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?
Our iRobot Roomba reviews dive into the world of robot vacuums and help to break down the differences and performance capabilities in each model.
Continue below to see if a Roomba vacuum is right for you.
We are supported by readers purchasing products we feature. When you buy products with our links, we earn a commission. Questions? See how Modern Castle works.
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, including their recent 980 and 960, 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||~120 mins||~75 mins||~60 mins||~60 mins||~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 has five models that are currently in their flagship lineup—the Roomba 980, Roomba 960, Roomba 890, Roomba 690, and Roomba 614. These models are the only models for sale on iRobot.com, although older models are still available through many third party retailers.
The current models highlight the best that Roomba has to offer, spanning a wide range of prices and capabilities. If you’re in the market for a new Roomba, the current models are excellent options and don’t come with the worry of discontinued parts or older software.
The Roomba 980 is the top-of-the line Roomba that’s currently on the market. It offers the highest rating in Modern Castle robot vacuum cleaning performance as well as the intelligence to navigate large or complicated spaces.
DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 980 puts the navigational camera at the center of the unit, which shifts the “CLEAN” button up slightly. It’s got a dark body with smooth lines and low levels of contrast.
RUN TIME | The Roomba 980 can run for up to 120 minutes, without stopping. With the Recharge & Resume feature, it can clean for up to 6 hours (charging two times in the middle of the cycle).
NAVIGATION | The Roomba 980 uses iAdapt 2.0 technology for advanced navigation that moves in more logical, straighter patterns. The 980 model can also create digital maps as it cleans which helps it to know where it’s been and areas that still need to be cleaned.
FILTRATION & COLLECTION | The Roomba 980 runs off of the AeroForce system which is an upgraded HEPA filter with dual rubberized brushrolls. This is great for cleaning pet hair, which would otherwise tend to stick and tangle. The Roomba 980 also has a higher suction mode called Power Boost. Power Boost provides a little extra boost of suction when cleaning difficult spaces like dense carpet or high traffic area rugs. The Roomba 980 also has advanced Dirt Detection for a better all-around deep clean.
USABILITY | You can control the Roomba 980 using the iRobot HOME App or voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Schedule cleanings ahead of time or manually start a cycle with the app or the physical “CLEAN” button on the vacuum itself. Using the digital maps, the Roomba 980 is also able to constantly track its location. When it gets low on battery, it can simply drive back to the charger, juice up, and then get right back to cleaning where it left off. iRobot calls this feature “Recharge & Resume”.
The Roomba 960 is one step below the Roomba 980. It has many of the same features as it’s top-of-the-line counterpart, but has two main differences. One—the Roomba 960 includes only one virtual wall. Two—the Roomba 960 does not have the Power Boost cleaning mode.
Beyond that, the 960 is very similar to the 980. See our complete 960 vs. 980 comparisons here.
DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 960 is similar to the 980 in terms of where buttons are located. The 960 also has the centrally located navigational camera with the “CLEAN” button right above it. Aesthetically, the 960 is a little lighter in color compared to the 980.
RUN TIME | The Roomba 960 can run for up to 75 minutes, without stopping. With the Recharge & Resume feature, it can clean for up to 225 minutes (charging two times in the middle of the cycle).
NAVIGATION | The Roomba 960 uses iAdapt 2.0 technology for advanced navigation that moves in more logical, straighter patterns. Similar to the Roomba 980, the 960 model can also create digital maps as it cleans which helps it to know where it’s been and areas that still need to be cleaned.
FILTRATION & COLLECTION | The Roomba 960 uses the same filtration system as the Roomba 980—the AeroForce system. This advanced system includes a HEPA filter as well as dual rubberized brushrolls for agitating and collecting debris. Unlike the 980, the 960 does NOT have Power Boost technology for collecting debris on high traffic carpets or area rugs. Like the Roomba 980, the Roomba 960 also has advanced Dirt Detection for a better deep clean.
USABILITY | Usability of the Roomba 960 is basically identical to that of the 980 model. You can control the Roomba 960 using the iRobot HOME App or voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It’s easy to schedule cleanings, or manually start a cycle with the push of a button (or verbal command). The Roomba 960 has the same ability to create digital maps as the 960 model. With this technology, the 960 can detect when it’s low on battery, drive back to the base for a quick charge, and then get right back to cleaning where it left off. (Recharge & Resume)
The Roomba 890 just down from the 900 Series Roombas to the 800 Series. This series is a good “middle-of-the-road” option for users who want something more self-sufficient than the 600 series, but a lower price tag than the 900 series.
DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 890 looks similar in color to the Roomba 980, more of a bronzy undertone compared to the silver undertones of the Roomba 960 model. Unlike the 900 Series Roomba, the 890 does not have the advanced navigational camera on this unit. Instead, the classic “CLEAN” button is placed directly in the center of the vacuum, with a front bumper and easy access dust-bin release along the back edge.
RUN TIME | The Roomba 890 can run for up to 60 minutes, without stopping. Unlike the Roomba 960 or Roomba 980, the 890 model does not have Recharge & Resume so if it can’t clean the whole space in 60 minutes, it will need to fully recharge and then manually be placed in the portion of the room it was not able to complete.
NAVIGATION | The Roomba 890 uses the standard iAdapt 1.0 navigation. Compared with the iAdapt 2.0 of the 900 Roomba vacuums, you may find the 890 model to drive a bit more sporadically. You won’t get the clean and crisp vacuum lines with this model, but using its navigational sensors, it will eventually get all of the separate areas clean. More complicated layouts may require a bit more “babysitting” to make sure the vacuum doesn’t get stuck / lost.
FILTRATION & COLLECTION | The Roomba 890 uses the same advanced filtration and brushroll system, the AeroForce, as the Roomba 900 Series models. This advanced technology has an improved HEPA filter over older models as well as the anti-tangle dual rubberized brushrolls. The Roomba 890 does not have the Power Boost capability or advanced Dirt Detection.
USABILITY | Usability of the Roomba 890 is similar to the 980 and 960 models. You can control the Roomba 890 using the iRobot HOME App or voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. You can schedule cleanings ahead of time using the app or smart home device, or you can manually start a cycle by pressing the button the center of the vacuum. The Roomba 890 does not have Recharge & Resume technology or the ability to create digital cleaning maps.
The Roomba 690 is the best value robot vacuum that Roomba currently offers, in my opinion, and arguably the best value of any robot vac on the market. It has several nice extra features over the more basic models, including WiFi connectivity, app control, voice control, and scheduling.
DESIGN | The 690 has the sharpest contrast of any Roomba, with a silver and black aesthetic. Like most Roomba’s, it maintains the centrally located “CLEAN” button. The dust bin release is along the rear of the unit, with the primary bumper being placed along the front.
RUN TIME | Roomba 690 comes equipped with a sizable lithium-ion battery, allowing it to run for around 1 hour. It does not include the recharge and resume feature, so for larger homes, you may have to manually run it a couple of times. If you do want to give the 690 a longer run time you may consider upgrading the battery. There are quite a few options on Amazon that provide significant increases in battery capacity for the 690 (as well as other Roomba models).
NAVIGATION | The 690 uses iRobot iAdapt 1.0 technology. This is their standard “bump and continue” cleaning pattern. It’s certainly more random than the more advanced Roomba 960 and 980, however, it still gets the job done. Lastly, there are no digital maps available on the 690.
FILTRATION & COLLECTION | The Roomba 690 comes equipped with the AeroVac system. This is Roomba’s more basic filter, and not classified as a HEPA filter. The brushroll is the more basic bristle style.
USABILITY | None of the Roomba line up are particularly difficult to use (especially compared to other robot vacuums we’ve tested…looking at you Samsung Powerbot). To start a cleaning, simply click the cleaning button once to wake up Roomba and one more time to make it go. Want to stop it? Just click it again. It’s ultra-intuitive.
The 690 does include scheduling, which you can set up through the iRobot app.
The Roomba 614 is the most basic current model that Roomba offers. It lacks the bells and whistles of more advanced models, but what it lacks in technology, it more than makes up for in overall value. Considering cleaning performance, this Roomba is still a powerful little vacuum at a great price point for what you get.
DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 614 is a simple black aesthetic with silver accents for some settings and the central “CLEAN” buttons. There is the same bumper at the front and dust bin / filter release at the back with a convenient carrying handle at the top.
RUN TIME | The Roomba 614 can run for up to 60 minutes, without stopping. It should come as no surprise that the Roomba 614 doesn’t have Recharge & Resume technology so 60 minutes is the max cleaning time, but for many homes, this is more than enough time to get the job done. It may also be worth pointing out that the run time for the Roomba 890 and Roomba 614 is identical, despite their varying price tag.
