Roombas have been around since the very early 2000s, and the name is now practically synonymous with “robot vacuum”. iRobot, the company that makes them, was the pioneer – and their products are still considered the benchmark by which all others are measured.
If you want to own one of these ground-breaking home robots but don’t know which one to go for, here are our top picks for best Roomba on the market to help you make up your mind.
At a Glance: Our Top 7 Picks for Roomba Models On the Market
Best Overall : Roomba 690 Robotic Vacuum
“It is suitable for practically all kinds of surface and can easily transition between carpet and hard floors – and vice versa.”
Best Budget: Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum
“You have the option of pre-programming it to clean up to seven times a week or simply hitting the “start” button when you want to initiate a cleaning cycle.”
Best Battery Life: Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum
“This unit can clean uninterrupted for up to 120 minutes before it needs to recharge.”
Best for Carpet: Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum
“It includes Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes that are in constant contact with carpets and hard surfaces alike, improving its cleaning ability.”
Best for Smart Homes: Roomba I7+ Robotic Vacuum
“This version has an even more advanced mapping system than 900 series Roombas that allows it to scan and learn the layout of your home.”
Best for Cleaning Under Furniture: Roomba 880 Robotic Vacuum
“At only 3.6” in height, it can clean under furniture or in other places that you might otherwise miss.”
Best for Pet Hair: Roomba 890 Robotic Vacuum
“It boasts AeroForce technology that gives you 5 times the power of the 600 series machines.”
Roomba Comparison Chart 2020
The Best Roomba Models On the Market of 2020
1. Best Overall: Roomba 690 Robotic Vacuum
The Roomba 690 is one of the company’s best all-around models on the market. It is suitable for practically all kinds of surface and can easily transition between carpet and hard floors – and vice versa. It also has special technology that allows it to detect the surface type and adjust accordingly.
It is very convenient to control. It connects to the Wi-Fi in your home and is controlled via a smartphone app that allows you to program schedules and start cleaning cycles wherever you are. You also receive alerts and reports, even when you are not at home.
You can use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to activate and control it via voice command.
This Roomba features a highly effective three-stage cleaning system that loosens, lifts and then sucks up dirt, allowing it to give carpets and other surfaces a thorough clean.
Its Dirt Detect technology lets it sense areas that are particularly dirty so it can work harder where necessary, and its low profile allows it to clean easily underneath furniture and other obstacles – places you might miss if you were cleaning with a regular-style vacuum.
There’s an edge-sweeping feature, too, ensuring that it doesn’t miss any dirt or dust, even when cleaning along walls.
With 90 minutes of battery life, the Roomba 690 can reliably clean spaces as big as 1,000 square feet.
You also get a one dual-mode invisible Virtual Wall that lets you set areas as “out of bounds”. This is a much better system than the unsightly magnetic strips that are used by some of the competitors.
On the downside, it cleans by following a random pattern and doesn’t have virtual mapping, making it less efficient than more advanced machines This also means it can sometimes have trouble finding its way home after cleaning.
However, machines with this ability cost a lot more, and it still does a good job for this price.
Another downside is that it isn’t great if you have lots of pet hair to deal with. While it will pick up pet hair, there are other Roombas that do a better job, so if you have pets, you might prefer to consider other options.
Overall, we love this Roomba for its all-round ability. It’s not a top-of-the-range machine, but for the price, it does an excellent job and can really help reduce the amount of time you spend on housework. A highly recommended option, especially for first-time Roomba users.
What We Like
- Controlled remotely via app – also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Features 3-stage cleaning – loosens, lifts and then sucks up dirt
- Dirt Detect technology – works harder in dirtier areas
- Suitable for carpets and hard floors – and transitions easily between types
- Good battery life – runs for up to 90 minutes on a single charge
What We Don’t Like
- Cleans in a random pattern – and doesn’t always manage to find the dock
- Not the best option for pets – although it can still do the job
2. Best Budget: Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum
If you like the idea of owning a Roomba to help you with the housework but you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with the more advanced models, this could be the one for you.
