Roomba 860 VS 880

Comparing the Roomba 860 vs 880 : How Different are They?

A good robotic vacuum cleaner is an investment that requires some forethought and consideration. Like most household appliances intended for long term use, you shouldn’t rush into your robotic vacuum purchase. You don’t want to buy less than you need in terms of features and power, but you want to avoid overspending. iRobot is the leading manufacturer of robotic vacuums in terms of cutting edge automated vacuum technology, quality, and power, but they offer a dizzying variety of options with their current and past lineup of products. Sometime the differences between model numbers are cosmetic, while in others the difference in features and technology is vast.

For example, take a look at the difference between the Roomba 860 and Roomba 880: While both are high quality vacuums with some excellent features and well-designed technology, they are unique to one another in several critical ways. Let’s take a look at some comparative information to help you make an informed buying decision when shopping for the right robotic vacuum for your home.

At a Glance: How Are These Two Robots Different?

Both the 860 and 880 share much in common, yet there are some fundamental differences that may prove to be deal breakers for some and ideal for others. Let’s look at a quick feature overview:

Features

Roomba 860

Roomba 880

iAdapt navigation

Yes

Yes

AeroForce

Yes

Yes

Full bin indicator

Yes

Yes

Auto Recharge

Yes

Yes

HEPA Filter

Yes

Yes

Carpet boost

No

No

Debris extractor

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Manual docking

Yes

Yes

Spot cleaning

Yes

Yes

Carrying handle

Yes

Yes

Built-in camera

No

No

Cleaning passes control

No

No

Full bin action control

No

No

Edge cleaning

No

No

Lithium ion battery

Yes

No

Entire Level Cleaning

No

Yes

Wi-Fi connectivity

No

No

Remote control

No

Yes

Virtual wall lighthouses

No

2

Dual mode virtual wall barriers

1

Yes

Dimensions (d x h, inches)

13.9 x 3.6

13.9 x 3.6

Price

As you can see, there are many iRobot specific features that require some explanation, as their function is not necessarily apparent from their description. The good news is that all of iRobot’s patented automatic vacuuming technology is cutting edge, and offers the best quality of user experience and customer service you’d expect from the market leader in robotic vacuums. For a more detailed comparison of the Roomba 860 vs. the Roomba 880, we’ve described and explained the key similar features and differences between models.

Detailed Comparison

Let’s talk specifics for bit: what is different about these two models, and why should you choose one over the other? Is there a better choice depending on the floor plan of your home? Which model is going to provide a better multiroom solution as opposed to a single room solution? Buying a robotic vacuum should not require you to be tech savvy or comfortable with technology; all you need is a basic knowledge of electrical appliances and the ability to plug in the charging dock. To answer all your questions about these two robot vacuums, here are some fast facts that will make the choice easier for you:

Key Similarities

1. iAdapt Navigation

The 880 introduced the predictable pattern navigation system that is currently used in the high end 980 model and the more cost-effective 860. Models that use iRobot’s iAdapt Navigation System follow a predictable pattern for learning the obstacles and dimensions of your rooms while they clean your floor in a random pattern. iAdapt also uses acoustic and optical sensors to determine what type of floor is currently being cleaned to ensure it uses the right power and brushroll depth automatically.

2. Improved Debris Extractor

The 860 and 880 use a rubber debris extractor that breaks down dust, dirt, hair, dander, and other particulates before pulling them into the collector bin. This significantly cuts down on jamming and tangles, and eliminated the need for owners to manually clean their Roomba’s brush roll and debris extractor to keep it in good working order. This feature more than any other provides a significant improvement over older Roomba models, as households with pets often caused Roomba’s to overload just due to the pet hair that would become caught in the mechanism.

3. Core Tech: Pros and Cons

HEPA filtration, full bin indicator, auto recharge, scheduling and spot cleaning are all standard for both the Roomba 860 and Roomba 880. The HEPA filter improves air quality in your home, while the full bin indicator helps you keep your Roomba from getting overloaded between cleanings. Auto recharge is one of the those automated features that cuts down on how much work you need to do to keep your Roomba moving without having to charge it up manually all the time. Scheduling allows you to set your Roomba to clean when you aren’t home, and spot cleaning uses the visual and acoustic sensors to determine if a specific area of your floor needs a little extra attention due to dirt or debris buildup.

Conversely, neither model has WiFi connectivity, a built in camera, or auto-resume when its has finished charging. Wireless programmability and control via smartphone, tablet, or computer provides significantly more automation with less for you to do to keep your Roomba roving and cleaning. Furthermore, auto-resume on full charge is one of those key features that helps many get more out of their Roomba when they want to program it to clean while they are away from home. The lack of an onboard camera also makes it somewhat more difficult for your Roomba to remember and avoid obstacles while programming its standard cleaning route and learning the ins and outs of cleaning the various rooms in your home.

