The Roomba 650 and 880 represent two different eras in iRobot’s history.
The 650 is the fourth generation of the Roomba and one of the last devices to use a bristle brush and mop combo that made it so popular.
It also uses a powerful cleaning algorithm that actually etches the edges resulting in more scratch marks on the furniture.
Note that even if the 700 Series is still available on Amazon, you won’t see it in the iRobot Store because they have stopped production.
The Model 880 represented a shift in product design that began with the motorized brush. Instead of using the traditional brush and mop set, iRobot has replaced them with suction cups made of rubber.
It still retains the opposite spin feature but now uses a ribbed action design.
The main reason for this change may be to eliminate the need for constant maintenance that a bristle brush might require.
Today we’ll take a closer look at these two variants of Roomba and how they differ.
Let’s start by looking at the interface.
The 650 has a lot of buttons – a total of 8!
- Tab buttons
- Spot cleaning
- default cleaning
- Wall Clock
It really needs all these buttons because it has no removal and has a scheduling feature where you can ask it to clean automatically once a day, seven days a week.
One feature I love with the 650 is the carry handle that pops out.
This allows you to hold this product with one hand. It is a useful feature that allows you to navigate in different areas of your home.
The 880 doesn’t have this feature but it’s not a big deal as these are standalone products so they will clean on their own regardless.
iRobot reduced the number of buttons on the 880 from 8 to 5. You can still schedule through the interface on the bot but it also has a remote control that lets you do that as well.
Aside from the color and interface, they are both the same size and use the same IR sensor on the front. You’ll also notice a release lever on the back.
Pressing this lever will reveal the dirt container stored in the back.
View from the bottom
In terms of design, there is not much difference except for the beater bar. Place the side brush, charging ports, wheels, and container in the same area.
The 650 uses a coarse squeegee and combo while the 880 contains two rubber extractors.
Prior to the introduction of the 900 Series, all Roomba robotic cleaners used an infrared-based system that bounced like a pin ball in a random direction after hitting an object.
This is especially true for the 650. It used a powerful algorithm or iAdapt 1.0 as it won’t slow down even with an obstacle in front of it. This aggressiveness will result in a very good cleaning performance but at the cost of scratch marks on the furniture.
iRobot has mitigated this aggressiveness with the 880 as it actually slows down before hitting an object.
The 880 will not scuff and damage furniture, but will pick up less dirt from the edges..
One of the big advantages of the 650 is its ability to clean multiple rooms thanks to the virtual beacon.
For those unfamiliar, the virtual beacon acts as a door where it opens and closes a “virtual door” depending on the state of the bot.
When the robot is about to finish cleaning an area or room, it fires a signal to the virtual beacon so it can go out and clean another area.
Note that the 880 is no longer available in the iRobot online store but Amazon still sells it and you’ll get two beacons when you buy it there.
The 650 comes with only one virtual wall that blocks the robot’s path.
Apart from their mitigated aggressiveness, these two robots have the same random pattern. Compared to Neato, it is less efficient.
Historically, Roomba has performed well compared to other brands such as Neato, Infinuvo, and LG.
The 650 performed really well even on medium pile carpets where it can clean finer and larger particles of dirt thanks to the dual brush system. It struggles with brushing pet hair because too much of it sticks to coarse hair.
This struggle is a big reason why iRobot invented the rubber extractors in the 880. The bristle-free styling is supposed to be less maintenance work, but if you have long-haired pets, things like this happen…
But consider this a rare occurrence. Unless you have an entire army of pets running around, don’t expect that kind of chaos on a beater bar.
Dirt Detection System
Underneath both of these robots are sound sensors that detect dirt. If he sees more dirt, he cleans that area more thoroughly. This feature is a mixed bag frankly, yes it is comprehensive but at the expense of efficiency and coverage.
Compared to Neato going through its own cleaning pattern no matter how much dirt, Roomba will lose more spots if the area has more obstructions.
People have commented in my other reviews about their disliking Roomba because of this. So if you are one of them, you should avoid Roomba and go with Neato (or Xiaomi).
The Roomba 880 comes with a HEPA filter while the 650 only has aerovac filters which means it won’t filter out smaller particles of dirt.
This should only be a concern if you have ever had an allergic condition caused by an allergen.
|Roomba||Roomba 650||Roomba 880|
|the show length||
One virtual wall (needs 2 C batteries not included)
1 extra AeroVac filter
1 brush cleaning tool
Infrared remote control (AA batteries included)
2 virtual beacons (batteries included)
1 extra HEPA filter
1 brush cleaning tool
1 integrated home base
2 extra side brushes
The 650 is the cheapest Roomba on the market right now, priced at just under $370 on Amazon.
The 880 costs twice as much as the $610 on Amazon, but you’ll get virtual beacons and two extra side brushes.
to wrap it up
You have both of these variants representing two generations of Roomba representing two different eras.
The 650 was one of the last Roomba products to use the much more powerful iAdapt 1.0 navigation system. When I say aggressive, it means the robot won’t slow down even with things in front.
It also uses an older brush roller system that includes a mop and a bristle brush that requires more maintenance.
iRobot started its shift with the 880. This is the first Roomba machine to use rubber extractors that require less maintenance and better performance in terms of cleaning pet hair. It also uses iAdapt 2.0 which is more forgiving of furniture as it slows down the robot before it hits one.
If you are someone looking to buy a robot vacuum cleaner for the first time and don’t want to spend more than $500, the 650 would be a good choice to test the waters so to speak.
But if you have expensive furniture, you might want to opt for the 880 because of the upgraded navigation that won’t spoil the furniture as much as the 650. It’s more expensive even though it’s over $600.