Roomba 650 has all the basic features that made Roomba a household name, but it doesn’t overcomplicate things.
For example, it incorporates the three-stage cleaning system that loosens dirt, lifts it and then sucks it up, ensuring your carpets and other surfaces receive the most thorough clean possible.
It is able to detect the type of floor it is cleaning and adapt its cleaning mode, and it can easily transition between carpet and hard floors and then back. This means it is ideal for almost any type of surface as well as homes with multiple surface types.
With iAdapt technology, it can easily avoid furniture and other obstacles as it makes its way around your floor.
With this model, you have the option of pre-programming it to clean up to seven times a week or simply hitting the “start” button when you want to initiate a cleaning cycle. It will then clean until the battery starts to get low before returning to the dock to recharge.
However, this vac doesn’t have any mapping technology and simply cleans in a random pattern – although this is understandable at this price point and is not a criticism.
One possible downside for some people might be that this model doesn’t support app control – with the 650, you can’t control it if you’re away from home and you won’t be able to receive reports on your phone. Also, it isn’t compatible with Alexa or Google assistant
Another issue is that it can sometimes struggle with dark surfaces – the sensors may detect them as holes or drops, and it will avoid them.
However, despite these limitations, it is still a highly effective machine on the market that does a good job of vacuuming floors. For anyone interested in owning a Roomba but who doesn’t want anything fancy, this budget-friendly model could be a great pick.
What We Like
- iAdapt sensors – help it navigate around obstacles in your room
- 3-stage cleaning – loosens, lifts and sucks
- Low profile – can clean under furniture and in other tight spots
- Auto-adjusts to floor type – suitable for carpets and hard floors
- Auto-return – goes back to the dock automatically when battery is low
What We Don’t Like
- No app control – and doesn’t work with Alexa or Google Assistant
- Struggles with dark areas – sensors can detect them as holes
3. Best Battery Life: Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum
The Roomba 980 is one of iRobot’s top-end models and boasts some of the most advanced features found in any Roomba robots on the market.
The three-stage cleaning system found in older models was upgraded for this version and delivers 10 times the power of the 600 series models.
It automatically detects the type of floor it is cleaning – as with previous models – but now also incorporates a Power Boost mode that is activated when vacuuming on carpet, ensuring this model can suck up even more dirt, dust and debris than less advanced Roombas.
One of the biggest upgrades is the navigation system. With an advanced model like this, it no longer cleans in a random pattern but rather uses virtual mapping technology in conjunction with visual sensors to clean more efficiently than previous versions.
By building up a map of your home, this Roomba knows where it has been and where it still needs to go. This allows it to follow a methodical pattern to make sure it doesn’t miss a spot.
Even if the battery runs low during a cleaning session and it needs to return home, it will remember where it stopped and return to that position to continue working at the start of the next cycle.
Battery life is another positive on the 980 – this unit can clean uninterrupted for up to 120 minutes before it needs to recharge – although it will be less than this if it needs to vacuum on carpet.
This is also a good pick if you have pets. It does a good job of sucking up stubborn animal hair from your floors and then traps over 99% of the microparticles, dust and allergens away inside thanks to the advanced filter system.
Finally, as you would expect, this unit is controlled by smartphone app and will send you alerts and updates of its progress. You can use the app to control it from wherever you are, and it is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, meaning it also responds to voice commands.
Even with a model of this quality, there are still a few negatives to point out.
Like most other robot vacs on the market, the 980 needs to be emptied regularly due to its size, possibly as often as every day, depending on how much dirt and dust it picks up. If you want to empty less often, you’ll need to look at the i7+ model.
Also, it can have problems with dark floors since the sensors can detect them as gaps. This is something the technology still hasn’t quite managed to overcome.
However, apart from these issues – which for many people won’t be issues at all – this is an impressive machine that will significantly reduce the amount of work you have to do to keep your floors in perfect condition.
An excellent upgrade pick for anyone who wants a state-of-the-art robot vacuum that will take care of floors efficiently, effectively and with a minimum of fuss.
