iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Detailed Comparison

When it comes to consumer robots, iRobot is a brand you must mention. This is so because they were the pioneers of domestic help robots. So, it only makes sense that we have the iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 comparison.

irobot roomba 960 vs 980

The brand was established in 1990 and kick-started what has become the huge robot vacuum cleaner industry we have today.

The Roomba 900 series used to be the most advanced line of robot vacuums from iRobot.

We said used to be because as at the time of writing this article, iRobot had released the Roomba e5 robot and the Roomba i7+. You should definitely check them out later for awesome robot tech.

Back to our iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980, you will get top of the line robot vacuum technology with either of these two as you will soon find out.



iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Comparison Overview

iRobot has done well for the robot vacuum industry by offering great robots such as the Roomba 960 and 980.

The iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 comparison will let you in on what you need to know to tell this two apart. This review will show you what both vacuums have to offer.

When you are done reading, you will be able to match what they can do to what you need.

The Roomba 960 and 980 are similar in many areas. They both have an onboard camera and use the same navigation system.

These two also have the same AeroForce filtration system that includes a HEPA filter.

Both robots use a lithium-ion battery but one lasts much longer than the other. The Roomba 960 goes for 75 minutes while the Roomba 980 runs for a whopping 120 minutes.

The Roomba 960 and 980 robot vacuums can both clean on hard floors and carpets but the 980 will do a better job on carpets.

This is because it has an automatic power boost while the Roomba 960 does not.

If you want to learn more about the iRobot Roomba 960, you can read our detailed review of it.



iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors,Black iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
To get the 960, click here
To get the 980, click here


Comparison Table – iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

 Roomba 960Roomba 980
Battery Life 75 minutes120 minutes
NavigationiAdapt 2.0iAdapt 2.0
Charge Time2 to 3 hours2 to 3 hours
Filtration SystemAeroForce HEPA filtrationAeroForce HEPA filtration
Weight 8.7 lbs8.7 lbs
Dimension3.6 x 13.8 inches3.6 x 13.8 inches
Dust Cup Capacity0.6 liters0.6 liters

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:






Which Is Best For What Situation? – iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

Roomba 960Roomba 980
If you are on a budget and you have a relatively small place to have the robot clean, then this might be a good option.


The Roomba 960 does a good job of cleaning and is also user-friendly. You won’t have to spend the extra money for an upgrade you might not need.

The 980 offers things that the 960 does not, however, it costs more.


If your home is large or you have more carpets that you would want to deep clean, then the Roomba 980 is worth the extra cash.


It has the power boost functionality that lets it clean better on carpets.

Another reason we suggested that the Roomba 960 is good if you have a smaller place is because of its battery life.


If your home is a single floor or you just need the robot for a few rooms, the 75 minutes battery life it offers might be okay for you.

If there are more rooms you need to be cleaned or you have multiple floors you want the Roomba to help you with, this one is your best option.


It gives you 120 minutes of cleaning effort. With this, you might be able to complete your vacuuming chores even before it needs to recharge.

The Roomba 960 uses a similar motor as the 800 series Roombas. However, it offers more suction than them.


Therefore, if your need for a robot vacuum requires a lot of suction, such as cleaning high pile carpets, this might not be for you.


However, if you just need a robot for routine cleaning or help you reduce how often you need to get out the bigger vacuum, then the suction this Roomba offers is sufficient for your need.

The Roomba 980 brings a new motor which is more advanced and certainly more powerful. You can tell as the 980 offers 10 times more suction than the previous motors.


So, if you need a robot vacuum that truly sucks (in a good way), this is what you are looking for.



Common Features – iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

The 960 is the direct predecessor of the 980 which was offered to cover up for where the 960 lagged. It only makes sense that these two have almost everything in common.



You might have a hard time telling apart these robot vacuums just by looking at them. This is because they look just alike except for the color of the outer shell.

However, under the hood, there are quite a number of differences which we will talk about later.


Camera and Navigation

These two Roombas have a camera on board. The camera scans its surroundings while taking notes of the walls, furniture, and obstacles.

The robot vacuums use the iAdapt navigation system to find its way around your home. So, don’t be surprised if these vacuums end up knowing your home as much as you do.

