Roomba 890 vs. 960- Which iRobot Vaccum is Overall Better?

Last updated on April 15th, 2024

If you are looking for budget robot vacuums, then you are going in the right direction. Roomba 890 and 960 are two of the most budget-friendly vacuums. They are the top-performing models of their series. They have better features than their counterparts, which sets them apart from the rest. But how are these two different from each other? And which one should you choose? Scroll down to find out.

Which is better: Roomba 890 vs. 960?

The Roomba 960 is the better vacuum because of the advanced iAdapt 2.0 navigation system. Unlike the 890, it is equipped with a camera. It thus creates better maps also sends a Clean Map Report to your mobile app. The 960 also has a better battery capacity and gives a longer runtime. It also has the recharge and resume features.

There’s more to the Roomba 960 than this, so read along to know more.

Check out: Roomba 960 vs. 980 vs. 981 vs. 985: Know the Difference

Roomba 890

Roomba 890 vacuum robot
Roomba 890

The Roomba 890 is the most advanced model from the Roomba 800 series. It has better features like an advanced filtration system and better brush rolls than the older versions. But it uses the iAdapt 1.0 navigation system, which is very basic. Despite that, it has mapping capabilities that the older versions did not have.

Roomba 960

Roomba 960 vacuum robot
Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 was launched in August 2016 as a part of the 900 series. It has the iAdapt 2.0 navigation system, which is a bit better than the 1.0. Its cleaning performance is also noteworthy. One interesting feature is the edge cleaning mode. When that mode is activated, it only focuses on cleaning the edges.

Roomba 890 vs. 960: Specifications

Roomba 890 vs. 960 specifications
Roomba 890 vs. 960 specifications

The table below compares the two vacuums side by side.

SpecificationsRoomba 890Roomba 960
Dimensions13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 inches13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches
Weight8.4 pounds8.6 pounds
ShapeRoundRound
ColorBrown on BlackCharcoal Grey
Carrying handlesPresentPresent
AvailabilityRefurbished modelsRefurbished models
Surface RecommendationHard floors, CarpetsHard floors, Carpets
Cleaning OptionsVacuumingVacuuming
Control TypeVoice, AppVoice, App
Compatible DevicesAmazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa,
Google Assistant
BrushesDual Multi-Surface
Brushes,
Edge-Sweeping Brush
Dual Multi-Surface
Brushes,
Edge-Sweeping Brush
CameraAbsentPresent
Dustbin Capacity0.6 L0.6 L
Filter TypeHEPAHEPA
Battery Capacity1,800 mAh2,600 mAh
Runtime60 mins75 mins
Charging Time2 to 3 hours2 to 3 hours
Battery TypeLithium IonLithium Ion
Suction Power5x*5x*
Warranty1 year1 year
Mapping TechnologyPresentPresent
vSLAM TechnologyAbsentPresent
iAdapt 1.0 NavigationPresentAbsent
iAdapt 2.0 NavigationAbsentPresent
Virtual Wall BarrierPresentPresent
Cliff SensorPresentPresent
3-Stage Cleaning SystemPresentPresent
Dirt Detection TechnologyPresentPresent
Edge Cleaning ModeAbsentPresent
Noise Level68 dB65 dB
Roomba 890 vs. 960 Comparison

* indicates comparison to the Roomba 600 series

Note: Both these models are currently not sold on iRobot’s official website. But you will find refurbished models on websites like Amazon.

Let’s discuss these points in more detail.

Design

The design of the Roomba 890 is a bit different than the 960. The 890 has a brown colored ring on the top, while the 960 is Charcoal Grey in color. The latter also has a top-mounted camera at the center. Besides that, they have the same round shape and carry handles on the side.

The camera on the Roomba 960 makes a significant difference in navigation and the design of the robot.

Battery capacity

Battery section of a Roomba
Battery section of a Roomba

The Lithium Ion battery of 890 has a capacity of 1,800 mAh, which gives a runtime of 60 minutes. But the 960 can run for around 75 minutes with its 2,600 mAh battery. You don’t really have to worry about charging these because they automatically head back to their charging station when low on power.

The 960 goes a step further with its recharge and resume feature. It will not only charge but also resume cleaning when done charging. But the 890 will remain docked on the charging station even after charging is completed. You have to command it via the app or press the clean button on its top.

We are inclined towards the Roomba 960 as it has a better battery capacity, longer runtime, and the recharge and resume feature.

Roomba 890 vs. 960 dustbin capacity

Roomba's washable bin
Roomba’s washable bin

The dustbin capacity of both vacuums is the same, i.e., 0.6 L. As they are not compatible with an auto-emptying base, you have to manually empty their bins every time they are full. The full bin indicator light turns on to notify you that the bin is full.

The Roomba 890 stops cleaning when its bin is full. But the 960 will continue cleaning even with a full bin. This can cause issues if you let the vacuum continue cleaning with a full bin. So you have to look out for the full bin indicator light.

Both vacuums have the same bin capacity, but the Roomba 890 has a feature that stops cleaning until the bin is emptied, which is a safe thing to do. So we would definitely prefer it over the Roomba 960.

