iRobot Roomba 870 vs Roomba 880 – What is the Difference?

For many buyers of robotic vacuums, the premiere brand that is often discussed for purchase is iRobot. Over the years, the company has improved their products to the point where they are the most desired in the very filled and busy marketplace. More often than not, when trying to decide which robotic vacuum to buy, there is a good chance that the decision could come down to two products from iRobot.

Two of their latest models that are picking up steam in stores around the country are the iRobot Roomba 870 and the iRobot Roomba 880. These products have many similarities, but also have their share of differences. As we look into each product, we will also take a look at many of the features that make these two vacuums stand out above the rest. There are some extra advantages of one unit that might make it the best buy for you. In this article we will be comparing the Roomba 870 vs 880.

In a hurry? Check out my quick summary table below:

Roomba 880 AdvantagesRoomba 870 Advantages
2 Virtual Wall “Lighthouses” (can cover more rooms, good for larger homes/offices)Over $100 cheaper than the 880 (see here)
Comes with Remote Control, 870 does notSame technology as the 880

Features of iRobot Roomba 870

roomba 870 vs 880Many of the iRobot Roomba vacuums that are currently available feature the same advancements in the genre. From their AeroForce Performance Cleaning technology that allows it to get as much as 50 percent more particles off the ground than any other product. The vacuum works efficiently and is more powerful than other brands, which also help it to remove more particles than any other robot vacuum. This unit has many positives and great features that make it one of the first many consumers look at when making their latest robot vacuum purchase. Among them is its iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology.

The iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology has many features that have been tested and proven to work. This technology includes several sensors that allow the iRobot 870 to find its way around the entire house including making multiple passes in the same room. As long as it takes to get a room cleaned up to the standards you have for your home, this vacuum will go the job the right way. This unit is able to do this because of the following features:

  • Dirt Detect Series 2

The Roomba uses acoustic and optical sensors that help the vacuum find all dirt and debris in its path. When it finds this debris, it works to ensure that all the particles are picked up. A part of the Dirt Detect Series 2 that makes it work well is it has a concentrated and meticulous work ethic that cleans a room just like you would. By going in back and forth motion over areas with increased dirt particles, it is ensuring that all the areas with the heaviest dirt amounts will be cleaned.

Even if you use a basic broom and dust pan to clean, you won’t be able to get all the dirt and dust off the baseboards in your home. With its “wall-following” technology, it will be able to get to all the areas that your broom and other robot vacuums simply can’t.

  • Other Features

Among the other added features you get because of the iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology is the anti-tangle technology that prevent it from getting caught up in cords, carpet tassels and other obstacles that usually get caught up in the brushes. It was also constructed with cliff-detection sensors that will keep it from falling down any stairs and drop offs and you won’t have to worry about it damaging any of your antique furniture. It was built with a soft-touch bumper that gives the device added comfort and protection. You will also find that there is a light-touch bumper technology that allows the iRobot Roomba 870 to detect the difference between a solid barrier and a soft one. When it notices a soft barrier like bed skirts, couch skirts and curtains, it will push through the obstacles. When it notices a solid barrier like furniture legs and walls, it will reverse direction and move the other way.

  • What’s in the Box?

When you purchase this model, you get the unit itself, home base, XLife Battery, two Virtual Walls, one additional HEPA filter and a 12 month manufacturers warranty on the vacuum and six months on the battery.

Click Here to View the Official Roomba 870 Product Page

Features of iRobot Roomba 880

The first thing that anyone needs to know about the new iRobot Roomba 880 is that it features revolutionary technology that helps this vacuum remove up to 50 percent more of the particles, dirt, hair and debris that you may have on any floor surface in your home.

This unit uses the AeroForce Performance Cleaning System that is maintenance free and makes the entire vacuuming process easier than ever before. The unit is made to clean a room completely before moving onto the next scheduled room, ensuring that all your rooms are cleaned to the capability of this machine. This machine uses the iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology listed above for the iRobot Roomba 870.

Among the features that are included in this device:

  • AeroForce Performance Cleaning System

This is one of the best features on this robot vacuum and one that makes it one of the best on the market. This system helps make this the perfect vacuum for houses that have any members that have allergies of any kind. The cleaning system has “tangle-free AeroForce extractors” that break down all types of dirt and debris from any floor type. With this feature, you won’t have to worry about any hair wrapping around the brushes. It also has airflow acceleration, which helps to draw in more debris because it creates a sealed channel that keeps the airflow concentrated in one place. It also operated efficiently and is advertised to provide five times the amount of power than previous models.

  • Easy Cleaning

Since a home can never stay clean for too long at a time without more dirt and debris building up, you need a tool that will help you make the cleaning process simpler. With this unit, that is what you are getting. This vacuum has a “Virtual Wall Lighthouse” that is what keeps it in one room until it is completely cleaned. Once it is done with one room, it will instruct the unit to move to the next room. If you have any areas that may be considered off limit for the vacuum, the Roomba 880 will put up a “virtual wall” that will protect it from falling or getting stuck on any obstacles.

One of the best features of this and most iRobot vacuums is the ability to schedule it to run as many as seven times a week. This will allow it to clean while you’re not home and if it can’t handle the scheduled run through your home in a single battery life, it will return to the included Home Base for a recharge. The battery on this unit is more advanced than many previous models as well. Included in this unit is the iRobot XLife Battery. This battery is meant to give you twice as many cleaning runs as previous models.

For those that have owned previous iRobot models, when you bring this vacuum into your home, you will be able to use existing Virtual Wall barriers, remote controls and Virtual Wall Lighthouses.

  • What’s in the Box?

When you buy this iRobot Roomba vacuum, when you open the box, you will get the unit itself, XLife battery, two Virtual Wall Lighthouses, home base, remote control, one additional HEPA filter and a 12 month manufacturers limited warranty on robot and six month warranty on the battery.

