Roomba 960 vs. 980: The Robot Vacuums That Can “See” Your Floors

Happy family hanging out in living room

Nobody likes vacuuming their floors. That is why most people force this job on their teenagers. However, teenagers are known to whine and complain. Robot vacuums are okay with silently cleaning your floor, making devices such as the Roomba 980 and the Roomba 960 very popular. If you are finally letting the robots take over this tedious chore, you will want to do a Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison.

When you get tired of dirty floors or whiny teenagers trying to get out of vacuuming, then you can either do it yourself or buy a robot vacuum. There are a lot of them available out there, but most of the time, you will find yourself narrowing it down to two: the Roomba 960 vs. 980.

Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

Before we get into our Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison, let us talk about the Roomba 960. The Roomba 960 is a circular robot vacuum that measures 13.8 by 3.6 inches. These dimensions allow the Roomba 960 to have a wide cleaning path, while also allowing it to go under your furniture so that it could also tidy up underneath.

Features of the Roomba 960

What functionalities can you get from the Roomba 960?

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

Navigation system

The Roomba 960 uses visual simultaneous localization and mapping technology that helps it find its way around your room. This vSLAM technology uses an embedded camera to scan your floors. It will then create a floor map and use it to figure out what cleaning path to take. In short, the Roomba 960 can see your floors to ensure that no spots are left uncleaned.

The Roomba 960 also has a collection of sensors that make it more aware of its surroundings. The Roomba 960 can use these sensors to avoid bumping into walls, colliding with sleeping pets, or falling off stairs. These sensors also allow the Roomba 960 to find the dirtier parts of your floor and stay there. This feature is called Dirt Detect.

Roomba 960

Cleaning system

The Roomba 960 has dual multi-surface brushes and a side brush that takes care of the dirty work. The multi-surface brush does not have bristles that could get tangled up with hair, making this ideal for homes with pets. Meanwhile, the side brush ensures that the Roomba 960 can clean edges thoroughly even with its round shape.

These two brushes and a powerful suction make up the Roomba 960's three-stage cleaning system. Once the brushes sweep dirt and dust onto the suction's path, the vacuum sends it all into the dustbin. The Roomba 960 uses an Aeroforce high-efficiency filter that keeps most of the particles inside the bin rather than circulating back into the air your breathe. The Aeroforce filters can trap pollens, particles, and dust as small as 10 microns.

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

Connectivity features

The Roomba 960 is one of the first robot vacuums to feature Wi-Fi connectivity. It works with the Home companion app, which allows you to control your Roomba 960 even when you are not home. Using the app, you can start, pause, or resume cleaning runs.

The Wi-Fi connectivity also allows you to operate your Roomba 960 using voice commands. If you have Amazon Alexa or Google Home speakers, you can use these to tell your robot vacuum when to clean.

Roomba 960 cleaning report

Cleaning reports

The Roomba 960 can show you coverage maps detailing where it has cleaned. You can get visual confirmation that the Roomba 960 has cleaned every inch of your floors.

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

Battery

The Roomba 960 uses a lithium-ion battery that delivers around 75 minutes of run time before needing to recharge. When the power runs low, the Roomba 960 will go back to the charging dock to replenish its battery. If the Roomba 960 runs out of battery juice in the middle of a cleaning session, it will wait until it is fully recharged and then launch itself off the dock to continue cleaning.

Because of its auto charge and auto resume features, the Roomba 960 can clean an entire level of your home without needing your attention. Leave the Roomba 960 cleaning as you go about your day in the office and come back to a clean house every single day.

Roomba 960 other features

Other features

You can schedule the Roomba 960 to start cleaning on its own. It works with a dual mode virtual wall barrier, a navigation control device that can block the robot vacuum from entering or exiting a particular room. It can also protect specific areas, such as your lovely and expensive Ming vase or your pet's food bowl.

The Roomba 960 also has spot cleaning, which tells the robot vacuum to concentrate on a small area. This cleaning mode is excellent for cleaning up small spills.

Ratings and Reviews for the Roomba 960

Amazon.com

4.2 out of 5.0

  • picks up dirt, debris, pet hair, and dust
  • the robot vacuum can be on its own
  • can even clean the house when you are not home
  • not choking on pet hair

With close to 1,300 reviewers, the Roomba 960 gets an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon. Users love just how much dirt, debris, pet hair, and dust the robot vacuum picks up. They get this result even when they clean with an upright vacuum regularly. Some reviewers like it that the robot vacuum can be on its own. It can even clean the house when you are not home. Some reviewers also praise it for not choking on pet hair.

However, some people complain that firmware upgrades mess up the robot vacuum's operations. Others warn potential buyers that pets with long hair might be an issue for the robot vacuum. They note that clumps of pet hair were not being picked up by the Roomba 960.

