Best Roomba Models Compared

It’s no secret that Roomba (by iRobot) makes the best robotic vacuums on the market. 

Problem is: there are so many different Roomba models to choose from!

Roomba 770 Design

Today, picking the right Roomba for your home isn’t easy, because some of the older models like the Roomba 650/655 still work just fine – while others have been replaced by newer, far better models.

In this buying guide, we’ve done the hard work for you and picked what we believe to be the best Roomba models selling today.

We review each one below, discuss the key differences among them, and go through the Features To Look For when buying a new Roomba.

What’s In This Guide

The Best Roomba Vacuum Cleaners

Roomba ModelOur Rating
Roomba 980
BEST OVERALL
4.9 Star RatingLearn More
Roomba 960
BEST FOR PETS & ALLERGIES
4.1 Star RatingLearn More
Roomba 880
BEST VALUE (Multi-Room)
4.4 Star RatingLearn More
Roomba 7704.3 Star RatingLearn More
Roomba 650
BEST VALUE (Single Room)
4.5 Star RatingLearn More

Roomba Robot Vacuum Cleaners Compared

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, shopping for a Roomba.

Roomba doesn’t make it easy to select the right vacuum cleaner.  Even though they continue to upgrade their models, they also sell the older ones.

In this guide, we’ll help you sort-out which Roomba is best for you by picking the best unit for each common need and type of floor and noting the key differences among them.

So let’s get to it!

Roomba 980:  Best Choice Overall

Roomba 980

Self Charging: yes

Multi-room: yes

Battery life: 120 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Mobile app: yes

H.E. filter: yes

Tangle free brush: yes

Soft bumper: yes

The 980 is the best Roomba, yet.

This unit has almost every feature you could look for in an automatic floor cleaning appliance.

It can handle multiple rooms, has a soft bumper to avoid damaging your furnishings, and automatically recharges itself until cleaning has finished. It also has 10 times the cleaning power of Roomba’s extremely popular budget model, the Roomba 650.

To find its way around your home, the Roomba 980 uses iRobot’s latest iAdapt 2.0 navigational system, also found on the 960. This advanced system utilizes an onboard camera to avoid obstacles and to navigate more efficiently.

iAdapt 2.0 is is a true memory-based intelligent mapping system that is rarely random. Kind of amazing to see it return to continue where it left off and to watch it drive down the hall to the next room.

This dual visual wall technology that the Roomba 980 uses is excellent, as well. Once your wall boundaries are set, you can basically set the 980 loose to clean an entire floor of your home in a few hours. It then moves easily from room to room, picking up dirt, debris, pet hair and dust along the way while avoiding most obstacles.

The Roomba 980 runs for up to 2 hours on a single charge. When the battery starts to get low, it will return to its charging station in order to get more power. Once re-powered, it will return directly to the spot where it left off and will continue cleaning each room until they are all completed.

The 980’s mobile app lets you schedule cleaning sessions by the day and by the hour, as well as set your cleaning preferences.

The Roomba 980 sports a spot cleaning feature to quickly clean-up smaller spills. And it has side-spinning brushes to avoid missing the tight corners that so many other robot vacuums miss.

Finally, the Roomba 980 is equipped with a carpet boost feature that automatically turns on when more power is needed. It’s one of the few robotic vacuums that can tackle high-pile shag carpet.

Summary

The 980 is the best Roomba model sold today, bar none.

Its intelligent navigation + virtual wall system is second to none. It can handle entire multi-room floors and thicker carpet without getting stuck.  The unit’s vacuum power and high-efficiency filters are best-in-class, too.

The main downside is the price: this is one of the most expensive robot vacuums sold today.

But if you need the extra cleaning power and want to clean an entire floor of rooms, it’s by far the best choice today.

