iRobot Roomba 980 Vs. 960, Which Is More Cost-Effective?
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By Lauren Quan | 15 September 2020 | 0 Comments

 iRobot Roomba 980 Vs. 960, Which is More Cost-Effective?

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While iRobot produces a wide array of household products ranging from coding robots to moping robots, it is revered for its range of robot vacuums. This includes the iRobot Roomba 980 and the 960 models.

In this article, we compare the Roomba 980 and the 960 to see which is the most ideal for everyday use. While both perform similarly, there are a few differences that distinguish one from the other. And it is these differences that you need to consider when choosing between the two.

So, should you buy the 980 or 960 model? Well, let’s see how they compare.
  Roomba 960 Roomba 980
Battery Lithium-Ion Lithium-Ion
Suction power 5x AeroForce System 10x AeroForce System
Navigation iAdapt 2 iAdapt 2
Carpet Boost Technology No Yes
Cliff detection Yes Yes
Sensors Acoustic/Optical Acoustic/Optical
Rollers Brushless Brushless
Battery life 75 minutes 120 minutes
Accessories 1 virtual wall barrier 2 virtual wall barriers
Mass 8.5 pounds 8.7 pounds

iRobot Home App and Wi-Fi connectivity
Well, both robot vacuums come with an app so you can remotely control them. Also, they can connect to your home Wi-Fi allowing you to enjoy all the specs that come with the app. The app enables you to schedule cleaning, configure your settings, and even set it to clean twice rather than once. And the iRobot Home App is available for Android and iOS devices.

Should you have a home Wi-Fi to control the 980 and 960? No, however, you’ll miss out on some of the awesome features that this app provides. For example, you’ll not be able to schedule cleaning, enable carpet boost for the Roomba 980, edge-cleaning, and two pass cleaning. The bottom line, both are compatible with the app and home Wi-Fi.

When it comes to price, the Roomba 960 is way cheaper than the 980 model. However, this comes at a cost. As expected, it is a downgrade of the 980 and almost has the same features as the 800 series. That said, this vacuum offers value for your money. Why?

Well, like the expensive 980, it is compatible with home Wi-Fi, iRobot Home App has iAdapt 2 navigation system and optical/acoustic sensors. The downgrade is that it lacks the much-needed carpet boost and a long-lasting battery.

In price wars, the Roomba 960 wins. Besides, it is an ideal option if you don’t have a carpet in your house.

Cleaning power and battery life
The Roomba 980 comes with a 10 x AeroForce system whereas the 960 features the 5 x AeroForce. As expected the 980 provides more suction power particularly when it comes to carpet cleaning. It features the “carpet boost” mode that fires up the motor. As such, it can reach even tiny particles lodged inside the carpet.

Furthermore, the 980 model has a long-life battery that offers 120 minutes runtime. The 960 vacuum battery will drain after 75 minutes. While both are engineered to return to the docking station to recharge, the 980 is more efficient as it will cover more space making it ideal for large spaces.

Bottom line: the 980 vacuum lasts longer and offers exceptional cleaning power compared to the 960.

The design of the two vacuum cleaners is identical. That is, they both have three buttons – home, clean, and spot. Also, they are equipped with a camera that identifies furniture, obstacles, stairs, and more for better cleaning experience. It also enables the vacuums to map the house so it can identify which room it needs to clean.

And when it comes to the overall design, both maintain the popular design of the iRobot series of robot vacuums. The only notable difference is the color shade. The 960 appears lighter compared to the 980 which is darker.

Also, both have the same dirt capacity which is 0.56 liters and brushless rollers for seamless cleaning. However, the 980 is bulkier as it weighs 8.7 pounds while the 960 vacuum weighs 8.5 pounds.
Bottom line: Both have similar designs except for the color and weight which are insignificant.

Room mapping
As earlier mentioned these robot vacuums are equipped with a camera that maps the room and identifies obstacles along the way. Besides, they have a tracking system that allows them to locate the docking station when they need recharging. And the camera enables them to create visual landmarks of your furniture so it can remember them in the future.

Unlike traditional robot vacuums, they do not clean your room haphazardly, instead, they follow a straight line and will only resume that route unless you tell them to via the intuitive app. This is thanks to the integrated Vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping technology and a 45-degree camera.
In short, the 980 and 960 map your house as they clean, know where they are, where they have been, and where they need to go next.

Bottom line: Both offer exceptional room mapping

Maintenance is one key aspect that most homeowners like you dread. You don’t want to buy a robot vacuum that will have you repair it after a week or two. Fortunately, it is easier to maintain these two robot vacuums.

First, they come with a brushless roller which is one of the features that makes iRobot Roomba vacuums standout.

The pain of removing hair from rolling brushes is a nightmare for most of us. And these vacuums save you this agony. The vacuums shake the dirt on the floor, loosening it and directing it towards the suction section. All you have to do is empty the bin whenever the Home app tells you too and clean the HEPA filter once in a while.

Bottom line: The two vacuums are easy to maintain and use the same cleaning method.

Accessories included
Both robot vacuums come with a HEPA filter, side brush, charging dock, and virtual wall barrier. The Roomba 980 however comes with two virtual wall barriers. They are usually placed near spaces that you don’t want the vacuums to clean.

The barriers comprise two features: Halo mode and virtual wall mode. The Halo mode creates a circle barrier around an object while the wall mode prevents the vacuums to cleaning an opening of up to 10 feet.
Bottom line: The Roomba 980 vacuum cleaner is equipped with an extra virtual wall barrier making it a better option.

Hard floor cleaning
Turns out that both Roombas offer exceptional cleaning when it comes to hardwood floors. And thanks to the shake feature to trap dust, they can capture at least 99.9% of all particles on such floors. In fact, it is an ideal alternative to the stick vacuum cleaner.
Bottom line: both vacuum cleaners are ideal for hard floor cleaning

Noise levels
When the 980 robot vacuum cleaner is in the carpet boost mode, it produces noise levels of up to 70dB. This is noisier compared to 960 that produces a mere 65dB noise level
So, what are the main differences?

Main differences
  • The Roomba 960 robot vacuum is affordable compared to the 980 model.
  • The Roomba 980 vacuum has a longer-lasting battery.
  • The 980 cleaner has more suction power thanks to the “Carpet Boost Technology.”
  • The 980 robot vacuum cleaner comes with two virtual wall barriers.
Conclusion: which is more cost-effective?
Well, if you are a household on a budget, we’d recommend the Roomba 960 Vacuum cleaner. This is because, while it is cheaper, it comes with crucial features such as the iRobot Home app that are in the 980 version.
However, if you are looking for a robot vacuum for a thorough cleaning, then do not hesitate to buy the
Roomba 980
vacuum cleaner. It offers you a longer runtime, has more cleaning power and comes with an additional wall barrier.
The best part? You can get them all from Amazon  


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