Another Smart Vac Showdown: The Roomba 960 vs Roomba 890

The  Roomba 960 and the Roomba 890 are two of the models being sold by iRobot on its website right now. How is one different from the other?

Bottom Line up Front: Personally, I would rather go with the slightly more advanced Roomba 960 as it has better (smarter) room navigation. It’s available here for a record 24% off right now.

Similarities between the Roomba 890 and Roomba 960

AeroForce vacuuming technology

AeroForce is used by all Roomba Series 800 and 900 models. It uses the brushless debris extractors that help pick up dust and dirt minus the tangles. These dust and dirt are then sucked into the dustbin.

Both the Roomba 960 and 890 make use of airflow accelerators for a more powerful suction. In fact, this suction is rated five times more powerful than that of the earlier Roombas.

Both models also have AeroForce high-efficiency filter that is guaranteed to catch 99% of pollen, particles, and allergens that are 10 microns or smaller.

Wi-Fi connectivity

The Roomba 960 and the 890 are two of only four Roomba models that feature Wi-Fi connectivity. That means that these robot vacuums are able to connect to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control them using a mobile app downloaded to and installed on your smartphone.

With this mobile app, you can let your robot vacuum cleaner start it’s cleaning cycle even if you are halfway around the world.

The mobile app also allows you to easily create cleaning schedules. Aside from being connected to your mobile app, the Wi-Fi connectivity also makes way for one of the best features to be introduced to Roombas in recent months: Amazon Alexa support.

You only need to speak for it to start, pause or stop cleaning!


Using the mobile app, you can set up a schedule for up to seven times a week. When the indicated time on your schedule comes, the Roomba 960 and 890 would immediately start it’s cleaning cycle.


The Roomba 890 and  Roomba 960 follow the same round hockey puck shape that most Roombas have. They even have roughly the same dimensions and the same height at 3.6 inches. The 890, however, measures 0.1 inch bigger than the Roomba 960. They also weigh roughly the same.

Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers

When you buy either a Roomba 960 or a Roomba 890, you will get a dual mode virtual wall barrier with your purchase. This navigation control device works like a virtual wall because you can use it to keep the robot vacuum from crossing an open doorway or going to a “restricted” area.

The dual mode virtual wall barrier will give out an infrared beam that that would block the Roomba. You can also use this to protect a certain part of a room, such as one with a priceless vase or with your pet’s food bowl.

Other shared features

Other features shared by the Roomba 960 and Roomba 890 include:

  • Full bin indicator – This feature allows you to know when it is time to empty out the dustbin.
  • Auto recharge – When the battery runs low for the 890 and 960, they will find their way back to the charging station to replenish the battery juice.
  • Manual docking – You can easily tell the 890 and 960 to go back to the charging dock by pressing the onboard HOME button, by using the mobile app, or just by saying a voice command to Alexa.
  • Spot cleaning – Both the Roomba 960 and 890 can be asked for a spot cleaning. In this mode, the robot vacuum would spiral in a small circle and then back to where it started. This helps the robot vacuum clean a small area more efficiently. This mode is perfect for small spills.
  • Li-on battery – The Roomba 960 and 890 make use of lithium-ion batteries that are longer lasting and more durable than the nickel metal hydride batteries used in earlier Roomba models.
  • Carrying handle – You can easily handle the Roomba 890 and 960 from one room to the other.

Both the Roomba 960 and 890 do not have the carpet boost feature. When turned on, carpet boost would make the motor work harder and increase its suction power, ensuring that your carpets are given a more thorough clean.

If you have a carpet at home and want to make sure that the dirt and dust that have settled deeply in between the fibers are picked up, get a Roomba 980, which is the only Roomba model with the carpet boost feature.

Differences between Roomba 960 and Roomba 890

As you can see, the Roomba 960 and Roomba 890 have many things in common. However, there are also some noteworthy differences between the two. For one, the Roomba 960 is $200 more expensive than the 890. Bit is that pricier price tag justified?

Navigation technology

The Roomba 890 has the iAdapt technology, which uses a combination of software and sensors to help your robot vacuum find its way around your room. The iAdapt technology follows a definite cleaning pattern while also making several passes over the same area.

The software helps calculate the best path that the 890 would take to ensure comprehensive coverage and thorough cleaning.

