When it comes to robot vacuums, very few brands can match the iRobot in terms of performance to price ratio.
On paper, the Roomba might have rudimentary features such as the use of a random cleaning pattern and infrared sensors.
But in terms of real-world practicality, the Roomba simply works, albeit not perfect. This is why it is one of our best selling robot cleaners right now.
Perhaps only Neato can keep up in terms of price and performance.
Even Dyson 360 Eye, with all its high-tech innovations and cleaning performance, costs a fortune. And it won’t clean under your bed. This is something any robot cleaner should be able to do.
Today, let’s talk about the Roomba 790 and 880 comparison.
The first is the richest in the Roomba 700 series. While the 880 marks iRobot’s departure from the bristle brush design and its transition to rubber “extractors” that reduced the need for brush roller maintenance.
Let’s take a look at these bots side by side and see how they differ aesthetically.
View from the bottom
Both the 790 and 880 have the same user control layout (on top). The biggest difference will be the color.
The Roomba 790 has a light blue finish in the center with another gray ring (these are the fenders).
Note that the 790 is basically the same hardware as the 770 and 780, the only difference being the accessories included in the package.
The 880 uses a combination of taupe and charcoal finish and is less likely to get dirty (from an aesthetic point of view at least).
Both devices have the same dimensions – diameter and height, so these robots will be able to clean under the beds with a clearance of at least 3.8 inches.
Another similarity is under the hood so to speak. Each of these stand-alone cleaners uses the same vacuum motor and has HEPA filtration.
The navigation system for both of these uses is also the same – a random cleaning pattern.
Roomba only upgraded its navigation system in the 980 which uses a similar style to the Neato Botvac.
This means a more predictable pattern and better efficiency. You have already compared the 880 and the 980 in this article, so be sure to check it out.
So is the $20 difference worth it? This is what we will discover in this next section.
Bristle brush vs extractor
When you turn both robots upside down, you will see the biggest difference between these two robots – the motorized brush.
The Roomba 790 uses a similar style brush that other Roomba robots have used since they started making a robotic vacuum that combines a bristle-type brush and a mop.
The combination of these two things was very effective. It’s a big reason why Roomba has been one of the best-selling robot cleaners in over two decades already.
The bristles pick up a lot of dust and hair (for both humans and pets). While the mop brush picks up dust and other fine debris.
But here’s the problem. This requires constant brushing to remove loose hair and dust bunnies that take time to clean.
Depending on how often you use your robot vacuum, you may have to spend 10 to 15 minutes cleaning the brush roll each week.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to empty the container and clean the brushes…
In an effort to save consumers time from constantly cleaning bristle brushes, iRobot has moved away from bristle brushes and developed a new system that uses no bristles or a mop.
They call it the AeroForce cleaning system which Roomba says will provide 50% better cleaning performance.
At the heart of this are what they call tangle-free extracts.
This consists of two anti-rotating beater bars which are supposedly maintenance free…
Well not quite…
You have someone who lives with you at home and has long hair, and you may experience the same thing and will have to do your due diligence and clean up those extracts to maintain performance. But the great thing about these extractors is that you don’t need to clean them as much as you need to clean the 700 series.
Larger dirt box (and HEPA filter) for 880
Another upgrade in the 880 will be the larger dirt basket.
According to Geek.com, it has a 60% larger enclosure compared to the 700 series. If you look at the side-by-side image of the lower section, you will see a fundamental difference in terms of the size of the enclosure.
The larger container also allowed the iRobot to outfit the 880 with a larger HEPA filter. This means better filtration and less allergen change from exiting the exhaust.
It also means fewer interruptions just because the container is empty – which is great for the consumer.
Is the newer 880 quieter?
Despite iRobot’s claims that the 880 has better noise reduction, consumers say otherwise. This robot will produce roughly the same decibels as the old 700 series.
Another upgrade is the vacuum motor which iRobot says has five times more suction which also means better performance overall.
Although exact numbers are not specified but based on video reviews in terms of capture performance, the 880 scored better.
Here’s what Erica Griffin has to say…
Obviously you wouldn’t let the Roomba clean up such a mess but for in-between cleanups, it will be an invaluable tool that should prevent dust and sand buildup.
If you have pets, this vacuum cleaner does a good job of picking up pet hair.
|Price||Check Price on AMAZON||Check Price on AMAZON|
Bristle brush/mop set
AeroVac II . Series
The second set with continuous scroll cleaning
Second set with continuous scroll cleaning
|bin full indicator||
3 virtual wall beacons
Extra brush set
Extra set of filters
Round brush cleaning tool
Flat brush cleaning tool
1 iRobot XLife battery
Infrared remote control (AA batteries included)
2 virtual beacons (requires 2 C batteries not included)
1 extra HEPA filter
1 integrated home base
Wireless Command Center
Infrared remote control
1 year on Android
6 months for battery
1 year on Android
6 months for battery
For now, you won’t be able to buy a brand new Roomba 880 because the Roomba 890 has taken its place. The latter is cheaper if you buy it on Amazon for less than $500!
What is the difference between Roomba 880 and 890? The latter now has WiFi connectivity and is Alexa compatible. their hands, it’s a better value in my opinion.
The Roomba 790 is more expensive than the 890 because it is being sold by a third-party seller, you can find it in Amazon.
If you asked me a year ago, I wouldn’t choose the Roomba 790 over the 880 because of the price difference. But with the 890 now available for less than $500, it’s a no-brainer because it has WiFi, a smartphone app, and Alexa compatibility.
You’ll get the same navigation as on the 700 Series Roombas, so expect the same random pattern that will be less efficient than a Neato broom. But the great thing about Roomba 890 is that it comes with a virtual beacon so it is able to clean multiple rooms.
The 790 is also a good product but if you are considering it I would suggest you get the cheaper 770 or the 780. Both will give you the same cleaning performance for at least $70.
It doesn’t have the wireless command center but you don’t really need it. The included remote control on the cheaper variants is sufficient.
The infrared control found in both the 790 and the 780 will be more than enough.
The 780 and 790 come with 2 and 3 virtual beacons respectively which means you’ll be able to clean 2 rooms with the 780 and up to 3 rooms with the 790. You can buy additional beacons for around $40
Additional virtual beacons can be purchased for about $50 on Amazon.
The 770 only comes with a virtual wall, so multiple rooms can only be cleaned if you purchase the virtual beacon.