As the name ‘Roomba’ becomes more commonplace in the home, the need for Roomba reviews follows. Are these robot vacuums all they appear to be? Can an automatic vacuums really clean as well as an upright, like the Dyson Ball, or stick, like the Shark Rocket? Our iRobot Roomba reviews dive into the world of robot vacuums and help to break down the differences and performance capabilities in each model.
iRobot Roomba Reviews
In 2002, the first Roomba was introduced to the public in the form of a robot vacuum. It was a little bizarre and futuristic to imagine a small robot that could effectively clean your home… but it did. Over the years, Roomba has rolled out more advanced models, adding to their features and refining their performance.
Other competing robot vacuums have also launched, including the Neato Botvac and Ecovacs Deebot (among others), to compete for the title of best robot vacuum, as multiple companies continue to blaze the trail through household cleaning.
The signature round shape, central CLEAN button, and simple aesthetic may be great for the iRobot Roomba brand, but it can make them more difficult to determine what makes each model unique. This guide is going to look specifically at Roomba vacuum reviews to see how they compare to each other, and help you discover which Roomba may be right for you.
|Roomba 980||Roomba 960||Roomba 890||Roomba 690||Roomba 614|
|Runtime (approx.)||Up to 120 mins||Up to 75 mins||Up to 60 mins||Up to 60 mins||Up to 60 mins|
|Full Bin Indicator|
|Digital Map Reports|
|Recharge & Resume|
|Roller Brushes||Dual rubber (less tangle)||Dual rubber (less tangle)||Dual rubber (less tangle)||Bristle style||Bristle style|
|Remote Control||iRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||iRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||iRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||iRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant||None|
|Virtual Walls (included)||2||1||1||1||0|
|Buy||Buy Now||Buy Now ||Buy Now ||Buy Now ||Buy Now
|Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
Roomba Reviews Analyzed
The following table looks at several popular Roomba reviews by model on Amazon.com. We decided to use Amazon for this analysis because of the quantity of reviews available and the credibility that their reviews are generally known to have.
That said, reviews are sometimes fake or artificially manipulated on Amazon (and elsewhere). To double check review credibility we use ReviewMeta.com, a website that analyzes Amazon reviews to help judge whether they can be trusted or not. All 5 of the product pages we looked at received a green-lit pass score on ReviewMeta.
|Roomba 980||Roomba 960||Roomba 890||Roomba 690||Roomba 650|
|Total 5 Stars||74%||70%||50%||60%||70%|
|Total 1 Stars||7%||6%||9%||9%||5%|
Another metric that I often look at is the percentage of 5 star vs. percentage of 1 star reviews. In most cases, any product with 10% or fewer 1 star reviews I consider to be very good. But to couple that with 5 stars in the 70-74% range on the Roomba 980, Roomba 960, and Roomba 650 is a great indicator.
Roomba Features & Performance Similarities
One feature that is common on many Roomba models is the ability to schedule cleaning. Scheduling can be done directly on the robot itself, through a menu panel, or from the iRobot HOME app (for Roomba’s that have wifi connectivity).
Scheduling allows the Roomba to clean your home at specific times and on specific days. Select the same time, 7 days a week or choose varying times depending on the day. In addition to scheduled cleaning, the Roomba still has the option to clean at any time by pressing the CLEAN button at the center of the unit.
Some Roombas allow scheduling with a physical button on the vacuum, while other models rely on WiFi connection and app control through your smartphone or tablet.
Recharge & Resume
Recharge and resume is a newer feature to hit the Roomba line. This technology allows the Roomba to clean, return to charge, and then resume cleaning again where it left off. This is a great feature for larger homes or homes with a lot of obstacles that may take longer for the Roomba to navigate.
iRobot HOME App
The iRobot HOME app works with any Roomba robot vacuum that uses wifi. This wifi connectivity allows the vacuum to pair to your phone or tablet and gives the user greater control and customization of their cleaning cycles.
