My New Roomba 980 Review – Is the Roomba 980 the Best One Yet?

irobot-roomba-980-recharge-resumeWith their slightly enhance Botvac “D being recently released by adversary Neato ” set, it was theorized that iRobot might be following suit. However, it has been a relatively long time since the Roomba 880 and 870 debuted. I really didn’t know what to anticipate. Definitely, iRobot isn’t interested in ceding any market share to competitors, and rightfully so.

As with all preceding Roomba’s there are things that I don’t enjoy and things to enjoy. It ’s going to be difficult for me to not gift a few Roomba 980’s this year.

At the base, I’ll make an overall recommendation and propose several choices.

Key Characteristics – What’s New with the Roomba 980

The following are some of the new, upgraded, and noteworthy attributes on the 980:

The Roomba 980 is now effective at running fro a full 2 hours before needed to recharge. It’s still not Lithium ion (for those that like that), but it’s an improvement.

iRobot HOME Program: For me, this really is the game changer. I’ve been waiting for robot vacuums to become more fully incorporated into the house experience that is bright. iRobot is the first robot vacuum firm – to my knowledge – that has a program such as this. You can press on “Clean” from anyplace and the 980 will start/stop as wanted. I can get things began while I’m away if I’m at work or out of the house. The app is simple to use and basically functions as an advanced remote control. On the older Roomba’s you could have a pre-determined program to run every day, but not instantaneous control in this way!

Its really more of an upgrade. This can be a big deal. Essentially it lets the visual localization allows the Roomba to “look” out and up to help navigate and map the room. This is the kind of ground breaking enhancement that greatly improves the 980 over previous versions. What does this mean almost? Bumping into things at random and a more




organized – and efficient – cleaning route.

Happily, iRobot wasn’t content with just a couple new features. Additionally they upped their game in the power department. The AeroForce cleaning system is per cleaning cycle exactly the same base technology, but 2 times more efficient at picking up debris. Additionally, it has “carpet boost” which optimizes air power when it discovers a carpet or rug beneath. The end result is a thorough clean, duplicating a greater grade conventional vacuum.

Improved Virtual Wall Lighthouse: The 980 has stepped up lighthouse game is ’sed by it. They have been now smaller and take AA batteries (as opposed to the hulking “D” batteries for preceding set). This is a nice improvement because who has spare “D” batteries lying around?

Pros and Cons – Matters I like and Things I Don’t


It means everything to me: It’s fairly simple and straightforward, although the App is Awesome. Being able to control my robot from my telephone means the Roomba is now part of my smart home family. Picking up on where tools like the Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats have left off, iRobot has actually provided on a smart, internet-connected, roomba vacuum. I thinking about the possibilities for future integration with controls and my various smart dwelling apps.

Program Helps Screen Maintenance: There is a very cool “diagnostics” portion of the program that monitors different parts of the Roomba and uses simple bars to tell you when things have to be changed or serviced (believe emptying the bin, altering extractors, filters, etc…). Additionally, it tells you exactly how you can perform the desired care requirement.

Better on Carpets: Robots hoovers always have a tendency to perform better on hardwood floors and tough floor choices (tile, etc…). Now, the recently redesigned motor is particularly great at adjusting to carpet surfaces as well. Once discovered, a bit more muscle wills engage to thoroughly clean carpets the manner they should be cleaned. It was a subtle difference, an important difference however, although t that is difficult tell from standing up even.

More Hands Off/User Friendly: In short, it’s more of a robot! The new program, the more powerful battery and the automatic recharging/resume feature makes the Roomba 980 more hands free than the competition and both previous models. Slowly but surely, house robotics is living up to it’s assurance. If you hate vacuuming physically or – cannot do it this is the quintessential solution that is outsourced. Short the Roomba 980 is the smartest choice out there.


Navigation is Apparently Improved: I will scarcely tell the difference and Occasionally new attributes are added. For cleaning in a randomized, haphazard pattern before, Roomba’s have had the knock. While the ending result was clean floors, how it happened wasn’t quite. However, it was also a bit ineffective. It was among the comparisons I enjoyed about most Neato models. The 980 is efficient, methodical, and much more organized.

