Roomba 650 vs 880: Which Robot Vacuum to Choose in 2020?

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend the Roomba 880.

Preview
Winner
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Model
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Price
$597.92
$167.16
Winner
Preview
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
Model
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
Price
$597.92
Preview
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Model
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Price
$167.16

With all my family’s commitments, there are a lot of people going in and out of our house every day. That means a lot of dirt and dust making its way to our floors. It is even worse if my son forgets to take off his soccer cleats after practice. What a mess of dirt and grass clippings! Our busy schedule makes it difficult to keep up with household chores. It seems like a robotic vacuum might be a good solution to my home cleaning problems. I have been looking at several different makes and models on the market right now. In this post, I am taking a looking at the Roomba 650 vs 880.

Should You Consider Buying a Roomba?

Roomba robotic vacuums use advanced technology to make your life a little easier. With each generation, these droids get better at doing their basic job, vacuuming the many floor surfaces of your home. With the press of a button, your robot will start a cleaning cycle, moving with ease from hardwood to vinyl to carpet. It will continue this cycle until it runs out of energy. These robots are about 3.5 inches tall, which makes them well-suited for seeking out dust underneath your furniture. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much dirt your Roomba can pull out of your home.

However, it is important to consider whether or not a Roomba is the right solution for you. Although they keep getting better, they are not perfect. Your robot cannot vacuum your stairs. Its round shape helps it navigate obstacles but can limit its ability to reach into corners. In addition, the unpredictable cleaning pattern of the Roomba models I am reviewing can frustrate homeowners. Some areas of the floor get passed over multiple times in the same cleaning cycle, and some may be vacuumed sparingly or not at all. If the imperfections of these devices are just going to make you angry, you may want to spend more on a unit with an advanced navigation system. If you are a real perfectionist, you should probably stick to doing the work yourself with a standard vacuum.

On the flip side, if you are not at all a perfectionist and allow clutter to sit on your floors, the Roomba may not be the best investment. Since these robots navigate by avoiding objects, every place where there is extra clutter on the floor is a place that will not get vacuumed. Until your household gets into the habit of clearing clutter, it is probably not worth investing in a robotic vacuum.

Introducing the Roomba 650

iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 650 is one of the most popular versions of the iRobot vacuums. iRobot took the basic model and added an important feature, the ability to program cleaning cycles. The 650 has a three-stage AeroVac cleaning system that loosens and lifts dirt and debris from your floors. It can work on any floor surface but does its best job on hardwood, tile, and vinyl. This unit uses a navigation system based on obstacle-avoidance that has guided many generations of Roombas. In the Roomba 650 package, you will find the robot, a charging dock, an extra filter, and a single Virtual Wall device.

Pros

  • Reliable cleaning on hardwood
  • Easy scheduling with onboard buttons
  • 60 minutes of cleaning on a single charge

Cons

  • Can scuff wood furniture
  • Noisy operation
  • Random navigation pattern misses spots

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Our Roomba 650 comparisons:

Meet the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

Being two generations above the 650, the Roomba 880 has several improved features. To address complaints about scuffing furniture, the 800-series has an improved navigation system. This unit also has a stronger AeroForce cleaning system that can provide five times the vacuuming power of the 650. This allows it to use a stronger, high-efficiency filter that removes more irritants from your home environment. A simple but important innovation is a full bin indicator that reduces the unit’s downtime during a cleaning cycle. The standard Roomba 880 package includes the robot, a charging dock, remote control, extra filter, and two Virtual Lighthouse devices.

Pros

  • Stronger cleaning on carpets
  • Handles pet hair without tangles
  • Extended-life battery

Cons

  • Can get lost and lose charge
  • Rubber agitators are noisy
  • Remote control does not work well at a distance

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Our other Roomba 880 comparisons:

The Essential Features of the Roomba 650

iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 650 has the power and technology to get its job done well in the right situations. It does its best work in smaller homes with simple floor plans. This unit has important features that make it a simple but effective cleaning machine.

AeroVac Cleaning System

The AeroVac cleaning system pulls dirt and dust from your floors in three steps. First, a combination of brushes loosens and pulls dirt into the path of the vacuum. These brushes will wear down over time, but replacements can be found online. Next, the vacuum pulls debris into the dirt bin. Finally, air passes through the AeroVac filter. This filter is not as strong as a HEPA filter, but it will remove a good deal of dust and dander from your home. An extra filter is included with the Roomba, and more filters can be purchased online.

iAdapt 1.0 Navigation System

The navigation system in the Roomba 650 keeps it safe and productive. iRobot robotic vacuums are limited to a single floor of your home. To prevent them from falling down the stairs, every model has Cliff Detect sensors on its underside. When the unit comes to a significant drop, it will automatically change directions. Your robot is designed to clean to the edge of your staircase without falling down.

While it is traveling through your home, your robot makes an internal map based on the obstacles it encounters. Each time a finds a new obstacle, it notes it on the map and goes in a new direction. Throughout the cleaning cycle, your Roomba is learning the space, becoming more efficient as it goes. It is important to remember that this generation of vacuums does not have long-term memory. When it ends the current cleaning cycle, its map is erased. Every time it starts a new cycle, it will rediscover all of your furniture.

The Roomba 650 comes with a Virtual Wall device. This beacon emits a signal that will steer your robot away from sensitive areas. You probably do not want the mess that could happen if your vacuum bumps into your dog’s water dish. A Virtual Wall can keep it away.