What We Like
- AeroForce 3-stage cleaning – delivers up to 10x the power of the 600 series
- Adjusts automatically to surface type – employs Power Boost tech on carpets
- Advanced filter – removes and traps over 99% of dust and pet allergens
- Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes – flex to stay in contact with all surfaces
- Exceptional battery life – can clean for up to two hours on one charge
What We Don’t Like
- Needs to be emptied regularly – this common problem hasn’t been solved
- Struggles with very dark areas – like many other robot vacuums
4. Best for Carpet: Roomba 960 Robotic Vacuum
The Roomba 960 was released a few months after the 980 model and was designed to make the advanced technology of the 980 available at a lower price point.
This means it features the same virtual mapping technology that allows it to remember where it’s been and to organize its cleaning accordingly. It got a lot of good reviews in the market.
This is much more efficient than following a random pattern and is one of the most significant upgrades in 900 series.
Just like other Roomba, it also incorporates a high-quality filter that traps over 99% of dust, microparticles and pet allergens inside, helping to improve your air quality and alleviate allergic reactions.
It has the same AeroForce three-stage cleaning system as the 980 – but this model can only produce five times the power of the 600 series models rather than 10 times. This is one area where the 960 is slightly inferior to the 980.
However, like the 980, it includes Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes that are in constant contact with carpets and hard surfaces alike, improving its cleaning ability.
So why is this version so much less expensive? The answer is that there are also a few other areas where it can’t quite match the 980.
The 960 has a slightly less powerful motor – this version uses the same motor as the 800 series Roombas rather than the upgraded version found in the 980.
Importantly, it doesn’t have the Carpet Boost technology that the 980 carries. It can adapt itself to different surfaces, but it is unable to boost its power in the same way as the 980.
Finally, the battery life is significantly shorter, and with this model, you can only expect around 75 minutes or so per charge.
Since it remembers where it finished and continues from thereafter charging, this isn’t such a big deal, but it still means the 960 can’t do nearly as much work as the more advanced model each time it leaves its dock.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about this machine, and for some people, it might be a better option than the 980.
If you have a smaller apartment or have mainly hard surfaces, the shorter battery life and the lack of Carpet Boost tech might not be an issue. In this case, opting for the 960 could be a smart way to get your hands on an advanced Roomba at a far more affordable price.
What We Like
- Advanced mapping system – highly efficient way to clean
- AeroForce 3-stage tech – delivers 5x the power of the 600 serious Roombas
- More affordable than the 980 – retails at a significantly lower price point
- Advanced anti-allergen filter – helps improve the quality of your air
- Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes – improves performance on all surfaces
What We Don’t Like
- No Carpet Boost tech – cleans carpets like older Roomba models
- Shorter battery life – runs for only around 75 minutes per charge
5. Best for Smart Homes: Roomba I7+ Robotic Vacuum
While no longer the most advanced Roomba available – the i7+ has now been superseded by even more advanced models – this unit offers one major upgrade over the 900 series robots as well as several other welcome improvements.
Since they first appeared, robot vacuums have all shared the same problem. Due to their compact size, they can only hold a small amount of dirt before they need to be emptied – usually as often as once a day.
While the short time it takes to empty a Roomba is nothing compared to how long you would spend manually vacuuming a room, this one limitation means these robots have never been truly autonomous.
With the i7+, iRobot finally solved this problem – this model features a home base into which it empties its load automatically when it returns to charge its battery, meaning that instead of emptying it every day, you can leave it for up to 60 days without supervision.
However, this is not the only upgrade. This version has an even more advanced mapping system than 900 series Roombas that allows it to scan and learn the layout of your home.
This opens up all kinds of new possibilities. For example, you can schedule which rooms to clean and in which order or you can set zones as out of bounds, all on our phone using the app. This model offers much more functionality than previous iterations.
Many of the other great features that are present in the 900 series models are still found in the i7+. It still has 10 times the suction power of 600 series models and still boasts advanced three-stage cleaning for a deep, thorough clean. It also incorporates anti-allergen filters.
