If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend the Roomba 960.
Maintaining a clean home is very important to most of us. However, there are varying degrees to which people go to the place spotless. If you’re like me, then the idea of a less than perfectly clean home grinds your gears. You may find just what you need below as I review the iRobot Roomba 890 vs 960.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Smart Floor Cleaner
A smart floor cleaner is a great alternative to your traditional vacuum cleaner that you must push around. The autonomy of these devices was a huge plus for me. It’s this functionality that allows me to focus on some of my other important chores while the cleaner takes care of my floor. Additionally, there are other great features that these smart devices typically have, which may be just the thing you need to improve your cleaning process.
Vacuuming is a necessary process; however, it sometimes isn’t the most convenient one when it is done manually. Sometimes, this is because of the time that needs to be invested in getting sound to all the floors in the house. Also, some people may either be disabled, or they may experience low back pain in the bent-over position needed to use some vacuum cleaners.
If the unbearable time investment or the physical discomfort sound familiar, getting an automated floor cleaning device may be just the thing you need to turn to for relief.
Purchasing one of these is an investment into the sustained cleanliness of your home, so you should always ensure that you put on the brakes before you run into a purchase and give some thought to the following:
- Battery life
- Navigation method
- Control method
- Remote control ability
- Multi-room cleaning
Now I know that these things aren’t for everyone. For one thing, they work best on low carpets and wooden floors. Additionally, they’re not very well suited to handle multi-story houses or any large home for that matter. A better alternative for you is the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO 950, as it does surface recognition and it even stores up to three maps for bigger houses or those with more levels.
Roomba 890: Quick Review
The Roomba 890 is the last in iRobot’s 800 series, which is a mid-range lineup. The main thing that makes it different from Roombas in the 600 and 700 lines is the fact that it has quite a bit more power due to its Aeroforce vacuuming technology. This is an optimal mix of all the basic features you expect out of a smart cleaning device, which makes it perfect if that’s what you’re looking for. However, if you’re the type of person who wants quality of life perks such as multi-room cleaning, edge cleaning, reporting, etc., this probably isn’t the one for you.
- Wi-Fi enabled
- Intelligent sensors
- Integration with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- Controlled well with the iRobot app
- Good mix of standard functionality
- Small dust container
- Short battery life
- Spill potential when removing the dustbin
- No carpet boost
- No “charge and resume” feature
Our other Roomba 890 comparisons:
Roomba 960: Quick Review
You can think of the Roomba 960 as the big brother of the Roomba 890. This is the one that got all the good traits of the family, and then some! One of the things I can remember that really grabbed me about this was the added level of convenience. It maps the area, which makes for a superb clean, it pauses to charge when needed then resumes its job, its efficiency filter is great at getting pollens and allergens, and it even gives nice little reports on the jobs that it does. This is for you if you want your vacuuming life to be as easy and as convenient as possible, but if you don’t need all these “premium” features, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Multi-room navigation
- All features of the 890 and more
- Recharge and resume feature
- Room-to-room cleaning feature
- Carpet boost feature is missing
- Mapping area requires light
- No carpet boost
Other Roomba 960 comparisons:
Features and Benefits
- Capacity volume: 0.62 liter; Power Lifting Suction delivers 5X the air power for improved pick up performance
- Premium 3 stage cleaning system loosens, lifts, and suctions dirt, dust, and pet hair; The auto adjust cleaning head adapts its height to keep the multi surface brushes in close contact with different floor surfaces, directly engaging with both hard floors and carpets
- Dual multi surface rubber brushes instantly adjust and flex to stay in constant contact with floors
- Patented Dirt Detect sensors alert Roomba to work harder on concentrated areas of dirt, such as high traffic zones of your home
- Clean and schedule from anywhere with the iRobot home App; compatible with Alexa and the Google Assistant
- POWERFUL PERFORMANCE AND POWERFUL PICK-UP - Power-Lifting Suction delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance.
- IT WON'T STOP TILL THE JOB IS DONE - Intelligently maps & cleans an entire level of your home. Patented iAdapt technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage.
- NAVIGATES IN NEAT ROWS - Purposefully & logically cleans in neat rows & uses floor tracking sensors to navigate your home.
- IDEAL FOR HOMES WITH PETS - Unique Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes don't get tangled with pet hair. Brushes adjust & flex to stay in constant contact with carpets & hard floors. High-Efficiency Filter traps 99% of cat & dog allergens.
- LEARNS YOUR LIFE LISTENS TO YOUR VOICE - Learns your cleaning habits to offer up personalized schedules, while Google Assistant & Alexa allow you to start cleaning with just the sound of your voice.
So, here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. What’s the significance of the iHome app? What is this edge cleaning technology that was mentioned? It’s time for you to get your answers and more as I break down the feature details for both products.
