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One thing we like about iRobot is that they seem to put a premium on constantly improving their robot vacuums and giving people more choices and alternatives.
Some of their best models belong to the 800 series, which includes the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 880. But what’s the difference between these two?
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The Roomba 880
The Roomba 880 may not have the Wi-Fi capabilities of the Roomba 980 or the cheaper Roomba 960, but it is one of the most capable robot vacuums that iRobot has released.
The features of Roomba 880
- Debris Extractor: Roomba 880 requires lesser maintenance because it uses a debris extractor, which is made of rubber instead of the main brush that was used in the earlier 700 series and 600 series models. Without bristles to take care of, Roomba 880 owners do not have to touch and clean any dirty brushes just to ensure continued efficient cleaning. Instead, the debris extractor grabs dirt, hair, and debris and then breaks it down before letting the powerful suction have its way with it. This effectively lessens hair tangles and jamming.
- AeroForce Patented Tech: Roomba 880 features AeroForce technology, which delivers superior vacuum suction that extracts more dirt and debris compared to the AeroVac and AeroVac2 vacuuming technology you see on the earlier 700 and 600 series models.
- Same Smart Navigation: The 880 uses iAdapt navigation to help find its way around your floors. This navigation technology uses sensors and sophisticated software to go around the room, work under furniture, and avoid obstacles and sharp drops. It also helps the 880 identify whether it is on tiles, carpets, or hardwood, allowing it to clean more efficiently. Acoustic and optical sensors are also used to find dirty places in your house, letting the robotic vacuum know where to clean more.
- Uses Virtual Walls: Aside from iAdapt navigation technology, the Roomba 880 also comes with two virtual wall lighthouses, which can be used as a virtual wall or a lighthouse. In virtual wall mode, it gives out an infrared beam that blocks the Roomba 880 from crossing, keeping it out of the areas that you do not want it to go. Meanwhile, if you use it as a lighthouse, the Roomba 880 will stay in one room to clean it efficiently before going to the next room.
- Extra Features: The Roomba 880 has a full bin indicator that tells you when it is time to empty out the bin, as well as a HEPA filter that gives you cleaner air as it traps small dust and debris particles. Roomba 880 also gives you manual docking and a spot cleaning mode, as well as a carrying handle for an easier time taking it from room to room.
- Comes with Remote Control: The Roomba 880 also comes with a remote control that allows you to control it easily. You can also use the remote control to schedule cleaning times for your robot.
Pros of the Roomba 880
- Improved Debris Extractors: With the debris extractors, you will no longer have to touch and untangle dirty brushes.
- Capable of Entire Level Cleaning: You would also love the entire level cleaning feature of the Roomba 880, where it cleans different rooms as long as it does not run out of juice.
Cons of the 880
- No Auto Resume after Recharge: The Roomba 880 has an entire level cleaning feature that tells it to clean several rooms. When the battery runs out, it will go back to the dock to recharge. After recharging, however, you will need to manually press the HOME button on the robot vacuum or on the remote control for it to continue cleaning. This means that if you have a big house with many rooms, you cannot leave the Roomba 880 and expect it to automatically resume cleaning. You would still need to be there for it to restart and continue the job. If you have a big house, you might want to consider getting a Roomba 960 or Roomba 980 because these robot vacuums resume cleaning automatically when they fully recharge.
- Might Need Additional Virtual Walls: Speaking of big houses, you might need more than just the included virtual wall lighthouses, especially if your home has a complicated layout. Either that or you might find yourself having to watch the robot vacuum as it works and then using the remote control to find its way to other rooms.
- No Carpet Boost: The Roomba 880 also does not have carpet boost, which cleans carpeted areas more efficiently. And while the Roomba 880 does have a full bin indicator, there is no way for you to tell it to either continue cleaning when the bin is full, or to stop immediately. These features are available on the Roomba 980.
- No Lithium Ion Battery: Roomba 880 does not have a lithium ion battery. Instead, it packs the XLife Extended Life Battery. Lithium ion batteries are known to be more durable.
Should you buy the Roomba 880?
Even if it does not have a lithium ion battery, the Roomba 880 still delivers twice the battery life as the Advanced Power System battery used in earlier models, and it is still enough to clean two to three rooms with just a single full charge.