Click Here to View the Official Roomba 880 Amazon Page

iRobot Roomba 870 vs. iRobot Roomba 880

iRobot Roomba 870

iRobot Roomba 880

hover here for latest


hover here for latest

Yes, Two

Virtual Wall


No (just 2 virtual walls)

Virtual Wall Lighthouse

Yes, Two “Lighthouses”


Restart Mode



Height (inches)



Auto Adjust To Floor Type






Charging Base


Extra Large HEPA

Type of Filter

Extra Large HEPA


Dirt Detecting Sensors



Remote Control





*NOTE: You can also read our full 880 review here and our full 870 review right here.


As can be seen by looking through the reviews of these two robotic vacuums, they are both extremely similar and are meant to turn your messy floors into clean surfaces in no time. When it comes to the final factor in a purchase, many consumers will look at cost. When you spend an extra $100 for the Roomba 880, you are getting a remote control and a more advanced Virtual Wall Lighthouse technology. This essentially allows your Roomba to cover more ground without getting lost. For some people, that might not be enough to warrant the additional $100, but for those looking for something for a large home or office, the iRobot Roomba 880 is the ideal choice. Regardless of which item you may purchase, you are getting the same industry leading technology from the most reliable home robotics maker currently on the market.


  • Seems kind of stupid that you can only schedule 7 cleans per week. Is that one per day? I have 3 cats and would personally want the thing to go out at least twice a day, maybe more. I hate cat hair, but I love my cats, so I vacuum twice a day. Everyone knows that a regular vacuum cleaner does a better job, so it makes sense that if you want your house to be nearly as clean as when you do it manually, you’d want the robot to go out more often… No?

    • I think the manufacturers, like myself, would never even have considered that a person would consider vacuuming twice in one day. That seems a tad on the crazy side.

      • I’m pretty crazy with a vacuum cleaner! We also have 3 cats and we work from home with clientele visiting every day!

        • You can set it going manually whenever you want. If the cat hair is really bad you should empty the bin after every use but it sounds like that isn’t the problem, you just want a super-clean visiting room. I don’t think it’s stupid to not include every possible usage scenario. Buying two units set with different schedules would fix your problem.

    • Get 3 then you have one for each cat, you can even name them the same way but with a “i” in front. Like iPussy, iMeow & iPurr

  • All the same tricks from iRobot instead of real technological progress.
    Pseudo robot bouncing around like a demented hockey puck still in 2014 ?
    No more, thank you.

  • There’s a method to that bouncing around, it’s using standardized computing principles for covering a room, and making sure it discovers all exits/ entrances/ areas / soft boundaries / obstacles/ etcetera.

      • Yes that would work very well for empty houses, but once you decide to buy furniture and other stuff, you’ll need something better than a “lawn mower”.

        • Sure, but ask yourself this: what will clean better, if you vacuum with some kind of logical patter or random? I vacuum a lot because we have 3 cats. In my experience that when I vacuum within a logical pattern, more cat hair gets picked up than when I’m running late and just throw the thing around. I think these robot vacuums would do a lot better in straight lines. Then when it reaches an obstacle, it should move around it (as close as possible to get the dirt near a chair/sofa leg) then continue on in a straight path. I don’t understand why they can’t be programmed to do that.

          • I bought a Neato to compare. The Roomba (580) still does a better job… :p Partly I think because the Neato does not have a corner brush, and never does the same surface again. If it’s a lot to pick up – like where the cat leaves the litter box – it usually misses a few grains. The Roomba method of randomly sweeping the same spots and running along the walls is actually not a bad method.

            But if you want a vacuum to go in straight lines, the Neato is for you. (Only one automatic time per day there too, and no remote.) Neato also wins over the 580 when it comes to cleaning the brushes. I’m here because I want to try the 880 to see if the new brushes will be hair-free.

      • It’s impossible for the robot to know for sure it’s going in a straight line – or that is to say it would be expensive and therefore not efficient. Wheels slip.

        Roombas travel in an evenly distributed random pattern and usually hit the same area several [if not many] times in a cycle. It also goes slower if it detects dirt and speeds up in clean areas. That’s a pretty smart lawn mower.

        • It’s not impossible at all. The Neato succeeds very well, calibrating it’s location with a laser guided system. (It still doesn’t clean better, see above.)

          • I’m going to try the new Samsung Powerbot vr9000 (which has the choice of straight lines or random and R/C point and control) . Of course, I live in Korea presently so it’s easier to buy and easier to get serviced. Actually I would like to see the same brushless system employed by the 880 since I can see myself spending lots of time pulling cat hair and wife hair out of the brushes.

  • I am on my third roomba 600 series. I only needed one with one cairn terrier who sheds and a mini schnauzer that doesn’t shed much at all. But after the cairn died we adopted a 12 month old German Shepherd who sheds long hair ALL the time. We moved up to two and gave my son the oldest roomba. It is amazing the amount of dirt and hair every day. We have 2 bedrooms carpeted, hardwood floors and floor tiles kitchen and bathrooms. It is AMAZING how much dirt and hair. Its almost embarrassing to see how much the animals leave behind. My dogs are outside during the day and inside when we are home. I’m interested in the brushless system as I hate cleaning the two in the 600 pet series. I am also interested in the Heppa filter in the newer models. If you get the chance to use one and then sweep your room after you will see that almost everything is picked up. Anyone try the roomba floor cleaner yet? That would be another dirt and germ remover to think about.

    • Thanks for sharing, Peggy! Yes, I really like the hard floor cleaners. They have a pure floor mopper with the Scooba. You can read my review of the and the more light weight Braava (better for lighter cleaning vs mopping). You can read my head to head comp

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