Robot vacuum cleaners continue to be a hot item, and new models are hitting the market faster than ever. One popular brand that continues to stand out for its excellent performance and overall reliability is iRobot.
There are currently several iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaning robots to choose from, including the latest 980 (review here) However, you might not want or need the most expensive vacuum that iRobot has to offer. If this is the case, the company has several other worthy models to consider.
The base 650 is currently the lowest-priced and most basic iRobot Roomba model (full review here). Both the 770 and 860 fall between the 650 and 980 in terms of features, price, and performance.
Let’s take a closer look at what each robot vacuum cleaner can bring to your home.
Contents (Jump to)
Overview – Introducing the Robots
The iRobot Roomba 860 boasts features such as a powerful three-stage cleaning system with tangle-free debris extractors and a maintenance-free operation. This model is ideal for pet owners as it removes the smallest and largest particles such as dirt, debris, dust, and hair.
You can even preset the vacuum to run up to seven days per week.
For the most efficient cleaning and operation, the iRobot Roomba 860 detects dirt and debris then dedicates an adequate amount of time to clean up the filthiest spots. The vacuum maneuvers around most furniture, including curtains and beds, to get into the toughest spots without getting stuck. The vacuum automatically recharges between cleanings.
You can see the full review of the 880 here.
The iRobot Roomba 770 is a solid all-around vacuum cleaner that also uses a three-stage cleaning process and operates seamlessly on a variety of floor types.
An advance cleaning head provides exceptional cleaning performance for picking up everything from pet hair and allergens to dust and dirt.
The bin utilizes a powerful vacuum suction to get debris off of the brushes and into the bin.
The Roomba 770 is outfitted with two HEPA air filters. Not only do the filters pick up even the smallest microns, they also keep particles from recirculating through the air. The result is healthier, fresher air. This model relies on a persistent pass cleaning method that allows it to spend extra time in any areas where it detects extra dirt.
You can check out my full review of the 770 here.
Key Features and What’s Included with Both
The iRobot Roomba 860 and 770 share several key features. Each model also has its own distinguishing features. You may decide that you want to spend more to get certain features or you might conclude that you’re better off with a more basic model. Here are some of the key features for both iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaning robots.
- Suction and cleaning power: The iRobot Roomba 860 is outfitted with an AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System. What this means is that the robot vacuum cleaner delivers a more powerful cleaning performance and is more effective than many previous Roomba models. The lithium ion battery found inside the vacuum also features a prolonged lifetime despite the extra power. The iRobot Roomba 770 also has a three-stage cleaning process that helps suck up stubborn dirt and debris on floor surfaces ranging from linoleum and tile to carpets and hardwood. However, it’s not quite as powerful as the system found in the 860. If you’re specifically looking for a robot vacuum cleaner that can pick up after pets, the 860 is the better choice.
- Navigation: A Dirt Detect Series, available on the 700 series iRobot Roomba vacuums and up, uses optical and acoustic sensors to find areas with the highest amounts of pet hair, dander, dust, dirt, and other allergens. The Roomba then keeps itself busy as it vigorously cleans the dirtiest spots. A dual mode virtual wall barrier keeps the iRobot Roomba 860 out of rooms and other areas you don’t want it to clean. You can get virtual walls for the iRobot Roomba 770, but you’ll need to pay extra as they are sold separately.
- Maintenance: The iRobot Roomba 860 is particularly helpful for pet owners as it’s outfitted with tangle-free extractors. The extractors have a durable rubber tread design to pick up even the toughest bits of dirt and debris from the floor while keeping hair tangles to a minimum. The result is brushes that don’t require much maintenance. The iRobot Roomba 770 comes with AeroVac Series 2 Bin technology that powerfully pulls hair and debris off the brushes and into the bin. As a result, you don’t have to spend as much time detangling hair and cleaning out other debris.
Pros and Cons – Where’s the Beef?
