When it comes to robot vacuum cleaner brands, iRobot is a brand that offers many models to suit different needs. In this article, I’ll take a close look at iRobot’s two entry-level models: Roomba 960 vs I4; Which one benefits you better?
After my own tests, the winner is the Roomba I4. Although both models have many similar features, the I4 is superior in terms of cleaning process and performance compared to the competition.
The Roomba 960 has its own advantages that may make it the right choice for certain users. The analysis will show why the 960 finished second in this race.
Roomba 960 Vs I4: Comparison Chart
Roomba 960 Vs I4: Differences
The Roomba I4 commands a 2-1 and two-tie over the 960. Let’s analyze to see why I4 won in the following article.
|Roomba I4||Roomba 960|
|Airflow||7.27 Cfm||9.33 Cfm|
|Suction||1800 Pa||900 Pa|
The Roomba i4 is generally observed to have superior suction power compared to the Roomba 960. Superior suction power is typically beneficial for more effective cleaning, especially on carpets and rugs, where it can lift more dirt and debris from the fibers. The i4 would, thus, generally perform better in homes with pets or in high-traffic areas, thanks to its higher suction capability.
|Roomba I4||Roomba 960|
|≈ 99%||≈ 100%|
It appears that both methods pick up small to medium-sized debris particles pretty quickly when cleaned on hard floors. As a whole, I was quite satisfied with how their hard floor cleaning performed.
|Roomba I4||Roomba 960|
|Low Pile Carpet||≈ 98%||≈ 90%|
|High Pile Carpet||≈ 96%||≈ 87 %|
According to the table, Roomba I4 can clean carpets with an average efficiency of 97%. As for the Roomba 960, its rate is about 88 percent, which is also impressive.
However, the Roomba 960 seems to clog easily when sucking up larger debris particles like pet food. Long hair strands can also easily get caught in the robot’s rotating reels, creating loud noises.
Given the provided experimental results between the Roomba 960 vs i4 in terms of their pet hair cleaning capabilities, it seems that the Roomba i4 performs significantly better than the Roomba 960.
The Roomba 960 struggles with cleaning hair, managing to gather only about 15% of both 5-inch and 10-inch strands of hair in your test. Most of the hair gets entangled in the rollers and axles. This suggests that it might not be the ideal choice for pet owners or in environments where long hair is common, as the regular cleaning and maintenance of the rollers and axles can be time-consuming.
The Roomba i4 has demonstrated significantly better results, collecting more than 50% of 5-inch fibers and 40% of 10-inch fibers. Even though some hair got caught on the brush, it seems more effective in handling hair, particularly shorter strands. The ease of cleanup is a significant advantage, with hair strands coming off without a hitch, making it a more user-friendly option for those dealing with a lot of hair.
Dirt compartment and filtration
The winner: Roomba 960
Both Roomba 960 vs I4 are equipped with highly efficient HEPA filters capable of removing 99% of dog and cat allergens, ensuring a cleaner and healthier living environment.
Additionally, both models have the capability to recharge themselves and restart the cleaning process automatically, optimizing the cleaning cycle without manual intervention.
When it comes to the dirt compartment, the Roomba 960 also surpasses the I4 with its larger 600-ml capacity, reducing the frequency of emptying the bin. For average-sized homes without excessive dirt, debris, or pet hair, users can expect to empty the compartment every 1-2 weeks.
Lastly, a practical tip for users of either model is to regularly clean the charging ports and docks to prevent charging issues, ensuring smooth operation and longevity of the robotic vacuum cleaner.
Design and Convenience
Dimensions & weights
|Roomba I4||3.63 x 13.26 x 13.34 inches||7.44 lbs|
|Roomba 960||3.6 x 13.8 x 13.8 inches||8.6 lbs|
In terms of weight and size, the Roomba I4 is approximately 1 pound lighter than the 960, but overall it is quite light and compact. It is easier to handle because of its lighter weight and smaller size, especially in smaller homes or apartments.
The robots aren’t too tall to fit under most beds and sofas, and they are light enough that you can carry them from floor to floor without a sweat if you wish.
If you are looking for docking stations, they can be a bit bulky and difficult to install but their sleek design makes them an appealing addition to any room they are placed in.
Extractor & Side Brush
It is notable that both models incorporate a dual brush roll system and utilize supportive rubber rollers to optimize cleaning efficiency and extend the durability and operational effectiveness of the brush. This design aids in maintaining effective contact with the surface and enhancing debris collection.
However, in practical testing, neither model is completely successful in preventing hair tangling, particularly with longer strands of hair, demonstrating a noticeable amount of hair entwined around the roller after operation. Although the entanglement is observed to be below average, it necessitates regular user intervention.
Users should be mindful to inspect the rollers post-cleaning and remove any residual hair from the brush roll to ensure the uninterrupted and efficient operation of the robotic vacuum cleaner. Regular maintenance like this will keep the appliance in optimal working condition, prolonging its lifespan and maintaining cleaning efficacy.
Both Roomba 960 vs I4 are integrated with a Cliff Detect system, providing them with the ability to navigate away from potential hazards such as stairs, cliffs, and other substantial drop-offs, thereby preventing damage due to falls. The Roomba 960 comes with a supplementary Virtual Wall Barrier accessory, a battery-operated device that acts as a beacon to delineate no-entry zones for the Roomba, such as around pet water bowls. This is an invaluable feature for customizing cleaning areas and protecting household items and pet accessories from unintended contact.
