Roomba 960 vs 980 – Understanding Their Similarities and Differences

  • Full review
Roomba 960 vs 980 – Deciding on the Item That Suits Your Needs
Updated 2020

In the past, cleaning your house was one of the hectic chores you had to undertake. Households did not have the right tools to make it happen. Therefore, people had a hard time maintaining their expensive hardwood floors and carpets. However, with the advancement in technology, things have certainly changed for the better. The first major shift was the introduction of the vacuum cleaners that simplified the cleaning task. 

However, with the rise of artificial intelligence, things have only got better. Companies like Dyson and IRobot have harnessed the technology to make robotic vacuum cleaners. They are a huge plus for households because they help you do all the cleaning work while giving the possibility to relax. Moreover, with the right settings, they will perform the cleaning task even when you are not in the house. How convenient is this? Furthermore, the latest models that have been fitted with HEPA filters will help in improving the quality of the indoor air. 

What am I talking about? I mean the new improved features available in the latest Roomba 900 series. To learn about this and more exciting features, join me as I compare and contrast the Roomba 960 and 980 robot vacuum cleaners. 

Main Differences Between Roomba 960 and 980 

Both of these devices have many common features, though there are slight variations. However, this does not mean that either of them is inferior, but it is good to be aware of them before you settle on the item you like. The major distinctions of the two brand include the price, motor, airpower, and the battery’s life. Other differentiations between the gadgets are minor. Below are some specific distinctions between them.

Suction Power

In comparison to the Roomba 600 series, 960 has five times more suction power, while 980 series features ten times of the power. The power difference indicates that 980 is twice more powerful than the 960 series in terms of sucking up the dirt from the floor.

Cost

Roomba 980 series is more costly as compared to 960. The price of 980 is almost double that of the 960 series. Thus, the 960 series is more affordable for anyone working on a tight budget.

Battery Life

The vacuum cleaner of the 960 series has a shorter battery life as compared to 980. It lasts for seventy-five minutes, while model 980 can perform tasks continuously up to one hundred and twenty minutes before calling for recharge. Therefore, you can clean your space for longer with 980 without being distracted, hence you may finish your house chores in time.

Options

In addition to the 980’s ability to suck dirt from the surface with twice as much power, it also has a carpet boost that helps in the cleaning of carpets more efficiently. It can pick up the tiniest and most stubborn particles from your carpet, leaving it as clean as new.

Virtual Walls

Roomba 980 has two virtual walls, while 960 has only one wall. In addition, 980 comes with four AA batteries, while 960 has only two of them. The extra batteries in the 980 are justified because it has higher capabilities, hence it requires more power to be able to function without breaking down.

Motor

The 980 series has a newer and more powerful motor in comparison with model 960. That is why it is has a higher suction power. However, due to the huge motor, 980 makes more noise as compared to the 960 vacuum cleaner. It has a noise level of around seventy decibels while 960 has nearly five decibels. 

Weight

The two products weigh almost the same, although Roomba 980 series weighs 0.01 pounds more than the 960. However, this is negligible and should not be a major factor when determining which of the two items to get. 

Size

Just as Roomba 980 is slightly heavier, it is also a little bit bigger as compared to 960. To be precise, it is longer by 0.1 inches. Again, this should not be a major factor unless you are too specific about the size of the gadget you want. For some people, such a slight difference may be huge, depending on the space where they will store their new gadget once they purchase it. 

Dirt Detection Feature

The dirt detection technology in Roomba 980 is better compared to that of 960. It can detect dirt within the surrounding, and once you set to clean mode, it will start automatically as long as it has charge.

Compare Roomba 960 vs 980: Main Similarities Among Two Vacuum Cleaners

These two vacuum cleaners are very similar. They were meant to have the same capabilities, hence their similarities outweigh the differences. Some of these characteristics include:

iAdapt 2.0 Technology

Both of the vacuum cleaners have the iAdapt 2.0 option. This is an addition to VSLAM that enables them to draw maps of the entire house and clean every corner efficiently. It means that whichever item you buy, you will not need to be there all the time to direct the gadget on where to clean.

