Roomba 960 vs 980 : Detailed Comparison

The Roomba 900 series is the newest series launched by Roomba. The robot vacuums in this series are more improved in terms of features and performance and offer the latest-and-greatest regarding robot vacuum technology.

roomba 960 vs 980

Now, what if you have to choose between the Roomba 690 vs 980? What’s the price, features and performance difference in both?

In this ultimate comparison of Roomba 960 vs 980, I have explained each and every single detail about both of these robots to help you make an informed decision.

Roomba 960 vs 980

That said, let’s get started…

I am going to break down design, features, usability, and more in this detailed guide so you can make a better decision between Roomba 960 and Roomba 980.

Roomba 980 Review

The Roomba 980 is the newest and the top model by iRobot. This modern robot vacuum is equipped with some advanced features which are only available in this robot like longer run time, memory mapping, power boost mode for carpet cleaning, Recharge & Resume, virtual wall, and much more.

What makes the Roomba 980 intelligent while navigating is the onboard camera that makes the robot aware of its surroundings to make intelligent navigation decisions while observing the environment. The Roomba 980 is a vacuum loaded with premium features but comes at an expensive price tag.

Overall, Roomba 980 is an outstanding machine that delivers superb cleaning performance without sacrificing suction and offers low-maintenance cleaning. The longer run time and premium features are suitable for smaller and larger homes but comes at a great price tag.

Pros
  • Brings a stronger motor that delivers great performance and longer run time
  • Power boost mode for cleaning carpeted floors
Cons
  • Expensive price tag
  • Noisy compared to Roomba 960

Roomba 960 Review

The Roomba 960 is a younger model of Roomba 980 which is identical in shape and almost in features. The only difference between both is that the Roomba 960 doesn’t have that powerful motor and lacks Power Boost that is used for carpet cleaning.

Similarly, the Roomba 960 gives a shorter run time, but this trade-off makes the Roomba 960 an inexpensive robot vacuum than 980 as well.

Similar features to 980 include an onboard camera, an advanced navigation system, and an AeroForce filtration system.

Overall, the Roomba 960 is a high-quality robot vacuum that brings impressive features in a lower price tag. Some of the advanced features include wifi capability, advanced navigation, and superior cleaning performance.

Pros
  • Lower price tag compared to Roomba 980
  • The onboard camera runs on iAdapt 2.0 technology
Cons
  • No power boost
  • Shorter run time

iRobot Roomba Comparisons

Here are some other Roomba comparisons for you to get something different for your home according to your needs.

These robots differ in performance, price, and features.

  • Roomba 690 vs. 960
  • Roomba 690 vs. 890
  • Roomba 650 vs. 690
  • Roomba 890 vs. 980
  • Roomba 890 vs. 960
  • Neato vs. Roomba
  • Bobsweep vs. Roomba
  • iLife vs. Roomba

Roomba 980 Design

The Roomba 980 is a beautiful and simple robot vacuum that boasts a camera in the center for scanning the room while cleaning, taking mental notes of objects coming in its way like furniture, walls, or any other obstacles.

Furthermore, a small handle at the front can be used to manually change it’s position or put it back to charging but this vacuum is self-sufficient enough that you can simply press the home button to send it back to the charging base.

The design of the 980 is pretty much similar to the 960 but due to the onboard camera, the design is totally different compared to the 600, 700 or 800 series.

  • Auto clean: start / return home
  • Camera
  • Handle
  • Bumper ring

Roomba 960 Design

The Roomba 960 shares a similar design to the 980. The only difference between both robots is that the 960 has a matte grey and charcoal accents that give a contrasted look. Everything else is same even the onboard camera and button are also located on the same position as of 980.

The “CLEAN” button at the top center to start or stop the robot and beside this is a small button with a house icon which is used to send the Roomba back to the charging base. The classic Roomba bumper ring protects the robot as well as the furniture comes in its way, but don’t worry the Roomba uses advanced navigation to avoid bumps. The bumper is designed for extra protection.

  • Auto clean: start / return home
  • Camera
  • Sensor
  • Bumper ring

How Roomba 980 Cleans

The Roomba 980 uses a three-stage cleaning process that includes agitate, vacuum, and suction.

The spinning brush on both sides not only cleans edges and corners but directs the dirt and debris into the path of the advanced dual brush roller that compared to bristle style brush roll is much better at agitating dirt and debris.

Furthermore, the 980 achieves excellent cleaning due to the stronger motor it comes with whereas the Roomba 960 boasts motor of Roomba 890 that belongs to 800 series.

