The iRobot Roomba 800 series robotic vacuums are becoming the go-to budget-friendly models. With newer models being released, the 800 series continues to drop in price, but not in performance.
The Roomba 805 and Roomba 860 are two of the more popular choices, and this review will examine them both. Which one will better fit your home and style? Read on to find out who wins in the Roomba 805 vs. 860 comparison review.
The Roomba 860 and Roomba 805 are as close to being identical as you can get. There are few differences in the robots, and the largest factor will be the filtration.
The Roomba 805 uses the AeroForce standard filter, capturing particles down to 10 microns in size.
The 860, on the other hand, uses the AeroForce HEPA filter, capturing particles down to 3 microns.
If you have pets, the HEPA filter will reduce the amount of pet dander in your floors. It will also collect pollen, dust mites, and other allergy-causing particles. Both robots come with the dual-mode virtual wall barriers, though the less expensive 805 has two barriers where the 860 only ships with one.
The quick decision comes down to the filtration then. If you need extra help reducing allergens in your home, go with the Roomba 860. If you would rather save a little cash and don’t need to worry so much about the type of filter, then go with the Roomba 805.
How These Roomba Models Are Similar
Being from the same model series, the 805 and 860 share a lot of the same traits and technology. The following is a brief overview of the most significant similarities they have.
Both Roomba models have the same design. They are the familiar round robot with the large Clean button and four programming buttons on the face. Each robot also has identical rubber extractors, motors, wheels, and side brushes. Except for their color, it is difficult to tell the two robots apart based on appearance alone.
iAdapt Navigation Technology
The iAdapt Navigation technology is the name given to the series of sensors, programming, software, and algorithms that allow the robots to maneuver around the home and stay out of trouble.
The RCON, dirt detection, drop, and touch sensors work together to alert the robot of issues, obstacles, cliffs, and dirty areas of the home.
The robot uses the input from these sensors to navigate your floors without causing damage or falling off the stairs.
AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System
Much like the iAdapt technology, AeroForce technology is the name given to the components that make up the 3-stage cleaning system of the Roomba models. The three stages (sweep, collection, and filtration) all work together to maintain your floor's cleanliness.
The side brushes and tangle-free extractors sweep debris and agitate the carpet to loosen and lift the dirt. The motor provides the suction power to collect the debris and deposit it into the dust bin. Finally, the exhaust air is pushed through a filter and returned to the home.
In the case of the 805 and 860, the difference here is that the exhaust is pushed through a HEPA quality filter, reducing the number of allergens in the home. The 805 only uses a standard filter that doesn’t collect the allergens.
Both robots use rubber paddled, tangle-free extractors. Unlike bristle brush rolls, they are much easier to clean and maintain. The extractors will also not scratch softwood surfaces and can agitate carpet far better than the bristled options.
The Roomba 860 and Roomba 805 each utilize a lithium-ion battery that provides up to one full hour of runtime. The robots will also monitor the battery and begin heading back to the Home Base charging station when the battery charge gets low. The recharge cycle lasts about three hours, at which time the robots will be ready to head out on another cleaning session.
The 1800mAh battery packs should be able to maintain their charges and last for up to an hour through at least 2500 charging cycles. If used daily, you can expect the batteries to last you well over two years. With maintenance and care, you can prolong this another 12 to 18 months.
Another similarity is the use of the schedule feature. Using the local control buttons, you can set the date and time of the robot. Once that is programmed, you will be able to create a 7-day schedule for cleanings.
You will only be able to program one cleaning session per day for the seven days. When the scheduled week expires, you will need to program another week’s worth of cleanings. For prolonged battery life, it is recommended you run the robots daily.
Roomba robots have never been known for their quiet operation. When they are active, you will know it. On average, the Roomba 860 and 805 produce about 67dB of noise. This is equivalent to city traffic outside a closed window or a moderate conversation.
If you are in the same room as the robot when it is working, you will need to raise your speaking volume or turn up the television. However, it isn’t so bad that you can’t hear at all.
Self-Charging & Self-Docking
Aside from the initial charging session out of the box, the Roomba 860 and 805 will recharge the battery themselves when it gets low. When the battery level drops, both models will stop the cleaning cycle and begin seeking out the Home Base charging station.
Using the RCON sensor on top of the robot, the Home Base sends out a beacon signal. This signal allows the robots to hone in and find the dock, which they will position and mount without needing assistance from you.
You should note that from time to time, the robots will be unable to locate the Home Base before the battery dies. If this happens, you will be required to place the robot on the charging station manually.
Of the sensors on the Roomba line of robots, the cliff-detect sensors work a double shift. Their primary function is to determine how far below the robot the ground is.
If the sensors sense a drop, a ledge or fall greater than an inch and a half, the robot is alerted and changes course.
