A lot of people thought that it would take some time before iRobot could come out with a robot vacuum to top the Roomba i7+. With the ability to clean its own dustbin, the Roomba i7+ was already at the top of the vacuum food chain. If you ask us, that is quite a tough act to follow.
However, in May 2019, iRobot showed us that they are right on track with the release of the Roomba s9. There is no new technology, strictly speaking, but iRobot improved a lot of things. What was previously powerful is now even more powerful, leaving your home cleaner while you do nothing. Or at least not much.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 Main Differences Between Roomba s9 vs Roomba 960
- 2 Roomba s9
- 3 Features
- 4 What You Would Like About the Roomba s9
- 5 What Can Be Better
- 6 The Roomba s9 vs. the Roomba s9+
- 7 Roomba 960
- 8 What You Would Like About the Roomba 960
- 9 What Can Be Better
- 10 Comparing the Roomba s9 and the Roomba 960
- 11 Where They Differ
- 12 Roomba s9 vs. Roomba 960: A Side-by-Side Comparison
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions:
- 14 Conclusion
Main Differences Between Roomba s9 vs Roomba 960
The Main Differences Between Roomba s9 vs Roomba 960 are:
- Roomba s9 features an Anti-Allergen System, whereas Roomba 960 has a dirt detection system.
- Roomba s9 is the most powerful Roomba robot that can clean corners and edges with side brushes, whereas Roomba 960 has a built-in camera.
- Roomba s9 has a power boost feature for carpets, whereas Roomba 960 weighs 8.6 pounds.
- Roomba s9 is D-shaped and has a shiny copper center, whereas Roomba 960 is round and matte black.
The Roomba s9 retains the three-stage cleaning system that Roomba robot vacuums are known for. It uses the dual multi-surface rubber brushes as the main brush, a corner brush, and more powerful suction.
The new vacuuming technology is 40 times as powerful as the one you find on the company’s Series 600 models. And if that is not enough, you can turn on the Power Boost feature that can increase the suction even more. This feature is excellent if you are cleaning rugs and carpets. Now dirt and dust can no longer hide.
The Roomba s9 isn’t only unique in it’s D shape, but you’ll also notice a shiny copper center on top of the unit. It contrasts nicely with the black finish on the rest, but it does more than just look good.
This copper center is a lid, giving you access to the dust bin. The motion light ring around the lid tells you its current status and the D shape allows it to navigate edges and corners more efficiently.
It’s not as short or slim as other Roombas, so it might be more difficult to navigate low profile furniture, but the Spot-Clean, Start, and Dock buttons make it easy to use onboard controls from the unit itself.
A PerfectEdge system uses a spinning brush on the corner of the unit and intelligent sensors to reach areas that other robot vacuums can’t. While other robots have a three-blade brush for corners and edges, the s9 uses five propellers to more effectively pull dirt away from the edge for adequate suction.
The s9 comes with a remote control, but you also have the ability to connect it to the smartphone app. This allows you to pair it with your smart home devices for voice commands. You’ll also have access to cleaning schedules, maintenance alerts, and event history.
Not only that, but you can use the map to label rooms of your home and then target your cleaning to the dirtiest areas or clean different rooms at different times. You’ll also be able to control your vacuum when you’re away from home.
The Roomba s9 is loaded with features. The variable brush rolls adjust as needed to accommodate different floor types as well as transitioning easily from one to another. If your robot runs out of battery, it will return to the dock for charging and then pick up where it left off.
Imprint Smart Mapping creates maps of your home so you can customize your cleaning schedule accordingly, and variable suction automatically ramps up the power when it detects more dirt.
If you’d rather experience a quiet clean, you can use the app to tell your s9 to clean more quietly, which is perfect for daily vacuuming. A detailed cleaning cycle is great for accidental messes.
If you also have a Braava Jet Mop, you can connect your s9 to it and then tell the mop to finish up once the s9 is done.
In conjunction with the mapping feature, navigation on the s9 allows it to plan it’s route more efficiently. Instead of bumping around randomly, it will calculate the best route and clean methodically, saving time and energy.
