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Roomba e5 vs 960 (2020): How are These Robot Vacuums Different?

The Roomba e5 and Roomba 960 are comparable iRobot vacuums that both offer great performance without the hefty price tag of high-end Roombas like the s9+. But how are they different and which better suits your home? We pit these two mid-tier robot vacuums against each other to guide you in choosing your next cleaning companion.

iRobot Roomba e5 vs 960 Comparison Chart

ModeliRobot Roomba e5iRobot Roomba 960
iRobot Roomba E5 (5150) Robot Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair,... iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair,... 
PriceCheck Price on Amazon Check Price on Amazon 
Rating
 

4,166 Reviews 
Dimensions13.3″ x 13.3″ x 3.6″13.8″ x 13.8″ x 3.6″
Weight7.2 lbs8.5 lbs
NavigationiAdapt 1.0iAdapt 2.0 with vSLAM
BrushesDual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes, Edge-Sweeping BrushDual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes, Edge-Sweeping Brush
HEPA FilterYesYes
Suction Power5x the suction power of the Roomba 600 Series5x the suction power of the Roomba 600 Series
Imprint MappingNoYes
Dual Mode Virtual Wall BarrierOneOne
Wi-Fi and Smart Home ConnectedYesYes
RuntimeUp to 90 minutesUp to 75 minutes
Charging Time180 minutes180 minutes
Recharge & ResumeNoYes
Bin Capacity500 mL600 mL
Full Bin IndicatorYesYes
Clean Base Automatic Dirt DisposalNoNo
Imprint LinkNoYes

Design

Both the Roomba e5 and 960 have a round frame, but the e5 sports more updated dual brush rolls

The faceplate of the Roomba e5 (left) vs the Roomba 960 (right)

Exterior-wise, both the Roomba e5 and 960 sport the traditional round shape of most robot vacuums. Apart from the slight color difference, the e5 and the 960 differ in terms of their handle design, placement of physical buttons, and dustbin release mechanism. While the aforementioned may be different, they do not significantly affect cleaning performance.

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The handle of the Roomba e5 can be found in the inner circle of its faceplate and can be lifted like a typical handle. Meanwhile, the Roomba 960‘s handle can be found at the top of its updated Clean button.

As for their dimensions, the Roomba e5 is ever so slightly smaller and lighter than the Romba 960. As a result, the Roomba 960 has a slightly larger dustbin capacity at 600 mL while the Roomba e5 can only hold up to 500 mL.

The dual brush rolls of the Roomba e5 (left) are more updated and look similar to the newer Roomba i7

Both the Roomba e5 and the Roomba 960 are equipped with iRobot’s exclusive dual rubber brush rolls. These brush rolls work together to avoid hair tangles on the brush. However, since the Roomba e5 was released more recently, it sports the more updated green multi-surface brush rolls and wheel design that look similar to newer models like the Roomba i7 and i7+. They also come with iRobot’s signature side brush for a more thorough corner and edge cleaning.

Cleaning Performance

Both the Roomba e5 and the 960 have 5x the suction power of iRobot’s entry-level 600 series

Both the Roomba e5 and Roomba 960 clean carpets and other floor types well

These mid-tier iRobot Roombas have the same suction power which is 5x stronger than the entry-level Roomba 600 series. They do not differ when it comes to cleaning technologies and suction power.

Both the Roomba e5 and the Roomba 960 are equipped with iRobot’s signature cleaning features such as the Three-Stage Cleaning System, Dirt Detect Technology, and Cliff Detect. It’s worth noting that the Dirt Detect Technology is something not many robot vacuums can do. What it does is when it detects that a certain area is dirtier than most, it works harder on that spot until it’s clean.

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The Roomba e5 and 960 does a great job of sucking in larger debris and finer particles from carpets, hardwood floors, and most floor types. However, the Roomba 960 does the job more efficiently because of its more advanced cleaning path.

Mapping and Navigation

The Roomba 960 is equipped with a camera and can design a more efficient cleaning path while the Roomba e5 cleans in random directions

The Roomba e5 (left) cleans random areas while the Roomba 960 (right) cleans in straight paths.

Both Roombas have great cleaning performance and have similar iRobot essentials, but the Roomba 960 is equipped with the more advanced iAdapt 2.0 with vSLAM while the Roomba e5 only works on iAdapt 1.0, the same software that you can find in the entry-level 600 series.

vSLAM stands for Visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. This means that using its top-mounted camera, the Roomba 960 can map its surroundings and design an efficient cleaning path while working around obstacles. The Roomba 960 vacuums in straight paths while the Roomba e5 cleans in random directions. As a result, the 960 is more battery-efficient and can clean more quickly than the e5.

Run, Recharge and Resume

Both the Roomba e5 and the 960 can dock and recharge automatically, but only the Roomba 960 can resume cleaning where it left off

Roomba e5 vs 960
The Roomba 960 (right) can remember which areas have been cleaned

When the Roombas are running low on battery, both the e5 and 960 will detect it and start finding their way back to the charging base to recharge. Where they differ is the Roomba e5 can’t resume on its own and continue working on the uncleaned areas.

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Since the Roomba 960 is equipped with mapping and navigation, it can remember which zones it has covered and will continue cleaning where it left off once it’s fully charged. This is incredibly helpful if you have a larger floor size that the robot vacuum can’t cover the whole floor on one go.

The Roomba e5 can run for up to 90 minutes while the Roomba 960 only lasts 75 minutes. Both Roombas need to charge for 180 minutes to run on a full cycle again.

Control Options

The Roomba e5 and the 960 can be controlled using its physical buttons, iRobot app, or smart voice assistants

Roomba e5 vs 960
Both Roombas are compatible with voice assistants like Google Assistant (left) and the iRobot HOME app (right)

Through the iRobot HOME app, you can set cleaning schedules, monitor your Roomba, or view cleaning reports for the Roomba e5 and the 960. You can also use the physical control buttons on their faceplate to start and stop cleaning.

They are further compatible with smart voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for fully hands-free cleaning. Using voice prompts, you can ask where your Roomba is, command it to dock, and request that it start cleaning, among others.

Additional Features

Both Roombas come with High-Efficiency Filters and one dual Virtual Wall Barrier

Roomba e5 vs 960
The dustbin of the Roomba e5 is washable (left). Right photo shows how a Virtual Wall Barrier blocks off areas in halo mode

Both the Roomba e5 and Romba 960 are great smart vacuums for households with pets as they use High-Efficiency Filters that can trap dust, pollen, mold particles, pet dander, and other common allergens. They also come with a dual-mode Virtual Wall Barrier that you can use to block off certain zones such as pet feeding areas or delicate furniture. The Virtual Wall Barrier can be set in either halo mode (see photo) or the typical straight-line barrier.

While they have the same High-Efficiency Filters, they differ in the maintenance of their dustbins. The Roomba e5‘s dustbin is washable while the Roomba 960‘s isn’t.

Verdict

The Roomba 960 is better for you if you have a larger floor size, but if your house isn’t that big, the Roomba e5 is good enough

If your house is bigger than average, shelling out a hundred or so dollars for the Roomba 960 will be worth it. Its more intelligent mapping navigation system and capability to resume cleaning where it left off after charging will definitely make cleaning more convenient and efficient.

However, if you want a more pocket-friendly option without compromising its power, the Roomba e5 is one of the best options in its class and will definitely be a worthwhile purchase.

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.