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iRobot Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Review: Better Than The 980?

irobot roomba 960 robot review



Innovation, Price, Reliability 


Problems with multi level surfaces


iRobot Roomba 960 is a cleaning robot with great features but decent price.

Our Rating



I was very happy when I, my kids and the dogs got the chance to put the iRobot Roomba 960 through its paces.

This is regarded as one of the best robot vacuum cleaners on the market right now. I tend to have to vacuum multiple times per week.

Heck, thanks to the kids and dogs, sometimes twice in one day!

So having something that is going to not just keep the floors clean, but also make my life easier is great in my book. Hopefully this iRobot Roomba 960 review will help you decide if it's right for you.

960 Vs 980: Worth The Extra Cost?

iRobot Roomba 960 Review

Now, the Roomba 980 is regarded as the best Roomba that is currently available. At the time of writing, the 980 is around $200 more than the 960, so the question is: does the 980 have features that justify an extra $200?

The main improvement in the Roomba 980 compared to the 960 is a longer run time between charges. The 960 lasts 75 minutes, while the 980's battery life has been increased to 120 minutes. In my honest opinion, there is no need for the longer battery life for a couple of reasons.

The Roomba 960 is so good at finding dirt and debris that after 75 minutes the bin will need to be emptied so it will not last 120 minutes anyway. Also, the fact that this is intelligent enough to find it's way back to it's charging point and then continue where it left off, makes a longer run time largely irrelevant.

Read More: Which robot vacuum cleaner is the best?

Another difference in the 980 is the addition of Carpet Boost technology. Carpet Boost enables the Roomba 980 to automatically detect when it has changed surfaces, from carpet to hardwood floor for example.

The Roomba then adjusts the suction accordingly, for more efficient cleaning. Whether this extra feature, along with the longer running time, justifies an extra $200 will be a matter of personal opinion.

Very Well Made And Nice Design

Before this arrived, I did do a little research and read more than one Roomba 960 review to see what I could expect. One of the things that many people talked about is the size.

Once I opened the box, I was very surprised at how large this was, I do not mean that in a bad way at all by the way. The good size means that it is able to cover a much larger area of the floor at a time as it goes about its business.

Not only is the size quite impressive, the Roomba 960 also has a very solid feel to it. While it does have technology inside it that prevents it from falling down the stairs, I have no doubt that if it did, it would be ok. I have tested a couple different robot vacuums before and this one feels far more “solid” than the rest.

 A charging dock is included and this is very well made also, as is the kind of battery they have used. The battery gives the Roomba 960 around 75 minutes of cleaning time and when it detects that the battery is getting low, it will take itself back to the dock to recharge.

My kids think this is awesome and are usually a little disappointed if they miss it going back to charge itself or returning after it has finished its work.

Powerful Cleaning Performance

Before I get into the features, I want to tell you just how well the Roomba 960 cleans. This particular Roomba boasts 5X the air power of 600 and 700 series models, which gives it an incredible amount of suction.

this, along with the multi-surface brush allows it to get in really deep and get out any dirt or mess. Our living room has a rather thick carpet and it had no trouble getting out anything the kids had mushed into it.

Read More: Cheaper Roomba alternatives

As well as having the brush on the bottom there is also an edge sweeping brush along the side. This is actually a really neat feature and it allows the Roomba 960 to clean right next to walls, which given its round shape you may think it would struggle to do. 

Not only that, but things like chair legs, the coffee table and anything else rather awkward can be cleaned around. I thought this was really cool and it helps far more than you realize.

Low Profile For Cleaning Under Furniture

Not only does the Roomba 960 robot vacuum pick up a lot of dirt, they have used a very high tech filtration system that traps in 99 percent of the dust and dust mites that it captures.

This means that the air it is pumping out is actually cleaner than the air it is pulling in! While it is large in terms of its width, it is actually very thin so it manages to get under the sofa, the coffee table and in other tight spots that a regular vacuum cleaner would struggle to do so.

One of the biggest pain points for me is dog hair.

Sure the kids make a mess, but I vacuum and then two minutes later there is dog hair all over the floor. 

I was a little worried about how this would tackle dog hair, but it picked it up just fine. Not only that, even longer hairs did not get tangled up inside the brush roller which I thought was very impressive.

Cleans All Floor Types

As well as the carpets, it was more than up to the task of dealing with our hardwood floors, which seem to have a layer of dust on them at the end of most days. Not only did it clean the hardwood floors, there was no scratching or struggling at all.

While the level of cleaning that this Roomba does is fantastic, my only “issue” was that the bin would fill up rather quickly.

To be fair this is a strange thing to complain about as the Roomba does such a great job in vacuuming (even after I have already vacuumed, it still finds stuff that I missed) that you will have to make sure you empty the bin so that it can go and finish its cleaning cycle. It is not a huge deal and one that you certainly can deal with.

Packed With Features

Roomba 960 Charging

One thing that I am excited to tell you about in my Roomba 960 robot vacuum review is just how easy it is to use. Not only that the Roomba 960 is packed with awesome features that allow you to make sure it cleans your home perfectly.

You can press the button and just let it go and do its thing and I am sure that some people will do that. You can take it in the living room and just let it clean how it wants or how it sees fit. However, the real draw here is the iRobot HOME App. This app is so cool and gives you complete control of your robot vacuum cleaning buddy.

You can customize the cleaning path, set him up on a cleaning schedule so that he cleans at the same time on specific days and you can even check the status of how the cleaning is going. It is pretty crazy to have this much control, it can even tell you if the bin is full!

I have been using it with my smartphone, but you can also use your tablet and if you want to feel like you are really living in the future, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can be used so you can kind of talk to it and tell it to be activated, now this is something that I would really love to try.  

Once you figure out how to set it so that it meets the needs of your house, you will find that the amount of time you spend vacuuming each week is vastly reduced.

There is also something called a virtual wall that acts like a wall and uses infrared signal to block an area you don’t want your robot freind to go to.

Final Thoughts

I think that the Roomba 960 is fantastic, I think that the asking price is more than fair as this is going to serve you well for many, many years. It is not just the fact that it keeps your floors spotlessly clean, it is the way that it makes your life so much easier that really makes it a winner in my book.

I think if you are looking for a robot vacuum cleaner that you are much better spending a few extra bucks and getting one like the Roomba 960 which is very well made, cleans great and can pick up all the nasty stuff you do not want to touch!

This post was last updated on December 21st, 2018 at 10:11 am