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In today’s smart home market, there is no shortage of options from which to choose when it comes to selecting a smart robot vacuum. Each claims they’re the best, they provide the most thorough clean, and they offer the perfect hands-off functionality. But how can you find out whether these claims are valid or not? Of course in the robot vacuum world, no name is more well-known than Roomba. Roomba robot vacuums have a broad range in price, and their capabilities and features vary by model. This article will focus on the Roomba 890 vs. 980. Both of these robot vacuums offer plenty of features and settings and provide a high-quality clean for your home.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Roomba 890
- 2 Roomba 980
- 3 Design
- 4 Cleaning
- 5 Size
- 6 Parts & Accessories
- 7 Setup
- 8 Navigation
- 9 Battery
- 10 Noise
- 11 Value
- 12 Why You Should Buy the Roomba 890
- 13 Why You Should Buy the Roomba 980
- 14 Comparison Chart
- 15 Which Robot Vacuum to Choose?
As the top robot vacuum in Roomba’s 800 line, the 890 does an excellent job of striking a balance between features and cost. You’ll notice advancements in the device over its predecessors, specifically when it comes to a full bin indicator and improved filtration technologies. The 890 will also connect to your wifi network so you can control it with your smartphone, or with voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The updated 890 offers its AeroForce system used for filtration. Pair that with its advances brushes and a more HEPA filter and you’ve got a robot vacuum that suffers fewer tangles when vacuuming. On the flip side, the dustbin has a propensity to spill when you pull it out of the 890, and the battery doesn’t last as long as its counterpart, the 980.
Of all the Roomba models currently available, the 980 is the most advanced. This top of the line vacuum includes a feature called recharge & resume, which translates to longer cycles. It also has what Romba called Power Boost, a function specifically for carpeted floors, and an onboard camera which improves memory-mapping and navigation capabilities.
With your Roomba 980, you’ll get a larger capacity battery than the 890, which means you’ll have a longer run time during a cycle. You’ll also get the aforementioned power boost option, which provides greater suction during cleaning. Of course, greatness comes at a price, and the 980 is the most expensive Roomba on the market. So if you’re shopping on a budget, the 980 may not be the way to go.
The 890 uses a combination of glossy and matte black as its color scheme, doing its best to keep things simple. In the center of the device is a clean button, which allows you to begin a cleaning cycle. You can also start a cycle through the start/schedule option on your iRobot smartphone application. If you’re familiar with Roomba’s devices, you’ll recognize the handle, dustbin release, and bumper ring.
The look and color of the 980 are very similar to the 890; however, you’ll notice that the newer robot has an updated layout. You’ll see that the clean button has moved to give way to the onboard camera. The clean button has been moved higher up on the robot. Using the camera, the 980 scans the area during its cycle and avoids bumping into obstacles and obstructions.
The 890 uses its infrared technology to navigate throughout your home, along with its suction and agitation features. Dual brushes on the bottom of the vacuum do a great job of gathering debris and dirt, specifically pet hair. The way the 890’s brush rolls are set up, you won’t see a lot of tangles or hair wrapped around the axles of the robot vacuum.
Putting its basic dirt detection functionality to use, the 890 is able to find areas that are considerably more dirty than other regions, and spend more time cleaning those particular spaces. Additionally, the 890 has built-in edge sensors that help it identify edges, stairs, or any other spots that might be considered a drop hazard.
Just like the 890, the Roomba 980 uses infrared technology to find its way through your home. It also uses suction and agitation features to pick up more dirt and debris. The 980 also uses advanced brush rolls with a layout similar to that of the 890.
One area in which the 980 provides a better experience is through its iAdapt 2.0 technology. Version 2.0 allows the 980 to clean using better logic using straighter paths. By comparison, the 890 only uses iAdapt 1.0.
Another area where the 980 has improvements is by the addition of its edge sensors to the back of the device. Additional sensors allow for better navigation and understanding of its surroundings.
The 890 sit at 3.6” high and is 13.9” wide. By comparison, the 980 is 3.6” high but only 13.8” wide, a tenth of an inch skinnier than the 890. However, in the weight department, the 890 wins out, checking in at 8.4 pounds. The 980 weighs 8.7 pounds.
