Roomba 960 vs 980 – What Is The Best Robot Vacuum?

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The key topic at hand is Roomba 960 vs 980. This is a detailed review and comparison of both top models. So let’s start from the beginning.

When it comes to buying the best robot vacuums, many companies claim to manufacture industry-leading cleaners. Truth be told, the majority of these brands cannot be trusted.

The hype that the advertisements generate is NOT what the real picture looks like. Disappointed purchasers and nonfunctional cleaners are not that hard to come by.

So it’s important to be mindful when choosing the company that creates robot vacuums. Only then can you avoid landing up with a nonfunctional cleaner. But there’s no need to be discouraged here. Because there are many renowned companies as well.

The industry is flooded with reliable manufacturers too. And one such brand is iRobot. The proof of that is the company’s recent release. Two of them in fact! They are the iRobot Roomba 960 and iRobot Roomba 980.

The newest Roomba 900 series is already quite popular for its advanced technology. In the arena of robot vacuums, this technology ranks as the greatest and latest. So what’s the difference between the two models?


Vacuum NameRatingPriceRun timeSuction
iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot#1$$$120 minutes10x more power
iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot#2$$75 minutes5x more power

iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

This guide of the “Roomba 960 vs 980” paints a pretty good and detailed picture. I have provided a breakdown of each vacuum while also comparing it to the other. The looks may be identical. But that’s not the case as far as performance aspects are concerned. However, the differences are not enormous. Even so, they are notable.

Dissimilarities in USABILITY, FEATURES, and DESIGN elements are important to discover. When you gain such an understanding of both the products, it becomes easier to choose. At the same time, you end up buying a vacuum that’s nothing but right for you.

Enough said! It’s time to begin comparing the critical characteristics of the two smart cleaners. At the beginning and conclusion of which I have declared the ultimate winner!

If the best is what you’re looking for, then nothing outperforms the iRobot Roomba 980. Not even the iRobot Roomba 960.

Not that the 960 model doesn’t offer great features. It’s just that the technology of 980 increases cleaning capability and performance. In order to service bigger spaces!


Now it’s time to get into the specific details of both the Roombas. So here’s a breakdown of all important aspects.

  • The Roomba 980 is only an upgraded version of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot. That means the latter is a step lower than the former. So it provides you with nearly the same kind of features. If not the same amount! Both belong to the phenomenal 900 series.
  • The iRobot Roomba 980 and 960 have the same large camera. This on-board component allows the vacuum cleaner to scan the surroundings. It also enables the smart appliance to initiate intelligent decisions for cleaning. Based on nothing but observations!

So what’s the difference?​


The iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is the latest version the company offers. The smart cleaner includes every single feature the Roomba 960 is packed with. But with a comparatively stronger motor and longer running time!

What’s more is the power boost setting mode. This is extremely useful for cleaning carpets. Another additional feature is the virtual wall. Ideal for activating controlled cleaning!

The iRobot Roomba 980 has a fancier price tag. However, that’s justified given the addition of more advanced technology and features.


  • The motor is more powerful for thorough cleaning.
  • Power boost included for heavier suction on carpeted floors.
  • Battery life is longer.


  • The higher cost makes this Roomba model the most expensive.
  • Operation is louder when full power mode is on.


To sum it up, the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is the ultimate high-quality option. It makes room for low maintenance. And that without jeopardizing cleaning performance or suction!

The Roomba 980 may be the costliest. But its extra features are worth every penny. By far, it’s the best robot vacuum I’ve reviewed. And this is great news if your home space is larger than usual.


There are a few characteristics that the Roomba 960 lacks. Such as the remarkable Power Boost and more compelling motor. With the absence of the boost feature, carpet cleaning becomes slightly difficult.

The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot’s run time also lags behind. So it’s only common sense to assume that this particular model is more affordable than the other.

The filtration system, navigation system, and camera are all the same. So if your goal is to buy something high-performing and inexpensive, you can’t wrong with the Roomba 960.


  • Cleaning power is the same as any other top model. Including the Roomba 980.
  • ​Multi-surface, tangle-free dual brushes manage pet hair easily.
  • The weight of the appliance is relatively lighter.


  • There’s no power boost for an improved suction force.
  • Run time is also shorter.


