When it comes to robot vacuums Roomba’s iRobot line spans from the cheaper Roomba 690 to the most expensive Roomba 980. In between, there is Roomba 960 which is neither expensive nor inexpensive, something in between.
Though the price puts it close to the high-end models having top-of-the-line 980 features like a smartphone app, camera for navigation, Voice control through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, detailed cleaning reports and maps. But what cuts down the price is the absence of the virtual wall and a slightly less-powerful motor.
But, it delivers stronger value and a top choice for high-end robot vacuums.
iRobot Roomba 960 review
This iRobot Roomba 960 review covers everything in details.
What’s different than Roomba 980
Both differ visually but that’s not the main difference between the Roomba 960 and 980. Except for the lighter grey body of Roomba 960, everything else is the same. Both have same 13.8-inch diameter and are taller 3.6 inches.
Controls are located at the same place, with a large Clean button flanked by Home and Spot Cleaning buttons.
Similarly, above the buttons are indicator lights, a navigational camera located at the top centre. At the bottom side, everything is similar including cliff sensors, side brush, two roller brushes, and a front wheel. Both have a removable dustbin at the back.
Now, both have different weight. The Roomba 960 weighs about 8.5-pounds and is a lighter bot than the Roomba 980 with 8.7 pounds. Because both feature a different motor (similar to Roomba 880).
Another major difference is the battery life. Where Roomba 980 can last for 90 minutes, the Roomba 960 only lasts for 70 minutes. The 960 comes with one virtual wall where the 980 robot has two.
The Roomba 960 works only with the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection. An app (iRobot Home) available on Google Play and Apple App store allows you to control the bot. In addition, the app guides the consumers how to connect to WI-Fi, which is identical across all models.
The major difference between the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 960 is the cleaning preferences menu which is 960 has allowed it to customize the number of times it cleans a room.
Similarly, the lifetime menu allows you to dig deeper by looking at the details of each session, including total area cleaned.
Here’s the coolest part…
The iRobot’s clean Map allows you to identify the exact location the vacuum has vacuumed. Well, using the app you cannot steer the machine.
Unlike other robotic vacuums using random cleaning patterns leaving dust bunnies behind which can be frustrating, the 960 uses methodical patterns where the 690 is based on random cleaning patterns.
This cleaning pattern allows the vacuum to avoid the obstacles and move nicely around the furniture while picking up dust, dirt, debris, and pet hairs.
The camera is very helpful in maneuvering and avoids the vacuum getting hit with table legs or bookshelves, and sometimes it can pause momentarily to calculate where to move next. Many robot vacuums including Bobsweep Bobi Pet end up getting bumps but the Roomba 960 respects the price and avoid these problems.
One thing you should do to make it easier for the bot to clean efficiently is to clear the floor from cables and liquids or other objects like dog’s food and water bowl.
Similarly, the Roomba 960 is comfortable with different floor types. As many vacuum struggle on dark flooring including Roomba 690, the 960 can work perfectly on dark rugs or floors. Similarly, it can easily transition between wood and tile without any problem.
We did notice that Roomba 960 got stuck under TV stand, so better ward off problem areas with the virtual wall to avoid vacuum getting on those places.
Vacuums with methodical cleaning only pass over the area once. But you can totally control the bot to make two passes in a room to lift any kind of dirt of debris left in the first pass.
Despite having strongest suction like the Roomba 980, the 960 still does an excellent job of cleaning your floors. The Roomba 980 is ahead in one more thing and that’s the Carpet Boost feature that turns up the suction on rugs and carpeting and inhales everything hiding inside.
While on the other hand the 960 is surprisingly quiet, even quieter than the traditional stick vacuum and you won’t even feel the bot cleaning around you in the same room. Though it’s quite the Eufy Robovac 11 is still the quietest robot vacuum ever.
As mentioned earlier the battery life is only 70-75 minutes making it a suitable choice for smaller homes and apartments. Despite this much battery life, this bot can get the living room, hallway, kitchen, and bedroom cleaned while sparing some to return to the docking station automatically without any problem. You can also return the bot back to dock using Alexa.
Though the 960 is not cheap if we compare this with other pricier models like the Dyson 360 Eye, the Roomba 980 it’s still a good deal. This mid-range robot offers tons of advanced features including the voice commands facility, Wi-Fi connectivity, a camera for navigation and Clean Map visualizations.
If you need to make a hard decision between the Roomba 960 and the 980, it depends on two factors: the size of your home and your floors. For large, heavily carpeted homes the 980 with its Carpet Boost, extra virtual wall and the longer battery life will be suitable though it’s noisy.
If not then the 960 beats out the Roomba 980 making it an ideal high-end robot vacuum cleaner.
But for those facing a budget problem with 960 and looking for something with similar features in the lower price than the Roomba 690 can get the job down with powerful clean, app control and voice commands.
And if you can ignore the Wi-Fi plus some advanced features then there’s nothing best than the Eufy Robovac 11 which does whisper-quiet clean for a fraction of the price.
Overall, iRobot Roomba 960 offers premium features and performance but it’s expensive. It’s one of the best high-end robot vacuums that gets the job done without making a noise.