iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaner Review
iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Review
iRobot has released their Roomba 980 vacuum to the public just in time for the holiday season. It has been quite a while since their last release with the Roomba 880 robot and we are not quite sure what to expect with it. As with all of their previous robotic vacuums there are things that we really like about it and things we don’t.
As with all of our reviews on our website our goal is that by the end of this review you will have a clear idea about whether this robotic vacuum is the right choice for you.
NOTE: Before we get started on our review of the iRobot Roomba 980, you may already know that you want to buy this vacuum. If so, you can click HERE or the link below to go straight through to Amazon.com and buy it right now. You will get superfast delivery, an excellent price, and one of the best robot vacuums out there that money can buy.
However, if you are still undecided about this vacuum and want more information before making your purchasing decision let us take a closer look…
In this review, we will take a look at the main features and highlights, the pros and cons, customer reviews, and our final verdict of the Roomba 980.
- 1 Main Features of the Roomba 980
- 2 Highlights of the Roomba 980
- 3 Pros to Consider
- 4 Cons to Consider
- 5 Our Final Verdict
Main Features of the Roomba 980
- iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization enables Roomba to navigate and clean an entire level of your home
- Automatically recharges and resumes cleaning to complete the entire job
- iRobot HOME App lets you clean, schedule & set custom cleaning preferences from your smartphone
- AeroForce Cleaning System with Carpet Boost automatically provides up to 10x the air power on carpets and rugs
- Tangle-free extractors prevent hair and debris jams
Highlights of the Roomba 980
There are quite a few new features on the Roomba 980 Vacuum that are worth exploring. The first new feature is the extended battery life it has. The 980 model has the longest lasting battery so far for any Roomba model. It can now run for a full 2 hours cleaning before it needs to be recharged. You may find it can go a little longer with third party batteries, but for the factory settings this is the best we have found yet from iRobot. As with the 880 model, the Roomba 980 will automatically return to its home base to recharge and then pick up where it left off cleaning when it is ready to go again.
Out of all of the new features this robotic vacuum comes with we believe this one is the game changer for the iRobot brand. This is a feature that we have been asked about a lot and seems everyone has been waiting for, the iRobot Home App. With the smart home trend and everyone controlling everything from their smart phones these days we knew it was just a matter of time before robotic vacuums followed suit. iRobot is the first company to create an app like this for their vacuums, as far as we know. Please tell us if you know of any others that we have missed!
The way the app works is as simple as pressing the “clean” button on your app, just like on the Roomba itself, to get things going. This makes it the perfect choice for people who are on the go and not home to control the robot. If you are out of the house and need to get your robot cleaning for you in an instant you now have that control. While previous versions allowed you to pre-schedule your Roomba cleaning, it did now give you the instant control that this one does.
While the navigation system on the Roomba 980 is more of an upgrade that an actual whole new design it is still worth discussing. In addition to the original sensors that all of the previous versions use, this robot also has the visual simultaneous, localization, and mapping (VSLAM) technology. Basically what this means is that the 980 model can look both up and out to help it navigate around the room. If you are wondering why this is important it’s because the robot will no longer bump into obstacles randomly and will now utilize a more organized and efficient cleaning route. This is something the Roombas lacked before and was a common complaint by many people.
While we love the new mapping technology on the 980, iRobot didn’t stop there with the new features. They have also upgraded their new robot in the power department. While the 800 series robots premiered the AeroForce Cleaning System, this vacuum has improved its effectiveness 2 times over. It also features what iRobot calls the “carpet boost” feature which maximizes the air flow power when the Roomba 980 detects that it is working on a carpet floor or rug. This allows you to get a deeper clean, not only on tile and hardwood floors, but now also on all types of carpet too.
Another feature where iRobot has stepped up its game even more is the new and improved Virtual Lighthouse Walls feature. While previous versions have also utilized these walls, they are now smaller in size. We love this because they are less bulky and don’t take up as much space. Plus the larger they are in size the more of an eyesore they become. The new lighthouse walls also take AA batteries instead of D batteries. This is a great idea because it is more common to have AA batteries lying around the house. We hate when you need new batteries and realize you have to go to the store to get them. Now that will happen less when it comes to using your robotic vacuum.
While the Roomba 980 has many pros for us to list for you, we also have a few cons that you need to consider before making your final decision. We discuss both the pros and the cons below to help you make an informed choice regarding this exciting new robot.
Pros to Consider
- The new iRobot Home App is amazing and easy to use. This is one of the biggest pros for the Roomba 980. Being able to control your robot vacuum from anywhere is exciting to use. This feature really sets the 980 apart from both the previous Roombas and the other competitors on the market. We are excited to hear the customer feedback on this feature.
- This pro goes hand in hand with the previous one, but we wanted to discuss it in more depth. The Home App also monitors the maintenance of the Roomba 980. This is a really cool diagnostic feature of the app. It is straightforward and easy to read. It tells you when things to be serviced on your robot such as debris extractors, filters, emptying the dust bin, etc. If even walks you through how to service each one in case you need help.
