The Roomba 960 vs. 860 Comparison Guide

The iRobot Roomba is a vacuum of choice of many people around the world. They offer a wide range of models, with the 860 and 960 being among the most popular. Which one is better?

The company has been a leading name in the industry for a while thanks to their ever-evolving technologies. They deliver the kind of convenient vacuuming we’ve been looking for.

Looking at the 860 and 960 models side by side allows us to see all the similarities and differences with clarity. The comparison lets us see the new developments and recent additions.

Sometimes, all Roombas seem similar to one another with differences we can’t spot right away. This is why we’re comparing the two to help you decide on one of the two that would suit your preferences and needs.

For more options, visit our top robot vacuum cleaner guide.


Vacuum Technology

Interestingly, all Roombas use a three-stage process except the 860 and 960. These feature a much advanced AeroForce technology that allows them to be more effective and easier to use than the older models.

The technology features debris extractors that helps reduce the chances of hair getting stuck in the bristles. It also uses an airflow accelerator that creates even more powerful suction by producing a sealed channel inside the vacuum.

This new technology made the two Roombas more powerful and efficient than all the older models that use the Aerovac or Aerovac2 technologies.

Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers

All Roombas feature an incredibly useful function called Virtual Walls. The navigation system helps them to stay in one room while avoiding certain areas. Both the 960 and 860 feature this function.

The Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers might not be needed every day, but the option is good to have at hand. The feature is ideal for blocking off open doorways or protecting restricted areas.

It’s great if there’s something inside your room that you don’t want the vacuum to touch or accidentally suck in. For example, restrict the vacuum from coming near your dog’s food and other similar areas.


All the best vacuum cleaners of the modern world now feature a HEPA filter. Bygone are the days of dust and debris flying everywhere as we saw happen with many vacuums in the past.

HEPA is the ultimate filter that traps allergens, pollens and dust particles inside the machine as opposed to circulating it back in the air.

Both Roombas here feature the AeroForce HEPA filter that traps even the smallest particles of up to 0.1 microns.


All Roombas are cordless for obvious reasons, but it’s important to note that the earlier models used nickel metal hydride batteries. iRobot decided to improve the 860 and 960 to give you longer battery run.

These two Roombas use lithium-ion batteries that provide them longer run and durability. The lithium-ion batteries are more long-lasting and will need less frequent replacing which is more convenient and eco-friendly than the nickel metal hydride batteries.

Auto Recharge

These vacuums have the ability to recharge automatically. When the battery is almost empty, the vacuums return to their charging stations. Once they’re charged, they go back to cleaning.

Carrying Handle

Convenience and ease of use are a few of the most important things when it comes to home appliances. Roombas do most of the work by themselves, but at times they will need some assistance from you.

Say you want to skip a specific area of your house and you need to carry the Roomba to another room. This is why the iRobot included a carrying handle in their 860 and 960 models.

Both models are easy to carry around your home, down the stairs and pretty much anywhere else you desire.


The warranty can always either make or break the deal, so it’s always important to know all about it before you purchase a vacuum. iRobot had never disappointed when it came to their warranty regardless of the model you choose.

The Roombas 860 and 960 both have a solid 1-year limited warranty. It may not seem like a lot, but there’s really no need for any period longer than that.

If you notice anything wrong with your robot or you end up not liking it, you have enough time to deal with that. Plus, the two models come with 6-months warranty on the battery, too.


Navigation Technology

Navigation is what helps the robot move around and find its way. The Roomba 860 features the iAdapt technology that’s using sensors and specialized software to guide it efficiently.

It passes multiple times going around and under your furniture. The 860 is also great for vacuuming along the edges while avoiding falls. The technology allows the vacuum to clean all floors and carpets easily.

The 960 model does all of that plus a bit more. It has the iAdapt 2.0 and a localization camera that maps out your home which results in more efficient vacuuming. It can clean your entire house and still know where it is and whether the job is done.

Edge Cleaning

Every Roomba has side brushes that make it easy to clean along the edges of furniture and walls.

The Roomba 960 features unique functionality that allows the robot to go back to cleaning edges after it’s done with all the open areas. As opposed to the 860 model, the 960 offers a more thorough an in-detail clean.

Though the iAdapt technology of the 860 Roomba enables impressive edge cleaning, too, the 960 does it a bit better. However, the edge cleaning process takes quite some time so you’ll probably want to turn it off at times.

Roomba 650 Charging

Full-bin Action Control

Convenience once again makes Roombas some of the best vacuums on the market. The two models here feature a full-bin action control that tells you when the dust bin is in need of emptying.

However, there’s a difference between how these two handle a full bin. The 960 model actually asks you if you want to continue even though the bin is full. If you don’t, the vacuum will stop immediately allowing you to empty the bin. Unfortunately, the 860 one doesn’t give you the handy option but stops right away.

Built-in Camera

One of the main differences between these two robots is that the 960 features a built-in camera while the 860 doesn’t.

The camera allows visual localization that makes it easy for the robot to know where it is. It allows easy and efficient navigation of your entire home.

Still, you’ll need to assist your robot in a way. For instance, the camera cannot work if it’s dark, so you’re going to have to keep the light on for it to work correctly. Unless the light is on, the feature is practically useless.

Wi-Fi Support

Another glaring difference between the two is the Wi-Fi connectivity. The Roomba 960 can be connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can control it with a mobile app. This allows you to create a cleaning schedule that would keep your carpets clean at all times. As unbelievable as it sounds, you can start the cleaning process even when you’re not at home.

The 860 model doesn’t feature the Wi-Fi connectivity so you can’t control it when you’re away from home. However, it does still allow you to schedule it to start cleaning when you’re away somewhere.

Which is The Better Choice?

The 860

With its iAdapt, the robot is excellent at navigating rooms going from one to another after the job is done. It has great suction power with tangle-free extractions. These allow the robot to vacuum all the hair and debris instead of those clogging it.

It fits under furniture easily, and it’s highly unlikely it will get stuck anywhere. Overall, the machine is a good deal for anyone who wants a convenient and easy-to-use vacuum that requires minimal assistance.

The 960

This one is a bit more advanced. It can navigate better, you can control it via the mobile app, and it has visual localization.

The robot is the first one to provide entire level cleaning without recharging breaks. Its battery allows it to clean for about 75 minutes.

The iAdapt 2.0 and the automatically adjustable cleaning head make it easy to go from one type of floor to another.

It’s a great vacuum for everyone who wants more control over the cleaning process. You can schedule cleaning sessions and control the robot with your voice.

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I’ve been a dedicated writer for Clean That Floor for approximately 3 years. I’ve written about various topics, mostly focusing on cleaning products, vacuum cleaners, mops, and simple cleaning solutions for homeowners. I enjoy testing tips and tricks on house maintenance, reviewing both the process and results.

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