Roomba i7 vs Roomba 960 – Which is a Better Buy?

iRobot’s line of Roomba robot vacuums is impressive. It provides you with a high-quality unit and superior functionality. But which one is the best? There are several models to choose from, so if you’re looking for a hands-free way to vacuum your home, you need to know what will work for you.

Comparing the Roomba i7 with the Roomba 960 will give you an idea of the options available to you so you can make a better decision. 

Main Differences Between Roomba i7 and Roomba 960

The main differences between Roomba i7 and Roomba 960 are:

  • Roomba i7 has iAdapt 3.0 technology for advanced mapping and navigation, whereas Roomba 960 does not.
  • Roomba i7 has upgraded memory and processing power, whereas Roomba 960 does not.
  • Roomba i7 can save up to ten maps with room labeling and restricted areas, whereas Roomba 960 cannot.
  • Roomba i7 is all black with a shiny finish, whereas Roomba 960 has a matte black finish with silver accents.

Roomba i7

The Roomba i7 is one of the most advanced robot vacuums you can buy from iRobot, or any other manufacturer for that matter. It’s a top-of-the-line unit with high performance and a ton of technology that gives you simplicity and ease of use. It gives you a sophisticated experience you’ll enjoy. 

Find my complete Roomba i7 review here!

Design

The Roomba i7 looks the same as many other robot vacuums, but inside you’ll find an upgraded processor and more RAM. It’s been redesigned to offer better functionality and performance. 

The cleaning head boosts suction on all surfaces and the rubber brushes are thorough. It has double the cleaning performance of other robot vacuums and ten times the suction. The built in cameras and sensors drive the mapping capabilities of the i7, so you can enjoy its ability to learn the layout of your home.

The internal map of your entire home lets you get a more effective clean from your robot with custom cleaning cycles. You can use the smartphone app to connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Home for voice controls. You can label rooms and tell your vacuum to clean those specific rooms or set up cleaning cycles for a different room every day of the week. 

It learns more every time it cleans and it can detect high traffic areas for a more effective clean. The dust bin has also been improved so you can wash it and clean it out after it’s done with a powerful clean of a dirty area.

The buttons on the top of the unit were also redesigned to be touch-sensitive. This gives it a more modern look and feel, so when you use these controls, you’ll feel like you’re getting a better experience.

Performance

We already know that the i7 learns as it goes, so during the first few cycles, you might want to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t struggle with anything. However, the integrated speaker keeps you updated on its progress.

The edge-sweeping brush will clean along edges and the unit can transition from one flooring type to another with ease. It can also free itself if it gets stuck. 

Once the unit is done with a cleaning cycle, it will display the results on your smartphone app and you can check its cleaning history for patterns. Once it’s done cleaning, or it runs out of battery, it will head back to the dock to charge and restart where it left off when it’s done.

It takes three cleaning cycles to complete the map, at which point you can customize a plan. Mark divisions by making lines directly on the map and then name each room. After that, you can schedule specific rooms to be cleaned at certain times or you can set up whole house cleanings.

The increased memory and processing power allows this unit to clean faster and smarter than many of the other options on the market. It has improved navigation as well, so the cleanings are more thorough.

Navigation

This Roomba is the first model to feature the advanced navigation iAdapt 3.0 technology. It can create a map of every floor in your home and store these multiple maps in the app. Then it makes an efficient cleaning route through your home and remembers where it’s already cleaned so it won’t waste time or energy.

It’ll also pick up where it left off if it runs out of battery in the middle of a cycle. It stores up to ten maps, which makes it easier for the unit to remember where it was and continue without scanning the entire room again.

You can use your voice to target your cleanings by telling Google Home or Amazon Alexa which room you want your Roomba i7 to clean and it will follow those directions. Because it has an in-depth knowledge of the layout of your home, you can tell it to clean any room, and it will head straight there, no matter where it is.

You can also use the mapping feature to tell the i7 rooms you want it to avoid and it will stay away. Just draw lines on the map to set boundaries. 

Controls

The touch sensitive buttons on the top of the unit include a large cleaning button in the middle with a spot clean button and a docking button to either side. You can start a regular cleaning cycle or a spot cleaning cycle, or you can send the robot home.

You can also use your voice as long as you have your vacuum connected to your smart home device. If you’d rather not use your voice, you can do all of the same things in the smartphone app.

The smartphone app is the best place to name your rooms, set up restricted zones, and program a schedule. It’s also the best way to control your vacuum while you’re not at home. After that, voice commands are much easier to use while you’re at home.

 Final Thoughts

The only superior vacuum to the Roomba i7 is the Roomba i7+ with its self-emptying dust bin. If you want a robot vacuum with some of the most advanced technology on the market, look no further than the i7 with it’s mapping features that enable easy functionality and advanced performance.

It comes at a pretty hefty price point, so only you can decide if these advanced features are worth paying for, but it’s definitely one of the best vacuums on the market for large homes or homes with large messes and a lot of traffic.

Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 is slightly less advanced than the Roomba i7, but it does include dirt detection, memory mapping, a smartphone app, advanced suction, and a lot more. It’s still one of the most advanced and top-of-the-line models Roomba offers.

It costs less than the i7, so it may be a better value in some cases, depending on what you are looking for. It’s efficient, powerful, and has a lot of bells and whistles.