Meanwhile, the Roomba i4 also includes a similar virtual wall barrier but goes a step further by incorporating additional floor tracking sensors. These extra sensors empower the i4 with enhanced abilities to map and navigate floor areas with superior accuracy, a feature absent in the Roomba 960. This advanced navigation technology in the i4 model provides more precise and efficient cleaning paths, ensuring more thorough coverage and cleaning performance across varied floor types and layouts.
Both models remain within an acceptable and relatively quiet range, contributing to a more pleasant user experience, especially in households valuing tranquility. However, there exists a subtle distinction in the operational noise levels of the two models.
The Roomba i4 exhibits a noise level ranging from approximately 64 to 68 decibels, a byproduct of its more powerful motor designed to enhance cleaning capabilities. Despite the increased noise, it still maintains an acceptable level of auditory comfort.
Conversely, the Roomba 960 maintains a quieter operational presence, with noise levels ranging from 61 to 65 decibels. This lower noise level renders the Roomba 960 particularly suitable for households with young children or for individuals with a preference or need for a quieter environment, especially during morning hours. It provides a balance between efficient cleaning and maintaining a peaceful household ambiance.
|Roomba I4||Roomba 960|
|Charging time||2 hours||2 hours|
|Runtime||75 – 90 minutes||75 minutes|
Both Roomba 960 vs I4 come with lithium-ion batteries that help charge and run efficiently. Battery life has been tested to run for up to 90 minutes, and it has incredible battery performance.
It is also equipped with a “recharge and continue” feature, meaning if the battery runs out during cleaning, it will remember where it left off, dock itself, recharge itself, and then go back to work.
You can check the battery status by looking at the large button at the top or in the iRobot app. The large button serves as a battery indicator, as when it turns from white to red, it shows that the battery is running low.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The winner: Roomba i4
It is noteworthy that both models utilize easily manageable dustbins to store collected dust and debris, promoting user-friendly maintenance. These dustbins are designed to be easily disassembled, emptied, and cleaned, making routine upkeep straightforward and hassle-free. Besides attending to the trash can and filter, periodic cleaning of other components of the vacuum is essential to ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of the device.
Fortunately, the necessary cleaning tasks are uncomplicated, and the components requiring attention can be effortlessly removed. Users can refer to the provided user manual for step-by-step instructions to facilitate proper maintenance.
However, the Roomba i4 gains a competitive edge with its unique self-cleaning feature, enabling the device to autonomously empty the collected dirt and debris into a disposable dust bag. This feature significantly reduces maintenance frequency, requiring dust bag replacement only once every two months.
In contrast, the Roomba 960 lacks this convenient self-cleaning capability, necessitating more frequent manual intervention for emptying the dustbin. This advanced feature of the Roomba i4 enhances user convenience by minimizing the frequency of maintenance tasks, offering a more autonomous cleaning experience.
The winner: Roomba i4
The Roomba 960 employs a top-mounted camera, allowing it to view and construct a detailed map of the home’s layout, optimizing its cleaning paths. However, this camera-dependent mapping technology necessitates some degree of ambient light to navigate accurately, restricting its functionality in low-light conditions.
Contrastingly, the Roomba i4 utilizes a floor tracker situated at the bottom of the vacuum, leveraging it to scan and navigate the floor. Although cameras generally afford superior mapping capabilities due to their ability to capture wider and more detailed views of the area, the i4’s reliance on a floor monitor enables it to operate effectively even in complete darkness. This inherent capability of the Roomba i4 to function in dark conditions provides it with a practical advantage, allowing for flexible cleaning schedules and optimal convenience, irrespective of lighting conditions.
Quick Rundown Of Roomba I4
- 20% LARGER BATTERY – Larger battery for extended runtime. Compared to other Roomba i series Robot Vacuums
- CLEANS THE ROOMS YOU WANT WHEN YOU WANT - iRobot OS learns and personalizes your cleaning with Imprint Smart Mapping technology so you can direct it to clean any room you want, any time you want—either on a set schedule or in the moment.
- SWEEPS UP DUST, DIRT AND DEBRIS WITH EASE - Experience a comprehensive clean with the powerful 3-Stage Cleaning System that pulls in dirt, debris, and pet hair from wherever it hides.
- PRECISION CLEANING IN TIDY ROWS - Cleans intelligently in straight lines back and forth, to thoroughly clean your floors while navigating around furniture. When it needs to recharge, it will resume right where it left off ensuring a complete clean.
- FOCUSES ON DIRT - iRobot's Patented Dirt Detect Technology allows the Roomba i4 EVO robot to detect dirtier areas of your home and clean them more thoroughly.
Quick Rundown Of Roomba 960
- Powerful pick up and powerful performance
- Smart navigation gets the job done
- Goes where it's needed, avoids where it's not
- Learns your life, listens to your voice
- Ideal for homes with pets
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- Roomba I4: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba_i4/I415020.html
- Roomba 960: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba-vacuuming-robot-irobot-roomba-restored-960/R960R99.html
Richard B. Schmidt is a prominent figure in the vacuum cleaner industry, boasting over 15 years of expertise. Armed with a Robotics Engineering degree from Northeastern University and a Master’s in Consumer Science from Harvard, his unique blend of technical knowledge and consumer insights positions him as a sought-after authority in vacuum cleaner evaluation. Richard’s career began at Dyson, where he contributed to the development of innovative vacuum models. Transitioning to advocacy and reviews, he co-founded the first Vacuum-focused blog in 2008, offering comprehensive analysis and user guides for various vacuum cleaners. In 2020, he founded RoboMop.net, providing ongoing insights through columns and buyer’s guides.