iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐:halfstar:



To Buy Or Not Summary

:star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 3251 customers
4.5 out of 5
  • Amazon Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::emptystar: by 1008 customers
    4.2 out of 5
  • Best Buy Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 618 customers
    4.6 out of 5
  • Walmart Customer Reviews
    :star::star::star::star::halfstar: by 1625 customers
    4.6 out of 5


  • iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization enables Roomba to navigate and clean an entire level of your home
  • Runs for up to 120 minutes, then automatically recharges and resumes cleaning to complete the entire job
  • iRobot HOME App lets you clean, schedule & set custom cleaning preferences from your smartphone
  • AeroForce Cleaning System with Carpet Boost automatically provides up to 10x the air power on carpets and rugs
  • Tangle-free extractors prevent hair and debris jams
  • Buy
  • Don’t buy

0 voters


Amazon Review by John :star::star::star::star::star:

1138 people found the following review helpful

A solid improvement to the Roomba -- by far my favorite robotic vacuum!

I purchased the Roomba 980 as my 5th robotic vacuum (I've previously owned the Roomba 880, Neato BotVac 65, Roomba 655, Neato XV-11, and a few more). Long story short, this is by far the best robotic vacuum cleaner I've ever used, and I highly recommend it if you can stomach the price. You are getting a robot that's second to none in terms of cleaning power, navigational finesse, and ease-of-maintenance. I've been composing a long running review of this robot, and here's 2 weeks worth of detailed observations:

Appearance and Physical Design:
The AeroForce bin latch is sturdier than the 880’s design. The latch has more travel length and it’s a lot easier to remove the bin and more importantly, replace it and feel it “click in”. 4 months into using the 880, that’s the #1 wear and tear on my Roomba. The bin after 100 daily emptyings feels flimsy and doesn’t seem to consistently click back in. This bin seems like it will last longer
The new color looks a lot more attractive in person than before.
The underbody design looks almost identical to the 880. Other than a new bin/impeller design, the rest of the CHM appears unchanged.
The caster wheel is still white and black, but the optical sensor underneath it is gone. It looks like odometry is purely done using the new optical floor tracking sensor on the underside. It reminds me of the mechanism an optical mouse used to track a desk.

Cleaning Performance
Wow, Carpet Boost mode is loud! It’s basically as loud as a Neato now, including a bit of a high pitched component to the fan sounds. I would say it’s about twice as loud as the 880 was, when cleaning carpet, and about the same loudness on hard floors.
Standing behind the robot, you can feel a lot more wind coming out of the robot – at least twice as much. It’s apparent it’s generating much more suction power than the Roomba 880
I am running the 980 3 hours after my Roomba 880’s scheduled cleaning today. So far, it’s picked up a light layer of dust clinging to the filter (which is usual), but it also picked up a lot of big sand-like particles at the bottom of the bin, which is more like the stuff my fullsize Dyson upright picks out of my carpet when I manually vacuum every 3 months. So, it does seem like suction power is deeper than before.
So far, my observations are inconsistent with what CNET is claiming – the cleaning effectiveness does not seem worse compared to the 880. If anything, it seems better.

