There are more robotic vacuums on the market today than there are leaves on an oak tree. How can you decide which model is right for you? Some models talk, others that mop and still others that will only vacuum hard flooring. With so many different models and options, it can be overwhelming to make a choice.
This article will review the Roomba 880, its features, and its options to help you decide if this model is right for you. Read on to find out how well the iRobot Roomba 880 will work in your home.
iRobot Roomba 880
- iAdapt Multi-Room Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home
- Room to room cleaning in up to 3 rooms with the included Virtual Wall Lighthouse beacons
- AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System delivers up to 50% more cleaning performance
- Tangle-free extractors help prevent hair and debris clogs
How iRobot Roomba 880 Works
The 880 is a model without wireless connections and relies on input from push buttons or remote control. When you activate the cleaning runs of the robot, it will use the iRobot 3-stage cleaning system to sweep, suction, and collect dirt and debris from your floors.
The iAdapt sensor-based navigation technology uses drop and touch sensors to keep the robot on the ground and to help avoid damaging collisions. The drop sensors detect falls, stairs, and ledges while the touch sensors let the robot know the object it is in contact with is solid, such as a wall, or movable, such as curtains or light toys.
The AeroForce technology provides the power to the motor to suction up all the dirt that the extractors and side brush collect. It uses a HEPA quality filter to help purify the air and minimize allergens in the home.
The result is a robot that will tackle any hard flooring surface, low and medium pile carpeting and collect dirt and debris from edges, corners, and your floors without a lot of monitoring needed.
Benefits of Robotic Vacuums
Robot vacuums have a lot of benefits that you may not be aware of. Their use, though, is generally misunderstood at first. This misunderstanding can lead to a lot of disappointment.
For example, a robot vacuum lacks the power and suction of a standard upright, and will not replace the need for an upright vacuum’s use.
Instead, the robots are there to help. In the case of the Roomba 880, it can run through your home daily to keep the messes and dirt to a minimum.
You will still need to do a weekly deep clean to keep your floors and carpets looking their best; you just won’t have to do it as often or for as long.
The Roomba 880 can also be a Johnny-on-the-Spot to help with quick spills or messes. Using the spot-clean mode, you can place the robot near a small spill or dirt footprints that get tracked inside. Instead of having to pull out the large upright, the Robot will clean that specific area and then return to the charging station.
Scheduling also gives you the flexibility to have your floors maintained while you are out doing other things. You can even have the robot clean your floors while you are at work or picking up the kids and groceries. Coming home to a clean floor is always better than the alternative.
Features of Roomba 880
For a model that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of newer models, the Roomba 880 has a lot to brag about. Let’s look at some of the more important aspects of this model.
Roomba 880 Re-Release Model
We will state here that the Roomba 880 was re-released late in 2017. The newer version included the XLife battery and the remote control. No other difference was made to the actual robot.
This article is written to reflect the first release model that used the Nickle Metal-Hydride battery and did not ship with a remote control. We did it this way because these first release models are still being sold, new-in-box.
When making your purchase, or using this review for comparison purposes, please keep in mind that there are two versions of the 880. The one you select (based on the criteria above) will be how you should base your final decision.
Up to 60 minutes
13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 in.
Up to 800 Square Feet
1-year limited warranty for robot and battery
AeroForce 3 Stage Cleaning System
The Roomba 800 series utilizes the 2nd generation cleaning and filtration system that iRobot calls AeroForce. It produces up to 5x more suction power than the 600 series robots and does a much better job cleaning the air.
The side brush is responsible for the first stage, collecting and sweeping debris from the edges and corners of your home into the path of the robot. The second stage, agitation and lift, is performed by the dual, counter-rotating rubber extractors.
These extractors beat carpet fibers and lift and separate the debris. The third stage, suction, is produced by the 2nd generation motor and will collect the debris, depositing it into the collection bin. The exhaust air is then pushed through a HEPA style filter eliminating up to 99% of the in-home allergens as it goes.
Dock, Clock, Spot-Clean Features
On the robot’s console, you will find plenty of buttons to use. You can set the date and time using the bottom four buttons as well as select various cleaning run modes and operations.
Once the clock has been set, you can create a 7-day cycle of schedules.
You will also find, in addition to the main “clean” button, options to dock the robot or perform a spot clean.
Docking the robot stops the cleaning run and sends the robot back to the Home Base charging station.
