- 1 Roomba 960 Review – Everything you need to know about iRobot’s latest model
- 2 Roomba 960 Review – New features
- 3 Roomba 960 vs 980
- 4 Pros
- 5 Cons
- 6 Roomba 960 Alternatives
- 7 Conclusion
Roomba 960 Review – Everything you need to know about iRobot’s latest model
I’m seriously impressed by the effort that iRobot is making to release new consumer products at better prices this year. Earlier this year, we got the Roomba 860, which features the newest cleaning system at a very low price. The trend continues with the Roomba 960. With the 960 we get entire level cleaning and a smartphone app!
For a long time, I’ve been wishing that iRobot would release a Roomba with a smart home connected app, like the Roomba 980, but at a lower price. Have my dreams come true? Read on to my review to find out.
Looking at the comparison chart below, It’s easy to see that the Roomba 960 can hang with the 980, and easily outperforms the earlier Roomba 860 and Roomba 880. I didn’t include the Roomba 650 in the chart because the 800-900 series is in an entirely different class of machines.
|Roomba 860||Roomba 880||Roomba 960||Roomba 980|
|Brushless (Aeroforce) debris extractors||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion||NiMH||Lithium Ion||Lithium Ion|
|Custom Cleaning Preferences||✔||✔|
|Power over earlier models||5x||5x||5x||10x|
|Entire Level Cleaning||✔||✔|
As you can see, this new Roomba whoops the pants off of anything in the 800 series, and can hang with the 980 in terms of it’s feature set. It’s also $200 cheaper, putting it at a midway point price between the 860 and 980. iRobot has been steadily dropping the prices of the entire Roomba line of vacuums which is great news for all of us looking to buy a Roomba. It appears as if iRobot is looking for repeat customers who are looking to upgrade from older Roomba models.
Is it worth the upgrade from the 800 series? My opinion is yes… Especially if you have an older Roomba model like the 600 series or the 880, you’re going to love this as an upgrade. You get entire level cleaning and a smart phone app. Along with the app, you get custom cleaning preferences like the Roomba 980. Another big reason to upgrade is that this new Roomba model also comes with Recharge and Resume. The Roomba remembers where it was in it’s cleaning cycle, goes to it’s charging station, and upon a successful recharge, will go right back to cleaning where it left off. How neat is that? Recently, we also looked at the Roomba 890, and the Roomba 960 is much better than that vacuum as well. Read our Roomba 890 Review for more information.
Roomba 960 Review – New features
The Roomba 980 is packed with features, as you’ll read about in this review. iRobot has added most of the features from the Roomba 980, but at a much lower price. Like the 800 series, the Roomba 960’s AeroForce cleaning system delivers 5x the power as the earlier 600 and 700 series models of Roomba. This is nothing new, but it’s notable that the cleaning system has not changed.
The newest features that are present in the Roomba 960 are:
- iRobot HOME app
- Custom Cleaning Preferences
- Recharge and Resume
- Entire Level Cleaning
In my opinion, the 2 most compelling new features over the 800 series are Recharge and Resume and the Smart Phone app. We all want apps to control everything, and that’s because it’s so convenient to just pull out your phone and tweak a cleaning schedule, start, or stop your Roomba. Recharge and Resume is a great “hands off” cleaning feature that is much appreciated as well. I would have liked to see carpet boost, but this feature is unique to the Roomba 980 cleaning system and I imagine that iRobot has to leave some compelling reasons to purchase the higher priced 980 model.
Roomba 960 vs 980
The Roomba 960 is a great robotic vacuum but the Roomba 980 is still what I would consider the top of the line of Roomba models. This review of the Roomba 960 shows that while iRobot added a bunch of features to the Roomba 960 that are in the Roomba 980, the Roomba 980 is still the better robot.
For this part of the review, I’m going to isolate the features that are common to the 900 series Roomba and tell you the similarities and differences between the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980
Entire Level Cleaning
Both the 960 and 980 have the “Entire Level Cleaning” feature. This is an improvement over the earlier models in that the best of the 800 series can only clean up to 3 rooms. The difference between the 960 and the 980 is that the Roomba 960 has a shorter runtime – 75 minutes on a full charge vs. the Roomba 980’s 120 minute runtime. The battery in the 980 has higher capacity and can run for longer, making the total cleaning time shorter, since it won’t have to recharge as often.
Recharge and Resume
Like the Roomba 980, the Roomba 960 has the recharge and resume feature. Since the runtime is shorter on the Roomba 960 compared to the Roomba 980, it’s a good thing to have, as it will be charging more often.
iRobot HOME app
The app for the 960 is similar to the 980 app in that it allows you to schedule cleanings and control your Roomba from your smart phone.
The cleaning system in the Roomba 980 is just… Better. The 960’s system works just fine, similar to the 800 series in that it delivers 5x more power than the earlier 600/700 series Roomba. The 980’s cleaning system delivers a whopping 10x more suction than the earlier mentioned models, and it clearly is the best that iRobot has to offer.
The 960 is also missing the carpet boost feature, which is unique to the Roomba 980. The 980 model will increase it’s power dynamically as it detects that it’s on carpet for a better clean. If you have very hair pets, or your carpets get dirty more often than a usual carpet, then the carpet boost feature is a nice thing to have.
The price. The Smartphone App. Recharge and Resume. Entire Level Cleaning. This is seriously the Roomba model I’ve been waiting for at the perfect price. Instead of only incremental improvements over earlier models, iRobot decided to pull no punches with this Roomba. It’s a great price and has almost ALL of the features I’ve been wanting in a lower priced Roomba.
The only negative things I can say about the Roomba 960 is that it still has the 800 series cleaning system, which is not a bad thing, really… It’s just not the powerhouse that the Roomba 980 is.
It would have been nice to see carpet boost and a higher capacity battery added to the Roomba 960, but I can understand that iRobot would want to save something for their top model, the 980.
Roomba 960 Alternatives
I LOVE the Roomba 960, but in the spirit of fairness I’m going to offer a couple of alternatives to the Roomba 960.
The obvious first choice would be Roomba 980. It’s higher priced, but has a few compelling features that set it apart.
Another alternative to the 960 is the Neato Botvac Connected. The price point is about the same, and I can’t recommend it over the Roomba 960, as it’s navigation system is not as good. It is a viable alternative though, if you’re not a fan of the Roomba 960.
If you’re looking for a good Robotic Vacuum but don’t care about entire level cleaning or a smart phone app, the Roomba 880 is what you want:
The Roomba 960 is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. I’m really excited about it, and would not hesitate to buy it. It’s got most of the features of the Roomba 980 at a much lower price.
If you’re looking to upgrade from an earlier Roomba model but were waiting for something amazing to come out, this is the one.