iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 : Which One is Best?

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iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

The segment of robotic appliances for homes is expanding steadily and one of the product categories that have been doing well are best robotic vacuums. Those who wish to invest in popular and successful models in this segment would do well to look at Roomba series, especially models 960 and 980. These vacuums are designed with mapping technology as well as work through Wi-Fi connectivity. You can even add them to Google Home or control them through Alexa home control system.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 : A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

Find below lists of similarities and differences of these two models as we go in-depth into iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980; comparisons are also made against the essential features of these models to provide potential customers complete information to make their choices.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 Differences

The features and functionality differences between iRobot Roomba 960 and 980 are the following:

  • Roomba 980 comes inbuilt with carpet boost technology while 960 does not include this feature. It is an inbuilt capability of cleaning carpets which is different from hardwood floors. The carpet booster technology helps to clean debris off fibers more effectively. The 980 model has inbuilt sensors that identify carpeted surfaces and suction power is increased for effective cleaning of carpet fibers.
  • Battery power in the 960 model is built to last 75 minutes while 980’s battery would last about 120 minutes.
  • There is one virtual wall sensor built into the 960 model while the iRobot Roomba 980 has two such barrier sensors. Both models are designed to include wall barriers. The virtual wall mode helps to mark sections of space or home that a user does not want the vacuum to clean. Each barrier is powered by 2 AA batteries. In case of 960, there is only one wall barrier mode that can be set.
  • The suction power of 960 is 5x whereas for 980 it is 10x.
  • 980 is priced $200 more than 960; this can be accounted for the newer generation motor that is fitted in 980 whereas 960 model comes with a motor of the same capacity as the 800 series. The price differential also stands for higher suction power and carpet boost technology that is included in the 980 model.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 Similarities

In the comparison of iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 there are several similarities in terms of design and functions:

  • Both are fitted with lithium-ion batteries.
  • Navigation software is the iAdapt2 version in both models.
  • Both come inbuilt with acoustic as well as optical sensors.
  • Both 960 and 980 models have cliff detection technology inbuilt in them.
  • Rollers are brushless in both models.
  • Inbuilt HEPA filtration technology is same.
  • Inbuilt capability to sweep around corners and edges in both models is same.

Roomba 960 vs 980 Comparison : Robot Vacuum Comparison Chart

iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
iRobot Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
Customer Rating
Battery Life
75 Minutes
120 Minutes
Virtual Walls
1
2
Suction Type
AeroForce 5x
AeroForce 10x
HEPA Filter
Full Bin Indicator
Motor
2nd Gen
3rd Gen
Capacity
2130 mAh
3300 mAh
Carpet Boost Mode
Pet Hair Cleaning
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
Customer Rating
Battery Life
75 Minutes
Virtual Walls
1
Suction Type
AeroForce 5x
HEPA Filter
Full Bin Indicator
Motor
2nd Gen
Capacity
2130 mAh
Carpet Boost Mode
Pet Hair Cleaning
User Reviews
iRobot Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
Customer Rating
Battery Life
120 Minutes
Virtual Walls
2
Suction Type
AeroForce 10x
HEPA Filter
Full Bin Indicator
Motor
3rd Gen
Capacity
3300 mAh
Carpet Boost Mode
Pet Hair Cleaning
User Reviews

Feature Wise Comparison of Roomba 960 vs 980

1. Set up Process

This refers to the process of getting the devices set up for power and charging and the steps that users need to take to set cleaning functions or tasks.

In order to use the different features in both models, it is necessary to download the iRobot Home app. It is available for both iPhones and Android smartphones. Once you have downloaded the same, you are now ready to pair the app with the device through wireless connectivity.

No matter which model you have of these best robotic vacuums, place the charging station Home Base in an uncluttered area against the wall and on a level surface. Plug in one end of the line cord into a wall power socket. The yellow bin insert, as well as the battery pull tab, needs to be removed from below the robot. When the vacuum is placed on the Home Base, the metal charging contacts on the same should match the ones on the bottom surface of the robot.

Press and hold down the Home Dock, Spot Clean, and Clean buttons till all LEDs light up on the devices. Ensure that your phone or tablet has the Wi-Fi on and the app recognizes the network. The app will scan and locate the device automatically. It will then allow the users to set different functions and features. These aspects help to customize the cleaning tasks. You can then press the “Clean” button to activate the vacuum and it will perform the tasks as per the information specified through the app.