Parts & Accessories
Both the Roomba 890 and 980 robot vacuums come with the following:
Charging station – Plugs into standard home wall outlet and is home for your Roomba. The 890 will return to its charge station when the battery gets low to charge before next vacuuming cycle.
Spinning brush – The 890 includes a brush that spins, which provides a better cleaning in corners and around edges.
HEPA Filter – Paired with Roomba’s AeroForce filtration system, this powerful filter remotes unseen allergens and debris from the air.
Virtual barrier – Roomba’s virtual wall barrier uses its infrared light to set specific zones and areas as off limits. You can choose to set a straight line, a particular radius around an object, a doorway, or in a specific pattern.
The Roomba 980 comes with two virtual barriers, which allows for navigating homes that have more rooms or more difficult to reach spaces.
Setup of the Roomba 890 is easy and straightforward. To start, unbox your 890, set it into the charging station so it can charge, then press the Clean button on top of the robot. If you want to connect your robot vacuum to your wifi network immediately, just take a moment to download and install the mobile app on your smartphone. Once that’s complete, sync the app to your 890. Now you can connect your vacuum to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and your smartphone.
Getting your 980 setup is just as simple as it is for the 890. The same smartphone application is used for the 980 as it is for the 890, and although the Clean button is in a different location, you start the cleaning cycle the same way. Just like the 890, the 980 can be controlled with your smartphone, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the navigation capabilities of the Roomba 890. The 890 robot vacuum has a built-in turning radius of 360 degrees, along with an onboard camera that helps it map out your home and avoid obstacles.
Memory mapping capabilities let the 890 remember areas which it has already been. While doing so, it recognizes areas that still require cleaning, which means your entire home will be vacuumed before the 890 heads back to its house. The drawback here is that iAdapt 1.0 isn’t as efficient as the new 2.0 technology, so the cleaning path isn’t as streamlined as it is with the 980.
The 980 has fantastic navigation capabilities as well, and like the 890, its round body allows it to squeeze under tables, beds, and other furniture with ease. You’ll notice the 980 has memory mapping functionality with a camera onboard.
You’ll also get digital map reports with the 980, a feature not yet available with the 890. Digital maps provide a detail of the 980’s path as it went about it cleaning. Using digital maps lets you accurately determine where the robot vacuum has been and what areas it had trouble with.
As mentioned in the 890 navigation section, the 980 boasts iAdapt 2.0 technology. This navigation update lets the 980 make better decisions regarding its cleaning path. As a result, you’ll see straighter lines and better logic used, much the same way you might vacuum.
Battery life on the Roomba 890 lasts for roughly an hour. Unfortunately, with the 890, there is not an option for the robot to recharge and then resume its cleaning cycle. If you live in a large home, you may need to use the included barrier to mark off areas and let the 890 clean a section at a time.
With the 980, you’ll get a battery that can run for up to two hours, double the time you’ll get with the 890. Additionally, the 980 has the recharge feature, which lets the robot return to its charging station, recharge, then head back out to continue on its cycle until cleaning is complete.
While noise isn’t necessarily a significant factor when it comes to buying a robot vacuum, if you’re in a smaller home or apartment it might make a difference. In the noise department, the 890 comes out on top, performing at a 68 dB level. However, the 980 is only two dB higher, checking in at 70 dB.
The Roomba 890 robot vacuum is an affordable device, which makes it worth its cost. It comes in a just over half the price of the 980, and includes many of the same features and functionalities as its counterpart. Features like wifi capabilities, cleaning performance, improved brushes, and voice control is available on both robot vacuums.
For the vast majority of homes, the 890 would be a great robot vacuum that provides an excellent user experience, along with a clean house. Lastly, replacement parts for the 890 are relatively cheap, and fixing the robot is simple and easy with a few inexpensive tools.
While the Roomba 890 has great value for most users, the same cannot be said for the Roomba 980. It’s still a solid robot vacuum, but the extra cost is not necessarily worth the additional features.
