In this Roomba 980 Review we want to answer the question if the current flagship in the robot market, which confidently breaks down the $800 threshold, is worth its price. We will give you a brief robot vacuum comparison, with the “2nd market leader” the Neato Botvac Connected.
Product: iRobot Roomba 980 Review
Category: Robot Vacuum cleaner
Special Features: WiFi enabled; App-Controlled, Camera
What other Customers say: Read it Here
Who is iRobot? What? – You don´t know them?
In case you like some Background information. Founded in 1990 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists, iRobot designs and builds some of the world’s most important robots. More than 14 million home robots have been sold worldwide, with the award-winning iRobot Roomba® floor vacuuming robot leading the charge. With two decades of leadership in the robot industry, iRobot remains committed to building robots that improve the quality of life and safety standards worldwide. (from the iRobot “About”-Page)
Roomba 980 Review
The Roomba is a cleaning soldier – efficiently and mercilessly. No wonder that its body-design actually comes from the military branch of the manufacturer. Compared to the previous 880, the new 980 has improved everywhere apparently. It has more suction power, more battery power and has become much smarter than previous models. But smartness has its limitations as you will find out down below!
In this chart you can find a brief overview of the main differences of the various Roomba Series. If this current top product is worth its quite expensive price-tag? Let’s jump in and find out!
Installation – unlike other Roomba series the 980 is WiFi connected. You can control, schedule and get information within the really good free App (available for iOS and Android). Installation is really easy. Find a place where you can place the charging dock, place the Roomba. Then connect the Roomba 980 with the WiFi system and find it easily within the App. Placement Tip: If you have a couch which is fairly high you can place the charging station behind/under it; with 3.6 inches the Roomba 980 is even 0.3 inches less high than the Neato Botvac connected.
Nobody will be able to see your hard working device and it never is in your way. In our setup this was not as easy as with the Neato. The camera system seems to be little confused by the couch on top. The Neato moved forward before scanning the room. If it works, like a miracle at the scheduled times your little new friend comes out of its hiding and does its work. After finishing, it automatically goes back to the charger so it hides again – awesome!
We were able to setup this robot vacuum cleaner in about 10 minutes. Quite the same amount of time as for the Neato Botvac Connected. The App from iRobot is better than the Neato App as it provides you more information about the status of the device and is more customizable.
Key Features & daily user experience
The by far biggest improvement we saw in this Roomba 980 review is the new optical camera; the new room mapping and navigation system. This is the biggest PRO argument for this device and even if you think about upgrading from an older series this might be your reason. Of course this kind of navigation and mapping is a key feature of all Neato devices, even the older series already have this kind of navigation. The device creates a map of the apartment and optimizes automatically the cleaning process. In addition you can control, navigate the 980 with the App. Which might be a nice gimmick, but not more.
Similar to the Neato Botvac Connected the Roomba now moves in lines through the room and no longer in the “chaotic” cleaning patterns of the older series. To shut off areas from cleaning you can use Lighthouse called “virtual” barriers. This worked well in our tests and of course looks more stylish than the magnetic stripes you have to lay on the floor for the Neato Botvac connected.
Our biggest CON`s No1: Big navigation mistakes! What really should be improved by iRobot is the fact, that different to the Neato with a Laser-Measurement, the Roomba 980 uses a camera for its mapping of the room.
Laser Measurement vs. Camera (Roomba 980) – Why this difference might be so important?
1st is seeing in the dark – The Roomba 980 necessarily needs lights on to work properly. Even letting your robot clean upstairs in the evening while you are downstairs would mean to leave the lights on for the Roomba 980, which is a huge disadvantage and waste of energy. The Neato Botvac Connected with its laser, can navigate even in the dark. This means you can schedule the Neato for the nighttime which can have huge advantages. Especially if you use it in a larger house or in an office after work. You wouldn’t want to leave your lights on for the robot vacuum cleaner!