A spot-clean, on the other hand, will allow the robot to clean a specific area about 3-feet in diameter. Once the spot-clean is finished, the robot will sit and await further instructions (which are usually to dock).
The Roomba 880 is without wireless communications like the Roomba 890 has. Instead, you have the option to purchase an infrared remote control to use for programming and controlling the robot.
The Remote is a multi-model, infrared remote control that will allow you to start a cleaning run or use arrow keys to point the robot in the direction you want it to travel.
It is warned against using, though, as there have been more problems reported than anything good. It is found that the remote may or may not work, and the best efforts are made when the remote is within 2 feet of the robot. If you’re required to be that close, you may as well save the cash and just push a button on the robot.
When it comes to containment options, the Roomba line gives you three. The Roomba 880 was one of the last models to ship with the Virtual Lighthouse. This was the first generation of containment and uses an infrared beam to stop the robot from entering or exiting a room.
When activated, the Lighthouse will use the infrared light to contain the robot from leaving a room for a specific amount of time. Once that time is up, the light will go off, allowing the robot to continue to the next room.
The Roomba 880 comes with two virtual lighthouses and the batteries required to operate them.
XLife Extended Life Battery
Aside from the virtual lighthouses, the 880 model was also the last model to ship with a Nickle Metal-Hydride battery pack. iRobot swapped over to the more reliable and longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries after this model was released.
The battery included will give you up to 60 minutes of runtime and take a little over 3 hours to charge fully. However, it will only last for up to 1500 charging cycles and will probably stop holding a full charge long before then.
The option, then, is to purchase an XLife battery. This is a 1800mAh lithium-ion battery pack designed to fit the 880 (and other models). You will get 60 minutes of cleaning time and the charging time drops slightly to just below three hours. However, it will last up to 3000 charging cycles and lithium-ion batteries hold charges much longer than the NiMH counterparts.
Self-Adjust Cleaning Heads
When it comes to cleaning your floors, iRobot does everything they can to ensure a reliable, deep clean. One thing they have done is to produce an automatically adjusting cleaning head. This is the mechanism that houses the rubber extractors.
There is a small sensor located on the cleaning head that will detect if the robot is on hard flooring or carpeted surfaces. The head will pivot higher or lower to keep the extractors in contact with the ground.
On hard surfaces this allows the dirt to be swept up completely. On carpet, the extractors can agitate deeper into the carpet fibers.
Like the Roomba 890, the 880 is one of only a few 800 series models to utilize the tangle-free rubber extractors made famous with the 900 series robots. These two counter-rotating roller bars use rubber paddles instead of bristles.
The rubber paddles allow the robot to agitate carpeting better without ripping fibers. They also pull apart hairs and strings to help prevent tangles.
On hard flooring, the rubber paddles are soft and pliable, making them ideal for all surface types. They won’t scratch your flooring as some stiff bristle rollers tend to do.
HEPA filters, or filters that are HEPA quality, are known as anti-allergen filters. These will be found in your home’s central air units and most likely on your standard upright vacuum models. The Roomba 880 also uses these filters to help capture and reduce in-home allergens.
HEPA quality filters capture pet dander, mold, pollen, and dust mites down to 3 microns in size. If you are prone to allergy attacks and want to eliminate indoor allergens, HEPA filtration is the way to go.
As with all Roomba models, the 880 will monitor the battery charge level as it is out cleaning your floors. When that level drops below a certain point, the robot will stop cleaning and return to the charging dock to top off the battery. You don’t have to do a thing, just sit back and let the robot dock to recharge.
Unlike the Roombas that have cameras and make maps of your home, the 880 will not leave the dock again once the battery is charged. Instead, you will either have to manually start a new cleaning run or wait until the next scheduled run.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba 880
Not every robot vacuum is best suited for all situations. The Roomba 880 is no different. There are floor types and debris types that the 880 is better suited for than others. Have a look at how it does in these situations.
With the tangle-free rubber extractors, the Roomba 880 is capable of agitating all carpet types except for shag and other loose fiber high piles. However, the motor and suction don’t do as well on high pile carpeting like some of the later models like the Roomba 980.
For low and medium pile carpeting, though, the Roomba 880 will fair well. It cleans as well (and often better) than most other similarly capable models.
There is no question that the Roomba 880 is perfect for all hard flooring types. The rubber extractors prevent scratches, and the suction power lifts virtually anything on the floors. The side brush does a decent job along baseboards and edges but will leave some debris piled in the corners.
