Roomba 860 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 860 in 2020, then the short answer is YES.

iRobot Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum
  • iAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home
  • AeroForce 3 Stage Cleaning System delivers up to 50 percent more cleaning performance
  • Tangle free extractors help prevent hair and debris clogs
  • Conveniently schedule up to 7x per week, or just press CLEAN on the robot
  • Lithium Ion Battery delivers up to 2x the battery cycle lifetime

It always happens. I vacuum up the house, and my family comes tracking in a new round of dirt and dust. The sun shines in the windows, and all I can see are the little dust particles that will soon land on the floor. Cleaning a home takes a lot and time and energy. A cleaning tool like a robotic vacuum seems like it could be a great help. There are many models on the market. In this article, I am going to give you my Roomba 860 review.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Roomba

If you are concerned about having a consistently clean home, a Roomba vacuum cleaner can be a helpful tool. It is ideal for a smaller house with a simple floor plan, though with each generation the navigation and battery of the units improve. Many pet owners appreciate their Roombas, especially since iRobot has been working to create units that can handle pet hair without tangling. Roombas in the 800-series and up are equipped with HEPA filters which can be helpful in homes where allergies are a problem.

A Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner is a serious investment for your home, so there some things to think about before you make a purchase. For one thing, you should look around your house and notice the amount of clutter. If you are accustomed to a cluttered home, the Roomba may not be the ideal solution. Its navigation system helps it avoid obstacles, but it does not move them. If there is an object on the floor, that space will not get vacuumed.

Another consideration is how well you deal with technology. Roombas are not particularly complex, and you will read about how the 860 is even less so. However, if you find new technology frustrating, you may not enjoy your Roomba or trust that it can meet your cleaning standards. If you are going to vacuum your house anyway, invest in a nice, bagless vacuum and take control of your own space.

Roomba 860 Review: Meet the 860

iRobot Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 860 is one of the last non-Wifi equipped Roomba models. However, unlike earlier models, you can manually program it to turn on at a set time. It has a stronger cleaning system than the 600 and 700 series. It also has a more advanced navigation system than the earlier models that allows it to do a better job of following walls and cleaning corners. The 860 has a lithium-ion battery for a longer operating time and shorter charging time. In the standard package, the 860 comes with an extra HEPA filter and one Virtual Wall. The Virtual Wall is a device that triggers your Roomba’s barrier sensors. You can use it to block the Roomba from entering an area.

Pros

  • Simple, programmable interface
  • Five times the cleaning power of previous models
  • Anti-tangle dirt extractors

Cons

  • Small dirt bin requires frequent emptying
  • Random navigation pattern can be inefficient
  • No Wi-fi connection for remote access

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Essential Features of the Roomba 860

iRobot Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum

The iRobot Roomba robotic vacuums improve with each generation. The three big upgrades of the 860 from previous models impact cleaning ability, navigation and cleaning time. However, upgrades tend to increase the price. As a consumer, you have to find the right balance between cost and ability.

AeroForce Cleaning System

The Roomba 860 uses an upgraded AeroForce cleaning system that is five times more powerful than the AeroVac system of the 600 and 700 series. This is important because the extra suction does a better job on carpeted areas and picks up more pet hair. The stronger suction also makes it possible for the unit to pull air through a more powerful HEPA filter.

Sealed Dirt Bin and HEPA Filter

A vacuum is not helpful if it leaves dust in its wake. The Roomba 860 has a sealed bin to collect dirt and debris. When the bin is full, the unit stops its cleaning cycle until the bin has been emptied. Most consumers say it takes about a minute to empty the bin. One common complaint is that the bin is too small and needs to be emptied too often. In many cases, this happens when you first use the Roomba and it picks up dirt under furniture that had never been cleaned. Most consumers find that this issue improves over time as the house gets cleaner.

Tangle-free Rubber Tread Extractors

The Roomba 860 uses rubber tread extractors instead of the brushes of earlier units. These extractors loosen and lift dirt from the floor. They are designed to pick up pet hair without getting tangled, a very important feature for people with pets. Untangling hair from vacuum brushes is a time-consuming process that is never fun.

iAdapt Navigation

The iAdapt navigation system of the Roomba 860 is an improvement over earlier models, though it does not have the home-mapping technology of the 900 series. It navigates primarily by avoiding obstacles. When the Roomba meets an obstacle it cannot pass, it changes direction. The iAdapt system does a better job of dealing with obstacles. When the unit approaches an obstacle, it slows down and touches it gently. This prevents any unnecessary scuffs on furniture or knocking over top-heavy items.