NAVIGATION | The Roomba 614 uses basic navigation in a ‘bump and continue’ type of approach. The vacuum pattern is a bit sporadic (it’s the same iAdapt 1.0 that comes equipped with the Roomba 890 model) and this model does not have the ability to create digital map reports, like the 900 series Roombas.
FILTRATION & COLLECTION | The Roomba 614 uses the more basic style of filtration—the AeroVac system. The AeroVac system is a bit less efficient than the AeroForce system from a filtration standpoint and it lacks the advanced brushrolls that help with tangling pet hair. The 614 model uses bristle style brushrolls to agitate and collect debris, which can sometimes cause tangles or clogs in the system.
USABILITY | The usability of the Roomba 614 is definitely something that takes a bit more work, compared to newer models. For instance, the Roomba 614 does not have the ability to schedule cleanings or a full bin indicator light. It can’t generate those digital map reports that help to show areas its cleaned and areas its missed, nor does it have advanced navigation, dirt detection or Power Boost.
Lastly, the Roomba 614 is not compatible with the iRobot HOME app, Amazon Alexa, ore Google Assistant. Pressing the “CLEAN” button on the top of the vacuum is the only way to start, pause, or stop a cleaning cycle. With a little “babysitting” this vacuum can still get the job done, but it’s likely going to need a little help from you.
The 900 Series Roomba robot vacuums represent the best that Roomba currently has to offer. Unlike older models, the 900 Series introduced a brand new style to the Roomba family.
Instead of centrally located “CLEAN” button, the 900 Series puts a navigational camera at the center of the unit. With this new technology, 900 Roomba models also can generate digital map reports, so you know exactly where it’s been cleaning.
All 900 Series Roombas are wifi-enabled to work seamlessly with the iRobot Home app.
ROOMBA 980 | The Roomba 980 is the most advanced model. It includes all of the 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.
See our complete Roomba 980 review for more information.
ROOMBA 960 | The Roomba 960 is a part of the 900 series, which is a significant step up, both in terms of price and features, compared to older series models.
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.
These added bells and whistles help to increase performance and convenience when vacuuming a home.
See our complete Roomba 960 review for more information.
800 Series Roomba Robots
The 800 Series Roombas are one step below the 900 Series models. Without the advanced central camera, the 800 Series Roombas lack the advanced navigation and digital mapping that the 900 Series Roomba have.
They do have the advanced AeroForce filtration system though, something that is lacking in the 700 and 600 Series Roombas.
The 800 Series Roombas have a mix of wifi-enabled and non-wifi-enabled models.
ROOMBA 890 | 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.
See our complete Roomba 890 review for more information.
ROOMBA 880 | 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 or use it to keep Roomba out of more sensitive areas.
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.
ROOMBA 870 | 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.
See our complete Roomba 870 review here.
ROOMBA 860 | The Roomba 860 robot vacuum includes the AeroForce cleaning system with the advanced dual-rubberized brushrolls. You can schedule cleanings using the buttons on the top of the robot or simply press “CLEAN” for a manual cycle.
The 860 model also includes the newer Lighthouse virtual barrier, versus the older standard style barrier like you, get with the Roomba 870. Aesthetically, the 860 model has a light silver body with a black accent in the middle. The 860 doesn’t seem to be totally discontinued, but it’s also not widely available.
ROOMBA 805 | The Roomba 805 has many of the same features as newer 800 series Roombas, like AeroForce filtration and new dual rubberized brushroll. Schedule a cleaning or manually press the “CLEAN” button. As an added bonus, the 805 model includes two Lighthouse virtual barriers, unlike many other models which only include one OR include the older style which is not as usable.
ROOMBA 801 | The Roomba 801 seems to have been discontinued by iRobot and it’s quite difficult to find. It is still available from some third-party sellers but for all intents and purposes, the Roomba 890 robot vacuum replaced the Roomba 801 and is the most similar.
Click here to read the full review of the Roomba 890.
700 Series Roomba Robots
The Roomba 700 Series includes robot vacuums that are a bit more rare. For whatever reason, vacuums from the 600 series are still popular for the budget-friendly cleaner and vacuums from the 800 series are popular for those looking for a boost in performance, but there are not many models lasting from the 700 series.