Bottom line: Setup process of both models is same in Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison.

2. Design & Aesthetics

Design features refer to the overall design and the buttons that are available on the robot vacuum models.

In terms of design and appearance, Roomba 980 and Roomba 960 are designed to look similar. The 980 has a simple and sleek design; it has a central camera that scans the areas to be cleaned and make mental note of walls, furniture and other obstacles that come in its way. There is an auto clean button. Other features in it include bumper ring, camera, handle and Home button which are similar in both.

The Roomba 960 model mimics similar design aspects. The buttons, as well as camera positions, are same. There is a lighter approach to its overall design, mainly because it is inbuilt with a lighter battery and is devoid of the carpet boost technology. The charcoal and matte gray accents on it create a contrast look overall.

Bottom line: Design and aesthetics of both models are similar though the 960 model is lighter and has a different gray and black interface compared to the overall black design of iRobot Roomba 980.

3. Size

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
Length
13.8 inches
13.8 inches
Width
13.8 inches
13.8 inches
Height
3.6 inches
3.6 inches
Weight
8.5 lbs
8.7 lbs
iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
Length
13.8 inches
Width
13.8 inches
Height
3.6 inches
Weight
8.5 lbs
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
Length
13.8 inches
Width
13.8 inches
Height
3.6 inches
Weight
8.7 lbs

Let’s look into the dimensions of both models in Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison.

Dimensions of both models in terms of diameter are the same. Both are 13.8″ in terms of diameter and 3.6″ in length. However, in terms of weight, the 980 model is heavier by about 0.2 lbs since it is inbuilt with a heavier motor. It weighs 8.7 lbs while the 960 model is 8.5 lbs.

Bottom line: Both models are similar in size though the 980 model is slightly heavier than 960.

4. Performance

This can be referred to as the ability of the machines to clean different surfaces and a given area with a single charge.

In terms of performance, both models are designed to cover floor space of 2000 square foot per level. Since 960 model is fitted with a battery capacity of 75 minutes, it would need to get back to its docking station to recharge sooner than the 980 model which can work up to 120 minutes after being fully charged.

Bottom line: The 980 model is built to deliver better performance on carpeted floors and for larger floor areas than the 960 model.

5. Cleaning Capabilities

This can be defined as the capability to sweep around corners and wall edges, cleaning of hardwood floors and carpeted areas as well as navigating across multiple rooms.

The Roombas come fitted with a spinning side brush; they are equipped with algorithms that make them realize walls and corners and how to clean against such surfaces. The side brush is used to sweep off the dirt that gathers around corners and straight edges.

When it comes to multi-room navigation, both are designed with similar mapping technology. There is no limit set as to the rooms that Roombas can clean at different levels. Both models create a temporary map of a home and when they run out of battery, they are designed to recharge and resume cleaning functions automatically. Both can clean 2000 square foot in a single level.

While cleaning, there could be power cords or wires that come in their way. Both Roomba models are designed with anti-tangle technology. This promises that they will not damage carpet fringes, tassels or cords.

With the virtual wall barrier technology in both models, users can demarcate sections of their home that they do not want the models to clean. This can be a single setup for 960 model and two sections in the case of 980 model. This is a differentiation to consider in Roomba 960 vs. 980 comparison.

Roomba 980 vs Roomba 960

Image Credit: Aolcdn

Carpeted areas need more suction power to clean as compared to hardwood floors. The 980 model comes with an inbuilt carpet boost technology that kicks in when it sensors carpeted surfaces. This helps to clean such surfaces more effectively as compared to the 960 model.

Floors made of laminate, tiles or hardwood can be cleaned effectively with the inbuilt technology in both models.

Both models are designed with a cliff detection feature. This enables them to detect stairs and prevent them from falling off the edges.

Bottom line: In terms of cleaning of corners, wall edges and hardwood floors of a given square foot area, both models prove equally effective. The 980 model has carpet boost technology which makes carpet cleaning superior with this model; it can also set up two wall barrier sections while the 960 model has only a single virtual wall mode.

6. Accessories & Parts

This refers to the different components that are fitted in the iRobot Roomba 960 and iRobot Roomba 980 models.