The secondary function is dirt detection. As the robots clean and move forward, the sensors can determine if dust and debris particles remain.
If alerted to an area that is still dirty, the robot will swing around in a loop to go over the area once more.
The Roomba 805 and Roomba 860 share a warranty as well (as do all Roomba robots). The warranty offers a 30-day trial period which allows you to return the robot for any reason. After the 30 days, the 12-month limited warranty kicks in.
The battery, motor, computers, and sensors are all covered by the warranty. Should anything happen due to regular use, the robots will be repaired or replaced. Removable parts, such as the filters, wheels, and extractors are not covered and will be the responsibility of the owner to purchase replacements when they wear out.
How These Roomba Models Are Different
As we stated earlier, there aren’t a lot of differences in the various 800 series models. The 860 and 805 are no exception. Below is the list of all differences between the two robots.
While to robot’s color has no bearing on the performance or functionality, it is the most notable and recognizable difference in these two models. The Roomba 805 is the standard iRobot black on black color. The Roomba 860, though, is silver on black.
As covered a couple of times in this iRobot Roomba review, the filter is one of the primary differences that will affect your purchasing decision. The two robots use the same AeroForce cleaning system, though the Roomba 860 has a HEPA quality, high-efficiency filter.
The extra screen on this filter allows it to capture allergy-inducing microbes down to 3 microns in size. The Roomba 805, on the other hand, uses the AeroForce standard filter. It does not have the extra screen and will capture particles down to 10 microns in size.
Another noticeable difference is found on the price tag. In general circumstances, the Roomba 805 is less expensive than the Roomba 860. However, sales and specials can alter these prices dramatically.
Shopping during a Black Friday Roomba 860 sale, or a Cyber Monday Roomba 805 deal, for example, may reduce the price of one more so than the other. On a standard, day-to-day purchase, though, you will find that the Roomba 805 costs you less.
Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier
There are three types of containment options to choose from for all Roomba models. The virtual lighthouse and virtual wall will work with both the 860 and 805. The dual-mode virtual wall barrier, though, is the containment option that is included with both robots.
The Roomba 805 gives you two towers while the 860 offers a single one. You can purchase more, if needed, though. The dual-mode barriers have two mode selections. The linear mode will produce a 10-foot infrared beam that prevents the robots from passing by.
The halo mode produces a 4-foot diameter infrared ring, protecting pet dishes and other items you don't want the robot to get near.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba 805 vs. 860
How do the two models perform in various situations? Let’s take a look at the most common areas you will be using your robot vacuum to find out.
Cleaning carpets is the first thing we think about when purchasing a vacuum. The robotic vacuums on the market are more hit or miss in this area. Roomba’s 805 and 860 are both adept at cleaning low and medium-pile carpets, area rugs and throws.
When it comes to high-pile and shag carpeting, though, there isn't enough suction power created to get deep into the fibers.
If you have flooring that is low or medium pile carpeting and less than 1,000 square feet, the Roomba 805 and 860 will serve you well.
The tangle-free rubber extractors on the two models will sweep debris off of hardwood flooring without leaving scratches behind. Any hard flooring surface will benefit from the rubber extractors, including tile, laminate, marble, and vinyl.
The primary issue with the two models here is getting into corners. The side brush will get larger debris and hair clumps from corners, but smaller or finer debris won’t be reached.
Pet Hair Removal
One area where you will be pleased as well as surprised is in pet hair removal. Both the Roomba 860 and 805 use rubber extractors that gather, loosen, lift and separate pet hair, making it easier to collect and less likely to tangle.
What you end up with are floors free of the daily shed that can accumulate on your carpets and along your baseboards.
One of the more significant downfalls of both the 860 and the 805 is the runtime. With a battery that only provides power for up to an hour and still needs three more to recharge, larger homes and grand floor plans may find the robots disappointing.
For apartments, smaller homes and any floor plan under 1000 square feet, the Roomba 805 and 860 will suffice. Any more than this, though, and you will find your floors are still in need of help.
Roomba 805 and 860 Comparison Chart
Take a look at how the Roomba 805 and 860 compare to one another, side by side.
As far as extras are concerned, there isn’t a whole lot to offer. You can purchase replacement parts for both the 805 and the 860 individually or as a kit. The side brushes, filters, and rubber extractors come in a replenishment kit that is available through iRobot or Amazon.
The biggest accessories, though, are the virtual wall containment devices. There are three to choose from, and both models (as are all Roomba vacuums) are compatible with all three.
The lighthouse will allow you to give multi-room cleaning options to the robots by blocking them in an area for a set amount of time. The virtual wall is there to block access to a doorway or entrance.
