Comparison Guide

Roomba 860 vs 880: Compare Which iRobot Vacuum Is Best for You

Discover which iRobot model is best suited to cleaning the floors in your home.


Comparison Guide

Roomba 860 vs 880: Compare Which iRobot Vacuum Is Best for You

Discover which iRobot model is best suited to cleaning the floors in your home.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Robotic vacuums have made their way into a lot of homes across the country. Is yours next? While doing your research to find the perfect model, you might have noticed how many choices you have. Roomba alone has well over three dozen to choose from.

This article compares two of those models. This Roomba 860 vs. 880 review will help you determine what the differences and features of each robot are. We will also look at picking the best option for you and your floors.

The Roomba 880 and Roomba 860 are quite similar robot vacuums. To be quite honest, there are minimal differences between the two models. Those few differences, though, will determine which model is best suited for you. You will find that the 880 has a remote control and multi-room navigation abilities, that the 860 lacks.

For smaller homes that have simple floor plans and a mix of hard flooring and carpet, the Roomba 860 is a cost-effective model to consider. On the other hand, homes that have more rooms and need to control where the robot goes will find more use with the Roomba 880.

How These Roomba Models Are Similar

As both robots come from the 800 series, they will share a lot of characteristics. Following is a complete rundown of their similar features and functions.


By design, the 800 series robots are all very much the same. The Roomba 860 and 880 are no exception. Each one is 13.9 inches in diameter and stands 3.6 inches tall. They both use tangle-free rubber extractors, one side brush, and push-button local controls.

The navigation, filtration, and algorithm systems are also the same. All of these will be detailed below.

Core Technology

Both models use the patented iRobot 3-stage cleaning system. The computer algorithms also control the sensors, navigation, and airflow. Everything works together to produce a robotic vacuum that can detect dirty areas of your floor, manage obstacles, and navigate back to the Home Base charging station when needed.

iAdapt Navigation Technology

Roomba 860 under table

There are three versions of the iAdapt navigation systems. The i- and s-series robots use iAdapt 3.0, only the 900 series uses iAdapt 2.0, and the 880, as well as the 860, utilize the original version, known as iAdapt. This technology uses sensors to determine the location and direction of the robot.

Drop and bump sensors keep the robot from falling down the stairs or crashing into walls and solid objects. The original version doesn’t use cameras or vSLAM technologies, so there aren’t any mapping features to go along with the sensor-based navigation.

AeroForce Vacuuming Technology

The filtration and airflow system, known as AeroForce is the second edition, following the AeroVac system of the 600 series. The Roomba 860 and 880 both use AeroForce technology, which creates better suction, more airflow, and HEPA style filtration to help reduce allergens in your home.

Full Bin Indicator

Both models also come with a full bin indicator. When the dust bin sensor detects that the bin is full the display will show a trash icon to alert you that the container needs to be emptied soon. If the bin is allowed to fill completely, the robot will shut down until it is emptied.

HEPA Filter

The AeroForce system utilizes a high-efficiency filter. These filters are HEPA quality, capturing and holding allergens and dust down to 3 microns in size. The 880 and 860 both use the high-efficiency filters, reducing the allergens in your floors by up to 99%.

Debris Extractor

Part of the 3-stage cleaning system is the debris extractors. The two models here each use the tangle-free rubber extractors. These bristle-less rollers use rubber paddles to sweep, collect, and separate debris.

They also alert if they get snagged on larger debris or cords. Reversing their direction, the robot will attempt to free themselves and maneuver around the obstruction once they are clear.


Using the local controls, you can set the date and time. By doing so, you enable the ability to create a 7-day schedule. The schedule must be reset every 7th day and can only be set for one cleaning run per day.

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning mode is ideal for little spills that need to be cleaned up right away. Using the spot clean button on the robot, you can watch as the Roomba 880 and 860 spiral around the spot cleaning outwards for about three feet. Once complete, the robot will stop and wait for new input.

Manual Docking

If you ever need the robot to stop cleaning in the middle of a session, you can stop the cleaning run and press the dock button on the robot. This will send the robot back to the Home Base until it is time to go out again. If the robot fails to return to the dock when the battery is low, and it dies in the middle of your floor, you can also pick it up and place it on the Home Base to recharge.


The two machines will monitor their batteries, detecting when the charge drops below a preset level (about 10 to 15%). When the battery reaches this point, the Roomba 860 and 880 will return to the Home Base to recharge the batteries.

You can manually stop a cleaning session and force the robot back to the dock, but it isn’t required for battery charging.

Carrying Handle

Both robots have a carrying handle you can use to lift or carry the robots around. At 8.4 pounds each, they aren’t too difficult to transport. Even with the carrying handle, though, it is advised that you also carry the robots by their bottom.

No Carpet Boost

Carpet Boost increases the speed of the motor when the robot detects that it is on carpeting. However, this technology wasn’t introduced until the Roomba 980 model and isn’t available on the Roomba 860 or 880.

