iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980

Choosing between iRobot's Roomba 960 and 980

When comparing iRobot vacuums, iRobot’s 960 and 980 seem to be nearly identical. So, what justifies the steep price difference between the two?

Differences between the Roomba 960 and 980

There are four differences between these two robot vacuums.

First, the motor in the 960 is a carryover from the 800-series. It’s not a bad motor, but the 960's 900 series motor is more powerful and efficient.

Second, the bigger motor in the 980 deliver 10x the suction of earlier models thanks to its AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System. The 960 also has AeroForce, just with 5x the suction power when compared with the same previous models.

Third, with the 980 iRobot introduced Carpet Boost. Carpet Boost bumps up the power when the robot realizes it is vacuuming carpeted surfaces. The 960 is a predecessor of the 980 and lacks Carpet Boost altogether.

Finally, the 980 runs for signficantly longer before needing to return to its base and charge. At their most economical settings the battery will last 120 minutes. In contrast, the 960 will call it quits after 75 minutes of cleaning.

Our recommendation

Both iRobot vacuums are a good choice. They have aged a bit, but they do their job relatively well. So, is the price increase for the 980 worth it? If you have a larger area to clean, have a home with dogs and/or cats, or just feel you need the most suction power possible, go with the Roomba 980. If you don’t need as much heft the Roomba 960 is a good choice with a value price.

A newer iRobot Alternative

It you're set on an iRobot and arrived at these Roombas while doing research but haven't looked into the iRobot Roomba i7 you should. The i7 is a much newer (and better) robot from iRobot.

'.iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980.'

Competitive Robot Vacuum Overview

About each robot vacuum.
Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Manufacturer
iRobot
iRobot
Product
Roomba 960
Roomba 980
Series/Model
900/960
900/980

Physical

Compare the dimensions, color and other physical characteristics of these two robot vacuums.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Height
3.6 in.
3.6 in.
Length
13.8 in.
13.8 in.
Width
13.8 in.
13.8 in.
Weight
8.6 lb.
8.7 lb.
Assembly Required
No
No
Color
Grey
Brown
Bin Capacity
20.3 oz.
20.3 oz.
Cleaning Path Width
7 in.
7 in.

Navigation/Sensors

Compare the sensors and navigational aids each robot vacuum uses to move and assess floor surfaces and condition.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Magnetic Boundary Markers
No
No
Beacon Boundary Markers
Yes
Yes
Visual Mapping
Yes
Yes
Drop Sensor
Yes
Yes
Dirt Sensor
Yes
Yes
Onboard Camera(s)
Yes
Yes
Cleaning Pattern
Intelligent
Intelligent

Battery and Charging

Run and recharge time for each robot vacuum cleaner in the comparison.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Battery Type
Lithium Ion (Li-ion)
Lithium Ion (Li-ion)
Battery Voltage
14.8 v
14.4 v
Battery Run Time
75 min.
120 min.
Battery Recharge Time
180 min.
180 min.
Auto Shut-off
Yes
Yes
Auto Charge
Yes
Yes
Clean/Charge/Resume
Yes
Yes

Cleaning Modes

The cleaning modes each robot vacuum in the comparison is equipped with.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Normal Cleaning Mode
Yes
Yes
Manual Cleaning Mode
Yes
Yes
Spot Cleaning Mode
Yes
Yes
Repeat Cleaning Mode
No
No
Edge Cleaning Mode
No
No

Cleaning

Cleaning characteristics for each robot vacuum cleaner including its filter, cyclonic action and if it is rated for use in homes with pets.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Wet/Dry
No
No
Variable Suction
Yes
Yes
HEPA Filter
No
No
Washable Filter
No
No
Full Bin Indicator
Yes
Yes
Made for Pet Hair
No
Yes
Self-Cleaning
No
No
Cyclonic Action
No
No
Carpet Height Adjustment
Yes
Yes
Self-Emptying
No
No

Technology

If and how each robot vacuum integrates with mobile apps, smart home platforms and other technologies.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Remote Control
No
No
Voice Control
Yes
Yes
Bluetooth Connected
No
No
Wifi Connected
Yes
Yes
Android App
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Progress Mapping
Yes
Yes
Alexa Compatible
Yes
Yes
Google Assistant Compatible
Yes
Yes
Apple Home Kit Compatible
No
No
IFTTT Compatible
Yes
Yes
Multiple Floor-Plan Storage
No
No
Programmable
Advanced
Advanced
Manufacturer API/SDK
No
No

Surfaces

The surfaces each vacuum cleaner is capable of cleaning.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Carpet
Yes
Yes
Rug
Yes
Yes
Hardwood
Yes
Yes
Tile
Yes
Yes
Laminate
Yes
Yes
Concrete
Yes
Yes
Vinyl
Yes
Yes

Warranty and Certifications

The manufacturer warranty and certifications for each vacuum.

Feature
iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba 980
Warranty
12 months
12 months
Battery Warranty
12 months
12 months
Certifications
UL
UL