Dirt Detection with Persistent Pass Technology

The Roomba 860 also has a more powerful dirt detection system than previous models. It uses both optical and acoustic sensors to identify areas that are especially dirty and gives them multiple passes until they are clear. I appreciate this feature because spills are unpredictable, and some parts of the house will always need a little extra work.

Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery

The 860 is one of the first models to use a long-lasting lithium-ion battery. This battery not only gives you about 60 minutes of vacuuming power, but it also takes less time to fully charge. It takes about three hours to recharge your Roomba 860 after a cleaning cycle. When the charge falls between 10 and 20 percent, the unit will make its way back to the docking station. Some consumers complain about the unit not quite making it to its dock. However, the placement of the docking station is important. The more open space it has around it, the easier it will be for the Roomba 860 to make it home.

Simple Controls and Scheduling

Although the Roomba 860 cannot be programmed or started remotely, it can be programmed to enter a cleaning cycle at a certain time. On top of the unit, you will find a “Clean” button and a set of programming buttons. The “Clean” button sends the Roomba out on cleaning patrol. The programming buttons are similar to the controls on a digital alarm clock. You can set a time for the Roomba to turn on while you are away. This is convenient because it means I can have my Roomba hard at work while everyone is out of the house.

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Positive Reviews for the Roomba 860

After doing some research and reading customer reviews, I have found that most people are happy with their Roomba 860. Some just love the convenience of a programmable robot without dealing with another smartphone app. Pet owners also appreciate the way the robot deals with Fido’s shedding without tangling. For these satisfied customers, the Roomba 860 keeps their homes consistently clean with minimal effort.

Viable Alternatives to the Roomba 860

The Roomba 860 seems to do the job for most people, but robotic vacuum technology has improved a great deal since this unit was introduced. If you are thinking about the Roomba 860, you may also want to look at some alternatives.

Roomba 860:

  • AeroForce Cleaning System
  • iAdapt Navigation
  • Manual scheduling and control
  • 60-minute battery life

#1 Roomba 890

iRobot Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

The Roomba 890 is in the same series as the 860. It costs a little more but it comes with the benefit of Wi-fi connectivity. This gives you a little more access when it comes to your cleaning droid. You can start your Roomba running at any time from any place in the world with your smartphone. You can also use voice control through Amazon Alexa or Google Home to start cleaning cycles. If you like the basic Roomba function matched with more advanced control, the 890 might be the choice for you.

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  • AeroForce Cleaning System
  • iAdapt Navigation
  • Manual and Wi-fi connected control
  • 60-minute battery life

You can find more information about the Roomba 890 here.

You can read our Roomba 890 comparisons here:

#2 Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors

For a little above the price as the 860, you can buy a Roomba 960. This Roomba comes with the iAdapt 2.0 navigation system, a system that uses visual and acoustic sensors to map your space. It also remembers where it has been. After it goes to the charging dock, it will return to the place where it left off. This unit is better suited to homes with a more complex layout with multiple flooring surfaces.

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  • AeroForce Cleaning System
  • iAdapt 2.0 Navigation
  • Manual and Wi-fi connected control
  • 75-minute battery life

Check out the Roomba 960 here.

Our Roomba 960 comparisons:

#3 eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S

eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim), Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Super-Thin, 1300Pa Strong Suction, Quiet, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, Cleans Hard Floors to Medium-Pile Carpets

The Eufy brand is the new kid in the robotic vacuum market. The Eufy Robovac 11S is a more affordable option than many Roomba models including the 860. It is not programmable but does come with a handheld remote control that allows you to guide it to messier areas. It is slimmer and lighter, so has a longer running time than the Roomba 860. It does especially well in homes with only hardwood and vinyl, though it is rated for carpet cleaning.

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  • BoostIQ Suction System
  • Infrared sensor navigation
  • Manual and handheld remote control
  • 100-minute battery life

Find out more about the Eufy Robovac 11S here.

My Final Thoughts about the Roomba 860

To conclude my Roomba 860 review, this unit is a reliable cleaning tool. Its upgraded cleaning system and battery give it more power than other Roomba models without sacrificing running time. It is always a treat to come home after a busy day and find floors free of dust and debris. The Roomba 860 can help you experience that moment of joy every day. Read more about the Roomba 860.

Read our Roomba 860 comparisons:

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