Remote Control 

The two products under review are compatible with Alexa. It means that you can control the devices remotely using your voice via the voice application. 

WiFi Connection

Both 980 and 960 can connect to WiFi. Hence, they are both convenient in terms of connectivity and can perform similar functions. 

Artificial Mapping Feature

The two gadgets use intelligent mapping technology. They can draw maps of your entire house and then set a schedule on how to clean each room without bypassing any of them. This technology also enables gadgets to draw the shortest routes to save on time and energy.

Filters

The gadgets come with filters for trapping allergens that result from pets. Therefore, they are both safe to use because you will not be at a risk of getting allergies caused by dogs and cats. The items also have similar filtering accuracy levels of ninety-nine percent.

Rubber Brushes

When using the two Roomba series’, you will notice that they both have rubber brushes. The brushes are always in contact with the surface that you are cleaning, for example, carpets. And even better, you can adjust the brushes to your desired position. Hence, they are both flexible. 

Material of Batteries

The products both have rechargeable batteries that are made of lithium-ion. The batteries are of high quality, hence, they are long-lasting. The machines charge automatically when the batteries run out. Hence, you do not need to be there to place your device on the charger. And once the items finish recharging, they will automatically continue the cleaning until they finish the maps they had drawn for the whole house.

Cleaning of Tricky Areas

The vacuum cleaners have technology that enables them to sweep floors, carpets, and even the corners that you normally find difficult to reach. For example, they can clean the areas under furniture effortlessly.

Compatibility

The two gadgets are compatible with various operating systems such as iOS and Android. That is why you can use them to connect to Google’s assistant and other applications. This capability makes the gadgets superior as compared to regular vacuum cleaners that do not allow you to control them over the phone. 

Variety of Cleaning Options

The two vacuum cleaners have the capability of cleaning carpets and hardwood floors. Therefore, with either of them, you will not need a separate gadget to clean the various surfaces in your home. Additionally, Roomba 980 and 960 series have both vacuuming and mopping capabilities. Hence, with each of them, you will be able to finish dusting and washing the surfaces.

The numerous similarities show that both gadgets are the same despite the few differences. When you spend your finances on either of them, you will be able to achieve the same cleaning results. 

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Comparison Table with Main Characteristics of Roomba 960 and 980

So far, we have learned a thing or two about these robot cleaners. To keep you up-to-date, I will include a simple comparison based on their features. 

 
Roomba 960
VS
Roomba 980
Battery Life
75 minutes
VS
120 minutes
Run Time
75 minutes
VS
120 minutes
Charging Time
2 hours
VS
2 hours
Dust bin size
600 ml
VS
600 ml
Noise
65 decibels
VS
70 decibels
Built-in Camera
Yes
VS
Yes
Remote Control
Yes
VS
Yes
Accessories
Yes
VS
Yes
Versus TitleVersus subline
Value 1
VS
Value 2
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Parts and Accessories of the First Model in Roomba 960 vs 980 Review

In the previous sections, I have analyzed the main similarities and differences between these products. Now it is time to learn more about their components and maintenance practices. In this section, I will discuss the various parts and accessories of the Roomba 960:

Charging Port

The fact that this device is cordless should tell you that at one point you will have to recharge its internal battery. The working principle here is similar to that of your phone or laptop. However, on the positive side, the Roomba 960 will not interrupt your activities or relaxation time with a need to charge it. The level of technological advancement in this device works in such a way that the device will detect when the battery levels are getting low. 

Once this happens, the device will return to its charging spot and attach itself to the base for charging. After the charge is complete, it will set off to complete the cleaning from where it left off. This recharge and resume feature is one of the coolest attributes I love about the item. Just imagine how clever and practical this is!

HEPA filter

Another important component of the working system of Roomba 960 is its filters. People suffering from asthma or other forms of allergies are usually advised on the importance of using vacuum cleaners to clean their floors.

There is a logical reason behind this recommendation. The working system behind this equipment is that the airflow it generates will help to suck dirt, pet hairs, tiny particles, debris, and dust off the surface. However, it is the filters fitted in the product that prevent these tiny particles from returning into the environment due to the airflows coming through the vacuum cleaner.