Navigation Observations
The Roomba 980 does indeed draw straight lines in open areas, which is excellent.
Unlike the Neato (which likes to circle off a region around the edges before then drawing straight lines), the Roomba 980 goes right down to drawing straight lines. When it bumps into an obstacle, it just seems to ignore it and continues drawing lines. This makes it seem more productive than a Neato – within 15 minutes it covered 50% of my apartment, including the entire living room and a bedroom. It hasn’t done the edges of these rooms yet, but it got most of the floor area covered.
Speaking of bumping into obstacles, Roomba remembers now! Remember how before, if you had black chair legs or some other IR-invisible obstacle, Roomba would ram it at full speed over and over again? Now, it seems to remember where invisible obstacles are. It bumped into my bed’s black metal legs once each, and then drew a circle around them. Next time it went in that direction, it stopped 1 inch before the leg and turned around. This is huge if you have a lot of furniture that Roomba has trouble seeing.
As shipped, the partial battery charge seems good for 25 minutes of Carpet Boost runtime. After 25 minutes, it’s cleaned 2 rooms fully – one room is edged, the other room has not been edged yet. It navigated back to the base with ease – reminds me of a Neato!
The overall travel speed is very similar to a Roomba 880, not as slow as I had feared. Note that every few times it bumps into unexpected obstacles, it pauses for about 1 second, presumably updating its map. Other than that, I actually think it cleans faster than the Neato BotVac 65 that I have – it’s much quicker to make its turns when drawing lines, and it spend much less time paused and thinking.
The navigation algorithm does seem to get confused from time to time. I have an IKEA Poang chair in a dimly lit room, and I observed the robot go under and out of the chair maybe 3 times in total, seemingly confused every time it hit one of the chair legs. It would turn around and head back into open space, realize where it is, then turn around and continue cleaning under the chair. Of course, it eventually figured it out.
Roomba cannot cope with pitch black rooms – If Roomba goes into a room that’s completely dark, it sometimes will get totally confused and stop with a fault code. This is unfortunate – I would rather it fall back to the 880 style random bouncing behavior until it finds its bearings again.
Sometimes in narrow gaps, it stupidly decides to make its lines in the short direction, when it could’ve just made one or two long passes to cover the same region instead of turning around and around 10 times. That’s probably harder for the robot to figure out than a human observer!
Finding the base: The Roomba goes back to its home base by first navigating to about 5 feet in front of the base. Then it seems to revert to its old S shaped pattern for centering itself in the tractor beam and getting on.
If it fails to dock the first time, it goes through a lengthy 5+ minute sequence of driving around the base, presumably looking at landmarks, before attempting to dock again. This behavior seemed kind of strange.
Speaking of finding the base: I’ve found that it takes some amount of time / cleaning for Roomba to get its bearings about where its base is. If within the first few minutes of cleaning you request it to return to base, I’ve found it has a pretty high chance of getting lost then giving up. But I’ve never seen it get lost after it cleans for more than 5 minutes.
Unlike the Neato, the Roomba navigation algorithm does not appear to be sensitive to moving objects in the frame, or you observing it. I find that when you walk nearby a running Neato, you can cause it to pause and recompute its environment. The Roomba didn’t seem to care at all that I was watching, or even walking right in front of it. Even moving a chair around or throwing a new pillow on the ground didn’t seem to affect Iit. These are things that caused problems for me with Neato’s algorithm.

The App
Roomba made a ballsy move – it’s not so much that the 980 has an app – it requires an app to access a lot of functionality. You must use the app to create a schedule. Most of the troubleshooting tones now say “open the Roomba app for more info”. You must use the app to change the cleaning preferences like number of passes. With that said, the robot still will run just by pressing the CLEAN button.
Setup is extremely simple. Basically, to pair the robot with your smart device, you need to press two buttons on the robot to put it in pairing mode. It will broadcast a “Roomba” wifi network and you can connect to it. Once you do, the app pairs to the Roomba, and you can hop back to your original wifi and control it. There is no cloud account to create for controlling the Roomba, which is great if you live with roommates and want all of them to share access to the Roomba without having to all agree on an email / password.
The app is super quick and the cloud control is responsive. No router / port forwarding setup is required, and commands seem to immediately be acknowledge by the robot.
One gripe: Every time you change a setting, the Roomba itself makes a beeping sound to acknowledge that it received the message. This is really annoying, because during the process of making a schedule you are flipping so many switches that the Roomba is constantly beeping.
When Roomba goes back to charge, the app shows a countdown of how many minutes until Roomba continues. I’ve found that when you start with a full battery, it wants to go back and charge for 30 minutes. When you start with a near empty battery like when the robot ships, it will go back and charge for 60 minutes.
The app has a “Care” screen that keeps track of what maintenance tasks you need to do: “Bin”, “Core Robot”, “Debris Extractors”. Each has a progress bar – when the bar is full, you should perform that maintenance task. Drilling down into it, you can watch a video or read a text description of what needs to be done. Combined with how easy the AeroForce design is to clean, this might be the most straightforward robot in terms of maintenance!
The “History” page has some fun stats, including the number of jobs done, total time cleaning, total area cleaned, total Dirt Detect events, etc etc etc. It also keeps a running log of these stats for each job. This makes it easy to track, for example, how many times the robot got stuck, had a fault, etc.
The robot has a Software Updates page, and appears to get updates from the internet. My current version is “1.2.3”.
The app does not do any sort of push notifications for faults or status. You have to open the app to check it. I wish it supported push notifications, as the novelty of opening the app will surely fade.
I also wish there’s a way to see the map being built from the app. No practical reason, just it’s fun to watch and understand how the robot is navigating.

Other Observations
 Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency!  The Roomba 980 is the most efficient bot that I’ve tested yet. Even compared to the BotVac. It cleans methodically from where it starts, and it spends most of its time doing straight line cleaning, with very few pauses to think. This might be the first bot that’s worth running right before guests come over as opposed to using a manual vacuum cleaner. The cleaning pattern is predictable and fast enough that it makes comparable progress to a human.
This is the first Roomba, thanks to li-ion, that you are allowed to use right out of the box. All previous Roombas instructed you to charge the robot for hours before using it. What fun is that when you just bought a new toy???

