Roomba 805 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.

Winner
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter
$599.00
$249.99
Winner
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
$599.00
iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter
iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter
$249.99

At my house, we like to entertain. It is always fun to have guests come and join us for a meal or party. However, this means that our home requires frequent cleaning. With a busy schedule like mine, it can be difficult to maintain consistently clean floors. A little while ago, I started researching robotic vacuums to see if they could help me with this problem. In this article, I am going to compare the Roomba 805 vs 880. 

Is a Robotic Vacuum the Cleaning Solution for Your Home?

If you are like me and are bothered by dirty floors, a robotic vacuum might be a great solution to keep things consistently clean. Many people are surprised at the amount of hidden dust these devices pick up when they first start using them. Roombas are only 3.6 inches tall which allows them to vacuum under furniture. With regular use, you will discover that your home is significantly cleaner. All you have to do is empty the dirt bin when it is full, a task that takes about one minute.

That being said, a robotic vacuum may not be the solution for everyone. While the detection technology on these devices has improved, they are not perfect. Most users still have to pull out their regular vacuum to do spot cleaning. The obstacle-avoiding style of navigation can lead to missed spots. The mess-detecting sensors are better at spotting large debris like spilled cereal rather than fine dust like spilled flour. If you are a perfectionist who will get upset when the Roomba misses something, you may want to save yourself from frustration and do your own vacuuming.

Another concern is the number of sensitive areas in your home. You can use the included Virtual Wall devices to keep the Roomba from contact with an area with fragile items. However, if you have a room where you proudly display your fragile Hummel figurines on several display tables, you may not feel comfortable having a Roomba handle the cleaning. While it eventually learns the location of obstacles, the robot does so by coming into contact with those objects. Here, a handheld vacuum might be your best bet for the careful cleaning of more sensitive areas.

Introducing the Roomba 805

iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter

iRobot designed the Roomba 805 with a single purpose, to provide homes with a reliable cleaning tool. As part of the 800-series of Roomba robots, the 805 has the upgraded AeroForce cleaning system that is five times as powerful as previous models. While it does not have the Wi-Fi connection of more recent Roombas, it does have onboard scheduling buttons that allow you to start a cleaning cycle while you are away. The 805 uses the basic iAdapt Navigation system that creates a temporary map when it cleans. When you purchase the Roomba 805, you will also receive a charging dock, an extra filter, and two Virtual Wall devices.

Pros

  • Effective on pet hair
  • Simple scheduling buttons
  • 60 minutes of cleaning on a single charge

Cons

  • Noisy operation
  • Can get lost and run out of charge
  • Can mistake dark carpeting as a drop 

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Get to Know the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

Roombas in the same series often use similar technology. However, iRobot tries something different to improve each model. The Roomba 880 uses the same navigation and cleaning systems as the 805. It also has the same set of programmable buttons. The 880 includes Dirt Detect technology sensors that tell the unit to spend more time in an area. It also has an XLife replaceable battery rather than a built-in lithium-ion battery like the 805. An important difference is the remote control that is included in the package which allows users to guide their unit from a distance. With the 880, you also receive a charging dock, an extra filter, and two Virtual Wall Lighthouses.

Pros

  • Dirt Detect sensors discover messes
  • Replaceable battery offers extended unit life
  • Full bin indicator means shorter downtime

Cons

  • Remote control signal is not always effective at a distance
  • Rubber agitators are loud
  • Can struggle to clean deep pile carpets

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Essential Features of the Roomba 805

iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter

The Roomba 805 has several features that allow it to be an effective cleaning tool. Its object-avoiding navigation system makes it best suited for average-sized homes with a simple floor plan. In such homes, a daily cleaning cycle will make a big difference in the amount of dirt and pet hair you see.

Sensor-driven Navigation

The 800-series uses the same iAdapt 1.0 Navigation system as the 600 and 700-series. This is a sensor-driven system that guides the Roomba by making a temporary map of every obstacle it encounters. An important difference between the 800-series and later models is that the map is forgotten between charges. Once a cleaning cycle finishes, the mapping process will start from scratch with the next one.

The 805 finds its way using a hi-tech collection of sensors.

Barrier Sensors

The barrier sensors are located on the body of the Roomba 800-series. They sense obstacles that are in the Roomba’s way. In the 800-series, the Roomba slows down as it approaches an obstacle and nudges it gently. If the object is solid, the Roomba will mark the location and change direction. If the object allows the Roomba to pass, like an upholstery flap on a sofa, the Roomba will continue through.

