Roomba e6 vs 985: Which Robot Vacuum Offers Better Value?


Offered at very different price points, the Roomba e6 and 985 are two robot vacuums with widely differing features and technologies. In particular, the 985 is at the higher end of iRobot’s product lineup, while the e6 is more of an entry-level to mid-range option. Let’s look at each of their strengths, capabilities, and limits to determine which one offers better value.

Roomba e6 vs 985 Comparison Chart

ModelRoomba e6Roomba 985

Dimensions13.3″ x 3.6″13.6″ x 3.6″
Weight7.2 lbs8.7 lbs
NavigationiAdapt 1.0iAdapt 2.0 with vSLAM
Clean Map ReportsNoYes
Suction Power5x Air Power10x Air Power
RuntimeUp to 90 minutesUp to 120 minutes
Recharge & ResumeNoYes
Bin Capacity500 ml300 ml
Washable BinYesNo
Virtual Walls21


Both Roombas sport different colors and aesthetics.

Roomba e6 vs 985 Design
It’s easy to tell the e6 (left) and 985 (right) apart with their different button placements and color schemes.

First off, you’ll notice that the metallic sheen of the Roomba e6 clearly distinguishes it from the sleek, darker tone of the Roomba 985. Button placements are also different, with the e6’s trio located right at the center of the unit, while the 985 has them nearer the edge. As one of iRobot’s top-end models, it packs a bit more cleaning power than the e6, which perhaps explains why it’s slightly wider and heavier.

Mapping and Navigation

The Roomba 985 can map your home and has smarter navigation.

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Roomba 985 Mapping Navigation
The Roomba 985 uses advanced sensors to deftly move around objects and under furniture.

iRobot introduced the iAdapt 2.0 navigation system with the release of the 900 series. It uses advanced sensors as well as a camera to map out your home and keep track of where it is at all times. This allows it to navigate around objects better and clean entire levels of the house. In addition, it will move in more straight lines since it knows the floor layout, resulting in more efficient cleaning jobs.

Meanwhile, the Roomba e6 still uses the older iAdapt technology, which means it moves around randomly until it bumps into objects. While that doesn’t sound effective, the end result is still impressive. All previous generations of Roomba were called bumper bots and yet none can deny that they leave your floors well-dusted and dirt-free.

Clean Map Reports

You can see which areas the Roomba 985 cleaned.

Roomba 980 app
You can view a digital map of your home with the iRobot HOME app.

Both the e6 and 985 have Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile app compatibility, which means you can control the robots and schedule cleans via the iRobot HOME app. However, the 985’s ability to map out your home presents a nifty perk — you can check out the exact areas the Roomba ran through during a cleaning job. You’ll even be able to see the particularly dirty spots that triggered its Dirt Detection sensors, and compare runtimes, square feet covered, etc. Plus, if the 985 somehow gets stuck and couldn’t return to the charging dock, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where it is.

Carpet Boost

The Roomba 985 automatically increases suction power on carpets.

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Roomba 980 carpet boost
The 985’s sensors will trigger Carpet Boost when it goes over carpets.

A more powerful motor and dedicated carpet cleaning mode gives the Roomba 985 the ability to clean these surfaces deeper. Carpet Boost will automatically turn on when it detects carpeting, boosting its suction to 10x air power or up to 1700 Pa and also lowering the dual brushes to stay in closer contact with the fabric. Actual testing however showed that the Roomba e6 is just as equally adept at cleaning carpets, and is even more effective at picking up fine debris, such as sugar, on high pile carpets. That’s particularly impressive considering it has only the standard 5x air power of the 600 series and no additional carpet-specific features.

Recharge and Resume

The Roomba 985 can resume cleaning after recharging.

Roomba 985 Recharge and Resume
Once the Roomba 985 finishes recharging, it can resume an uncompleted job.

Like older Roomba models, the e6 will return to its base to recharge and sleep once its battery runs low, even if it still had areas left to clean. It will then either wait for the next scheduled clean or whenever you press the Clean button. With the Recharge and Resume functionality that’s also introduced in the 900 series, the Roomba 986 will automatically pick up where it left off in case it didn’t get to finish a job. It makes battery life and runtime less important, even though the 985 still has the upper hand over the e6 on those.

Accessories and Maintenance

The Roomba e6 comes with two Virtual Walls and has a bigger washable dust bin.

Roomba e6 Accessories Maintenance
The dust bin of the Roomba e6 is designed to be easily taken out and washed.

Both the Roomba e6 and Roomba 985 only vary from the e5 and 980, respectively, with the number of Virtual Wall barriers that are included in the box. The e6 has two instead of the e5’s one, while the 985 has one instead of the 980’s two. That said, the e6 affords better area control with more Virtual Walls to block off certain areas and spots of your home.

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In addition, the e6 can be a bit easier to maintain since it has a larger dust bin capacity of 500 ml vs the 300 ml of the 985. Plus, this bin is actually washable, which means you can ensure its suction isn’t hampered by a clogged bin, and it’ll take longer for you to need to replace parts.


The Roomba 985 is a smarter robot vacuum, but it’s not more powerful than the e6.

Indeed, even with Carpet Boost and better navigation features, the cleaning performance of the 985 and the e6 are comparable. Combine this with a considerably lower price tag and it’s easy to prop the e6 up as the better value robot vacuum. If all you’re looking for is a cleaning workhorse that you can control with your phone or via Alexa, the iRobot Roomba e6 is a great choice.

The difference is all in the extra functionalities and perks that the iRobot Roomba 985 offers. A robot vacuum that can recharge and resume means one less thing you have to keep tabs on, as well as fully cleaned floor areas every time. It’s undoubtedly more efficient moving around too, and will maneuver around obstacles better. Plus, you can receive a satisfying status report of its day’s work, which actually lets you see how you’re getting your money’s worth.

Last update on 2020-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API