The best part? You not only get longer run times but stronger suction even with the Power Boost mode to deal with carpeted floors.

Similarly, navigation plays important role in cleaning, the 980 comes uses advanced dirt detection technology and iAdapt 2.0 navigation which allows the robot to move in straight lines which not only eliminate bumps but fasten the cleaning process.

In addition, the 980 is equipped with two additional edge sensors at the back side to examine the surroundings better and avoid potential drop hazards.

  • Dual brush roll
  • Spinning brush
  • Charging pins
  • Dust bin/filter
  • Edge sensors

How Roomba 960 Cleans

The Roomba 960 uses the same three-stage cleaning process as the Roomba 980. It uses the same spinning brush to clean the edges and corners with a central dual rubber brush roll.

As mentioned earlier, the motor used in 960 belongs to 800 series which not only sacrifices a little bit on cleaning compared to the 980 but also gives a shorter run time of 75 minutes than 980 with 120 minutes. But 75 minutes is not a bad run time for a robot vacuum.

The shorter run time is not a that big problem because the Roomba 960 also offers Recharge & Resume feature which allows the robot to refill while running low on battery and once recharged, start again from the same exact location to continue the cleaning process without you having to lift a finger.

The Roomba 960 offers dirt detection and iAdapt 2.0 technologies to deliver better navigation like the 980 in more logical cleaning patterns. The 960 also uses memory-mapping plus an on-board camera that helps Roomba navigate cleverly while identifying obstacles and avoid them.

  • Wheels
  • Spinning brush
  • Charging pins
  • Dual brush rolls
  • Dust bin/filter
  • Edge Sensors

Roomba 980 Size & Dimensions

The Roomba 980 is 13.8″ in diameter and 3.6″ tall. As both robots belong to the same series, therefore the size is the same. The Roomba 980 weighs 8.7 lbs.

  • Diameter – 13.8″
  • Height – 3.6″

Roomba 960 Size & Dimensions

The Roomba 960 is 13.8″ in diameter and is 3.6″ tall and weighs 8.7 pounds which makes it completely similar to the 980 in size and dimensions.

  • Diameter – 13.8″
  • Height – 3.6″

 

Roomba 980 Accessories & Parts

The Roomba 980 robot vacuum brings a range of accessories:

Charging base: The charging base also called charging dock or charging station is a base unit and a cord. The concept behind the charging station is that when Roomba 980 gets low on battery, it automatically returns to the base to juice up. The best part? While it moves back to base for recharges leaving the current job, it returns back to the exact same spot after refilling.

Spinning brush: The spinning brush that goes on both sides below the robot and is helpful for cleaning edges and corners.

Virtual wall barriers: The Roomba 980 comes with two virtual wall barriers which are used to cordon off straight passes as well as radial areas like a doorway, or around pets. If you have a larger home, two barriers will be helpful.

HEPA filter: The AeroForce filtration system is the improved version of the AeroVac system that was used in Roomba 690.

Roomba 960 Accessories & Parts

The Roomba 960 comes with the following accessories:

Charging base: It’s similar to the Roomba 980 and allows the Roomba to recharge while running low on battery. The 960 also supports Recharge & Resume feature to finish the incomplete cleaning cycles which were left due to recharge.

Spinning brush: The spinning brush as mentioned earlier is helpful for cleaning edges and corners, and directing the dirt and debris into the path of larger brush roll located the underside of the robot.

Virtual Wall barrier: The Roomba 960 comes with a single virtual wall barrier, whereas the Roomba 980 comes with two units. Working is similar as of the Roomba 980 to block specific sections for the robot to enter.

HEPA filter: This HEPA filter uses the AeroForce filtration system, like the Roomba 980. The whole 900 series uses this same filter and therefore it is interchangeable between all models by 900 series.

Roomba 980 Usability

The Roomba 980 is a user-friendly robot vacuum that can be used for cleaning right out of the box by simply hitting the “CLEAN” button. One thing after unboxing that’s required is plugging it into the charger.

The Roomba 980 offers wifi compatibility allowing you to pair the vacuum with your smartphone to program scheduled cleanings. Similarly, it can be paired with Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant allowing you to control the robot by voice commands.

Roomba took usability one step further with digital map reports of the areas it cleaned. So this feature creates a map of the areas where it goes allowing you to determine the areas it left for cleaning without having you look manually that every bit of your floor is cleaned or not.