- As stated before the 980 is much better for dealing with carpeted floors than the previous models. One of the cons of previous models is flooring changes, such as hardwood to carpet. The Roomba 980 does not have the struggles. Once the 980 detects it is on carpet, it adjusts the power it utilizes to give your carpet the deep cleaning you are wanting. When the 980 was tested for this new feature with the previous 880 model it was able to pick up more of the debris. It really gets the crumbs and dirt that falls deep down in the carpet that the other robotic vacuums seem to miss. This is an important feature if you want the deepest clean you can get without having to do the work yourself.
- The Roomba 980 vacuum is just more of a robot. It’s the robot that we have been waiting for since the beginning of this new trend in vacuums. It is the hands off, efficient vacuum that we have been wanting for some time now. The new features and stronger suction power that this vacuum is designed with gives you the lifestyle you have been promised for years now.
- The much improved navigation mapping system. This is one of the cons that previous models have had. The previous models always ended with a random pattern left of the carpet that many people did not like. That is no longer the case with the new, organized cleaning system. While it still bumps into things while getting its bearings around the room, it is not nearly to the degree it was and it seems to remember for future clearning. This greatly improves the user experience for customers.
- The new Roomba uses a smarter algorithm than both previous Roombas and the competition. The 980 spends less time getting its bearings and mapping the room than all of the others, including the new Connected Botvac by Neato.
- While this is more of a general pro for iRobot overall we think it’s important to mention their excellent customer service team. We have never had a problem with replacing a Roomba or dealing with diagnostic issues. They are really good at walking you though any problems that arise and being patient with all of the questions and concerns they receive.
- This pro is not due to the brand itself but more due to its strong market share of the robotic vacuum trend. We think it is important to mention how easy it is to get parts on the secondary market. This is important for when the time comes that you need replacement parts. With the Roombas gaining in popularity, companies are popping up that specialize in the parts that you will need to keep your robotic vacuum working efficiently long term. You will find a harder time finding replacement parts for the competition.
- The Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaner has better suction power than the previous 800 series vacuums, such as the 880 model. This is a great point to make because the main reason you buy a robotic vacuum is to clean your home without having to manually do it yourself. The 980 has been able to achieve this better than the other models we have tested.
Cons to Consider
- While we love the new app we believe that it could be even better and have more features for us to use. We know we are being picky, but it would be nice to have an app that controls everything for the robot vacuum in one place. Also, we would love the app even more if it allowed you to fully integrate it with the other smart appliances in your home. Think one app that controls your smart home all in one. This could be in the plans for the future, at least we hope it is!
- While the Roomba 980 is a definite improvement over the other robotic vacuums on the market, it is still not perfect. It still gets confused by obstacles in the room such as room thresholds and power cords on the ground. It will still get stuck and need you to help it, although not as often as previous versions. However, it is still not the perfect replacement for a human, which is what we all want.
- One thing that may not seem like a big deal is the fact that the Roomba 980 does not work in the dark. However, if you are cleaning at night or have a room that is constantly dark such as a basement this could cause you some trouble. As long as you have some light source you should be fine. However, if you try to use your robot in the dark you will inevitably get an error message. If this does happen to you, we suggest you keep night lights on in the rooms that need it so you can still clean without keeping all of the lights on at night.
- While we love the new “carpet boost” feature we don’t like the fact that it is so noisy to use. While the 980 model overall is quieter than the previous Roombas, this is one feature that unfortunately is loud to use. While we think it is worth it to use because it does such a good job on carpet and getting in extremely clean, you will not be able to use it when you need a quiet environment.
- One aspect of this new robot that may be hard to swallow is the price. As of today the Roomba 980 is $900. However, unlike some other robot vacuums on the market we do think this one is worth the price you pay for it. This is the best robot on the market today. However, because of the cost we recommend checking out some of the less expensive, but still effective vacuums as an alternative. The three best alternatives that we would recommend would be the Roomba 880, Roomba 650, or the Neato Botvac D80.
Our Final Verdict
The iRobot Roomba 980 is the absolute best vacuum on the market today. It is also one of the most expensive which may make it out of your price range. The question we get a lot is “is the vacuum worth the price?” and while we believe it is there are some exceptions to this answer.
Really the answer to this question will come down to your personal needs of a robotic vacuum. If you are purchasing the robot for your workplace or a large home that needs to be cleaned on a regular basis then this is the best robot for you.
If you are looking for the deep cleaning solution that you can only get from the traditional upright vacuums then this is the best option for you when it comes to a robotic vacuum. However, if you have an average size home or an apartment and are looking to just keep a few rooms clean then this vacuum may be more than you need. However, just like all other electronics it really comes down to your personal preference and lifestyle. If you want the best vacuum robot on the market today then you have found it in the Roomba 980.