Search the market for robot vacuum cleaners, and you can’t help but notice that Roomba vacuums are everybody’s first pick. That’s because their high-end features, cutting-edge technology, and user-friendly design give these models a head start over other robot vacuum brands.
With this in mind, we’ve prepared this comparison of Roomba models.
Our favorite among the models we have reviewed is the Roomba 690, one which is affordable and has all the Roomba features. However, if you want the best Roomba for your home – and can afford to pay whatever it takes, you can go for the Roomba i7+.
The Best Roomba Models of 2019
1. Roomba 690 – Our Top Recommended
The iRobot Roomba 690 belongs to the first generation of Roomba vacuums which were extremely expensive when they were first released. Luckily, its price has come down since then to make this model appealing to a wide range of audiences.
Starting with a glance at its design, the Roomba 690 has a circular base with plastic edges to limit the impact of any collision. Sitting in the middle of its body are three buttons: Clean, which doubles as a power button; Spot, for concentrated cleaning and a Home button which sends it back to the dock.
To navigate around your home, this model relies on iRobot’s iAdapt Navigation technology and an army of sensors. These include the Dirt DetectTM sensors which identify areas of high dirt concentration and cliff-sensors which prevent the Roomba from tumbling down the stairs.
As for its smart features, the 690 is compatible with Amazon Alexa as well as Google Assistant via your Wi-Fi network. That frees you from relying on the iRobot app to give instructions. Instead, all you have to do to tell the 690 to clean, stop or dock is to just talk to your assistant.
Additionally, this robot vacuum provides push notifications when you’re away, allows you to set its cleaning schedule and gives you the freedom to control it remotely via the iRobot app. Also provided is a virtual wall feature which lets you declare certain areas of your home off-limits to the Roomba.
You can do much more provided you decide to install the iRobot app on your smartphone. It gives plenty of useful information like cleaning status of your home, remaining battery charge and history of previous cleanings. You can also use it to set a daily (or weekly) cleaning schedule.
Lastly, one concern that we have about this robot vacuum is that it’s somewhat less powerful than other iRobot vacuums. As a result, where some other models can clean the concentrated dirt area in one pass, it would take the 690 multiple passes to do the same.
- Automatic recharging
- Voice control option
- Push notifications
- Takes multiple sweeps to clean concentrated dirt
2. Roomba 650 - Budget Pick
Despite being available at a fraction of the price of other Roomba models, the 650 offers all the bells-and-whistles which you have come to expect from iRobot vacuums. Therefore, if budget is your main concern, this robot vacuum won’t disappoint you.
First things first, you are going to get a combination of sleek design and modern robot features with the iRobot Roomba 650. Its has a handle for easy pickup, durable bumpers which give as it bumps into objects and a low-profile design due to which it could easily get under the lowest of furniture.
Unlike other Roomba models, the 650 doesn’t have a memory feature. Fortunately, it does have the next best feature in the shape of its dirt detection system. It surveys your home to identify extremely dirty areas before prodding this vacuum to go clean them first.
To clean your home, this model relies on a three-stage cleaning process: agitate, brush, and suck. As it moves around, the side brushes of the 650 sweep the dirt underneath it. Its underlying counter-rotating brushes then guide the debris towards the opening, from where the 650 easily vacuums them up.
Impressively for a model that doesn’t cost bucket loads of money, the 650 boasts not only the Virtual Wall barrier but also the HEPA filtration system. The former lets you limit the movement of this model, whereas the HEPA system prevents the flare-ups of allergies.
That said, corners have been cut to keep the price of this model low. Take, for instance, the capacity of its dirt bin. The fact that it can hold only 400ml of debris doesn’t bode well for those who want to clean several rooms – as that would involve cleaning emptying the bin several times.
Once finished with the work, the 650 won’t require you to take it back to the recharging station. Instead, with its remaining battery life, it would automatically dock itself. So, if you schedule it to clean in your absence, you’d find not only a clean home but also a fully charged Roomba when you get back.