In all, the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is packed with impressive features. Without drilling a huge hole in your wallet!

The model offers Wi-Fi capability, exceptional navigation, and fantastic cleaning performance. And to be honest, it all depends on the space and details you wish to vacuum. The extra features of the Roomba 980 are not always worth the extra cost.


In terms of aesthetics, the Roomba 980 and 960 have a lot in common. The Roomba series in which you don’t get the camera feature are 800, 700, and 600.

The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is a lookalike of the Roomba 980. Or is it the other way round since the latter is an upgrade of the former?


The simple and sleek design of the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum is quit attractive. As you can see, it is armed with a central camera. What this does is scan your room as the cleaning is taking place. The camera is well aware of obstacles, walls, and furniture.

Upon closer examination, you’ll find a small sized handle in the front. This is in place so you can carry the vacuum to its charger manually. Or press that HOME button to drive it back automatically.

The list of design elements included in the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum is as follows:

  • Camera
  • Bumper ring
  • ​Handle
  • Automatic cleaning: start/return home


The on-board central camera and buttons are located right where you’d expect them to be. As far as design is concerned, the Roomba 960 is an outcome of a slightly lighter approach. It is furnished with matte grey plus charcoal accents. This gives the model a better contrast look.

Moving on to other important elements, the CLEAN feature starts a cycle. You can even send the vacuum back home by pressing the smaller house icon button.

Furthermore, the classic bumper ring helps in protecting your furniture and walls. So the appliance navigates safely during the cleaning process.

Here are the features the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot offers:

  • Sensor
  • ​Bumper ring
  • ​Camera
  • Automatic cleaning: start/return home
Vacuum NameRatingPriceRun timeSuction
iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot#1$$$120 minutes10x more power
iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot#2$$75 minutes5x more power


The iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot uses the 3-stage process for cleaning. This includes agitating, vacuuming, and suction. Such a feature is present in the Roomba 960 as well.

The cleaning process of the iRobot Roomba 960 uses the same 3-stage method. That is agitating, vacuuming, and suction. The high-performing spinning brush cleans corners and edges quite effectively. In combination with the dual central rubber brushroll!

The thing about spinning brushes is that they have the ability to sweep dust from corners and edges. Into the direction of their central brushroll!


So what else is so unique about the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot?

The dual advanced brushrolls, in this case, perform a more thorough job. Especially when it comes to agitating debris and dirt! As compared to 960’s older bristle-type brushrolls!

Another notable aspect is the stronger motor. It offers a longer operation time with more powerful suction. You also get the opportunity to make the most of the exceptional Power Boost setting. This is very useful when vacuuming carpeted surfaces.

You’ll be thrilled to discover the next part. The iRobot Roomba 980 consists of advanced technology for dirt detection. The same applies to the navigation system. It methodically cleans your space in a straight line with less bumping.

Additionally, this particular model is also packed with edge sensors. These are located in the rear region. They help the machine gain a better understanding of its surrounding. Along with sensing probable drop hazards!

So the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot’s cleaning features include:

  • Edge sensors
  • ​Spinning brush
  • ​Dual brushroll
  • ​Charging pins
  • Dust filter/bin


Now here’s a characteristic that’s different from the Roomba 980.

It’s the motor of the appliance. The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot’s motor is the same as some of the models of the 800 series. And this implies a shorter operation time. But to be honest, 75 minutes run time is still an impressive performance level for robot vacuums.

The manufacturer has equipped the device with self-recharge capability. In order to make up for the shorter running time! So the Roomba 960 recharges itself before returning to cleaning. That means you don’t have to lift the vacuum every time it drains the battery.

As for dirt detection, this model is the same as its 980 counterpart. The navigation and dirt detection technologies are on the same page. The result of which is more consistent cleaning patterns and improved navigation.

In the same context, you’ll be glad to know this. The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum makes use of memory-mapping feature and on-board camera. So it can identify obstacles during the cleaning process.

The cleaning features of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot are as follows:

  • Dual brushrolls
  • ​Edge sensors
  • ​Spinning brush
  • ​Wheels
  • ​Charging pins
  • Dust filter/bin



Here are the dimensions of the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot. 3.6 inches in height and 13.8 inches in diameter!

