Robots were created to do human chores without human involvement. Robot technology finally entered the vacuum cleaner industry a few years ago to create a hands-off way to maintain floors.
We conducted a robot vacuum cleaner comparison study that involved the biggest names in the business, including iRobot’s Roomba. The Roomba 890 and the Roomba 960 emerged as our favorite models. One of them may possibly be the very best iRobot for the money.
We created an iRobot Roomba comparison, complete with a robot vacuum feature comparison, for those of you looking to buy a good robot vacuum cleaner.
A Quick Glimpse of the Features of Roomba 960 and Roomba 890
Robot vacuum cleaners are very different from our grandmothers’ vacuum cleaners. We’re talking about floors being cleaned by the sheer force of suction – no brush rollers – and while we’re not even home.
iRobot’s Roomba has remained a popular robot vacuum cleaner and a highly recommended robot vacuum line. Roomba models 890 and 960 got our attention, so we studied them in action and discovered some interesting things about them.
Although we’ve laid out the difference between the Roomba 890 and 960 in our full floor robot vacuum review, here is the skinny:
Roomba 890 vs Roomba 960
- The Roomba 890’s battery lasts for one hour, but the Roomba 960 operates for 75 minutes before heading back for a recharge.
- The Roomba 890 has a side brush, but the Roomba 960 has a special edge-cleaning feature.
- The Roomba 890 has a full bin indicator, but the Roomba 960 has both a full bin indicator and a full bin action control.
- The Roomba 890 is more affordable than the Roomba 960 is.
- The Roomba 890 does not have a localization camera for navigational planning, but the Roomba 960 does.
iRobot Roomba 960
- The navigation system on the Roomba 960 is by far this model’s most outstanding feature because it includes a camera that enables the navigation system to map rooms and efficiently clean them.
- This classy machine also includes an extra-long-lasting battery, an edge cleaning feature, full bin action control, and dual-mode virtual wall barrier capability.
The Roomba 960 maps and efficiently cleans one entire level of a home without having to recharge, although it also knows when to recharge and when to go back to work.
Besides smart navigation, this model is wifi-connected. It has an auto-adjust cleaning head, an edge-sweeping brush, patented dirt detect technology, and a high-efficiency filter that captures microscopic particles and things as small as 10 microns.
It is made to work on both carpets and on hard floors.
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- This model’s highly effective navigation system, edge-cleaning brush and other extra-nice features ensure a thoroughly cleaned floor with little fuss.
- The only drawback of the Roomba 960 is that the carpet boost feature was omitted from its design. We found that it did not pick up all pet hair out of carpets.
What Customers Are Saying
Consumers who do not have both pets and carpets are completely satisfied with the Roomba 960.
The Bottom Line
The Roomba 960 is the perfect vacuum for people who have pets and live in a large home that doesn’t have carpeting.
- Sensor technology – The Roomba 960 has a dirt detector, edge (drop-off) detector, and a full bin detector.
- Remote control – Both the Roomba 890 and 960 can be controlled remotely by wifi and a phone app, by Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa. You can create an automated cleaning schedule and remotely instruct your vacuum to start, pause, or stop cleaning. The Roomba 960 gives you the additional ability to tell your vacuum to make another pass through particular areas.
- Battery life – The lithium-ion battery on the Roomba 960 lasts 75 minutes.
- Suction – The Roomba 890 and 960 both use AeroForce’s brushless vacuuming technology which uses airflow accelerators. Unfortunately, we found that neither model completely sucked pet hair out of carpets.
- Navigation – The Roomba 960’s iAdapt 2.0 navigation system includes a camera that scopes out the home and gives you a map of where it cleaned when the vacuum is done cleaning.
- Scheduling – Both the Roomba 960 and 890 let you schedule it to work as often as every day.
- Smart features – The advanced Dirt Detect technology enables this model to locate areas that have extra dirt and tells it to spend extra time cleaning it up.
- Brush type – The Roomba 960 has a side brush with three bristles for edge cleaning. Cleaning modes – The Roomba 960 has three buttons. They are for regular cleaning, spot cleaning, and for sending it home.
- Dust bin capacity – The dust bin holds 600 ml.