The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) is just one of the different forms of filters available. They are best known for trapping a huge amount of microparticles that other filters may recirculate to the environment. Their recommended standard is that they should trap 99.97% particles of 3 microns.

The main advantages associated with HEPA vacuums is that they will help you eliminate those pollutants that cause allergies and asthma. These products are also known for helping in improving the quality of indoor air. In version Roomba 960, the HEPA filter is meant to be compatible and work efficiently due to its innovative AeroForce filtration system. 

Spinning Brush

The whole idea behind the spinning brush concept is very simple. The brushes emerging from the Roomba 960 shell will usually rotate at a very high speed. This causes agitation of the carpet fibers, thereby causing the dirt particles to move up. Further, they will be sucked up into the vacuum cleaner by the process, which is also identical to when the Roomba 960 is cleaning the spots near the edges and corners. The brushes will pick up all the dirt from these areas and direct it towards the vacuum area for the particles to be sucked up. 

The Virtual Wall Barrier

The Roomba 960 comes with one virtual wall barrier. As the name suggests, it is supposed to create an invisible block that the device cannot go through. This is meant to be a protective feature for the Roomba so that it won’t go to extremely tight spaces or dangerous areas where it may get destroyed.

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Parts and Accessories of Model Roomba 980

When you look at any robot vacuum cleaner you can’t help it but get amazed. They are little devices that perform huge tasks and do them efficiently. For those who like to understand behind-the-scene details, let’s get directly to the components of the Roomba 980.

Charging Base

Similar to the Roomba 960, version 980 has the recharge and resume attributes. The base is designed in such a way that it has a cord that you will connect to a power source. Therefore, if the Roomba 980 runs out of charge when cleaning, it will find its way to this base and hook itself up for charging. This is a cycle that will continue until it has fully completed the preset task. 

Virtual Wall Barriers

Unlike the device 960, the Roomba 980 has two virtual wall barriers. These are good for limiting the item’s route. This way, it is impossible for the product to go through a doorway to the outside, and it will also avoid restricted zones within the house. This is the only feature that makes the Roomba 980 a better option for the larger houses as opposed to the 960. 

HEPA Filter

Also, the Roomba 980 has the AeroForce filtration system technology. A major advantage of this invention is that it offers the device increased vacuuming power. This is not something that can be said of the Roomba models. Further, this system makes it possible for the 980 to be fitted with the HEPA filter that gives it an extra advantage while cleaning. The idea is that it will help to improve the air quality by retaining more micro-particles. 

Spinning Brush

In the Roomba 980, the brush has been installed on its lower side. It works by revolving while the device cleans. This working principle makes it suitable for cleaning around the corners and edges. It also means that the robot vacuum will do a better job while cleaning carpets or areas where there is pet hair lying around. 

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Roomba 980 vs 960 Review – the Cleaning Performance 

One of the aspects that can be used in judging the quality of a vacuum cleaner is how well the device does the job it is expected to do. In this case, the primary job is helping you to clean your house. Therefore, in this section, I will compare the two Roomba devices regarding their suitability for use perspective.

Performance on Edge Cleaning

If you were to ask many people why they have switched to robot vacuum cleaners, they would tell you it is because of their ability to clean in tight spaces and under the seats. I am among those individuals that appreciate this feature. So, how well do the vacuums live up to these expectations?

The Roomba 960 is a class above the previous models when it comes to cleaning around the corners and edges. One attribute that helps it to achieve this advantage is its round shape that allows for 360 degrees turning radius. The high-quality camera that is part of this device helps to increase its maneuverability even on corners that are harder to reach under normal circumstances.

This is further enhanced by the presence of the iAdapt 2.0 navigation system. It predetermines the path that the Roomba 960 will follow while cleaning. This system helps in minimizing the possibility of bumping into obstacles that should be avoided otherwise. 

The spinning brushes on the Roomba 960 also make it effective for cleaning the spots around the edges. While rotating at high speed, they will bring the dirt particles from corners and edges into the vacuuming space. However, in terms of cleaning the edges, Roomba 960 has one weakness. It lacks the interactive mapping attribute. This makes it harder to establish no-go zones or divide the floor into separate rooms. 

