Bottom Line Up Front:
- For the best lowest priced Roomba with no extra frills, check out the Roomba 650.
- For the best mix of VALUE and FEATURES, I’d go with the Roomba 880.
- For the best OVERALL Roomba (where price is no object), the Roomba 980 is the best roomba on the market today.
For the full details, read on…
Roomba’s are all the rage. Whether you are watching funny cat videos online or hearing positive feedback from friends, the Roomba is definitely the most popular and sought after robotic vacuum cleaner. When it comes to picking the right Roomba, it’s not always easy.
There are a number of different generations and models. Sometimes the differences don’t seem very significant but the price tag varies.
In this resource page, I will highlight the best Roomba model according to affordability, value, and overall performance. At the bottom of the page you will find a comparison table for easy contrasting of all the Roomba models.
Best Affordable Roomba
In this category we will look at the best budget Roomba models. This is a helpful category for price conscious consumers who just want a Rooma for the best possible price. You might have to settle for an older model, but the features of these Roomba’s are usually more than competent for your average home. If you are looking for the cheapest Roomba, check out the suggestions below.
Introducing the Roomba 630
The Roomba 630 is one of the most affordable Roomba vacuums readily available on the market. It contains all the standard features that you’d expect from a Roomba at a very reasonable price. You can read our full review here for all of the details. However, I’ve included a quick summary below.
At the core of the Roomba 630 is the iAdapt and Dirt Detect patented technology systems. These systems are still what Roomba uses even in their latest versions. The iAdapt software is designed to ensure that the entire room is properly cleaned, leaving no piece of floor untouched. Dirt Detect allows the Roomba to adjust mid-vacuum to varying levels of debris and dirt. Once identified, the Roomba 630 will spend extra time cleaning these “trouble spots”. This effectively mimics what a human would do with a traditional upright vacuum. It’s not always perfect, but its pretty close!
The good news is that the Roomba 630 comes standard with a lot of nice features like a virtual wall (1 included standard) to help with space management/containment. This is very helpful for clearly defining what areas should be cleaned. However, you will still need to “Roomba-proof” your home in most cases due to technical limitations and the fact that there is just 1 virtual wall.
Best of all, the Roomba 630 available for a bargain price here (price updated automatically).
Best Value Roomba
Unlike the budget category, the value category combines affordability with features. In short, if you want to stretch your dollar the farthest for the best features, this is the category for you. The latest Roomba’s usually come at a steep price premium, but sometimes last years model is not very different and has a significantly lower sticker price.
Introducing the Roomba 770
The Roomba 770 is an excellent balance of affordability and features. It is “last year’s” generation, but it has many of the key features that the 800 series has. While you will miss out on a few perks, the overall performance is still more than adequate for most homes. You can read my full assessment here. Like before, I’ve included the key features below:
This “mid-class” Roomba has plenty to like. Building on the iAdapt and Dirt Detect systems, the Roomba 770 introduced dual HEPA filters to help grab dust, allergens and other particles while only leaving “clean air behind”. This is especially helpful for pet owners or for people with airborne sensitivities. A brand new cleaning head is a key feature of the 700 series, allowing for enhanced overall cleaning performance. Finally, iRobot added in some much needed power management. In total, you are looking at about 50% more battery life versus the 600 series.
As a nice added feature, the 770 comes standard with an infrared remote, allowing you to manual control the Roomba (as needed) without having to get up or “chase” it. This isn’t a huge feature, but it certainly is a “nice to have”.
You will probably have to shell out an extra $100 bucks over the 630 to buy the 770, but its still a significant cost savings over the latest models. You can find the latest updated pricing here.
Roomba 860 UPDATE: 7/1/2016: iRobot has recently released the 860 which is aimed at budget conscious shoppers who still want recent technology without the latest prices. For the full review, see here.The 860 doesn’t come with much out of the box, but you can always add virtual walls + accessories (replacement brushes, filters) as you need them. To date, this is the most affordable 800 series robot and could be considered the “new” mid range Roomba (it’s only slightly more expensive than the 770). Check out the latest pricing on the 860 here.
Best Overall Performance Roomba
This category is where you will find the very best Roomba currently on the market. Price is not the main concern, but having the latest features is. What you miss out on with the older models is the latest cutting edge robotics technology which oftentimes can represent a crucial turning point for Roomba’s. iRobot has a large budget for R&D, so they are constantly looking for ways to enhance their new models with ground-breaking new features. If you need the best and latest, see below for my recommendation:
Introducing the Roomba 880
The Roomba 880 is the cream of the crop in terms of Roomba’s and robotic vacuums in general. If you are looking for the latest features and innovations in home robotics, this is the vacuum for you. You will pay a premium, of course. You can read my in depth analysis of the 880 here. Otherwise, check out the leading features below:
The 880 effectively ties it all together. You get automatic docking where the device returns to the home station between sessions, AeroForce Performance Cleaning System, auto-scheduling and the iAdapt responsive technology.
But the 880 also takes it up a few notches in key areas. First, the AeroForce has enhanced extractors for optimal airflow, leading to less maintenance and wear and tear. The added efficiency is up to 5x more than previous versions. Another feature is a larger dust bin. This has long been a complaint of Roomba users and iRobot has now delivered. A smaller feature is the quieter motor. In the past Roomba’s had been critiqued as being a bit noisier than desired.
If you want the best, you will have to pay a bit of a premium. The Roomba 880 models aren’t cheap, but you can find some great discounted prices here.
Roomba 980 UPDATE: 9/18/2015: iRobot has just release the Roomba 980 and it’s the best one yet! It introduces a new app to make the Roomba web enabled for remote control/management. This is huge. iRobot is the first robotic vacuum maker to do this. They’ve also improved suction, performance on carpets, better navigation (using VSLAM – visual localization – technology), and a more durable battery life. The 980 will also return to base to charge (like the Roomba 880), but will now be able to pick up where it left off automatically. The one drawback? It’s dang expensive even at this listing. Still, if budget is no concern, it’s now the best Roomba out there. You can read my full Roomba 980 review of it here.
Roomba 960 UPDATE: 9/1/2016: If you just want the WiFi capability, but aren’t too worried about the other new features of the 980, the 960 might be the perfect option for you. You can read the full review here, but the 960 is essentially an 800 series robot WITH the same WiFi functionality as the latest 980. You can view the latest pricing here.
Roomba Model Comparison
In case you are curious about the other Roomba models that I have not mentioned, below you will find a comprehensive interactive quiz that takes all of the robots on the market and goes through the latest 900 series vacuum. As you can see, price changes pretty dramatically with the 800 series, but you can find some great deals in the 600-700 series, depending on your needs. For first time robot vacuum buyers, you can’t go “wrong” with any of these, but you do get marginally better reliability from the latest models.