Roomba 960 Review

The House Method team tested the iRobot Roomba 960 on carpets and hard floors and measured suction power, maneuverability, noise, mobility, and more. Read our full review here.

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If you’re tired of manually vacuuming your home, consider investing in a robot vacuum. iRobot is one of the leading robotic vacuum brands, offering a variety of models that will help clean your carpets and hard floors. The Roomba 960 has impeccable suctioning abilities and seamless navigation, keeping track of its location and recharging as needed until its cleaning job is done. Keep reading to determine if the Roomba 960 is the right vacuum for you and your cleaning needs.

Overall score: 9.48/10

The value prop

The Roomba 960 is a top robot vacuum designed to make vacuuming your home a hands-free experience. Its cleaning technology and design combine to create one of the most advanced robot vacuums available today. For those who want a robot vacuum with special features like memory mapping, advanced suction, and Wi-Fi connectivity, this is an excellent choice.

Pros
  • It features the AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System that delivers five times the air power of the Roomba 600 series AeroVac systems.
  • It comes with tangle-free brushes that are great for picking up pet hair.
Cons
  • It isn’t a great cleaning option for big messes on high-pile carpets.
  • It’s one of the more expensive Roombas on the market.

Roomba 960 design

The black and silver circular design of the Roomba 960 allows it to get as close as possible to furniture and other objects without getting stuck on corners. A small handle is built into the top of the unit to make it easy to carry throughout your home. It also features an onboard camera and a few control buttons.

Some other important design features of the Roomba 960 include:

  • A Full Bin indicator—This indicator alerts you when it’s time to empty the bin. You can also view the status of your bin in the iRobot HOME App.
  • Cliff Detect sensors—These prevent your robot vacuum from falling down stairs.
  • An Edge-Sweeping brush—Specifically designed at a 27-degree angle, this brush sweeps debris away from edges and corners and into the path of the vacuum’s 3-stage cleaning system.

Vacuum assembly

The 960 basically comes out of the box ready to clean. It comes with a partial battery charge, but if you want a complete cleaning experience, charge the battery until it’s completely full (this usually takes around two to three hours).

How the Roomba 960 cleans

The Roomba 960 performs similarly to other Roomba models: it uses a three-stage cleaning process that loosens, lifts, and removes dirt and debris from floors. Aided with a spinning brush, debris extractors, and strong suction, this vacuum can tackle all types of messes. It has a general cleaning setting designed to clean an entire floor as well as a spot-cleaning setting to clean within a three-foot radius.

Two of its best features are its Smart Mapping and vSlam technology: with these additions, the Roomba 960 can navigate your home and keep track of everywhere it’s been and where it hasn’t cleaned yet.

The 960 also has a digital camera, which helps the vacuum map out the direction it should drive, and multiple sensors along the perimeter of the unit that track dirt and help the vacuum avoid obstacles. With this advanced cleaning method, the Roomba 960 is one of the most powerful robot vacuums we’ve tested.

Another advantage the Roomba 960 has over other Roomba models is the ability to clean using one of three modes:

  1. One-cleaning pass—In this mode, the Roomba makes a single pass over an area.
  2. Two-cleaning pass—On this setting, the Roomba double backs over already cleaned areas (this is especially useful in homes with pets).
  3. Automatic—With this mode, the Roomba will decide how many passes to make based on the size of the room. A smaller room will likely get two or more passes, while a larger room will get just one.

There’s also an edge clean feature that allows the robot clean along walls and furniture.

What to note about the Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 is ideal for people who may not physically be able to vacuum using a canister or upright vacuum. You can schedule cleaning sessions right from your phone, from the actual vacuum, or using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. The Roomba 960 even returns to the charging port on its own when it needs to recharge. The only physical maintenance you’ll need to keep up with is regularly emptying out the dust canister.

How big is the Roomba 960?

