Roomba E5 vs 960 vs 890 Comparison Review
But there are some very reliable cheaper options, and they are the vacuums in our radar today.
If you are scouting for a cheap and affordable vacuum cleaner, this Roomba E5 vs 960 vs 890 comparison review will help you make the right choice.
To start, we will give a brief description of each model to at least have rapport on the unique features each offer. After that, we will go to the main business of the day which is comparing the salient features of the three cleaners to see which one is the best.
So, without further ado, here is the middle tier Roombas comparison review.
1.Roomba 890 – the Prime Model in the Roomba 800 series
This is the crème de la crème of the Roomba 800 Series. It was released together with the Roomba 690, and they were marketed as smart Roombas now that they work with the iRobot HOME app and also Alexa among other integration.
At the time of its release, this vacuum cleaner attracted a $600 price tag, but fortunately, the price has drastically come down to around $400.
One of the major shifts Roomba 890 took was adopting a new brush system that is basically rubber extractors which make this brush more durable and gentle on the fragile bare floors like hardwood.
The anti-tangle technology, on the other hand, prevent hair tangling so if you have long haired dogs, the 890 will be an excellent cleaner.
Remember, the older Roomba 690 has an older bristle brush that often tangles if your pets shed long hairs.
We also liked the shift from AeroVac filtration to AeroForce filtration system. The older system uses HEPA-style filters which are just clones of the authentic HEPA filters. They have an 85% – 90% efficiency meaning they can’t capture all the allergens in the atmosphere.
But the Roomba 890 now has an AeroForce filtration system that uses true-HEPA filters which are 99.97% efficient making it among the best robot vacuums for pet hair and allergies.
Another significant feature is the Generation 2 motor that is also retained in the much expensive Roomba 960. It can deliver a cool 1000Pa which are enough for general floor vacuuming including low to medium pile carpets.
However, for the high pile carpets, it gets overwhelmed and won’t do a great job like Roomba 980 with Carpet Boost of Botvac Connected D7 with Turbo mode.
2.Roomba 960 – the Best Choice
One unfortunate thing about Roomba 960 was the inclusion of a Generation 2 motor, which the cheaper and older Roomba 890 has. That means it can’t handle high pile carpets efficiently as it lacks Carpet Boost.
But still, there is a wide range of features that you will love.
In our Roomba 890 vs. 960 comparison review, we fronted the latter for high traffic rooms because of the iAdapt 2.0 navigation which was the latest then.
This is basically a VSLAM (Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) navigation system, an upgrade from the earlier SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) navigation system.
The Roomba 960 has a real-time camera that captures images of how your house is, noting down all the major landmarks. It will hardly get stuck or hit obstacles like the earlier Roombas.
The other important addition to the Roomba 960 is the longer runtime and most importantly, the auto-resume function.
Regarding the runtime, it can do 75 minutes which is not very impressive considering Roomba 980 does over 120 minutes. But at least its longer than the 690 and 890 that do just 60 minutes.
The icing on the cake is the auto-resume function. The Roomba 960 will go back to finish cleaning from wherever it left. This is unlike Roomba 690 and 890 that have to be reminded that they were cleaning.
Even though many have tried comparing Roomba 960 to the 890, the former is a worthy purchase. Roomba 960 has been criticized for lacking Carpet Boost and shorter runtime. This is true, but again, you can’t ignore the VSLAM navigation and resume function.
3.Roomba E5 – Value for Money
iRobot shocked us at the 2018 IFA with the release of two new Roombas; E5 and i7+ The i7 Series has been on the limelight for solving the biggest challenge homeowners had; having to empty the bin frequently.
Now, Roomba i7+ comes with an iRobot CleanBase unit that empties the Roomba automatically.
Compared to Roomba 690 and 675, the new E5 has better cleaning performance. It comes with a Generation 2 motor, just like Roomba 890 and 980. Though it’s not the best there is, it can guarantee better carpet cleaning because of the higher 1000Pa suction power.
So, as far as cleaning performance is concerned, Roomba E5 is a great choice just like Roomba 890 and 960.
Another addition the Roomba E5 comes with is the longer runtime. Here, it beats the 690, 675, 890 and even the 960. In our tests on bare floors, it averaged 90 minutes when the others range between 60 minutes and 75 minutes.
