Advances in technology bring us closer to an automated home life that has never been seen before. With developments like robotics, IoT, and virtual assistants, managing a home’s cleanliness, temperature, and security have never been easier.
In conjunction with robotics and vacuum technology, iRobot has delivered their famous brand of robotic vacuums, Roomba. Roomba has established itself as the industry standard of robotic vacuums since their initial release in 2002. Since 2002 Roomba has released countless models with greater advancements with each generation.
In this article, we will be focusing on the older Roomba 880 and the newer 980. We will be pitting these two models in a head to head comparison to better find out which model is better for you, your wallet, and most of all your home.
Both the Roomba 880 and 980 can be programmed for a preset cleaning schedule of up to 7 times per week. This allows the user to program their Roomba to clean at most once every day at a specific time. Once the Roomba is done with its cleaning cycle it will return to the charging dock.
Though these Roomba models are limited to 7 preset cleanings per week, that does not mean they can’t be used more than that. To do so, they will have to be manually activated outside of their preset cleaning schedule.
3-Stage Cleaning System
Every Roomba model uses iRobot’s patented 3-stage cleaning system. First, the cyclonic edge sweeping brush pulls dirt and debris from the edges of the Roomba and sweeps it beneath the vacuum. Second, 2 cylindrical brushes agitate the carpet and push debris upwards into the Roomba for the third stage to be suctioned into the dustbin.
The Roomba 880 and 980 each use iRobot’s trademarked Dirt Detect technology that uses optical and acoustic sensors to detect dirt and debris. The Roomba will make multiple passes in areas that it detects extra dirt and debris, ensuring that area has been cleaned properly.
Adapts to Home
Each Roomba is equipped with sensors that keep it from damaging itself and objects around the home. Both models have necessary sensors that stop it from falling off stairs and other ledges while avoiding hitting or knocking over objects.
The Roomba has set itself apart with its unobtrusive design that allows it to reach under areas that upright and stick vacuums struggle with. Both the 880 and 980 measure no taller than 5.5 inches in height allowing each model to maneuver under and around furniture with ease.
Dual Mode Virtual Wall
2 dual-mode virtual walls are included with the purchase of either the 880 or the 980. Dual mode virtual walls project a virtual barrier that stops the Roomba from entering a designated area. They are called dual mode since there are two modes to switch from.
The first mode projects a direct beam that extends up to 10 feet, stopping the Roomba from crossing any part of the beam. The second mode is called halo mode that projects a 365-degree ring around the wall that is 4 feet in diameter, effectively stopping the Roomba from crossing the threshold of the ring.
Despite the many similarities between the Roomba 880 and 980, there are major key differences between these two models that warrant about a $270 price difference between the two. The 880 is the older model and costs less, while the 980 is newer and costs a considerable amount more.
As iterated earlier, the Roomba 880 is the older of the 2 models and costs about $430. A 1-year warranty on the robot is included with purchase while a 6-month warranty on the battery is also included with purchase.
The 880 can be financed and payments start as low as $38/month. The 880 has 5 different buttons located on the top and the design and color scheme iRobot chose for the 880 is very similar to previous Roomba models. The 880 can be controlled via a remote.
The 980 comes leaps and bounds further than the 980 when it comes to integrating newer technology. First, the 980 is WiFi compatible and can be controlled via an app on a mobile device. The app lets the user activate their Roomba remotely and delivers cleaning reports back to the app.
Clean Map™ reports back to the app showing where the Roomba cleaned and how long the cleaning took. Customizable cleaning preferences may be set on the app as well. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are also compatible with the 980 enabling the user to activate the 980 with their voice.
The 980 is able to change its brush height in order to adapt to all floor types allowing it to seamlessly switch between bare floors, carpet, and rugs. When the 980 detects it is cleaning carpet it will turn on Performance Mode which increases suction up to 10X the strength of the Roomba 600 series.
The battery life of the 980 can last up to 120 minutes. If the battery runs low before the end of the cleaning cycle, the Roomba will return to the charging dock to recharge and then finish the cleaning cycle once it has recharged itself.
The cost of the 980 is about $700. Financing is available for the 980 and monthly payments start as low as $62/month. A 1-year warranty is included with purchase.
Both the 880 and the 980 are excellent when it comes to cleaning the home but the differences between these 2 models are major. With the 980 connected to WiFi, it establishes itself as the model to be truly integrated and part of a smart home system.
Not only is the 980 integrable with a smart home system, it cleans more efficiently than the 880 due to its Performance Mode for carpets but also its ability to recharge itself in the middle of a cleaning cycle. The cost of the 980 is considerably more than the 880 to the tune of nearly $300.
However, both of these models are very expensive and we would prefer to see at least a 2-year warranty offered for both the 980 and 880 models.
For those looking to purchase a Roomba that is part of a fully integrated smart home system then we would recommend the 980. For those that could do without the WiFi integration, we recommend to save some money and purchase the 880. Regardless of which model you choose, you won’t be spending your time maneuvering an upright vacuum around the home.
Writer and Product Tester
David has been a tech geek and avid gamer since he was young. In his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, writing and of course gaming. His experience with tech brings an educated opinion to his writing.