The app advertises “Connect to clean – from anywhere” and allows you to do any of the following functions directly from your device:
- Start or pause cleaning cycles
- Schedule a clean
- Select custom cleaning preferences
- Monitor activity of your robot vacuum
- Cleaning Reports (Roomba 900 Series only)
- Turn on notifications during a cleaning cycle
- Review past cleaning jobs
- Receive software updates
- Access customer service
iAdapt Navigation is Roomba’s driving technology that helps Roomba navigate around unique spaces. As it cleans a room, it adapts to its surroundings and over time most models will learn to map their environment. This internal mapping usually means less trial-and-error and less bumping into your furniture or walls.
This iAdapt technology also equipts these robot vacuums with the intelligence they need to get out of tight spots, prevent tangling cords, and navigate through tricky furniture like chair legs or sofas.
iAdapt 1.0 was Roomba’s first iteration of navigation technology. It relied on an array of sensors which resulted in a somewhat random, ‘bump and continue’ approach. These Roomba models would softly knock in to walls, furniture, and other obstacles, and continue in modified direction to avoid the obstacle.
iAdapt 2.0 is the second iteration of navigation technology and includes Visual Localization. In this second version, Roomba houses a new camera and sensor that more accurately maps the rooms, allowing these robot vacuums to navigate an entire level of a home, while still maintaining its location. This is currently, the newest newest navigation technology that iRobot has released (as of November 2017.)
Roomba’s dirt detection technology, otherwise known as, “Dirt Detect” uses sensors within the robot that help to detect areas of higher traffic and more dirt. Using these sensors, the robot vacuum can sense an area and know to spend a bit more time on these dirtier areas. Dirt Detect can also be used for spot cleaning or quick touch ups of busy areas.
Similar to “Dirt Detect”, all Roomba’s come equipped with a similar technology called “Cliff Detect” which helps to prevent the robot from driving off of ledges, lofts, or stairs. Many Roomba vacuums also come with laser wall barriers, but with the Cliff Detect technology, it is not necessary to use your virtual wall barriers in these instances since it is already built with the technology to protect itself from these types of obstacles.
Virtual wall barriers are small devices that emit a solid infrared light. While you won’t be able to see the light across a room, your iRobot Roomba will, and it helps to prevent them from accessing areas they shouldn’t or rooms you don’t want it to go into.
Some Roomba (like the Roomba 880) also feature a Lighthouse barrier. These barriers are similar to virtual walls, in that they use infrared light to guide and direct the Roomba robot vacuum. Lighthouses are placed between rooms you want Roomba to clean.
The vacuum will clean one room entirely (as the Lighthouse emits the infrared light to block off other areas) and once a room is completely clean, it will automatically turn off the infrared light and allow the vacuun to continue cleaning into the next room.
Most Roomba uses two basic types of filtration systems in their Roomba robot vacuums- AeroVac and AeroForce. iRobot Roomba’s cleaning steps to get the dirt and debris from floor to filter are as follows:
- Agitate – Two debris extractors agitate the flooring to help break up dirt an debris.
- Brush – Brushes roll the debris up off of the floor and into the body of the vacuum.
- Suction – Suction power collects guides the debris into the dust bin for filtration.
The AeroVac system includes a small dust bin and the filter has a soft curve to it that was designed to increase airflow and guide debris to the back of the bin, making it easier to empty.
The AeroForce system uses small rectangular HEPA filter for high efficiency filtration of small particles. The AerForce system allows for 60% more bin capacity than the AeroVac system.
Power Boost is a new feature, unique to Roombas in the 900 series. This technology allows the Roomba to increase suction when it approaches higher pile surfaces, like a dense area run or carpeted floor.
iRobot Roomba Models
There are many different models of Roomba robot vacuums on the market today. Their current models range in price from $299 – $899 and each model has varying features and capabilities. This guide is going to help breakdown some of the main features, pros, cons, and other points of interest about each model.
The models below are divided by newest and older models. The newest Roomba models can be purchased directly from the manufacturer, iRobot or from other retailers, while the older legacy models can only be purchased from third party retailer, like Amazon.com.
The list of the newest Roomba models are constantly changing, as iRobot releases newer robots they gradually phase out older ones. The models are broken out into series numbers (e.g.; 800 series, 900 series, etc.), and within each series there are a couple different robot vacuums that have many similarities (e.g.; Roomba 850, Roomba 870, Roomba 890.)