Pet Hair Removal
If there is one thing the Roomba 880 can do exceptionally well, it's removing pet hair. Human hair and strings, too, for that matter. The tangle-free extractors will lift and separate the strands. This process virtually eliminates clogging and helps to prevent wrapping of the hairs around the extractors.
Because the extractors spin and hair is long, wraps and tangles will happen. However, since there are no bristles to contend with, cleaning them off takes nothing more than a quick wipe with your hand.
One of the bigger letdowns with the Roomba 880 is the area that it can cover on a single charge. With the NiMH battery pack, you can expect to get up to 800 square feet. This is better suited for apartments or condos or even smaller single-family homes.
If you upgrade to the XLife lithium-ion battery pack, the results in coverage won’t be much more. You can get up to about 900 square feet of coverage, though, which may help some situations and homes get better coverage.
Popular youtube channel by Erica Griffin reviewed this model in the video below.
Comparison with Other Roomba Models
Now that we know how the Roomba 880 handles different situations let's take a look at how it compares to some of the other Roomba models.
880 vs. 860
On the surface, the Roomba 860 and 880 models seem to be the same robot. For most cases, they are. They share the same filtration system, navigation, and 3-stage cleaning system. They even have the same controls.
The difference comes in when you look at the accessories. The Roomba 860 utilizes a lithium-ion battery out of the box and comes with a dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The 880, as we have discussed, uses the NiMH battery out of the box and comes with two virtual lighthouses.
Aside from these two things, the robots are pretty much identical. For smaller homes and apartments, the choice really can swing either way. The Roomba 860 will do slightly better in homes with 900 to 1100 square foot of flooring surface, though and this might be where you want to base your final decision.
880 vs. 805
Like most models in the 800 series, the Roomba 805 and 880 are quite similar. The 880 is older than the 805, being released first. However, in an effort to enter more homes, iRobot began releasing “cost-saving” models removing features or accessories to make the models more affordable.
The Roomba 805 also lacks the wireless communications and relies on local push-button controls (or the remote control, if you dare). It comes with a lithium-ion battery, though, which will save you a bit when having to purchase the XLife for the 880.
The 805 also has the standard filter instead of the HEPA quality one. If you have pets or those in the home suffer from allergies, the 805 may not be the best option for you here. However, if you need a reliable vacuum that costs even less, and have smaller floor space, the Roomba 805 might be worth a second look.
880 vs. 890
When it comes to top-of-the-line, the Roomba 890 is the upper crust of the 800 series. There is one significant difference between the 890 and 880 that you should take note of, and that is wireless communications.
When connected to your WiFi network, the Roomba 890 will make use of the iRobot Home app, and voice commands through Amazon and Google enabled devices. The control options open up with the mobile app, allowing you to create more thorough and regular cleaning schedules without having to program one every 7 days.
The 890 also performs slightly better. It will cover more area (about 900 to 1000 square feet) with the lithium-ion battery pack. If you are in a small to medium-sized home and want a more technologically advanced robot, the 890 is one to look into further.
880 vs. 980
If the 890 is the top of the 800 series food-chain, the 980 is the top of the 900 series food-chain. For most people, the Roomba 980 is the best of the best, and it won't get any better. This, of course, was before the release of the i-series and the s-series robots. Still, the 980 is a powerful machine full of features and options.
Like the Roomba 880, the 980 has a HEPA style filter and sits 3.6 inches high. That is about where the similarities end. The 980 has a newer version of the iAdapt navigation system, including camera navigation and mapping. It will resume cleaning after a battery charge if the entire floor space wasn’t cleaned.
The 980 also has a more powerful motor (10x more power than the 600 series), more efficient, human-style cleaning patterns and wireless communications. If you want a top-tier model with a lot of extra features, or have a large home to clean, the Roomba 980 could be your answer.
880 vs. 960
One step below the Roomba 980 is the Roomba 960. It shares a lot of the same characteristics with one major difference. The Roomba 960 has the same second-generation motor as the Roomba 880.
Compared to the 880 though, it really isn't’ a contest. With the filtration, navigation and wireless communications, the 960 is a much more efficient cleaning robot on all surfaces over the 880. For smaller homes and those without children or pets, the 880 may be a slightly better, cost-effective match. On all other fronts, though the Roomba 960 is the better option.