Roomba 650: Best Value for a Single Room

Roomba Entry Level Model Cleaning Hardwood                   

Self Charging: yes

Multi-room: no

Battery Life: 60 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Smartphone app: no

High Efficiency filter: no

Tangle Free brushes: no

Soft Bumper: no

The Roomba 650 is an older/simpler model that nevertheless cleans really well for a great price.

It’s also reliable.

Maybe that’s why iRobot continues to sell it, many years after its release.

The 650/655’s object detection system is quite good and is still better than some newer models offered by other companies.

One of the main reasons the Roomba 650 remains a popular choice among consumers is because it is the most economical of the Roomba models.

The Roomba 650 uses iRobot’s older iAdapt (1.0) navigation system that guides the cleaner around obstacles that might get in its way. It is actually very adept at traveling around a room.

This robot vacuum also has a programmable scheduler, uses a three stage cleaning system, and automatically recharges itself.

It has the signature iRobot low profile, too, which helps more easily move under beds, sofas, and other furniture.

Like many of its siblings, the Roomba 650 uses a virtual wall technology to restrict the vacuum to the rooms and areas you want it to clean.

Summary

For those who are looking for a simple, affordable, but highly effective robotic vacuum for anything but high shag/pile carpet, the Roomba 650 is a great choice.

Roomba 960: Best For Pet Hair & Allergy

iAdapt Tech Roomba 960

Self Charging: yes

Multi-room: yes

Battery life: 75 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Mobile app: yes

H.E. filter: yes

Tangle free: yes

Soft bumper: yes

Like its more expensive cousin, the 980, the Roomba 960 uses iRobot’s upgraded iAdapt 2.0 navigation system.

This newer system does a better job of keeping the robot cleaner from bumping into things in your home.

The visual location feature based on the iAdapt camera helps guide this robotic vacuum from room to room more intelligently.

Also shared with the 980 is the AeroForce 3 stage cleaning system, which has been improved to pay extra attention to carpeted areas as well as other hard-to-clean surfaces. It’s 5 times more powerful than the Roomba 650/655.

This unit also uses tangle free extractors, so you do not have to worry about it getting clogged by pet hair or other larger debris.

When the filter bin is full, you can program the 960 to either return home to recharge and wait, or stop in place to be emptied.

Unfortunately, the 960’s bin size is not as large as we’d like. It normally fills up in a single 75 minute cycle. So, skip buying the extra battery – you’ll probably never use it.

The 960 uses iRobot’s HOME app to control every aspect of the robot’s behavior via any mobile device (iOS or Android).

Summary

The Roomba 960’s tangle-free extractors, highly efficient filter, ability to clean any surface without getting stuck and its ability to avoid objects – including pets – makes it our top pick for anyone who owns a pet or suffers from allergies.

iRobot Roomba 770

Roomba 770 Has Dirt Detect

Self Charging: yes

Multi-room: no

Battery Life: 90 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Smartphone app: no

H.E. filter: no

Tangle Free Brushes: no

Soft Bumper: no

The next robotic Roomba vacuum up from the 650/655 is the Roomba 770.

While it keeps all of the same great features offered with the 650, it adds a few of its own.

The 770 is one of the few Roombas that offers the dirt detect feature that identifies the dirtier areas of your floors and focuses on them more to provide a superior and thorough cleaning.

The Roomba 770 automatically adjusts to any type of flooring that it is set to clean. The AeroForce 3 stage cleaning system in the robotic vacuum is unmatched.

The 770 has a side brush that spins. This side brush is great for cleaning up against the walls, in corners, and even around furniture.

Like the 650 before it, the Roomba 770 uses the iAdapt 1.0 navigational system. One issue that some people have with this navigation system is that it seems to be a bit haphazard.

While the Roomba 770 does a fantastic job of cleaning, the method that it uses to do it does take longer than more modern systems.