- Competitively priced
- Virtual Wall feature
- Dirt detection and cliff sensors
- Dirt bin has a small capacity
3. Roomba 980 - Best for Pet Hair
Do you have pets at home who continue to litter your carpets by shedding their hair? If your answer to this question is in the affirmative, then the Roomba 980 – with its huge suction, 2-hour battery timing, and Carpet Boost mode – deserves your attention.
The Roomba 980 belongs to the latest generation of iRobot vacuums which boast 10x the suction of the basic Roombas. Add to the equation the “Carpet Boost” sensor of the 980 – which increases its suction upon sensing a carpet – and you might know the reason why it’s the best robot for pet hair.
And it isn’t only the basic Roombas that this model outsmarts with its features. Compare it with the iRobot 960 – another modern Roomba which boasts 75 minutes of battery and one Virtual Wall barrier – the 980 is miles ahead by lasting for up to 120 minutes and offering two Virtual Wall barriers.
It uses a combination of iAdapt Navigation 2.0 and Visual Localization technology to create a map of cleaning area, avoid b and prepare reports. It also offers “recharge and resume feature’’, which means it will automatically get back to work after recharging on its own.
No matter what the cleaning surface is, the PowerBoost feature of this model would adjust its power accordingly to ensure a thorough cleaning. It has got edge-cleaning brushes to clean corners and walls – with its tangle-free brushes requiring little maintenance as they won’t catch hair.
Furthermore, with its iRobot Home app, you can schedule up to 7 cleaning sessions, check cleaning status updates, receive notifications and view Clean Map reports. It even lets you connect the Roomba 980 to Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant for voice control.
Is there anything we didn’t like about this model? Yes, its price. No matter how you slice it, you cannot play down the astronomical asking price of this model. That means that while it has the ability to leave your floors squeaky clean, it would do that only after you agree to blow a hole in your pocket.
- HEPA filters
- Automatic recharging
- User-friendly app
- Huge battery timing
4. Roomba 960
Provided you loved all the features of the Roomba 980 – but were left dismayed by its asking price – check out the Roomba 960 which is a watered-down version of its more expensive colleague.
Similar to other Roomba models, the 960 has a circular shape build. It comes with a carry handle with an onboard camera and mode control buttons are also located on the vacuum’s body. A bumper ring circumvents the unit and allows it to bump into objects with minimal damage in the aftermath.
Apart from cleaning your floors thoroughly, the 960 will do its work efficiently as well. For, while its 3-stage cleaning process won’t leave any debris behind, the presence of dirt sensors and iAdapt 2.0 would ensure that the robot vacuum chooses the shortest (and most efficient) route for cleaning.
On top of that, this model provides tangle-free extractions to solve the problem of tangled hair. It also has optical sensors to detect dirty areas and cliff sensors to protect itself from tumbling down the stairs. You also get a dust cut detector which lets you know when the bin needs emptying.
Furthermore, with its Li-ion battery, you can expect the 960 to last 75 minutes on a single charge. It automatically goes back to the dock when it needs recharging. And once it is fully charged, this model would automatically start from the area from where it left earlier.
Other than that, you get an iRobot Roomba App which takes the utility of this model to the next level. Apart from ordering the robot to clean, you can use the app to set schedules and check the remaining battery. It even gives you periodic updates about the cleaning status of your home.
That said, everything isn’t hunky-dory about this model. Its performance on carpets was suspect since this mode doesn’t offer the turbo mode which other Roombas come with. Also, when compared to other models from the same manufacturer, its runtime of 75 minutes is on the shorter side.
- App-based control
- Efficient and thorough cleaning
- Bristle-less extractors require less maintenance
- Automatic recharging
- Average performance on carpets
5. iRobot Roomba i7+
With a more powerful processing unit, the biggest dustbin for any Roomba and a model which takes full advantage of the extra power on offer with its carpet boost feature, the iRobot Roomba i7+ is an all-in-one robot which won’t force you to lift a finger to complete your house cleaning chores.
With its automatic dirt disposal feature, the Roomba i7+ offers one feature which you can’t find in any other robot vacuum. And the best thing about this feature? It’s as easy to use as it sounds.
