Roomba 960 VS 980 – Robot Vacuum Comparison Guide in 2022

Roomba 960 vs 980Roomba 960 vs 980? Which one to take, which mighty robotic vacuuming alternate from Roomba should have the privileges of vacuuming your room? I have been facing the question for quite a long time. So I thought let’s write something about it.

Roomba 960 is like a predecessor of Roomba 980. That means Roomba 980 possesses all the features of Roomba 960 within it and something more. Now, about the answer to your quest, of all of you, I know why you people are here. Does Roomba 980 really worth the extra bucks? Do you really need the advanced conveniences that are offered by the 980 for about two hundred more? To reveal that, delve into below

QUICK SUGGESTION: GET Roomba 960 fast if the sky is NOT the limit for you and you won’t mind having a bit less with a cheaper price. But if you want to unlock robotic vacuuming technology’s full potential with great monetary value, Roomba 980 is the best – whenever you bring some other robotic vacuum cleaner into attention. Check the price of both here

iRobot™ Roomba 960 vs 980: An in-depth comparison guide

Before going into elaborated comparison, let’s quickly have a glance over the acute differences between Roomba 960 and 980 that make both of them differently unique.

Which’ll suit you the most iRobot 980 or 960?

Before going into a detailed discussion, l think you should know how this article will be advancing to dissolve the issue. There are some extra criteria that should be into consideration apart from basic vacuum cleaning features like how efficiently it cleans or how powerful suction it can manage.

When it is a robotic vacuum cleaner, one must have to determine its’ other expertise.
For example, one should closely look on to its battery life and most importantly its smartness; how smartly it roams. How preciously it move towards the dirty places and clean them through. To ordain these issues, I have laid bare some facts like the mobile app, learning capability, detecting the cliff or precipice etc. that are straightly related. I will take both Roomba 960 and 980, compare them and bring out how they do in the same context apparently under Smartness sectionQUICKLY JUMP ON TO THAT SECTION

Core Differences in iRobot Roomba (960/980) Models

# An updated and more powerful motor is housed within the Roomba 980, whereas the Roomba 960 have the same motor that is used in Roomba 800 series built into it.

# A Roomba 960 is packaged with only one Virtual Wall Barrier, where 980 comes with two. Anyway, if this is your only concern for which you are considering getting a 980 spending about more $200, I’ll be happy to let you know that these are sold separately on Amazon. Check those here. Happy shopping. Do not really know what a virtual wall barrier does? Refer to Here

# For those who have a carpeted floor, Roomba 960 does not have carpet boost mode, while 980 have.

# With all the additions, Roomba 980 is likely to back the machine up for a lesser amount of time, but it is not. It rather has an extended battery life of about 45 minutes than the Roomba 960. Impressive! Isn’t it? A must-have for the big house owner elites.

# Suction is another important thing to feature. The Roomba 960 possesses almost half suction power than the Roomba 980.

# You have already known about the price difference between these two.

Similarities (980 and 960)

Now before we get right into a detailed and comprehensive comparison between these two, let’s watch what similarities they share.

  1. Both have Li-ion type of battery, the capacity is not identical though.
  2. Both have navigation system of what they called iAdapt 2
  3. Both have identical sensors. And these are optical and acoustic.
  4. Both are capable of detecting cliff, otherwise, why are they robotic vacuums?
  5. Brushless Rollers, both of them.
  6. Both come with an extra replacement filter.
  7. Both are equipped with What they call ‘Tangle-free Dual Multi-Surface Brushes’, ‘Edge-sweeping brush’ and ‘Advanced Dirt Detect’. However, the name clearly expresses what they do.
  8. Along with these two, all Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners are well capable of automatically recharging itself. But the only 960 and 980 models can recharge and resume.