Roomba 960 model comprises of the following components:

irobot roomba 960

Image Credit: Pinterest

  • This is similar to 980 model and is a base unit along with a charging cord.
  • Spinning brush is found on the underside area and it sweeps in the dust to the larger brush roll fitted inside.
  • There is one barrier unit in this model which helps to block off certain areas as in 980 model.
  • HEPA filter is designed based on the AeroForce filtration technology.

The 980 model comes with:

irobot roomba 980

Image Credit: Overstock

  • A charging base that comprises a base unit along with a charging cord.
  • The spinning brush that is installed in its underside and spins as it cleans.
  • Two virtual wall barriers are installed inside the device which helps to block off areas like straight passes or doorways, radial areas such as a pet food station.
  • HEPA filter; a filter that is designed on the filtration system AeroForce technology.

Bottom line: The only difference is the incision of an additional virtual wall barrier in 980 model. In terms of accessories, the virtual wall barrier feature requires additional batteries. Since the iRobot Roomba 960 model has a single virtual wall barrier feature while the 980 model has two, the barriers are powered by AA batteries respectively.

7. Usability

Usability refers to ease of use and effectiveness of cleaning floors, mapping out home space, navigating multiple rooms and cleaning edges and corners. Other aspects include pairing with the app, enabling Wi-Fi, programming schedule cleanings.

Usability of 980 model is stated to be user-friendly and intuitive which makes it the best Roomba. Pairing with the app happens easily as confirmed by most users. Once Wi-Fi enabling is done scheduled cleanings can be programmed easily through the app. It can easily be controlled through Google Home or Amazon Alexa. The 960 model also offers similar advantages. The setup is easy to figure out and Wi-Fi connection is easy to set up as well.

Both models are designed to cover floor areas per level up to 2000 square foot. Depending on the number of cleaning passes and how dirty the floors are, the models might have to recharge and get back to cleaning a certain level. Both are designed with tracking sensors that ensure that they do not go back to areas already cleaned and visual sensors help to see refrigerator, furniture and other loose items on the floor and work around them. Both models can navigate multiple rooms and over time adapt with a mapped vision of the home.

Bottom Line: Both models are equipped with similar capabilities. However, the 980 model is fitted with longer battery life as compared to Roomba 960.

8. Maintenance

Maintenance is a common concern when it comes to appliances. This aspect refers to how the models can be cleaned and maintained and how often that needs to be done by the users.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

Image Credit: Youtube

Both these robot vacuum cleaners are equipped with brushless extractors. There are rubber rollers that are fitted in these devices to shake and beat off dust and debris particles from the floor. Once they are loosened, the suction takes them up. For both models it is recommended to empty out the dust bin after use; the HEPA filter needs to be taken off and pet hair or dust removed from it. The rubber rollers, side brush, and front caster can be cleaned once a week. The cleaning of the parts does not take long and can be done as per the amount of dirt or debris that has to be cleaned from your floors.

Bottom line: Both models are designed similarly and it is easy to clean them out, especially the rollers after every use.

9. Battery Life

Roomba 960 Battery
iRobot Authentic Replacement Parts- Roomba 1800 Lithium Ion Battery- Compatible with Roomba 960/895/890/860/695/680/690/675/640/614
Roomba 980 Battery
Mr.Batt Replacement Battery for iRobot Roomba 500 600 700 800 900 Series Robot Vacuums
Size
2,130 mAh
3,300 mAh
Charging Time
2-3 hours
2-3 hours
Run Time
75 minutes
120 minutes
Roomba 960 Battery
iRobot Authentic Replacement Parts- Roomba 1800 Lithium Ion Battery- Compatible with Roomba 960/895/890/860/695/680/690/675/640/614
Size
2,130 mAh
Charging Time
2-3 hours
Run Time
75 minutes
Roomba 980 Battery
Mr.Batt Replacement Battery for iRobot Roomba 500 600 700 800 900 Series Robot Vacuums
Size
3,300 mAh
Charging Time
2-3 hours
Run Time
120 minutes

In terms of battery life, 960 model is fitted with a lithium-ion battery of 2130 mAh. This allows it to vacuum for a time period of 75 minutes without needing to recharge. The 980 model is fitted with a 3300 mAh lithium-ion battery. Its battery life lasts for 120 minutes. Even though there is a difference in the battery life of both models, they are designed to recharge and get back to vacuuming an assigned task.

Bottom line: 980 model is built to last longer on a single charge than the 960 model.