Just press the “Empty Dustbin” on its app, and the bin will automatically empty into a bag located on top of the vacuum. And since that bag has a capacity to hold up to 30 dustbins of debris, you won’t have to touch the i7+ for weeks.
Apart from offering cutting-edge features, this vacuum builds on the useful points of previous Roomba models as well. It offers “recharge and resume” cleaning, provides better navigational skills (‘’iAdapt 3.0’’) to avoid collisions, and remembers up to ten different floor plans (“Imprint Smart Mapping”).
Yet another way this model justifies its high price tag is the way it interacts with Google Home and Alexa. Once it has mapped your home, you can name your rooms. Follow up by saying: “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean the living room,” and the Roomba will do exactly that.
Despite being outnumbered by the other high-end features of this model, the iRobot Home App still makes its presence felt. It allows you to create cleaning schedules, not only for the whole house but also for each room. You can also view the remaining battery time and cleaning summaries after each session.
The i7+ comes with an auto-adjust cleaning head which adapts the height of its multi-surface brushes in accordance with the cleaning surface. Equally useful is its Dirt Detect technology which recognizes high-traffic areas before providing additional cleaning.
What isn’t as good about this model is its price tag. Just like the Roomba i7 that came before it, the iRobot i7+ costs bucket loads of money. Therefore, if you decide to go with this model, you’ll have to pay a hefty amount for its services.
- Automatic dirt disposal
- Recharge and resume feature
- The runtime can extend up to 2.5hours
- Memorizes up to 10 different floor plans
- Astronomically expensive
6. iRobot Roomba 880
As it’s been some time since the Roomba 880 was first unveiled to the world, it won’t weigh as heavily on your pocket as other iRobot vacuums. That, however, doesn’t mean that its meager price tag would stop this model from being useful.
Provided you’re willing to take a chance on this model, you won’t have to worry about it bumping into objects. That’s because it comes with virtual wall beacons which empower this model to easily bypass objects and walls.
You also get a lighthouse mode which forces the 880 to completely clean one room before moving onto the next. Activating this model requires identification of the dirtiest rooms (up to three) in your home. If you do that, the Roomba would spend more times in those rooms to leave them squeaky clean.
Performance-wise, the 880 displays its best colors on hardwood and bare surfaces. With side-spinning brushes pushing dirt into its path – and the center flexible brush making sure that the debris comes as close to the vacuum’s opening as possible – this vac effortlessly deposits dirt into its bin.
Although it doesn’t come with a compatible smartphone app, you can as easily program this model using the buttons on its body. Select the day, enter the time and press “OK.” Do this 3-step process correctly, and the Roomba won’t need your assistance to clean whatever its runtime would permit it.
Once the 880 has finished cleaning, or when its battery needs recharging, it will automatically get back to the dock. With its extended XLife battery, you can get double its average runtime on bigger cleaning projects.
Lastly, what failed to impress us about this model is that it lacks some of the smart features which we have come to expect from Roomba vacuums. For instance, you don’t get the “recharge and resume” feature and neither does it support the iRobot app. It won’t be wrong to suggest that when compared with other Roombas in this Roomba comparison, the 880 is pretty basic.
- Has lighthouse mode
- Virtual Wall prevents collisions
- Easy to schedule
- Lacks several smart features
7. iRobot Roomba 890
The Roomba 890 comes with app control, has a 1 ½ hour battery time and is compatible with Amazon Alexa. Throw into the mix its Wi-Fi connectivity and 3-stage cleaning system, and it becomes easy to comprehend why this model is so popular.
If you’ve ever gone through the agony of having to pull hair out of a vacuum brush roller, you’d be utterly grateful for the brushless rollers of this model. With no bristles to allow incoming hairs to block the vacuum’s mouth, you won’t have to expend much effort maintaining this model.
With a bumper ring circumventing its perimeter, the 890 can absorb and come out of bumps without taking damage. Also, with a built-in handle and on-body buttons, it’s as easy to lift the model as it is to operate it.
As it takes a tour of your home, the 890 uses acoustic and optical sensors to identify dirt, debris and pet hair. It then relies on its three-stage cleaning process (agitate, lift and suck) to clean those areas. And once it’s done, all the allergens are trapped inside its HEPA filter, never to come out again.