Roomba E5 uses the iAdapt 1.0. Just to be clear, the Roomba E5 doesn’t have Imprint Smart Mapping, but the Roomba i7 and i7+ have this feature in the new iAdapt 3.0.
The E5 has the same SLAM navigation system like Roomba 890 and older models.
Roomba E5 vs. 890 v 960 Face to Face Comparison Review
Now that we know a thing or two about the three Roomba models, it’s time for the main business.
We will be comparing the main features and factors that are the priority when buying robot vacuums, leave alone Roombas. That puts you in a better position to pick the right Roomba depending on your needs.
We will be comparing the Roomba E5, 890 and 960 from four dimensions; design, cleaning performance and convenience.
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
The design of a vacuum cleaner directly affects its cleaning performance. Under design, several factors need to be independently factored in. Let’ look at each factor and and see what each model offers.
Most of the robot vacuum cleaners in the market take a round shape. However, we have seen D-shaped vacuums like Neato perform better on wall edges than the round counterparts like Roombas.
Weight and dimensions
Still, on design, a low profile is key to ensure the vacuum creeps under most of the household fittings without getting stuck.
The weight should also be manageable in case you have to be carrying the Roomba from downstairs to upstairs and back.
The 960 is also very similar in terms of dimensions but is negligibly heavier at 8.6 lbs.
When it comes to aesthetics, we are more concerned about the vacuum’s appearance, finish, and so on.
It’s imperative that you be able to distinguish between the three Roombas from how they look.
For the Roomba 960, we have a black finish and somewhat silver accents.
The most important consideration when choosing any cleaner is the performance, Roombas are no exception.
You need to make sure that the cleaning performance meets your cleaning needs.
When assessing the cleaning performance of robot vacuums, there are a plethora of aspects to be considered. To ensure that you get a vacuum that suits your need, we have compared all the critical factors that contribute to the conversation of cleaning performance.
We will also share our cleaning test results as usual and show the correlation between the results and the features.
You will find robot vacuums for hardwood floors, vacuums for carpets, robot vacuums for pet hair and so many other types.
So, know what your cleaning needs are and choose wisely. Let’s see how the Roombas compare in terms of cleaning priority.
Roomba 960 is quite similar to Roomba 890 in that it’s also designed for bare floors, low to medium pile carpets, pets and allergens.
It’s also ideal for high traffic rooms and large apartments courtesy of the iAdapt 2.0 VSLAM navigation and auto-resume function.
The brushroll is an integral part of the robot vacuum. It is responsible for agitation which is the first stage of the cleaning process. Different surfaces call for a different type of brush.
For the Roomba 960, we still have the same durable and efficient brush system.
Motor (vacuum power)
The last and important cleaning stage is vacuuming, and here, suction power is a major dynamics.
The motor is the component responsible for generating the vacuum power.
Irobot has three types of motors so far.
- We have the 1st Gen motors that come with Roomba 650, 675, 690 and the older series. They produce an average of 500Pa.
- We also have the 2nd Gen motors that produce an average of 1,000Pa.
- Lastly, the Gen 3 motor comes with the Roomba 980 only and generates up to 1,700Pa.
So, which motor do the three Roombas come with? Let’s find out.
The main difference between the Roomba 960 vs. 980 is the motor. Roomba 960 comes with a Gen 2 motor while the 980 has a Gen 3 motor. For such an expensive Roomba, we feel a Gen 2 motor wasn’t justice to a $700 robot vacuum.
Robot vacuums don’t just suck up the dirt; they also filter allergens and other odor-causing impurities from the atmosphere.
We have two types of filtration systems based on the kind of filter used.
- The first is HEPA filters which are 99.97% efficient and the best for pet hair and allergy sufferers.
- We also have HEPA-style filters, and these refer to filters with an efficiency ranging between 85% and 90%.
If you have pets or allergies, you need to settle on nothing less than a true HEPA filter system.
Robot vacuums require frequent bin emptying, save for the new Roomba i7+ that comes with there CleanBase technology for emptying the bin.
When choosing a robot vacuum, it is imperative that you buy one with a large bin so that you may reduce the number of times you are required to empty it. Remember, when it is full, the Roomba will stall.
Another important consideration should be the full bin indicator. Will you be notified when the bin is full?
The Roomba 890 also comes with a full bin indicator but a smaller 0.3L bin
Roombas have one unique feature called Dirt Detect. As the name suggests, this is a system that finds where there is the concentration of dirt.
