Vacuuming is a laborious chore that I both hate and love. How so? Viewing the contents of the bin upon finish makes the chore worth it, but yet every time the chore comes to head I often skip it. After all, it’s a hassle to dig out the vacuum, unwind its cord, plug it in and then carefully navigate the contents of the room such that I don’t knock something over…and all the while reduce the number of times I have to plug it in to reach every corner of the room. I own two Dyson vacuums and often use the handheld DC35, but only upon a spill or when a quick clean up is needed, such as removing the crumbs from the edge of my coffee table. So it’s for this reason that a robovac makes the most sense for me, and probably for millions of you like me.
To a large degree, the IRobot Roomba 980 looks like every other Roomba. Which is to say it sports their familiar hockey puck shape. However, unlike the lesser models (below the 960) the 980 sports a camera which maps out the room, allowing it to develop a log of visual landmarks and thus improve cleaning for next time. In short this means less bumping and more cleaning. And when it does hit something, there is a bump panel to help it detect obstacles and steer around or away from them. There are a few other sensors on board, including one to detect a ledge (aka cliff detection) and one to detect the presence of carpet, where upon the iRobot Roomba 980 will increase its suction power (“Dirt Detect™ Series II5 uses optical and acoustic sensors to detect high concentrations of dirt, dust and pet hair, and the robot then provides focused cleaning where it’s most needed”).
Standing at 3.6″ tall and 9.8″ in diameter, the IRobot Roomba 980 is able to fit under most coffee table, credenzas and those alike. For anything lower, there is a corner brush to sweep dirt into its path (much like Deebot D45), which is then sucked up by a set of rubber rollers that move dirt, pet hair and debris through its AeroForce® filter that purportedly captures 99% of allergens, pollen, and particles as small as 10 microns. It’s not up to HEPA standards, so if you’re looking to capture smaller particles, try this list of HEPA vacuums and HEPA air filters, with the latter probably being a better resolve since it’s more immediate.
As for charging, there is a simple base station included in the box. The IRobot Roomba 980 will return home when it’s done cleaning your room or when its battery runs low. That said, the 980 is capable of cleaning up to 1,500 square feet, though depending on settings may need to recharge itself, or the bin may need to be emptied, though you can override that last issue if needed. That said, the Roomba 980 is intelligent enough to know where to pick up from where it left off in the event it requires a recharges as it stores a layout of your home’s floors. I’m not sure if its memory caps out at 1,500 square feet, so you might want to check if your home is larger or simply buy a Roomba 980 for each floor.
Lastly, there is handle, albeit slightly hidden to my much surprise, and 3 buttons (home, spot cleaning and on/off) that are straight forward and easy to operate.