The Roomba 805 includes two Virtual Wall devices that can keep the Roomba out of rooms or away from sensitive areas. They give off an electronic signal that triggers the barrier sensors, forcing the Roomba to change directions. I often use these as a way of making certain that a particular room gets completely clean before the Roomba moves to another location. By sending the signal across a doorway, I can keep the Roomba from leaving the room.

Cliff Detection Sensors

The Roomba Cliff Detection sensors keep the unit from falling down the stairs. If the Roomba registers too large of a drop, it changes direction. This allows the Roomba to clean to edge of the stairs without falling over. The sensors are configured so that the Roomba can handle small drops from one floor surface to another.

Three-step Cleaning System

The 800-series of Roombas uses the powerful AeroForce cleaning system. This system has five times the vacuuming power of previous models making it more effective on carpets. The first cleaning step involves its rubber, treaded agitators. These loosen dirt and debris and lift it toward the vacuum. A spinning side-brush helps pull dirt into their path. The vacuum then pulls the loose dirt and pet hair into the dirt bin. Finally, a high-efficiency filter traps small particles in the bin, removing a good amount of dust and dander from your floor. If these irritants are inside the Roomba, it can improve your overall air quality.

In addition to the regular cleaning mode, the Roomba 805 also has a Spot cleaning mode. This mode is meant to handle larger messes. You carry the unit to the center of the mess. When you press the Spot button, the Roomba sets out in a slow spiral pattern covering a circle about three feet in diameter.

Rechargeable Battery

The Roomba 805 is equipped with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that gives the unit about 60 minutes of running time on a single charge. When the Roomba’s charge falls to below 20 percent, it automatically seeks out its charging station. It is important to locate the charging dock in an open area so that it is easy to reach. If the Roomba cannot make it to the station, the poor robot will get stranded and need your help.

Simple Scheduling

The Roomba 805 has a set of buttons that allow you to set a daily cleaning time or weekly schedule. When you first charge the unit, you will set the current date and time. From there, scheduling cleanings is as simple as setting a digital alarm clock. I love the idea of setting the Roomba to work while the house is empty and clutter-free. 

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What You Need to Know about the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

Much of the technology found in the Roomba 880 is the same as the 805 including the navigation and cleaning systems. It also has the same set of buttons for convenient programming. However, there are some features that set it apart.

Replaceable Battery

Rather than a fixed lithium-ion battery, the Roomba 880 runs on an extended-life, replaceable battery. The XLife battery is supposed to be able to receive twice as many charges as regular batteries. Importantly, you can replace it when it reaches the end of its usable life. Extra batteries are available online. This can greatly extend the life of your Roomba 880. However, the extra life does not extend the cleaning minutes per charge. The 880 still runs for about 60 minutes.

Remote Control

You can control the Roomba 880 by remote control. You no longer have to carry it to specific areas. When you use the remote, you override the navigation system. This can be helpful for larger homes that cannot be cleaned in a single charge. The user can guide the Roomba to the last area it cleaned so it covers new terrain in the next session.

Dirt Detection

Underneath the Roomba 880 is a suite of dirt detection sensors. When these sensors register a larger mess, they instruct the Roomba to spend more time in that area. Combined with the remote control, these take the place of the Spot mode of the Roomba 805.

Full Dirt Bin Indicator

Every Roomba stops vacuuming when its bin is full. One of the problems of older models is that the unit could stop while under furniture, and users did not realize it right away. By the time they found the Roomba, it was already out of charge. The 880 has a full dirt bin indicator that alerts users that the Roomba needs to be cleaned, minimizing its downtime. 

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Positive Reviews for the Roomba 805

I always like to see what real users think of their products. After searching around the internet, I have found a number of positive reviews for the Roomba 805. Many customers appreciate the simple but effective design. This unit has a job to do and gets it done reliably. Owners with pets also appreciate how the 805’s cleaning system can deal with pet hair without getting tangled.

The Public Likes the Roomba 880

The Roomba 880 also receives positive reviews. Because these two Roombas are in the same series, many of the reviews are similar to those of the 805. They cite the 880’s reliability as well as its ability to pick up large amounts of pet hair. Several reviews give praise for this unit’s extended battery life.

My Choice: The Roomba 805 vs 880

In many ways, the Roomba 805 and 880 are quite similar. Both receive praise for being effective cleaning machines. Both use similar technology for their basic operation. However, if I have to choose between the two, I would suggest purchasing the Roomba 880. The fact that you can replace the battery when its usable life is over is a big plus. I figure if you are investing money in a robotic vacuum, you should pick the one with the longest life possible. This will give you the best return on your cleaning investment.

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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