What are the Main Differences Between the Roomba 960, 980 and i7. The 5 Best Roomba Alternatives

By Natalie Red·Dec 4, 2018· 8 min read

Do we have to talk about Roomba? Everyone knows or heard about it. The latest high-end models clean more efficient thanks to the iAdapt Navigation with Visual Localization that builds a map of your room to clean an entire level of your home efficiently. When the battery runs out of energy, the robot automatically docks itself to recharge and thanks to the created map it remembers where it left off and returns to the point to finish cleaning.

Roomba 980

All the three models come with silicone rollers that are tangle-free and easy to maintain. These things make a Roomba perfect for dealing with pet and long human hair.

Virtual wall barrier keeps the robot from crossing specific areas it shouldn't go. The virtual wall barrier is inside the box of each of the three models.

In the app, you can switch between modes, track when the dust bin needs to be emptied, see all the notification alerts, and schedule the robot.

Full dustbin indicator alerts when the container is full of dust. You can see it on your smartphone. There are two ways to empty it when the robot is cleaning: pause the vacuum or stop operation. In the first case, the Roomba will continue once you empty the box when stopping the cleaner, it returns to the dock. Roomba i7 what makes it different with the Roomba 980

Each of them works with Alexa enabled devices and the Google Assistant.

The Dirt Detect technology is a bunch of sensors that recognize high-traffic areas providing deep cleaning on these spots. Something we have never seen in other robots.

Roomba 960 vs. Roomba i7 comparison chart

Carpet boost is presented in the Roomba 980 and i7. It detects carpet flooring and automatically switches suction power to its maximum level. The feature is nice since you don't have to change the cleaning mode manually everytime the robot is on the carpet.

The Roomba i7 has improved silicone rollers and a quieter motor. The robot delivers less sound providing the same cleaning performance as the Roomba 980 does.

The Roomba 960, 960 and i7 specifications

FeaturesRoomba 960Roomba 980Roomba i7
Runtime75 min120 min75 min
Suction power900 Pa1,700 PaN/A
Carpet Boostnoyesyes
Dustbin capacity600 ml600 ml500 ml
Battery capacity3,300 mAh3,300 mAh3,300 mAh
Noise level65 dB78 dB68 dB
Climbing ability0.79 in / 20 mm0.79 in / 20 mm0.79 in / 20 mm
HEPAyesyesyes
Mappingyesyesyes
Recharge & Resumeyesyesyes
Dirt Detectyesyesyes
Full Bin indicatoryesyesyes
Clean and Schedule by Roomnonoyes
Save created mapnonoyes
Virtual Wall Barrieryesyesyes
Schedulingyesyesyes
Amazon Alexa/Google Home supportyesyesyes
Warranty12 months12 months12 months

Are there significant differences between Roomba i7 vs. i7+?

The Roomba i7+ is the same Roomba i7 only it has a self-emptying charging dock. The Roomba i7 comes equipped with a standard base.

Difference between the iRobot Roomba i7+ and 980

They both have HEPA filtration, carpet boots, dirt detect, strong suction and a camera sensor sitting on top. Both can be controlled by Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home. Though there are differences that make the latest Roomba better than previous generations:

  • The Roomba i7+ has advanced brushless rollers. They look similar yet those that come with the Roomba i7+ perform better. Silicone brushless rollers are ideal for pet hair.
  • The Roomba 980 has iAdapt 2.0 Navigation and Visual Localization; the Roomba i7+ is patented with the iAdapt 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology.
  • The Roomba 980 is equipped with a dustbin that cannot be washed with water. The newest i7+ is allowed to clean its container with water.
  • The Roomba i7+ side sweeper is neon green. The Roomba 980's sweeper is yellow.
  • The Roomba i7+ has a smaller HEPA filter.
  • The Roomba i7+ has a 500ml dustbin inside which is smaller than the Roomba's 980 600 ml container.
  • On the other hand, the Roomba i7+ comes equipped with a self-emptying charging dock that holds up to 30 sizes of a regular Roomba's bin. The Roomba 980 has a standard charging dock.
  • Full bin indicator in the Roomba 980 alerts when the container needs to be emptied. You can either stop the robot or pause it to clean the box. When the Roomba i7+ gets full, it returns to the charging dock, automatically empties itself and continue cleaning.
  • The Roomba 980 has 2 dual virtual wall barriers in the box; the Roomba i7+ has one.
  • The most significant improvement of the Roomba i7+ over the Roomba 980 aside of the charging base - mapping technology. You weren't able to interact with the Roomba's 980 maps. They disappeared once the cleaning was done. You could only check the map in cleaning history. With the Roomba i7+, you can divide a created map into zones, name each to make the robot clean in a particular room further.
  • The Roomba i7+ saves up to 10 different floor plans, suitable for houses with more than one level. The Roomba 980 does not save maps.
  • Price. The Roomba i7+ costs $300 more. You can buy the Roomba i7 for the same $800 and get the newest charging base later.
  • Based on consumer reviews, the Roomba i7+ handles the smallest particulars on carpet better. The Roomba 980 is able to clean bigger debris yet struggles with small things like sugar etc on carpets.
  • The Roomba i7+ is less noisy when vacuums. The vacuum motor has been moved out of the dirt bin and into the middle of the i7+ to cut down noise.
  • The Roomba i7+ works less than the Roomba 980 per one cleaning cycle.

