When came out with the 980 earlier this year, everybody was excited to learn that it has W But some people were turned off with its hefty price tag.
So is the 960 the perfect choice for your vacuuming needs?
The Skinny on the Roomba 960
This takes the same form as the earlier Roombas : round in shape with two main rotating brushes and one side . It also features a: removable and a that is hard to miss.
If you purchase the 960, you also get the Home Base , the line cord, a dual mode Barrier, a pair of AA batteries, an extra filter, and extra side .
However, unlike older models, the 960 features several sensors to improve the .
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For one, it has the cliff detection sensors that prevent the unit from falling off the stairs. There’s also the optical and acoustic sensors that help the find the dirtiest parts of your floor and focus its on these areas.
That means that the 960 stays longer at spots that has and require more attention, making sure that you have a cleaner floor.
The 960 also makes use of the iAdapt Navigation with Visual Localization, which helps the know exactly which area it is in the room while doing the . Unlike earlier Roombas, such as the 800-series, the 960 no longer cleans randomly.
What’s more, the 960 can do a of 75 minutes on a single charge and can work in several rooms, too. After that, it automatically goes back to its . And once recharged, it will resume the !
A better, more efficient cleaning
The Roomba 960 claims that it has 50% better cleaning performance compared to the 600-series Roombas because of its AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System, which features debris extractors, as well as its Gen 2 motor, which increases cleaning efficiency without the hassles of maintaining it too much.
You also get five times the air power with this particular motor, that helps off any type of floor. Like earlier Roombas, the 960 can also under chairs and sofas because of its lower height. Plus, its side can take care of and that gather at the wall corners.
And with the AeroForce high-efficiency filter, the Roomba 960 can trap very small particles. Allergens, particles, and pollen as small as 10 microns are easily trapped in the filter.
The iRobot Home App
Connectivity is one of the unique features that you would love on the 960. This particular model comes with the iRobot Home App, which is available on both the iOS and Android app markets. Setting up this app is very straightforward and simple.
Once downloaded, you plug in the charging station and dock your Roomba 960. Fire up the app and follow the onscreen instructions that will take you through the process of connecting your 960 to your Wi-Fi network. The setup should take no longer than five minutes!
You just enter your Wi-Fi network name and the network key, and then hold down the Spot Mode and Home button to activate your Roomba 960. There will be alerts and sounds to let you know that your 960 is trying to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
With the iRobot Home App, you can easily schedule your floor cleaning and vacuuming. And you can do this from anywhere! You can use the app so that your Roomba can start cleaning even when you are not home and even when you are out of town.
You can also set it to clean the way you want it, as well as check to see what is happening with your cleaning jobs.
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Is the Roomba 960 still cleaning? Is it charging? Or do you need to empty the dust bin? The app allows you to set your Roomba 960 so that it cleans seven times a week.
Additionally, the app provides you with tips on how to use your Roomba 960 to its fullest potential, as well as offers support for your unit.
Roomba 960 Manual
One of my favorite things to do before buying a high end robot is checking out the user manual! If you have the mind for it, you can check out the Roomba 960 manual here.
Comparing the Roomba 960 with the Roomba 980
Looking at the capabilities of the iRobot Roomba 960, you cannot help but compare it with the iRobot Roomba 980 (read full review) that came out earlier this year. Take a look at this table comparing each of their specs:
|iRobot Roomba 960||iRobot Roomba 980|
|Price (as of this writing)||check here for latest price||Check here for latest price|
|Diameter||13.8 inches||13.8 inches|
|Height||3.6 inches||3.6 inches|
|Weight||8.5 lbs||8.7 lbs|
|Battery life||1 hour 15 minutes||2 hours|
|Automatic resume after charging||Yes||Yes|
|Dirt Detect Concentrated Cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Tangle-free Debris Extractors||Yes||Yes|
|Custom Cleaning Preferences?||Yes||Yes|
|iRobot HOME App||Yes||Yes|
|Bin Full Indicator?||Yes||Yes|
|AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System||5X||10X|
|AeroForce High-Efficiency Filter||Yes||Yes|
|3-Stage Cleaning System||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, the 960 generally has the same features as the more expensive Roomba 980. But for less money, you are actually using an older motor. The Roomba 960 makes use of the same motor found in the 800-series. For a better frame of reference, this motor was first seen in 2013.
Yes, that is at least a three-year-old technology right there. But for some people, the 800 series motor actually performed better than the Roomba 980 motor, so using an older motor might not necessarily be a negative point for the 960.
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The Roomba 960 also has a much shorter battery life, as you get almost 60% more vacuuming time with the Roomba 980. Plus, it lacks the carpet boost feature that makes the Roomba 980 much more efficient at cleaning rugs due to the increased suction power. Read my full Roomba 960 vs 980 comparison here!