- Pro – Tangle Free Extractors + Filters: Some of the best features of the iRobot Roomba 860 are its tangle-free debris extractors, which are also available on 880 and 870, along with a powerful three-stage cleaning system with a high efficiency filter. The cleaning system uses a combination of agitation, brushing, and suction to get up even the most stubborn bits of dirt. A spinning side brush gently yet effectively sweeps along tricky spots such as wall edges and corners.
- Pro – Good Battery Life: In many instances a more powerful cleaning system means that the battery drains faster, but that isn’t the case with the iRobot Roomba 860. This robot vacuum cleaner features a lithium ion battery that lasts as least twice as long as the average battery.
- Pro – Gets Under Furniture: The 860 is less than four inches tall, allowing it to make its way under most pieces of furniture, including beds and couches. All you need to do to get started is press the “clean” button.
- Con – Not Good For Big Floor Plans: If you’re looking for a robot vacuum cleaner that will automatically make its way from one room to the next, the 860 isn’t a good choice. Unlike pricier Roombas, this one lacks multi-room navigation. Roomba vacuums equipped with multi-room navigation technology can clean up to three rooms at a time on their own. While the Roomba 860 finds its way back to its home base when the battery runs low, it also won’t recharge and resume where it left off. Of course, you can always add the accessories later on (virtual walls, etc…) that extend the range.
- Con – Dust Bin Good be Larger: Some owners wish that the dust bin was a little bit larger (same “con” for 770 as well).
- Pro – Still a High Quality Clean: Untangling and maintaining messy brushes are chores that you won’t miss with the iRobot Roomba 770, which has a powerful vacuum to pull off hair and debris from the brushes directly into the bin. The result is less mess when you have to take the bin out and more time spent vacuuming around the house.
- Pro – Also Good for Allergies: Whether you’re a dog owner, allergy sufferer, or simply prefer cleaner air, the dual HEPA air filters are another noteworthy feature. The filters help to trap even the smallest microns while keeping fine particles from recirculating into the air.
- Con – Not Quite as Smart as the 860: While the Roomba 770 generally does a good job of avoiding furniture, some collisions are inevitable. When accidents occur, you’ll be glad that the robot vacuum cleaner comes with a molded soft-touch bumper to help cushion the impact.
- Con – No Tangle Free Extractors: The iRobot Roomba 770 is a great choice for basic needs, but it’s missing some of the features found in its pricier family members. For example, the 770 lacks tangle-free debris extractors. While it has a powerful suction to help pull debris and hair from brushes to bin, you may be dealing with a few more tangles. The Roomba 770 also comes without the powerful AeroForce cleaning system found in other iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners.
- Con – Not as Many “Extras” Out of the Box: While the 860 is equipped with wall barriers to keep it out of restricted areas, you’ll need to pay extra for this feature with the iRobot Roomba 770.
Comparison: Roomba 860 vs 770 – Quick Look
A side-by-side comparison of both Roomba models can help you determine which one is the best fit for your budget and lifestyle.
|Roomba 860||Roomba 770|
|Price||(check here)||(check here)|
|Cleaning and suction||AeroForce 3-stage cleaning system||3-stage cleaning system; two HEPA filters|
|Navigation||Comes with dual mode virtual wall barrier||Two auto virtual walls available for extra cost|
|Features||Tangle-free extractors; automatically charges between cleanings; powerful three-stage cleaning system||Full bin indicator; molded soft-touch bumper; dirt detection series with optical and acoustic sensors; dual HEPA filters|
Which One Should I Buy Now?
You can’t go wrong with either iRobot Roomba model. While there is a slight price difference between the two, both the iRobot Roomba 860 and 770 share similarities in terms of features and performance.
If you don’t mind spending a bit more and find features such as tangle-free extractors and an AeroForce cleaning system appealing, the 860 is a good investment.
Bottom Line: The Roomba 860 is the better choice (as of this writing) due to the slightly more advanced technology and pricing. It’s available here for about the same price as the 770.