Check out our complete Roomba 960 review here!

Design

It’s designed in a circle, just like the i7, with a clean button, spot clean button, and docking button on the top. The buttons are not the sensitive touch buttons, but manual press buttons instead.

It still has built-in cameras and it includes a handle on the top of the unit in case you need to pick it up or carry it anywhere.

The primary design difference on the outside is the silver and black color combination, providing a bit of contrast. It has a bumper ring on top to prevent damage to furniture and other obstacles.

Performance

The Roomba 960 features a three-stage cleaning process that loosens debris before lifting it up and sucking it into the dustbin. It has dirt extractors, spinning brushes, and powerful suction. It can also detect dirt and increase the suction as necessary to tackle it 

The camera on top of the unit can create maps and use them for navigation. The sensors around the unit will track its position so it always knows where it is, making cleaning and rehoming easier.

It uses its dirt detection and navigation to create efficient cleaning cycles so it doesn’t waste time or energy cleaning places it’s already been. It won’t bounce around aimlessly like other robot vacuums do when they don’t have navigation 

The Roomba 960 works on all flooring types and will transition easily from one to another. It may sometimes get stuck and need some help getting moving again.

Controls

You can use the buttons on top of the Roomba 960 to start a regular cleaning cycle, start a spot cleaning cycle, or return your robot vacuum home.

 The smartphone app is the easiest way to schedule cleanings or control your robot vacuum while you’re away.

 Connecting your Roomba 960 to your smart home device is the best way to use voice controls while you’re at home.

Final Thoughts

Because the Roomba 960 comes with the technology you need, it provides a great value for a lot of people who don’t need all of the advanced navigation features that tend to cost more money. Its performance isn’t on par with that of the i7, but it still offers an effective clean for most homes. 

You can control it from anywhere, schedule cleanings when you need them most, and it’s easy to set up and use.

Comparison Chart

Here’s quick reference for the main differences between the two vacuums.

 

Roomba i7

Roomba 960

Battery life

120 minutes

120 minutes

Wi-Fi

Yes

Yes

Navigation

Yes

Yes

Mapping

Yes

Yes

Google Assistant

Yes

Yes

Amazon Alexa

Yes

Yes

IFTTT

Yes

Yes

Wireless

Yes

Yes

Off-limits areas

Yes

Yes

Schedule cleanings

Yes

Yes

Room labeling

Yes

No

Dustbin

500 mL

600 mL

Floor type

All (indoors)

All (indoors)

Recharge and resume

Yes

Yes

Voice Commands

Amazon Alexa, Google Home

Amazon Alexa, Google Home

Cleaning modes

Clean mode, spot clean mode

One pass, two pass, final edge clean

Smartphone app

Yes

Yes

Weight

7.44 pounds

8.6 pounds

Height

3.63”

3.6”

Width

13.34”

13.8”

Length

13.34”

13.8”

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions for Roomba robot vacuums.

Which Roomba model is best?

The Roomba 960 is considered the best value because of its price point and the technology features available. However, there are other very simple Roomba robot vacuums that don’t have any complicated technology. They’re great for smaller homes and people who only want to be able to set it in motion and then send it back home when it’s done.

The Roomba s9+ is the most advanced, top-of-the-line Roomba available, with all of the integrated technology you need, superior performance, and a self-emptying dust bin to make your job that much easier. It also comes in a unique D-shape, which enables it to clean edges and corners more effectively.

Is Roomba worth the money?

Many people like Roomba robot vacuums because they give you the ability to keep your floors clean without doing any of the work yourself. As long as you have hardwood or short to medium pile carpet, a Roomba is a great choice.

However, a Roomba isn’t for everyone. There are other robot vacuum manufacturers that are just as good. And if you’re a control freak and you like a spotless clean, you may still enjoy the power of an upright, because a robot vacuum will never match that type of performance, no matter how hard it tries.

Which is better: Roomba or Shark?

Roombas are generally a bit larger and heavier than Shark vacuums, but this enables them to navigate seamlessly and pack a bit more technology and performance than the Shark. However, the Shark is a more cost-effective solution if budget is a concern.

While Roomba robot vacuums have about two hours of battery life, Sharks tend to have about three hours, so theoretically, you’ll get more of your home cleaned before it needs to return to the dock and charge.

Last Word

These robot vacuums are very similar. The have powerful suction, great performance, and advanced technology. The Roomba i7 has much better performance that you will likely notice if you have a large house, a lot of traffic, and big messes. However it comes at a much higher price point.

The Roomba 960 is a great value because it’s slightly cheaper but still has a lot of the advanced technology you want. It can provide a superior clean thanks to navigation and dirt detection. If you schedule your vacuum to clean every day, you likely won’t notice much of a difference in performance.

If you’re looking for advanced mapping, room labeling, and the ability to save up to ten maps, the i7 is definitely the better choice, but if you want to save a little cash and take advantage of most of the same technology, go for the 960.

You’re still getting a quality product from a respected manufacturer, and there’s no difference in the durability of these devices. You can trust that they’ll work well for your needs, whatever those needs are.

Further read:

  • Roomba s9 vs Roomba 960
  • Roomba 960 vs 980
  • Roomba i7+ vs Roomba 960
  • Roomba i7+ vs Botvac D5

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