This could be due to it’s lack of differentiation from the 600 series. Although each model varies slightly, the biggest change that the 700 series brought is the integration of a full bin indicator light. A nice add, but not exactly a real game changer in terms of cleaning performance.
ROOMBA 790 | The Roomba 790 is one of the more unique Roomba models in that it had a metallic blue body and is marketed specifically to clean up after pets. It offers iAdapt 1.0 navigation, advanced dirt detection and three virtual wall barriers. The virtual barriers are the newer “Lighthouse” style, an improvement over the standard virtual wall barriers.
The Roomba 790 also includes a remote control for easier usability. This model runs off of the old AeroVac cleaning system, a step below the advanced AeroForce system in newer models. While this model isn’t entirely off the shelf, it is has been widely discontinued in place of newer models.
ROOMBA 780 | The Roomba 780 uses iAdapt 1.0 navigation, advanced dirt detect technology, and two virtual wall “Lighthouses”. It has HEPA filtration, although it is the AeroVac system, a step down from the advanced AeroForce filtration system that’s common in newer models. The 780 can have scheduled cleanings, manual cleanings, or be controlled with a remote control.
Like the Roomba 790, it seems to have been mostly discontinued. However, it’s still possible to find it via some retailers. For most users, you’ll be better off stepping up to the Roomba 890 or if you want something more budget-friendly, go with the 690.
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 770 is not as widely available for purchase, so it can be difficult to find and needlessly expensive.
600 Series Roomba Robots
The 600 Series Roombas are the most basic Roombas on the market, but make no mistake, these budget-friendly robots can still provide a powerful clean.
The Roomba 614 is the base model of current Roombas on the market. While these 600 Series models don’t have fancy navigation, advanced filtration, or full bin indicators, they can still get the job done for many homes.
ROOMBA 614 | 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 devices.
ROOMBA 690 | 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.
Check out our Roomba 690 vs. 614 comparisons here for more info.
ROOMBA 665 | The Roomba 665 uses iAdapt 1.0 navigation and has no wifi connection. The 665 model supports scheduled cleanings or manual cleanings and comes with one dual-mode advanced virtual barrier.
ROOMBA 650 | 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.
Check out our Roomba 650 review here.
ROOMBA 620 | The Roomba 620 runs off of iAdapt 1.0 navigation and the AeroVac filtration system. It uses a bristle-style brushroll and can run pre-programmed scheduled cleaning cycles or manual cycles using the “CLEAN” button. Although this model is not entirely discontinued from select third-party vendors, it is certainly on its way out the door.
500 Series Roomba Robots
The Roomba 500 series is going back pretty far in the Roomba vault.
These models, although originally popular, have now been basically discontinued.
However, we’ve still included some high-level information on several of the most popular models in case you want to pick up one used.
ROOMBA 560 | The Roomba 560 is certainly one of the older models on the market. It is widely discontinued and only available from a select number of third-party vendors. If you can even find one, it’ll have the older AeroVac filtration system and the old style of virtual barrier (not dual-mode). If you’re looking for a similar model that is more up-to-date, I would recommend the Roomba 650 robot vacuum.
You can read the full Roomba 650 vacuum review here.
ROOMBA 550 | The Roomba 550 robot vacuum is a model that is widely discontinued.
If you are able find it available for purchase you should know it uses the AeroVac filtration system, has drop detection, a self-charging base, and dirt sensors. The 550 also includes 3 replacement filters and 2 barrier walls (the older style).
For an updated version of the Roomba 550, I would recommend checking out the Roomba 600 series (see above).
ROOMBA 530 | The Roomba 530 robot vacuum is a model that is widely discontinued. However, you may be able to find it at some retailers, refurbished, or used.
It includes 2 virtual walls, drop detection, bristle-style brushrolls, dirt detection, and self-charging / docking.
For an updated version of the Roomba 530, I would recommend checking out the Roomba 600 series.
There are many third-party vendors that sell and review Roombas. Even among the different models, features, and performance specs, personal experiences will vary.
Third-party reviews can be a great way to get a broad spectrum idea of each Roomba model.
Regarding the Amazon Marketplace, there is no shortage of Roomba reviews. One of the great things about the Amazon model is the ability to quickly find a large number of documented, reliable third-party consumer reviews. From our quick search for the “best Roomba”, Amazon reveals consumer favoritism towards the following models:
There are obviously more models on Amazon that are available, but these five models are the ones that stick out the most on Amazon with the highest rating and the highest number of reviews. In some cases, these reviews are general consumers and in other cases, they are apart of the Amazon Vine program.
