different amounts of dirt may require different amounts of effort from the robot and hence different amounts of ''juice'' from the battery.
For instance, if the area to be cleaned is very small, the robot will run a shorter amount of time sufficient to finish the job and will then go to recharge even if the battery is not completely emptied. On the other hand, if the floor plan is more complex, the carpet types harder to vacuum or if there is a lot of dirt, the robot may use more power and hence may also need to recharge sooner.
However, keep in mind that Lithium-Ion batteries are designed to provide longer cleaning sessions.
- Roomba 960 can be remotely controlled from your smartphone using the iRobot Home App. No explicit remote control device is provided.
- Roomba 860 does not come with a remote control device. All controls are done using the buttons on the robot itself.
- Note that Roomba 960 is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.
The "d" in the dimensions refers to the diameter, and "h" to the height of the unit. All measurements are in inches.
The 1-year limited warranty is on the robot. There is also a 6 month warranty on the battery.
The prices shown are the list prices that were in effect when this article was written and may have changed.
For exact price information, please refer to the Amazon section below.
So Which Roomba to Buy: 960 or 860?
However, it is worth noting that, in addition to Wi-Fi support, Roomba 960 comes with some neat features not found on Roomba 860:
- It has the capability, after it recharges itself at Home Base, to resume operation automatically where it had been interrupted, whereas Roomba 860 needs to be restarted after it has recharged at Home Base (unless of course it had been previously scheduled to restart at a later time). This feature can be quite useful if you have large areas to vacuum, and you don't want to bother with having to restart the robot every time it recharges itself, or if you will not be around during the vacuuming.
- Using the iRobot Home App, you can request Roomba 960 to execute special edge cleaning action, and you can set your preferences for how the robot will vacuum (number of cleaning passes, etc.).
- Finally, thanks to its built-in camera, the 960 can more thoroughly cover the area to be vacuumed.
On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that with Roomba 960, some functions (such as scheduling, time setting, etc.) can only be invoked using the iRobot Home App. Therefore, if you are not a smartphone user, or if you will not be using the App, you should definitely consider the 860.
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