Review: iRobot Roomba 980
The iRobot Roomba 980 – the figurehead of iRobot – has been on the market for quite some time now and finally we’ve gotten the chance to test the smart robot hoover by ourselves. Now, we have tried to figure out if the Roomba 980 is worth the price or not.
Packaging & scope of delivery
The iRobot Roomba 980 comes in the usual iRobot packaging with (in my opinion) still a little too much plastic packaging. With a proud recommended retail price of 999.99 €/GBP we expect a lot of accessories being included in the scope of delivery. Included is:
- iRobot Roomba 980
- 1 Charging station and power cable
- 1 Replacement side brush
- 1 Replacement filter
- 2 Dual Mode Virtual Walls (with batteries)
- 1 User manual
As you can see, it is everything included that you need for the first weeks of operating the robot vacuum. According to experience, the filter and side brushes are durable if they are cleaned regularly and thoroughly. So for starters, the scope of delivery is alright – even though it could be more extensive at this price.
Installation & start-up
The Roomba 980 is ready to use in only a few steps: Connect the charging station to power, place the robot on the station and let it charge for a few hours. In the meantime we start installing the iRobot HOME smartphone-app which is available free of charge for iOS and Android. The app guides us through the installation step by step. At this point, a big praise – in only a few minutes and without any problems, the app can be connected with the robot hoover and we are ready for the first operation.
The test household for the Roomba 980 review
We have tested the iRobot Roomba 980 in our 85 m2 four-room apartment. Each room is equipped with another floor type: parquet, PVC, tiles, laminate and a 2 cm high mid-pile carpet. Unfortunately, our rooms are separated by 2.5 cm doorsteps which makes it impossible for the robot to get from one room to another independently. As we often welcome a hairy visitor (German shepherd / collie called Gipsy), the Roomba 980 must not only remove dust and dirt but also dog hair.
Control: Manually, via smartphone-app or with voice commands
For a manual control, the Roomba 980 is equipped with three buttons on its top side. With these buttons we can start/stop the robot, select the spot-mode and send it back to the charging station.
All other functions are only available via app. Before the first operation we set a cleaning schedule: It shall vacuum automatically on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 AM. Furthermore, we can set different cleaning settings via app: Activate the carpet turbo, stop cleaning when the dust bin is full, two cleaning cycles and activate the edge cleaning.
Especially interesting for Amazon Alexa owners: The iRobot Roomba 980 can also be controlled with voice commands. With easy commands, such as “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning”, the vacuum robot can be controlled without the smartphone or pushing buttons. Unfortunately, we do not have an Alexa at home to check this functionality.
Navigation & detection of obstacles
A smart navigation method assures that the Roomba 980 does not drive through your rooms randomly as its precursors do. Instead, it navigates through your home in a methodical pattern and is therefore especially fast. Of course, this works best in empty rooms but even in our nurseries the navigation worked pretty well despite many obstacles. Thereby, the obstacles are only touched softly. We have been really surprised about how determinedly the Roomba 980 moved through our home during the test – as if it has been living with us forever and knows our apartment inside and out.
The robot vacuum also took care of cleaning the edges and corners of our home. The side brushes make sure that no dust or dirt is left behind in the corners and we only had to rework around hard-to-reach sofa legs. The robot drives onto the 2 cm high mid-pile carpet without any efforts, automatically activating the carpet turbo mode. The only obstacle it could not make friends with: The clothes horse. Painstakingly, it tries to climb it over, getting stuck several times and needing our help to be freed.
Suction power and a brushless cleaning system – we are convinced of the cleaning results
The cleaning system of the Roomba 980 is brushless one, the filter is a HEPA-filter and the suction power is 10 times stronger than the one from precursors – that promises an especially thorough cleaning and small maintenance efforts. And we can confirm – after one single cleaning cycle our floors are free from dust and dirt. Only a few cleaning cycles later, an impressive amount of dirt (and dog hair) has been collected in the dust bin:
The dust bin can easily be removed of the device, emptied and reinserted. We demount the side brush with a screwdriver to remove tangled hair. The filter and rubber extractors are cleaned as easily and rapidly.
Results and conclusion of the iRobot Roomba 980 review
We have been waiting to review the iRobot Roomba 980 for a long time now but the robot has not disappointed our expectations. The suction power is impressive and other manufacturers could really take a leaf out of the book of this Roomba’s navigation. Nevertheless, a recommended retail price of 999.99 €/GBP is above the threshold of many. We recommend to have a look at the following criteria if you are thinking about if you should really get the Roomba 980:
- 1. Is a smartphone app needed and would it be used regularly?
- 2. Is your home barrier-free and can the robot move from room to room independently?
- 3. Is the extra suction power really needed (pet hair, allergy sufferers)?
If you can answer these criteria with no, you better start looking for another, more suitable and less expensive model. If you can go without the carpet turbo mode, the iRobot Roomba 960 is a great and cheaper alternative. But if you really need all the features of the Roomba 980, we can definitely recommend it without having a guilty conscience. It has convinced us with its easy usage, the strong suction power, the smart navigation and an almost maintenance-free system.
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