Roomba 880 vs 980: 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 980.

Budget Option
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
Winner
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
$599.00
$427.43
Budget Option
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum
$599.00
Winner
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
$427.43

Because of my busy household, I am always looking for shortcuts when it comes to cleaning. Who wants to come home from work and clean or spend the weekend sweeping and vacuuming? It seems like a robotic vacuum could be the answer to my cleaning woes. With so many options on the market, I thought I should take some time to look at them carefully. Read on to learn more about my Roomba 880 vs 980 comparison.

Is a Roomba the Right Choice For Your Home?

Any kind of robotic vacuum is a serious financial investment especially if you want the latest technology. For many households, a cleaning robot will be a big help. Imagine your droid setting out while the house is empty, cleaning up all the dust, dirt and pet hair without a single complaint. If you use your Roomba every day, you will discover how effective it can be in keeping all your floor surfaces clean.

However, a robotic vacuum is not going to be the perfect solution for every home. One important consideration is your floorplan. While these robots can easily move from one floor surface to another, they can only handle a single level at a time. If you have a complex floorplan or a split-level home, you will not have the full experience of the robot cleaning everything while you are away. It will need your help to get from one level to the next. You can still use a robotic vacuum, but you might consider a simpler model rather than paying for technology that will not get used.

You might also find that a Roomba is not the best solution if your home is never quiet. Robotic vacuums work best in open spaces without interruption. Every time someone steps in front of the robot, it will change direction and register an obstacle in that location. This could lead to inefficient cleaning patterns and missed spots. Since your home is probably already noisy and busy, just get the job done with an upright vacuum. Better yet, recruit some the people who make your home so busy to do the vacuuming for you.

Introducing the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 880 is part of the middle-of-the-road 800-series of Roomba vacuums. While it still has a navigation system based on avoiding obstacles, it has a stronger cleaning system than previous models. The 880 has an XLife extended life battery which gives it twice as many charges before replacement than earlier models. This unit also has programmable scheduling which allows users to start a cleaning cycle while no one is at home. The Roomba 880 comes with a charging dock, extra high-efficiency filter, remote control, and two Virtual Wall Lighthouse devices.

Pros

  • Works well on pet hair
  • Programmable scheduling
  • Remote-controlled guidance for spot cleaning

Cons 

  • Loud operation
  • Navigation pattern can miss spots
  • Remote control struggles to work at a distance

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Our Roomba 880 comparisons:

Meet the Roomba 980

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot

iRobot introduced some important changes between the 800-series and 900-series. The Roomba 980 has Wi-Fi connectivity. This means you can control it through the iRobot HOME app from anywhere in the world. With this connection, you can also command the unit with the Amazon Echo or Google Home device. The 980 has improved navigation that maps your home, giving you a much more efficient cleaning pattern. The 980 remembers its map while it is charging and can pick up where it left off at the end of the last cleaning session. It can also send reports on its progress through the iRobot HOME app. The unit comes with a charging dock, extra filter, extra side-brush, and two Virtual Wall devices.

Pros

  • Efficient navigation
  • 120-minute cleaning time on a single charge
  • Programming with the app gives flexibility

Cons

  • No HEPA filter
  • Can get tangled in rug fringe
  • Runs out of charge quickly on floors with lots of carpeting
  • Better technology means higher cost

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Other Roomba 980 comparisons:

The Nuts and Bolts of the Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 880 has several improvements over previous Roomba series. These improvements address concerns about handling pet hair and scuffing furniture. The replaceable battery also gives this unit the potential for a longer usable life.

iAdapt 1.0 Navigation System

The navigation system in the Roomba 880 is the same one used by the earlier 600 and 700-series of Roomba robots. It is basically an avoidance-based system. When the Roomba sets out on a cleaning cycle, it registers every time it encounters an obstacle and changes direction. Over time, it makes a temporary map of the cleaning area. It is important to note that the Roomba 880 does not retain its cleaning map when it charges. It starts from scratch and creates a new map with every cleaning cycle.

Unlike previous models, the 880 approaches obstacles more gently to avoid damage. By using the included Virtual Wall Lighthouses, you can restrict the Roomba to a single room until it has cleaned it completely. The lighthouse gives off a signal that creates an electronic barrier. When the room is complete, the lighthouse takes down the barrier and sends the Roomba to the next cleaning area. Because the iAdapt 1.0 Navigation system is based on avoiding obstacles, it is important to remove any clutter from the cleaning area before starting the cleaning cycle.

Programmable scheduling

You could only send off earlier Roomba models by pressing the start button on the unit itself. Models like the 880 have a set of programmable scheduling buttons. These work like the buttons on an alarm clock. You can schedule your Roomba to set out after everyone has left your home for the day, the most efficient way to put your robotic vacuum to use. You can also create a weekly schedule if your workdays do not follow a regular pattern. A daily cleaning makes a big difference in the cleanliness of your home.

AeroForce Cleaning System

The AeroForce Cleaning System increases the suction power by five times from previous models. With this much suction, the 880 can use a stronger, high-efficiency filter that removes most dust and dander from your floors. This cleaning system uses rubber extractors with a tread pattern to loosen dirt and push it toward the vacuum. Some owners complain that the thumping of these extractors makes the unit noisy, so you might want to run the 880 mostly when no one is home. This also might be a concern if you live in an apartment with neighbors below. In addition to the extractors, the Roomba has a spinning side-cleaning brush that allows it to pull dust from corners and edges. This brush will wear down over time, but replacements are available online.