It still bumps into matters to gain its bearings, especially in rooms with tons of furniture. Merely not nearly to the amount it did previously. On careful observation it appears the 980 will recall these “lumps” for future cleans and WOn’t keep doing it with precisely the same wild abandon.

Brighter Algorithm: This robot is actually smarter than it’s forerunners and the competition.

In general, I detected the 980 spent much less time than both my 880 and Botvac’s (comprised the new Joined Botvac) pausing and calculating as it creates the map of the room.

Strong Secondary Parts Market: Unlike other robot companies, the Roomba has a deluge of after market companies specializing in creating better replacement accessories and parts. For instance, I’ve been able to find replacement batteries that are not worse than the factory default ones.

Superb Customer Service: iRobot continues to be the leader as it pertains to customers service. This more of a general “pro” and less particular to the model, but still worth noting. Every time I’ve needed to replace a Roomba, I’ve had no problems. They are also not bad at walking you through diagnosing issues.

Better Suction Complete: My two quasi scientific ways of quantifying this are that A) I can feel a lot more wind/air coming out of the unit and B) those larger particles of determination that only high powered vacs often get are being caught in the dust bin.


App Could be More: This isn’t actually a legit gripe, because I’m thrilled with the new program. It’s more of a wish. I’d like to completely incorporate my Roomba with the rest of my smart dwelling. It would be nice to be able to handle everything from one program (and one controller like the SmartThings Hub and others). It likely wouldn’t be challenging to do and it may be something iRobot already intends to do anyhow.

Not “Perfect”: It’s a certain improvement, but it’s still not perfect. Power cords occasionally confused it and can have trouble with substantial brinks. It’s simple to “Roomba proof” your house, once in a while it will get stuck, but once you find out the problem areas. It’s not quite like a human….yet.

Both the Neato Botvac Joined and the Dyson Eye are rumored to be coming out “ soon. How soon? I can’t really tell. The Botvac Linked (which features similar program controls) will probably be out occasionally this year, but no firm release date has been set. The Dyson Eye continues to be rumored to be in the works for years, but I ‘ven’t heard much lately about an anticipated release date. It could be 6-12 months away. What this means is that the Roomba 980 could have some stiffer competition on the horizon. At the moment, the 980 is the best robot out there, but that could change. UPGRADE: The Dyson 360 Eye has been released. In general, it’s a more powerful vacuum, but less room that is competent -to-room navigation. You can read my full review for more details.

Doesn’t Work in Complete Darkness: As long as there is some light i.e. you can see your way around, the 980 should function good. Yet, for pitch black rooms you may necessarily get an error code. My simple alternative is to keep on in every room that needs it.


It worth noting, although carpeting Foster is Loud: It picks up more dirt, so I’m a happy customer.

Only Available in One Place: So far as is often the case with new releases – the Roomba 980 is ONLY accessible via the iRobot shop here. This really is likely because they want to control pricing. As soon as it’s released to other marketplaces like Amazon and box retailers, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Cost: As always, iRobot is the price leader. All their robots usually are somewhat to moderately more costly than the contest. The 980 is distinct. In fact, it’s not fairly darn cheap! At $900 per unit, this is likely not something that’s not difficult to spring for. It is possible to check out this listing for more detailed pricing information. In this instance, you do get what you buy. Many aspects that were important really HAVE improved. Hands down, this is the best robot vacuum now available. However, if that is your first robot, you may want to look into some less expensive – but still qualified – options (see below)

Other Roomba 980 Options to Contemplate

If the price is too much of a sticking point, not to stress. There are other great vacuums with contemplating.

Roomba 880

Occasionally last years model is the best value around. Sure, it’s not the latest and greatest, but it nevertheless can offer many of the exact same benefits. Until the 980 was released the Roomba 880 WAS the cream of the crop. You can take a look at my review of it here. At time, it was the most effective robot hoover money could purchase. The patented AeroForce cleaning system is 50% more effective at cleaning up debris than the 700 series. This, joined with a larger dust bin, a much better battery, and a remote control made it the most hands free apparatus at the time. It ’s the 2 nd. It doesn’t have the use that is groundbreaking, but it’s all the other essential features for a true runner up. Above all, it’s a full $200 cheaper than the 980 (check this listing for even steeper discounts). Still pricey, but a lot.