The Roomba 960 and 980 also moves about methodically because of the camera and navigation system. This enables them to cover the entire floor space so you don’t have patches of dirt left behind.

There are also sensors on these robot vacuums that help them detect obstacles. One great thing about this is that they don’t just detect them, they will also clean around them the best way they can.

There is also a sensor under the robots that help it detect changes in floor heights. Once these robots get to a stair, for instance, the sensor detects the difference in height and it turns back.


Virtual Wall Barrier

There are times when you don’t want your robot vacuum to go to a particular area in your home.

The virtual wall barriers will prevent the robot from going beyond where you set it. To the vacuum, the virtual barrier is a wall and it will turn back on getting to it.

Both Roombas come with the virtual wall barrier. However, the Roomba 980 comes with two while you will get just one with the Roomba 960.


Wi-Fi and Smart App

Both vacuums have Wi-Fi compatibility. Wi-Fi lets the robots connect to your smartphone so that you can use it to control and monitor it.

There is an app dedicated to these robots that you need to download on your phone. Afterward, you will then need to pair your robot vacuum with the app which is where the Wi-Fi comes in.

With this app, you can use your phone as a controller you can use to issue commands to the robot remotely.

That way, you can have the robot clean your floors before you get back home. You can also monitor the status of the robot and how much of the floors it has cleaned.


Smart Home Capability

In the world of Internet of Things(IoT) where everything seems to become intelligent, this is a good plus.

If you already have a smart home, you can add these robot vacuums to the list of devices on your smart home hub.

It is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This allows you to talk to your robot vacuum.

By this, we don’t mean you can share your problems with it. It is okay by us if that works for you but what we mean is that you can give it voice commands.


Multi-Room Navigation

The Roomba 960 and 980 have the ability to navigate through multiple rooms to clean them.

These robot vacuums, with the camera and navigation system, will scan the floor and make a map of it. With this, they can navigate from one room to another.

Both vacuums, according to iRobot, can vacuum 2,000 sq ft of space. In reality, there is really no limit to how much floor space it can cover but that figure is a guarantee.

So, you can be confident that whichever of these two robot vacuums you go for, you can have it clean all the rooms in your home.

Through the app, you can also schedule both robot vacuums to clean at a future time.

This is a wonderful feature because it allows you to set the robot to clean your floors while you are at sleep. Alternatively, you can set it to clean at a time when there will be no one at home.

That way, it will not interfere with anybody’s activities nor will it disturb anyone’s peace.


Recharge and Resume

This feature is one of the best features of the autonomy that robot vacuums have to offer.

Having either of the Roomba 960 or 980 spares you the effort of having to worry about charging your vacuum. This is because they will do that themselves.

For instance, if your robot is going about its chores and its battery falls below a certain point, it will stop and find its way back to its dock. This is where it literally plugs itself in to recharge.

There is another awesome part of either of these robot vacuums. Once it is done recharging, it simply goes back to where it stopped working and continues.


Full Dust Cup Indicator

As advanced as these vacuums are, you will still need to empty their dust cup for them. Don’t worry though, it is super easy to do that.

Whenever the dust cup gets filled up, there is an indicator on the robot that will call your attention so that you can help it empty.


Filtration System

Both vacuums use the AeroForce filtration system. This system includes the 3-stage cleaning system that involves the double brush roll underneath.

This filtration system is highly efficient as it traps a very high percentage of dust and allergens. This gives you protection from inhaling the allergens that might trigger a reaction in you.

So, if you are an allergic or asthmatic user, either of these vacuums will be a great option for you.


Edge Cleaning

Both robot vacuums have a side brush that lets them clean edges as they go. Some vacuums, even the full-sized ones, often have a problem cleaning edges.

These side brushes on both vacuums come in handy at clearing dirt close to walls. They simply sweep the dirt and hairs into the path of the robot’s brush roll and suction.



iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors,Black iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
To get the 960, click here
To get the 980, click here



iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – What’s Unique To Each Product

Features Unique To Roomba 960

The Roomba 980 is a true upgrade of the Roomba 960. This means that everything on the 960 is on the 980 but the 980 has some features that are not on the 960.

In that case, there isn’t anything unique to the Roomba 960. However, it will do everything it claims it can and will do it pretty well.