When the technology advances enough, that there is a more significant change between models, Roomba issues a new series.
The current list of current generation Roomba includes just five models. These models range in price from $299 – $899 and also range in capabilities and features.
The Roomba 614 is the most basic model, but still covers most of what you’d want in a robot vacuum. This model does not offer scheduling, but it self-charges, has dirt detection. drop detection, and basic navigation capabilities. You can also spot clean difficult areas. The Roomba 614 uses the AeroVac system for filtration and debris collection. As you might guess from the low price, the Roomba 614 does not offer WiFi capabilities or the ability to control using an app or other Smart device.
The Roomba 690 is a slightly more advanced model over the 614. This particular model does everything the Roomba 614 can do, but also includes scheduling and WiFi connectivity. The Roomba 690 is a nice step up if you’re looking for the added Smart features, but don’t want the higher price tags of the newest models. The Roomba 690 also uses the AeroVac system for filtration and debris collection and has an updated silver and black aesthetic, versus the all black look of the 614.
The Roomba 890 a considerable step up over the 600 series. The Roomba 890 does everything the 600 series does, like spot cleaning, dirt detection, drop detection, scheduling and WiFi control. It also includes improved roller brushes that are less likely to tangle as well as an improved filtration and vacuum system, called the AeroForce. The Roomba 890 has a metallic bronze look to it and still features the classic central “CLEAN” button in the middle of the unit.
The Roomba 960 is a part of the 900 series, which is a significant step up, both in terms of price and features. This model was the first Roomba to venture away from the center CLEAN button configuration. Compared to the 800 series, it has many of the same functions like drop detection, dirt detection, scheduling, and WiFi control. It also includes improved roller brushes and the AeroForce filtration system. The Roomba 960 does everything that the 800 series does, but has a longer run time, is better equipped to clean multiple rooms, and can recharge and restart itself up to 3 times to complete larger cleaning jobs.
Lastly, the Roomba 980 is the most advanced model. It includes all of the prior features of the Roomba 960 model, but also introduced “Power Boost” which is an automatic temporary increase in suction power when cleaning dense carpets or thick area rugs. The 980 has Smart features like wifi and can connect to iPhone or Android users via an app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home. Similar to the 960, the Roomba 980 also has the increased run time, can recharge and restart itself and has the increase navigation power to clean multiple rooms. These added bells and whistles help to increase performance and convenience when vacuuming a home.
The following older model Roombas are no longer sold directly from iRobot on their website, but that is not to say that these robots are poor quality. Technology and features are always changing, but the goal of a good clean stays the same. These older models generally lack the bells and whistles or convenience features of the newer Roombas, but for users looking for a steal of a deal, hunting down a legacy Roomba can be a great way to get a quality robot vacuum at a great price.
Some older Roomba models that may be worth taking a look at include the:
The Roomba 650 would be comparable to the 614 model. It’s basic as far as performance and systems, but it does have the added feature of scheduling. The Roomba 650 has no WiFi connection, like its successor, the Roomba 690, but if app control is not a deal breaker for you, choosing the 650 will save you a couple dollars.
The Roomba 770 would be most comparable to the 650. The advantages of the 770 model is the dual HEPA filters, an additional virtual wall and dust bin notification (when full.) This can be a nice feature for users who suffer from allergies or sensitivities to pet dander or other small debris. The dual filter system was a design that came after the AeroVac, but before the AeroForce. The disadvantages of the dual filter would mean twice the filter replacement costs.
The Roomba 870 is slightly more advanced than the 700 series. Although, it lacks the Smart features like wifi app control or the ability to connect to Amazon Alexa, the 870 does have improved roller brushes that are less likely to tangle and includes the more advanced AeroForce cleaning system.
The Roomba 880 does not have WiFi connection, but does include an improved navigation and the ability to clean multiple rooms in one cleaning cycle. Using virtual walls (included), you can confine the Roomba to one particular room to clean. Roomba also has a ‘Lighthouse’ mode that allows Roomba to clean complete rooms before moving onto the next room (for up to three rooms.) Performance wise, it’s comparable to the 890, but without the smart features like wifi app connection or the ability to connect to Amazon Alexa.