Best Roombas

Roomba 980: Best Robot Vacuum?

The Best Roomba 980 is one of the most popular robot vacuums available today. The 980 has been around since 2011 and it is still going strong. Its popularity has grown due to its high price tag (around $1,000) but also because it performs well. While other robots are just good at cleaning up messes, the 980 excels at doing what it was designed to do – clean floors!

It is not only the 980’s success that makes it so popular; it is also its design. The 980 looks like a traditional vacuum with a few modifications. For starters, there are no wheels or tracks on the bottom of the robot.

Instead, all of the robot’s weight rests on two large rubber tires which provide traction when needed and cushioning when not necessary. These treads make it easier to maneuver around corners and obstacles while cleaning up messes.

Another major difference between the 980 and other robots is that the 980 does not have any buttons or knobs. Instead, it uses a combination of voice commands and touch controls to perform tasks. You can tell it to move left or right, turn around, open/close doors, close windows etc…

Finally, the 980 has several features that make it stand out from others. First, it is equipped with a 3D mapping system which allows it to remember and record the layout of your house. Second, the 980 has a large array of sensors that allow it to see and avoid obstacles in its way.

Third, it comes equipped with both an active and passive filter system allowing it to trap even the smallest dust and dirt particles.

While all these features and specifications sound impressive, they do not tell the full story.

The real question is does it work and is it worth the price?

The answer to these questions is yes and probably. The 980 is great at doing what it was designed to do, however, it still has a long way to go before it completely replaces manual vacuuming.

How It Works

The 980 works in four simple steps:

1. Power On: The first thing you must do when you get your new robot is to charge its lithium-ion battery.

This process can take up to 24 hours using the included charger.

2. Setup: Once the battery is charged, you must create a map of your house.

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This is easier and more fun than it sounds. With your smartphone, download the app “iRobot HOME” and activate bluetooth. Open the app and navigate through the quick start guide (or watch this video).

Set up takes less than ten minutes.

3. Clean: Press the big “CLEAN” button and watch your robot do its thing.

It cleans by room, cleaning each room on separate cycles. This means that it will vacuum all the rooms and then return to its charging station to recharge.

4. Recharge: When the 980 needs to recharge, it will automatically dock and recharge itself until you are ready to use it again.

Main Features

The 980 is one of the most capable robot vacuums on the market. It features a powerful motor for such a small device (paired with great treads for better traction) and can pick up almost anything within reach of its extendable arm and bristled brush. It also has bigger wheels than normal robot vacuums, allowing it to move smoothly over your home’s floors.

The 980 is also equipped with multiple sensors. First, it contains a 3D mapping sensor that allows it to create a floor plan of your home as it cleans. Next, it has an obstacle detection system, allowing it to “see” and avoid running into your furniture.

Finally, it has a number of different cleaning sensors that allow it to detect when the bin needs to be changed or if it needs more power.

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The 980 is without a doubt the most expensive robot vacuum on the market. It normally retails for around $1,200, however it can be found on sale for as low as $700. For this price, you get the main cleaning robot and a charging dock (which also serves as a mounting station).

You also get 1 tube, 2 bristle brushes and 1 wet mopping cloth. Each additional tube, bristle and wet cloth set can be picked up for $50.

The Verdict

The 980 is the best selling robot vacuum for a reason. It does a great job at cleaning and is sure to save you time. Keep in mind however that it’s price is certainly a big investment, and is by no means a necessity.

That being said, it comes with a great manufacturer’s warranty and will certainly last you many years of trouble free service. If you can afford it, this is a great addition to any household.


If you can’t quite afford the 980, I recommend the Neato D7. It retails for around $600, which is still expensive, but it is worth it for the price difference. The D7 offers most of the same features as the 980 (mapping, obstacle avoidance, etc…) and does a great job cleaning.

It is a bit louder than the 980 and does not come with an extendable cleaning arm, but it is more affordable and still a great choice.

Another alternative is the Roomba 650. It retails for around $300 and offers basic navigation and cleaning systems. It does not come with a mapping system, but it does have an extendable cleaning arm as well as other neat little features like wall following and floor tracking.

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The 650 only has a 90 minute battery, and only offers basic cleaning, but it is significantly cheaper than the other two options.

The bottom line is that if you want the best, you buy the 980. If the price is too steep for you, the Neato D7 is a worthy alternative and still a great robot vacuum. The Roomba 650 is also a good choice if you want something cheap with basic features.

If you have any questions about any of these options or other robot vacuums in general, don’t hesitate to ask! I spend most of my day researching these things so I will be more than happy to help.

Best of luck!


Sources & references used in this article:

What’s the Best Role for a Robot by V Groom – Proceedings of the International Conference on …, 2008 –

Gender Differences in Robot Teleoperation by NV Creation, A Sunderji, AK Gupta, B Jones, CK Lock…

Undergraduate creative inquiry of swarm robotics: Communication methods by D Showkat – 2017 –

Appliances for whom? Considering place by D Mulqueen, Y Wang – 2017 3rd IEEE International Conference …, 2017 –

The potential of physical motion cues: changing people’s perception of robots’ performance by JA Rode – Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 2006 – Springer

Learn About The Roomba And Other Robots At The Next UNH CEO Forum by PG Garcia, E Costanza, SD Ramchurn… – Proceedings of the 2016 …, 2016 –

Evaluating the Roomba: A low-cost, ubiquitous platform for robotics research and education by L Wright – 2008 –

The Daily Egyptian, August 10, 1968 by B Tribelhorn, Z Dodds – Proceedings 2007 IEEE International …, 2007 –