The Amazon Vine program sends free products to consumers to try and use, in exchange for their honest review. Honest reviews, especially with photos and other details about their experience, help to build trust and authenticity in the online market.
Reviews which are paid for should always have a blurb at the beginning or end stating that they received the product for free.
Consumer Reports generally has good things to say about iRobot’s Roomba line. They boast of the cleaning performance, modern design, and usability. The biggest criticism of Roombas from Consumer Reports actually comes with their newest release of the 900 series Roombas.
With both the Roomba 980 and Roomba 960, there have been mentions of improved navigation (the iAdapt 2.0) actually leading to diminished cleaning performance.
That being said, this is not something that we noticed on our cleaning performance tests of the Roomba 900 series models. In addition, we have photos and graphs of each cleaning test we conducted on the Roomba vacuums. Our tests did not show or experience the same issues as Consumer Reports indicating in their reviews.
The models above really show off the wide variety of models in the Roomba lineup.
But how do you know which Roomba is best for you?
The details below will outline specific features that Roomba offers.
Mix and Match—find the right features that are most important to you and then use the guide to see which Roomba models have those features.
iRobot HOME Mobile 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:
What Does The Roomba App Do?
Using the iRobot Home app on your smartphone or tablet, you can do any of the following tasks:
- 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
Roomba Filters: AeroVac vs. AeroForce
Most Roomba use one of two types of filtration systems – AeroVac or AeroForce. Maintaining the filter is fairly straightforward.
- Remove the dust bin from the Roomba. If it’s extra full, you may want to do so over a trash can so you don’t accidentally drop any debris.
- After you empty the dust bin, pull the filter from the dust bin encasement. Depending on the exact model it may come out by pressing a small pressure clip (AeroForce models) or by pressing the sides of the filter together (AeroVac models).
- Bump the filter against a trash can several times to help dislodge particles and clear debris.
- Re-install the now clean (or at least more cleaned) filter. You will periodically want to replace the filter.
AEROVAC FILTERS | 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.
AEROFROCE FILTERS | 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.
Another difference between each of these systems is the included brushrolls:
AEROFORCE BRUSHROLL | The AeroForce system uses a dual rubberized brushroll system that is more effective at reducing tangles from pet hair or long human hair. The rubberized brushrolls spin in opposite directions of each other, helping the system to effectively agitate and collect debris as it cleans.
AEROVAC BRUSHROLL | The AeroVac system uses a dual brushroll system that one large bristle style brushroll at the front of the unit and a smaller plastic paddle brushroll designed inside the unit. This system is also designed to effectively agitate and collect debris as it cleans. One drawback to the bristle style brushrolls is that if you’re collecting a lot of pet hair, this style tends to tangle more than the AeroForce system brushrolls would.
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 equips these robot vacuums with the intelligence they need to get out of tight spots, prevent tangling cords, and navigate through tricky furniture pieces like chair legs or sofas.
IADAPT 1.0 | iAdapt 1.0 was Roomba’s first iteration of navigation technology. It relies on an array of sensors which result in a somewhat random, ‘bump and continue’ approach. These Roomba models would softly knock into walls, furniture, and other obstacles, and continue in modified direction to avoid the obstacle.
IADAPT 2.0 | 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 navigation technology that iRobot has released (as of June 2018.)
Roomba Virtual Wall Barriers
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.
STANDARD BARRIER | The original virtual barrier can block a linear area up to 10′ in length, for doors, open areas, or sensitive parts of a room. This barrier uses infrared light to wirelessly communicate details about the space to the robot vacuum.
This barrier is battery-powered and has an “auto” mode so it only uses battery power when it detects that the Roomba is nearby.
DUAL MODE BARRIER | More advanced Roombas feature the more advanced dual mode barrier. These barriers can serve two basic functions.
- Block off linear paths up to 10′ in length
- Block off radial areas up to 4′ in diameter
These barriers are great due to their versatility. I am currently using several in my home, mostly to keep Roomba away from more sensitive areas where there are lots of cords and computer equipment.
LIGHTHOUSE BARRIER | A select few older Roomba models use a lighthouse barrier. The Lighthouse has a dual-function and can be used to block off a particular room or be used to help draw the Roomba into specific rooms or areas of your home. This can help Roomba reach spots that might be otherwise hard to clean.