4. Lack of Auto-Resume after Recharge

Both the 860 and the 880 will return to their docking stations when their battery is down to 20% or less remaining power. The catch is that unlike the more expensive 900 series Roombas, these robotic vacuums do not auto-resume cleaning after the battery has reached full capacity again. You must manually press the Home button on the 860 or on the remote for the 880. This means even if you set your 860 or 880 to clean when you leave the house, when the battery runs out it will stop cleaning and not resume its work. If auto-resume is a critical feature for you, you may want to look at purchasing a costlier 900 series Roomba.

5. Lack of Carpet Boost Feature

iRobot vacuums often include a Carpet Boost feature that allows for deeper cleaning and greater suction when passing over carpeted floors versus hard floor surfaces or lower pile carpeting. While this is an excellent feature for homes with deep pile carpeting, it is not a standard feature of either the 860 or the 880.

Key Differences

1. Whole Level Cleaning

The Roomba 880 is designed to automatically clean multiple rooms of your home independently, whereas the 860 is limited to one room at a time. While the 880 can roam freely until the battery gets low, the 860 will return to dock once it has finished cleaning one room of your home.

2. Virtual Walls

The 880 includes two virtual walls that let you block off specific rooms of your home so that your Roomba doesn’t vacuum where you don’t want it to. It can also be used to keep your Roomba away from specific areas of a room that it shouldn’t clean, including where you keep food bowls out for your pets.

3. Remote Control

A significant difference in terms of convenience, the Roomba 880 includes a remote control that allows you to control your robotic vacuum via line of sight with the touch of a button. The 860 must be operated via onboard controls. While a remote control may seem like a fairly minor accessory difference, it definitely makes starting and stopping your Roomba a lot easier, especially in multi-room cleaning situations.

4. Lithium Ion Battery

For superior battery life and performance, the 860 has a lithium ion battery pack that charges faster and provides a longer battery life than the 880s X-Life battery pack. Since the 860 model is newer, it takes advantage of the more efficient and long-lasting lithium ion 75-minute battery cell used in newer Roombas. The 880 model uses the older X-Life battery limited to 60 minutes of cleaning time. This is an important factor to consider if you intend for your 860 to clean while you are away and cover the room you have programmed it to clean in your absence.

5. Accessories

The 860 includes two virtual walls and a remote control, neither of which come with the 860. In addition to whole level cleaning, you also get more for your money with the 880 over the 860. Those virtual walls make programming your 880 to clean while you are away much easier, and the remote control means no chasing your Roomba down to get shut it off or stop its cleaning cycle.

6. Cost

As far as expense, the 860 tends to cost roughly $100 less than the 880. The difference in expense may have more to do with the year in which it was manufactured, level of automation, and included accessories than actual core differences between both models. Your extra $100 does buy you significantly more for your money, and the increased automation and whole level cleaning do add a tremendous amount of value and convenience for the higher price point.

7. Finish

While it is a minor difference, appearance does matter to many, and for some owners the color of their appliances can make the difference between their buying options. The 880 comes in iRobots standard Roomba black finish, while the 860 has a brighter silver gray finish that better suits certain interior designs and aesthetic tastes. For many, black finish is not always best.

Conclusion

Our choice between which model to buy is dependent upon factors specific to individual needs. If you have a smaller home or apartment with few rooms, the Roomba 860 is more than sufficient for your needs. It’s got just the right combination of automation, smart onboard navigation tech, and cleaning capabilities to make it the perfect fit for your apartment or small home. It requires a little more attention to make it effective, but it is still an excellent robotic vacuum solution.

If you have a multi-level home or a large single level home, you may find that you are better served by a Roomba 880 thanks to its automated multi-room capabilities, included remote control, and virtual walls. There really aren’t many differences between these two automated robotic vacuums, but they each demonstrate a particular usefulness depending upon how you intend to use them.

Bottom line, our advice is to choose the 860 if you know you are only cleaning an open floor plan apartment or smaller home, and get an 880 if you need to do significant whole floor cleaning on a regular basis. The 860 represents the best value for those with small homes, and the 880 is the superior option for medium to large sized homes.

About the Author David Perez

I have a passion for clean floors and living areas, so it is no surprise that I know a lot about vacuum cleaners and how to clean different surfaces. Sharing this knowledge gives me a lot of pleasure which is why I started this blog and I hope everyone who needs help will find the help they are looking for here.

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