One possible negative that some people might not appreciate is that the home base uses bags. Some people might feel that this is wasteful and would prefer a bagless design – and the specialist bags also don’t come cheap.
The only other real complaint is that it’s quite noisy, although for powerful unit this is understandable. However, there is a simple solution – you simply program it to clean while you’re out, and it will never bother you.
All in all, this machine includes some welcome upgrades that make it worth the extra money. If you are looking for an advanced robot vac on the market that has finally solved the problem of needing to be emptied every day, this could be the one for you.
What We Like
- Empties itself at the dock – you can leave it to clean for up to 60 days
- Advanced mapping tech – learn the layout of your home
- Improved app functionality – set no-go areas and choose which rooms to clean
- Good suction power – 10x the 600 series robots
- High-quality filters – effectively trap allergens inside
What We Don’t Like
- Uses bags – not ecological as well as being expensive
- Noisy option – although you can easily set it to run while you’re out
6. Best for Cleaning Under Furniture: Roomba 880 Robotic Vacuum
If you don’t feel you need a vac that’s as advanced as one of the 900 series or the i7+ but still want a high-performance Roomba, one of the 800 series models might be a better pick.
880 has the same AeroForce three-stage cleaning system that has long been a feature of Roombas, and the 880 provides five times more suction power than models from the 600 series.
At only 3.6” in height, it can also clean under furniture or in other places that you might otherwise miss.
The 880 uses the original version of the iAdapt technology with a suite of sensors that it uses to find its way around. It has no problem navigating furniture and other obstacles to give your floor a thorough clean.
Something we really like about the 880 is the Virtual Lighthouse system. This allows you to either block a room completely or force it to remain in a room until it sends a signal to say the room is finished, at which point it is allowed to move on to the next room.
However, compared to some of the other models available, it has a few limitations. It has a fairly short battery life and can only run for an hour before returning home to recharge.
Another downside for some people might be that it is controlled by remote rather than via app, which also means there is no Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility. If you prefer to control your vacuum from your phone, this is not the right model for you.
The 880 is a mid-range model. It has some advantages over the 600 series models but also doesn’t have some of the more advanced features of the 900 series machines.
If you want something a step up from the most basic machines from the market, but are unwilling to pay for one of the top-end options, the 880 could be a great compromise.
What We Like
- AeroForce 3-stage cleaning – delivers 5x more power than 600 series models
- Virtual Lighthouse – can block the Roomba or make it clean a room until finished
- High-quality HEPA filters – traps dust and allergens inside
- Multiple-room navigation – can clean up to 3 rooms
- Programmable schedule – can clean up to 7 times a week
What We Don’t Like
- Shorter battery life – runs for only around an hour
- No app control – controlled by remote only
7. Best for Pet Hair: Roomba 890 Robotic Vacuum
The Roomba 890 is a slightly more advanced model than the 880 that offers a few slight improvements but is otherwise a very similar machine. It can almost match the performance of the 900 series models but doesn’t offer the advantage of virtual mapping.
Compared to the 880, this version offers better battery life – it can clean for around 90 minutes on each charge, one clear advantage this machine has over the other model in the same series.
However, the most significant difference is in how the two vacs are controlled. While the 880 is controlled by remote, this one is controlled via app on a smartphone.
This opens up a whole range of new possibilities like being able to program schedules or starting a cleaning cycle while you are not at home. It is also compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, meaning it can be activated by voice command too.
Since it is controlled by the app, the design is also quite different. It has far fewer buttons on the actual robot since it doesn’t need them for programming and activation, making it a sleeker, classier looking machine.
Otherwise, almost everything else is there that you would expect.
It boasts AeroForce technology that gives you five times the power of the 600 series machines, it has Dirt Detect tech, so it knows when to work harder, and its Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes that ensure a deeper clean.
One slightly bizarre difference is that this model doesn’t use the same Virtual Lighthouse system as the 880 that forces it to remain in a room until the room is clean. Instead, it uses a Virtual Wall Barrier system that simply prevents it from passing.