Botvac D80

I wasn’t overly impressed with the initial Botvac release, but some helpful progress have been made by the new “D” series. Notably, they’ve repaired a problem with the brush (by changing a bearing) to ensure it is less susceptible to becoming tangled (particularly with individual and pet hair, within my experience). The Botvac D80 doesn’t only look better, it also performs better than previous Neato models. The suction power is the best yet and arguably comparable to the new Roomba 980. It relatively simple use and to schedule, although however, you won’t get the app managements. The patented laser navigation technology means more routes that are organized and it normally works quite well. It’s possible for you to see this listing here, where it usually sells for less than the top line Roomba’s.

Roomba 650

It’s been around for a while, but it trustworthy. It MUCH less expensive. Try the 650 out to see if it’s good enough on your needs, if budget is your top concern. Yes, it’s missing a group of “extras” that is nice but the cleaning technology that is center is till there. The 650 is perfect for people who have flats, little homes, or only a little area they desire routinely cleaned. I still have mine running to this day after 3 years (and a few replacement batteries). On top of that, you are able to locate the 650 for an extremely affordable price at this listing.


The long rumored Dyson Eye is formally under development, as I mentioned previously. Who knows when it will be released. At this period it’ll be unlikely to strike before the 2015 Holiday season, although they still haven’t discussed release dates. The new features on the Roomba 980 may really lead them to delay release until they’re able to fit the core features.

The intriguing possibility is the the Neato Botvac “Linked” robot which aims to add WiFi capacity that is similar to the Roomba 980. You can read more here. It would seem sensible for them to release it prior to the 2015 Holiday season, but they’ll have to get it done soon to capitalize completely.

UPGRADE: The Botvac Joined has formally been released in early Novemeber 2015! See my full review.

Believing Cleaner Faceplate

I was a bit skeptical of this “work around” at first, but it actually works pretty well. Thinking Cleaner was the outcome of a successful Kickstarter campaign. It functionally adds or 600 series robot and WiFi capability together. Skeptical? I was too. Essentially, you attach a “faceplate” that modifies your Roomba. It’s easy enough to attach. It is possible to do most of the exact same functions as the Roomba 980 WiFi, merely in a less “ polished” and intuitive way. The app is fairly strong and will let you schedule remotely, alert you when your Roomba needs help and even plays a song if you must locate your lost Roomba. It’s accessible for just a fraction of the price of a Roomba that is new here.

I’ll caveat by saying that 1) it’s still “laggy” 2) reduces typical run-time by about 10-15% and 3) it’s not native to iRobot (third party app). Thinking Cleaner is working on a fresh faceplate for the 700/800 chain, but as of yet it only exists as a Kickstarter endeavor here.

Who’s this a good option for? 2) Prospective buyers who need WiFi ability, but can’t manage/don’t desire to spend $899 on the 980. For instance, buying a fresh Roomba 650 and Thinking Cleaner Faceplate will run you .

Roomba 980 vs Botvac Joined

I needed to touch on this briefly because I’ve been getting lots of questions about it, although I’ll be writing up a complete comparison soon.

Both Botvac Joined and the Roomba 980 attribute WiFi enabled management. This is undoubtedly the headline feature for both. Personally, I prefer the Roomba program but both are comparable in terms of features/utilization.

What are the Essential Differences? 1) The Botvac Associated is significantly more affordable (normally about $200 less), but see this listing for up to date advice.

UPGRADE: You are able to read my full comparison (recently completed) right here.

Ultimate Call – Is the Roomba 980 Worth it?

The short answer: Yes! The longer response? If you’ve the money, this can be arguably the best robot vacuum cleaner on the market. At minimum, it’s certainly the finest roomba version to date. Whether or not it is “worth it” comes down to what your unique needs are.

However, if you have a little apartment, the 980 becomes an extravagance. One caveat: it doesn’t matter in case you are a geek like me. This can be a MUST own!

The 980 is the greatest robot for the occupation, if you’ve a larger house or office/company that needs to be cleaned frequently. The ground can be covered by it and recharge on it’s own as needed. The 980 has the most power/suction and the finest cleaning technology of any robot to get the job done if you need a vacuuming job that closely resembles a traditional upright vacuum clean.


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