Alternatives to the Roomba 960
Dyson 360 Eye: When it comes to good alternatives, you have the Dyson 360 Eye (link to website). Like the Roomba 960, the Dyson 360 Eye features a lithium ion battery, cliff sensor, app control, dustbin, and a circular shape. The Dyson 360 Eye, however, has a smaller diameter, at only 9 inches.
That makes it perfect for cleaning tight spaces. However, it is also more than an inch higher than the Roomba 960, which might hinder it from going under some of your furniture. The 360 Eye is also more than three pounds lighter.
The Dyson 360 Eye makes use of a more powerful motor than the Roomba 960, with a rated 78,000 rpm suction. It also makes use of a full-width brush bar, instead of the side brushes you find on Roombas.
But while it can clean and pick up dirt and dust more efficiently than the Roomba 960, the 360 Eye is also more expensive and has a shorter battery life at only 45 minutes on a full charge.
Neato Botvac Connected: Meanwhile, if you are looking for a Roomba 960 alternative that is closer to its price, then you might want to consider the Neato Botvac Connected (Check here for the latest price.
The Botvac Connected is generally praised for its navigation, better suction performance, and bigger dirt bin. It’s also better at cleaning corners than the Roombas. You can read my full take (link to website), for more details.
Roomba 980: I’ve discussed the 980 in depth already but if you 1) want the latest motor, 2) need longer cleaning cycles (bigger house), or 3) have more carpeting, it is definitely worth considering. You can check the latest pricing on the 980 here.
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What would make the Roomba 960 better?
It feels like the Roomba 960 is only nominally connected and that iRobot is still working on making it truly connected. By that, we mean that it still needs to work well with other connected devices in the house.
Perhaps it could work with the Nest Thermostat or check the GPS of your car so that it could automatically start cleaning when you are away from the house.
The app is well-designed and it works intuitively. It gives you all the information you need about the Roomba 960, including when to empty the dust bin and what the Roomba is doing at a specific moment.
But since the app already has a way to fetch that information on demand, it is a wonder why push notifications are not available. For instance, it would be great to get an alert when your Roomba 960 has finished cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Even though the iRobot App is a great addition to any robotic vacuum cleaner, you can definitely still use your robot cleaner without the help of the app.
The Roomba 960 robot vacuum is a great option for pet owners. Its HEPA filter and suction power will go deep into hardwood floors and even carpets. With this Roomba model, you can be sure pet hair will not be a problem anymore.
The Final Verdict
The Roomba 960 is far from perfect, but it does its job well. There is no denying that it cleans much more thoroughly than earlier Roombas and even other robot vacuums.
The 3-Stage Cleaning System, the side brushes, and the AeroForce high-efficiency filter all ensure that you get a more satisfactory cleaning.
Additionally, the beauty of working with an iRobot device is that you benefit from the company’s mature products. The company has been in the business for so long that you can really expect intuitive and very useful products from it.
And the Roomba 960 does not disappoint in this regard. You can just set it up and it will do its job all its own: vacuuming while you are watching TV, checking your Facebook account, or out for work.
The addition of the remote control and the well-designed mobile app is just icing on the cake, but it adds a whole new level of usability and a whole new range of features that help the Roomba 960 justify its more expensive price tag compared to non-smart robotic vacuum cleaners.
For its price range, features, sensors, and performance, you cannot go wrong with a Roomba 960.
You might, however, want to first check out the Neato Botvac Connected before finally deciding on the 960, just to make sure that you have the best Wi-Fi connected robotic vacuum cleaner that is just perfect for your needs.
Another consideration is if you have carpeted floors and you want the Wi-Fi connectivity features, then you might want to consider the more expensive Roomba 980 with the Carpet Boost feature or the more powerful Dyson 360 Eye.
Where to Buy the Roomba 960
For now, the 960 is available exclusively via iRobot here. You can’t find it anywhere else. This could change, so I’ll keep this page updated with the latest information.
UPDATE: Amazon has recently
started carrying the 960 at this listing
. So if you prefer shopping at Amazon, you do have that option.
We just purchased the 960 and have used it twice. The carpet has been cleaned by an upright for the last two years, so you would think that the loose fibers from the carpet would have been all picked up, right? Wrong, both times it has cleaned the carpet it has filled the dirt bin with the fibers from the carpet. I think that is amazing. We purchased ours from Bed, Bath and Beyond while on sale and had a 20% off coupon, so we got ours for $549.
Patrick Sinclair says
Gary – That’s a great “success story”. Thanks for sharing! The 980 version has “carpet boost” which leads to even better carpet cleaning performance. This just goes to show – however – that modern robot vacuums are quite comparable to traditional uprights (if not better in some cases).
Hannah J Parrish says
My 960 is blinking red and I don’t know what to do. It has been on it’s base for days. What is wrong?