Roomba 960 vs. 980 (Which Is Better?)

Unable to decide between the Roomba 960 vs 980?

We’re here to make it clear and help you decide on one Roomba vacuum cleaner.

We’ll compare both of these vacuum cleaners and see which one is better for you to buy for your specific use case.

Let’s get started.

In addition to shorter battery life than the Roomba 980 (75 minutes versus 120 min) the Roomba 960 does not have carpet boost technology like its 980 counterpart.

Moreover it comes with just one virtual wall barrier whereas the 980 has two. The Roomba 960 has almost the same features and benefits as the Roomba 980 so you are not missing out on anything by going with this model.

Roomba 960 vs. 980 : Robot Vacuum Cleaner Comparison

You are not required to connect the 960 or 980 to your wireless network but it is recommended. Neither machine needs Wi-Fi to function. You cannot however use any iRobot Home app-dependent functions: 

  • Scheduled Cleaning
  • Two Cleaning Passes
  • Edge Clean
  • Carpet Boost

Although the Roomba 980 is allegedly equipped with a 10x AeroForce system the Roomba 960 is equipped with a 5x AeroForce system. 

This may give the impression that the 980 cleaner cleans twice as well—but there is no noticeable difference between the two models. In terms of suction power they are both quite strong. In our view the additional price premium for the 980’s suction power is not justified if that is your only reason for choosing it.

There are two extra sensors on the Roomba 960 and the Roomba 980. A household item such as a sofa refrigerator or table can be visually tracked by the onboard camera. A tracking sensor allows the Roomba to remember where it has vacuumed previously. Using these sensors your Roomba will learn to vacuum your house more efficiently as it learns.

This machine vacuums in straight lines along the walls. As opposed to older Roombas that follow a random pattern it never goes back to where it has already been cleaned (unless you explicitly ask it to).

When it comes to appliances maintenance should be your top priority. Our lives should be made easier by things like these. They shouldn’t be a bother to maintain. 

The brushless extractors on both of these robot vacuums are a huge advantage over their competitors and we think it’s the best thing about iRobot’s vacuums over anyone else’s. 

900 and 800 series Roombas are the only ones with this feature. The process of removing hair from an upright vacuum’s rolling brushes can be tedious if you’ve ever tried it. 

By using rubber rollers instead of brushes the dirt on the floor is beaten and shaken loose so that it is drawn into the suction path. The tangle-free rollers make it easy to maintain them without compromising cleaning power.

There is no problem maneuvering either of the models around what’s on the ground. A major reason they are so popular has been their ability to navigate your house intelligently. 

In spite of its 100-meter range you will still need to pick up loose things like shoes and backpacks when using it since it cannot reach areas it cannot reach. It is not always necessary to clear your floor before running your Roomba but you should check it periodically to ensure it has been cleared completely.


Roomba 960 has smaller battery life (75 minutes compared to the 120 minutes of the Roomba 980) and does not have the carpet boost technology that the Roomba 980 has.

Further it comes with 1 virtual wall barrier compared to 2 on the 980. These are pretty much all the differences between the two Roomba vacuum cleaners so you’re not missing out much on going with the Roomba 960 in fact you’re saving money and getting almost the same features as the Roomba 980.

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