In contrast to most 800 series’ Roombas – which do have the dirt detectors but lack the memory mapping feature – the 890 gives you the best of both worlds. That means that where on one end it detects exceedingly dirty areas, it would also hatch the most efficient plan to clean them, on the other.
During cleaning, the Roomba 890 produces 68 dB noise from a distance of 3 feet. It lasts up to 90 minutes on a single charge, outlasting which it would go back to the docking station. It takes up to 3 hours to fully recharge and lets you program it via the iRobot Home App.
Lastly, one area where the 890 needs improvement is when its battery runs out. In contrast to, say, the 900 series vacuums, it can’t resume after recharging on its own. That means that if you have a big home, it’s entirely possible for you to return after a long day at the office just to find a half-cleaned home and a fully-charged Roomba sitting next to its dock.
- Brushless rollers
- Memory mapping feature
- Dirt detection sensors
- HEPA filter
- No recharge and resume feature
Roomba 960 Vs 980 – Comparison
You might have seen in our comparison of Roomba vacuums that both these vacuums offer similar qualities. However, as we’re going to show you by comparing Roomba 960 Vs 980, both these models target different users.
Roomba 980 vs 960 - Price
The main reason why 960 will cost you less vis-à-vis the 980 Roomba has to do with the former’s motor.
While the Roomba 980 has the latest motor – one which provides 10x suction power, the 960 relies on the 800-series motor which gives 5x suction power.
Roomba 980 vs 960 - Noise
Given the fact that the 980 is more powerful, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it produces more noise (70 dB) than the Roomba 960 (65 dB).
That said, as a mere glance at the harmful noise levels would suggest, the operating noise of both these vacuums is in the safe zone.
Roomba 980 vs 960 - Runtime
Provided you go for the Roomba 980, you’d get a runtime of 120 minutes – with the 960 lasting only 75 minutes on a single charge.
So if you live in a large home, it is the 980 which you might prefer.
Roomba 980 vs 960 – Features
Both these vacuums offer an almost (yes, ALMOST) identical set of features. They have the same dirt sensors, cliff sensors as well as coverage area.
That said, there is one difference here between the two: the 980 provides two Virtual Wall barriers whereas the 960 provides only one.
Roomba 980 vs 960 – Technology
Lacking in Roomba 960, the Carpet Boost technology increases the suction power of the 980 vacuum when cleaning carpets.
It does that by increasing the airflow coming from inside the vacuum. So, if you have thick rugs or high-pile carpets at home, this technology will provide better cleaning.
Roomba 690 Vs 890 - Comparison
Unlike the models that we just compared, the Roomba 690 and 890 belong to different series. So you should expect to see more differences between the two.
Roomba 690 vs 890 - Price
Since it’s a relatively recent model, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 890 is more expensive of the two.
Among other reasons, the high asking price of the 890 has to do with its HEPA filter, with the Roomba 690 relying on the basic Aereo Vac filter.
Roomba 690 vs 890 - Noise & Runtime
Both the Roomba 890 and 690 models give the same indicators when it comes to their respective noise and runtime.
For, apart from emitting the same level of noise (68 dB), both the 680 and 890 Roomba models last 90 minutes on a single charge.
Roomba 690 vs 890 - Features
While both these models are Wi-Fi enabled, offer voice control feature and come with the same number of virtual wall barriers, they do differ on some counts.
For instance, unlike the 890, the Roomba 690 doesn’t have a full-bin indicator. Also, you don’t get the brushless extractor in the 690, with the 890 offering it.
Roomba 690 vs 890 - Technology
The AeroForce technology which you find in the Roomba 890 is an upgrade to the AeroVac which powers the 690 vacuum.
Apart from boosting 5x more power, the AeroForce technology provides brushless extractors and performs better on all types of floor.
Following are some of the questions which people frequently have about Roombas:
Q: How does a Roomba work?
A: Roomba relies on a group of sensors to travel around your home without colliding against walls and furniture. It counts on preprogrammed instructions for its cleaning schedule, though some models allow you to direct their cleaning path via a remote.
