Roomba 801 Review: Will It Be Your Next Robot Vacuum? [2020]

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out if we still recommend the Roomba 801 in 2020, then the short answer is YES.

iRobot Roomba 801 Robotic Vacuum
  • Cleans all floor types - The Auto-Adjust cleaning head automatically adapts is height to keep the Multi-Surface Brushes in close contact with different floor surfaces, effectively cleaning carpets and hard floors
  • Patented Aero Force 3-Stage Cleaning System uses tangle-free multi-surface brushes and power-lifting Suction with 5x the air power to pull in embedded dirt, debris, and pet hair from wherever it hides (compared to Roomba 600 & 700 series robots)
  • Schedule up to 7x/wk. to keep floors cleaner every day or just press CLEAN and Roomba gets to work
  • Automatically docks and recharges; bin full indicator
  • I Adapt navigation offers a full suite of intelligent sensors that guide the robot under and around furniture to help thoroughly clean all your floors

Trying to keep up with dirty floors is exhausting!

That’s why I recently bought a robotic floor cleaner, to get relief from the daily vacuuming I need to keep my home looking fantastic.

To help out others unsure if a robotic vacuum cleaner is worth the investment, I put together this Roomba 801 review.

So stick around to learn why a robotic vacuum can help de-stress your life!

Things to Consider Before Buying a Robotic Vacuum

The best customers for robotic vacuums are people crunched for time and don’t want to hire a maid service to keep the floors in their home clean.

To determine if a robot vacuum is right for you, ask yourself these questions:

  • What level of clean do you expect?
  • How big is your space?
  • What’s your flooring?
  • Do you have pets?

Time savings versus cleaning expectations

Before buying a robot vacuum determine your “cleaning personality.”

The robot vacuum picks up pesky particles like hair, dust, and crumbs that accumulate on your floors between in-depth cleaning sessions.

If you’re highly finicky about housekeeping, you may find that a robot doesn’t clean some areas up to your standards. If this sounds like your cleaning personality, and you know you’ll pull out the upright vacuum anyway, it may be best to skip a robot.

If you can overlook a dusty corner or scrap of lint now and again, a robot is for you.

Square footage versus battery life

The battery life of robotic vacuums varies from as low at 60 minutes to up to 120 minutes of run time.

A very spacious home may require the vacuum to re-charge before completion, even on a model with extra-long battery life. If you don’t want to come home to a half-vacuumed floor, purchase a robot that can automatically recharge and finish the job.

To extend the battery life of your Roomba check out these tips.

Flooring material

Most robotic vacuums clean both hardwood and carpets effectively. Some models clean one surface better than the other, so find one that highlights your needs.

Pet hair

Keeping up with the daily hair accumulation of shedding pets is tiresome.

Robots can pick up most pet hair. But, if you have several pets look for a more task-specific vacuum with excellent suction power.

Roomba 801 Review

iRobot Roomba 801 Robotic Vacuum

The iRobot Roomba 801 Robotic Vacuum design is made to clean carpet and hardwood surfaces.

This model features a powerful cleaning system with five times the air power of the 600-series models.

The unit slips underneath furniture with ease to vacuum dust and debris from those hard-to-reach areas.

The robot self-docks and alerts you when the bin is full. The robot also recharges automatically, reducing fuss.

You can program the robot to schedule cleanings up to seven times a week. You can also press the “CLEAN” button for instant vacuuming.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Excellent for pet hair on hardwood floors
  • Simple to program
  • Easy to clean bin and roller

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi capability
  • Gets “stuck” on black color carpet
  • Must clean it after every session

The Roomba 801 Robotic Vacuum comes with one rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the charging/docking station, and the user manual.

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Features & Benefits

iRobot Roomba 801 Robotic Vacuum

Dimensions

The Roomba 801 vacuum is 18.6 inches long by 16.4 inches wide. These dimensions cover a wide swath of carpet with each pass, reducing cleaning time.

At 5.4 inches tall, it fits under most furniture, which keeps my home cleaner. The robot hits the spots I usually bypass with an upright vacuum cleaner because I need to move the furniture to access the space underneath.

Looks

The black and silver-tone exterior looks sleek, yet stands out, so you don’t accidentally trip over the unit while it’s working.

Flooring adaptability

The Roomba 801 automatically adjusts the height and speed of the brush bars, so it picks up debris better than the older 600 and 700 series Roomba vacuums.

This auto-adjust feature left my hardwood and tile floors just as clean as my carpets.

The only performance issue is if you have an extremely deep-pile rug. The brush bars may catch in the fibers, and the robot will stop, beep, then shut down.

A snag isn’t an issue when you’re home and can release and restart the robot. If you’re not home, it’ll derail your plans to come back to clean floors.

Suction power

The Roomba 801 features a patented AeroForce Three-Stage Cleaning System with improved suction power. The combination of suction and the unique brush configuration pick up more carpet debris than I thought possible.

The dual rubber-tread extractors counter-rotate to grab more debris yet are durable and easy to clean. The tangle-free system helps prevent power cords or carpet fringe from getting caught up in the rollers.

Battery

The Roomba 801 features a new, larger lithium-ion battery. This upgrade means your robot can run up to two times longer than the 600 or 700 Roomba models.

This additional run time (on average 120 minutes!) means it cleans between 1100 to 1600-square feet on a single charge.

The larger battery takes about four hours for a complete recharge.

Programming

I like the programming flexibility of the Roomba 801. I can set it to begin vacuuming once I leave for work, which means I come home to a freshly vacuumed home.

You can schedule it to run up to seven times a week, right down to the hour and minute. You can also push a button for immediate cleaning.