As for the weight, the 980 model is 13.32 pounds light.


The dimensions of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is the same as the other. That is 3.6 inches tall and 13.8 inches diameter.

In terms of weight, the Roomba 960 is heavier than the Roomba 980. 4.68 pounds heavier, to be more specific.



The iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum is equipped with following accessories and parts.

  • 1. Spinning Brush

The feature is located in the underside region. The brush spins during cleaning. And this is what enables the Roomba 980 to clean thoroughly in corners and around edges.

  • 2. Charging Base

The vacuum’s charging station is armed with a charging cord and base unit. At the time of low battery, the Roomba 980 automatically goes back to its charging station. Before returning to the same area to complete the task at hand!

  • 3. HEPA Filter

The HEPA filtration system pairs up with AeroForce to deliver advanced cleaning strength. Much like the iRobot Roomba 960!

  • 4. Wall Barriers

The double virtual barriers are in charge of blocking off radial areas. Along with straight passes! Having access to two barriers is highly useful when it comes to cleaning larger homes.


As for the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot, it offers the following elements.

  • 1. Spinning Brush

The spinning brush of the Roomba 960 helps in keeping corners and edges clear of dust. It sweeps the debris into the direction of the cleaner’s larger brushroll. The feature is installed in the underside part of the iRobot vacuum.

  • 2. Charging Base

The charging station of the Roomba 960 and 980 is almost identical in design and performance. Even this model returns to the base automatically when needed. Along with completing the cleaning that was left before the recharge.

  • 3. HEPA Filter

The HEPA filter of the iRobot Roomba 960 works with AeroForce exceptionally well. This is one notable feature that both models have in common. In fact, it’s also one of the interchangeable parts between all Roomba units.Those packed with AeroForce filter mechanism that is.

  • 4. Wall Barriers

Unlike the HEPA filter, virtual barriers are dissimilar. The iRobot Roomba 980 includes two barriers. Whereas the Roomba 960 comes with only one! However, this barrier performs just as well as the dual barriers. It blocks off spaces you don’t want the vacuum to get down into.


After subjecting both the iRobot vacuums to standard cleaning, what did I achieve? I came to understand each model’s full range. In terms of cleaning small and large debris!

So what I decided to do is use the Roombas to vacuum different types of flooring. This includes hardwood and carpet surfaces. The latter involves both high and low pile.


So it’s time to uncover the performance level of the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot.

  • On hardwood flooring, the Roomba 980 scored the highest marks. It has the ability to capture 100 percent debris. Be it pet litter, sugar, or any other food item.
  • On low pile carpet, the cleaning performance is just the same. The vacuum doesn’t fail to trap 100 percent of dust and debris.
  • On high pile carpet, the results were slightly less satisfying. Higher carpeted floors are more difficult to clean. So the Roomba 980 might struggle a bit in that area. Even so, it ends up absorbing more than half of the unwanted elements scattered on the floor.


The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum carries out the cleaning tasks in the same manner. Meaning there’s not much of a difference in performance between the two models. So let’s find out more.

  • On hardwood flooring, the Roomba 960 does an amazing job. It picks up all the dirt and debris. Including food particles and pet dander!
  • On low pile carpet, it falls short of scoring the highest marks. For example, trapping debris like sugar from such carpeted surfaces is a struggle.
  • On high pile carpet, the outcome of the 960 is the same as the 980. So expect the Roomba 960 to pull in a little over 50 percent of dirt found on higher carpets.


This is where the debate between Roomba 960 vs 980 is the most prominent.


In matters of usability, the iRobot Roomba 980 is plenty user-friendly and intuitive. Unboxing and setting it up is quite an effortless undertaking. All you have to do is plug the cleaner into its charger and press CLEAN. That’s about it!

For scheduled cleanings, you need to enable the Wi-Fi connection. Pair your Wi-Fi with the vacuum and you can start scheduling within a few minutes. Once the machine is paired, feel free to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Or your smartphone to control the vacuum!

You’ll be surprised to know that the Roomba 980 generates digital reports. These reports are maps indicating the direction of the appliance. That means using such a feature ensures the cleaning of every room. Along with identifying all trouble spots!