Overall Impressions So Far

This does seem to be a best-of-both-worlds robot: It has the obstacle / cord-tangle immunity of the Roomba 880, plus navigation smarts that would make a Neato sweat. The price tag is pretty insane, but so far it’s definitely taking its place as the leading mapping robot (of course, barring the Dyson 360 Eye we haven’t seen in the USA yet)
The Roomba 980’s form of navigation absolutely feels more robust than the Neato’s. Roomba boasts its use of “sensor fusion”, and I think the main customer benefit there is that the robot remembers when it hits an obstacle it didn’t see with the vision camera, and will remember that and avoid hitting it over and over again. This form of memory is incredibly useful, especially when there’s an obstacle near its logical path from room to room. - Customer Reviews: iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner


Walmart Review by Fancy Stitcher :star::star::star::star::star:

Helps my back and hip pain!

Martha has really been a help to me. I have back and hip pain that is aggravated when I use a regular vac. Martha frees up time for me to do other household tasks so that is a real plus. I still need to do upholstery. We have some linoleum but mostly carpet. I use Martha on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the high traffic areas--we live on a farm. On Thursday, I close off the areas I did on Wednesday and do the remaining rooms. Dividing up the house over two days time works best for me. Martha has become caught under the toe kick on the kitchen island a couple of times. She stopped with an error message but resumed once I freed her. She also locked herself in a bathroom that had an extended door stop. When she bumped into the door, the door closed. I now shut the door and do that room with a regular vac. Several people complain about the noise. The robot's noise is nothing compared to a regular vac. My biggest caution is when working around the robot, I have to monitor its whereabouts so I don't trip. - Customer Reviews: iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner


thanks :+1:

iRobot Roomba 980 UNBOXING & DEMO!


Best Buy Review by RaggedRocks :star::star::star::star::star:

Makes cleaning much simpler

My wife and I had discussed buying a robot vacuum cleaner. She was adamant against it for the house, so I decided to buy this for my home office as a Xmas present for myself. We set it up on Christmas day and within 10 minutes of operations, my wife said it would never see my home office.

So we have been using it for the last 3 weeks and here are my observations:
1.) The unit lives up to its claim to not get entangled with cords and carpets.
2.) Cleaning a 1,700 sq ft single level has been taking about 5 hours; Much more time than if we were going to vacuum manually. But no one has to be there when it is vacuuming and it is not a big deal do multiple vacuuming a week keeping the house very clean (or at least the carpet). Just use the app to schedule the vacuuming to start on a work day as soon as everyone has left. When you get home the house will be clean.
3.) The bin is not really as big as required for my house. The good news its when it is filled it will return to home and post a message to the app. Empty the bin and it will continue cleaning. But once we scheduled the unit to run multiple times per week, then we found we could run the unit during the day without it stopping for a bin emptying. And besides running the unit multiple times a week makes the house look nice.
4.) The Roomba 980 has no problems with pine needles … but remember my earlier comment about bin capacity.
5.) The battery seems to last between 1-2 hours. When the battery runs out of juice it goes back to the home station to recharge for about 50 minutes.
6.) If you have clutter on the floor it will go in seemingly random patterns. I did some testing last week and was able to verify that it really does cover all of the non-cluttered parts of the floor. But there does seem to be a slight miss in corners.
7.) One of the most interesting advantages to the Roomba is everyone knows they need to keep the clutter off the floor for best vacuuming. This human factor is really keeping the house looking clean.
8.) Disappointed that the Roomba 980 cannot get under our sofas as I saw in a couple of YouTubes. So periodically we will still need to bring out the vacuum cleaner.
9.) Addressing the elephant in the room, this unit is expensive. But at $100-200 for a cleaning service each month, I am already seeing that the unit is going to save money (even if we break down and purchase a second unit) and the house is already cleaner than when we had a cleaning lady.
10.) The unit automatically adjusts the intensity as it moves between hardwood and carpeted floors. Unfortunately, when it is going over the carpets it is as loud as a regular vacuum cleaner. So, you don’t want to run it while your favorite TV series is playing…this comes back to my earlier recommendation to run it during the day.
11.) The spot cleaning feature is interesting. The Roomba 980 weighs less than our old vacuum cleaners, so it is easy to pickup the unit and drop it in the center of a mess and then engage the spot cleaning. But I have to confess we generally just grab the old vacuum cleaner (old habits)
12.) The documentation says to clean the filters and rollers regularly. After only 3 weeks of usage it is quite clear that you MUST take their recommendation seriously. If the filter gets clogged the incredible cleaning ability possible with the unit reduces. Good news it is easier to clean the Roomba 980 than any other vacuum cleaner we have owned (including the dyson).
13.) Lastly, with all the cat on the roomba videos out there I was expecting to see one of the cats try to catch a ride. The reality is they can’t be bothered with the unit and generally just ignore the roomba while it is working.

Now if we only can get an iRobot which can clean the bathroom and do stairs. - Customer Reviews: iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner