When iRobot released the Roomba 980 several years ago, it was the first with smart navigation. Soon, the 960 came out.
What is the difference between these models? The technical specs were very popular, so I decided to test both to find out, and this comparison resulted.
The Roomba 960 and 980 are the cheapest iRobot alternatives with smart navigation, but which one is better? I ran a series of tests with navigation, cleaning performance, and more to find out.
Here is a quick overview of the Roomba 960 vs. 980
- Energy: 9.33 feet per minute
- the show length: 75 minutes
- deep cleaning: 85.6%
- dirt capacity: 0.6 liters
- Energy: 19.74 feet per minute
- the show length: 120 minutes
- deep cleaning: 91.9%
- dirt capacity: 0.6 liters
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Introduction to Roomba 960 for 980
These two options Sit in the middle of the Roomba product range Between E-Series and I-Series robots.
All options in the 900 series (960, 980, 981, 985) are the least expensive option from iRobot with Intelligent Navigation.
Unfortunately, it only has iAdapt 2.0, which means it can’t save maps. So the navigation function is limited to crossing in straight lines.
There is no access to more advanced features such as exclusion zones or custom cleaning – which is only available on select I-Series options (I6, I7 and I8) and all S series bots.
Roomba 960: A Less Expensive Alternative
The Roomba 960 was released later than the 980 and provided a less expensive alternative to consumers. However, the The difference is not much (As of the publication of this article). and look at Reduces uptime and performance (more below), the 980 might be the better option if you can get it at a discount.
Two downgrades include a smaller battery (1800mAh vs. 3000mAh Li-ion) and a weaker motor. The former is not a big deal because it has been recharged and resumed, so it will resume cleaning if it didn’t finish before.
However, the latter could be a sticking point as the 980 obviously picks up debris better. Still, the 960 is decent, even on the carpet where it performed better, and it would be a good choice if you can get it for a lower price than the 980.
iRobot Roomba 960 Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa
Roomba 980: Best value for money alternative
After testing this bot extensively, the 980 is one of Roomba’s best choices If cleaning performance is a high priority.
It picked up more debris across all of our 960 cleaning tests on hard floors and carpets.
Air flow tests reveal the Roomba 980 Double points 960 in its maximum setting. Even in eco mode, it had more airflow, which enabled it to capture more. And combined with a larger battery, the 980 still runs more – up to 120 minutes.
If you don’t mind not having Imprint Smart Mapping (or the option to save maps) plus advanced navigation features and Only the value of debris pick up980 is an excellent choice.
iRobot Roomba 985 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Black
Roomba 980 has similar specifications to Roomba 980.
Buy now on Amazon
Similarities Between Roomba 960 and 980
There are many more, and I will enumerate them below.
1. Mobility: Both robots have iAdapt 2.0 navigation which includes a top-mounted camera and SLAM. These machines move in neat rows but lack the Smart Imprint Mapping feature found only in I-series and S-series bots.
2. Brush Layout: 960 and 980 have the same brush type and position under it.
3. Reverse circulation hoods: Each contains patented iRobot anti-roll extractors that are excellent at picking up surface and compact debris.
4. Single Side Brush: Both have one side brush with bristle tips.
5. Trash container design and capacity: The trash for both robots is loaded from behind and has the same thing 6 liter volume One of the largest in the iRobot product line.
6. Dimension: These robots have the same dimensions at 13 inches wide and 3.6 inches long.
7. Application compatibility: The Roomba 960 and 980 are compatible with the iRobot Home app. Each has the same set of features, with a few exceptions.
Differences between Roomba 960 and 980
Next, we’ll look at the differences, most of which are found inside.
- air flow: The Roomba 980 more than doubles the airflow in the 960 with up to 19 CFM in performance mode. In comparison, 960 only peaked at 9.33 CFM in its single setting.
- battery: Another difference is the battery capacity. The 980 comes with a 3300 mAh lithium-ion battery, while the 960 has an 1800 mAh battery.
- the show length: The Roomba 980’s larger capacity battery enables it to run more – up to 120 minutes versus the 960’s 75 minutes.
- Deep cleaning performance: Thanks to the higher airflow, the 980 performed better in deep cleaning tests — at 91.9%, higher than the 960 pickup by 85.6%.
I mentioned earlier that both bots have iAdapt 2.0, which combines a camera and SLAM for navigation. This combo enables tidy rows to be navigated and located, making either an excellent choice for cleaning larger homes.
It’s a significant upgrade over the entry-level Roomba options (614, 675, 690, E5) that just rolls around.
Since the camera is highly dependent on the light source, iRobot has placed a secondary optical sensor below it similar to the one on the Roomba I3 And Roborock E4 As a backup if the lights are dimmed.
I’m not sure if the camera has night vision, because iRobot doesn’t identify it, but I think it doesn’t, so it’s best to run these robots during the day.
Coverage is also excellent as both picked up most of the debris I spread around the room, except for areas that didn’t fit.
Dirt detection tells the robot to make extra passes over dirty areas, and this technology is just as useful on surfaces like carpet.
App features of Roomba 960 and 980
Both robots are compatible with the iRobot Home app. The interface is quite basic, only showing a graphic when the bot is running.
Also, the features of the app are simple compared to other brands in its price range like Roborock And Dream – Both have live maps and access to features like invisible wall and restricted areas.
The iRobot Home app does these functions.
First, it allows users to remotely access the bot. So even if you are out of the house, it is possible to operate the robot.
Second, users can schedule cleanups once per day. The app also allows the bot to start when it detects that you are leaving the house.
Finally, you can tweak the bot settings from the number of passes, enable/disable edge cleaning, and more.
The only difference is the Roomba 980 app’s option to specify power settings, something that’s absent in the Roomba 960 since it only has one setting.
Air Flow Comparison
Robot vacuum cleaner manufacturers do not have standardized power detection specifications. Most use watts as a metric, but it can be misleading. So I decided to use an anemometer, which measures air turbulence in a given area, as the main brush.
The Produce Roomba 960 9.33 CFM in single force mode. In contrast, the Roomba 980 had greater airflow – Up to 13.74 fpm in eco mode And 19.74 CFM in performance mode.
It doubles the output of the 960, and you’ll see in the Cleaning Performance section how it affects debris capture.
Next, we’ll move on to the main section, which is how each robot cleans different types of debris.
Both robots underwent a series of tests for different sizes of debris to see how much they were picking up.
Here are the results.
|Roborock model||Roomba 960||Roomba 980|
|Carpet (roof pickup)||96.87%||
|sand on hard floor||97.06%||
|Carpet (deep cleaning)||85.6%||
You can see that the Roomba 980 picked up more debris in all of our cleaning tests, from Quaker oats to heavy debris like pet litter.
The higher airflow plays an important role in why it is so good. In the sand test on the hard floor, the power contrast is more pronounced when capturing the Roomba 980 Excellent 100% Opposite 97.06% grade 960.
Which is better on hard floors?
Simply put, it’s the 980, thanks to its superior airflow, which enables it to capture more debris. Results in various tests have been consistent, and no matter what type of debris, the 980 will do a better job of cleaning that surface.
Even in eco mode, there is still more airflow, and there is no need to use the performance setting. I would suggest using the automatic option where the robot stays on the lower setting, and only increases the suction above the carpet.
The airflow difference is amplified in the sand test on hardwood floors, with the 980 making a much cleaner runway.
You won’t see in the before and after photo, but the 960 left more sand, while the 980 didn’t.
Edge cleaning comparison
One area that most round-shaped robots struggle with is edge cleaning. Roomba 960 and 980 are Decent but not greatwith nearly identical results in cleaning this area.
I was hoping for better results, especially for the Roomba 980 since it has excellent cleaning dynamics.
Hair wrap comparison
The Roomba 980 is better for cleaning pet hair than the 960. It resisted more hair tangles in both the five and seven inch tests.
By comparison, the 960 did not perform well, with most of the hair wrapped on the rollers. I didn’t weigh my hair because a tiny percentage just got inside the trash (less than 10%).
I would choose the 980 if I needed to brush pet hair because it resists tangles better.
Which is better for carpet?
Once again, the edge goes to the Roomba 980 with higher airflow. The Roomba 960 yielded better results on this surface than hardwood floors but still lagged behind the 980.
Didn’t do well in deep cleaning tests, picking up an average of 85.6% – a few percentage points less than Roomba 980 score 91.9%..
My choice between the two would be the 980 because it consistently picked up more in all of our cleaning tests on this surface.
The Roomba 980 not only picks up more debris, but also runs longer.
It has a larger capacity, 3300mAh lithium-ion battery, and iRobot says it works for it up to 120 minutes in the economic situation.
Contrast this with the 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery of the Roomba 960 with a 75 min run time – It’s a big difference.
