Roomba Model Comparison

iRobot have built an excellent reputation in robotic vacuum cleaners and their Roomba is the leading brand and best seller in the market. We covered the iRobot Roomba 880 in our Robot Vacuum Reviews last year but since then iRobot have release some new models to the Roomba range. The robot vacuum cleaner industry is growing quickly and the technology is also evolving and developing rapidly to keep pace with the growing demand. In this Roomba model comparison we look at all four Roomba models currently available from iRobot.

AeroVac® Filter

  • Self Charging
  • Scheduling
  • ​Multi-Room Navigation
  • Entire Level Cleaning
  • Recharge & Resume
  • Tangle-Free Debris Extractors
  • iRobot HOME App
  • AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System

$

AeroForce® High Efficiency Filter

  • Self Charging
  • Scheduling
  • Tangle-Free Debris Extractors
  • AeroForce™ 3-Stage Cleaning System
  • ​Multi-Room Navigation
  • Entire Level Cleaning
  • Recharge & Resume
  • iRobot HOME App

$$

AeroForce® High Efficiency Filter

  • Self Charging
  • Multi-Room Navigation
  • Scheduling
  • Tangle-Free Debris Extractors
  • AeroForce™ 3-Stage Cleaning System
  • Entire Level Cleaning
  • Recharge & Resume
  • iRobot HOME App

$$$

AeroForce® High Efficiency Filter

  • Self Charging
  • Multi-Room Navigation
  • Entire Level Cleaning
  • Recharge & Resume
  • Scheduling
  • Tangle-Free Debris Extractors
  • iRobot HOME App
  • AeroForce™ 3-Stage Cleaning System

$$$$

Roomba 650

The Roomba 650 is iRobot's entry level robot vacuum originally released in 2012 and is currently their cheapest, no frills model.​ This is a tried and tested model and one that has helped iRobot gain its reputation as one of the best robot vacuum manufacturers. It is a long time #1 best seller on Amazon with over 2,000 mainly positive reviews. Despite iRobot releasing newer models the 650 continues to sell strongly and is a popular first choice for many.

The Roomba 650 features a 3 stage cleaning system, which comprises a main floor brush, side brushes and vacuum suction​. The AeroVac technology optimises airflow to effectively remove hair from the brushes and into the bin, which means that the brushes don't clog as often. As with all Roombas, the 650 has a scheduling function where you can preset it to clean up to 7 times a week. The included virtual wall allows you to control where the Roomba goes and does not go within your home.

Pros​

  • Price​
  • Tried and tested performance with consistent high user ratings 

Cons

  • ​Brushes require cleaning so more maintenance is required than the other brushless Roomba models.
  • AeroVac Cleaning System is not as effective at removing dirt as the AeroForce system found on newer models.
  • Standard filtration system only - Does not have the high efficiency filtration system found in the other Roomba models.

The iRobot Roomba 650

is available at a discount price from Amazon:

Roomba 860

The Roomba 860 is iRobot's latest model, only recently released in March 2016.​ This model is an improvement compared to the Roomba 650 due to its AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System with patented debris extractors. iRobot state that this technology is 5 times more powerful and removes up to 50% more dirt, dust, hair and debris than their older 600 and 700 series, which use the AeroVac cleaning system. The 860 also has a lithium ion battery providing extended life and HEPA filtration meaning cleaner exhausted air.

The image opposite shows the inner workings of the Roombas with AeroForce technology. As can be seen, the system incorporates twin tangle-free AeroForce extractors. These durable rubber treads agitate and grab dirt from the floor but are less prone to hair tangles and require less maintenance than regular brush rolls.

Our verdict in this Roomba model comparison is that the 860 is the best choice and offers the best value. We think the additional costs compared to the 650 are justified for the improvements that you get. However, the 860 is much cheaper than the 880 and 980 but has the same performance. The additional features of these models are not important to the cleaning performance and are nice to have luxuries for those that are prepared to pay the extra premium.

