We're all busy in life, and it's the busy among us that iRobot has been catering to for years. Making a household name out of the Roomba brand, iRobot releases a few new vacuums each year, giving the usual upgrades and feature additions that we've all become accustomed to in technology release cycles. This time around iRobot is adding to its higher-end Roomba 900 lineup, bringing the Roomba 960 to customers with a $200 lower price point than the highest-end Roomba 980. On the surface the Roomba 960 looks nearly identical to the Roomba 980, save for a paint job of course, and it takes a bit of looking under the hood to find out what's really different.
The Roomba 960 uses the same Generation 2 motor that's found in the Roomba 800 series, while the Roomba 980 utilizes a Generation 3 motor. This Generation 3 motor features a Carpet Boost mode that ups the suction level to around 5x higher than what the Generation 2 can offer, lending to one of the biggest differences between the two vacuums. iRobot has also outfitted the Roomba with a smaller battery, rated at 75 minutes of constant use, versus 2 hours of constant use on the Roomba 980. This equates to about 900 square feet cleaned per charge cycle on the Roomba 960, versus around 1200 square feet cleaned on the Roomba 980.
Even the contents of the box are similar, however the Roomba 960 only comes with one virtual wall while the Roomba 980 includes a second one. Outside of these features you can still expect the same great iRobot Home app to pair it and any other iRobot product you might have. iRobot has recently updated the iRobot Home app with full support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, meaning you can get your Roomba cleaning from anywhere you can speak to your favorite virtual assistant, and even use the assistant to ask Roomba about its status and other things. iRobot is certainly packing the features in, and it's going to need to in order to compete on the price front. At $700 this one is quite a bit more expensive than the Xiaomi Mi Robot vacuum, and as such the features are what's really going to set the two apart. Find out in our video review below if this one is worthwhile!