Top iRobot Roomba Vacuuming Robots Comparison: 980 vs. 960 vs. 880 vs. 870 vs. 860
Comparing Roomba 980, 960, 880, 870 and 860
The following table compares the iRobot Roomba 980, 960, 880, 870 and 860 robots.
The (Note #) notation used in the table refers to the clarification notes provided following the table (please read these notes carefully in order to understand better the features that come with each Roomba):
The iAdapt responsive cleaning technology composed of sophisticated software and sensors allows Roomba 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 - carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate and more.
Note that all Roomba robots, except for Roomba 980 and 960, are built with the original iRobot iAdapt technology, while Roomba 980 and 960 were designed with the more advanced iAdapt 2.0 technology. With Adapt 2.0, Roomba 980 and 960 feature 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 960 and 980 use a high-efficiency cleaning pattern and a full suite of sensors to adapt to real world clutter and furniture for thorough coverage.
An important aspect of iAdapt and iAdapt 2.0 technologies is Dirt Detection: All 900 and 800 series Roomba robots are equipped with acoustic and optical sensors which allow them to find dirtier areas and then spend more time cleaning them.
Finally, note that Roomba robots use either Virtual Walls, Virtual Wall Lighthouses or Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers to be kept away from rooms and areas they are not supposed to enter. Please see the Roomba Navigation Control Section below for more detailed explanation of these stand alone little devices.
All Roomba robots use a 3-stage vacuuming system:
- Counter-rotating brushes or debris extractors (depending on the Roomba model) pick up dust, debris, dirt, pet hair from the floor.
- A spinning side brush cleans along wall edges.
- Finally, an efficient vacuum pulls dirt and hair off the brushes (or off the debris extractors) and directs it into the bin.
The AeroForce technology found in 800 and 900 series 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 800 and 900 series robots compared to the previous series robots. In addition, when the Carpet Boost feature found on Roomba 980 is activated, the air power is increased up to 10 times! Though all Roomba robots are designed to collect dirt and pet hair, the 900 and 800 series robots do it more efficiently and thoroughly than the previous 700 and 600 series robots.
Except for Roomba 980 and 960, all Roomba robots need to be restarted by pressing the CLEAN button after they recharge themselves at their Home Base (unless of course they had been previously scheduled to restart at a later time). Only Roomba 980 and 960 are able to resume automatically the cleaning job where it was interrupted before going to Home Base to recharge. They continue this way until the job is done and the entire level of your home is cleaned!
Note however that Roomba robots such as the 880 that come with Virtual Wall Lighthouses can clean up to three rooms without human interference, unless they need to go back to Home Base to get recharged, in which case they will need to be restarted by pressing the CLEAN button.
When Roomba 980 or 960 are 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, Edge Cleaning, etc.) and to customize your cleaning preferences (such as the number of cleaning passes to execute).
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 the 900 and 800 series robots have AeroForce HEPA filters which are even more efficient and can remove particles as small as 0.1 micron.
When on carpet, thanks to the Carpet Boost feature, Roomba 980 automatically increases its vacuum power to provide a deeper clean. Carpet Boost provides up to 10 times the air power by automatically increasing performance on carpet and rugs, where dust and dirt hide.
On hard surfaces, Roomba reduces its vacuum power to decrease battery consumption while still delivering excellent cleaning performance. Carpet Boost feature is turned on by default.
All Roomba robots are equipped with a side brush to clean wall edges. But Roomba 980 and 960 feature special edge cleaning action to make sure that stubborn dirt and debris along wall edges are all removed. After these robots finish cleaning the open areas of your floor, they use 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 using the irRobot Home App. Edge Clean is turned on by default.
When the bin gets full, Roomba 980 and 960 provide you with two options regarding the action to be taken by the robot:
- Finish Job: Even if the bin is full, Roomba 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 will return to where it started and pause the cleaning job. Once the bin is emptied, you just need to press CLEAN to resume.
Roomba 980 and 960 are equipped with a visual localization camera used to map out more thoroughly 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. Note that for the camera functionality to work properly some light in the room where the robot will be vacuuming may be needed.
These tangle free 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 pre-set up to 7 times per week. The robot starts vacuuming as soon as the scheduled time is reached.
In most cases, Roomba will remove dirt and debris with just one pass over each area of your home. With Roomba 980 and 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 is only available on Roomba 980 and 960 and can be invoked from the App.
When batteries run low, all Roomba robots return to their Home Base to dock and recharge.
Note that, except for Roomba 980 and 960, all other Roomba robots need to be restarted by pressing the CLEAN button after they recharge themselves at their Home Base (unless of course they had been previously scheduled to restart at a later time). Only the 980 and 960 robots are able to resume automatically the cleaning job where it was interrupted before going to Home Base to recharge. They continue this way until the job is done and the whole level of your home is cleaned!
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.
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.
Roomba 870 and 880 have a Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery, while Roomba 860, 960 and 980 have a Lithium-Ion battery.
Note that Lithium-Ion batteries are designed to provide longer cleaning sessions and last longer before needing to be replaced.
