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🥇Roomba 890 vs 960: Similarities & Differences

roomba 960 vs 890


Roomba has made our life easier by offering a range of automatic robot vacuums at affordable prices to make our homes smart and made the cleaning an automating job forever. iRobot has amassed a virtual army of robotic vacuums which makes it confusing to choose the best one.

In this guide, I am going to compare two popular robotic vacuum models Roomba 890 vs 960 to discuss the similarities and differences in of both models in great details. I will break down features, options, advantages, and disadvantages for each robot to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s see the Roomba 890 side by side with the Roomba 960 with the pros and cons of both.

Roomba 960 vs 890

If you don’t have time to read all the article, or already know to trust our expert opinions, then our winner in this comparison in Roomba 960 that delivers that performs better regarding features, options, and price.

Let’s see both robots in play by play action in full detail.

Differences between Roomba 890 and 960

Let’s quickly review the differences and similarities between both models.

  • The Roomba 890 robot vacuum is based on iAdapt 1.0 mapping technology, while the Roomba 960 utilizes iAdapt 2.0 technology.
  • The Roomba 960 robot vacuum offers the Clean Map Report that the Roomba 980 doesn’t offer.
  • The 960 keeps cleaning even with the full bin indicator, the 890 stops and continues when the dust bin is emptied.
  • The 960 delivers entire level cleaning, whereas the 890 lack this feature.
  • The 960 has edge cleaning mode, that the 890 doesn’t offer
  • The 960 battery delivers run time of 75 minutes, while the 890 gives a run time of only 60 minutes.
  • The 890 will move only once over a designated area, the Roomba 960 can be programmed to clean the specific area twice.
  • The 960 comes with a top mount camera that helps in mapping and navigation, the 890 lack this feature as well.

Similarities between Roomba 890 and 960

In order to make the best decision, you should also know the similarities of both models.

  • Both robot vacuums are equipped with AeroForce vacuum tech that helps in cleaning your floors efficiently
  • Both contenders are equipped with Wi-Fi capability allowing you to connect with your home network.
  • Both the 960 and 890 can be paired with voice control devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
  • The 890 and 960 both units brings Dual mode virtual wall barriers for blocking desired areas.
  • They both can be scheduled using the iHome app or locally from the vacuum.
  • Both machines have full bin indicators that alert you when to empty the collection bin.
  • Both robots feature a carrying handle that allows you to carry the robots from one room to another easily.
  • The Roomba 890 and 960 both are equipped with lithium-ion batteries that run for longer and take shorter charging times.
  • Both of the robotic vacuums can head back to the docking station while running low on battery to recharge automatically.
  • You can also force the little machines to return to the dock manually.
  • Both of these models offer a spot cleaning mode that delivers quick clean up or a thorough clean on your specified area.

Side by Side Comparison Chart


Roomba 890

Roomba 960

Roomba 960

Navigation Technology iAdapt IAdapt 2.0
Vacuum Technology AeroForce AeroForce
WiFi Connectivity Yes Yes
Voice Control Yes Yes
Edge Cleaning Mode No Yes
Full Bin Indicator Yes Yes
Remote Control iHome App iHome App
Navigation Camera No Yes
Automatic Recharge Yes Yes
Entire Level Cleaning No Yes
Force Docking Yes Yes
Battery Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Optimal Running Time 60 minutes 75 minutes
Virtual Wall Barriers 1 1
Scheduling Yes Yes
Clean Map Report No Yes
Price Check on Amazon Check on Amazon

In-Depth Feature Details

Let’s have a look at the features of both robot vacuum models more thoroughly to make the decision easier for you.

1. Navigation and Mapping Technology

The Roomba 890 utilizes the iAdapt navigation and mapping technology that uses sensors to detect obstacles, walls, stairs, and landings.

The sensors are efficient enough to detect if the robot has got tangled on the carpet fringe or a cord and allows the robot to reverse the extractors to attempt to free itself. Similarly, the Roomba 890 has got dirt detection sensors that allow the robot to clean a specific area more thoroughly before moving forward.

The Roomba 960 makes use of iAdapt 2.0 sensor technology which is the improved version of iAdapt 1.0. The 960 features an onboard camera that uses visual sensors to detect obstacles long before the touch sensors detect it. The better navigation technology and the onboard camera both play an important role to make the navigation perfect.

2. Edge Clean Technology

Almost every Roomba model is equipped with side brushes to clean corners, and edges of walls and furniture to loosen debris and keep them clean.