Dimension Measurement
Height 3.6 inches
Length 13.8 inches
Width 13.8 inches
Dust canister 0.08 gallons

Accessories included with the Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 comes with a dual-mode virtual wall barrier that you can set up anywhere in your home. This barrier creates an invisible line or a circle and prevents the Roomba from entering a specific area. This accessory is ideal for sectioning off rooms you don’t want the Roomba 960 to enter and preventing it from cleaning around specific objects, like a pet bowl or delicate vase. The 960 also comes with a charging station.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs. iRobot Roomba 890 vs. iRobot Roomba 980

iRobot offers a variety of Roomba models that deliver exceptional cleaning performance and make vacuuming a simple, hands-free experience. Here are three of the best Roombas on the market.

Dust bin capacity
Weight
Run time
Charge time
Accessories

iRobot Roomba 960

Dust bin capacity

0.08 gallons

Weight

8.5 pounds

Run time

75 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Dual-mode virtual wall barrier, charging station, cleaning tool, extra filter

iRobot Roomba 890

Dust bin capacity

0.2 gallons

Weight

8.4 pounds

Run time

60 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Dual-mode virtual wall barrier, charging station, cleaning tool, extra filter

iRobot Roomba 980

Dust bin capacity

0.8 gallons

Weight

8.7 pounds

Run time

120 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Two dual-mode virtual wall barriers, charging station, cleaning tool, extra filter

Looking for more Roomba reviews? Check out our Roomba comparisons below.

Cleaning tests

We performed three different tests that measured suction power, maneuverability, and mobility on hard floors, low-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet. For our suction tests, we used Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair.

Cleaning score: 9.67/10

Test 1—Suction test on hard floors

The Roomba 960 did extremely well on hard floors. To pick up our messes, we deployed the 960 on spot cleaning mode. The robot took off in a spiral route and picked up the Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair on the first pass. It took roughly seven minutes for the Roomba to remove all of the debris.

Test 2—Suction test on high-pile carpet

Once the Roomba 960 got onto the high-pile carpet (it struggled a little transitioning from hard floors), it was able to suction up all messes we laid out except for the coffee grounds. The Roomba 960 actually pushed the coffee grounds into the carpet instead of completely removing the substance. We ended up using another hand vac to pick up the remaining debris.  

Test 3—Suction test on low-pile carpet

When the Roomba 960 first came into contact with the Cheerios and kitty litter, it sprayed them across the carpet. However, when it went around again, it sucked up the substances without any hesitation. It picked up the coffee grounds and pet hair in one pass.

Maneuverability

For its circular design, the Roomba 960 easily maneuvers around and under furniture. During our suction tests, it would lightly tap surrounding furniture with its bumper and then rotate and try again until it was able to move forward in a clear path. Aside from getting caught on the corners of the high-pile carpet, the Roomba 960 appeared to have outstanding mobility on all surfaces.

Usability

Using this robot vacuum is incredibly easy. Remove the vacuum from its packaging and place it on the charger. Once the vacuum is charged, you can start a cleaning job by pushing the “CLEAN” button on the top of the vacuum’s interface or schedule it to clean through the iRobot HOME App. This app also allows you to schedule cleaning, monitor vacuum cleaning performance, and preset a schedule for your vacuum.

Another pro: You don’t have to worry about manually picking up the vacuum and connecting it to its charger—it automatically goes back to its base whenever its battery is low and is in need of a recharge.

Noise

The average noise level of a vacuum is between 78–80 decibels. The Roomba 960 produces a sound that is comparable to normal, indoor conversation, measuring in at around 65 decibels, making it one of the quietest robot vacuums we tested.

Roomba 960 maintenance

The Roomba 960 requires little maintenance. We recommend keeping a close eye on the dust bin, spinning brush, and debris extractors. Make sure the brushes are free of tangles and that the dust bin never gets too full—this could affect cleaning performance.