Summary

Overall, the Roomba 770 combines some of the best features that the Roomba line has to offer. This includes deep cleaning ability, as well as a wonderful obstacle detector. It is also imminently affordable.

iRobot Roomba 860

Aeroforce Roomba 860

Self charging: yes

Multi-room: no

Battery life: 90 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Mobile app: no

H.E. filter: no

Soft bumper: yes

For those who are on a budget but want most of the modern features available today, the Roomba 860 is a great choice.

The Roomba 860 offers tangle free extractors, which are not found on the 650 or 770 models. These extractors are basically rubber brushes that not only prevent the unit from getting stopped by long hair, they make cleaning far easier.

The 860 also uses the dynamic AeroForce cleaning system. This system was designed to clean even the hardest to reach areas of a home. With the 860 you get about 5 times the cleaning power of non-Roomba vacuums.

The Roomba 860 also offers a self-charging option. When the Roomba 860 needs more power it will return to its charging base to get it.

This unit is really easy to operate – just press the large ‘clean’ button on top of the device and off it goes.

Summary

Overall, the Roomba 860 is an affordable, modern Roomba that does almost everything the more expensive models do.

The major difference between the 800 series and the more expensive 900 series is the cleaning power and the ability to tackle thicker carpet.

iRobot Roomba 870

Pet Removal Roomba 870

Self charging: yes

Multi-room: no

Battery Life: 180 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Mobile app: no

H.E. filter: no

Tangle Free: yes

Soft Bumper: yes

This robotic vacuum incorporates a full suite of sensors with the iAdapt navigational system.

The 870’s virtual walls can be set up to keep the robot focused on specific areas of your floor, so it does not wander into areas that it should not be.

Perhaps the most important feature of the Roomba 870 is the fact that it does a really great job of cleaning.

It also uses the AeroForce cleaning system that Roomba robots are known for. The tangle free brushes combined with the powerful suction provide your floors with a deep clean with little maintenance needed.

When comparing the Roomba 860 with the Roomba 870 it may be difficult to notice the differences, aside from the price.

The extra cost of the Roomba 870 is because this model has an improved cleaning capability. Not only is it more powerful than the previous model, it adds 7 scheduling presets.

The Roomba 870 also has a low profile design, which helps it navigate through rooms and under furniture with ease.

When it runs out of power it will automatically go back to its charging dock in order to reboot.

Summary

Overall, if you are looking for a vacuum with a bit more power, while still remaining on the lower price end, the Roomba 870 is a good choice.

iRobot Roomba 880: Best Value for Multiple Rooms

Relaxed Owner With His Roomba Cleaning

Self Charging: yes

Multi-room: yes

Battery life: 180 minutes

Scheduling: yes

Mobile app: yes

H.E. filter: yes

Tangle free: yes

Soft bumper: yes

The iRobot Roomba 880 is one of the best Roomba models available. It is purchased far more often than the 860 or 870.

The 880 offers all of the features of the previous 800 models, plus a few more.

Most notably, the Roomba 880 is the first iRobot vacuum to feature a multi-room navigational system. This allows the robot to clean as many rooms as necessary (on a single floor). It uses the same iAdapt navigational system used on the 650/655.

In addition, the 880 comes with a beacon system that uses virtual lighthouses to guide it into the rooms that you need it to clean – or tell it which rooms to avoid. Using the beacons, you can program the vacuum to clean in specific areas or to skip certain areas at certain times.

When it comes to power, the Roomba 880 delivers. Improvements were made to the AeroForce cleaning system to make the 880 even more powerful than its predecessors. It delivers five times the power when compared to some of the other off brand robotic vacuums that are currently available.

In addition, the Roomba 880 offers a high efficiency filter that can get even the smallest of particles off of your floor.

The Roomba 880 is also easier to maintain than other brand robots. This is due to its use of rubber extractors to get even the toughest amount of dirt and grime off of your floors.

In order to send the iRobot Roomba 880 to work,  you just press the ‘clean’ button located on the device (or in the mobile application).

Summary

Overall, the Roomba 880 is easy to use, offers an outstanding amount of cleaning power, and uses a well-designed lighthouse navigation system to extends its reach into multiple rooms.

