Updated November 2018

Best Roombas

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Best Roombas Updated November 2018

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

iRobot

Roomba 980
Check Price at: 1 store
This is the best Roomba on the market—if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth the price.
With a 120-minute battery life, virtual mapping, carpet boost, and multi-room navigation, this Roomba comes out on top. It also has two virtual wall barriers instead of just one.
The 980 is the most expensive out of all the Roomba models.

iRobot

Roomba 960
Check Price at: 1 store
The Roomba 960 is comparable to the Roomba 980 but doesn’t have the Carpet Boost feature and has a shorter battery life.
This Roomba has visual mapping that allows it to vacuum in straight lines, an app that monitors cleaning performance, and it automatically recharges on low battery.
It doesn’t have Carpet Boost like the Roomba 980 and it also has a shorter battery life (75 minutes).

iRobot

Roomba 870
Check Price at: 1 store
The Roomba 870 delivers up to 50% more cleaning performance than some of the older Roomba versions.
This product has tangle-free debris extractors that trap dirt and pet hair in its bin and an AeroForce High-Efficiency Filter that traps fine dirt and dust.
This iRobot vacuum doesn’t have visual mapping or the carpet boost feature, but it can be scheduled to clean your home every day of the week.

iRobot

Roomba 690
Check Price at: 1 store
The Roomba 690 features Wi-Fi and in-app support that make it easy to use.
A step above the Roomba 680, this model comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, an upgraded virtual wall accessory, and a Li-Ion battery.
It has a short battery life (60 minutes).

iRobot

Roomba 680
Check Price at: 1 store
This basic model is fancy-free but still gets the job done.
This programmable, self-docking robot offers preset scheduling and three-stage cleaning.
Pet hair can easily get stuck in the rotating brushes. This Roomba also doesn’t come with the perks of a Roomba 980 or 960 (think: smartphone capability).

Our process

5,530
Customer Reviews
8
Products
21
Hours

We eliminated five Roombas from our top five based on Roomba reviews and we brought the remaining robot vacuums into our lab for testing. Our controlled set of tests included the following criteria: setup, suction, noise and smell, maneuverability, mobility, empty, maintenance, filter type and lifespan, accessories and attachments, warranty. We observed Roombas as they did their thing on hard floors, low-pile, and high-pile carpet. We noted how well each Roomba picked up cereal, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair. Those test results and verified customer reviews revealed the best Roombas that you see above.

Roomba reviews guide 

Roomba vacuums (sold by iRobot) are among the top robot vacuums in the industry. They have intelligent sensors that allow them to navigate different types of flooring (carpets, hardwoods, etc.) and effectively clean and remove all debris in their path. With easy automation and multi-room navigation, these robot vacuums are perfect for those who don’t have the time to vacuum their entire homes frequently.

Unlike other brands, iRobot vacuums employ a powerful, three-stage cleaning system with edge-sweeping brushes to loosen, lift, and suction dirt and debris from your floors. Designed to sweep corners and along walls, Roombas can catch dust, dirt, and pet hair in those hard-to-reach places, providing you a more comprehensive clean. These robots also glide seamlessly across floors thanks to their advanced navigation software, allowing them to move around obstacles and adapt their direction when needed.

If you want a customizable cleaning option with no strings attached, we recommend a Roomba vacuum.

How does a robot vacuum work?

Robot vacuums pick up dirt similar to a traditional vacuum cleaner but with minimal human input. Although their exact cleaning behavior depends on the manufacturer, robot vacuum cleaners generally operate by cleaning as far as they can go in one direction until they bump into an object, turn around, and continue cleaning in the rest of your home in a spiral motion. Robot vacuums also have sensors to help them determine where to clean, as well as which areas to avoid.

Roomba vacuums have infrared sensors that point downward, preventing them from falling down stairs or steep drops, and an infrared beam and touch-sensitive bumper that detects walls and other obstacles. They also have sensors that help them detect walls so they can follow along edges closely and clean debris from cracks and crevices.

Pros and cons of robot vacuums

Roomba vacuums are great for people with busy lifestyles that don’t have the time or energy to vacuum their house. Since Roombas follow a programmable schedule, you can leave the house and not worry about monitoring their cleaning job.

Another benefit of Roomba vacuum cleaners is that their shape allows them to clean those hard-to-reach areas, like under your bed or around corners. Say goodbye to the days of awkwardly lifting up one end of the couch just to reach all of the dust and debris that’s collected over time.

Additionally, iRobot vacuums utilize precise technology and infrared sensors to track a mess and clean up debris, making them one of the more precise options on the market. Another benefit: Roombas come with virtual wall barriers that prevent them from cleaning certain areas, giving you the ability to personalize the cleaning job even more.

However, Roomba vacuums can be expensive for their size. Because they have such a small dustbin that needs to be emptied frequently, they should be used to supplement traditional vacuums by spot cleaning messes or performing weekly touch-ups. If you have a larger home, you may also run into the issue of your vacuum dying out before it completes its cleaning job (most robot vacuums have a runtime of 60 minutes).

And just because your Roomba can be scheduled to clean on its own doesn’t mean you won’t have to perform a little maintenance before it starts cleaning. Remember to remove small obstacles before a job to prevent your Roomba from getting stuck on objects.