Features Unique To Roomba 980


The motor is the Roomba 980 is a Gen 3 motor from iRobot as against the Gen 2 motor on the Roomba 960.

As you can guess, this motor is more powerful. This is why both vacuums have the same 3-stage cleaning system yet the Roomba 980 cleans better.

The difference is actually in the suction power. According to specifications, the Roomba 980 has 5 times as much power as the Roomba 960.

So, if you need a Roomba that will be cleaning a lot of carpets, the Roomba 980 is the deal.


Power Boost

The Roomba 980 has double power levels, you can call it a power boost if you like.

You already know that both vacuums can clean on both carpets and hard floors.

In the case of the Roomba 980, once it gets on a carpet, it detects it and automatically increases suction power.

With the double brush roll underneath that loosen and pick dirt and debris, you are sure of a deeply cleaned carpet at all times.


Longer Battery Life

Runtime is quite an important factor in selecting a robot vacuum. We know this is a feature present in both robots but the value you will get from this one is unique, so to speak.

With the Roomba 960, you will get 75 minutes out of it before it needs to recharge. However, the Roomba 980 will work for a whopping 120 minutes!




iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Unique Pros

Roomba 960

i. It is not as expensive as the 980 and can do a lot of the things it (Roomba 980) can.

Roomba 980

i. It can automatically boost its suction power when it detects carpets.

ii. You will get an extra virtual wall with this vacuum.

iii. It has a long battery life.



iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Unique Cons

Roomba 960

i. Low battery life compared to the Roomba 980.

ii. It does not have power boost.

Roomba 980

i. It is quite expensive.




iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Pros Common To Both Products

Roomba 960Roomba 980
The Roomba 960 uses an advanced navigation system to find its way around your home as well as prevent getting into trouble.

It also has sensors that will help it detect obstacles and clean around it if it can.

Same as the Roomba 960
There are times you don’t want the robot vacuum to get to some parts of your home for certain reasons.

In cases like these, you can set a virtual wall to keep the robot at bay. This robot comes with one virtual wall boundary.

This comes with two.
You can use this robot in conjunction with your smart home systems.

All you have to do is to follow the instruction provided to integrate it and you can issue voice commands.

Same as the Roomba 960.
The Roomba 960 has an indicator that lets you know when the dust cup needs to be emptied. This takes away the guesswork and points out what the problem is.Same as the Roomba 960


iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors,Black iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
To get the 960, click here
To get the 980, click here



iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Cons Common To Both Products

Roomba 960Roomba 980
The dust cup capacity is not really sufficient.Same as the Roomba 960




iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – General Feeling Among Users

Roomba 960Roomba 980
Quite a number of users commented on how well this robot cleans and pick up dirt on both hard floors and carpets.


However, some pet owners say that it does not do so well with pet hairs as they still see some fur around after the robot vacuum had passed.

A lot of users are happy with the cleaning performance of this robot vacuum.


Some said that the suction power is good enough and they applaud how well it picks debris and pet hairs.

Some users praised this vacuum’s filtration system and how well it traps in allergens and dust.


A certain user said that it has helped her with her allergies as she uses the robot vacuum on a daily basis.

Both vacuums use the same filtration system. So, it is safe to conclude that the Roomba 980 too is as good with allergens and dust as users say that the Roomba 960 is.
Users say that this robot is easy to set up and will be ready to go once the battery gets charged.


They also said that it is easy to maintain. You can easily empty the dust cup and removing the filter is quite straight forward.

A lot of users like the way it moves and the defined pattern it follows. They said that it covers the floors well.


They also like how seldom it gets itself stuck, although, you might need to clear the floor of wires before you let it loose.


iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980 – Our Verdict

Roomba 960Roomba 980
If you have mostly hard floors or a few low pile carpets, this robot is good enough to keep them clean.

If your home is not so big, its 75 minutes runtime will do great. Moreover, it can recharge and resume if it does not finish its job at once.

Its lower price makes it an ideal buy if these are your needs.

If you have high pile carpets that you want your robot vacuum to clean, then you will need the extra power this robot has to offer.

This is the ideal robot if your home is large as it has impressive battery life.

Though it is quite expensive, but if the upgrades it offers are what you need, it is what the money.

To get the 960, click here
To get the 980, click here


iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors,Black iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
To get the 960, click here To get the 980, click here