Roomba s9 vs 980 (2020): Which Has Better Navigation And Cleaning Power?

iRobot has been producing some of the best robot vacuums since they first entered the market. The Roomba s9 and Roomba 980 are perfect examples of how their devices are a cut above the rest. While these two models have their similarities, they also have their disparities in terms of features, functions and capabilities. Read on to see which one would better suit your particular needs.

Roomba s9 VS 980 Comparison Chart

ModelRoomba s9Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba S9 (9150) Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Powerful Suction, Works with... iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot 
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80 Reviews 

Body ShapeD-shapedRound
Weight8.15 lbs8.7 lbs
Diameter12.25 inches13.8 inches
Air Power (compared to 600 Series models)40X10X
Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes Yes, 30 percent largerYes, regular sized
iAdapt NavigationYes, 3.0 with Imprint Smart MappingYes, 2.0 with vSLAM
Virtual WallsNoYes, 2 barriers in the box
Directed Room CleaningYesNo
Imprint Link TechnologyYesNo


The Roomba s9 has a D-shaped body while the Roomba 980 has a traditional circular design.

Roomba s9 body
The Roomba s9 has a D-shaped body
Roomba 980 Review
The Roomba 980 has the traditional round design

Looking at it from above, the Roomba s9 is shaped like the letter D. It has straight edges that allow it to sidle along corners for a more precise clean. The rubber brushes have been enlarged and relocated to the front so the s9 can cover more space at a time. Meanwhile, the older Roomba 980 has the classic circular look with smaller rollers situated between the wheels. The 980 is also slightly bigger at 8.7 lbs and 13.8 inches wide while the s9 is 8.15 lbs and 12.25 inches wide.

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Cleaning Power

The Roomba s9 delivers up to 40X suction power while the Roomba 980 offers 10X air power.

roomba s9 rollers
The Roomba s9 offers up to 40 times more suction power than 600 series models

The Roomba 980 was released earlier but it’s equipped with a Gen 3 Motor to deliver up to 10 times the suction power of 600 Series models when in Performance Mode. The 980 also has Carpet Boost to provide a deeper clean on carpeted surfaces. The Roomba s9 offers even greater cleaning performance at up to 40 times air power for picking up embedded debris. The s9 also has larger Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes to cover more space per cleaning session.

Navigation & Mapping

The Roomba s9 uses iAdapt 3.0 navigation while the Roomba 980 has iAdapt 2.0 technology.

Roomba s9 Imprint Smart Mapping
The Roomba s9 adapts to the layout of your home with Imprint Smart Mapping

Through iAdapt 3.0 and Imprint Smart Mapping, the Roomba s9 can generate accurate maps of an entire level while taking obstacles into account. This allows the s9 to clean spaces more efficiently as it adapts to the house’s layout. The Roomba 980 uses an older version, iAdapt 2.0, that doesn’t have smart mapping but is still effective for navigating with precision while conserving battery power.

Virtual Wall Barrier

The Roomba s9 has Directed Room Cleaning while the Roomba 980 comes with virtual wall barriers in the box.

Roomba 980 virtual wall
The Roomba 980 has to rely on virtual walls for identifying areas it should or shouldn’t clean

Directed Room Cleaning in the Roomba s9 enables you to set specific rooms for cleaning within the Imprint Smart Map. Only models with iAdapt 3.0 technology have this feature which can be accessed through the iRobot Home app. The Roomba 980 still has to rely on virtual wall to know which areas it should or should not clean. This requires physically moving the barriers in houses with multiple rooms or obstacles.

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Link Technology

The Roomba s9 can work together with the Braava jet m6 while the Roomba 980 can only work alone.

roomba s9+ link
The Roomba s9 can be a tag team with the Braava jet m6 for deeper cleans

The Roomba s9 can be used in conjunction with the Braava jet m6 thanks to Imprint Smart Mapping. The s9 can automatically share a map to the m6 as long as both devices are connected to the same iRobot account. With a tap of the CLEAN button, the s9 starts up followed by the mop once vacuuming is finished. This feature is unique to the I and S series so the Roomba 980 has nothing comparable to it.


Although the Roomba 980 is cheaper, the odds are in favor of the Roomba s9 with its advanced mapping and navigation system that offers greater efficiency. It just has features that the 980 does not have.

It’s a fact that the Roomba s9 and Roomba 980 are both capable of making your life easier. If you’re looking for an affordable robot vacuum that can deliver nice functions, the 980 can be a good enough choice. But to enjoy cutting edge technology, the Roomba s9 offers better value.

Last update on 2020-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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