One of the advantages that Roomba 980 has over version 960 is increased maneuverability in cleaning edges and corners. This is facilitated by the sophisticated technology on board of this device. The improved navigation system combined with top of the class cameras ensures that it can proactively detect objects and barriers ahead. This detection helps the device to change its route to avoid hitting the obstacles.

Moreover, unlike the Roomba 960, the 980 has been fitted with innovative memory mapping and dirt detection technologies. This makes it easier to sense the dirt around the edges and use its spinning brushes to draw the particles to its path. 

Pet Hair Cleaning Performance

Pets can sometimes present their owners with certain dilemmas. While they are lovely to have around, they are also one of the major sources of dirt within the house. This is why to avoid them being a nuisance, and you may be wondering what robot vacuum cleaner to buy for sucking up their fur. How do the Roomba 960 and 980 fair in this area?

In most reviews I have come across, the Roomba 960 is regarded as the intelligent choice for cleaning pet hair in larger homes with bare floors and up to medium density carpets. One of the reasons offered is that the device is fairly priced. Moreover, its three-stage cleaning helps to make sure that no pet hair on its way that is not sucked.

Unlike the Roomba 960, the 980 is not a popular choice when it comes to cleaning pet hair. For one, the sophisticated technology integrated into this device makes it limited on space. This means that it has a smaller dustbin. This implies that while it may be good in terms of collecting the pet hair, much of it may be left out because of the bin filling up very fast.

Performance on Hardwood/Tile/Linoleum/Vinyl

If you are like me, you most definitely love the beauty and elegances that come with having hardwood floors. However, as attractive as they may be, hardwood floors are quite some work when it comes to cleaning them. Cleaning them with water and mob is only going to decrease their lifespan and destroy their appeal.

On the other hand, certain vacuum cleaners may also scratch and scuff the floors, which is not what you want. A major solution to enjoying your hardwood floors is by cleaning them with robot vacuum cleaners. So, how do the Roomba 960 and 980 cope with cleaning such floors? 

Both Roomba 960 and 980 have high ratings when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors. Their efficiency is increased by the advanced technologies and the three-stage cleaning cycle. Under this process, the spinning brushes will begin by loosening the dirt lying around. It is the high air pressure produced by the device that will cause it to lift and suck the dirt particles. Further, dirt detection technology makes them even more efficient. It will sense any dust or dirt particles on the hardwood floors, hence doing a more thorough job than the rest. 

Performance on Thick carpet (Polypropylene fiber)

If you are one of those people living in areas experiencing extreme winter seasons, thick carpets are likely to be a part of your home décor. The polypropylene fiber is known for its high-quality insulation properties and high levels of heat retention. This is why it is used in making carpets meant for places with cold seasons. The downside of this material is that it requires a lot of care to maintain it in good shape for long. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you use advanced cleaning equipment, such as robot vacuum cleaners. 

Model Roomba 960 is one of these robot vacuum cleaners that is highly recommended for cleaning such types of floors. It is easy to understand why this is the case. For starters, the ultra-slim feature makes it have an easier time navigating under the furniture that has been placed on top of the carpet.

The auto-adjustable height and lightweight of the device makes movement in the thick carpets easier. This has been a huge problem among the earlier series of the Roomba cleaners. The issue related to maneuvering in the thick carpets makes it hard to do a good job while cleaning in such environments. 

On the other hand, the Roomba 980 is also a good option for thick carpet cleaning. The main advantage it has over the Roomba 960 in this area is its suctioning power. The 980 has about ten times more air power when compared to a normal vacuum cleaner. This also doubles what is available in the 960. The fact that the Roomba 980 has a bigger motor also gives it an edge when cleaning thicker carpets. People owning Roomba 960 will tell you that it produces more noise when cleaning thick carpets. This is a sign that the motor is being strained. 

Performance on Thin Carpet (Nylon Fiber)

Even on thin carpets, the Roomba 980 has a huge edge over the 960. One of the reasons for this is the exclusive cleaning mode feature that is only available in the 980. This is an intelligent technology integrated into this device that detects when it is cleaning a carpeted surface. Once the feature is activated, it makes the spinning brushes of the 980 to agitate the surface more, thereby bringing the hidden dirt to the surface. However, its higher suction power makes the item not ideal for cleaning the thin carpets. It may end up damaging your carpet by being too tough on the surface.