- Noise level – This model puts out 65 decibels of noise, as measured from three feet away.
- Filtration – The Roomba 890 and 960 both use an AeroForce high-efficiency filter. This special filter catches 99% of the particles, pollen, and other allergens 10 microns or smaller that the vacuum sucks up.
- Automatic Docking and Recharge – The Roomba 960 heads home to recharge when it is done. You can also dock the Roomba 960 manually.
iRobot Roomba 890
- The Roomba 890 has a super-slim profile which allows it to go under furniture.
- Like the 960, you can instruct the 890 to spot clean.
- Also like the 960, the 890 includes a dual-mode virtual wall barrier feature instead of magnetic strips (like some competitors use).
The iRobot Roomba 890 is the latest model in the mid-range 800 series robot vacuum cleaners. It has an easy set-up process and it starts with the press of a button or remotely.
The patented Dirt Detect sensors tell it where to spend more time. The three-stage cleaning system loosens and sucks the dirt, dust and pet hair right out. This vacuum is made to work on both hard floors and on carpets.
- Its slim profile enables it to clean your floors wall to wall.
- The unit’s spot cleaning capability means your floors will be completely clean when the vacuum is done cleaning.
- Sadly, our test run demonstrated that the Roomba 890 doesn’t actually seek out heavy-debris areas such as the sugar spill we created as it is supposed to.
- Also, the navigation system needs much improvement.
What Customers Are Saying
Consumers have mixed things to say about this model, with the inept navigation system bothering many people the most.
The Bottom Line
If you can afford one of the 900 series robot vacuum cleaners, you’ll be much better satisfied.
- Sensor technology – The Roomba 890 has Dirt Detect. It also senses edges so that it won’t fall down steps or other drop-offs.
- Remote control – The Roomba 890 can be controlled though wifi and an app, just like the Roomba 960 can. However, the Roomba 890 vacuum does not have cleaning pass control capability.
- Battery life – The lithium-ion battery on the Roomba 890 lasts 60 minutes
- Suction – Like the Roomba 960, the Roomba 890 is made with AeroForce’s brushless vacuuming technology which uses airflow accelerators. Neither model can suck pet hair out of carpets.
- Navigation – The Roomba 890’s iAdapt navigation system pales in comparison to that of the Roomba 960’s. It does not have a camera which would enable it to see its way around, map out rooms, and make a cleaning plan. It just bumps into things, has trouble finding its way out from under chairs, and then it can’t find the door.
- Scheduling – Both the Roomba 960 and 890 can be controlled by a mobile app. Both models let you schedule the vacuum to work up to every day of the week.
- Smart features – App has start and stop alerts, plus when it’s stuck.
- Brush type – The Roomba 890 does not have the special edge cleaning feature that the Roomba 960 has.
- Cleaning modes – This model includes a dual mode, virtual wall mode, halo mode, and a spot cleaning mode.
- Dust bin capacity – The dust bin holds 300 ml. It is hard to get the bin out to clean it, but it is well-designed and has a built-in filter.
- Noise level – The Roomba 890 emits 68 decibels of sound.
- Filtration – The Roomba 890 and 960 both use an AeroForce high-efficiency filter. It catches 99% of the particles, pollen, and other allergens 10 microns or smaller that the vacuum sucks up.
- Automatic Docking and Recharge – The Roomba 890 does have an automatic docking and recharge feature, but you can also dock it manually.
Insights and Takeaways
The Roomba 960s navigation system maps out rooms and efficiently cleans them, while the Roomba 890’s navigation system really pales in comparison. In our opinion, the Roomba 890’s navigation problem makes that model not the best brushless robot vacuum cleaner out there.
Besides having a navigation system that actually works, the Roomba 960 leaves the 890 in the dust in other areas too. Its other main advantages include full bin action control, its edge cleaning feature and its long-lasting battery.
From our experience, neither model actually completely picks up pet hairs on carpets as claimed. So, neither one should be used by pet owners who have a carpeted home.
The Roomba 960 can handle a large home, cleaning the floors thoroughly and efficiently. In our opinion, the Roomba 960 is well worth the extra money, and it is our top pick.