This is a strange decision by iRobot since we feel the Virtual Lighthouse is a better system with more functionality.
Also, as we mentioned before, this version doesn’t have virtual mapping. It is the most advanced model not to include this technology, instead, relying on a random cleaning pattern to clean your floors.
All in all, this would be the model to go for if you want the most effective cleaning robot in the Roomba range without moving up to the 900 series and virtual mapping. If you are not willing to pay for a 900 series model but want the best of the rest, this is probably the one to go for on the market.
What We Like
- Longer battery life – can work for up to 90 minutes per charge
- Controlled by app – and offers Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility
- Dual Multi-Surface rubber brushes – for a deeper clean on all surfaces
- AeroForce tech for more power – generates 5x the force of a 600 series model
- Dirt Detect tech – senses extra-dirty patches and works harder where needed
What We Don’t Like
- No Virtual Lighthouse – uses Virtual Wall Barrier instead
- Random cleaning pattern – does not have virtual mapping
Let’s start at the beginning – what’s a Roomba? Roomba is a brand of robot vacuum cleaner made by the company iRobot that can be programmed to clean your floor at a predetermined time each day.
They leave their docking station at the set time, vacuum your floor and then automatically return “home” to recharge when the battery runs low.
Perhaps once, robot vacuums were something of a gimmick. They might have been cool to own but weren’t really very useful. However, nowadays, they are a viable way to help keep your floors clean and dirt-free – and Roombas are among the best machines available on the market.
All Roombas share many common features, but there are also several areas where they can differ significantly – so first, let’s compare Roomba models and think about the most important differences to help you understand what to look for.
If there’s one thing that marks out the most advanced Roombas from those that went before, it’s the development of virtual mapping technology.
Whereas Roombas right up to the 800 series clean simply by following a random pattern, the 900 series introduced technology to make the process much more methodical.
Essentially, the older versions clean in a rather haphazard way. They simply trundle along until they meet an obstacle and then change direction. Eventually, they will clean everywhere – it’s just a question of time – but they might miss areas on any particular day.
With the newer, more advanced models, cleaning is more systematic. These new machines remember where they have been and where they still need to go, following a clear plan.
They can even remember where they finished cleaning when they stopped the last cycle and will return there to continue when they begin again.
The new technology has resulted in a much more efficient way to clean.
The tech is still developing though, and the very latest models now “learn” your floorplan. You can then set no-go areas or tell them which rooms to clean in which order via the app and they will know exactly where to go.
However, Roombas with these capabilities are also the most expensive, so you need to decide if you are willing to pay top-end prices for the most cutting-edge technology.
One area where there is some variation between models is battery life. Some models can only run for around an hour while others will go for up to two on a single charge.
All Roombas return to base to recharge automatically when the battery is low, but longer battery life will allow your Roomba to cover more ground each time it cleans.
An important point to consider is the control method. Roombas have been around much longer than smartphones, and the original versions were operated by buttons on the robot.
Nowadays, you can choose between models that are controlled by remote or those that are controlled via smartphone app.
The advantage of the more advanced app-controlled models is that you can operate them remotely when you are not even at home. They also send alerts and reports to your phone to let you know about their progress.
The very newest models are adding even even more functionality and options based on the app, and if this is important to you, don’t forget to check it out when deciding which to buy.
All Roombas feature a three-stage cleaning system that loosens, lifts and then sucks up dirt. However, this has improved as Roombas have evolved, and the suction power is now much stronger than before.
Newer Roombas can produce five times, 10 times or even as much to 40 times the power of 600 series models, something else to pay attention to when choosing the right Roomba for you.
Many great options to choose from
As you can see, there is a wide range of Roombas to pick from with varying capabilities and at a range of price points on the market. Sometimes, the hardest thing can be deciding which is the best Roomba to go for.
If you have made up your mind to invest in a Roomba but are still unsure which is the right model for you, any of our top picks would be a great place to start looking.