iRobot Roomba 980 vs 960 Wi-Fi Connected Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Review)
Roomba 980 and 960 are so far the best robotic Roomba vacuum cleaners on the market. Both are Wi-fi enabled -so you can control them via a mobile app as you take care of other things in the house.
Robotic vacuum cleaners are better than hand-held vacuum cleaners but they come at a price. In this article we shall look at the differences between Roomba 980 & 960 and also look at the similarities between both models.
(1) 980 has a carpet boost function which makes the robot stronger & effective on carpets, (2) It is 10x more powerful than 960, (3) It has a very good battery life – 120 minutes yet that of 960 lasts for 75 minutes before recharge, (4) It is powered by a brand new generation motor thus making it stronger & more effective.
COMPARISON BETWEEN 980 & 960 ”CHART”
Brief side by side comparison between 980 & 960
|Roomba 980||Roomba 960|
|Patented 3-Stage Cleaning||10x the power||5x the power|
|Run Time (battery life)||120 min.||75 min|
|Wi-Fi Connected||Enhanced app||Enhanced app|
|Recharge and Resume||Yes||Yes|
|Custom Cleaning Preferences||Yes||Yes|
|Deeper Cleaning on Carpets||Yes||No|
|Navigation||iAdapt 2||iAdapt 2|
|Sensors||Optical + Acoustic||Optical + Acoustic|
|Carpet Boost Technology||Yes||No|
|Accessories||2 Virtual Wall Barriers||1 Virtual Wall Barriers|
|Filters||1 Extra Replacement Filter||1 Extra Replacement Filter|
|Battery type||Lithium Ion||Lithium Ion|
|Check price on Amazon||Check price on Amazon|
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ROOMBA 980 & 960
- Roomba 980 is 10x more powerful than 960.Its AeroForce cleaning system has a Carpet Boost technology which produces more suction power (10x air power) which deep cleans carpets and rugs effectively. 960 cleans all types of floors including thin carpets but it does not do well on heavy thick carpets.
- Roomba 980’s battery lasts for 120 minutes yet that of 960 lasts for 75 minutes.
- The 980 comes with 2 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers yet 960 comes with 1 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier
- The 980 comes with a brand new generation motor (stronger and effective), whereas the 960 features an ordinary motor as that of the 800’s series
- The 980 is quite expensive compared to 960 – this makes 960 an ideal model for people with limited budgets.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ROOMBA 980 & 960
- Both 980 & 960 are Wi-fi enabled – this means you can control them via a mobile application.
- 980 & 960 use the same battery type which is Lithium Ion
- Both 960 and 980 have an optical + Acoustic sensor which prevents them from crashing into objects.
- They have a cliff detection technology which prevents them from falling over cliffs in the house.
- 960 and 980 can automatically recharge and resume with cleaning the entire house.
- Both 960 & 980 robots have a multi-room coverage feature (iAdapt 2.0 Navigation) – this one helps the Roomba(s) seamlessly and effectively navigate the whole room thus leave no dirt / dust behind.
- Both models clean all floor types. They automatically adjust their cleaning system when the floor changes.
- They come with a virtual wall barrier which commands them to clean specific rooms and stay out of particular rooms (like bathroom). You can as well use the Halo mode to keep 980 & 960 away from items you treasure most.
- Can be controlled by voice using Alexs – Amazon Echo. All you have to talk to Alexa to start the robot (this is quite an amazing feature – hope it does not make you lazy)
- Both are ideal for homes with pets. Their tangle-free brushes can deal with pet hair easily. The HEPA filters can capture 99% of all allergens, pollen and all small particles.
Below is a video from iRobot showing how Roomba 980 & 960 see your home. It is quite an amazing view.
Use contents box below to jump to any section of your choice in this detailed review:
PERFORMANCE COMPARISON BETWEEN ROOMBA 980 & 960:
Both models (980 & 960) are Wi-fi enabled. This means you can connect them on your home network and pair them with iRobot HOME App thus giving you the freedom of cleaning your home remotely. You can easily customize the functionality of these Roombas basing on your cleaning needs. The mobile application is available on iOS and Android.
What you can do with iRobot Home App?
- Set cleaning schedules from anywhere using iRobot HOME App. Customize the robots to clean your home at 10:00am when kids have gone to school or late in the night when everyone is sleeping. You don’t have to worry about battery life – both models can automatically go back to a charging station and get off once full and resume with the cleaning tusk.
