The Roomba 880 vs 980 – Which One is the Best?

(Last Updated On: March 6, 2018)

Roomba 880 vs 980The Roomba 880 vs 980 is among the most debatable topics in the market of Roombas. The Roomba 880 may be popular because it has been on the market for long while the 980’s popularity may be attributed to the fact that it is the latest Roomba model with world class features.  Most people get caught in between the two, not knowing which one to go for.

It is imperative to note that these two Roomba models boast several similarities. However, their differences set them apart. So today, we will review the two robots to ascertain which one is the best. We will first look at their similarities and then see what makes the 980 superior. But before that here is a summary of the two vacuum cleaners.

An Overview of the Roomba 880

Released late in 2013, the Roomba 880 is an older model when compared to the Roomba 980. One of the most phenomenal things about this vacuum cleaner is the new brushless design which replaced bristled brushes.

It comes with the standard features in most Roomba models. These features include the AeroForce 3-stage cleaning system, iAdapt Navigation, and Scheduled cleaning. Even though it is considered a great robotic vacuum cleaner, it lacks some important features for it to compete with new vacuum cleaners.

An Overview of the Roomba 980

This is among the latest products from iRobot. This model sports a sleek, compact design packed with a range of unique features. The Roomba 980 has all the features inherent in the Roomba 880. However, it has several extras including Wi-Fi, Carpet Boost, iAdapt 2.0 and so on. This makes it superior to most vacuum cleaners out there.

Having said that, we will now discuss in brief the features that the Roomba 880 shares with the Roomba 980. Later on, we will discuss in detail the extras that make the Roomba 980 more superior.

What Features Make the Roomba 880 Similar to the Roomba 980?


The Roomba 880 and 980 sport almost the same round design. They all have been designed in a low profile design with a height of only 3.6 inches. This enables both Roombas maneuver under most furniture and obstacles. They can also access deep corners and other hard to reach areas.

Cleaning System

Since its innovation, the AeroForce Cleaning System has proved to be very reliable and that is why iRobot has still maintained the technology in both the Roomba 880 and 980. This technology employs a 3-stage cleaning process that guarantees detailed brushing and vacuuming courtesy of sides brushes and most importantly, high suction power.

AeroForce High-Efficiency Filters

These two vacs also use the AeroForce High-Efficiency Filters that ensure the finest filtration. With these filters, you are guaranteed the filtration of very tiny debris and 99% of pet hair and allergens.

Another feature that is in the Roomba 880 and has been maintained in the Roomba 980 is the Full Bin indicator and Spot Clean mode. The Full Bin Indicator notifies users whenever the bin needs emptying. On the other hand, when the Spot Clean mode is activated, the Roomba spirals in a 3 feet circle thus ensuring intensive brushing and vacuuming.

Self-Charging and Docking

Robots should be able to operate autonomously, especially when it comes to self-management. Among the major issues here include self-charging and docking after completing cleaning missions.

Just like many robotic vacuum cleaners out there, the Roomba 880 and 980 both have self-charging and resume capabilities. They normally locate the Charging Base whenever their battery levels go down during a cleaning session. Furthermore, after fully recharging, these Roombas will continue cleaning from wherever they left at.

After finishing a cleaning project, you don’t have to take back the cleaner to its docking station. It automatically goes to the docking station for storage waiting for the next cleaning session.

Scheduled Cleaning

Just like most of the popular robotic vacuum cleaners, Scheduled cleaning is a must. The Roomba 880 and 980 can be programmed using the Scheduled cleaning mode. You can easily program the cleaner to start cleaning at specific times throughout the week.

The Roomba 880 and 980 can both be programmed for 7 days. For example, you can set the cleaning time to be 10:00 am. Whenever this time reaches, the Roomba will leave the docking station and embark on cleaning without being prompted.

What Features Make the Roomba 880 Different from the Roomba 980?

Navigation Technology

There has been this misconception that the Roomba 880 has the same navigation system as the Roomba 980. It is important to note that the Roomba 880 has a  very different navigation system from the Roomba 980. The Roomba 880 uses the native iAdapt Navigation whereas the Roomba 980 has the more advanced iAdapt 2.0 with Visual Localization.

roomba 980 navigation

Even though iAdapt is among the leading navigation technologies in the market, it is still wanting in terms of precision. You find that the Roomba 880 has troubles in mapping out your house. It also hassles finding its way to the Charging Base at times. For that reason, iRobot had to do something about this.

In the Roomba 980, a more advanced navigation, the iAdapt 2.0 with Visual Localization. This navigation system combines the latest AI and a set of cameras for visual assisted navigation.

Advanced Cleaning Extras

One addition to the Roomba 980 is a set of extras in terms of cleaning. This is among the reasons why the Roomba 980 is superior to the 880. The Roomba 980, just like many other 900 Series vacs have Carpet Boost Mode, Edge Cleaning and Clean Passes Control. The Roomba 880 lacks these three new features.

Carpet Boost Roomba 980

Carpet Boost is a pretty new technology that came with the 900 Series. In this mode, the Roomba produces more vacuuming power to ensure the deepest parts of carpets are well suctioned. The only shortcoming with this feature is the loud noise. However, it guarantees the best clean for carpets.

Another addition to the Roomba 980’s cleaning is the Edge Cleaning Mode. This new mechanism is only available in the 900 Series. It ensures wall edges are sparkling clean. This mode is always on by default.