880 vs. 650
Compared to older models, the Roomba 880 should win every time. However, because of the features that were removed, there are very slight differences between the 880 and the better models of the 600 series. The Roomba 650 only has two main differences from the 880.
The first difference is the motor. The 650 uses the 1st gen motor that produces 5x less power than the 2nd gen motor of the 880. The other difference is the extractors. The 650 uses bristle brush rollers to agitate, sweep and lift. The 880, though, uses the tangle-free rubber extractors which are far superior.
If you don’t mind doing more maintenance to the robot and have a smaller sized home, you could save a lot of money going with the Roomba 650. However, for a better clean on carpeting and less mess or fuss when its time to do maintenance, the Roomba 880 is the better option.
880 vs. 770
The Roomba 700 series doesn’t get a lot of mention anymore. It was the shortest run series that Roomba released (aside from the original 400 series). The 770 series also didn’t have a lot of features that weren’t already available in the 600 series.
The Roomba 770, though is still purchased today because it is so reliable. When it comes to features, the 770 and 880 are basically the same model. The Roomba 880 has a better motor (2nd generation), but besides that, they are about the same.
The difference comes in the accessories. The virtual barrier of the 770 doesn't have Lighthouse capabilities like the Roomba 880's virtual Lighthouse, allowing for multi-room navigation. The 770, though, does have an optional wireless control center.
Before the iRobot Home app, the wireless control center was a wireless remote control that allowed you to take command of the robot. It was novel and popular but soon gave way to the mobile app. You can no longer purchase the wireless control center new, nor get it serviced. This $100 add-on was the only thing making the 770 worthwhile, and the Roomba 880 is still a batter cleaning robot.
The new model of the wireless command center is twice as expensive, drops compatibility for the 770 and adds compatibility for the 880. If you want a different control method for the 880 models, it is available.
880 vs. 870
The models so far, with a few exceptions, have made a choice difficult because the features were so close in comparison. None are more close than that of the Roomba 880 vs. the Roomba 870. In fact, the robots themselves are the same device. The difference comes from the accessories included.
The Roomba 870 does not come with the remote control, and it comes with two virtual walls instead of the virtual lighthouses. And that, ladies and gentlemen, are your differences.
Both models will clean the same, run for the same amount of time and perform better than the previous series’ due to the better motor. Your choice here comes down to availability and cost. On both fronts, the 880 is usually the victor.
Roomba 880 Accessories
You will need to price and budget for the accessories that you wish to have. These will range from optional components to required ones. Also, depending on which release you have, the battery may need to be one of the first upgrades you make.
The XLife battery is a lithium-ion battery that replaced the NiMH battery the 880 originally shipped with. If you have the re-release model, you already have an XLife battery. Otherwise, you can purchase one through iRobot or Amazon.
Other required items include filters and side brushes. You can also buy a maintenance package that will come with three filters and two extra side brushes. This pack should maintain your robot for about two years.
The containment options will be what you are most interested in though. The Roomba 880 comes with two virtual lighthouses. However, it is also compatible with the more useful dual-mode virtual wall barriers. You can also purchase these in a single or twin-pack.
Charging this Roomba Model
The initial charging of the robot must be manual. What that means is that once you have the Home Base charging station correctly set up, you will have to place the robot on the charging station manually.
Once the initial charge is complete and the robot begins cleaning your home, it will automatically return to the charging station when the battery runs low. If you ever find your robot dead in the middle of the room, you will have to place it on the charger once again. Otherwise, the Roomba 880 will take care of the batter charging duties itself.
Where to Position the Roomba Home Base
Proper placement of the Home Base will ensure the 880 can find its way back and will charge completely. The main factors for placement are location and clearance.
You should place the Base on a firm surface (not carpet) away from direct sunlight and close to a power outlet. The ramp should be flush with the floor at all times.
You also need to ensure there are at least two feet of clearance on either side of the robot and four feet of clearance in the front. These measurements will ensure the Roomba 880 will find the Home Base and be able to maneuver correctly to dock.
Troubleshooting Your Roomba
The Roomba 880 will let you know through a series of beeps what issue it is having. Knowing what those beeps mean can help you fix or diagnose the problem. There are separate codes for issues with the battery. The chart below will outline both sets of beeps or blinking battery indicators and offer advice on how to solve the issue.
Code/Number of Beeps
What to do
The collection bin is inserted improperly.