The high-capacity, 13-ounce dust bin is easily accessible via the lid on top. Just pull out the bin, dump it, and put it back. The high-efficiency filter also ensures that after everything is picked up, only clean air is reintroduced into your home.
Plenty of Features
The Roomba s9 packs a huge technology punch in a little package. A long battery life makes it perfect for a large home. And if it does run out of battery, it’ll charge and then continue on its own.
Variable suction and plenty of cleaning modes gives you the power and versatility you need for small and large messes as well as different flooring types.
With buttons on the unit, a remote control, and a smartphone app, you can literally control this vacuum however you want, from anywhere you want. Cutting edge technology makes your life so much easier.
The price is steep, but totally worth it if this is what you’re looking for.
Perfect Edge Technology
The biggest surprise when it comes to the Roomba s9 is the shape. It does not have the familiar round shape that the Roomba family is known for.
The Roomba s9 has a squarish design on three sides while its back part is rounded. These flat sides allow the S9 to sidle up closer to walls and edges than the previous round Roombas. There are various sensors that work to keep it safe from bumping into walls.
What’s more, the corner brush sweeps debris into the path of the S9.
The Roomba s9 scans your floors and creates maps of each room. It can then store these maps. As such, you can control which rooms it cleans and even set up different schedules. This way, you can keep your entire home spic and span by scheduling more vacuuming for high traffic areas, while cleaning the less-used rooms less frequently.
You can also name the maps of your room so that you can tell your Roomba s9 to clean a specific area. For instance, you can ask it to clean the masters’ bedroom or “hubby’s home office.” The good news is that the Roomba s9 works with either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa so you can use voice commands with it.
The Roomba s9 uses a high-efficiency filter that keeps dust and dirt inside the dustbin instead of recirculating them back into the air. The filter also makes it ideal for homes with a lot of pets. It can trap all those pet hair and dander, so you do not have to deal with them!
Wider Main Brush
The Roomba s9 has dimensions of 12.25 inches wide and 3.50 inches high. It used to be that Roombas measured from 8.0 inches to 9.0 inches. The broader measurements of the Roomba s9 means that it can accommodate a wider brush.
True enough, the dual multi-surface rubber brushes that you see on this robot vacuum is 30 percent wider than the ones you see on Roomba’s 600 series models. That means that the robot can sweep and clean a bigger area in one pass.
Moreover, the Roomba s9 has an adjustable cleaning head. This feature helps the main brush to stay in direct contact with your floor, allowing it to dislodge dirt and dust while helping the vacuum work less to suck it all up. It can go from hardwood floors to carpeted areas, and the cleaning head will adjust itself automatically.
The Roomba s9 also comes with the Imprint Link technology that allows it to work with your Braava jet m6. If you own both of these devices, you can have them vacuum and mop together without you doing anything.
The Roomba s9 retains some of the technologies and features that you have come to love in earlier Roombas. For one, it connects to your Wi-Fi network and allows you to operate the robot using the companion mobile app. You can also schedule cleaning times using the app.
Ratings for the Roomba s9
The Roomba s9 receives an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5.0 on the iRobot online store and on BestBuy.com. It gets a lower score of 3.6 stars out of 5.0 score on Amazon.
What You Would Like About the Roomba s9
iRobot seems to be bent on introducing robot vacuums that clean better and have more powerful suction than its previous series. The Roomba s9 does not disappoint. The powerful vacuum motor on this device can make your rugs look like new. Reviewers have been amazed at how well it cleans, and even those with pets who shed are impressed.
Another area where the Roomba s9 helps is in making sure that your house is clean without you having to touch it. You only need to empty out its dustbin, but everything else runs on schedule. Or you can just use the mobile app or voice commands to have it start cleaning.
Overall, it’s easy to be impressed by the Roomba s9.
What Can Be Better
The Roomba s9 is far from perfect, though. The most talked about pain point is that it takes some time for the robot vacuum to get accustomed to your house. For the first few days, you will need to babysit it as it figures out its new surroundings. It does get better once it gets housebroken. But that could be annoying especially since it costs $1,000.
Another pain point is the noise. The Roomba s9 is a rather noisy worker and most of the people who have tried it out complain about it. The Roomba s9 is loud even when it works at its normal level, and it can cause a ruckus when the Power Boost mode is activated. What’s more, even at its quietest, the Roomba s9 cannot keep silent.