- You can as well customize how they clean, by choosing from 1 or 2 passes, final edge cleaning, use Carpet Boost feature once the Robot gets to a dirty carpet which needs deep cleaning. (NOTE: Carpet Boost function is only applicable on Roomba 980)
- You can also view clean map reports via the iRobot HOME App. The maps will include both finished & non finished areas.
Bottom line:- Since both 980 & 960 are Wi-fi enabled, we have got no winner here….so let go to the 2nd function below.
Both Roomba 980 and 960 are strong and effective; actually some users have failed to see the actual difference between these two models when it comes to cleaning.
Why? Because when you give Roomba 980 and 960 the same cleaning tusk, results are supposed to be the same – simply because they are tailored to clean thoroughly.
The Difference – Roomba 980 is equipped with a Carpet Boost technology which makes it 10x more powerful and effective when it gets to cleaning very dirty carpets and rugs. Its AeroForce cleaning system & Carpet Boost function provide up to 10x air power which increases the performance of the Gen 3 motor on carpets and rugs, thus living them extremely clean. Roomba 960 lucks this technology so it is only 5x powerful – its 3 stage cleaning system can loosen, lift and suction dirt with-up to 5x more powerful than Roomba 700 & 650 but not 980.
Bottom line – For thorough cleaning, I would go with 980. But for regular everyday cleaning, Roomba 960 would be okay (that is if you don’t have kids and hairy pets who play on carpets )
Home with Pets:
Majority of people in USA & UK leave with their pets in the house; but it’s quite difficult to get rid of pet hair both on the floor and the carpet. With a robotic vacuum cleaner like 980 & 960, you won’t have to be bothered by pet hair either on the hard floor or carpet. Both models have tangle-free brushes that handle pet hair with ease. The design of these brushes reduces hair tangles. If you’re allergic to pet hair, both 980 & 960 will capture 99% of allergens and very small particles thus leave your room purely clean.
Bottom line: – Which model deals with Pet Hair better? We have seen that Roomba 980 has a Carpet Boost feature which increases the performance of the Gen 3 Motor on carpets and rugs. This means 980 will remove more pet hair from a carpet & rug than 960. So I give all credits to Roomba 980.
Understanding your Home Layout:
Both Roomba 980 and 960 have a full suite of sensors and iAdapt 2.0 Navigation technology which helps them seamlessly navigate the entire level on your home without bumping into any object. Their 3.6 low profile design makes it easy for the Roombas to vacuum where dirt and dust hide. The round shape makes it easy for the robots to navigate around furniture and under sofas.
Bottom line: Since both models have very effective sensors and iAdapt 2.0 Navigation technology to map out your home – we have no overall winner here – it is a draw-draw.
Both models use tangle free roller brushes to beat and shake dirt on the floor & carpets. All collected dust is sent to the path of the suction without affecting the cleaning power. Since both models don’t use rolling brushes like those in upright vacuum cleaners – it’s very easy to maintain them.
Bottom line:- I will give both models the same rating when it comes to maintenance – simply because they use the same vacuuming technology.
Cleaning around objects
All robotic vacuum cleaners can navigate around objects on the ground – it does not matter which model you are willing to buy. By default, their sensors can detect objects and command the robot to move around the object, pick dirt and move onto other areas. But one thing that I have noticed with Roomba vacuums and other models I have tested in the past – none of them can clean areas they can’t reach which is pretty reasonable judging from its round shape – so you might need to have a hand held vacuum cleaner to clean such hard-to-reach areas.
When using Roomba 980 & 960, you don’t have to clear the floor. However, it is advisable to remove clutter which might seem hard to clean. This is a robot not a human being.
Bottom line:- Both models can navigate around objects in your room – so I give them the same rating for this.
Cleaning Edges and Corners:
Both models can clean on the edges of walls and corners in your room (places where dirt hides most). However, robotic vacuum cleaners are not very effective when it comes to vacuuming stairs – so if you have stairs, you might need an uplift vacuum cleaner. Roomba 980 & 960 use tangle free brushes to pull dust from wall edges & corners.
Bottom line:- For effective results, please remove objects from wall edges and corners.
