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Roomba 980 vs 960 (2021): Carpet Boost & Longer Runtime

Shopping for a robot vacuum but not sure which is most suitable for your needs? The Roomba 900 series has models always worth considering, particularly the 960 and 980. These high-end vacuums both offer mapping technology and Wi-Fi connectivity, but which one truly stands out?

Roomba 980 VS 960 Comparison Chart

ModelRoomba 980Roomba 960
  
Price  
Carpet BoostYesNo
Suction Power1700 Pa900 Pa
Runtime120 mins75 mins
Battery3000 mAh2130 mAh
Virtual WallYes, 2 barriersYes, 1 barrier
Wi-Fi ConnectivityYesYes
Mounted CameraYesYes
Tracking SensorYesYes
Rubber ExtractorsYesYes

Carpet Boost

The Roomba 980 has Carpet Boost technology while the 960 doesn’t.

The Roomba 980 has Carpet Boost technology for more efficient carpet cleaning

Vacuums have to work harder on carpeting than they do on hardwood floors because debris gets stuck in the fibers, making them hard to suck out. With Carpet Boost technology, the Roomba 980 can detect when it’s on a carpeted surface and kicks up the motor for greater suction.

Cleaning Power

The Roomba 980 has 10X suction power while the 960 only has 5X air power.

iRobot claims that the Roomba 960 only has a 5x AeroForce system while the Roomba 980 has a 10x system so you’d expect the latter to be more efficient. However, the difference in suction power is actually not that obvious. Either model seems to suck up debris as well as the other.

Battery Life

The Roomba 980 lasts up to 120 minutes while the 960 lasts up to 75.

Compare the Roomba 980’s 3000 mAh lithium battery to the Roomba 960’s 2130 mAh battery and it’s clear that the former would last longer. Greater runtime means more areas cleaned in one run before charging again. This is especially beneficial for those who have big homes with multiple rooms or those who have to deal with large amounts of clutter daily.

Virtual Wall Barrier

The Roomba 980 comes with two virtual walls while the 960 has only one.

The virtual wall can be set to Halo mode to establish a perimeter around objects

The advantages of these can depend on how many rooms you have or the kind of layout you have. They are used to cordon areas that you don’t want the Roomba to enter or clean. They can also be set to Halo mode which allows you to block off a 26-inch perimeter around an object like a pet bowl or fragile home decor.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

The Roombas 980 and 960 both offer wireless connectivity and the app.

Both the 960 and 980 can be operated remotely through the iRobot Home app

These two models can connect to your Wi-Fi network so you can remotely control them through the iRobot Home app which is available on Android and iOS. Overall, the app experience is similar wherein you can change the configurations and set cleaning schedules. The app is not required for you to operate the Roomba but you’ll miss out on a lot if you don’t use it.

Sensors

The Roombas 980 and 960 have two more sensors than other models.

The 980 and 960 have two additional sensors for tracking and mapping

Both of them are mounted with a camera on top for visually tracking obstacles such as tables, refrigerators, and couches. The other is a tracking sensor so the Roomba would remember areas that it has already covered or cleaned. Together, these allow the vacuum to map out your home more efficiently.

Rubber Rollers

The Roombas 980 and 960 use brushless debris extractors.

Only units in the 800 and 900 series have this feature whereas its predecessors still use bristled brushes. These rubber rollers reduce the time you spend maintaining your Roomba significantly because they won’t tangle with any pet or human hair as well as threads. The dust bin and filter are easy to release and clean too.

Verdict

Either of these units would be a great buy as they both come with impressive features like Wi-Fi connectivity and virtual wall barrier technology.

Considering the Carpet Boost feature and longer runtime, the Roomba 980 would be the better choice for large homes with hardwood floors or multiple rooms on the same level. When you just want the core features but at a lower price tag, get the Roomba 960 instead.

Last update on 2022-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Andy Mathews

Lead Editor at Compare Before Buying. Product researcher and tech enthusiast passionate about consumer products, comparison charts and surfing.