All similarities and differences at a glance,

Roomba 980 Roomba 960
Battery Li-Ion Li-Ion
Battery Life 120 minutes 75 minutes
Cliff Detection Yes Yes
Carpet Boost Tech Yes NO
Accessories 2 virtual wall barriers 1 virtual wall barrier
Roller Type Brushless Brushless
Filters 1 extra filter 1 extra filter

Before jumping right into the detailed comparison, let’s see what the sellers have to say about the Roomba 980 and 960.

Detailed Comparison

Those who are waiting for this comprehensive comparison, waiting is over, winter has come. Refer below. I have divided this part of the article into three parts. These are

  • Basic cleaning
  • Smartness
  • Miscellaneous features

Let’s evaluate how these two perform regarding Basic Cleaning.

Basic cleaning (Roomba 960 vs 980)

01. Performance on Hardwood Floors

Comparatively, picking up dirt from the hard surface is much easier than other surfaces like carpeted or so. So here in this regard, both Roomba 960 and 980 both will do massively well. Maybe 980 perform well than the 960 here. But we might have to use a very precise meter to evaluate that.

I am not saying that Roomba 980 and 960 are all the same picking up dirt from hardwood floors, the fact is, I myself didn’t find anything extra while cleaning with the Roomba 980. Both did exceptionally well.

02. Performance on Carpeted surface


If someone here is with the intention of revealing the fact that the Roomba 980 will blow the 960 away, maybe I have been failing you. Anyway, wait no more, your desired part of the article has arrived.

Carpets are hard to deal, for every vacuum cleaner. And this is the sector, where pricey vacuums shine. And for Roomba 980? It does massively well than any other robotic vacuum, not only the Roomba 960.

Carpets hold debris and dust way more than any other surface, so it is required to gear up the suction power whenever a vacuum cleaner is inclined to suck up those dust and debris.

The Roomba 980 has a feature named Carpet Boost Technology which Roomba 960 does not have. The name says it all.  Carpet Boost Technology enables the Roomba 980 to sense carpets and crank the suction power all the way up, to dig out the hardest to find dirt.

Anyway, did you notice the term “sense” I used up above?

I usually am not impressed with the marketing term the manufacturers use like ‘dig out the hardest to find dirt’ etc. Actually, dust is bound to be left on a carpeted surface, even if it is a tiny one – it must be there. No matter how powerful the suction power is, you must have to vacuum the place twice if you want to completely clean the place. What impresses me the most, is the capability of sensing the carpet.

You do not have to turn on the ‘Carpet Boost Mode’ manually and say to your Roomba 980 that “Go roam, clean everything.” It automatically senses whenever it encounters a carpeted surface, turn on the carpet boost mode all by itself and cleans!!!

It’s not like that the Roomba 960 will perform poorly on a carpeted area, but in terms of efficiency and efficacy, Roomba 980 blows away the Roomba 960 here. If you own a house mostly wrapped up with carpets and you are considering a robotic vacuum cleaner to purchase, grab the Roomba 980!!

03. Basic Suction Power Comparison

Remember me talking about a very precise meter to check the cleaning power of any vacuum cleaner? Well, Roomba iRobot authority may have come up with such a meter that is capable of determining the differences in this regard. According to iRobot official website, a Roomba 980 has 10x AeroForce system while the Roomba 960 have only 5x AeroForce system.


04. Edge cleaning efficiency

Since the main iRobot is of a round shape, it necessitates the engineers to design its algorithm especially, whenever it comes to clean horizontal edges where floor and wall converge. All iRobot models have a spinning brush set at a side. What does the brush do? The brush continuously spinning and fetch those hard to reach dust remaining at the corner of the room.

All iRobot models are designed as such. So, Roomba 980 and 960, both serve same.

Smartness (Roomba 980 VS 960)

01. Connectivity (Wifi and iRobot Home App)

roobma smartphone wifi application

Drown into an immersive experience here. An application for remotely handling your Roomba iRobot is available for both Android and iOS. You can go ahead and set your cleaning preferences or manually order your iRobot to start cleaning within the app.