Edge Cleaning Technology
iRobot builds all their smart cleaners with brushes along the edges of walls, appliances, etc., to keep them clean by loosening and removing dirt and debris. However, for the Roomba 960, it’s more than just having brushes. The device has a dedicated Edge Clean functionality. The idea here is to precision clean the edges of the room and furniture. However, this focus takes time, and so the edge cleaning is done at a slower pace than the cleaner’s natural pace. It also drains battery power faster than usual to achieve this kind of clean.
Both devices have what is known as a Spot Mode. When this enabled, the Roomba device gives high focus to a single area with a three-foot diameter by circling it. It is an ideal feature for achieving a deep clean in a specific area you choose. If the robotic vacuum was cleaning another area when you directed it to do a spot clean elsewhere, it returns to the initial cleaning zone once the spot clean is wrapped up. I’ve found that this is very useful when the normal pass made during cleaning isn’t enough. The units boost themselves during this procedure for a truly thorough clean.
Both Roomba models use different navigation schemes.
The 890 uses iAdapt 1.0 navigation technology. Rather than opting for a back and forth pattern, the device sets out to clean and internally plots out a location when it meets an obstacle. Once done, it moves on to find a new area. This process of mapping new areas and cleaning continues until no more new areas are present or until battery life ends. Since this model doesn’t have Recharge and Resume technology, it requires intervention if it can’t get through the entire job on a single charge.
The 960 model has the newer iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology built into it that boasts Visual Localization. This process makes use of the camera, which helps the device to understand the area it is to clean. This allows for systematic navigation. Once the job is complete, the unit generates a report in the form of a Clean Map report. It also has Recharge and Resume technology. I think this feature combination is superb because it means that you don’t necessarily need to check in with the device at all.
The Roomba 890 and 960 devices are administered via iRobot’s iHome app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. The download is free, and it makes controlling these remote-controlled devices a breeze. Features such as scheduling, edge cleaning, spot cleaning, and report viewing can be taken care of from the application. I was even able to name my robot with the app! For me, the app’s user interface is very intuitive. The layout should make it easily usable by just about everyone.
The iHome app is not the only method of control available to these devices. Both smart cleaners support integration with smart home devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. This takes advantage of the voice recognition software of either device and facilitates a series of voice commands. The commands cover a wide base of functionality and they range from simple to granular. I like the fact that this gives an authentic “smart home” feeling, and it makes your life and your involvement with the vacuuming process as limited as possible. Now you have time to direct your focus elsewhere.
Recharge and Resume
Both the 890 and the 960 have an automated recharging mechanism. The robots monitor their battery levels as they clean. When they realize that the battery is approaching imminent death, they return to their docks and charge automatically. This is where the similarity ends when a job is in progress.
The 890 is programmed to charge only. If you wish to have the device continue cleaning, then you need to indicate this manually.
The 960 has the Recharge and Resume functionality. Like the 890, it returns to its dock to get charged when it realizes that its battery is running low. However, if the device was in the middle of a cleaning cycle when it needed to charge, it returns and picks up where it left off with no need for intervention.
Both models work with iRobot’s Virtual Wall technology. This creates a cone-shaped barrier which you can use to block areas that you don’t want the Roomba automated cleaner to access. This is typically used to either stop the device from going into certain rooms or to stop it from going near delicate or valuable items. Openings of up to two meters can be blocked using this feature. Additional protection can be added using a protection halo, which stops the Roomba device from getting to close to the virtual barrier.
The Virtual Wall can be set to either “auto,” or it can be activated manually. If you want to set and forget it, you can use the auto mode. Here, the walls indicator blinks every eight seconds to denote activation. It remains active indefinitely and should last for about six months before battery replacement is required.
You may also enable the wall by hand when a cleaning cycle is started. The barrier stays enabled for 135 minutes; then it turns off.
Roomba 890 vs 960: The Verdict
Let me start by saying that both products from iRobot are simply amazing! I know it’s called a smart cleaner for a reason, but the way they just take up the mantle and work their magic on their own is the stuff of legend. With my gushing out of the way, it’s time to choose a winner. In the battle of the Roomba 890 vs 960, I must go with the Roomba 960 here. There’s really no comparison where convenience is concerned. This isn’t to say that the 890 isn’t a convenient product, but the 960 has all its features plus new additions that make it an amazing robotic cleaner.
Let’s look back at the specifics for a moment. Both smart devices offer voice activation, easy administration from the iHome app, spot cleaning, auto recharging, and more. However, the 960 cranks it up by having the ability to resume unfinished jobs after recharging, by being able to map out and report on cleaning areas thanks to its iAdapt 2.0 technology, by having dedicated Edge Cleaning, by offering multi-room mapping and cleaning, etc.
For me, the Roomba 960 is the clear winner.