Roomba Model Comparison - aeroforce extractors

AeroForce 3 Stage Cleaning System

Pros​

  • ​AeroForce Technology - better performance and less maintenance required
  • Lithium ion battery - longest lifespan battery in comparison to other Roomba models
  • HEPA filtration
  • Best Value Roomba

Cons

  • ​lacks some of the luxury features of the more expensive models, e.g. remote control, wifi device connectivity, virtual lighthouses.
  • No auto-resume cleaning after re-charging.

the iRobot Roomba 860

Is available at a discount price from Amazon:

Roomba 880

The Roomba 880 was released in 2014 and we featured it in our Robot Vacuum Reviews article last year.​ The 880 is the same unit as the 860 incorporating the AeroForce technology plus a few additional features. The notable addition is the inclusion of two Virtual Wall® Lighthouses which assist with multi-room navigation by keeping the robot cleaning in one room before sending it off to tackle the next one. There is also a remote control included with this model.

For an additional $200 compared to the cost of the Roomba 860 we think the 880 is overpriced for the extra features offered. The Battery in the 880 is not the same as the 860. The Roomba 860 uses the Lithium battery and the 880 uses the X-life battery. Both batteries have the same runtime (45-60 minutes). However, the Lithium batteries are disposable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. They stand apart from other batteries because of their high charge density (long life). iRobot customer service have provided the following advice direct to Home Vacuum Zone regarding the different battery types for the Roomba models:

The X-Life battery would have been made to last longer (life span) than the Original Roomba Advanced power System and now the Lithium battery is made to last longer (life span).

Sabra O          
iRobot Support Team

The 880 has over 1,140 positive user reviews on Amazon but we would rather save the $200 and go for the Roomba 860. If you and are interested in the latest tech features consider the Roomba 980 if you have the budget as there's much more on offer (see below for full details of this Roomba model comparison).

Pros​

  • ​AeroForce Technology - better performance and less maintenance required
  • X-Life Extended Life Battery
  • HEPA filtration
  • Lighthouses for controlled multi-room navigation

Cons

  • Overpriced compared to the Roomba 860 considering the limited additional features
  • Lacks the latest features of the 980 such as wifi app conectivity and multi-room navigation
  • Cannot cope with black carpets

The iRobot Roomba 880

is available at a discount price from Amazon:

Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 is iRobot's current top of the range model​ released in 2015 and we think is currently the best robot vacuum you can buy in 2016. It provides enhanced cleaning performance over the 800 series plus a stack of extra features for added convenience and efficient operation. 

Roomba 980 seamlessly navigates an entire level of your home, keeping track of its location and recharging as needed until the job is complete. The AeroForce™ Cleaning System with Carpet Boost automatically increases power on carpets. And with the iRobot HOME App, you can clean and schedule on the go.​

One of the main features of the Roomba 980 compared to iRobot's other models is the accompanying wifi HOME app. You will need to download this to your smartphone in order to access a lot of the Roomba 980's functionality. This is cutting edge technology and provides great convenience for controlling your robot. The app even has a "Care" screen that keeps track of what maintenance tasks you need to do: "Bin", "Core Robot", "Debris Extractors". Each has a progress bar and when the bar is full, you should perform that maintenance t​ask. The app includes videos and text descriptions of how to do the maintenance, making maintenance a cinch!

Pros​

  • The AeroForce bin latch is sturdier compared to the 880's design.​
  • HEPA filtration
  • Carpet Boost mode provides automatic increased suction power when needed.
  • Improved navigation compared to other Roombas in the range - enabling multi-room navigation. This is provided via the iAdapt® 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization, which builds a map as it goes along and refers back to it. This enables the 980 to efficiently navigate an entire level of your home and keep track of its location.

Cons

  • Louder than the 880, when cleaning carpet (in carpet boost mode), and about the same loudness on hard floors.
  • Price - this is one of the most expensive robot vacuum cleaners on the market and will be outside many people's price range. However the time that this device will save you should be factored in - time is money after all.​
  • Even this top of the range unit cannot cope with pitch black rooms or black carpets - Roomba 980 will get confused and stop with a fault code.

Here is a thorough video of the Roomba 980 being unboxed and all of its features demonstrated (credit to icrackuridevice):

The iRobot Roomba 980

is available at a discount price from Amazon:

Conclusion

Well if you've read this far you are clearly super interested in a Roomba! Our top recommendation from this Roomba model comparison is the Roomba 860 as this combines excellent function and features for a reasonable price. It is also the latest model to be released and we expect it to be a best seller for 2016. However if you are looking for the best Roomba money can buy then the feature rich Roomba 980 is the one for you.​