10. Wi-Fi Capabilities

iRobot Roomba Comparison

Image Credit: Youtube

This feature refers to the wireless capabilities inbuilt in both devices and pairing with apps.

Both machines can work without Wi-Fi. There is a function button called Clean on the devices which can be pressed to set it on or put them on a cleaning task. However, connecting to a wireless network helps to use several of the functions offered through the iRobot home app that can help program these devices. A user can schedule cleaning, set up one or two cleaning passes, add on features like carpet boost or edge clean which requires the vacuums to clean along the walls with extra effort.

Bottom line: Both models include similar features and functions when connected through Wi-Fi and the app.

11. Carpet Boost

This is a feature that refers to the effective cleaning of carpeted surfaces. It refers to the ability of the models to clean dirt off the carpet fibers.

This aspect is better in the 980 model since it is built with a carpet boost technology. This leads to extra suction power that kicks in when the sensors pick up carpeted areas. That helps in effective cleaning from the carpet fibers.

Bottom line: Carpet cleaning is better with 980 model due to the carpet boost technology inbuilt.

12. Performance on Hardwood Floors

Roomba Comparison

Image Credit: Spectrum

This is an aspect that is important when it comes to robot vacuum cleaners. It refers to how well they can pick up dirt or debris from different uncarpeted floor surfaces without leaving scratches or marks on such surfaces.

Both models are designed to clean hardwood floors effectively of different structural materials. They can easily pick up dirt or debris from floor surfaces made of laminates, hardwood, and tiles. They both work with the loosening of dirt particles from the floor with the underbrush and pushing them in the path of the rollers fitted with a suction force below. This, in turn, sucks up the dirt particles and the process of cleaning leaves no stains or marks on the floor.

Bottom line: Both models are found equally effective in cleaning up hardwood floors.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 : Pros and Cons

The following pros and cons can be found in Roomba 960:

iRobot Roomba 960 Pros
  • Its price is lower than Roomba 980.
  • It can perform similar tasks as Roomba 980 with certain features exempted.

iRobot Roomba 960 Cons
  • The carpet boost technology is missing in this model.
  • The motor strength is weak as it is an older model.
  • Suction power is less which is a limitation for cleaning carpeted floors.
  • Run time is shorter since its battery life is 75 minutes.

The following pros and cons can be found in the 980 model:

iRobot Roomba 980 Pros
  • 980 model is fitted with a stronger motor and provides powerful cleaning.
  • Carpet boost technology makes cleaning of carpeted floors more effective with 980.

iRobot Roomba 980 Cons
  • High priced model.
  • The sound emitted during operation is louder as compared to Roomba 960.

Who should buy the iRobot Roomba 960?

Roomba 960 is recommended for those who wish to spend a little less and do not need extra features that the 980 model offers. Roomba 960 still comes equipped with several impressive features such as Recharge and Resume and Digital Map Reports which are hallmark qualities of the 900 series.

This model is ideal for those who are looking for a robot vacuum at a lower price and comes with all the special features of the 900 series and is an upgrade from the 800 series.

Sale
iRobot Roomba 960
4,233 Reviews
iRobot Roomba 960
  • Power-Lifting Suction delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance. (Compared to...
  • Intelligently maps and cleans an entire level of your home. Patented iAdapt 2. 0 technology with...

Who should buy the iRobot Roomba 980?

This model is recommended for those who want the top of the line technology of this segment. The main benefits that this particular model provides are its carpet boost mode, two vertical wall barrier modes, and an advanced motor. The distinctive features of the 900 series are all present in this model but it is the high priced model among others. Hence, those who are unhindered by the price differential can opt for Roomba 980.

Sale
iRobot Roomba 980
2,545 Reviews
iRobot Roomba 980
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for improved pick up performance; Automatically...
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with VSlam technology allows the robot to map its surroundings to...

Final Verdict – Which one to Choose?

If you wish to buy the best robot vacuum model that is out there, the 980 model is recommended for you. The intuitive navigation, powerful motor for cleaning carpeted surfaces and digital map reports are some of the highlights of this device.

The 960 model is recommended for everyday cleaning of small spaces and for those who do not need the extra suction power for carpeted surfaces.

So, this is all you need to know about the iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 comparison.

Which out of the two Roomba’s you like the most, let us know in the comments section below!

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Last update on 2020-04-06 at 17:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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