Operation and handling always rank as the most important aspects. Especially when comparing Roomba 960 vs 980.

You’ll be glad to learn all about the usability of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum. This particular model is pretty much identical to the Roomba 980. The setup is almost similar. With the same kind of accessible CLEAN feature and Wi-Fi compatibility!

The Roomba 960 model is also supplied with a camera onboard. That means no need to follow the vacuum around to ensure that it prevents collisions. So protection against tricky obstacles and sensitive items is a part of the cleaning.

On a general note, the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot sees things. Well enough to change its course prior to collisions.

The only difference regarding usability between the two is the use of virtual walls. The Roomba 980 comes with two barrier walls. As opposed to the Roomba 960’s single wall! Apart from that, both machines are pretty much the same.


As far as maneuverability goes, the argument between Roomba 960 vs 980 is quite clear. The latter’s flexibility and mobility are far more advanced than the former. Particularly in the area of robot vacuums!


The circular shape of the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum enables 360-degree turning radius. The next commendable feature is the in-body camera. Along with advanced navigation, this component helps in preventing careless bumping.

In that regard, the Roomba 980 has the ability to sense obstacles. Based on that, it changes directions prior to colliding with them. Such an action is what makes the current model the better option. Older Roomba units don’t offer this kind of advanced functionality.

In fact, the feature intensifies in performance when paired with another technology. This one’s responsible for memory-mapping and dirt detection.


There are many features in here that you’ll also find in the other. So it’s safe for me to state that the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is not an alien product. What I mean to say is that it consists of the same circular shaped body. Along with the 360-degree turning radius!

What else is in common with the iRobot Roomba 980? The advanced navigation mechanism and on-board camera. Even dirt detection and memory-mapping technologies are nearly identical. This is the deal with all 900 series models. Pick any and they’ll possess the ability to eliminate dirt more thoroughly. And faster!


iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

The upkeep factor of all iRobot Roomba inventions is moderately consistent. General maintenance efforts contribute to increasing the shelf life of every vacuum. Such as cleaning filters and emptying dust bins.

At the time of replacing these parts, the process is nothing but easy and quick. Without the use of special tools!

The manufacturer has made it a point to provide you with the following information. Associated with the frequency of replacement! So don’t forget to run your eyes through it for the sake of comparison.

iRobot Roomba 980

BATTERY18-36 months
FRONT WHEEL12 months


The same straightforward maintenance approach is applied in this case as well. The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot repairs are pretty much equal. If possible, this particular model is even more long-lasting than the Roomba 980.

It’s only logical for this durability to depend on environment and use. So it’s important to keep that in mind.

Here’s another useful table that outlines replacement frequency. The only difference with the Roomba 960 presents itself in the form of the debris extractor.

iRobot Roomba 960

BATTERY18-36 months
DEBRIS EXTRACTOR12 – 24 months(as opposed to Roomba 980’s 12 months)
FRONT WHEEL12 months


This is the reason why you’re reading an article concerning Roomba 960 vs 980 – Roomba Comparison. So you can note such significant differences between the two iRobot models.


The battery life of the Roomba 980 exhausts after the completion of 120 minutes. Charging time is 2 to 3 hours. But to be honest, the task can take longer. However, if you want the vacuum to charge quickly, it’s best to leave it unused for that time.

I’m sure you already know by now that the cleaner has the ability to charge during a cleaning cycle. It travels to the base station to juice up before returning to the same spot again. But this only happens when the cycle goes beyond 120 minutes.

Charging Time2 to 3 hours
Size3,300 mAh
Running Time120 minutes


As for the battery life of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum, its operation time is relatively shorter. This machine can perform beautifully well for 75 minutes. That means there’s a difference of 45 minutes run time.

With that in place, the recharge and resume technology seems like a huge plus here. Such a feature returns the Roomba 960 to its charging base. Once the fueling up is done, the vacuum goes back to where it stopped to complete the cleaning process.

Charging Time2 to 3 hours
Size2,600 mAh
Running Time75 minutes

So battery life is another area where the debate between Roomba 960 vs 980 shines out.

Here’s another major aspect involved when comparing Roomba 960 vs 980.


The noise level of vacuums varies by cleaning power, type, and size. In general terms, robot vacuums rank among the quieter options. As compared to their upright ad handheld counterparts! These offer a comparatively louder operation when working at high power.