This robot vacuum does not empty its own dustbin. For that, you will need to spend an additional $350 to buy the Clean Base. If you are primarily looking for a robot vacuum that can empty its own dustbin, the Roomba i7+ could be your best bet, and it might even be cheaper than the Roomba s9.
The Roomba s9 vs. the Roomba s9+
Before we end with the Roomba s9, we understand that a lot of people are interested in the Roomba s9+, as well. The difference between these two is that the Roomba s9+ ships with the Clean Base. This device enables the Roomba s9+ to dump its own dustbin so that you will not have to worry about it for at least a month. The Roomba s9 is the robot vacuum model used in the Roomba s9+.
To make it easier to remember. The Roomba s9 is the robot vacuum. But if you avail of both the Roomba s9 and the Clean Base, the package is called Roomba s9+, and it sells for $1,299.99.
You can buy the Clean Base separately for $349.99. This means that you get to save $50 if you buy the Roomba s9+ rather than buying the robot vacuum and the Clean Base separately.
We can hear some people flinching because of the Roomba s9’s price. We also understand that not everybody wants or needs all of the new features offered by Roomba s9. Well, no need to worry because iRobot does have more affordable robots in its current line-up.
The Roomba 960 is one of the company’s lowest priced robots, selling for anywhere from $450 to $700. Even with its mid-range pricing, the Roomba 960 still has a lot of nifty features.
The Roomba 960 has the company’s three-stage cleaning system with a vacuum power that is equal to five times of the suction you see on Roomba’s series 600 models. It uses dual multi-surface rubber brushes that automatically adjust to stay in close contact with the floor.
Just like the s9, on top of the 960 you’ll find buttons you need to control the unit. That includes a large Clean button in the middle of a Dock button and a Spot-Clean button. It has a built-in camera and a handle.
The Roomba 960 follows the classic color scheme with a black matte finish and silver accents. There’s a bumper ring around the top so it can bump gently into obstacles without damage.
The only thing missing from the Roomba 960 is the remote control. You can still control the device using the buttons on the top or with the smartphone app. The functionality of the app is someone limited in comparison to the s9, though.
The 960 does not allow you to label rooms for more targeted cleaning. You can’t tell it to clean only the kitchen. It strictly uses mapping to navigate through your home efficiently, not to identify specific rooms for you.
The three-stage cleaning process makes for an effective clean of even the biggest messes. It loosens dirt, lifts it up, and then uses powerful suction to get it into the dustbin. There are spinning brushes and dirt extractors doing all of this work for you.
There’s a digital camera at the top mapping your home, tracking its location, keeping track of the dock, and handling all of the navigation. There are also an array of other sensors that can detect debris.
You’ll also enjoy energy and time savings because the 960 can plan its route so it cleans more efficiently rather than bouncing around randomly.
The Roomba 960 comes with a virtual wall you can set up anywhere to keep your robot vacuum away from areas where you don’t want it to clean. You can set up your virtual wall in a straight line or in a circle.
You can connect your 960 to the smartphone app for more versatile usability. It will allow you to start cleanings from anywhere. You can also schedule your cleanings, view a history, or set up voice commands using your smart home device.
While the 960 doesn’t have the same side brushes for a thorough edge clean like the s9, it does allow you to choose from several different cleaning cycles like a two-pass cycle or a final edge clean cycle. It will make a second pass around the room picking up things it missed the first time around.
You lose a few of the more advanced features if you’re looking into the Roomba 960, but at the price, it’s a great value. It gives you the technology you absolutely need to clean your home efficiently, no matter where you are.
You can schedule cleanings, control your unit using the smartphone app or your voice, and enjoy a recharge and resume feature for a complete job well done. It will transition through all types of flooring for high-quality performance, and it’s easy to use.
The Roomba 960 uses the iAdapt 2.0 navigation with visual localization to help it know where it is and where to go next. The iAdapt 2.0 creates a map of the room where the robot vacuum is cleaning. It also has a range of sensors that keep it from colliding into furniture legs and walls.