As it moves around your home, the side brushes of the Roomba sweep the dirt underneath it. Therein lie the counter-rotating brushes which guide the dirt towards the opening of the cleaner, which vacuums it into the storage bin.
Q: How Roomba “Virtual Wall” works?
A: For those of you who don’t know, the virtual wall is a mode offered by uber-expensive Roomba vacuums. As its name implies, a virtual wall creates a hindrance which the vacuum cannot cross no matter how hard it may try.
Roombas which offer this feature creates a virtual wall by emitting an infrared light which only the vacuum can detect. However, once the vacuum sees it, it won’t cross it. Virtual Wall is a pretty handy feature to have if you want to limit your Roomba to a specific section of your home and not go beyond it.
Q: How Roomba “Lighthouse” works?
A: Some Roombas offer a Lighthouse mode which would make some areas of your home a NO GO zone for the Roomba. Sounds familiar? Granted, that’s the same principle on which the Virtual Wall mode works – but the purpose of the Lighthouse mode is different.
For, in contrast to the virtual wall mode, the lighthouse blocks other areas only for a certain time. During that time, it forces your vacuum to clean that area thoroughly on which it might be working at that time. Can’t understand what we’re saying? Let’s take this example.
Consider that there are four rooms in your home – but the first is the dirtiest. If you activate the lighthouse mode, the Roomba would spend more time in the first room than that in the others. In this way, you can be sure that every part of your home is thoroughly cleaned.
Q: How to clean Roomba?
A: Provided you want your model to keep running at peak performance, follow these tips:
- After each cleaning cycle: Empty the dirt bin, remove the two filters inside and wash them (provided they are washable). Conversely, if they aren’t washable, tap vigorously on the debris’ side to remove any trash. If the trash is stubborn, you might even use a blower.
- After a week: First, remove the brushes by unscrewing their bearings. Then, use a spare toothbrush – or one of the supplied cleaning tools – to pull out tangled hair and fur. Second, remove the vacuum’s wheel and remove any debris.
- After a month: To kick things off, remove the spiral brush by unscrewing it with a screwdriver. Remove any debris you might see. Next, remove the upper cover of the Roomba – usually you have to unscrew four screws.
Once they are out and the cover is off, you’d see dirt making its way into your model’s inner components. To clean it out, use a dry dustcloth, or compressed air. Once you’re done, put everything back in place.
Q: Can Roomba clean in the Dark?
A: Some Roomba vacuums like the iRobot 960 can clean in the dark for two very specific reasons. First, the signals that guide these models around your home – infrared and radio frequency – do not need daylight to detect things. Second, these models have their own light which guides them through the dark.
Q: Can Roombas resume Cleaning on their own after Recharging?
A: Some Roomba models – like those in the “9” series or i7 and i7+ models – resume cleaning after recharging. Such vacuums have this “recharge and resume’’ feature which forces them to resume cleaning from the exact spot where they had left off earlier.
Q: How Noisy are Roombas when they Vacuum?
A: Not much. In fact, all the models that you see in this Roomba comparison have noise levels not exceed 70dB – which 15dB lower than what is considered a harmful noise level by experts.
Q: How good are Roombas at cleaning Edges and Corners?
A: Without any exception, all Roomba vacuums have side brushes whose only responsibility is to gather dirt lying on the corners and in the edges. They then sweep the captured dirt underneath the vacuum with their rotating action.
From there on, the counter-rotating brushes – which lie underneath the Roomba – help suck up dirt into the bin. So you can count on your Roomba to be very good at cleaning edges and corners without any doubt.
Q: Do Roombas Automatically dock?
A: All the Roombas mentioned in this Roomba comparison automatically go back to their charging base to recharge. Once there, these vacuums will dock on their own without requiring any external help. That means that even when you’re away from the house, these models would remain fully charged.
Q: Can Roombas clean stairs?
A: Like most other robotic vacuums, Roombas cannot clean stairs. That said, they do have sensors using which these models can clean the upper floor of your house without falling down the stairs.