Now, to compare the Roomba 960 and 980 in this aspect, they are completely identical. The Same app is used to handle both Roomba models.


02. Learning the Orientation of the Room


Ever wonder how robotic vacuum cleaners clean your room all alone and all by itself? Well, there are some sensors that are built into the main vacuum cleaning unit.

Normal robotic vacuum cleaners are equipped with some basic sensors like mechanical bumpers and proximity sensors to sense close objects.

Another sensor is placed below the main robotic vacuum cleaner unit that senses the cliffs and prevents the vacuum cleaner from falling off. There are some other minor sensors existing but those are not of much importance.

What are the main attractions here?

The main attraction here is the extra sensors that are not available on other robotic vacuums, not even in the lower series from Roomba except these two robotic vacuum model, Roomba 960 and Roomba 980. An onboard camera and a tracker that detect which area is cleaned not long before. The camera creates an image of all the objects situating in the room. This helps the vacuum cleaner unit to create a map of the room within itself.

And the tracker prevents it from vacuuming recently cleaning places over again. It helps to vacuum the places where vacuuming is needed the most than other places.

Where every other robotic vacuum cleaner only follows a pre-set pattern to clean your rooms, Both Roomba 960 and 980 will create a map of the rooms and go clean the dirtiest places first. And hey, if you want a certain area of your house to be exceptionally cleaned, you can fix that using the mobile iRobot app and tell your robotic vacuum cleaner to clean a specific area more frequently.

So in term of comparing the Roomba 980 and Roomba 960, both are identical and possesses the same awesomeness here, but if you take both of them in one hand and all other robotic vacuum cleaners in other, these two are clearly ahead of every other robotic vacuum cleaner.

03. Detecting Capability of Variable Objects

You have been known already that both Roomba 980 and 960 creates a map of your whole domicile within itself. But what about the objects that are put in the room at a later time? That is not included in that map? It uses its basic impediment detector sensor and determines those objects. It goes around the object without a collision.

Anyway, we’d love to see the robot to pick those objects, say a school bag or a shoebox and clean under it, but I am afraid it is too much to ask from a robotic vacuum cleaner. We’d love to see such feature in near future, but not now. And yes, if you want to consider the performance of Roomba 980 vs 960 here, both are great.


04. Cliff detection

You are apprised before that robotic vacuum cleaners have a sensor under it that detects cliffs. Actually, it is a very basic feature of a robotic vacuum cleaner. But I thought I touch this aspect in this article anyway. Both will do great detecting cliff. Won’t fall off a single time. You cannot sue me for not telling anything about cliff detection here in this very article, it is here.


05. Multiple Room Cleaning Capability

There is no specific room or area limitations. Both Roomba 960 and 980 have recharge and resume facility. If you want your Roomba to clean your entire house at once, it will start navigating the whole floor and clean. The recharge and resume capability will facilitate here. If the Roomba is run out of juice, it will go to the charging station by itself, recharge itself – all by itself and then come back to the place where it left cleaning.

Lower Roomba models do not have ‘recharge and resume’ facility. Both Roomba 960 and 980 are capable of that.


This ‘Anti-tangle technology’ holds bigger importance, that’s why it is especially highlighted

06. Antitangle technology

All Roomba iRobot robotic vacuum cleaners are equipped with this tech. It prevents the main vacuum unit from swallowing any loose cords or loose thick fabric. Anyway, I still do not prefer to set it loose where electrified loose cords are there. But in terms of different types of shag carpet, you can turn your iRobot on and be tension-free.

All Roomba iRobot are equipped with this feature. Here’s a short video visualizing that how the technology works.


Miscellaneous features (iRobot Roomba 960 vs 980)


Battery information at a glance,

Roomba 960 Roomba 980
Battery Type Li-Ion Li-Ion
mAh 2130 3000
Approx. Battery Life 75 minutes 120 minutes

There are not so many meaningful and devastating differences between these two, Roomba 980 vs 960. But here, regarding the battery life, Roomba 980 is clearly ahead of Roomba 960. Roomba 980 will serve about 45 minutes more than the 960. Extensive battery life means more spaces to cover at one go.