The iAdapt 2.0 navigation also allows the robot vacuum to resume cleaning after charging.
The Roomba 960 came out at a time when there were very few competitors that also offered Wi-Fi connectivity. This feature allows the Roomba 960 to connect to the Internet so that you can operate your robot vacuum using the companion mobile app.
Aside from that, the Roomba 960 is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assitant. Go ahead, tell it to start, pause, or stop cleaning just by using voice commands!
Ratings of the Roomba 960
The Roomba 960 gets a very high rating on BestBuy.com, getting 4.6 stars out of 5.0. It also gets a very high assessment of 4.1 stars out of 5.0 from close to 1,800 customers on Amazon. On the company’s own online store, the Roomba 960 has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0.
What You Would Like About the Roomba 960
It’s easy to see why people rate this robot vacuum highly. At the time of its release, the Roomba 960 was the affordable version of the company’s flagship model, the Roomba 980. It has all the features that the more expensive 980 has, except for the carpet boost and some features on the mobile app.
Nevertheless, the Roomba 960 delivers a very efficient clean, and it is one of the most recommended robot vacuums for those who struggle with pet hair at home. It is also reasonably priced, considering its Wi-Fi connectivity, Alexa integration, and navigation technology.
More importantly, it keeps your floors clean without you worrying about it too much. The Roomba 960 also has all the features that people have come to love about Roombas in general: the round shape, the side brush, the high-efficiency filter, auto recharge, auto-resume, dirt detect technology, and the three-stage cleaning system.
What Can Be Better
There are very few reasons to hate the Roomba 960, and most of the complaints are more of a wish list for something that might have been nice to have. For instance, people wished that the dustbin is a bit bigger. Others do not like the long recharging time, the noise it makes, or how it sometimes misses spots.
Comparing the Roomba s9 and the Roomba 960
So how does the Roomba 960 live up to the Roomba s9? First, these two models have a lot of similarities. They are both Roombas after all. The most apparent is the use of the three-stage cleaning system. Both models use a main brush, a side brush, and a powerful vacuum to send all the dirt and dust into the dust bin.
These models also use lithium-ion batteries. They can recharge themselves when their battery runs low and then resume working once that’s done. Another Roomba signature technology present in both models is the dirt detect technology that seeks out the dirtier areas of the floor and tells the robot vacuum to spend more time there.
Both models also use visual localization. Wi-Fi connectivity is also a shared characteristic. This means that both the Roomba 960 and S9 may be operated using voice commands or via the companion mobile app.
These models also use the high-efficiency filter that makes it an ideal choice for homeowners who have to clean tons of pet hair.
Where They Differ
The Roomba s9 is around $400 more expensive than the Roomba 960. Is it worth the higher price tag?
By the time the Roomba s9 was released, the Roomba 960 is already a three-year-old device. As such, you can expect some things to be different.
For one, the Roomba s9 shows a departure from the old round Roomba robots. The D-shaped design allows the S9 to get closer to walls. As such, it needs a corner brush instead of the edge-sweeping brush you see on the Roomba 960.
The wider dimension of the S9 also means it has room to accommodate a longer main brush. The Roomba s9 can also clean or schedule by room and is compatible with the Roomba Clean Base, which will allow it to empty the dustbin by itself.
It also has the Power Boost feature and the Imprint Link technology. However, the most significant difference between these two is that the Roomba s9 has a vacuuming power that is effectively eight times as powerful as the one you see in the Roomba 960.
Roomba s9 vs. Roomba 960: A Side-by-Side Comparison
To make it easier for you to compare these two Roomba robots, here is a side-by-side comparison:
|Model||Roomba s9||Roomba 960|
|3-Stage Cleaning System||Yes||Yes|
|Suction power compared to Series 600 Roombas||40x||5x|
|Dirt detect technology||Yes||Yes|
|vSLAM® Advanced Navigation||Yes||Yes|
|Controlled from app||Yes||Yes|
|Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes||Yes||Yes|
|Side brush||Corner brush||Edge-sweeping brush|
|Entire level cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Clean or schedule by room||Yes||No|
|Imprint Link Technology||Yes||No|
|Can Empty Own Dust Bin||No||No|
|Deeper cleaning on carpets||Yes||No|
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Roomba s9 is created to handle clearance of 5/8″ and transitions up to 1/2″. When the carpet of rug surface has a deepness of 1/2″, the unit might have some difficulty.