Remove and replace the collection bin, making sure it is inserted correctly.
Something is caught in the extractors
Remove the extractors and wipe them off, clearing out any tangles you find.
One (not both) of the wheels is stuck.
Inspect the wheels for anything wrapped around it, preventing it from spinning.
Cliff sensors dirty/ robot is high-centered on a ledge
Clean the sensors or move the robot to a new location and press the Clean button to restart.
The bumper sensor is dirty, or the bumper cannot move.
Tap the bumper a few times to ensure it is working properly, or clean the bumper sensor.
Both wheels are stuck.
The Roomba is unable to move so you must move it to a new location or unclog the debris from both wheels.
Battery Indicator Blinks
What to do
Battery not inserted.
Ensure the battery is properly seated and that you have removed the plastic tabs.
Battery current is too high.
If in warranty, make a battery claim. Outside of warranty period, replace the battery.
Battery contacts not making connection
Return to manufacturer for service, or try cleaning the battery contacts.
Charging contacts not making connection
Clean the contacts on the bottom of the robot and the Home Base to ensure proper seating.
Move the Roomba to a cooler spot, along with the Home Base. Make sure it isn’t in direct sunlight and that nothing is on the robot while charging.
The battery cannot cool.
The sensors regulating temperature detect the battery is hot longer than 4 hours after use or charging. Remove the robot from the charger for an hour and try again.
Cannot communicate with the battery
The battery needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common questions and their answers regarding the Roomba 880.
What can I do to extend the battery life?
Extending the battery life will mean how long it lasts before needing to be replaced, not the runtime it offers the robot. You should make sure that the battery stays cool when not in use. Moving the Home Base out of direct sunlight and making sure nothing is on top of the robot will help.
You should also run the robot at least four times per week to ensure the battery cycles through a charge. Once a month, you should run the robot until the battery completely dies to allow for the charge memory to be reset.
Can a Roomba battery be replaced?
Not only can the batteries be replaced, but they will also require a battery swap at some point. If you have the original release with the NiMH battery pack, you can expect to have to replace it within 24 to 36 months. The XLife battery is a lithium-ion battery and will hold a charge for up to 5000 charging cycles, or 4 to 5 years.
Are these robotic vacuums noisy?
All robot (and standard) vacuums are going to make some noise. The Roomba 880 is not an especially quiet model, but it isn’t the loudest on the market either.
The 880 will make it difficult to hear the television or carry on a conversation while it is in the same room, but it isn’t deafening. Overall, the sound is equivalent to a hairdryer when it is occupying the same room as you.
How do I clean my Roomba?
To clean the robot, you will need a clean, dry cloth. Wipe the body of the robot, including the sensors clean from dust or any build-up.
You will need to empty and wipe out the collection bin, knock off the filter (or replace it if it is worn) and check the extractors and side brush for wear and tear. This regular maintenance cycle should be completed weekly, with the except of the collection bin, which should be emptied after every run.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
Contacting Roomba is a simple process with a few choices. You can call them for pre-salse or technical support, file a warranty claim through email or initiate a live chat. All of the contact methods and resources are available on the iRobot website.
Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 880?
Because the 800 series is becoming more and more depleted, making room for newer models, the best place to purchase a Roomba 880 model is through Amazon.
You should make special note of the seller and only purchase from verified vendors that you trust. You should also check the accessories included in the box to determine if the Roomba 880 is a 1st run or re-release model.
Where to buy parts and accessories for Roomba 880?
What do iRobot Roomba warranties include?
The warranty period is for 1 year from date of purchase. It will cover the robot, motor, and mechanics from defects, craftsmanship, and wear and tear within the first 12 months of ownership.
The battery is also covered for the same 12-month period. What is not covered are the moving or replaceable parts such as the caster wheel, filters, side brushes and rubber extractors.
The Roomba 880 is a budget-friendly model Roomba that will take on most flooring surfaces. You don't have to worry about scratches on your softwood floors, and low or medium pile carpet will be cleaned down to the pad.
With HEPA style filters, in-home allergens are significantly reduced, and the tangle-free extractors make maintenance time quick and straightforward. You won't get any wireless control options, and the 880 is not compatible with the iRobot Home App or Amazon Alexa voice commands.
However, for smaller homes, apartments, and condos, or as a second robot vacuum for the second floor in a larger house, the Roomba 880 will help maintain your floors between regular cleanings with your upright.
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