So, if you spill sugar, you will see the Roomba navigate to that area and switches to pot mode. In this mode, it makes circular movements sucking up all the sugar.
There are two versions of Dirt Detect.
- We have series I that uses acoustic sensors.
- Series II that combines acoustic and optical sensors for better efficiency.
All the three Roombas come with Dirt Detect series II. However, note that Roomba 650 and 690 come with the old Dirt Detect series I.
Now, having compared the important features the Roomba 890, 960 and E5 have, let’s now look at the cleaning test results.
We tested the three vacuum in three surfaces;
- hardwood floor
- thin carpet
- high pile carpet
To give you a clear picture of the performance, we used the common household dirt as usual. We scattered Cheerios, kitty litter, a few pet hair, sugar, sawdust, rice, and sand pebbles.
So, which Roomba performed best on these surfaces?
On hardwood floors, all the Roombas were exemplary. They vacuumed all the dirt in a flash, without any trouble.
The only problem seemed to be the tiny flour particle that left a cloudy shade, but after a few passes, the floor remained clean and only mopping was needed to restore the shine.
We liked the fact that the rubber extractors were gentle on the delicate wood and left no marks like the Botvac Connected D7 when it is new.
Our rating for the three vacuums on hardwood floors is 99%.
Low pile carpets
On low pile carpets, we started to notice a difference between the three vacuums.
Now, while dirt on the hardwood was easily picked up instantly, it took a little longer for the Roombas to vacuum low pile carpets.
But it wasn’t a big deal to clear the large dirt like Cheerios, sawdust, pebbles, and rice.
The tiny dirt particles like kitty litter and flour particles were so stubborn, but in the end, they were all picked up.
Our rating for the three vacuums here is the same as well. We give them a solid 95%
High pile carpets
This is where you have to be very keen when shopping.
If you have high pile carpets, none of the three Roombas in this comparison review is ideal for the high pile.
Back to our tests, the Roomba E5, 890 and 960 only managed the large dirt particles. Sugar and flour hid deep inside the pile, and it took forever for them to be flushed out.
Here, our score for the three vacuums is 88%.
One thing we noticed about the three Roombas is that the cleaning performance is just the same. This is because the cleaning features are just the same. They all have the same Gen 2 motor, the same brush, filter system, Dirt Detect series II among others.
NAVIGATION & MANEUVERABILITY
Robot vacuums move around automatically courtesy of an elaborate navigation and maneuverability system. Several aspects fall here.
We have the navigation technology, floor mapping system and boundary marking.
Let’s discuss each of the above aspects and find out who the winner is between the three Roombas.
The backbone of the entire navigation and floor mapping system is dependent on the technology.
We have two types of the navigation system in the market;
- SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping)
- VSLAM (Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping).
When it comes to the Roomba 960, the advantage is that we have the iAdapt 2.0 VSLAM navigation. It is more accurate and precise than the 890, and that’s why it is the best inexpensive Roomba for high-traffic rooms.
When it comes to Roomba’s navigation and maneuverability, it’s not just about how it moves.
Floor mapping is also an important aspect that defines the path the Robot will follow to clean the house. This is a significant factor that determines how long the vacuum will take to clean the house, and most importantly, the efficiency.
As for the Roomba 960, we have an intelligent floor mapping system courtesy of iAdapt 2.0. At least the Roomba is now able to map and scan your house intelligently. It moves around the house methodically unlike the older system that moves randomly.
For one reason or another, you will be required to limit the Roomba from reaching certain areas.
Maybe you want it off the dog feeding area, or you don’t want it to get to some rooms.
Boundary marking technology is increasingly becoming popular. I am glad Roomba doesn’t use the physical barriers that are bulky and cumbersome to set up.
We were disappointed with the Roomba 960 now that despite the high price tag, you will still be required to buy another Virtual Walls node to at least have a pair. It would have been wise if iRobot had included a pair of Virtual Walls here, the same way they did with the Roomba 980.
One of the biggest advantages of robot vacuums and robots, in general, is the convenience. With a Roomba, you have a floor cleaning personal assistant.
But vacuums offer varying levels of convenience depending on the features.
Here are some of the important convenience features that should come up in your mind when choosing the best Roomba between the above three.
The best thing about Roombas is that they too can be programmed.
