Before using the Roomba 880 iRobot, she used countertop rotating brushes that had a mop and a bristle brush. This setup produced great results in terms of cleaning performance. It was so good that it beat the Neato BotVac 80 in cleaning tests.
But there was one caveat, the magnets were for rabbit dust and pet hair and maintenance can be a tedious process.
This was a concern by consumers that prompted iRobot to improve upon this existing design. When iRobot unveiled the new 880, they introduced a new concept they call “Extractor”.
It retains the concept of counter-spinning two rods working together to pick up dirt but instead of using bristles and a squeegee, they used rubber rollers with threads for agitation.
Today we will be looking at two variants of Roomba, the first of which used this feature – Roomba 880 and 870.
The Roomba 880 is currently the cheapest on Amazon even if it has more accessories included. Remember that both robots have the same engine, navigation, dimensions, container, everything. The difference will be the accessories that come with it.
We’ll look at this in detail and see which one is the best deal.
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No more bristles
The biggest change iRobot has made with the Roomba 800 series is the design of the reversible brushes.
Instead of using a combination of the bristle brush and the squeegee brush you see here…
They use counter-rotating “straws” that do not have any bristles and instead have a defined surface for better agitation on carpets and bare floors.
This is about how similar…
Image courtesy of Engadget.com
Based on reviews and tests, this new technology looks promising and is a big reason why this device is a best-selling product. Read the detailed review here.
In terms of navigation, it still retains the same software used by previous 700 series bots resulting in a random pattern that might miss a place here or there.
Another downside to the random cleaning pattern is that it takes longer to finish, but on the plus side, the battery will run for about 3 to 4 hours which negates a little inefficiency.
Note: iRobot has a new robot vacuum, Roomba 980 vs 960.
They have finally upgraded the navigation system and instead of using the remote control you can use your smartphone to control this robot thanks to the dedicated app. Fabulous isn’t it?
What are the similarities?
Both of these variants have the same engine, extractors, HEPA filter and navigation.
In terms of functionality both are the same.
So why the $30++ difference?
Let’s take a look at the main differences
The biggest difference will be the accessories.
With Roomba 880, you will get a virtual beacon instead of a virtual wall.
What does this mean? The Virtual Beacon gives the Model 880 the ability to clean multiple rooms without having to manually start and stop the robot.
A virtual beacon works like a door where you “leave the door closed” so to speak for a specific period of time. After the robot is finished, it fires a signal and the beacon opens its doors and allows the robot to move to another area.
Here’s how the virtual beacon works…
The 870 only comes with a virtual wall that acts as a wall as it prevents the robot’s path from exiting the room.
It also does not come with a remote control that allows you to operate the robot without having to walk all the way to the charging base.
Watch this in action
Nav the 870 is on…
Here is a review of the Model 880 from the New York Times…
How to navigate an 880 in a small room…
Roomba 880 on a carpet…
Where can I buy this?
Currently, Roomba no longer makes the Roomba 880 and 870 and has replaced it with the Roomba 890. Both options are the same but the difference would be that the 890 has WiFi and a smartphone app.
This alternative is available on Amazon for less than $450. And it comes with free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.
Amazon also sells extended warranties of up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.
Even if the Roomba 880 has more accessories included in the package, it’s actually cheaper. It would be hard to recommend the 870 over the 880 just because of this alone.
The former has remote and multi-room cleaning capabilities absent on the 870 and will save you more than $30. It qualifies for free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime!
Strangely enough, Amazon raised the price of the 870. If you asked me a year ago, I would recommend it because it’s cheaper but since it’s more expensive, it would be harmful if you did.
In terms of cleaning, these two will pick up the same amount of dirt. But it will suffer from the inefficiency issues that come with using IR-based navigation.
To give you some perspective, the 880 and 870 actually use the same navigation as the older 650 which costs about 50% less. And the 650 will actually clean better due to the more aggressive navigation which unfortunately will scuff the furniture.
If price is really a big concern, I’d suggest going for the Roomba 860. It has the same navigation as these two devices but is about $100 cheaper. Read this comparison article where I compare the 860 and the 880 in detail to give you an idea of how they are different.
People looking for a more efficient Roomba might want to take a closer look at the 980. It’s the latest Roomba on the market right now with an all-new navigation system that uses an on-board camera in addition to SLAM.