Both the Roomba vacuums being reviewed come with the dual-mode virtual wall barriers. Like the virtual wall, you can use linear mode to block access to doorways or portions of a room. The other mode, halo, uses a 4-foot diameter ring to block access to things on your floor like pet dishes or lamps.
You can buy extra barriers, either as a single or twin-pack from both iRobot and Amazon.
How to Charge these Roomba Models
Like we discussed earlier, both the 805 and 860 will monitor their battery charge levels. When the levels drop, the robots will return to the Home Base for a recharge. You can tell when this is going to happen by the battery indicator on the display.
It will turn amber when the charge is low and red when it is almost dead. It will blink while charging and stay solid green when the battery is fully charged. There may also be problems with the battery that come up from time to time. The battery icon indicator will blink a set number of times depending on the issue.
You can find out more about the troubleshooting codes below.
Positioning the Roomba Home Base
One of the most overlooked aspects of a proper charge to the battery and overall functionality of the robots is the Home Base. This dock houses the robots when they aren’t in use and recharges the battery to keep the devices ready to go.
Proper positioning is crucial for good seating of the robot, adequate contact for the battery charging plates, and the ability of the robot to get up and down the ramp.
When you position the Home Base station, it should be on firm, flat ground. The ramp lip should be flush all the way across, and it should be out of direct sunlight (as from a window or door).
To assist the robot in proper docking, you should maintain 2-feet of clearance on either side of the Base and 4-feet in front of the unit. Also, double-check that the Home Base is away from heat sources like refrigerators, dryers, and heater vents.
Tips for Using a Roomba
For the most part, the use of your new Roomba will be a trouble-free experience. However, there are some things you can do to help the process along, keep the robot in top condition, and prevent problems during a cleaning session.
Troubleshooting Your Roomba
Since the robots are computerized, mechanical, and have moving parts, things will go wrong eventually. However, the robots are pretty adept at knowing (in general) what the problem is. If there is a non-battery issue, the robot will beep to alert you. The number of audible beeps will tell you what the trouble code is.
For battery-related issues, the battery icon on the display will blink to let you know which code is being read. The chart below will cover the beeps and blinks so you can quickly identify what the problem is and how to fix it.
Code/Number of Beeps
What to do
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.
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.
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 battery
The battery needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now we will provide you with the answers to some of the most common questions about iRobot, Roomba and the 860 or 805 specifically.
Does Roomba resume after charging?
No, the Roomba 860 and Roomba 805 will not resume cleaning after a recharge cycle. These robots do not map or learn your home. They have no method of knowing where they were or where to return to should the entire space not get cleaned.
Can a Roomba battery be replaced?
Yes. Each Roomba comes with a replaceable battery. In the case of the 860 and 805, this is a standard 1800mAh lithium-ion battery pack. These should be replaced about every 2 to 3 years. You can purchase new batteries from Amazon or iRobot’s shop.
How do I reset a Roomba unit?
Sometimes a factory reset may be in order to return the robot to the proper functionality or to clear out a trouble code. First, remove the robot form the Home Base charging station. Then press and hold the Clean button for 10 seconds. When you let go the robot will beep, and the display will read “rSt” to show you the reset has completed.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
Contacting customer support can be accomplished in three different manners. Depending on the type of service you need, you can get pre-sales or technical questions answered through email, phone calls, or even a live chat.
The proper numbers based on the requested service and your physical location, as well as email addresses and live chat links, are displayed on the customer care page of the iRobot website.
Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 800 series?
You may find a Roomba 860 or 805 still floating around some brick and mortar stores form time to time. However, this is not generally the best way to go. Even stores claiming to have them in stock seldom do. The best method to purchase a new-in-box Roomba 860 or Roomba 805 is through Amazon.
How do we know what the different indicator lights mean with Roomba 805 and 860?
The indicator lights are a part of the display panel on top of the robot itself. You can reference page two of your owners manual. The time, AM or PM, and the day of the week are displayed at the top of the robot. Four other indicators are surrounding the Clean button.
From top (clockwise) they are Battery, Anti-Tangle, Troubleshooting, and Dirt Detect. The final indicator is at the bottom of the robot, just below the four programming buttons. This is the full bin indicator that alerts you to empty the dust bin.
When you have decided it is time to purchase a robotic vacuum, you have choices. Two of those choices are the Roomba 860 and Roomba 805. Both are highly capable machines for most carpeting and hardwood floors.
The choice between these two particular models will come down to cost, accessories, and allergens. If you need extra filtration to reduce the number of allergens in your home, the Roomba 860 is the way to go.
However, if you are looking to save a little money while picking up an extra virtual wall barrier, the Roomba 805 is for you. Both will cover smaller homes, apartments, and condos without much fuss. They also make perfect robots for a second floor or finished basement.
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