Roomba 890 vs Roomba 880: Which Robot Vacuum is Best?

One great thing about iRobot’s top Roomba robot vacuums is that the company is always trying to improve them and coming up with better versions.

This can easily be seen when the company came out with its Wi-Fi connected robots: The Roomba 980, the Roomba 960, the Roomba 890, and the most affordable one, the Roomba 690.

However, with each new offering, a previously top-notch product becomes out of date.  In the case of the Roomba 890, the earlier Roomba 880 now has to take the back seat.  But just how different are these two from each other?

Bottom Line Up Front: Unless there is an extremely compelling sale, I MUCH prefer the WiFi enabled Roomba 890 available here.

Similarities between the Roomba 880 and 890

When it comes to vacuuming technology and cleaning system, the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 890 basically have the same specifications.

  • The Roomba 890 and the Roomba 880 have similar dimensions.  Measuring 13.9 inches in diameter, both of these robot vacuums cover the same area in a single pass.  They are also 3.6 inches high – a profile that allows the robot vacuums to get under most furniture.
  • iAdapt navigation. Series 800 robot vacuums use iAdapt navigation. This is iRobot’s proprietary technology, which allows its robot vacuums to clean just as a human being would.  iAdapt makes use of the Dirt Detect Series 2 technology, employing acoustic and optical sensors to determine which areas of your floor are dirtier and thus allowing the vacuum cleaner to give this area the extra attention it needs.  It also uses persistent pass cleaning method, wherein the robot vacuum goes on a back-and-forth pattern over an area to ensure thorough clean, as well as follows wall edges, under furniture, and around obstacles.  iAdapt also has an anti-tangle technology that allows the Roomba 880 and 890 to navigate over power cords, which means you do not have to prepare the room you need to clean.  The Roomba 890 and 880 also has sensors that keep it from falling down stairs and that enable it to avoid sharp drops.
  • Series 800 robot vacuums from iRobot feature AeroForce cleaning technology, which uses AeroForce extractors to break down dirt and debris.  These debris extractors do not have brushes, so less maintenance is needed.  On top of their very efficient vacuum motor, the robot vacuums also have amplified airflow so that they are able to suck dirt into the dustbin more efficiently.
  • AeroForce High Efficiency Filters. The Roomba 880 and 890 both use high-efficiency filters that trap 99% of all dust, pollens and particles in the dustbin, making sure that these do not go back into the air that you breathe.  The filters can catch particles as small as 10 microns.
  • Spot cleaning. If you see a very dirty area that you think needs more attention from the Roomba 890 or 880, or if you spill something, you can set the mode to spot clean.  In this mode, the robot vacuum will focus on a small area to give it a more thorough clean.
  • Auto recharge. The Roomba 890 and 880 will automatically go back to their docks when they need to charge their batteries.
  • Full bin indicator. The Roomba 890 and Roomba 880 will alert you when their dustbins are full and in need of emptying.
  • Other features that you would find on both the Roomba 880 and the 890. When you buy a Roomba 880 or a Roomba 890, you can create your own cleaning schedules that tell the robot vacuum to start cleaning at a certain time.  Also, on top of the robot vacuum finding its way back to the charging dock, you can also dock it manually.  Furthermore, the Roomba 890 and 880 have an embedded carrying handle, making it easy for you to move the robot vacuum from one room to another.
  • No carpet boost. Neither the Roomba 890 nor the 880 has the carpet boost feature that you would find on the Roomba 980.  If you have carpets, you might want to invest in the 980 because of its carpet boost function, which cleans carpets more thoroughly.  Nevertheless, the Roomba 890 and 880 already deliver a thorough clean on carpets, so this exact feature is not a deal breaker.
  • Entire-level cleaning. Technically, entire-level cleaning is when the Roomba automatically resumes cleaning after charging.  Only the Roomba 980 and the Roomba 960 have the true entire-level cleaning capacity.  With the Roomba 890 or the Roomba 880, you would have to restart it manually if you want it to finish where it left off before recharging.
  • Not much control. The Roomba 890 and 880 do not offer a high degree of control when you clean.  For instance, you cannot specify how many cleaning passes the robot vacuum would make, nor can you control what it does when the dustbin becomes full.  With any of the Series 900 Roomba models, you can either let it finish the job or tell it to stop immediately if the dustbin is full, and you can instruct it to clean a specific room twice if you have pets or if the room is dirtier.
  • No special edge-cleaning mode. Neither the Roomba 880 nor 890 has the edge-cleaning mode that Series 900 models have.  In this mode, you can make sure that the robot vacuum pays special attention to the edges of walls and furniture, removing stubborn dirt and debris.  However, the Roomba 880 and 890 both have side brushes that can already adequately clean edges, so this is no deal breaker as well.