Programmable Scheduling Buttons

In the 600-series of Roomba robotic vacuums, the 650 was the first to introduce programmable scheduling buttons. Using these buttons, you can send your droid out on a cleaning cycle at a time of your choosing. You know your family’s schedule. Fire up the robot for an hour when you know the house will be empty.

Dual Cleaning Modes

The Roomba 650 has two cleaning modes. The Clean mode is the default setting that starts a full cleaning cycle. The Spot mode is for use with specific messes. Your Roomba has a carrying-handle on its top. You can carry the robot to the center of the spill. When you press the Spot button, it will clean a circle about one yard in diameter. This is great for unexpected spills, picking things up before they get even messier.

Rechargeable Battery

The Roomba 650 uses a nickel-metal hydride rechargeable battery. This power source gives it about 60 minutes of cleaning power with each charge. Once the battery charge falls below a certain level, the droid will try to make its way back to its charging dock. To ease this process, place the dock in an area that is fairly open. Otherwise, you may find that your Roomba gets lost and runs out of power. Once it makes it to the charging dock, it takes about four or five hours to return to a full charge.

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The Upgraded Features of the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 880 has several upgraded features compared to the 650. This gives it better performance in more situations. This unit is specially designed to work well in homes that are concerned with pet hair removal. Similar to the 650, the 880 is equipped with scheduling buttons that give users the option to program a daily or weekly cleaning schedule.

AeroForce Cleaning System

The AeroForce cleaning system is a three-stage cleaning system similar to the AeroVac of the 650. However, there are some significant differences. First, the main brushes of the AeroVac have been replaced by two rubber agitators. iRobot developed these devices specifically to deal with hair tangling. Instead of getting caught in bristles, hair glides over the treaded pattern of the agitators. The AeroForce system also has a stronger vacuum than the AeroVac, giving five times the suction power. This improves its performance on carpeting as well as helps it deal with larger messes. Finally, the improved suction allows the unit to work with a stronger filter. The high-efficiency filter is still not a HEPA filter, but it will get even smaller irritants like pollen out of your home.

Improved Navigation System

The Roomba 880 uses the same iAdapt 1.0 navigation system as the 650. However, its behavior has been modified. One of the common complaints about the 600-series was that the robots could be too aggressive when they tested obstacles. In the 800-series, when the robot approaches a potential barrier, it slows down. Then, it gently pushes on the object, determining whether it is solid or not. This prevents the unit from scratching or scuffing wood surfaces.

The Roomba 880 comes with two Virtual Lighthouse devices. These can act as virtual walls as in the 650, but they also can act as a guide for your robot. By properly placing the lighthouse, you can make certain that a cleaning area is completely finished before the vacuum moves to the next one. This will increase the efficiency of the cleaning cycle.

Remote Control

The 880 includes a remote control in its standard package. With this device, you can interrupt the current cleaning cycle and force your robot to go to a specific area of the floor. It can be frustrating when you see a mess that your robot has not found. This way, you can give it a little help.

Another important use for the remote control is for homes that have a larger floorplan. If your robot cannot handle the whole floor with a single charge, you can send it to the area where it stopped cleaning in the last cycle. This minimizes the amount of time the unit spends on territory it has already vacuumed.

Dirt Detect Technology

The improved vacuum in the Roomba 880 also gives it a stronger reaction to detecting dirt. Sensors on the underside of the droid can detect larger messes. When a mess triggers the sensors, the vacuum revs up to full power to deal with the debris more effectively. It will stay in the area until the sensors register that it is clean.

Extended-Life Battery

Like the 650, the 880 uses a nickel-metal hydride battery, but the standard unit comes with an improved, XLife battery. This battery can receive twice as many charges during its usable life, extending the life of your robot. While the battery itself has a longer life, this model still has about 60 minutes of cleaning time per charge. The XLife battery is replaceable, and new batteries can be found online, extending the life of your Roomba 880 even further.

Full Bin Indicator

Although it is a small improvement, the full bin indicator is a big help for owners. A robot with a full dirt bin is no help to its owners. With the full bin indicator, users can quickly correct the problem and send their Roomba cleaning again.

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User Reviews of the Roomba 650

Every time I review a product, I like to explore how different users experience the item. By searching online, I can find out how people really feel about their vacuums. In the case of the Roomba 650, the reviews are generally positive. The Roomba 650 can handle a basic cleaning job very well. Several users said how much they liked that the unit could clean under their furniture. They were surprised how often they needed to empty the dirt bin because the 650 was finding dust they never knew about.

Rave Reviews for the Roomba 880

The Roomba 880 gets very good reviews from online users. They talk about this robot gobbling up pet hair every day. This is the area where this model seems to shine. Pet owners love the fact that it can handle large amounts of hair without needing to be detangled. They also appreciate the ability to program the unit and send it off when no one is home.

Who Wins the Roomba 650 vs 880 Competition?

When you are comparing two generations of Roombas, it is not exactly a fair competition. For those who are budget-conscious and have a simple floorplan, the Roomba 650 may be just the device you need to help you clean. However, I cannot help but recommend the Roomba 880. It simply has more power and is helpful in more circumstances. If you are going to invest your money in a robotic vacuum, you need to pick the one that will best handle your cleaning needs. In this competition, the Roomba 880 is the clear winner.

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
  • iAdapt Multi Room Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home
  • Room to room cleaning in up to 3 rooms with the included Virtual Wall Lighthouse beacons
  • AeroForce 3 Stage Cleaning System delivers up to 50 percent more cleaning performance
  • Tangle free extractors help prevent hair and debris clogs
  • AeroForce High Efficiency Filter traps fine dirt and dust
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