No Built-in Camera

Another feature introduced in the 900 series was the use of vSLAM and camera-based navigation. iAdapt 2.0 uses a camera for navigation and mapping, which isn’t used by either the 880 or 860 models.

No Control for Cleaning Passes

By using the settings functions in the mobile app, you can set the Roomba 960 and 980 to complete single or multiple cleaning passes. This is a feature that neither of the robots in this review are capable of.

Not only does the technology prevent mapping, which is needed for multiple cleaning passes, but they also lack the ability to use the iRobot Home App where the setting is toggled.

No WiFi Connectivity

Neither robot will make use of the mobile app or voice commands because they both lack wireless connectivity. WiFi is needed to run the app and voice commands through Amazon Alexa devices such as the Amazon Echo.

How These Roomba Models Are Different

With all of the similarities, it is hard to notice there are some differences. Here we will outline the differences between the Roomba 860 vs. 880.


One of the first differences you will most likely notice is the price. The Roomba 860 has a lower price point than the Roomba 880. The main reason for the price discrepancy is that the Roomba 880 has more accessories included.

Virtual Wall/Lighthouses

Roomba 880 hardwood floor

Of the included accessories, the Roomba 880 comes with two virtual lighthouses. The Roomba 860 comes with one dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The lighthouse uses infrared light to prevent the 880 from exiting a room. When the time limit you set is up, the light goes out, allowing the Roomba to pass through to the next room.

The virtual wall uses the same infrared light to block access. It has two modes called linear and halo. In linear mode, the light extends 10 feet to block doorways or halls. In halo mode, the light is a ring that extends out up to 4 feet in diameter.

Note that both the Roomba 880 and 860 are compatible with both the lighthouses and the virtual walls, which you can purchase separately.

Multi-Room Cleaning

The virtual lighthouse acts as a gatekeeper, preventing the Roomba from leaving the room it is in until the time is up, and the light goes out. At this point, the Roomba can access a different room where the process can continue.

This feature is known as multi-room cleaning and is available on the Roomba 880 because it comes with two virtual lighthouses.

Remote Control

Another difference you won't notice until you open the box is that the Roomba 880 comes with a remote control. The remote will allow you to select a cleaning mode, dock the robot, or (using the three arrow keys), maneuver the 880 in a specific direction.

You should note that the remote is compatible with the Roomba 860, but you will have to purchase it separately.


The difference that makes the most impact is the battery. The Roomba 880 comes with the XLife Extended Life battery while the Roomba 860 uses the Lithium-ion 1800 battery pack. Both batteries are 1800mAh and will power their respective robots for up to 60 minutes.

The XLife battery, though, lasts up to twice as long before needing to be replaced. The extended life is not in robot runtime but in the number of recharging cycles that can be administered before the battery stops holding a charge.


Finally, the only other difference between the two machines is the finish. The Roomba 880 is the standard Roomba black-on-black finish. The Roomba 860, though is silver-on-black. While the color may not have an impact on the performance, it may matter to match your interior décor.

Performance Comparison

Now that we have an understanding of where the two Roomba models are similar and different, let's take a look at how they perform on various floor types and situations.


roomba 860 on floors

When cleaning your carpets, both robots will perform well on low, medium, and high-pile carpeting.

Neither will do well on shag, and they won’t handle fringe or tassels on area rugs well, either.

The tangle-free extractors will agitate carpet fibers and lift out more dirt (about five times more suction) compared to the 600 series robots.

The nod will go to the Roomba 880 here, though, because of the multi-room cleaning capabilities.

Hardwood Floors

The two Roomba’s are also quite equal on hardwood floors. Because of the AeroForce technology and the rubber extractors, hard floors are swept, vacuumed, and cleaned with equal excellence.

The side brushes will get along the baseboards and in corners. However, because of the design of the robots, don’t expect all of the dirt and debris in the corners to be collected.

Pet Hair

When it comes to picking up pet hair, the Roomba robots equipped with the tangle-free rubber extractors do an incredible job. Roomba 880 and 860 are two such robots. The extractors work together to lift and separate the hairs, preventing clogs and wrapping.

You should note, however, that when you perform your maintenance routine to remove the end caps from the extractors. You will find a lot of hair gathered there. Simply pull the hair off and reassemble the end caps.

Roomba 860 and 880 Comparison Chart

Below, see the specifications chart that outlines the features of the Roomba 880 and Roomba 860.

How the Roomba 870 Compares to 860 and 880

height of roomba 860

Another standard model that will crop up in your searches is the Roomba 870. Like the 880 and 860, this model uses the AeroForce technology with HEPA style filtration. You will also find the same iAdapt sensor technology as both of our reviewed models.

The differences, much like the difference between the 880 and 860, comes down to the accessories. The price range is about equal to the Roomba 860. It uses the XLife battery like the 880 and comes with to virtual wall barriers, where the 860 has one.