2nd – Big Brother is watching You! We are talking about connected devices! Not everybody wants a camera “walking” through your home and being connected to the internet. Although this may not be scary for most people, some may feel more easy with no optical camera in use. Therefore the Neato would be the more safe choice.
UPDATE: After talking to iRobot and our technical staff the following seems to be fact! All camera activity will take place ONLY within the Roomba 980. The camera signal is not even possible attached to the WiFi. With this in mind this CON should not count in our list.
Talking about navigation CON No 2. If you have black floors or carpets, the Neato might be the better choice for you by now. On black coverings our device has shown in this Roomba 980 Review, that it sometimes simply refused to work. Testing why, we now would guess the sensors of the Roomba 980 consider the dark areas as an abyss. Also taping the sensors – to total stupefaction of the device – no longer works as simple as it did with previous models. Hopefully an update of the firmware will eliminate this quirk in the future. On the same floors the Neato Botvac Connected worked without any issues. Another small lack of functionality was, that our Roomba did not always find its way back home to the charging-dock.
iRobot Roomba 980 Review
The second biggest improvement of the new Roomba 980-Series is the new suction power. Especially the so called “Carpet Boost” when the 980 up-shifts on carpets is nearly comparable to the Neato now. The Roomba brushes the dirt with two counter-rotating rubber rollers. This gives you real good cleaning results, nearly on eye-level to the Neato. If you have pets (dogs or cats – turtles or fish wouldn´t count here) the Neato does a significant better cleaning job. This might be because it cleans (in Turbo Mode) every type of floor with the same high power; not only carpets. The higher power of the Carpet Boost Mode of the Roomba 980, will cost even more energy. The full-throttle operation sucks the battery empty much faster which will lead to more early re-charging stops. With only a very few carpets the battery lasted in our tests for up to 1 hour 50 minutes of cleaning which is really good!
If the main arrangements for the use of any robotic vacuum cleaner have been done; as no more cables lying around, the 980 actually does not tangle or stop in the whole cleaning process. Thresholds, carpet edges and the like he copes brilliantly and even better than the Neato. What surprised us, that it even cleaned long-pile Shaggy-Carpets without getting stuck.
Noise/Sound – Disturbing is significantly understated; this is true for both devices if you are sound-sensitive. But this Roomba 980 Review shows, as one must state, that this is true even for any standard vacuum cleaner as well. As owners of the last Roomba series never had any noise issues, the Carpet Boost will change this dramatically. One may not be in the same room when the Roomba gets going. Even from the next room with the door closed you will be expelled from the turbine whining. A use at night should be possible only in the least dwellings. Extrapolating least 15 minutes a room that leads to a roar of one hour in an apartment with two rooms, hall and kitchen. If Turbo mode is suppressed, it is certainly quieter. Even more quiet, than the Neato in its Eco-Mode. But only in turbo mode the 980 reaches the superior suction power. A vicious circle.
iRobot Roomba 980 Review
The 980 is an efficient high-end device that has no significant weaknesses – at least as long as it does not encounter shining black floors or even some black carpets.
But the price jump from the previous model is enormous: The Roomba 880 costs about $150 less. For the iRobot Roomba 980 you have to pay something between $799 to $950. You can Check the daily best price below on the graphical conclusion. The 980 is better than its predecessor, but this gap is huge. Compared to the Neato Botvac Connected with slightly better cleaning, better Navigation and no issues on dark floors and the laser technique the Neato might be the more reasonable choice. Surely, when you consider, that you get the Neato at the same price like the Roomba 880 which saves you about $150.
If the money is not that important and you need a robot that is relentlessly fighting on difficult terrain and carpets against stubborn dirt, then the 980 is a good choice. Especially if you have no black floors and do not want to clean by night. You can check for the latest price and additional info with the button down below!
Hope you liked our iRobot Roomba 980 Review. If you have any experience with a Robot Vacuum Cleaner you want to share – Help others by leaving a comment below. We highly appreciate! Leave us a comment what you liked about this Roomba 980 Review or if you need help or have any question – we are here to help.