Another benefit of the 801 is the ability to spot clean where your flooring needs special attention.

Here is a good article for those with security concerns about Roomba’s wireless connectivity.

Sensors

The Roomba 801 features I Adapt navigation. This system uses an array of intelligent sensors that keep the robot running smoothly and safely.

Some sensors detect walls and drop-offs like stairs, so your unit doesn’t incur damage. The sensors also learn the layout of each room, so it can avoid furniture legs and other objects that slow down the cleaning process.

You need patience with the robot. It takes several runs for the sensors to learn each space and find the docking station. Every time it works a room, it acquires more knowledge until it avoids obstacles entirely.

I found out that moving the docking station will force the robot to relearn each space.

Sometimes I had to physically change the direction of the robot until it could find it’s way back to the dock. I found this issue to be an inconvenience, not a deal-breaker.

Filter

The manufacturers did not upgrade the filter system in the Roomba 801. A higher-grade filter could have made this robot vacuum much better overall.

The filter collects particles above 10 microns in size. While the filter material does capture of to 99-percent of allergens, it doesn’t qualify as a HEPA filter.

I find the filter works fine for my family, but it could be a problem for allergy sufferers or those sensitive to pet dander. 

Value

The Roomba 801 provides serious suction power when you compare it to other robotic vacuum cleaners. It doesn’t allow for Wi-Fi connectivity and control, but those features were not high on my priority list.

It delivers the results I need and expect, plus it’s easy to clean. Combine these features with the price, and I think it makes the 801 an excellent value.

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Customer testimonials

I spent some time checking out Roomba 801 reviews online to get an idea of what other buyers have to say about their experience using the product in their home.

Pet owners give high marks to the 801’s ability to grab pet hair, especially the hair that floats underneath beds and couches. Many people with pets find the robot performs better on hardwood flooring than their upright vacuum. The consensus is that the 801 is ideal for keeping pet hair under control.

Another testimonial states how well the 801 picks up larger and heavy debris like pennies, popcorn, and cat litter. The suction power of this robot seems to impress most buyers.

For people with limited mobility wondering if the 801 is a good purchase, customers note how easy it is to set up and operate. Many buy them for elderly parents who have difficulty pushing an upright. Others with disabilities state this robot has been a lifesaver.

After reading loads of ratings, I find that most customer experiences and the things they appreciate about the 801 features were very much like my own.

Alternatives

Here are my three alternatives (and reasons why) for a robot vacuum if the Roomba 801 doesn’t suit your needs.

#1 Roomba 614 – Ideal for dealing with pet hair

iRobot Roomba 614 Robot Vacuum- Good for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors, Self-Charging

What makes this Roomba different than the 801?

  • Less expensive
  • Brushes/suction work effectively to grab hard-to-pick-up fur and hair
  • Patented dirt detect sensor that works harder when the robot senses concentrated dirt patches
  • Does not allow you to program in a cleaning schedule
  • Filter is not high-efficient

When you are looking for daily clean-up of annoying pet hair, try the basic, yet effective Roomba 614 model. You receive many of the same features as the Roomba 801, at a better price point.

Since it doesn’t allow scheduled cleaning, it means you need to be around to start operation.

If your pets shed a lot, the bin will probably fill and need to be emptied several times during the cleaning process, so being around to do so is a good thing.

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You can also read our comparison between the Roomba 614 and 690.

#2 Roomba 690 – Affordable solution when you want Wi-Fi capabilities

iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi Connectivity, Works with Alexa, Good for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors, Self-Charging

What makes this Roomba different than the 801?

  • Works with iRobot HOME App, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa (Compatible with iPhone: iOS 11 or Higher/Android: OS 5.0 or Higher)
  • Includes one Dual-Mode Virtual Wall Barrier for more control over your robot’s path
  • Only runs for a maximum of 90 minutes per charge
  • Less suction power

If it’s second-nature for you to use your mobile phone or Alexa to remotely run other household appliances, then check out the Roomba 690!

While this model has less battery life than the 801, the convenience of scheduling cleaning through the app or voice command makes up for it.

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Our Roomba 690 comparisons:

#3 Roomba 980 – For those who suffer from allergen exposure

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot

The “smart” Roomba 980 is one of the best when it comes to robotic vacuums. For those with allergies and want a robot vacuum with a HEPA filter, this Roomba is worth the investment.

What makes this Roomba different than the 801?

  • High-efficiency filter with AllergenLock bags
  • Works with iRobot HOME App, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa (Compatible with iPhone: iOS 11 or Higher/Android: OS 5.0 or Higher)
  • Power Boost Technology with 10x more suction power (over 600 series)
  • Advanced dirt detection
  • Automatic recharge and resume
  • iAdapt 2.0 technology for more precision cleaning
  • Price is higher

The 980 features wireless communication for easy mobile and voice control, while also keeping the air inside your home cleaner with a filter that holds even more allergens than the 801.

If budget isn’t an issue, check out the Roomba 980 Smart Robot Vacuum.

This robot can do everything the 801 model does, plus more like recharging and automatically resuming cleaning if the battery runs out in the middle of a session.

Buy on Amazon

Our Roomba 980 comparisons:

Conclusion

Being able to take advantage of today’s modern technology, like using a robotic vacuum, means more time to pursue enjoyable activities.

Quit spending hours each week cleaning your floors. Quit straining your muscles pushing around an upright vacuum cleaner. Robotic vacuums come in models to fit every budget with features to suit every need.

The top benefit of the robot I feature in this Roomba 801 review is the ability to schedule cleanings at any time you desire. The powerful suction digs deep to remove dirt, and the brush system reaches edges and grabs debris that other products miss.

Click here to check out the Roomba 801!

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