Roomba 960: Pricing

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Capacity volume - .82 liter. Power-Lifting Suction delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance. (Compared to Roomba 600 Series)
  • Intelligently maps and cleans an entire level of your home. Patented iAdapt 2.0 technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage.
  • Ideal for homes with pets. Premium 3-stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't.
  • Unique Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes adjust and flex to stay in constant contact with carpets and hard floors.
  • High-Efficiency Filter traps 99% of cat and dog allergens.

The Roomba 960 is currently available from iRobot's online store, where you can buy it anywhere from $450 to $700. The manufacturer regularly offers this robot vacuum at a discount. You can also buy the Roomba 960 from different online retailers for anywhere from $500 to $750.

Roomba 980

Roomba 980

It has been more than three years since the launch of the Roomba 980. Back then, the Roomba 980 shook the robot vacuum world with its visual navigation and Wi-Fi connectivity. The 980 was the first model under iRobot's Series 900 Roombas.

The Roomba 980 is ideal for those who have carpeted floors because of the extra power brought about by its carpet boost feature. It had an astounding price tag at $899 at launch, but it soon proved to be worth every cent.

Roomba 960 vs. 980: The Battle of Two Excellent Robots

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot

The Roomba 960 is a scaled down version of the Roomba 980. It was for those who wanted the Roomba 980's premium features but found the price too steep for their tastes. Because of this, it is inevitable to compare these two vacuums. More than a few technology blogs and news outlets came up with their Roomba 960 vs. 980 reviews.

However, iRobot has introduced a lot of changes to both robot vacuums, and some of these Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparisons are now outdated.

The Similarities

  • vSLAM technology
  • Both can go under furniture, avoid stairs, and prevent itself from bumping into walls
  • Use the same lithium-ion batteries, dustbin, and filter
  • Aeroforce vacuuming technology
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Three-stage cleaning system
  • Dirt Detect technology
  • Auto recharge and auto resume functions

It should not be surprising that the Roomba 960 and the Roomba 980 share a lot of things in common since they belong to the same series. Both of these robot vacuums use the vSLAM technology and a variety of sensors to navigate through your rooms. The Roomba 980, like the 960, can also go under furniture, avoid stairs, and prevent itself from bumping into walls.

The Roomba 980 also has the same lithium-ion batteries, dustbin, and filter used in the Roomba 960. Even the vacuuming technology is the same, with both using the Aeroforce vacuuming technology. Aeroforce delivers up to five times the suction power you see on the Roomba 675 and other Series 600 models. The 980 also has Wi-Fi connectivity.

Like the Roomba 960, the Roomba 980 has a three-stage cleaning system in that it uses the main brush, a side brush, and a powerful vacuum to clean your floors. It also features the Dirt Detect technology, as well as the auto recharge and auto resume functionality.

The Differences

When you do a Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison, you will immediately note that the Roomba 980 is more expensive than the Roomba 960. The higher price tag is readily justifiable by the extra features the 980 has.

Roomba 980 carpet boost

Carpet boost

The Roomba 980 comes with the carpet boost feature that delivers twice the suction power you usually see on the robot vacuum. The additional power allows it to clean your carpets and rugs more efficiently.

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot

Running times

The Roomba 980 has a longer running time, giving you up to 120 minutes of operation, compared to only 75 minutes for the Roomba 960.

Roomba 960 cleaning report

Custom cleaning preferences

The Roomba 980 allows you to have customized cleaning. Using the mobile app, you can set the Roomba 980 to clean the same area twice by setting the number of cleaning passes. There is also a special edge cleaning that sends it to clean along walls. You can also specify whether you want the robot vacuum to stop cleaning or continue its work when the dustbin gets full.

You cannot do these with the Roomba 960.

Roomba 980: Ratings and Reviews

Amazon.com

4.2 out of 5.0

  • thoroughly cleans without needing too much attention
  • calls for help if it gets stuck on something
  • charges on its own and resumes and finishes
  • app's features, navigation system, and battery life

On Amazon, the Roomba 980 receives an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5.0. Verified customers like how thoroughly this robot vacuum cleans, without needing too much attention. The Roomba 980 will only call for your help if it gets stuck on something. And that does not happen too often.

They also love how this robot vacuum charges on its own and then resumes and finishes a cleaning job. You can leave it to clean an entire level of your home. Some reviewers mention the companion app's features, the navigation system, and the battery life, as some of its positives.

However, there are also complaints about how this robot vacuum stops when cleaning dark colored carpets. Black carpets and floors seem to be the Roomba 980's Achilles' heel.