To empty the vacuum, simply remove the bin, open the plastic barrier, and dump the contents into a trash bin. Fortunately, this Roomba’s dust bin is designed with no-touch emptying in mind, so you won’t have to touch any debris during the emptying process.

iRobot recommends replacing these accessories as follows:

  • HEPA filter—2 months
  • Spinning brush—6 months
  • Front wheel—12 months
  • Debris extractor—12–24 months
  • Battery—18–36 months

Filtration

The Roomba 960 has an AeroForce filter that should be replaced every two months for optimal filtration. Here’s how to replace a Roomba 960 filter:

  1. Press the large button located closest to you on the Roomba interface and remove the dust bin.
  2. With the dust bin completely detached, press the yellow tab on the right and remove the red plastic cover to access the filter.
  3. Pull on the yellow ribbon to remove the used filter and insert a new filter into the slot.
Looking for more Roomba reviews? Check out the best Roombas on the market.

Is the Roomba 960 a good value?

In our opinion, this is the best Roomba for those who are looking for a newer Roomba vacuum but don’t want to pay for the most expensive and newest model. It performs similarly to the Roomba 980 but is much more affordable. Though it has a shorter battery life, its cleaning performance, updated technology, maneuverability, and sleek design make it a top vacuum choice.

Who should buy the Roomba 960?

We recommend the Roomba 960 if you’re looking for the following:

  • A robot vacuum with advanced cleaning technology—More advanced than the Roomba 690, this robot vacuum features specialized mapping and an onboard camera and multiple sensors to detect dirt and avoid furniture and other obstacles.
  • The convenience of automatic cleaning—Thanks to the iRobot HOME App, you can control the vacuum anytime, anywhere. Schedule it to clean at the beginning of each week or command it to start using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Roomba 960 specifications

Below is a list of the most important iRobot Roomba 960 specifications.

Specifications
Type Robot
Manufacturer iRobot
Model Roomba 960
Length 13.8 inches
Width 13.8 inches
Height 3.6 inches
Weight 8.5 pounds
Floor type All floors
Dust bin capacity 0.08 gallons
Cordless or corded Cordless
Bagless Yes
Warranty 1-year limited

Consumer ratings

See how other sites rate the Roomba 960.

Source Consumer rating Number of ratings
Amazon 4.3 stars out of 5 161
Bed Bath & Beyond 4.5 stars out of 5 1,696
Walmart 4.5 stars out of 5 1,561
Best Buy 4.6 stars out of 5 944
Sylvane 5 stars out of 5 1

Customer reviews

I love my Roomba—it works fabulously. It cleans mostly hardwood floors and a cowhide carpet and sucks up cat fur like no one’s business. I’ve had it for almost a year now and I absolutely can’t live without it. My house has never been cleaner. I can’t believe I waited so long to get one. I’m amazed by the amount of dust and lint and fur this thing picks up on a daily basis. The only con I have is that it can get stuck depending on the structure of your floor. I have lighthouse barriers on either side of my kitchen because Roomba can’t navigate the high floor lip transition from hardwood to tile and gets stuck, so the kitchen has to be cleaned separately.” — Amazon review

“I have two dogs at home—two large dogs, one of them with a long coat. I also have a cleaning freak husband. Basically, this Roomba has made possible the coexistence in this house. It cleans the whole house in one sweep, takes 1 hour and it does a perfect job (even on rugs). I’m amazed by the amount of dirt that gets in the house. Btw, the dogs seem ok with it (this was one of my biggest concerns). They just ignore it.” — Amazon review

Buy the Roomba 960

Frequently asked questions

How does the Roomba 960 work?

The Roomba 960 uses five times the air power (compared to the Roomba 600 series) for a deeper clean. As it cleans, it keeps track of its location and recharges as needed until the cleaning job is done.

How long does it take to charge the Roomba 960?

It takes approximately two hours to fully charge this Roomba.

Can you wash Roomba filters?

Yes. Wash the filters with cold water and let them air dry for 24 hours. Do not put the filters back in the Roomba until they’re completely dry—putting them back before they’re completely dry can permanently damage your robotic vacuum.

About the author

Kealia is a staff writer and social media coordinator for House Method. She writes for a variety of beats, including home inspiration (her favorite), real estate, and home wellness.


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