iRobot Roomba 880 vs 780 – What’s New?

There is no doubt that Roomba products have changed the way consumers clean their floors. However, there is always room for improvement with any device, and this one is no exception. Taking a close look at the new version – Roomba 880 – compared to the previous version – Roomba 780 can help you to decide which to purchase. The price difference isn’t much but the value really is!

Trying to make a quick decision? Check out the high-level advantage of both devices below:

Roomba 880 AdvantagesRoomba 780 Advantages
Significantly larger dust binComes with  extra cleaning tools
New AeroForce Cleaning System (better clean)Over $150 cheaper (check it out here)
New Tangle-Free debris extractors (easier to maintain) 
Less overall maintenance required 
New extended life battery pack (longer lasting) 

You can continue reading below for my full comparison.

A Bit Quieter

Even though all Roomba products are quiet enough for you to sleep or watch TV while they are in use, the 880 model is even quieter than the 780 model. This can be a great advantage for a consumer that seems to pick up every single noise. It can also help to reduce anxiety of pets that may get nervous with any sounds in the home.

However, some consumers feel that they really can’t tell a hug difference in the noise reduction of the Roomba 880. They do agree though that the Roomba 780 model is very quiet and that if they are doing their regular tasks or relaxing at home they are never distracted by any sounds the device makes. Try talking, sleeping, or relaxing when someone has a regular vacuum cleaner on and it is almost impossible!

A Bit Faster

A robotic floor cleaner is certainly faster than doing it on your own. However, the amount of time it takes for the Roomba 880 to clean floors is less than the Roomba 780. How much less? It depends on your layout, but I’d say about 15-25%. If you have large flooring areas or the need to clean them often, this is definitely a benefit you will be interested in.  The 880 model can clean the average floor in about 3/4 of the time that it takes for the 780 model to do the same job.

Both models feature the same battery, but since the 880 model cleans faster you don’t have to worry as much about running it down in the middle of a cleaning session. You can purchase a replacement lithium battery for the Roomba 880 that will allow you cut the amount of recharging time in half (check out my list here for a full overview of the best replacement batteries)

Cleans Better

When you look at the physical appearance of the Roomba 780 and the Roomba 880, they are very similar. However, the 880 model has the ability to clean better. This is due to an internal design change offering a sealed channel. This results in suction power that is 5x what the Roomba 780 offers. Personally, I’ve noticed a difference although I’m not sure if “5x” might be a bit on the generous side in terms of the end result. I’ll say this: it’s at least twice as good at picking up debris from my personal tests.

A Roomba can be used on all flooring types. If you have carpets, you will want to go with the Roomba 880 as it does get better reviews when it comes to how well it cleans carpeted areas. It doesn’t matter if that carpet is thick and deep either which can be a problem with some robotic cleaners.

Similar Navigation

Both Roomba models go around and create cleaning patterns based on an internal algorithm. You don’t have to worry about it damaging furniture or other items that are in its path. These have obstacle detection and bumpers to avoid these types of situations.

They are smart enough to avoid going down flights of stairs (cliff detecting sensors).  You may have to move some items out of the way though such as cords. Otherwise, the device could get stuck and not be able to move. It will just sit in one place until you move it or until the battery goes dead. When they are able to freely move, both models will go back to the dock and start to recharge once cleaning is complete.

Less Maintenance

If you have pets, then hair can be an issue for the Roomba 780 to successfully conquer. The Roomba 880 model is going reduce you physically having to remove clumps of hair. The design is called AeroForce and it has eliminated the brush like cylinders that are part of the 780 and previous models of the iRobot Roomba line.

The AeroForce design offers the best technology has available at this time. It provides a type of TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) tubing along tracks. This is what gets debris and hair out of the carpets so that it can be picked up by the device.

Users won’t have to spend time cleaning brushes which is important. When the brushes are clogged with hair, they don’t work like they should. If the consumer didn’t clean them in advance, then floors may have to be gone over again by the robot due to plenty of dirt, debris, and other hair not being picked up the first time.

Empty Less Often

The design change of the Roomba 880 over the Roomba 780 also means you empty it less often. The bristle free system featured in the updated model takes up less space than the previous design. The additional space has been used in the Roomba 880 model to offer a larger storage container, known as the dust bin.

It holds 60% more than the 780 model and that is a remarkable improvement. The internal design difference with this is that there is only one HEPA filter with the upgraded model. The Roomba 780 features two filters. This means the filter has to be replaced less frequently with the Roomba 880.

Similar Programming

I  personally love the physical buttons found on the Roomba 880. The Roomba 780 has the touch controls that can be very sensitive. Both models offer the ability to manually set them to clean at regular intervals, specific times, and specific rooms. The owner’s manual is very specific and offers step by step instructions so you can successfully program the Roomba to do what you want it to.

Pricing Differences

An iRobot Roomba isn’t cheap, but it can be a great investment for keeping your home clean and saving you time. The Roomba 880 costs about $700 MSRP, but you can find it on sale here. The Roomba 780 generally retails for about $600, but it’s usually available for less here . These prices are based on average retail, but sometimes you can find some great deals online or in retail stores that will save you some cash.

You can buy used or refurbished 780 models for a price that ranges from $350 to $425. Both models feature a 1 year limited warranty on the device. There is a 6 month limited warranty on the battery for both the 780 and 880 Roomba models. Any consumer alternations to the device or the battery will void the warranty.

Overall – Head to Head

iRobot Roomba 780iRobot Roomba 880
Hover here for latestPriceHover here for latest
Yes, TwoVirtual Wall LighthousesYes, Two
YesRestart ModeYes
3.4Height (inches)3.6
YesAuto Adjust To Floor TypeYes
YesCarpet/Hardwood/TileYes
YesCharging BaseYes
HEPAType of FilterHEPA
Yes, Series IIDirt Detecting SensorsYes, Series II
YesRemote ControlYes
RoundShapeRound

Final Take – Which One to Pick?

The rounded design of the Roomba models can make consumers hesitant to buy them. Competitors like Neato have helped spread this idea. This is due to worries corners and edges won’t get cleaned. However, there are bristles and brushes that come along the edges to make sure that doesn’t happen. Therefore, you don’t have to settle for a square shaped product that doesn’t do enough to clean your floors to your specifications.

Still undecided? You can check out my full take on the 780 here or the newer Roomba 880 right here.

If you are in the market for an iRobot Roomba, you may as well go for the newest model with the updated features and benefits. The cost is only $100 difference and you get some significant improvements. This includes faster cleaning and more suction power. The fact that hair clumps won’t be a problem and that you get a much larger dust bin are all reasons to pick the Roomba 880 over the Roomba 780, especially for pet owners.

See the link below for the latest pricing on the Roomba 880:

3 Comments

  • Good review but unconvincing. I have 780 and am in no rush to go to 880. Furthermore, some “features” do not work well on 780 and the review did not convince me they are better on 880. 1) Lighthouse mode – useless. 2) Only if you cannot close the door to prevent room bas from entering. 3) Remote – useless in navigate, good for on/off, spot and return to base. 4) It does knock off some items (preventable 🙂 )

    • It seems to me the main difference is the rollers vs brushes. I have a 550 now and I need to clean the brushes every time it runs (the sides of the brushes get clogged). Supposedly the 880/870 needs to be cleaned less often because it does not use brushes…Thinking about upgrading…

      • Sam, yes that’s one of the main selling points. Less ongoing maintenance… With the release of the 980, you should start seeing steeper discounts for the 880 and 780.

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