iRobot currently has over two dozen models available for purchase and no signs of slowing down. It can be challenging to know which model you should compare, let alone purchase.
The Roomba 650, for example, is a dated model but still has a place in many homes. You also have a more advanced Roomba 805 or Roomba 880 to choose from as well.
All other Roomba models get compared to the 600 series. The navigation, filtration, and motor are the primary comparisons, though there are a few other differences and features to note.
With the Roomba 650, you will get the standard robot vacuum. It produces about 900pa suction with the standard, single-speed motor, has the AeroVac standard filter and uses a brush roll with bristles for sweeping and carpet cleaning.
Finally, the 650 comes with one Virtual Wall tower. The Roomba 650 is ideal for those looking for additional help with the floors, spot cleaning quick messes, or even using in tandem with another robot vacuum.
The 805 also has a standard filter, though it uses the more advanced AeroForce technology. The 2nd generation motor produces five times more suction and uses a rubber extractor without brushes to clean.
It also comes with a slightly smaller capacity battery and comes with one dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The 805 is more powerful and provides a better clean on carpeting over the 650 and is ideal for those looking for basic floor maintenance between regular cleanings.
Lastly, the Roomba 880 has the better filtration, using a HEPA style AeroForce filter, and comes with the long-lasting XLife battery. You also get the second generation motor with 5x suction power and the rubber extractors.
Included with your purchase, though, are two virtual wall lighthouse which gives the 880 multi-room navigation abilities. The 880 is ideal for those on a budget who are also worried about allergens such as pet dander.
How These Roomba Models Are Similar
Even with two generations separating the models, there are similarities between the 650 and the 805/880. Below is a brief overview of the more significant commonalities.
All three models come with a carrying handle. The handle hides in the top portion of the robot. You lift on the handle to extend it and carry the robot. The handle is useful for taking the robot to a different floor of your home, or helping the robot get back to the charging dock should the battery die before the robot can make it back to recharge on its own.
Scheduled Auto Cleaning
You can use the local control buttons on the models to set the date and time. After these are set, you can then program the robots to run a cleaning session at a select time on a set date. The scheduling feature on all three models allows you to set a 7-day schedule with one cleaning session per day. When the 7-day cleaning session is completed, you will need to set a new schedule for the next seven days.
Sensor-based navigation is typical of robot vacuums. The Roomba 650 and Roomba 805/880 are no different. Using touch sensors, cliff and dirt detect sensors, the robots move around your home cleaning in random and seemingly sporadic patterns.
The iAdapt technology used in the three models is the original version of the system. While some upgrades were made to the system for the newer models, the base algorithms and sensor readings remain the same.
The cliff detect sensors use infrared technology to determine how far off the ground the robot is or if there is a drop-off in the path the robot is traveling. If alerted to a drop or fall greater than an inch and a half, the robots will change course to avoid the fall. This protects the robot vacuums from falling down stairs or getting caught high-centered over ledges and thresholds.
All three models use a Remote Connection (RCON) sensor to detect infrared signals from containment barriers as well as the beacon signal from the Home Base charging station. When the battery level drops below a certain percentage (about 10 to 15% charge remaining), the robots will begin making their way to the charging station. As the beacon is detected the Roomba 650, 805 and 880 will lock in and dock themselves to the Home Base to allow their batteries to recharge.
The vacuum pattern, or cleaning pattern, used by the iAdapt navigation system is considered random, or sporadic. There isn't a parallel pattern used, which is what a human would use to clean their floors in a back and forth pattern over the entire floor.
Instead, the three Roomba models here will go off in a straight line until an obstacle or fall is detected. When encountered, the robot will change direction and continue in another straight line. This cleaning pattern will make the robots go from one room to another without first finishing the entire floor of the room they started in. It should be noted, though, that the robots will return to finish the rooms.
This type of cleaning pattern is found in most sensor-based models. While the potential to have areas covered more than once or not at all, through daily cleaning sessions, your entire floor space will be covered.
Even though the Roomba 880 uses the XLife battery, the Roomba 650 has a 2200mAh lithium-ion battery and the Roomba 805 has an 1800mAh lithium-ion battery, they all perform the same. Each battery will provide enough charge to power the robots for up to 60 minutes.