Q: Can Roombas clean multiple floors?
A: Most Roombas can clean multiple floors but not without your assistance. That means that you have to pick up the vacuum and manually place it on the other floor.
Provided you’re willing to do that, most Roomba models – like the iRobot i7 – will repay the favor by remembering your home’s layout from their last cleaning session.
To quote Chris Jones, the Vice President of the technology department at iRobot, ‘’ [i7] will now remember the environment that it’s been run in in the past, and be able to leverage that historical information on the current cleaning mission.”
Q: Which Roomba models are best for these specific situations?
A: To answer this question, let’s look at the situations where you might end up using the vacuums:
- Pets and Hair: At the cost of sounding hyperbolical, the Roomba 980 is undoubtedly the best Roomba for pet hair. It comes with a Power-Lifting Suction technology which gives this model’s suction power a boost. That, in turn, enables it to easily vacuum hair.
What’s more, since pet hair is a cause of allergies, the 980 deals with this problem with its 3-stage cleaning system. It separates the dirt from the pollutants so that when you empty the bin, the pollutants remain captured.
- Hardwood surfaces: Even though it is useful on all types of floor, the Roomba 650 saves its best performance for hardwood surfaces. This model relies on iAdapt Navigation system to ensure that it would cover every inch of your floor during the cleaning.
Additionally, it has a 3-stage cleaning system which automatically prunes its brushes to ensure thorough cleaning of hardwood floors. You can also rest assured that it won’t scratch your surface because its brushes have extra-soft bristles.
- Carpet flooring: Carpets come in two types: low-pile (thin carpets) and high-pile (thick carpets and rugs). If you have the former at home, then the Roomba 980 with its excellent suction, dual multi-surface rubber brushes, and auto-adjust head might be just what you need.
Conversely, if you have thick carpets or rugs covering your floors, then the self-cleaning Roomba i7+ merits your attention. Apart from having everything which you expect in a Roomba, it automatically empties its bin. So you won’t have to worry about the dirt flying in your face.
Q: Which Roomba models are best for these specific home layouts?
A: Not all Roomba vacuums are made for your home, which is why you should figure out your home’s layout before choosing a model:
- Studio Apartment: As people who live in them know, studio apartments have less space for the vacuum to maneuver. So you should choose a Roomba which not only maps your entire home but can zigzag its way around obstacles to cover every inch.
Which is why we recommend the iRobot 960 to residents of studio apartments. With its Smart Mapping technology and high-end sensors, this model can easily sweep its way through obstacles and corners.
- 2+ Bedrooms: Homes with multiple bedrooms require a vacuum which not only cleans thoroughly but is also efficient at its work. Second, they need vacuums which can self-charge – as it might not be possible for the cleaner to vacuum the entire home in one go.
All the capabilities can be found in the iRobot i7+ vacuum.
While its Smart Mapping technology enables the vacuum to take the shortest route for cleaning, the presence of dirt detection sensors means it won’t leave any debris behind. Throw into the mix its self-charging and automatic dirt disposal features, and this model becomes a must-have.
- Multiple Stories: As stated earlier, there is no Roomba which can vacuum two levels without your assistance. The feature to climb stairs is one which isn’t available with the current crop of Roomba vacuums. That leaves you with only one option: buy a separate vacuum for each floor.
Provided you can afford to purchase two vacuums, make sure the one you’re going to use on the upper floor comes with a “cliff” sensor. As the name implies, this sensor would protect the vacuum from tumbling down the stairs.
Choosing the best Roomba vacuum for your home is anything but easy. Not only do all models look the same to an untrained eye, but there is a large number of models to choose from. In such a scenario, choosing the best model for your home would take a lot of time and research.
However, as you can see from the comparison, you don’t have to expend either time or research. All you have to do is to select the model which suits your home’s layout, and your search for the best Roomba model for your home would be over.
Hello, I’m Rita! Editor of Home/Made. We began this blog as a passion project geared toward sharing our love of all things home related. From DIY to cleaning tips, homemade wares to home living guides, We have truly found our proverbial muse in everything that goes into making a living space into a home.