If your floor has cliffs, both models are in position to detect cliffs on the floor. They use sensors to detect a change in floor structure thus avoid cliffs when they get close to them. This prevents the robots from jumping over cliffs which might result into damage.
I like this feature because it saves you from monitoring the robot when its doing its job.
Bottom line:- All robotic vacuums made by iRobot have this feature – so 980 & 960 are not exceptional.
Carpet Boost Technology:
The way a robotic vacuum cleaner performs on a hard floor is not the same way it performs while on a carpet. Sometimes carpets hide lots of dirt which you can’t see easily. For those with pets in the house, you will agree with me that vacuuming pet hair thoroughly from a carpert is not easy.
All that in mind, Roomba 980 comes with a Carpet Boost Technology which increases the speed of the New Gen 3 motor thus powering the motor 10x more – making it easy to deep clean a carpet. This is the only meaningful feature that makes Roomba 980 different from 960 & worth the price.
When Roomba 980 senses a carpet ahead of it, it automatically switches on a carpet boost – which speeds up the motor thus increasing suction power.
Bottom line:- Once again 980 outshines 960 – it takes all credit.
As stated in our product comparison chart between Roomba 980 & 960 – battery life for 980 is 2 hours (120 minutes) yet that of 960 is 1.2 hours (75 minutes). So if you have a big house or large room, 960 will go back to its charging station many times more than 980 – this means 960 cleans for a longer period of time as compared to 980.
Bottom line:- 980 still wins in this area and 960 loses the battle once again.
Recharge and Resume:
Since both models can hold power for a limited period of time. They have been programmed to go back to a recharge station, charge their batteries (this mid-session recharge lasts for 90 minutes – so if the job is not fully done, the robot will go back to the charging dock), automatically get off the charge station and resume with the cleaning process without any supervision.
Bottom line:- Both models have this feature.
Both Roomba 980 & 960 can clean up to 3 rooms on the same level. As long as the robot is fully charged, it will move from room – room and from surface to surface without losing suction power. If it detects that they battery level is low and the tusk is still on – it will run very fast to its charging dock – get a quick charge which can take it for 90 minutes of non stop vacuuming.
Bottom line:- Both models can move from room to room.
From Tiles – Carpets – Hardwood:
Both 980 and 960 do a great job when it comes to hard surfaces like tiles, laminated floors and hardwood. Also when it comes to vacuuming carpets, 980 & 960 can do a great job though 980 does a better job when it comes to deep carpet vacuuming (this is due to its Carpert Boost Technology).
With any of these two models, you will find it very inconveniencing to use an upright vacuum cleaner. Actually, you get spoiled and lazy. Because 980 & 960 can do everything without need for monitoring. However, you might need to mop your floor once a week with a steam mop.
Roomba 980 comes with the following accessories:- 2 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers (4 AA Batteries Included), 1 Extra Filter, 1 Extra Side Brush, Home Base Charging Station, Line Cord and Owner’s Guide.
Roomba 960 comes with the following accessories:- 1 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier, 1 Extra Filter, 1 Extra Side Brush, Home Base Charging Station, Line Cord and Owner’s Guide.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT ROOMBA 980?
- Top of the range Roomba on the market (best roomba robotic vacuum cleaner)
- It has a longer battery life (2 hours) better than that of 960 (1.2 hours)
- It comes with 2 Virtual Wall Barriers which make it very effective when cleaning a busy room. You save $49.99 on each barrier.
- Voice controlled using Alexa and other related voice controlling technologies. All you have to do is to connect it to your Alexa and tell it to start cleaning.
- Very easy to maintain
- Tangle free brushes
- Vacuums carpets deeply more than 960 (due to its Carpet Boost Technology)
- 10x more powerful than 960 and related models
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT ROOMBA 960
- Affordable and effective. You don’t have to own 980 to have a clean room. 960 can do the same job, may the difference can be on very dirty carpets. Roomba 980 has a carpet booster technology which makes it faster & powerful on dirty carpets.
- Easy to maintain
- For larger rooms: We recommend getting Roomba 980 (Check price on Amazon). It has a longer battery life (2 hours),2 Virtuall Wall Barriers & a Carpet boost function which ensures no dirt is left on carpets & rugs.
- If you have a small / medium sized room: We recommend getting Roomba 960 (Check price on Amazon). It is more affordable than 980 and the difference between these two models is quite small. Results are almost the same.
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