Being the middle model number really does put the Roomba 870 in the middle of the Roomba 860 vs. 870 vs. 880 match up.

Roomba Accessories

The Roomba 860 and 880 share most of the same accessories. While one comes with the virtual lighthouse and the other the virtual wall barrier, both can use either one.

Likewise, they both use the same filters, side brushes, and extractors, so you don’t need to buy a model-specific replacement kit. The remote control is also a separate purchase for the 860, but it is compatible with that model.

The only thing that isn't the same, or at least cross-compatible, is the XLife battery. The XLife will not fit the 860 models, and when the time comes to replace the 860's battery, you will need to purchase the lithium-ion 1800.

How to Charge these Roomba Models

The initial charge is likely the only time you will need to charge the robots manually. After the Home Base is properly set up and you have placed the devices on to charge, the cleaning can begin.

Both the 860 and 880 will monitor their batteries and return to the charging station on their own when it is needed. If you think there may be an issue you can look at the robot’s display. There you will find a battery icon that will give you the status, if it needs to be charged, if it is charging or if there is an error.

By monitoring the battery icon, you can reassure yourself that everything is working fine, or that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Positioning the Roomba Home Base

To appropriately position the Home Base charging station, there are a few simple guidelines to follow.

  • Place the unit next to an outlet but away from a window or other sources of direct sunlight.
  • Leave two feet on either side clear of obstacles.
  • Ensure there is at least four feet open in front of the Home Base for proper alignment by the robot.
  • Place only on a firm, hard surface that allows the ramp to be flush with the ground.

Tips for Using a Roomba

To prolong the life of your robot and its various parts or accessories, adhere to these tips for using your Roomba vacuum.

  • Have a regular, weekly maintenance schedule for cleaning and inspection of the robot.
  • Empty the dust bin and wipe it clean after every cleaning run.
  • Change the filter every 4 to 6 months (dependent on use).
  • Change the side brush every 9 months.
  • Place the robot in standby mode to preserve the battery when you are away for more than a week.
  • Use the robot daily to ensure proper battery charging cycles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of the questions that frequently present themselves concerning these robots.

Has the Roomba 880 been discontinued?

The Roomba 880 is no longer being produced. There is still a stock that will be depleted, but no more robots are being made. You can still purchase a new, in-box, Roomba 880 from trusted vendors such as Amazon.

How can I extend the battery life?

With lithium-ion batteries, there isn’t a lot of maintenance required. They hold up better and last longer than their Nickle Metal-Hydride counterparts. The lithium-ion 1800 of the Roomba 860 model and the XLife battery of the Roomba 880 offers different life spans.

The 860 will need a new battery about every 18 to 24 months, while the 880 will require a replacement every 36 to 48 months.

Extending battery life is possible. Ensure the battery never overheats, maintain a monthly “full-drain” period to allow the battery to die before you recharge it, and place the robot in idle mode (standby) when you are away for more than a week at a time.

If possible, you should also run the robot daily, but at a minimum at least twice a week.

Does Roomba resume after charging?

Not all of them, no. The recharge and resume feature, also known as entire level cleaning, is only available on models that have camera-based navigation (iAdapt 2.0 or 3.0) and mapping functionality. These models include the Roomba 960, 980, 985, i7, and s9. The Roomba 860 and 880 do not resume after a recharge cycle.

How do I reset a Roomba unit?

To reset either the 880 or 860 first remove them from the Home Base. Press and hold the clean button for about 10 seconds. The display will read “rSt” to show you the reset completed.

How long do Roomba robots generally last?

With proper care, replacing worn parts as needed and on time and keeping the robots from overheating (covering them while charging, letting cats ride them, etc.) a Roomba can last for years. There are reports of owners of the original 400 series bots from the late 1990s that still use their robots today.

How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?

Depending on your needs (technical assistance or pre-sale questions) you can contact iRobot Customer Service through their toll-free numbers, email address, or live chat options. Once you know how you want to contact and which department, head to the iRobot Customer Service contact page for the proper numbers for your area, current email addresses and live chat links.

Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 800 series?

Currently, the best place to buy a new Roomba from the 800 series is through Amazon.com. Amazon is a verified and trusted iRobot vendor, and one of the few places you can still purchase new-in-box, 800 series models. Randomly some brick and mortar or online shops may have one or two to sell, but your first option should be Amazon.


The Roomba 860 and Roomba 880 are two candidates from the 800 series that are worth a closer look. Whether you have hard flooring, carpeting (except shag) or a mixture, both robots will perform well on your floors.

The choice comes down to price, color, and accessories. If you want the lower cost, the Roomba 860 is your choice. If you want a better battery, more containment options, and remote control, then the Roomba 880 is the one you want.

Regardless of your choice, the Roomba 880 series is a wallet-friendly option that cleans well and offers a lot of options. You really can’t go wrong.

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