But, the Roomba 960 goes one step ahead with the edge cleaning mode. Unlike other robot vacuums, the 960 while running in edge cleaning mode cleans the edges thoroughly. The best part is that when cleaning the edges, the spinning brush sends the dirt and debris into the center of the vacuum where it can be picked up by suction.

If you live in a big home, using this feature can quickly drain the battery, which is going to take more time to recharge and finish the job schedules.

3. Spot Clean Mode

Robot vacuums equipped with spot cleaning mode are capable to clean a specific area more thoroughly or deep clean. When you select Spot clean mode, the robotic cleaner leaves the assigned cleaning task and approaches to begin a cleaning cycle towards the designated area for deep clean.

What basically happens in this mode is that the robot spin in circles covering the area and about three feet around it. The sensors are intelligent enough to detect when the area is cleaned of dirt and debris and send a signal to the robot to clean where it left off cleaning the previous cycle.

4. Debris Extractors

The robot vacuums that belong to the 800 and 900 series are equipped with brush-less debris extractors instead of the bristle-style brush in the 600 series. These extractors knock loose dirt and dust and break down larger debris for easier collection. The biggest advantage of these extractors is that they are tangle-free which allows them to pick up pet hairs without getting tangled.

If somehow the robot caught the fringe of your carpet, the extractors will move in the reverse direction to attempt to dislodge the tangle. The brushless design does make the extractors tangle-free but the hairs or string can wrap around sometimes. Cleaning them off is way easier, unlike the bristles where hairs or fibers entangle further.

5. iHome Cell Phone App

Almost every home is equipped with a wireless home network. Both robot vacuums offer wifi compatibility allowing you to connect your robot with your home network to use them using the iHome app in your cell phone.

This smartphone app is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. Using the app you can set and delete schedules, start or stop cleaning cycle, request spot cleaning or edge cleaning(if available) and can also assign a name to your robot.

If the vacuum is 960, you can get reports using the app to view the remaining battery life and charging times.

6. Voice Control

Both robot models have wireless capabilities of wifi and voice commands as well. If you have voice activation control devices like Amazon Alexa or Google home, you can pair the robot with these devices to issue voice commands to control your Roomba.

Using your voice, you can start, stop, pause, resume, locate, and get the status of your robotic vacuum. In case you own multiple robots, you can call each by their name.

7. Automatic Recharge

Both robot vacuums are capable to monitor their battery charge and when running low on battery, they can return to the docking station automatically leaving the cleaning cycle in between.

As the 890 and 960 will automatically return to the docking station, the 890 will stay docked and will start cleaning again when you manually tell it by using the voice command, iHome App or manually pressing the “clean” button on the center of the robot.

The 960 offers entire level cleaning. It features a Recharge & Resumes feature that allows the robot to start cleaning from the exact same point where it left off the cleaning cycle, but once the batteries are charged. So you don’t have to manually tell it to clean.

8. Virtual Wall Barriers

The dual-mode virtual wall barrier(VWB) allows you to restrict the entrance of robot vacuums in certain areas.

The dual-mode means you can use the virtual wall barriers in two modes. The first is a wall barrier. While setting this up, you can point the beam towards a doorway where a vacuum typically comes to clean. Once the barrier is active, the Roomba sensor will pick up the barrier beam and avoid the robot from that area.

The second mode is radius mode that allows you to block a certain spot in a room and set the beam to a diameter around the barrier. You can surround objects like pet food bowls, vase, or the potted plant you keep inside your room.

9. Clean Map Reporting

This feature is only available in the Roomba 960 that generates a report about it’s cleaning progress. To view the report, you can head to the iHome app to view these details about the battery level, where your robot has cleaned and which areas it didn’t.

Furthermore, the report also highlights where the Roomba spent more time because of a heavily soiled area of it the Roomba was stuck in a specific spot. You can locate the robot if it got stuck and have dead batteries or couldn’t reach to the docking station which is rear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a collection of most frequently asked questions that can help you make a better decision.

Q: Will the Roomba go from hardwood to a thick rug?

Yes, the Roomba can move across most floor types without getting stuck. They do struggle with high pile carpets but can get up on though. If Roomba couldn’t enter somehow, it will circle to find a different entry spot.

Q: Is the docking station a separate purchase?

No. Every Roomba model comes with a docking station. Similarly, for multiple floors, you cannot use multiple docking stations because that’s how they work. The robot will rather confuse with multiple docking stations.