Roomba 960 Usability

The Roomba 960 is again identical to the 980 regarding usability. The same process of unboxing, recharging and hitting “CLEAN” to put it on cleaning.

The on-board camera takes care that the Roomba doesn’t collide with sensitive items or tricky obstacles to avoid a collision.

The dissimilarity between the Roomba 980 vs. 960 is that the Roomba 960 only brings one virtual wall barrier that works pretty much same to the 980 whereas the Roomba 980 comes with two units.

Roomba 980 Maneuverability

The Roomba 980 is the latest and most up to dated robot vacuum equipped with an on-board camera and advanced navigation system to the eliminates problem of carelessly bumping and the round shape allows for a 360 degree turning radius.

  • Weight – 8.7 lbs.
  • Width – 13.8″
  • Height – 3.6″
  • Turning – 360°

Due to the camera and sensors, the Roomba 980 is good at sensing obstacles and according to that changes it’s direction instead of hitting them, which is a big upgrade from older models that had a sort of “bump-and-continue” approach. Thanks to memory mapping and advanced dirt detection for more improved navigation.

Roomba 960 Maneuverability

The Roomba 960 is pretty much similar in maneuverability to the Roomba 980. As it’s round body allows it to achieve 360-degree turning radius. Similarly, the iAdapt 2.0 navigation system and the onboard camera both are helpful in intelligent navigation and avoiding bumping.

  • Weight – 8.7 lbs.
  • Width – 13.8″
  • Height – 3.6″
  • Turning – 360°

The Roomba 960 is also equipped with dirt detection as well as a memory-mapping feature to eliminate dirt faster than any other vacuum.

Roomba 980 Maintenance

The Roomba 980 is a fairly consistent model that comes with long-lasting parts like the dust bin or the filter. But replacing these features might cost you but only $37 a year. Below chart shows the replacements frequency and the associated costs.

Accessory / Part Replacement Frequency Replacement Cost
HEPA filter 2 months Check Price
Spinning brush 6 months Check Price
Front wheel 12 months Check Price
Debris Extractor 12 months Check Price
Battery 18-36 months Check Price

Roomba 960 Maintenance

The Roomba 960 is similar to 980 in terms of maintenance but due to the difference in battery and some other things, the maintenance cost of the Roomba 960 is $35 a year. Similarly, the replacement frequency for each part may vary depending on the usage and environment.

The chart below highlights the replacement frequency and the costs of parts including those available by third-party retailers.

Accessory / Part Replacement Frequency Replacement Cost
HEPA filter 2 months Check Price
Spinning brush 6 months Check Price
Front wheel 12 months Check Price
Debris Extractor 12-24 months Check Price
Battery 18-36 months Check Price

Roomba 980 Battery

The Roomba 980 comes with the best battery that lasts for 120 minutes in a single charge and takes around 2-3 hours to fully charge, but may be longer depending on the time Roomba has been left unused.

Battery Details
Size 3,300 mAh
Charging Time 2-3 hours
Run Time 120 minutes
Replacement Cost Check Price

Roomba 960 Battery

The Roomba 960 comes with a battery that lasts for 75 minutes which is not bad because the Recharge and Resume feature is a nice addition allowing the robot to return to base for recharging in middle of a cleaning cycle and starts again from the exact same space.

Battery Details
Size 2,600 mAh
Charging Time 2-3 hours
Run Time 75 minutes
Replacement Cost Check Price

Noise Comparison

The noise produced by a robot vacuum depends completely on the usage, size, and type of the vacuum. Compared to another handheld, stick or uprights, robot vacuums are the quieter vacuums types even when running at full power.

In this case, the Roomba 980 is louder than the Roomba 960.

At 3′ away, the Roomba 980 robot vacuum emits 70 dB of sound.
At 3′ away, the Roomba 960 robot vacuum emits 65 dB of sound.

Roomba 980 value

The Roomba 980 is a high-quality but expensive robot vacuum and the added features in the 980 makes it a more powerful robot than the 960.

If you are looking for a robot to deal with daily dirt and messes of a larger home, the Roomba 980 is ideal and in such situations, the advancements of the 980 will truly be worthy.

  • Warranty – 1-year limited
  • Returns – 30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
  • Company – Great
  • Value – Good

Roomba 960 Value

The Roomba 960 offers excellent value than the Roomba 980.

You almost get exact same features and add-ons like the Roomba 980 with a much lower price tag like the digital map reports and advanced navigation.