Please realize that 980 Runs longer and has higher airflowso it picks up a higher percentage of debris.
One of the downsides to increased suction is noise. Roomba 980 is the noisiest robot With up to 74.2 dB at its highest setting And 66 dB in eco mode.
The Roomba 960 isn’t noisy, but I wouldn’t consider it too docile, with 68.1 dB.
Avoid using these bots late at night, especially if you are near your neighbors or you will receive complaints.
As with all robot vacuums, Roomba products require maintenance to operate at their peak. I will list the components that need to be cleaned or replaced for your information.
Check out my article on Cleaning the Roomba 980 If you are interested in knowing how to maintain these bots. Since the 960 and the 980 are the same design bots, the steps you’ll see there will apply to both.
- Extractors: iRobot claims these cylinders are maintenance free, but they are not. Expect hair and debris buildup, especially on both axes. Check these areas for any buildup and clean as needed.
- Side brush: Hair tends to wrap around the base. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the brush and remove any accumulated hair or debris.
- Dustbin: Empty the trash after each run. Bring a microfiber cloth to wipe it occasionally. Remember, the HEPA filter is not washable, so replace it after two or three months. You can use a portable brush attachment such as the V7 Trigger to clean the debris accumulated on the folds and extend its service life.
- Wheels: Use a clean, dry microfiber towel to wipe the side wheels and wheels.
- fall sensors: There are six of these on the 960 and 980. Wipe gently with a clean microfiber towel to remove any contaminants sticking to them and trigger an error code.
- Top Mounted Camera: Use a microfiber towel to wipe the camera sensor from the top and entire body. I’m sure you noticed that I recommend a microfiber towel because it’s soft enough not to scratch the surface, and dust sticks to it like a magnet. It’s the perfect cleaning cloth for robot vacuums.
Availability of spare parts
One thing I like about it Roomba products It is the absolute availability of parts. Even with older models like these two, there are many options from iRobot and other manufacturers. components of filters, batteries For more obscure items like a fall sensor or side wheel kit available from stores like Amazon or eBay.
|Runtime (Turbo Mode)||
|Recharge and resume||
|Save the map||
9.33 cubic feet per minute
ONE YEAR LIMITED
ONE YEAR LIMITED
Where can I buy these bots?
You can buy these two robots from online stores like Amazon. Check the links below for the latest prices and any promotions (if it’s sale season).
- Roomba 960
- Roomba 980
The Roomba 980, 981, and 985 are basically the same robots, so get the least expensive of these three.
Disclaimer: I’ll earn a commission if you buy through any of the links above, but at no additional cost to you, so it’s a win for us!
Which is better Roomba 960 or 980?
These robots have Lots of similaritiesHowever, the two differences can spoil deals either way. I feel the Roomba 980, even if it’s more expensive, is still the best value option. It will not work longer, it cleans better – surface and built-in debris.
The Roomba 960 is decent but lower than the 980 despite being the cheaper alternative (if the 980 isn’t for sale).
However, I feel the cuts are not worth the cost savings. To help you out, I’ve listed the reasons why you should buy as well.
4 reasons to choose Roomba 980
- More air flow: The Roomba 980 has (more than doubled) more airflow than the 960, which equates to better cleaning performance.
- Larger capacity battery: This model has a larger 3,300mAh Li-ion battery, which runs more (120 vs. 75 minutes).
- Auto setup option: Users can use this setting to achieve the best balance between uptime and performance. It’s an option absent in the 960.
- Better runtime/airflow balance: Not only does the Roomba 980 last longer, it also cleans better thanks to its superior airflow.
3 reasons to choose Roomba 960
- least expensive: The only reason I would recommend the Roomba 960 is if you can get it for less than the 980. Otherwise, the discounts aren’t worth it.
- Fit on the carpet: Despite the reduced airflow, this robot still picked up 85.6% of the sand included in our deep cleaning tests—one of the best results I’ve ever tested with a robot vacuum.
- Recharge and resume: The short runtime of 75 minutes shouldn’t be a concern as this robot recharges and resumes work. So it resumes cleaning (automatically) if it didn’t finish the job earlier.
Verdict: Roomba 980 is a better value option
After testing both robots extensively, the results were convincing. The Roomba 980 is the better robot overall, especially in two main aspects – cleaning performance and uptime.
Given that these models have the same features, I recommend the 980, even if it is the more expensive option.
I feel the 960’s cuts are worth the cheaper cost. Since it does not clean well and does not cover a large area of the floor.