There’s also Clean Passes Control which is like quality control. It works by going through the areas it has already cleaned for assurance. The Roomba 980 has a two-pass system that gives you the assurance that no part is left untouched.


Even though the Roomba 880 and 980 sport the same design and shape, they are quite different in terms of aesthetics. The major difference here is in terms of the front facing panel and controls.

The Roomba 880 has a rather crowded front panel with 5 control buttons. There’s a large CLEAN button at the center and four other small buttons below it.


On the other, the Roomba 980’s panel is very simple. Instead of five buttons, the Roomba 880 has only three buttons. A large CLEAN button just like in the Roomba 880 and two small buttons beside each on both sides. The Roomba 980 also looks more appealing than the Roomba 880.

Wi-Fi & App Compatibility

Wi-Fi and App compatibility is an important consideration when buying robotic vacuum cleaners. This gives you the power to do more with your vacuum cleaner. For example, with Wi-Fi, you can have maximum control of your cleaner. Wi-Fi and App compatibility in vacuum cleaners also enables you to connect with voice activated controls like Amazon Echo and Google Assistant.

Latest vacuum cleaners come with Wi-Fi and App compatibility, the Roomba 980 is no exception. This feature is among the reasons why the Roomba 880 is very inferior to the Roomba 980. With the Roomba 980, you can easily control your vacuum cleaner remotely via Wi-Fi using the iRobot Home App.

Battery Type and Endurance

From the fact that these two vacuum cleaners have different features, their power needs are definitely different. The Roomba 980 will obviously require a high capacity and powerful battery to power the extra features like Wi-Fi.

The Roomba 880 runs on a Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery. Even though most reviews put its run time at approximately 60 minutes, our findings averaged its run time at 70 minutes. When it comes to charging, it requires at least 3 hours to fully charge the battery for its next cleaning mission.

What We Liked in the Roomba 880?

  • 1. Floor Versatility – The Roomba 880 is ideal for all floor types. This is a very unlikely feature for such an old model.
  • 2. High-Performance Cleaning System – Even though it’s an old model, it has an efficient cleaning system; AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System.
  • 3. Virtual Wall® Lighthouse™ – The Roomba 880 comes with this great feature that helps in boundary marking as well as multi-room cleaning.
  • 4. Dirt Detection – The Roomba 880 also comes with Dirt Detection Series 2 that uses optical and acoustic sensors to focus more on areas with dirt.

What We Disliked in the Roomba 880?

  • 1. Troubled Navigation – The Roomba 880 has troubles in its navigation especially in locating the Home Base.
  • 2. No Wi-Fi – For such an expensive Roomba, lack of Wi-Fi is such a big deal.
  • 3. Quite Pricey – When compared with other vacuum cleaners with the same features, the Roomba 880 is quite expensive.

What We Liked in the Roomba 980?

  • 1. Carpet Boost Mode – This feature guarantees deep carpet cleaning courtesy of the high vacuum power.
  • 2. Cleans Pet Hair – The Roomba 980 has been engineered to offer general house cleaning as well as pet hair and allergens cleaning.
  • 3. Wi-Fi & App Compatibility – This is among the features that make the Roomba a better deal over the Roomba 880. You can control the Roomba from the iRobot HOME App via Wi-Fi.
  • 4. Versatility – The Roomba 980 can be used to clean a range of floors including hardwood floors

What We Disliked in the Roomba 980?

  • 1. Clogging – One of the shortcomings of the Roomba 980 is that it clogs very easily. With this in mind, it needs extra maintenance.
  • 2. High Price – Its price is also relatively high. However, when you consider its features, it is worth every coin.

Online Customer Reviews and Ratings

Now that we have put the Roomba 880 Vs Roomba 980 head on, it’s time we look at what customers think of the two vacuum cleaners. Most customers find themselves torn in between the Roomba 880 and 980. The Roomba 880 is so attractive in terms of price. However, the Roomba 980 is enticing when you are looking for performance.

In general, the Roomba 980 has better reviews when compared to the Roomba 880. This can be attributed to the fact that the Roomba is the latest model in the Roomba series considering the 880 was introduced back in 2013. The Roomba 980 is also bigger than the 880 in terms of features.

However, you just can’t put down the Roomba 880 based on its reviews. It has twice as many reviews as the 980. With this in mind, the Roomba 980 needs to get where the Roomba 880 is in terms of the total number of reviews the Roomba 880 has in order to make a meaningful conclusion on how they match when it comes to reviews.

Roomba 880 Vs Roomba 980 – Which One is Best?

The question on which is the best Roomba between the battle of the Roomba 880 Vs Roomba 980 is a rather debatable one because of the price difference. Definitely, a vacuum cleaner with advanced features would attract a higher price tag and that’s exactly what the Roomba 980 is.  However, the elephant in the room will always remain value for money.

Most customers prefer the model 880. The difference in price makes 880 a better choice that gives customers value for money. Now that you know the ultimate winner in the Roomba 880 Vs Roomba 980 war, go ahead and make your decision today!

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The Roomba 880 vs 980 – Which One is the Best?
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One thought on “The Roomba 880 vs 980 – Which One is the Best?

  • October 2, 2017 at 8:06 am

    The excellent review, I will recommend to my friends, and certainly everyone will benefit from this article.

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