The difference between the Roomba 890 and the Roomba 880

There are a few differences between the 880 and the 890.  These are:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity. The biggest difference between the Roomba 890 and the Roomba 880 is that the 890 connects to your Wi-Fi network while the 880 does not.  The 890 can also be operated using the Home mobile app.  This means you no longer have to rely on the 890’s physical remote control to set the schedules because you can easily do that on the mobile app.  You can also use the mobile app to see if the Roomba 890 has finished cleaning, or if it is still cleaning.  More than that, you can also remotely pause, stop or start cleaning even when you are not home.  The Wi-Fi connectivity also allows you to use voice commands to control your Roomba 890 if you have Amazon Alexa speakers or Google Assistant.
  • Battery type. The Roomba 880 has a nickel metal hydride battery while the Roomba 890 uses a lithium-ion battery. The lithium-ion battery you find on the Roomba 890 gives it a longer running time.  In general, lithium-ion batteries last longer than nickel metal hydride batteries before you need to replace them.  Nickel metal hydride batteries also degrade over time when you store them, and they need to be charged fully if you are using the robot vacuum for the first time.
  • Devices that control navigation. Every Roomba now available has navigation control devices that allow it to clean areas around your home efficiently while keeping the robot vacuum out of the places you do not want it to go.  The Roomba 880 has a pair of virtual wall lighthouses.  These use an invisible IR beam to guide the 880 to clean multiple rooms in your house.  The virtual wall lighthouse will block the Roomba 880 from leaving one room until it has finished cleaning and then directs it to the next room once the job in the first room is done.  You can clean three different rooms using the virtual wall lighthouses.  These devices can also keep the Roomba 880 from entering rooms that you do not want it to clean.  Each device costs $50 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

Meanwhile, the Roomba 890 comes with a dual mode virtual wall barrier.  This device can block doors and openings up to 10 feet and will keep the Roomba 890 inside one room and out of the rooms you do not want it to clean.

It also comes with a halo mode.  In this mode, the dual mode virtual wall barrier will secure an area with a four-feet diameter so that the Roomba 890 does not clean it.

You can use the halo mode to make sure that the Roomba 890 does not vacuum your pet’s food and water bowls, or go near an expensive vase. The dual mode virtual wall barrier costs $50 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

Side-by-side comparison between the Roomba 880 and 890

To summarize and make it easier for you to compare the Roomba 880 and Roomba 890, here is a comparison chart that pits their features side by side:

  Roomba 890 Roomba 880
List price $499.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) $578.09 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
iAdapt navigation Yes Yes
AeroForce Yes Yes
Full bin indicator Yes Yes
Auto Recharge Yes Yes
AeroForce High Efficiency Filters Yes Yes
Carpet boost No No
Debris extractor Yes Yes
Scheduling Yes Yes
Manual docking Yes Yes
Spot cleaning Yes Yes
Carrying handle Yes Yes
Built-in camera No No
Cleaning passes control No No
Full bin action control No No
Edge cleaning No No
Lithium ion battery Yes No
Entire Level Cleaning No Yes
Wi-Fi connectivity Yes No
Remote control Yes Yes
Virtual wall lighthouses No 2
Dual mode virtual wall barriers 1 No
Dimensions (d x h, inches) 13.9 x 3.6 13.9 x 3.6
Weight (lbs.) 8.4 8.4

For entire-level cleaning, should this be a NO for the 880, too?

Final recommendations: Roomba 880 vs. Roomba 890

Roomba 890 vs. Roomba 880

To be brief about it, the Roomba 890 is just like the Roomba 880 with Wi-Fi connectivity, a better battery, and, surprisingly, a cheaper price tag.  It makes no sense to consider buying the Roomba 880 because you would end up paying more and have lesser features to work with.

If you do not need Wi-Fi connectivity, and would want a robot vacuum that delivers the same kind of clean as the Roomba 880 or 890, you might want to wait for iRobot to bring the price down.  But if you need to buy a robot vacuum right away, by all means, get the Roomba 890.