As a lighthouse, this barrier communicates with the vacuum, directing it to clean one room entirely (as the Lighthouse emits the infrared light to block off other areas). Once a room is completely clean, it will automatically turn off the infrared light and allow the vacuum to continue cleaning into the next room.
The Lighthouse barrier is only available on select 500 series models, as well as the Roomba 780, 790, and 880.
The list below includes additional features that Roombas can do. At the bottom of each feature is a short list of which Roomba models have the listed feature.
SCHEDULE A CLEANING | 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.
Roomba models with the ability to Schedule A Cleaning include Roomba 980, Roomba 960, Roomba 890, Roomba 870, and Roomba 690.
RECHARGE & RESUME | Recharge and resume is a newer feature to hit the Roomba line. This technology allows the Roomba to clean, return to the charger, 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.
Roomba models with the ability to Recharge & Resume include Roomba 980 & Roomba 960.
DROP DETECTION | 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.
All Roomba models are equipped with Drop Detection.
DIRT DETECTION | 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.
All Roomba models are equipped with Dirt Detection. The Roomba 980 and Roomba 960 have ADVANCED levels of Dirt Detect technology, while all older Roomba models just have basic levels.
POWER BOOST | 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.
Roomba models with the Power Boost technology include Roomba 980 & Roomba 960.
Sometimes you’re looking for a Roomba for a specific task. Whether you have a modern apartment of sleek finishes and glossy hardwoods or a busling family home with pets, kids, and carpet galore… there’s a Roomba for you.
Best Roomba for Pet Hair | This is a guide dedicated specifically to Roombas and family pets. Put each Roomba to the test and see which would work best for you and your pet.
We also have a series of all-inclusive vacuum reviews that look outside of the Roomba family to see how Roomba compares to other models:
- Best Cheap Robot Vacuum (Spoiler: Check out the Roomba 690!)
- Best Vacuum for Hardwoods (Spoiler: Check out the Roomba 980!)
- Best Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet (Spoiler: Check out the Roomba 690!)
- Best Small Vacuum Cleaner (Spoiler: Check out the Roomba 980!)
- Best Robot Mop (Spoiler: Check out the Braava 380t or the Braava Jet 240… the Roomba of the mopping world by iRobot!)
So you’ve made it this far, but still not sure which Roomba is right for you?
You’re not alone.
To help you make the best decision, here are a couple more questions you should ask yourself…
What is your budget?
For a top-of-the-line Roomba with all the bells and whistles, you’ll have to pay a higher price. The 900 Series Roomba (Roomba 980 and Roomba 960) come in around $550 – $700, depending on sales and promotions.
If you’re looking for the best Roomba at the lowest price, it really has hard to beat the Roomba 690. For around $300, this vacuum provides a quality clean at a reasonable price and offers one step above the “the bare bones” package with the 614.
The Roomba 690 also includes scheduling and a wifi-connection. These two features alone are major strides in having a vacuum that is easier to maintain and less work for you.
What features are you looking for?
- If wifi-connectivity is a huge factor for you, consider the Roomba 980, Roomba 960, Roomba 890 or Roomba 690. All of these come equipped with wifi-connectivity for easy control using the app on your smart device or via voice commands integrated into a total smart home system.
- If navigation of large and complicated layouts are a top priority for you, you’ll want a Roomba with the advanced iAdapt 2.0 navigational system as well as Recharge & Resume technology. Currently, that only includes the 900 Series Roomba—Roomba 980 or Roomba 960, but these models are more advanced and capable of taking on large square footage or complicated floor plans.
All Roombas have the ability to self-charge when the battery gets low and have a run time of at least 60 minutes. They also all have at least basic levels of dirt detection and drop detection. Roomba all have front bumpers, a centrally located “CLEAN” button, and release on the side of the vacuum which slides out the dust bin and filter compartment.
These are just a few of the design features that make a Roomba a Roomba.
Picking the right Roomba for your crew can be a big job, but I hope we’ve helped to make the task more manageable. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us directly and we’d be happy to make a recommendation specifically for your needs!
Last Updated - June 21, 2018
The following logs all major updates and changes made to this page.
- June 21, 2018 – Overhauled the page with better formatting, better analysis, more information, and better images.
- May 15, 2018 – Deleted a section on 3rd party reviews (we’ll be revising at a later date)
- November 14, 2017 – Original version of the page launched.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.