How far does a Roomba go

iRobot Roomba 980: High-end vacuum cleaner robot with app in the test

Hans-Christian Dirscherl

Roomba 980 is the top model among iRobot's vacuum robots. With maintenance-friendly rollers, app, virtual cleaning card and WiFi. But is that why it is worth 1000 euros? A detailed test in comparison with a 350 Euro Roomba model. Update: The Roomba 980 also supports ITFFF and Alexa.

EnlargeiRobot Roomba 980: Vacuum cleaner robot with app in the test

There is currently no more Roomba: The Roomba 980 rounds off the iRobot model range at the top. We have tested Roomba 980 for a few weeks and present the advantages, but also disadvantages. We compare the Roomba 980, which costs 1000 euros, with the Roomba 620, which you can get for around 350 euros.

Tip: We have also tested a Roomba model that is between the Roomba 980 and Roomba 620 in terms of price and performance: the Roomba 780. And the Scooba 390 wet-mopping robot. You can find both detailed test reports here.

Special features of Roomba 980

The design of the Roomba 980 (35 cm in diameter, almost 9.1 cm high) looks noble and is absolutely suitable for the living room. But of course that is not the decisive argument in favor of a 1000-euro robot.

The top model of the Roomba vacuum cleaner family initially offers a modified cleaning technology compared to the entry-level models of the 6xx class: It has rubber slats instead of brushes.

EnlargeThe rollers of Roomba 620. Hair and fluff get stuck here again and again. The user then has to clean the brush by hand.

This reduces the effort for the occasional cleaning of the brushes, as we know it from the Roomba 620. Because hair and lint do not stick to the rubber slats as easily as they do to the brushes of a Roomba 6xx. The 8xx models, which are cheaper than the 9xx models, also use these maintenance-friendly rubber rollers.

EnlargeThe Roomba 980's rubber rollers stay pretty clean.

Maps of the cleaned rooms: Roomba 980 also navigates through the apartment with camera support and uses it to create a map of the area to be cleaned. This new navigation technology is intended to make Roomba's cleaning technology faster and more controlled. In addition, the user can see the map of the cleaning area based on it in his app. The app is another benefit of the Roomba 980. However, iRobot is considering selling this card data to other companies.

WiFi, IFTTT and Alexa, but not Google Home: In order to use the app functions, Roomba must be connected to your WiFi network. The Roomba also receives firmware updates via WLAN. Roomba 980 also supports IFTTT. A few applets are available for this. IFTTT is defacto only implemented in English, but the compatibility applies not only to the USA but also to Canada, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Germany.

According to iRobot, the Wi-Fi-enabled Roombas are now Alexa-compatible in Germany as well. The German voice control with Alexa Skills has been around since September 2017. The iRobot Home App is currently (as of November 2017) but not compatible with Google Home.

Roomba 980 can also drive to the charging station during a longer cleaning process, charge its battery and then continue the cleaning process. A cleaning process can therefore also cover several rooms. A "turbo carpet mode" is currently even the unique selling point of the Roomba 980 compared to all other Roomba models - but this function did not convince us in the test.

Charging the battery and power consumption

To charge, place Roomba on the included charging station. Roomba then charges its battery via the two charging contacts on the bottom. The Rcon sensor on the top guides Roomba back to the charging station when it is in motion.

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Roomba charges its battery with 27.2 watts. After the battery is fully charged, the power consumption of Roomba 980 on the charging station is still 4.4 watts. If the charging station hangs empty from the socket, it draws 0.5 watts.

For comparison Roomba 620: Roomba sucks almost 29 watts when it is charged. If it is charged at the charging station, it still needs around 5 watts of maintenance power.

Control and display elements

On the top of Roomba is the button to start the cleaning process, the dock button, with which Roomba returns to the charging station (Home Base) and the spot button, with which you let Roomba clean a small area with circular movements. The iAdapt camera is also installed on the top.

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You will also find LEDs on the top to indicate the WiFi connection, for the error warning, the battery charge indicator, the warning that the dust bag is full, and the Dirt Detect indicator for the indication that Roomba is a heavily polluted area cleans.