Roomba 980 Prices

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
  • Ideal for homes with pets. Premium 3 stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't
  • Featuring Roomba Essentials Wi Fi connected, Smart Navigation, Patented Dirt Detect Technology, Edge Sweeping Brush, Auto Adjust Cleaning Head, Works on Carpets and Hard Floors
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power* for improved pick up performance. Automatically increases cleaning performance on carpets with Power Boost *(Compared to Roomba 600 Series and AeroVac System)
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology allows the robot to map its surroundings to clean an entire level of your home, around objects, and under furniture
  • Dual Multi Surface Rubber Brushes adjust and flex to stay in constant contact with carpets and hard floors

Pricing for this robot vacuum shot up to around $899.99 to $1,200 now that iRobot no longer sells it on their site. You can buy it from Amazon or BestBuy.com.

Pros and Cons of the Roomba 980

Pros

  • Schedule cleaning session
  • Charging itself
  • Resumes itself
  • Navigation technology
  • Carpet boost feature
  • Two-hour runtime
  • Set cleaning preferences

Cons

  • Expensive

The Roomba 980 allows you to completely forget about vacuuming your floors, except when it is time to clean out the dustbin. From being able to schedule a cleaning session, to charging itself and then resuming tidying up your floors, the Roomba 980 will not bother you.

The navigation technology it uses ensures that there is no spot missed, and the carpet boost feature is great for those who want cleaner rugs. The Roomba 980's two-hour runtime and ability to set cleaning preferences is something that even the Roomba 960 does not offer.

If the Roomba 980 was a little bit cheaper, then it might have been easier to recommend this workhorse. However, even when the manufacturer has quietly kicked it out of its lineup, the Roomba 980 remains expensive.

Roomba 960 vs. 980: How We Reviewed

To write this review, we looked at the product pages for both the Roomba 980 and the Roomba 960, as well as the opinions of credible technology blogs such as TechRadar and CNET. We also checked the sales pages for both robot vacuums on Amazon. We further conducted a similar check for the featured competitors.

Other Robot Vacuums to Consider

The Roomba 960 and 980 has several competitors. How does it compare to the Eufy Robovac 11S and the Neato Botvac D5 Connected? More importantly, how does it live up to iRobot's newest flagship model: the Roomba i7+?

Eufy RoboVac 11S

eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim), Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Super-Thin, 1300Pa Strong Suction, Quiet, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, Cleans Hard Floors to Medium-Pile Carpets
  • "Best Robot Vacuum of 2018" by Digital Trends.
  • All-New RoboVac: Re-engineered to be the slimmest* RoboVac (2.85") but with quiet operation and increased suction at 1300Pa for up to 100 minutes** of constant, powerful suction.
  • BoostIQ Technology: Automatically increases suction power within 1.5 seconds when extra vacuuming strength is needed to get the best clean.
  • A Quiet Clean: Vacuums for up to 100 minutes** on hardwood floors with consistant, powerful suction at a volume no louder than an operating microwave. Premium Features: Anti-scratch tempered glass-top cover for protection, infrared-sensor for evading obstacles, and drop-sensing tech to avoid falls. Automatically recharges so it's always ready to clean.
  • What You Get: RoboVac 11S, remote control (2 AAA batteries included), charging base, AC power adapter, cleaning tool, extra set of high-performance filters, 4 side brushes, 5 cable ties, welcome guide and our worry-free 12-month warranty.

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is perfect for those people who want cleaner floors and do not want to hassle themselves with Wi-Fi connections, Amazon Alexa, or companion apps. This robot vacuum goes back to the basics and gives you a device that can clean very efficiently without the unnecessary features. Of course, the no-frills approach allows the manufacturer to cut down on the price, which ranges from $230 to $240.

What do you get from this budget robot? The Eufy RoboVac 11S has a powerful vacuum that delivers up to 1,300 Pascals of suction. The RoboVac 11S also has a lower profile at only 2.85 inches. This height helps it clean under more furniture than both the Roomba 960 and 980 can reach.

eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim), Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Super-Thin, 1300Pa Strong Suction, Quiet, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, Cleans Hard Floors to Medium-Pile Carpets

Other features that this robot vacuum offers includes a premium look with a glass top cover, sensor-based navigation, and automatic recharging. More than 1,000 customers give the Eufy RoboVac 11S an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.

The Eufy RoboVac 11S is perfect for smaller homes because it does not resume cleaning when it charges itself. It also has a sensor-based navigation system, which means that it will move more randomly than a Roomba 980 and 960.

Neato Botvac D5 Connected

Neato Botvac D5 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum, Pet & Allergy, Works with Smartphones, Alexa, Smartwatches
  • LaserSmart technology intelligently navigates and maps your home, cleaning in straight lines instead of a random pattern.
  • D-shape design, large core brush, and side brush finds pet hair and debris where they hide - in corners and along walls.
  • The ultra performance filter captures up to 99% of tiny dust mites and allergens as small as 10 microns.
  • Perfect for cleaning on any surface - hardwood, carpet or tile
  • Get up to 90 minutes of battery life*, perfect for most homes.