Roomba doesn’t measure the suction power of their models. However, the Roomba s9 features a 40x of the suction in the Roomba 600 series. The Power Boost Technology will increase the suctions in specific cases, like deep carpets.
iRobot’s best sellers include the 960, the 690, and the i7+. We’ve reviewed the 960 here. The 690 is part of the Roomba 600 series, which contains the most affordable Roomba robot vacuums on the market.
The 690 comes with Wi-Fi capability, but it doesn’t include the more advanced technology like mapping and navigation. It still gives you a powerful clean, but it’s better suited for smaller spaces.
The i7+ is one of the more advanced Roombas, much like the s9. It features handy technology like smart mapping and navigation, but it also has a self-emptying dust bin. It comes in at a slightly lower price point than the s9, but you’ll miss out on things like the D shape for better corner and edge cleaning.
Imprint Smart Mapping is Roomba’s trademarked mapping technology that gives it the ability to learn and adapt to your home. It allows you to label your rooms on the map and then target and customize cleaning for each room.
Smart Mapping gives you the ability to customize your app, label rooms, merge rooms, split rooms, and schedule custom cleanings based on the information you provide.
The battery life of a Roomba varies from one model to the next. Most last up to two hours on a single charge, but models that feature recharge and resume capability will offer a more hands-free clean because even if they run out of battery mid-cycle, they’ll continue where they left off later.
iRobot also promises that your battery will last roughly 400 charges. If you take care of your robot vacuum, it could last much longer. iRobot sells replacement batteries if you find that you need one, so there’s really no need to worry about your robot vacuum not working.
The Roomba 780 is the quietest Roomba based on the number of decibels it creates. However, if you choose a robot vacuum that allows you to schedule cleanings while you’re away, it won’t matter how loud it is.
Even the loudest Roomba vacuums shouldn’t cause you too much trouble as long as you’re not trying to host guests and have a conversation in the same room as the vacuum. You can expect models with high-powered cleaning cycles like Spot-Clean to be louder when they’re working harder.
It’s best to run your robot vacuum every day to maintain a clean home. Roombas give you powerful suction, but no robot vacuum is as powerful as a traditional upright, so it’s important to keep up with cleaning so the mess doesn’t get too out of control for the Roomba to handle.
If you have a Roomba model with several cleaning cycles that you run every day, then you can use the more powerful cleaning cycles in the event of a bigger mess, and it’ll be able to tackle it more easily if you’ve maintained those daily cleanings.
Choosing between two Roombas is tough, because Roomba makes really great, high-quality robot vacuums. You may have already made your choice between the Roomba s9 and the 960, based on the shape or the features you want.
If not, here’s a recap.
The Roomba s9 has a lot of advanced technology features. Practically the only thing it doesn’t have is the self-emptying dust bin. It’s the most advanced Roomba model on the market. It has mapping, navigation, voice commands, scheduling, room labeling, and several cleaning cycles from which to choose.
It also comes in a unique D shape so it can tackle edges and corners more efficiently than the other Roomba models. These advanced features come at a price, and you’ll pay a pretty penny to get everything you need.
The 960 still comes with Wi-Fi connectivity so you’ll enjoy using the smartphone app, navigation, scheduling, voice commands, and several different cleaning cycles. However, the mapping feature doesn’t allow you to label rooms for customized cleaning cycles.
It’s a really great value robot vacuum with plenty of features at a more affordable price. It’s a good middle-of-the-road option that isn’t basic by any means, but doesn’t have some of the more advanced features that jack up the price a lot.
Because Roomba robot vacuums provide high quality cleans, you can’t go wrong with either choice.
Alvin has been reviewing different types of technology from QR codes to the latest smartphones and robot vacuums for over a decade. Outside of technology, he writes about a wide variety of topics, including buses, travel, bankruptcy, healthcare, and cannabis. He was once so addicted to online shopping that he was on a first-name basis with delivery guys and courier services — and he shares his passion with all of you!