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Roomba 960 vs. 980 vs. 981 vs. 985: 900 Series from iRobot

Got your heart set on a Roomba robot vacuum but find yourself confused by all the types of models that are on offer? You’re not alone. We’re here to help you discover the best model of Roomba for you and your home’s needs, so keep reading to get the lowdown on these awesome robot vacuums.

Roomba 960
Roomba 960

Roomba 960

First in line is the Roomba 960, one of the oldest models out there today. It’s a standard sized Roomba, at 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches, and weighs 8.6lbs with an empty dust cup, making it a nimble vacuum to get the job done.

The Roomba 960 promises 5X the suction of older Roomba models, and is equipped with a premium, 3-stage cleaning system that will eliminate dirt and debris from your home quickly and easily. Thanks to its state-of-the-art sensors that allow it to travel through your home in neat rows, it will never find a missing spot. It promises to vacuum better on those high-traffic areas so you can say goodbye to dirt.

Personalize your cleaning routine thanks to the smart home app that allows you to set off your Roomba 960 even when you’re out of the house. It’s really that simple. Plus, you can leave the 960 in your home unattended thanks to its tangle resistant rubber brushes and intelligent navigation. This system eliminates Roomba’s chances of eating your carpets and crashing into walls and furniture.

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Roomba 980

A more recent model, the Roomba 980 is a little larger than its baby brother, coming in at 18.6 x 16.8 x 5.2 inches, and weighing in at just over 11lbs with an empty dust cup.

iRobot Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba 980

Why is the Roomba 980 so much heavier and larger? Well for starters, it works harder on carpets and has 10x the power of its predecessors when it comes to its cleaning and air system. The robot pulls in even deep-set debris, and works hard to scrub your carpet’s fibers. It’s perfect for homes with pets. You wil be amazed at its ability to work through pet hair and dander, whilst eliminating airborne particles.

With a 120-minute battery life to play with, even larger homes get a good going over before it’s time for he Roomba 980 to recharge – which it’ll do without being told, by the way, even if it’s halfway through a cleaning session. It’ll return to its base, charge up to 80% and continue its clean from where it left off.

Not only is this Roomba attached to a smart app to give you full control, but you can connect it to your voice assistant too for round the clock cleaning at your command. As soon as you spot an area covered in crumbs, you can activate the 980 to spot clean immediately, leaving your home spotless whatever the time of day.

iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi...
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for improved pick up performance;...
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with vSLAM technology allows the robot to map its...

Roomba 981

With the Roomba 981, you get the slightly upgraded version of the 980, in a smaller package. Roomba 981 is more compact, but not lighter than the 980, at 13.9 x 13.9 x 3.58 inches (perfect for low hanging furniture) in size, and 13lbs in weight.

Roomba 981
Roomba 981

New upgrades on this Roomba include an advanced iAdapt2.0 Navigation system that enables the 981 to map your home with outstanding visuals. This makes it easy for it to find trouble spots and high-traffic areas to save its boost and batteries whilst getting the job done effortlessly. When cleaning, the 981 follows your floor plan, cleaning in neat rows so it never misses a spot.

With its high-efficiency filters, pet owners can rejoice at their pet’s dirt and dander being sucked up and trapped, stopping the spread of airborne allergens and particles that make us sick. That’s not all though, because it’ll trap odor particles too, to ensure your home is left smelling fresh and clean.

Our final upgrade for the Roomba 981 is its ability to link with the Braava Jet M6, a state-of-the-art moping system that can keep your hard floors gleaming. With this addition, the two mop in unison, so you get two jobs done in record time.

iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum-Wi-Fi...
  • NAVIGATES IN NEAT ROWS - Purposefully and logically cleans in neat rows and uses floor...
  • IT WON'T STOP TILL THE JOB IS DONE - Intelligently maps and cleans an entire level of your...

Roomba 985

When it comes to our final robot vacuum, the Roomba 985, you’ll find that it’s similar to its cousins in most ways – offering the same unique clean as well as the high quality filter and supreme suction that sets the others apart from their competition.

Roomba 985
Roomba 985

The Roomba 985 is bigger than our other picks, but the lightest of the bunch, meaning it’ll whizz round your home even quicker thanks to its 120-minute battery life. At 20 x 16.6 x 5.25 inches, this is the highest and widest model, so not the best pick if you’ve got lots of low hanging furniture or smaller gaps that need to be cleaned.

Aside from its size, the Roomba 985 offers the same great cleaning qualities as the rest of the 900 series, so it’s bound to be a winner in anyone’s home. We’d suggest this particular model for anyone with multiple floor types, and wider floors overall to get the best out of its size, weight and efficient running.

iRobot Roomba 985 Wi-Fi Connected Robot...
  • CLEANS ALL FLOOR TYPES - The iRobot pet hair Roomba vacuum’s Auto-Adjust cleaning head...
  • ENTIRE LEVEL COVERAGE - iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization ensures the Roomba...


There’s no need to be overwhelmed by the 900 range from Roomba. Their unique and hard-working robot vacuums have plenty to bring to the table, and there’s a style and function for every household, no matter which you go for.

For us, we’re a fan of the 981, the compact and nimble machine that has the option to add a mop – what could be better for that guilt-free yet totally satisfying feeling of coming home to freshly vacuumed and mop floors, whenever you need it?

Recommended Robot Vacuums

Affordable Option The iRobot Roomba 694 is a basic robot vacuum. It feels well-built, offers fantastic battery performance, and can adjust its suction power and brushroll height automatically depending on the surface that it's on.

Best of the Best The Roborock S7+ can vacuum and mop, and does an excellent job at both. It's also the company's most powerful vacuum yet, with 2,500Pa of suction.

Popular Option The Shark AV911S EZ is one of the least expensive robot vacuum with self-empty base. The bagless, self-emptying base holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris.

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Last Update: 2024-02-21 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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