The Neato Botvac D5 Connected shares many similarities with a Roomba robot in that it has three different components in its cleaning system. It makes use of the main brush, a side brush, and a powerful suction to clean the dirt off your floors. The Botvac D5 is Wi-Fi connected and comes with a companion app that you can use to control your robot.

It also allows you to use voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Home smart speakers. It also charges itself automatically and then continues cleaning once the battery is full. The price, which ranges from $450 to $500, puts it in the same neighborhood as the Roomba 960.

Neato Botvac D5 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum, Pet & Allergy, Works with Smartphones, Alexa, Smartwatches

It is interesting to note that the Neato Botvac D5 has a laser-based navigation and mapping technology. Instead of using a camera like the Roomba 980 or Roomba 960, the Botvac D5 will use lasers to scan your floors. What's more, this robot vacuum has a D-shape, with flat sides that allow it to get closer to walls and edges.

The Neato Botvac D5 gets an average rating of 3.7 stars out of 5.0 from more than 1,000 customers on Amazon.

Roomba i7+

iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal-Empties Itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors, Black
  • Empties on its own - you don't have to think about vacuuming for months at a time. Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal with AllergenLock bag holds 60 days of dirt, dust and hair.
  • Power-Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power* for improved pick-up performance. Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't. *(Compared to Roomba 600 Series)
  • Intelligently maps and remembers multiple floor plans to clean your entire home. Patented iAdapt 3.0 technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage.
  • Imprint Smart Mapping enables the robot to learn, map and adapt to your home, allowing you to choose which rooms are cleaned and when. Keep Out Zones offer added control to actively avoid specific areas and objects in your home.
  • Ideal for homes with pets. High-Efficiency Filter and AllergenLock bags trap 99% of pollen, mold, and dust mites so they don't escape back into the air.

Say what you will about how convenient both the Roomba 960 and the 980 are, but you will still need to empty its dustbin. For some people, even that is too much of a hassle. The good thing is that iRobot now offers the Roomba i7+.

The Roomba i7+ takes everything you like about the Roomba 980 and adds some improvements. For one, the i7+ has a Cleaning Base, which can empty the robot vacuum's dustbin. You can go for up to a month without having to throw out a trash bag from your robot vacuum.

iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal-Empties Itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors, Black

If you are not impressed by a robot vacuum that can empty its own dustbin, then you might like the improved navigation system on the i7+. This robot vacuum no longer has to scan your floors every time you want it to clean. It can store up to 10 floor maps and use these to clean your floors. What's more, you can even tell or schedule your Roomba i7+ to clean a particular room.

The Roomba i7+ has prices ranging from $900 to $1,400 from online retailers. You can also buy it from the manufacturer's online store. This recently-launched robot vacuum gets an average of 4.9 stars out of 5.0. People love how it cleans and the features it offers, but they do complain that it takes a long time to charge the i7+.

Roomba 960 vs. 980: Which Cleans Better?

Product

Details

Rating

Price

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Power-Lifting Suction
  • iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology
  • 3-Stage Cleaning System
  • Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes
  • High-Efficiency Filter
  • Clean and schedule with iRobot HOME App
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant
  • Automatically recharges and resumes cleaning
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Edge-Sweeping Brush
  • Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head
  • Dirt Detect Technology
  • Smart Navigation

4.2 out of 5.0

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
  • Clean and schedule with iRobot HOME App
  • iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology
  • Runs for up to 120 minutes
  • Automatically recharges and resumes cleaning
  • AeroForce Cleaning System
  • Power Boost
  • Clean Map reports
  • AeroForce High-Efficiency Filter
  • Tangle-free Dual Multi-Surface Brushes
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant

4.2 out of 5.0

Because of its auto recharge and auto resume features, the Roomba 960 and 980 are perfect for large homes. Unless you have stairs that these robot vacuums avoid, the Roomba 960 and 980 will continue to clean until all areas on one level of your home are spic and span.

The Roomba 980 and 960 also offer you several ways to operate your robot vacuum, from using the physical buttons on the device itself to using voice commands with smart speakers and even the companion app.

For most people, a Roomba 960 vs. 980 decision is very easy. They will go for the Roomba 960 for its lower price and the fact that it is still available on the manufacturer's online store. As it is, the Roomba 960 delivers an efficient clean and does not lag behind the Roomba 980 when it comes to navigation technologies and other features.

However, some people might be better off spending the additional money for a Roomba 980. For instance, those with larger homes will benefit from the longer battery run times of the 980.

Do you have anything to add? Tell us about it in the comments!

1 COMMENT

  1. Roomba 960 vs 980 decision is easy but it depends on which one suits you. 960 has all powerful features but obviously, 980 is an upgraded version to give you a better experience with your requirements.

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