During the one-hour cleaning sessions, the robots will monitor their battery charge levels and return to the charging station when the batteries get low.
How These Roomba Models Are Different
The differences in the models will most likely be the determining factor in your final purchasing decision. Let's take a brief look at those differences now.
The Roomba 880 is the only model on the list with multi-room navigation capabilities. Thanks to the included Virtual Wall Lighthouse, you can lock the 880 in a room for up to 25 minutes. The lighthouse will prevent the robot from leaving the room before the time is up. Once the timer stops, the 880 is permitted to leave and begin cleaning the next room.
Like the Multi-room navigation, the Roomba 880 is also the only model in this comparison that uses a HEPA style filter. The HEPA filters collect particles as small as 3 microns preventing allergen-causing particles from reentering your home. These particles include pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and dust mites.
The Roomba 805 and Roomba 650 use a standard filter that filters out particles down to 10 microns in size, which isn't small enough to gather allergen-causing particles.
The Virtual Wall containment system included with each purchase is different on all three accounts. The Roomba 650 comes with a single automatic virtual wall. The Roomba 880 has two virtual wall lighthouses and the Roomba 805 ships with a dual-mode virtual wall barrier.
iRobot manufacturers three different containment options for various models, and here we have examples of all three. Each model will prevent access to rooms or areas of rooms, though each in a different way. The virtual wall automatically comes on when the robot gets near it, while the lighthouse can be set to activate for a specific amount of time.
The dual-mode wall barrier uses two different types of protection, either linear or halo, to give you multiple blockade options.
Battery Type & Life
Another item that all three vacuums have different is their batteries. The Roomba 650 uses a 2200mAh lithium-ion battery, the Roomba 805 has an 1800mAh battery, and the 880 uses the 1800mAH XLife lithium-ion battery.
Even though the batteries are different types and capacities, they all produce the same 60 minutes of runtime for each vacuum. The main difference here is the XLife battery, which does not provide more power or a longer runtime. Instead, it has a better capacity for recharge cycles, making the battery itself last up to twice as long as the standard lithium-ion options.
The 800 series robots use the upgraded 3-stage cleaning system known as AeroForce. The original cleaning system, used by the Roomba 650, is known as AeroVac. Mostly, the systems are the same in that they provide the sweeping, carpet agitation, lift, suction, collection, and filtration for the robots.
The AeroForce system is about 5x more powerful in terms of suction and capacity. It also offers the option to use HEPA style filtration, which only the Roomba 880 uses when looking at these three models.
Tangle-free Dirt Extractors
The final difference is the extractor bars. The Roomba 805/880 models use rubber paddled, tangle-free extractors. There are no brushes or bristles on these extractors, making them ideal for all hardwood floors and most carpet types.
The Roomba 650 uses a brush roll extractor that does have soft bristles. It won't scratch most hardwood flooring, though softwood and sealed surfaces should be monitored. The brush rolls are also more challenging to keep clean as hair, fur, and strings get wrapped and tangled in the bristles easily.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba Models
How the robot performs on the various floor types you may have is ultimately what matters most. Different situations may call for a different type of robot. Let's look at how the Roomba 650 and 805/880 compare under these situations.
When it comes to cleaning your carpeting, area and throw rugs, the Roomba 800 series robots leave the 650 far behind. With a more powerful motor, the 805/880 can lift and suction more dirt and debris from carpet fibers. The 800 series models also use the rubber extractors that agitate carpet better than the brush roll of the 650.
As far as maintenance is concerned, the brush roll on the 650 is difficult to remove, clean, and reassemble. The entire process, depending on how much hair and string need removal can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
The rubber extractors of the 805/880, though pop out quickly and take a single wipe with your hand to clean off. You can have the extractors reassembled and ready to go in less than a minute.
The clean you receive on hardwood flooring is about the same when all is said and done. The 650 is a little slower and may miss more areas than the 880 or 805.
However, the big concern is scratching. Softwood floors, like pine, can be scratched by hard bristles or repeated passes over an area.
The tangle-free extractors on the 805 and 880 prevent scratches to any hard flooring type, even pine.