  • Warranty – 1-year limited
  • Returns – 30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
  • Company – Great
  • Value – Great

If you are not planning to clean carpets then you don’t need Power Boost mode which this vacuum lacks and the 75 minutes of run time is shorter than the Roomba 980 but it can still get the job done effectively compared to older Roomba models.

Roomba 980 Specifications

Specifications
Type Robot
Manufacturer iRobot
Model Roomba 980
Length (inches) 13.8
Width (inches) 13.8
Height (inches) 3.6
Weight (pounds) 8.7
Floor Type All (indoor)
Battery 3,300 mAh
Dust Bin Capacity 0.3 L
Cordless Yes
Bagless Yes
Returns 30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
Warranty 1-Year limited
Buy Buy

Roomba 960 Specifications

Specifications
Type Robot
Manufacturer iRobot
Model Roomba 960
Length (inches) 13.8
Width (inches) 13.8
Height (inches) 3.6
Weight (pounds) 8.6
Floor Type All (indoor)
Battery 2,600 mAh
Dust Bin Capacity 0.3 L
Cordless Yes
Bagless Yes
Returns 30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer
Warranty 1-Year limited
Price Check Price

Roomba 980 vs. 960: Which Should You Buy?

So it all boils down to the decision of picking the best one.

Both robots offer excellent cleaning performance and the Roomba 980 comes with some extra features that are beyond the 960 models.

But, the Roomba 960 has a significantly lower price tag plus many similar features of the Roomba 980.

The features Roomba 960 shares with the Roomba 980 are memory mapping, advanced dirt detection, AeroForce filtration system, wifi compatibility, and longer run time.

To make the decision more authentic, we need to break down each feature in more details to figure out which vacuum is better and why to make the decision-making process easier.

Advanced motor: The Roomba 980 comes with an advanced Gen 3 motor which is the upgraded version of Gen 2 motor and delivers up to 10 times the air power than G2 and the G2 is used in the Roomba 960. Being an advanced motor, it produces reasonable noise but gives added suction power.

Power Boost: The advanced motor allows the Roomba 980 to achieve Power Boost which is definitely helpful for vacuuming the carpet.

Longer run time: The Roomba 980 offers 120 minutes run time which is a lot, but the Roomba 960 offers 75 minutes run time which is impressive because 75 minutes of cleaning is sufficient for most jobs.

Winning Factors

Scoring Factors Roomba 980 Roomba 960
Model Roomba 980 Roomba 960
Score 95% 93%
Price Check Price Check Price
Size 13.8″ diameter
3.6″ tall
8.7 lbs.
13.8″ diameter
3.6″ tall
8.7 lbs.
Accessories Virtual wall barrier (2), charging station, HEPA filter, spinning brush Virtual wall barrier (1), charging station, HEPA filter, spinning brush
Usability Excellent Excellent
Maneuverability Excellent Excellent
Maintenance $37 / year $35 / year
Noise 70 dB 65 dB
Value Good Great
Run Time Up to 120 minutes Up to 75 minutes
Dirt Detection Advanced Advanced
Drop Detection Advanced Advanced
Filtration System AeroForce AeroForce
Navigation iAdapt 2.0 iAdapt 2.0
Motor Gen 3 Gen 2
Scheduling Yes Yes
Wifi-Enabled Yes Yes
Memory Mapping Yes Yes
Full Bin Indicator Yes Yes
Recharge & Resume Yes Yes
Digital Map Reports Yes Yes
Power Boost Yes No

Should You Buy the Roomba 980?

To be honest, the Roomba 980 is the impressive robot vacuum that delivers outstanding cleaning performance and comes with some nasty features like digital map reports, intuitive navigation, wifi compatibility and voice recognition features.

You should buy the Roomba 980 if you…

  • Want a longer run time to clean a big house
  • Want a stronger motor to get powerful suction and to clean carpets
  • want an extra virtual wall barrier to restrict robot in more sensitive areas.

Should You Buy the Roomba 960?

The Roomba 960 without any doubt is the best robot vacuum and perfect for those willing to spend a little less but looking forward to the exact same advanced feature to the Roomba 980.

You should buy the Roomba 960 if you…

  • Want a less expensive robot vacuum with premium features.
  • Want digital map reports to be aware of your robot performance and to find out the areas your Roomba never visits or leaves.
  • Want Recharge & Resume feature that allows the robot to leave the cleaning cycle while running low on battery, heads back to base, recharge and returns to continue the same cleaning cycle from the exact same spot.

top of the line company/brand
Different flooring types and four types of debris
hardwoods, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet.
rice, dry cereal, kitty litter, and sugar

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