Roomba 960 vs. 980: is the latest model better?

  • Suction power. The Roomba 980 has a 33-watt motor; the Roomba 960 - 30 watt.
  • Carpet boost. The Roomba 980 is able to identify carpet flooring boosting suction to max level to provide deeper cleaning. The Roomba 960 lacks this feature.
  • Price. The Roomba 960 is $260 cheaper than the Roomba 980.
  • Battery life. The Roomba 980 lasts about 120 minutes when 960 - 75 minutes. The Roomba 960 is more suitable for smaller homes.
  • Cleaning performance. Because of the weaker suction and no carpet boost, the Roomba 960 struggles with smaller debris on carpets. They both perform about the same on bare floor, the Roomba 980 works better on carpet.
  • Due to stronger suction, the Roomba 980 makes more noise.

Roomba 960 vs. Roomba i7: differences explained

  • Suction power. The Roomba i7 has stronger suction than the Roomba 960.
  • Carpet boost. The Roomba i7 comes with smart carpet identification.
  • Noise level. Thanks to the newest construction of the motor, the Roomba i7 more powerful yet makes less noise.
  • Mapping. Same as with the Roomba 980, you cannot interact with the Roomba 960's maps. It disappears once the cleaning is complete. With the Roomba i7, you can divide the map into different areas, name each and schedule the robot to work within a particular zone.
  • Dustbin. The Roomba 980 comes with a 600ml dustbin, the Roomba i7 has a 500ml one.
  • The Roomba i7 has a smaller HEPA filter.
  • Advanced sweeper and brushless rollers. The Roomba i7 brushes are neon green.
  • Cleaning performance. Thanks to the stronger suction and carpet boost, the Roomba i7 works better on carpet agitating even the smallest particulars. The Roomba 960 performs the same as i7 on bare floor though struggles with small things on carpet.
  • Price. The Roomba 960 is $260 cheaper than the i7.

The difference in mapping technology

In the Roomba 960 and 980, you can only see the map as a report; you cannot interact with it.

The newest iAdapt 3.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology allows the Roomba i7 7150 to remember your home layout. You can edit the map once to point out where there are the living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc. After you set it up, you can schedule the robot to clean a particular room you've chosen. The Roomba i7 7150 can store up to 10 different floor plans.

The Roomba i7+ 7550 comes with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal. It is automatically emptying into an enclosed, disposable bag that holds 30 robot bins.

What a Roomba is the best for?

Thanks for its silicone tangle-free rollers, the Roomba is perfect for pet owners.

It can be a part of your smart home system thanks to compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Owners of medium and large-sized homes because of its recharge&resume feature. The Roomba cleans small houses too; it spends less time to finish the job.

Homes with mixed surfaces and bare floors. The silicone rollers work best on tile, hardwood, linoleum, laminate, etc., though the Roomba 960, 980 and i7 7150 perform well on thin and medium-pile carpets too.

Dirt Detect is a great feature. The robot finds the dirtiest places on its own without you thinking about cleaning those spots manually.

What is missing in the new Roomba i7?

Almost all the high-end robots have digital walls that keep the device from crossing specific areas. The physical block seems old-fashioned compared to the features that can be set on the smartphone.

Mopping feature could be significant. Of course, it doesn't replace actual mopping though it is helpful in everyday use if you don't have time to do it manually.

Interaction with the map. All those robots that have an ability to set blocked areas allow interacting with the map like sending the robot to a specific spot etc.

Camera-based mapping system requires the light on for the robot to work in the dark or on dark-shade carpets, unlike the LIDAR that is based on a laser.