If your home is primarily softwood flooring or has a sealant that can easily be scratched, the 805 or 880 will be the models you want to focus your attention towards.
Pet Hair Removal
Pet hair removal as a comparison between these models is not even a contest. The rubber extractors are designed to lift and separate hairs of any type before being collected. This not only prevents wrapping and tangles but also works to collect more pet hair (or human hair) than the bristles of the 650's roller.
The greater suction created by the motor in the 805 and 880 also helps to remove more hair and debris than the motor of the Roomba 650.
One area where there isn't a clear advantage is in the area or room size. All three models are capable of cleaning up to 1000 square feet of hard flooring or up to 800 to 900 square feet of carpeted flooring.
All three will clean for approximately one full hour before needing to be recharged, and the total area covered is also the same.
Roomba 650 and 880/805 Comparison Chart
Let's see how the three models compare to each other based on their features and dimensions.
Each Roomba comes with replaceable parts and other accessories designed to keep the robots running well and performing as expected. The XLife battery that comes with the 880 models will last twice as long (about four years) before it needs to be replaced. The standard lithium-ion batteries of the other robots will give you a solid 18 to 30 months of operation.
The filters, side brushes, and extractors will need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis. Each filter will need to be replaced about every four months, the side brushes every nine months and the extractors as required, but usually every two years.
The containment towers can be purchased separately to add to the collection. However, it should be noted that the lighthouses should with compatible models and never more than two at a time.
How to Charge these Roomba Models
Charging the robots is generally automatic. The robots will all monitor their batteries and determine when it is time to return to the Home Base for a recharging cycle. However, this doesn't always happen, and sometimes you will find the robot dead in the middle of the floor. When this happens (as well as during the initial charge when you first make your purchase), you will need to place the robots on the Home Base manually.
Once the robots are on the Home Base for a charging session, you can expect about three full hours for all of the models to charge fully. Once the batteries have been recharged, the robots will be ready for another cleaning session.
Positioning the Roomba Home Base
To help minimize the number of times the batteries die before the robots can return to the charging dock, you need to ensure it is positioned correctly. Here are some tips to help make docking easier.
Tips for Using a Roomba
The use of a Roomba robotic vacuum should be an exciting and straightforward process. Below are a few tips to make the experience more enjoyable, and to help the robot last longer while performing to the best of its ability.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we will answer some of the most common questions about the models, iRobot, and Roomba in general.
Does Roomba resume after charging?
Roomba does have models that will resume after a battery charge. However, the use of iAdapt 2.0 or iAdapt 3.0 with the vSLAM and camera-based navigation are required. These features aren't available in the 600 and 800 series robots. To date, only the 900, i-, and s-series robots are capable of recharge and resume functionality.
How do I reset a Roomba unit?
To reset a Roomba, you must first take it off of the Home Base and then press and hold the Clean button on the robot. For the 650 and 800 series, you need to press and hold for about 10 seconds. The display will read "rSt" when the reset has completed correctly.
How long do Roomba robots generally last?
The longevity of your robot will depend a great deal on how well you take care of it and how often it is used. Under normal conditions with regular maintenance, a Roomba robot is known to last 7 to 15 years. There are still cases of the original Roomba and the 400 series robots being used even 20 years later.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
You can find all of the needed information to contact iRobot directly on their website. There are separate numbers for various services such as pre-sales and technical support. You also have the option to start a live chat session during specific hours as well as send an email to the corresponding department.
Where can I purchase these robots?
There is a long list of approved vendors for both online and in-person purchases. However, because of the age of the Roomba 650 and 805/880, the best place to purchase is through Amazon. You will still be able to buy new-in-box models with all accessories and warranty intact.
The Roomba 880 model is the most advanced of the three reviewed in this article. It comes with two virtual wall lighthouses and HEPA style filters. However, it may not be best suited for your needs. If you have a larger space (over 1000 square feet) or multiple floors, the 880 might cause you some frustration.
The 805 is a less expensive option that has its limitations. You will find this model best suited for smaller apartments or condos and single-floor homes. While the Roomba 650 isn't as advanced and has a much longer maintenance schedule, it is still an ideal purchase for a second (or even third) robot vacuum in your home.
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