If you want to come home to a clean and freshly vacuumed house, you can set the cleaning time two hours before you leave the office. If you want the house cleaned after breakfast, you can as well set the exact time you always finish breakfast.
One thing about all robot vacuum is that they are cordless and thus come with rechargeable batteries. The batter determines how long the vacuum will run, and consequently, the size of the floor it will clean on a single charge.
When discussing the autonomy of robot vacuums, the conversation goes beyond and require us to find out how the Roomba recharge, and most importantly, whether they will resume cleaning after recharging.
So, how doe Roomba E5 v 960 v 890 compare here?
When it comes to the Roomba 960, we see a small improvement in the 2600mAh battery capacity and consequently, the runtime. This model can last for around 75 minutes before retreating to the dock for recharging. It takes 2-3 hours to recharge also and fortunately, Roomba 960 resumes cleaning after recharging giving it the edge over the 890 and E5.
Let’s dig deeper and see how the three vacuums compare.
When it comes to Roomba 960, we also have the Smartphone app control and Alexa compatibility. The difference is the extra app features like Clean Map reports.
Roomba E5 vs. 890 v 960; Who’s the winner?
Having compared all the features and aspects that matter, we’ve seen that each Roomba has its strengths, and weakness as well. But at the end of the day, there has to be a winner as this was a competition.
Before we declare our winner, here are a few takeaways about each model.
The Roomba 960 was among the high-end Roombas but thanks to market forces, its price is coming down to the $500 region. That’s a nice bargain for a Roomba with iAdapt 2.0 VSLAM navigation and auto-resume function. The biggest sacrifice is Carpet Boost;
Now, who’s the winner between these three models?
Well, the Roomba 960 is the best choice here, and the reason is simple; it is the best Roomba for large apartments and high traffic rooms. Regarding cleaning performance, convenience and design, there is no much difference between these three models.
Roomba 960 has an efficient navigation system; iAdapt 2.0 which uses a camera and sensors for more precise navigation. It will hardly hit obstacles or get stuck like Roomba 690, 675, 890 and the E5.
Regarding large apartments, at least its floor scanning and mapping is VSLAM based meaning it will use the most efficient cleaning pattern for faster and efficient vacuuming. The rest of the vacuums in this comparison review have iAdapt 1.0 SLAM mapping which is accurate but not as efficient as iAdapt 2.0.
Large apartments also require longer runtime. Even though the E5 has a battery with slightly higher capacity, Roomba 960 is the winner as it can recharge and resume cleaning.
1. Can you use Roomba without WiFi?
Some homeowners who don’t have Wi-Fi are worried that they may not be able to use the Roomba totally. This is not true. You can still use the Roomba via manual operation. The only limit will be Smartphone app operation, Alexa, and wireless connectivity in general.
2. Which Roomba model is best?
The battle of the best Roomba is between Roomba 980 and i7+. I wouldn’t say that there is one best choice because they offer two unique and irresistible features.
Roomba 980 boasts Carpet Boost which makes it an all round vacuum cleaner. However, you have to bear the burden of emptying the bin now and then.
On the other side, you have the Roomba i7+ that comes with a self-emptying bin that will make you forget about bin emptying for a month. It also boasts the new Imprint Smart Mapping system that knows all your rooms, just as you do. On the downside, it lacks Carpet Boost and ha shorter runtime.
Find out more in our Roomba 980 vs. i7+ comparison review. Regarding price, they are all in the same $900 region.
3. Can Roomba be used on multiple floors?
Yes. The latest Roombas, for example, the Roomba 960, 980, i7 and i7+ come with a dual combo brush with one for the tough carpets and another for hard floors, including the delicate types like hardwood.
That’s it ladies and gentlemen; a Roomba E5 vs. 890 v 960 comparison review.
It’s clear that the Roomba 960 is the best model here, but then, its price is a little bit on the higher end. However, if you have a large apartment and high traffic rooms, the $150 or so price difference shouldn’t be a bother. The new iAdapt 2.0 VSLAM navigation and the auto-resume function make it a cut above the rest.
On the other hand, budget shoppers can still grab the new Roomba E5; affordable and reliable. In the market, you will find the Roomba 890 retailing at a higher price than this new Roomba.
If you are in a dilemma between Roomba E5 vs. 890, grab the former without thinking twice. It has everything the Roomba 890 boasts and actually ha longer runtime.