The lower suctioning power of the Roomba 960 makes it a better option for cleaning the thin carpets. It produces enough air pressure to suck dirt from the surface of such carpets. The tangle-free multi-surface brush system also makes it an excellent choice for thin carpet cleaning. The brushes work by bringing the dirt hidden in the carpet fibers to the surface. 

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Roomba 960 Battery – Peculiarities of Its Battery Life 

The Roomba robot vacuum cleaners are reliant on a rechargeable battery to power their system. From its manual, the manufacturer claims that it contains a Lithium-Ion battery. From the producer’s description, it is understandable that once fully charged, the battery should last for two hours while working. However, from the tests carried by users, most have been said to last an average of seventy-five minutes. 

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Roomba 980 Battery – Battery Life 

Similar to the 960, the Roomba 980 uses a lithium-ion battery. The manufacturer also states that the battery is capable of lasting for two hours when fully charged. Charging time can take from two to three hours. As part of its maintenance practice, it will require to be replaced within a time period of eighteen to thirty-six months. 

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Summarized Comparison of Roomba 960 vs 980

In the previous sections, we have analyzed the performance of these two robot vacuum cleaners. It has been focused on the different areas and conditions of their usage. Below is a summary table of what we have established by this moment. 

Conditions
Roomba 960
VS
Roomba 980
Best for the money
Yes
VS
No
Best for a small apartment
Yes
VS
No
Best for a large apartment
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for thing carpets
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for a carpeted floor
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for hardwood, tile or vinyl floors
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for if you have pets and allergies
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for traffic rooms
Yes
VS
Yes
Best for a hardwood
Yes
VS
Yes
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Get to Know More About Roomba 960 and 980

While we may have discussed in detail important features about these robot cleaners, it is hard to exhaust every information about them. Such technological devices are unique. Therefore, they are bound to cause challenges to you when using them. This is a common trend amongst most users and potential buyers of these products. In this section, I will review areas that may need further clarification in terms of usage and maintenance.

  • How high does my furniture need to be off the ground?

One of the competitive features of Roomba 960 and 980 is that they have been adapted to clean surfaces under furniture. A major reason behind this ability is their ultra-slim body that ensures that they can comfortably fit even in squeezed spaces. From the manufactures specification, these devices can be used to clean under furniture with a ground-clearing of 3.6 inches. This is a distance of about ninety-two millimeters from the ground.

Another aspect that makes these items suitable for cleaning under the furniture is their improved navigation systems. This system enables them to maneuver under these surfaces easily. With this navigation system and advanced camera sensors, they can easily find their way even under your furniture. 

  • Will these units work well on shag carpeting?

A major reason for choosing the Roomba 960 and 980 is the fact that they are an excellent choice for cleaning the carpeted surfaces. They will usually do it in style. The automatic height adjustment feature makes the products flexible enough for effective cleaning on carpeted surfaces. With this attribute, movement between the rugs is possible. The exclusive cleaning mode available in Roomba 980 makes it even a better option for cleaning such areas. It will easily detect the particles when on a thick carpet surface and adjust accordingly. 

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Compare Roomba 980 vs 960 – Which One Suits Your Needs

Now that you have had your new hardwood floor installed or bought that new carpet, it is time to purchase the right tools to take care of them. Lucky for you, this article has reviewed some of the best options in terms of robot vacuum cleaners. I have managed to highlight to you some similarities and differences between the Roomba 960 and 980.

In the process, I have also managed to mention some of their major strengths and surfaces, they are better suited to clean. Therefore, would you buy the Roomba 960 or the 980? What are some other features you have grown to love about these two robotic cleaners? 

 

Dwight Gibson

I’ve been interested in various gadgets and gizmos since school. Even as a kid, I read a lot about the tech world and wrote a weekly Hi-tech column in my school’s newspaper. As a university student, I continued writing on the Hi-tech topic for local magazines.

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