While not as powerful nor as intelligent as the newer Roomba 980 series, the 880 is probably the best value going for a multi-room capable robotic vacuum cleaner.

Our Top Picks

Now that you know a little bit more about the features and what each model of Roomba has to offer, here is a quick list of our top picks by need, type of floor and size of job.


Best Budget Roomba (for Small Apartments or a Single Room):  650/655

Overall, when it comes to budget it really depends on the amount that you want to spend. The Roomba 650 does a fantastic job cleaning and is the lowest-cost option available.


Best Roomba For Larger Homes:  880 or above

If you own a smaller home or apartment, any of the lower-end Roomba models will suffice.

However, if you are looking for a Roomba to clean a larger home, you need one that has multi-room capabilities.

iRobot is Great For Vacuuming Hardfloors

Multi-room navigation is only available in the 880 models and above.


Best Future-Proof Roomba:  980

Hands down, the Roomba 980 is the best Roomba model sold today.

It has the most cleaning power, the best navigation system, and cleans the deepest carpet with ease.

However, all of it does come at a price.

Features To Look For When Buying a Roomba

Here are some of the most important features that differentiate the various Roomba models.

Is It Self Charging?

Self Charger

Almost all Roomba models sold today feature a self-charging option. This means the unit will automatically return to its charging station to re-charge its batteries whenever it gets low on power.

This is an important feature because most vacuum batteries don’t last more than a couple of hours.

Unless your room is really small, you’ll need this feature to clean your home completely, without your presence.

Multi-Room Capability

When comparing Roomba models make sure to check if the model is capable of cleaning and navigating multiple rooms.

For small apartments, this isn’t really important. But for most homes, you’ll need this option to avoid having to pick up and move the cleaner from room to room.

Only Roomba models 880 and above offer this.

Navigation Beacons

Navigation beacons tell your Roomba which rooms and what floor areas should be cleaned vs. not.

There are two types of beacons used by Roombas: virtual walls, and virtual lighthouses.

Virtual lighthouses are the simpler of these two. Place a virtual lighthouse in each room you want to clean, and the Roomba will clean the entire room, using the room’s walls to figure out its limits.

Virtual walls are more specific. Using virtual walls, you can define specific areas of a floor to clean within a room, rather just than whole rooms.

Battery Life

The amount of time that the battery lasts determines how long your Roomba will clean before it has to recharge. A longer battery life means more cleaning action.

Programmable Schedule

If you are like most people, you lead a busy life. So, unless you’re just showing off with friends, you’ll probably want to schedule your robotic vacuum to clean when you’re not home.

Most Roomba models can be scheduled to clean at a specific time and days of the week.

Mobile App

Most Roomba models use the iRobot app to control your Roomba robotic vacuum wirelessly.

It’s fun to show your friends, and it does simplify the programming part a bit.

But you probably won’t use it that much, to be honest.

Roomba 960 SmartPhone App

High-Efficiency Filter

Most Roombas after the 700 offer a high efficiency filter that should be good enough for most pet and allergy sufferers.

Choose a Roomba model that can accept a HEPA filter, if you have severe pet or dust allergies.

Tangle Free Extraction

Tangle-free rubber brushes (extractors) remove hair and dirt without tangling, which would stop the unit in its tracks.

If you have pets or long hair, then you should probably opt for a unit that has this feature.

Corner/Edge Brushes

All rooms have corners, and unless your robot vacuum has a way to access those spots, your cleaning will remain incomplete. This is where edge brushes come it.

Spinning edge brushes like the ones on the Roomba 960 and 980 are critical if you don’t want to have to clean up after your robot.

Soft Bumpers

Some Roomba robotic vacuums come with a soft/smart bumper feature, which can detect immovable objects in your room without damaging them.

You’ll definitely want this feature to keep your Roomba from damaging your finest furniture – or your pets.

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