XLife Extended Life Battery

One of the aspects of robotic vacuums that is constantly changing is battery life. The longer the Roomba runs, the more floor space it can clean. The 880 has an average cleaning time of 60 minutes on a single charge. However, you can charge the XLife battery twice as many times as previous models before it needs replacement. Spare batteries are easily available online, so the Roomba 880 can last a very long time. This is important as a robotic vacuum is a financial investment. A longer usable life gives you the best return.

Dirt Detect Sensors

In the 800-series, Dirt Detect technology allows the Roomba to handle larger messes. These specialized sensors are located on the bottom of the unit. When they are triggered, the Roomba increases its vacuum power and spends more time on the area. The Roomba 880 includes a remote control that lets the user interrupt the navigation system and steer the Roomba to any desired location. I know that sometimes I hate waiting for my robotic vacuum to discover messes on its own. It is nice to have some control.

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Important Features of the Roomba 980

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot

With the 900-series, iRobot jumped onto the internet of things bandwagon. Now, you can communicate with your Roomba robotic vacuum through your smartphone or another Wi-Fi connected device. The 980 also has increased cleaning power and a much-improved navigation system. The 900-series takes Roombas to the next level of technology.

Gen 3 Vacuum Motor

The Roomba 980 uses the same type of cleaning system as the 880 with rubber extractors and a high-efficiency filter. However, the 980 has a vacuum that can be twice as powerful as the 880. This gives it more power on deep pile carpets. To save battery life, the unit normally operates at the same power level as the 880. When it encounters a carpet, it ramps up the vacuum to full power to give the area a deep clean. These are the first Roombas that can really handle any kind of floor surface.

Smart Mapping and vSLAM Technology

As enjoyable as it is to watch a Roomba slowly figure out your floor plan, the Roomba 980 has a much more sophisticated way to get around. Instead of mapping as it goes, visual sensors map the area at the beginning of the cleaning cycle. When it comes to open spaces, rather than heading in random directions, the 980 follows a logical back-and-forth pattern, covering more space in less time.

An important difference between the 980 and earlier models is that this unit can remember the area it has cleaned between charges. When it leaves its dock after charging, it can go right back to the place it stopped. This makes it ideal for larger homes that require multiple charges. By using the HOME app, you can check and see the area that your Roomba cleaned.

Long-lasting Battery Life

The Roomba 980 has twice the battery life of previous models. This unit can clean for 120 minutes without needing to recharge. It is important to note that iRobot bases this figure on cleaning hardwood floors. If the unit is spending a lot of time on carpeted surfaces at its full vacuuming power, it will not last quite as long. However, the improved cleaning time should let the 980 handle the cleaning needs of most homes.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

By giving the Roomba 980 a Wi-Fi connection, iRobot gave its customers a whole new level of control. You can send your robot cleaning at any time from any place. Through the HOME app, you can receive reports on its progress and any issues it encounters along the way. For example, you will receive an alert when the dirt bin is full and needs cleaning. I like this remote feature because it means I can have the unit do an extra cleaning cycle when I find out guests are coming for dinner.

The Wi-Fi connection can also connect your Roomba 980 to a smart speaker for voice controls. Just tell Alexa or Siri to start the unit and off it will go. This is great if you need cleaning done while you are in another part of the house.

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The Roomba 880 Reviews Are In!

A major part of learning about a product is getting reviews from actual users. After spending some time looking over the internet, most people are quite happy with their Roomba 880. They like that it handles pet hair well, avoiding the brush tangles of older models. They appreciate the convenient scheduling that allows them to program and forget the unit until it requires cleaning. Most users find that the Roomba 880 is a reliable device that gets the vacuuming job done. 

Rave Reviews for the Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 is also a popular machine. This unit gets strong reviews from users who have large floor areas. They were concerned that a robotic vacuum would not have enough energy to get the job done. The extended battery life and mapping features make it possible. Pet owners really appreciate the 980 because it can handle pet hair with ease. Even though their pets are constantly shedding, using the Roomba 980 every day keeps things clean.

Choosing Between the Roomba 880 vs 980

At the end of these comparison reviews, I have to choose one unit over the other. Based on their features and satisfied customer reviews, I could recommend either of these units for an average-sized home. Acknowledging the price difference between the two units, it is important to note that most consumers are satisfied with the less-expensive 880. I have to say that I am a sucker for technology so, if you can afford it, I would suggest going with the Roomba 980, especially if you have a larger floor plan or many carpeted surfaces. The stronger vacuum power will give you a more thorough cleaning. The improved navigation system and battery life will make certain that every floor surface gets cleaned during each cycle. The modern technology of the Roomba 980 will give your home a reliable, hi-tech cleaning.

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iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for improved pick up performance; Automatically increases cleaning performance on carpets with Power Boost (Compared to Roomba 600 Series and AeroVac System)
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with VSlam technology allows the robot to map its surroundings to clean an entire level of your home, around objects, and under furniture
  • Ideal for homes with pets; Premium 3 stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't
  • Dual Multi Surface Rubber Brushes adjust and flex to stay in constant contact with carpets and hard floors
  • High efficiency filter traps 99 percent of cat and dog allergens
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