Roomba mapping a room
Roomba mapping a room

The 890 has a very old iAdapt 1.0 navigation system. This system operates solely based on the data collected from onboard sensors. That is why it navigates randomly around the house. Despite the random navigation, 890 can create quite a good map of your home.

The Roomba 960’s navigation system is an upgraded 2.0 version of the iAdapt tech. Because of this upgrade, the vacuum travels in straight lines while cleaning. An added feature to the 960 is an onboard camera. It totally enhances the navigation capabilities as the vSLAM Technology comes into the picture.

As the Roomba 960 has an upgraded iAdapt 2.0 navigation system as compared to the Roomba 890 and also has an onboard camera that enables vSLAM technology, it would be unwise not to choose it.

What will happen if something huge gets sucked up into the Roomba?

These vacuums sometimes run into objects like socks, wires, tablecloths, or even your pet’s tail. And they get sucked up into the dustbin. If something like this happens, the vacuum will go into error mode and shut down its operations. It will not resume until the object has been cleared.

Which robot cleans better: 890 or 960?

 Roomba cleaning a room's section
Roomba cleaning a room’s section

Both vacuums use the classic 3-stage Cleaning System. They even have debris extractors at the bottom. The role of debris extractors is to lift up dirt from the ground and cut down bigger pieces of waste into smaller ones so that they will be suctioned easily. These even have anti-tangle sensors on them. They prevent hair or other items from getting tangled in the extractors.

These also have the Dirt Detection Technology, which identifies areas with more dirt and spends more time cleaning them. The Roomba 960 has the Edge Cleaning Mode, which is absent in the 890. When you turn on this mode, your 960 will go to the edges and corners and clean only near them. It spends more time making sure almost all dirt is collected.

Cleaning different surfaces

If you compare the cleaning performance of both vacuums on different surface types, you will find that both are not that great with carpets. They struggle to get the dust to rise up from the carpet. But on hard floors, their performance is quite well. In fact, the 960 performs better on hard floors than the 890.

Considering that the Roomba 960 is better at cleaning hard floors and also has the edge cleaning mode, it will deliver a superior cleaning experience than the Roomba 890.

Other features

The Roomba 960 has a unique feature that is not present in the 890. It is called a clean map report. Your mobile app receives a clean map report after certain intervals. This report contains all the data about where the 960 has been, the areas that it cleaned, along specific locations where it spent more time cleaning. This helps to identify high-traffic areas in your house.

The report also has data about the vacuum’s battery level. It tells you how much battery was consumed during cleaning, how long it took to charge, etc. If your 960 runs out of battery before returning to the docking station, you even receive its location to avoid the hassle of locating it.

The Clean Map Report offered by the Roomba 960 is really helpful for understanding your cleaning requirements. As the 890 doesn’t offer it, we suggest you opt for the 960.

What additional accessories are included with the robots?

The following table shows what you will get on purchasing each product.

Roomba 890Roomba 960
1 Roomba 890 robot vacuum1 Roomba 960 robot vacuum
1 Home Base Charging Station1 Home Base Charging Station
1 Extra High-Efficiency Filter1 Extra High-Efficiency Filter
1 Virtual Wall and 2 AA batteries1 Extra Corner Brush
1 Virtual Wall and 2 AA batteries
List of items included with the product

On buying the Roomba 890, you get an extra filter and a virtual wall barrier. And on purchasing the 960, you get all the accessories of the 890 plus an extra corner brush.

What is a virtual wall barrier?

A virtual wall barrier is a small cuboidal device that creates no-go zones for your Roomba. It can be used in two ways. The first way is to create a barrier or boundary. You can place it in the door frame to prevent the vacuum from entering a particular room. The second way is to create a protective circle of 3 meters around the device. This method can be used to keep the Roomba away from a pet food bowl or a potted plant.

Conclusion

The Roomba 960 has all the features of the Roomba 890 plus more. It has an enhanced iAdapt 2.0 navigation system. The onboard camera just adds to its navigation capabilities. You even get a Clean Map Report with the 960. Though the cleaning performance is similar, the longer battery life of 960 enables it to cover more ground. It is more likely to cover your area in one go. Considering all this, we prefer the Roomba 960 over the Roomba 890.

FAQs

Does Roomba 890 have mapping?

Yes, the Roomba 890 has mapping ability. With the help of its sensors, it can create a map of your home and use it for future cleaning cycles.

How long does a Roomba 960 last?

The Roomba 960 lasts for 75 minutes on a single charge. It has a battery capacity of 2,600 mAh, which usually takes 2 to 3 hours to charge.

Does Roomba 890 have Wi-Fi?

Yes, the Roomba 890 has Wi-Fi connectivity. You can connect it to your mobile app through Wi-Fi. But it doesn’t necessarily need Wi-Fi for cleaning. Once you set it up, it can clean on its own.

Do I have to purchase the docking station separately?

No, you do not have to purchase the docking station separately. It comes in the package along with your robot vacuum.

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Mark Thompson

Hi I am Mark, the founder of Smart Home Bulls. Having spent 5 years immersed in the intricacies of smart home gadgets at a leading tech company, I decided to chart my own course side by side along with the job. Enter Smart Home Bulls – the result of my desire to simplify the smart living experience.

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