Recharge and Resume

Told about this feature above. I’m sure you are well aware of this feature by now. Anyway, it is a superb feature to discuss and I thought I better pure it into this article with its own sub-point. Recharge and Resume is one of the most convenient features that a robotic vacuum offers. If you can schedule cleaning time properly, you can forget the fact that you own a robotic vacuum cleaner. It will recharge itself all by itself, even if it is undergoing with a cleaning season.

And to compare the Roomba 960 and 980, no reason to be delighted if you are a 980 fan, both 960 and 980 have this feature built-in within it.


Let’s have a look what are inside with packaging of the both.

Roomba 960 comes with,

  • Main 960 unit
  • Charging unit
  • A dual mode virtual wall barrier
  • An extra side brush
  • An extra filter
  • Warranty and documentation

Roomba 980 comes with,

  • Main 980 unit
  • Charging unit
  • Two dual mode virtual wall barrier
  • An extra side brush
  • An extra filter
  • Warranty and documentation

Now, it’s about time I should say a word or two about the virtual wall barrier. A virtual wall is an invisible blockage or barrier which prevents the main Roomba unit to roam certain areas to be brief.

Now, what does a dual mode virtual wall barrier refers to? It denotes to the virtual wall barrier which is capable of serving two applications. One is known as ‘Auto mode’ and the other is ‘Manual mode’.

Auto mode: When the auto mode is turned on, the virtual wall will remain activated as long as it is turned on. Be free and calm without tensioning about whether that robot goes ruin your workplace where all wires and stuff are laid all over the place.

Manual mode: It refers that mode where the barrier will be turned on for a specific period of time of 135 minutes. Turn on the manual mode, turn on your iRobot, then set back and relax. Your Roomba will take care of all the dirt and dust without messing up with your things.


N: B: Worried about the battery life of the virtual barrier? I know that you are thinking about it. Let me make things clear here, a virtual wall barrier needs two type “C” Alkaline batteries. Pretty neat, right? When in auto mode, the power indicator light will be blinking every 8 seconds. It will indicate a low battery level by continuously blinking twice.
When in manual mode, if this occurrence crosses your path that it isn’t shut off yet automatically but the battery level is low – the power indicator will blink in green, which means you need to change the batteries soon. In ‘auto mode’ with two “C” alkaline batteries installed – it will last for about six months. You can assume the battery life when in manual mode

That is all to be said about virtual wall barriers for now. If want to explore more features of a virtual wall barrier, get one! 


Credit: Check how a virtual wall barrier works

Speaking of virtual wall barriers, you might already know that you’ll get two ‘virtual wall barriers’ with a Roomba 980. Furthermore, If you live in a big house and there are more than two places to be restricted from your 980 – you can purchase a Roomba 980 with an extra virtual wall barrier. Check price via below link.

Shop now at


Who am I to conclude everything? It’s up to you, to determine which suites you the most, which is built for you. All I know is technology and home appliances are there to make our life easier, not arduous. Both Roomba iRobot is a perfect choice pertaining to this vision. With their recharge and resume, virtual wall barrier, different detecting capability and lastly, the anti-tangle tech is a life savior. You know what I am talking about if you ever go through the hassle of detaching fabrics or hair from your vacuum cleaner’s rotating brush.

To finish off, if you still want suggestion from me to apprehend which will be the best for you,

  • Those who have relatively small home, less carpeted surface, less dirt production and do not need sudden cleansing of your home, go for the Roomba 960
  • Those who have relatively large house, mostly carpeted; and people visit you often thus very often you are in need of sudden cleansing of your home, go for the Roomba 980

Thank you for being with me all along. Comment below if you have any suggestions on the article!

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