But what we’re interested in knowing here is which of the two iRobot Roomba models are louder. In that case, it would be the Roomba 980. The only reason being the stronger motor.


The iRobot Roomba 960 is among the less noiseless units. In comparison to the majority of other vacuums! A great deal quieter than upright and handheld cleaners!

So if you’re worried about noise during application, please note that the 960 trumps over 980.



The overall value of iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is good. Despite the fact that it’s slightly pricier than the Roomba 960! It’s the extra and more advanced features that make this particular model more powerful.

So if what you’re searching for is something that can handle daily cleaning of a larger space, you know what to buy. The enhanced design of the 980 are particularly valuable in such environments.


The overall value of the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is excellent. As far as my opinion goes, it’s much better than the upgraded 980.

The cost of this model is exactly what anyone would expect from such a high-ranking robot vacuum. What’s more is that the iRobot Roomba 960 is packed with excellent add-ons and features. The kind that you definitely don’t get when you purchase the older models! These include advanced navigation and digital mapping.

So if you’re not so concerned about a longer run time, you won’t be disappointed with this vacuum. It performs the task of cleaning more effectively. In comparison to the older models of the Roomba series.


In this Roomba 980 review, I have stated enough number of times that the model is the best I’ve tested so far. But that doesn’t mean there’s no point in discussing the most important topic. And that is Roomba 960 vs 980 – Roomba comparison.

The iRobot Roomba 980 delivers remarkable cleaning performance. Along with digital mapping reports and intuitive navigation! You can control the machine using your smartphone. Or Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa!

But here are the reasons for buying the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot.

  • For a longer operation time

120 minutes is what you get here. As opposed to Roomba 960’s 75 minutes. Such a run time is highly useful when vacuuming large spaces.

  • For a more powerful motor

Without the shadow of a doubt, the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum has a stronger working mechanism. Its Generation 3 motor provides 10x more powerful suction. So the phenomenal Power Boost technology is what stands out in this case.

As for the Roomba 960, it is packed with a Generation 2 motor. This model is only 5x stronger in terms of suction!

  • For double virtual barriers

Two wall barriers can only mean one thing. That the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot is perfect for larger areas or homes! Especially if your space includes more sensitive spots! This means areas that shouldn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Roomba.



Another excellent choice is the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum Cleaning Robot. This particular version is an ideal pick if you don’t want to spend too much money. Or you don’t care about those special features of the Roomba 980. This is what you’ll come across in any such Roomba 960 review.

The 960 may not be as enhanced as its 980 sibling. But this doesn’t imply that it lacks impressive features. The company’s 900 series models are plenty unique. And the Roomba 960 is no exception. It is also armed with recharge and resume functionality. Along with producing map reports!

If budget is an important factor, then the iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum lives up to every expectation. By all standards! And here’s how.

  • Affordability

The Roomba 960 is nearly $200 less expensive than the Roomba 980. Irrespective of the promotions and retailer!

  • Digital mapping reports

Now you already know that the iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum is one step ahead of the Roomba 960. But here’s something that you probably don’t know. The iRobot Roomba 960 Vacuum is an upgraded version of the 800 series.

So you get the opportunity to look at digital reports. You can see where the smart appliance has traveled during every cleaning cycle. Such a feature comes in handy when you’re not home at the time of cleaning. Or when you notice trouble areas!

  • Recharge and resume technology

This particular technology is found only in the 900 series of Roomba. The function allows the models to clean until the battery becomes low. Once that happens, the unit goes back to its charging station automatically. There it receives a quick lift in power to go on cleaning where it left off.

So there’s no reason to believe that the iRobot Roomba 960 won’t continue the cycle until it completes the job.


This brings me to the end of the Roomba 960 vs 980 – Roomba comparison. So if you’re looking for a clear-cut answer here, I’m more than glad to provide you with one.

In the competition of Roomba 960 vs 980, it’s the latter that performs better. The iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot includes everything the other one has. Plus more!

Exceptional cleaning and intuitive navigation combine with the longer running time. The result of which is a vacuum that’s nothing but self-sufficient. That means no more chasing the robot to achieve thorough cleaning performance.

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