Q: My cat likes to sit on the vacuum, will this stop it from working?

The cat cannot create a problem for the robot unless it sits right on the onboard camera to block the visuals. This way navigation can fail and the robot will face an error and shut down which requires restart manually.

The Roomba 960 onboard camera does require some light to operate. So make sure to operate the robot in sunlight or turn on enough lights for the areas you want to be cleaned.

Q: How long will the Lithium-Ion batteries last?

The batteries are long-lasting. The Roomba uses and recharges the batteries itself. Whereas the battery Roomba 890 comes with lasts for 60 minutes, while the battery of the Roomba 960 lasts for about 75 minutes under optimal conditions.

The Roomba 960 running on edge cleaning mode can suck battery quickly but the Recharge & Resume feature keeps the robot involved in cleaning. The 890 while used on spot clean mode will eat up battery more quickly.

Q: How many virtual wall barriers come with each model?

In the package, there is one virtual wall barrier. There are also two double-a batteries that power the unit.

The virtual wall barrier can be purchased separately as well. If you think you need to block certain areas for your Roomba or keep certain items away from the Roomba you can get the additional virtual wall barriers.

The common use of the virtual wall barrier is blocking off access to a room with pet food, dishes or things that can break or spill if hit.

Q: Is there a remote control I can buy to operate the Roomba?

Unfortunately, the Roomba vacuums are equipped with wifi connectivity so they don’t come with remote control. You can use any smartphone to control the robot as you do with standard remote control. Simply install the iHome app on your mobile phone to get access to all the features of the robot.

Q: How many Roomba’s do I need if I have XX square feet?

These robot models are able to deal with a larger house but for different floors, you might want to purchase a separate unit. But the carrying handle on the body of the robot allows you to carry it up and down stairs to deal with multiple floors. After all, the robots (960) are self-sufficient enough to clean and charge themselves without having you to even touch them.

The average coverage of the Roomba models is between 1200 and 1800 square feet. If you have more area to cover then the best robot vacuum for you is Roomba 980.

Q: What happens if something large like a sock gets sucked up into the Roomba?

That’s very rare, but if this happens the Robot will run into error mode and shut down until the object is cleared. This is very helpful for the robot to shut down immediately because it can protect the motor from overheating, and preserves the battery life as well.

The iHome app is efficient enough to send you a notification about the error Roomba is facing currently so that you can get back to your robot to take appropriate action.

Q: How does the Roomba do on stairs?

Roomba vacuums are not yet capable to clean stairs. But they do have sensors to protect them from falling off stairs or prevent them from going over a ledge.

But if you still tend to clean stairs with the Roomba, it can clean only one stair and you have to manually carry the robot to each stair if you want to clean all stairs. If you have carpeted stairs, you can get a small handheld vacuum for better vacuuming.

So it all boils down to the decision which Roomba you should buy?

Should you buy the Roomba 890

Here’s why you should buy the Roomba 890:

  • Wifi connectivity to control the robot using your smartphone.
  • Voice control to control the robot using voice command through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • The lithium-ion battery that delivers run time of an hour.
  • Scheduling is easy to set up and use.
  • The full bin indicator to tell you when to empty the dust bin.
  • Delivers equivalent suction and performance to 960 but has a lower price tag.

Should you buy the Roomba 960

Here’s why you should buy the Roomba 960:

  • All features of the 890, plus:
  • The navigation camera for advanced navigation.
  • Recharge & Resume feature gives entire level cleaning ability to Roomba.
  • Continuous cleaning even with full bin indicator.
  • Edge cleaning mode to cleaning edges and borders more efficiently.
  • But also has a little higher price tag.

Who doesn’t love automation, and there’s nothing best than iRobot Roomba vacuums. Both the Roomba 890 and 960 have a lot in common and both can work flawlessly across all floor types and can recharge themselves while running low on battery.

But the Roomba 960 is few features ahead of the Roomba 890 like visual camera navigation, Recharge and Resume feature, and Edge cleaning mode.

The model we recommend is Roomba 960 because it’s completely self-sufficient except you have to empty the dust bin which is also taken care in i7+ Robot vacuum by iRobot but that’s a different story.

The 960 won’t stop when the bin is about to fill up but you will be notified by the app and you can take care of it later.

Whereas the Roomba 890 with lower run time and fewer features is good for budget-conscious people or those living in a single level home.

That’s it for this comparison and these are more comparisons for you.

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