The iRobot Roomba 980 (Robotic Vacuum Cleaner) — The Review

irobot roomba

In our busy lives and households, there’s always so much going on that finding the time to clean is never easy. If you could take one of the main household chores off that list, wouldn’t it be great? That’s exactly what the iRobot Roomba 980 is designed to do. It’s an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that can vacuum clean your entire house without you having to do a thing or even be there. It may sound too good to be true, or you may have some doubts about how well it can work like I did. So I put it to the test and here’s how it went.

The In-depth Review

Before trying the Roomba 980, I had some pretty major questions (and even doubts) about how well the robot would work and whether it would really do the best job of cleaning my home. Here’s what I wanted to find out.

Will it miss areas of my home?

I don’t know why, but I always had this idea in the back of my mind that a robot vacuum cleaner would miss big areas of my home and leave patches uncleaned — that it would head off in a few random directions, bash repeatedly into some walls/corners/furniture, then head back to it’s base as if the job is done, while most of the room remains untouched. (Much like most teenagers do when tidying their rooms!)

Maybe very early models of automated vacuum cleaners were like this? Or maybe it’s just a common misconception. So what about the Roomba 980?

This is when you realise just how far technology has come! The Roomba 980 uses a high-efficiency cleaning pattern to ensure it covers all areas of a room in the most efficient way. It also uses visual localisation, using many sensors (not just at floor level but the entire level of your home), so that it can map any room to be able to adapt to its surroundings and even REMEMBER where it is and where it’s been so it doesn’t miss anywhere! The cleaner is also incredibly slimline, so it can easily fit under most furniture so that it even gets the dirt you don’t usually see (or clean for that matter!). It even has cliff-detection sensors so that it won’t fall down stairs!

In short, it manages to navigate around all areas of a room and also between rooms to cover an entire level of your house.

Will it clean as well as a normal vacuum cleaner?

Prior to trying out a Roomba, I was also a little sceptical about whether it could really do as good a job as a normal vacuum cleaner. Would it be powerful? How would it cope with tough patches of dirt?

Again, I was very pleasantly surprised with the Roomba 980. Here’s why:

  • It has a spinning side brush so it even gets into the area right up against walls.
  • It uses the AeroForce three-stage cleaning system of agitation (where rotating extractors loosen deep down dirt and even breakdown the dirt before picking it up); brushing (to lift dirt particles away); and suction (to pull the dirt into the machine).
  • It has a high-efficiency filter that traps up to 99% of dust, dirt and allergens, so you have a cleaner, healthier home. AND
  • It uses optical and acoustic sensors so that it knows when it comes across an area with lots of dirt or dust or pet hair, and then it does focussed cleaning in that area!

Is it suitable for different floor types?

With a range of carpet, tiles, wooden floors and some rugs in my home, it’s hard to find a cleaner that’s suitable to work on all surfaces or that does the job as well on different surfaces. However, the Roomba 980 has a cleaning head that automatically adjusts to each different surface. It even automatically increases air power by up to ten times on carpets or rugs so that it can reach the dirt that gets trapped down in the fibres.

Will the technology be difficult to use?

Okay, here’s the best part. You just press the button that says ‘Clean’ and the Roomba starts cleaning. You can sit back and relax, get on with some work or go out and the Roomba will take care of itself. It also has Recharge and Resume so it cleans for two hours then automatically docks and recharges itself before going back to work. It even lets you know when it’s full and needs emptying.

There’s also an easy to use app for controlling your Roomba from anywhere. With the iRobot HOME App I could connect to the Roomba even when I was out of the house, so I could control the cleaning from my phone, tablet or computer. Again, you just press ‘Clean’ to start the Roomba working. I also used the scheduling feature so that I could set when I wanted the Roomba to clean. It was simple and easy to use and it was quite nice knowing that I didn’t just have to leave it running all day and that I could set it to clean when I wanted it to. The App also gives extra help through tips, ticks and support.

Features at a glance

Here are the main features of the iRobot Roomba 980:

  • Self-charging
  • Multi-room navigation
  • Entire level cleaning
  • Recharge and resume
  • Scheduling
  • Tangle-free debris extractors
  • iRobot HOME App
  • High efficiency filter
  • AeroForce 3-stage cleaning system
  • AeroForce high-efficiency filter
  • Carpet boost

To find out more about the iRobot Roomba 980, visit irobot.com.au. An iRobot was gifted to me for the purposes of the review. All opinions, thoughts and conclusions remain my own.

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