Roomba vacuums clean in three steps. It sweeps corners at a 27-degree angle with an Edge-Sweeping Brush, grabs debris with Dual Counter-Rotating Brushes, and contains fine dust and allergens with a High-Efficiency Filter.”

4 Major factors to consider

Types of flooring

Though Roombas can clean hard floors and carpet, it’s not recommended that you use them on high-pile carpets or plush area rugs—they can get stuck on these surfaces and have difficulty completing their job. If you have a house with low-pile carpet, hard floors, or both, a Roomba is a great cleaning option.

Price

The Roombas with more features (i.e. Wi-Fi capability, visual mapping, carpet boost, etc.) will be more expensive than the more basic models. However, there are Roomba models available that aren’t as expensive as the newer versions and have similar performance capability, runtime, and accessories.

Accessories

Most Roombas come with at least one virtual wall barrier. These virtual walls send out infrared signals that are picked up by the Roomba, causing it to turn around and change direction when it comes into contact with it. If you have a smaller house, one virtual wall barrier may be all you need. However, if you have a bigger house (particularly one with stairs), you may want to invest in the Roomba 980—it comes with two virtual wall barriers that will prevent the Roomba from going into places you don’t want it to go.

Battery life

When choosing a Roomba, you’ll want to evaluate the size of your home and compare that to the battery life of the vacuum. Most Roombas come with a 60-minute runtime, while newer models like the Roomba 960 and 980 come with a longer runtime. The Roomba 960 runs for 75 minutes while the Roomba 980 runs for 120 minutes.

Download the iRobot HOME App to control and customize your Roomba’s cleaning schedule and preferences.”

Best Roomba all-around IROBOT ROOMBA 980

The Roomba 980 is designed for the neat freaks, the exceptionally busy, and the people who want their only vacuuming responsibility to be lifting their feet when the robot comes around. This robotic vacuum is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, has virtual mapping, carpet boost (for cleaning those tougher messes), and a long runtime of 120 minutes. Its suction power is exceptional and attacks all kinds of messes on hard floors and carpet.

Best Roomba for pet hair IROBOT ROOMBA 960

With 75 minutes of runtime, the iRobot Roomba 960 is capable of picking up pet hair from all types of surfaces, all over your home. It has tangle-free extractors which means less maintenance when trying to pull pet hair out of the system and it comes equipped with acoustic and optical sensors to detect areas that are a bit dirtier than others. And if you have one specific area that’s just covered in pet hair, the Roomba 960 has a spot-cleaning setting that will vacuum within a three-foot radius of the mess, giving you a more precise and comprehensive clean.

Best Roomba if you're remodeling IROBOT ROOMBA 650

We love the Roomba 650 for its iAdapt Navigation. A full suite of sensors guides the Roomba through an ever-changing home. The three-stage cleaning system ensures that this vacuum never misses a spot. You can schedule it to run seven days a week across all flooring types.

Determine the features that matter to you most before you buy. Some Roomba features you can choose from include: deep cleaning carpets, multi-room coverage, Wi-Fi connectivity, and advanced performance for pet hair.”

Frequently asked questions

Which Roomba is the best?

The best all-around Roomba is the iRobot Roomba 980. This robot vacuum comes with features like visual mapping, carpet boost, Wi-Fi compatibility, dirt detection, and multi-room navigation. Not to mention, it has the longest battery life out of all the Roombas with a 120-minute runtime.

If you’re not too fond of the cost, we recommend checking out the iRobot Roomba 960—it has similar features to the 980 (minus the carpet boost) and comes with a 75-minute runtime as opposed to a two-hour runtime.

What is the best Roomba for pet hair?

The best Roomba for pets is the iRobot Roomba 960. It’s dramatically lower in cost than the 980 and performs just as well. The only feature it doesn’t have is carpet boost, which is when the Roomba increases its vacuum power to provide a deeper clean.

What is the Roomba Pet Series?

The iRobot Roomba Pet Series is a set of vacuums that specifically target pet hair, kitty litter, dander, and other animal debris on your carpets and hard floors. All Roomba 500 Series models feature a three-stage cleaning system and iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology that allows them to vacuum a room multiple times and go under and around furniture. The three Roombas included in this series are the Roomba 532 Pet Series, the Roomba 562 Pet Series, and the Roomba 572 Pet Series.

Is a Roomba safe for hardwood floors?

Yes, Roombas are capable of vacuuming across all flooring types including hardwood floors, tile, linoleum, low- and high-pile carpet.

Is there a Roomba that mops?

Roombas do not mop in addition to vacuuming. However, the iRobot Braava Floor Mopping Robot dry- and damp-mops floors using two cleaning modes, keeping your floors squeaky clean at all times.

Do Roombas work on stairs?

Roombas cannot go up or down stairs; you’ll have to vacuum stairs with a traditional vacuum cleaner.

How much are Roomba vacuum cleaners?

Roomba vacuum cleaners range from $200 to $1,000. The newer models, like the 980 and Roomba 960, cost around $500–$700 and are more expensive than older models, like the Roomba 680 or Roomba 690.

When did the Roomba 980 come out?

The Roomba 980 was released in 2015, followed by the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 890.

The team that worked on this review

Kealia Reynolds
Writer
Carly Rutledge
Writer
Marc Lewis
Producer
Kelsey Roadruck
Editor
Jessica Allen
Photographer
Sean Burgess
Developer
Bailey
Pet Hair Provider

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