If you have a larger home or prefer to have a robot vacuum that just does what it needs to do, then the 980 might be ideal for you. The recharge feature with the 980 means that you don’t have to worry about whether or not the vacuum died somewhere along its cleaning route. It also means you know the entire home will be vacuumed after you press the Clean button.
Why You Should Buy the Roomba 890
From an overall perspective, the Roomba 890 robot vacuum is a good option. It offers an improved filtration system, and the navigation features are on par or better than many robot vacuums in the same price range. Additionally, the cleaning capabilities are on the same level as the Roomba 980. There may be a few differences, but with the Roomba 890, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
Consider the Following for the Roomba 890
Lower price – You’ll get many tops of the line features with the 890, but you won’t have to shell out a lot of money for them. It’s half the cost of the 980, and while you do miss out on a few of the better features, for the price, it’s a great option.
Pet-friendly brushes – The 890 uses rubber extractors on its brushes, which rotate opposite of one another. This means fewer tangles and clogs, and more efficient cleaning cycles.
Memory mapping – If you have multiple levels in your home, then memory mapping is an essential feature in your robot vacuum. Memory mapping helps navigate several rooms and large areas throughout your house.
Why You Should Buy the Roomba 980
The Roomba 980 is the better robot vacuum with more features. If that’s what you prefer, then you should go with the 980. You’ll pay a higher price for the 980, but you’ll get additional features and capabilities as well. If you have a large home and want to start your robot vacuum on its cycle and forget about it, then the 980 is the way to go.
Consider the Following for the 980
Run-time – The Roomba 980 offers twice the runtime as the 890, as it can last up to two hours on a single charge. Don’t forget about the recharge feature, which allows the 980 to return to its base station, recharge, and then resume its cleaning where it left off. If you have a large home, this is a great feature.
Digital maps – These detailed maps let you see where your Roomba 980 has cleaned, and what it does during its cycle. As a result, you’ll have a better cleaning experience as your robot vacuum learns the layout of your home.
Navigation improvements – Using iAdapt 2.0 technology, the Roomba 980 does a better job of identifying and cleaning inconsistent patterns. Using iAdapt 2.0 means the Roomba 980 will vacuum in a manner much in the same way you would.
We’ve discussed the Roomba 890 and 980 robot vacuums in-depth, but here is a high-level table to show how these two compare with one another side-by-side:
|Battery Size||1800 mAh||3300 mAh|
|Run Time||60 minutes||120 minuts|
|Charging Time||2-3 hours||2-3 hours|
|Dust bin size||0.3 L||0.3 L|
|Size||13.9” Diameter/3.6” Tall||13.8” Diameter/3.6” Tall|
|Noise||68 dB||70 dB|
|Navigation||360 degree turning radius, iAdapt 1.0 navigation||360 degree turning radius, iAdapt 2.0 navigation|
|Accessories||Virtual wall barrier (1), HEPA filter, charging station, spinning brush||Virtual wall barrier (2), HEPA filter, charging station, spinning brush|
|Features||AeroForce Filtration System, Basic Dirt Detection, Drop Detection, Dual Brushroll, Memory Mapping||Advanced Dirt Detection, AeroForce Filtration System, Drop Detection, Digital Map Reports, Recharge & Resume, Power Boost, Memory Mapping, Dual Brushroll|
Which Robot Vacuum to Choose?
Choosing between the Roomba 890 and 980 robot vacuums is no easy decision. Both robots provide excellent cleaning performance and plenty of features. If you don’t mind the added cost, or really want or need the additional features, then you’ll get plenty of benefit with the 980.
But, for instance, if you’re in a smaller apartment or home, having those features may not make sense, or make the cost worth it. There have been some changes between the 890 and the 980, which we’ve discussed, and those changes are definitely worth it if you don’t mind footing the bill.
Cost aside, the clear choice is the Roomba 980. It has a larger battery, which means it can clean longer, and a power boost feature, which increases power on the high-pile carpet. The 980 also includes advanced dirt detection and the ability for the robot vacuum to return to its base station and recharge, then continue on its cleaning cycle. Better technologies with more features make the 980 our choice between the Roomba 890 and 980 robot vacuums.
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!