Also, the Roomba 880 delivers a very efficient clean, with less need for maintenance. For about $600 (sometimes available for less here), it gives you the same vacuuming power and motor that is used in the Roomba 960. It may not have carpet boost, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other features, but it still gives you an efficient clean.
The Roomba 860: Differences from Roomba 880
- Similar Design: When you look at it, there is not much difference between the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 880. It has the same design, the same big HOME button. It even has the same dimensions as 13.9 inches in diameter and 3.6 inches in height. It also weighs the same.
- Similar Core Technology: It share almost the same features. The Roomba 860 also uses the same iAdapt navigation technology and the AeroForce vacuuming technology. It has a full bin indicator, it automatically recharges when the battery runs low, and it uses a HEPA filter and debris extractor. It also has scheduling and spot cleaning features, and it allows you to manually dock the robot vacuum. Both have a carrying handle as well.
- No Carpet Boost for Either: Like the Roomba 880, the Roomba 860 does not have the carpet boost, built-in camera, control for cleaning passes, and full bin action, Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile app access.
- Roomba 860 is Cheaper: The Roomba 860, however, is a full $100 cheaper (check here for latest). Why is this? The Roomba 860 does not have entire-level cleaning that the Roomba 880 has. That means that you have to clean one room at a time and direct it to the next room to make sure that it cleans the entire house. And unlike the Roomba 880, all you have to do is to press the START button for it to resume cleaning where it left off to recharge.
- 880 Comes with Extra Virtual Wall: Another difference from the Roomba 880 is that the Roomba 860 comes with one dual mode virtual wall barriers instead of the pair of virtual wall lighthouses. The dual mode virtual wall barriers will block off an entire doorway to prevent the 860 from entering a room. It can also be used as virtual wall halos to protect smaller areas in a room, such as your dog’s food bowl.
- 880 Comes with Remote Control: The Roomba 860 also does not have a remote control device that would allow you to control the robot vacuum and schedule cleaning without having to pick up the vacuum cleaner. With the Roomba 860, you would need to schedule cleanings using the on-board buttons on the robot vacuum, and you would need to press the buttons to manually dock the 860 or to start cleaning.
- 860 HAS Lithium Ion Battery: Curiously, the Roomba 860 has a lithium ion battery, which is seen to be better than the X-Life battery you see on the Roomba 880. All things said, the Roomba 860 could go on cleaning for 75 minutes, and that is 15 minutes longer than the Roomba 880.
- Different Finish: Lastly, the Roomba 860 deviates from the black finish that you see on most Roombas, including the Roomba 880. The 860 has a silver finish.
Side-by-side Comparison: Roomba 880 vs Roomba 860
To make it easier for you to decide, here is a table listing the features, dimensions and technologies for the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 860:
|Roomba 860||Roomba 880|
|List price||Check here for pricing||Check here for pricing|
|Full bin indicator||Yes||Yes|
|Cleaning passes control||No||No|
|Full bin action control||No||No|
|Lithium ion battery||Yes||No|
|Entire Level Cleaning||No||Yes|
|Virtual wall lighthouses||No||2|
|Dual mode virtual wall barriers||1||Yes|
|Dimensions (d x h, inches)||13.9 x 3.6||13.9 x 3.6|
What should you buy: Roomba 880 or the Roomba 860?
There really is not much difference between the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 860, except for the $100 you save when you choose the 860. You might want to consider, however, that the Roomba 860 is better suited for smaller houses or apartments where you want to clean one room at a time.
For Larger Homes: The Roomba 880 is more ideal if you have more rooms or a bigger house. This way, you can start cleaning, leave, and then resume cleaning manually when it runs out of battery and goes back to the dock to recharge. But for much bigger houses, you might want to consider the Roomba 980 or the Roomba 960 that automatically resumes after recharging.
For Smaller Homes: That said, the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 860 share most of the most important features and characteristics you would want in a robot vacuum. The $100 more that you pay for the Roomba 880 would mean less intervention and supervision, and you can practically just leave the 880 alone and just manually resume the cleaning after it recharges. The Roomba 860 needs more of your attention.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!