Battery Run Times:
iRobot has specified the run times for the 980 and 960 robots as 120 minutes and 75 minutes respectively.
For all the other Roomba robots compared above, the average time is about 60 minutes, but note that for all robots (including Roomba 980 and 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 980 and 960 can be remotely controlled from your smartphone or tablet using the iRobot Home App. No explicit remote control device is provided.
All other remotely controllable Roomba robots come with a remote control device and can not be controlled from your smartphone.
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.
Roomba Navigation Control Devices
- Virtual Walls are tiny devices that emit an infra-red beam that the Roomba will not cross. It is used to stop the Roomba from entering areas not wanted to be cleaned. It can be set to block an area ranging from three to eight feet long. They are used with Roomba 870 robots.
- 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 in up to 3 rooms. They are used with Roomba 880 robots.
- 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 (such as for instance the area around your dog's food bowl). They are used with Roomba 980 and 860 robots.
So which Roomba should you get?
As the above comparison table shows, different Roomba robots come with slightly different features. So, we suggest you carefully study the above table and clarification notes before you decide which Roomba will respond best to your needs. However, keep in mind the following important points before you make your selection:
- If you wish to be able to control your Roomba from your smartphone, you should consider either the 980 or 960, which are presently the only ones that supports Wi-Fi communications. These two robots also come with some additional neat features:
- They use camera based visual localization which helps the robot seamlessly and efficiently navigate an entire level of your home and keep track of its location (note that for the camera functionality too work properly some light in the room where the robot will be vacuuming is needed).
- They use a high-efficiency cleaning pattern and a full suite of sensors to adapt to real world clutter and furniture for thorough coverage.
- They have the capability, after they recharge themselves at Home Base, to resume operation automatically where it had been interrupted. So, if you have large areas in your home that require the robot to recharge multiple times, and you don't want to bother with having to restart the robot after each recharge, you might want to consider either the 980 or 960, as they are both capable of completing the job without human interference, except for emptying the bin when it gets full. And even if the bin gets full, and for some reason you aren't available to empty it, the robot will continue vacuuming until the entire space is covered and the job is finished, unless you have requested from the App to stop vacuuming at full bin.
- Roomba 980 has also the ability to boost the vacuuming intensity up to 10 times when carpets and rugs are detected, a feature not available on the 960. Note also that Roomba 980 can run for about 120 minutes before going back to Home Base to recharge, while Roomba 960 can run 75 minutes before recharging.
- Though the above listed Roomba 980 and 960 additional features can be quite useful in certain situations such as in large homes, for normal size homes, and unless you wish to use your smartphone to control the robot, you would most probably be more than satisfied with the vacuuming results obtained by any of the three 800 series robots which, like the 900 series robots, are equipped with the powerful AeroForce vacuuming technology found on the 900 series robots.
- If you must have a smartphone controllable robot, you could save some money by getting the recent Roomba 960 instead of the 980. Here are the few differences between these two robots:
- Roomba 980 has a more powerful motor and supports the Carpet Boost feature, while Roomba 960 does not.
- Roomba 980 can run for 120 minutes when the battery is fully recharged, while Roomba 960 can run for 75 minutes. But, this should not be a major issue, since both robots are able to automatically recharge and continue the vacuuming job until it's finished.
- If you don't need a smartphone controllable robot, but you still want to get the top Roomba, the logical choice would be to consider Roomba 880. However, if you want to save some money, you might want to consider the Roomba 860 instead of 880.
Roomba 860 comes with almost the same features as Roomba 880 including the AeroForce vacuuming system and debris extractors found in Roomba 880, 960 and 980, but not found in the previous series Roomba robots.
Here is a summary of the few differences between Roomba 880 and 860 robots:
- Roomba 860 does not come with a remote control device, while Roomba 880 does.
- Roomba 860 comes with one Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier, while Roomba 880 comes with two Virtual Wall Lighthouses (please see the Roomba Navigation Control Devices section above for an explanation of these devices).
- Roomba 860 has a Lithium-Ion battery, while Roomba 880 is equipped with a Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery. Note that Lithium-Ion batteries are designed to provide longer cleaning sessions and last longer before needing to be replaced.
You will find in the Amazon products section that follows all the Roomba robots compared above which you can click for exact price information or to purchase:
Roomba 980, 960, 880, 870 and 860 Robots on Amazon
(Note: Roomba 880 is presently sold with a good discount with respect to the list price. When you click below the Amazon links for this robot, the amount of the discount will be shown.)
Authentic Roomba Replenishment Kits on Amazon
Please click the images below to see price information or to purchase:
Roomba Virtual Wall, Virtual Wall Lighthouse and Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers
Roomba Virtual Wall
Virtual Wall Lighthouse
Virtual Wall Bariers
You might also be interested in a comparison of Neato Vacuuming Robots
Before deciding which vacuuming robot to get, you might also want to read the following article that compares the Neato vacuuming robots which come with some great features. Please click below for a description and comparison of the Neato vacuuming robots:
Comparing Neato Botvac Robots