The Roomba 890’s suite of sensors allows it to avoid bumping into walls or furniture. These also include acoustic and optical sensors that help the robot vacuum find the dirtier areas so it could clean these areas better. It can also follow wall edges to ensure that these areas are spotless.

The best thing about Roomba 890’s iAdapt technology is that it also has the anti-tangle technology, which means your Roomba will not be stuck on carpet tassels, fringes, and power cords.

This means you need less preparation before you clean, because the Roomba 890 will know when to go under or around furniture, and it is not that prone to tangling. If you think that nothing could top that, think again.

The Roomba 960 uses the more advanced iAdapt 2.0 technology, boasting more sensors and a more efficient cleaning pattern.

The iAdapt 2.0 technology makes use of a localization camera, which helps the Roomba 960 get a map of the floor. This visual map ensures better coverage compared to the 890.

Clean Map Report

The Roomba 960 also has the Clean Map Report, where you could see your robot vacuum’s cleaning history. You could learn more about your 960’s covered area, the cleaning duration, and even how many dirt events and how big an area it cleaned.

Full bin action

Both the Roomba 960 and 890 will alert you when their dustbins are full. With the Roomba 960, however, you can indicate what to do when the dustbin is full. You can set it to stop cleaning immediately so that you could empty the dustbin first, or you can instruct it to just finish cleaning.

Entire level cleaning

All Roombas can find their way back to their charging docks when their batteries run low. However, after recharging, the Series 800 and earlier Roomba models, including the 890, will just stay on their docks until you press Start. They do not resume cleaning automatically.

The Roomba 960, on the other hand, features entire level cleaning. The Roomba 960 will go back to its dock to recharge itself and will resume cleaning once the battery is full, without needing a prompt from you.

It will continue doing this until the job is completed and the whole level of your home has been cleaned.

Edge cleaning

Roombas have side brushes that allow it to clean along wall edges, but the Roomba 960 has a dedicated edge cleaning feature that will send the robot vacuum to the furniture and wall edges to ensure that these are
thoroughly cleaned.

Cleaning passes

The Roomba 960 also allows you to specify whether you want to go over an area twice. This ensures that you get a more thorough clean, especially if you have pets that are constantly shredding or if you want to keep your upright vacuum
in storage.

Running time

The lithium-ion battery in the Roomba 890 and in the 960 provides longer run times compared to the Roomba models that run on nickel metal hydride batteries. But you should know that the Roomba 960 has a run time of 75 minutes on a single charge.

This is 15 minutes more than the 60 minutes you get from the Roomba 890.

Side by side comparison: Roomba 960 and Roomba 890

Everything that has been discussed above is listed here to make it easier for you to decide which between the Roomba 890 and the 960 is ideal for you.

  Roomba 960 Roomba 890
Manufacturer’s price $699.99  (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) $499.99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Navigation iAdapt 2.0 iAdapt
AeroForce vacuuming technology Yes Yes
Entire level cleaning Yes No
Wi-Fi connectivity Yes Yes
AeroForce High Efficiency Filter Yes Yes
Carpet boost No No
Edge cleaning Yes No
Full bin indicator Yes Yes
Full bin action control Yes No
Onboard camera Yes No
Debris extractor Yes Yes
Scheduling Yes Yes
Cleaning passes control Yes No
Auto recharge Yes Yes
Manual docking Yes Yes
Spot cleaning Yes Yes
Lithium ion battery Yes Yes
Running time (minutes) 75 60
Remote control using app Yes Yes
Carrying handle Yes Yes
Dimensions (d x h, inches) 13.8 x 3.6 13.9 x 3.6
Weight (lbs.) 8.5 8.4

Final recommendations: Roomba 960 vs. Roomba 890

Roomba 960 vs. Roomba 890

If you are looking for a Roomba model that you can control using your smartphone or using voice commands and that gives your floors a good cleaning, then you can choose either the Roomba 890 or the Roomba 960.

If the price is a factor, it is worth noting that you can save $200 with the Roomba 890 and still get a decent clean. But if you have a bigger house, you might want to consider spending more for the Roomba 960 because of its entire level cleaning feature and its longer running time.

This translates to the convenience of not having to wait until your Roomba finishes charging and then manually resuming whatever job is left unfinished.

In short, the Roomba 890 will be able to satisfy you with its level of clean, but the Roomba 960 is a better choice for those who want more convenience and a more thorough cleaning every time.