Roomba Alternatives

Is there any other robot vacuum cleaner to buy instead of the newest Roomba robots? Let's consider top 5 the best Roomba alternatives to buy in 2019.

Roborock S5

Roborock S5 a budget high-end robot vacuum worth buying

The Roborock S5 is one of the best robot vacuum on the market that can remember your home layout thanks to mapping and a laser housed inside the tower of the robot. It sweeps and mops at the same time, has a minimalist design and an easy-to-slide water container. The strong suction power cleans thin and medium-pile carpets from pet hair, dust and dirt. The long-lasting battery covers a large cleaning area before it needs to recharge. The robot is perfect for medium and large-sized homes with all type of surfaces (except thick carpets).


Neato Botvac D7 Connected

Neato Botvac D7 Connected smart robot vacuum that works great on corners

The Botvac D7 Connected has a D-shape as all the Neato models do. It helps the robot to clean corners and edges better. The mapping technology is based on a laser. The same as the Roomba, Neato is integrated with smart system enabled devices. The cleaner remembers up to three different floor plans. In the app, you can set digital No-Go lines as many as you want to on every floor to tell your robot where not to go while helping prevent it from getting stuck. If your robot needs extra power to finish a cleaning run, Quick Boost lets your robot charge only what it needs, so it completes the job fast. The D7 Connected is perfect for homes with carpeted flooring.


360 S6

360 S6 a budget smart robot vacuum cleaner that remembers your home layout

The 360 S6 is a budget robot vacuum featured with things flagship models have. It cleans all types of the surfaces (except thick carpets) thanks to mopping and strong suction. It is equipped with the LIDAR mapping technology that is more accurate than camera-based ones and allow the robot to work in the dark. It stores up to 10-floor plans in memory, once it starts cleaning the room it doesn't need to rebuild the map again. The app allows to set block off areas and create digital walls. The robot can clean all types of surfaces except thick carpets.


ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo 930

ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo 930 one of the best smart robot cleaners on the market with a budget price tag Roomba alternative

The ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo 930 is a robot cleaner equipped with the LIDAR mapping technology. It is a two-in-one vacuum that can sweep and mop. Its sensors recognize carpeted flooring and boost suction power to a max level providing deep cleaning. When mapping, the Ozmo 930 "sees" bare floors and carpets, you can see it on the app. In the mopping mode, the Deebot avoids carpets leaving it safe and dry. In the app, you can customize cleaning areas, choose where to clean first and set zones where it shouldn't go. The Deebot 930 comes with a suction inlet and main brush. The first one works best on bare floors collecting pet hair, while the second one is great at cleaning carpets. The ECOVACS Deebot Ozmo 930 is suitable for homes with thin carpets or mixed surfaces. It performs well on bare floors as good as on thin carpets.


Samsung PowerBot R7070 Pet

Samsung PowerBot R7070 Pet

The Samsung PowerBot R7070 Pet comes with mapping that works via an onboard camera. Multiple sensors create the ideal cleaning path for multi-room cleaning while avoiding obstacles along the way. Self Clean Brush automatically detangles and removes pet hair that collects around the brush. The robot doesn't have side sweepers yet is equipped with a wide cleaning brush that allows the POWERbot to clean larger areas with less movement. Automatically detects surface types to select the ideal suction power. Thanks to mapping, the ROWERbot R7070 Pet knows where it has been, it returns to finish the job after recharging. The cleaner is ideal for homes with carpeted surfaces mostly.


Roomba Alternatives Comparison Chart

SpecificationsRoborock S5Neato Botvac D7 Connected360 S6ECOVACS DEEBOT Ozmo 930Samsung POWERbot R7070 Pet
Cleaning time150 min120 min120 min110 min90 min
Mapping Technologylaserlaserlaserlasercamera
Wifi supportyesyesyesyesyes
Virtual blockeryesyesyesyesno
Suction power2,000 Pa2,000 Pa1,800 Pa1,000 PaN/A
Carpet identificationyesnoyesyesyes
Amazon Alexa/Google Home supportyesyesAmazon Alexa onlyyesyes
Noise level60 dB64 db55 dB65 dB71 dB
Dustbin capacity500 ml700 ml400 ml450 ml300 ml
Barrier-cross ability0.79 in / 20 mm0.75 in / 19 mm0.67 in / 17 mm0.63 in / 16 mmN/A
Schedulingyesyesyesyesyes
HEPA filteryesyesyesyesno
Warranty12 months12 months12 months12 months12 months
Where to buy

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