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Let’s start with the price (Check on Amazon.com), which is high but fair considering that this device shares numerous features of its high-end sibling like the excellent camera, a solid smartphone app with detailed reports and voice controls via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The only flaw? A slightly less powerful motor, which doesn’t adversely affect everyday use.
Most vacuum cleaner robots are programmed with a set of cleaning patterns, which can be very frustrating, but the iRobot Roomba 960 is much smarter than the rest of the products in this price range.
It uses a different approach: Thanks to the embedded camera, it manages to avoid the furniture and calculate a new trajectory around them.
Excellent cleaning power on a variety of floor types
The iRobot 960 works well on different floor types. I was pleasantly surprised to watch for the first time robot clean my floors from top to bottom without ever stopping, return to the same clean spot over and over again, or completely forego cleaning an entire area.
It is not perfect. As it was cleaning under my TV cabinet, it got jammed and was unable to come out. However, it is possible to avoid similar inconveniences by eliminating this micro-area from its cleaning map.
What about the noise?
The 960 is surprisingly silent. Of course, you will know when it’s turned on and actively cleaning, but it is much less noisy than other robot vacuum cleaners. So far, only the Eufy RoboVac 11 (Check on Amazon.com) has been quieter.
The iRobot Roomba 960 can clean continuously for about 70 minutes. It doesn’t have the longest battery life, but it is quite acceptable, especially for those living in an apartment.
The Roomba 960 vs. the 980
The 960 is lighter since it has a less powerful motor – it inherited the motor from the 880 model. The other difference is in battery life: the 980 has an autonomy of about 90 minutes.
But the main difference between these two devices is the “Cleaning Preferences” feature, present only in the newest model. This allows you to customize the number of times the 980 will clean a certain area of your home.
The iRobot Roomba 960 is not cheap, but if we compare it with some of its main rivals it’s not that expensive either.
If you can’t decide between the 960 and the 980, you should consider these two factors: the type(s) of the floor you have and the size of your home. Unless you live in a really big house with lots of carpets, then the 960 (Check on Amazon.com) is the better choice. Otherwise, you should consider spending (Check on Amazon.com) for the 980.