The Roomba i3 vs 960, both from iRobot’s acclaimed line-up, are stellar robotic vacuums that merge intelligent design with efficacy, allowing users to experience a hassle-free cleaning journey. This article is a real comparison between these decent robot vacuums. In summary, the winner is the Roomba 960.
The Roomba 960 has strong suction power, allowing it to handle any size of debris, even extra-large. The dirt detection technology helps this device recognize high-traffic areas for thorough cleaning.
The Roomba i3 utilizes advanced iAdapt technology for intelligent navigation and ensures optimal removal of dirt, debris, and pet hair through its powerful suction capabilities. You can control this device through the iRobot app or physical buttons.
Roomba i3 vs 960: Comparison Chart
Roomba i3 vs 960: Differences
These two iRobot models are great options that you can refer to. However, after testing them, I conclude that the Roomba 960 wins 2:1 and ties 2 against the Roomba i3 thanks to its cleaning performance and navigation technology. Read the breakdown below to check out the pros and cons of each machine.
The winner: Roomba 960
Compatible floor types
These machines work well on a variety of surfaces, including hardwood floors, carpets, tile floors, and more.
You’ll be impressed with the cleaning ability of these devices on bare floors. Their smart navigation features and powerful motors ensure that they effectively remove all types of debris, including fine and extra-large particles. What’s more, they perform exceptionally well on the first pass, even with fine sand and heavy debris, without creating any mess.
In my carpet pick-up tests, I found that both machines performed admirably on low-pile and medium-pile carpets. Their dual rubber brush roll enables them to effectively eliminate dirt and debris from the carpet’s surface and penetrate deep into the fibers. On high-pile carpets, their performance is not as impressive. However, remember that even traditional machines with strong suction have difficulty with this type of carpet.
Both machines can easily transition between floor types and perform equally well on hard floors. However, the Roomba 960 surpasses the Roomba i3 in carpet deep-cleaning. The Roomba 960 boasts a 90% efficiency rate for removing embedded sand from carpets, whereas the Roomba i3 achieves an efficiency rate of only 80%.
Pet hair performance
For pet owners looking for a reliable solution to remove pet hair, these robotic vacuums are a great option. The 3-Stage Cleaning System that they’re equipped with is specifically optimized to effectively lift, loosen, and eliminate pet hair from various types of flooring.
Additionally, the rubber brushes are less prone to tangling with hair compared to traditional bristle brushes, making them an ideal choice for pet owners. It’s worth noting, however, that removing large amounts of pet hair can still be challenging. Fortunately, the dual rubber brush roll design simplifies detangling hair that has been wrapped around the rollers for users.
Design & Usability
Both the Roomba i3 and Roomba 960 are designed to serve as reliable robotic vacuum cleaners.
The Roomba i3 is crafted for durability while prioritizing affordability. Its housing is made of high-quality plastic that feels really sturdy. This machine is generally more straightforward, featuring fewer advanced sensors compared to the 960, which is evident in its construction. Additionally, the internal dustbin seems to be fragile.
As with the Roomba 960, the materials used feel more premium to the touch and are designed to last longer. It includes extra sensors and features, such as a camera for visual navigation. These components are securely housed in a more sophisticated frame.
Dimensions and weight
In this aspect, the Roomba i3 has a diameter of 13.26 inches and stands at a height of 3.63 inches. In terms of weight, it comes in at around 7.44 pounds. These dimensions make it relatively compact and easy to store. Its lighter weight also means that it can transition between different floor types more easily.
The Roomba 960 has a diameter of about 13.8 inches and a height of approximately 3.6 inches. It is a bit heavier than the i3, weighing in at around 8.5 pounds. The weight increase is mostly due to the advanced hardware, including extra sensors and a camera for better navigation. The increase in diameter may slightly decrease agility in tight spaces compared to the i3.
Battery and charging
Both machines utilize lithium-ion batteries for power. As you may likely know, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have several advantages that make them the preferred choice for a wide range of applications, such as high-energy density, long cycle life, low discharge, quick charging, and so on.
These two models share the same runtime and charge time. They can last for up to around 75 minutes on a single charge, depending on the type of surface and the specific cleaning conditions. It takes about 2 hours for these robots to fully charge.
Compared to other robot vacuums I’ve experienced, their battery life is just fine. Especially for the price of the Roomba i3, I expected that the device could run longer on one charge.
One of their advantages is the “Recharge and Resume” feature, which allows the robot to return to its charging dock when the battery is low and then continue cleaning from where it left off once recharged.
Both the Roomba i3 and Roomba 960 are designed with user comfort in mind, but there are some differences in their noise levels due to their different features, motors, and overall design.
My tests show that the Roomba i3 produces noise levels between 60 and 64 decibels, which can vary based on the floor type and the amount of dirt it is cleaning. If it encounters a heavily soiled area that requires more suction, it may generate slightly louder noise levels. The noise level can be related to a regular conversation or background music.
The Roomba 960 is noisier than its opponent, with a noise level between 61 and 68 decibels since it has a more powerful motor. Nevertheless, the sound falls within the limits that most people find acceptable, similar to the noise level of a conversation in a restaurant.
Although both machines move in straight lines, the navigation techniques they use are quite different.
The Roomba 960 features a more advanced version of the iAdapt navigation technology, known as iAdapt 2.0. The key difference is that the 960 has a visual localization camera, which allows it to map out a room and clean it in a systematic pattern. This ensures that all areas are covered and reduces the likelihood of the same spot being cleaned repeatedly.
Additionally, the Roomba 960 can remember the layout of a room between cleaning sessions, allowing it to be more efficient over time. It can also recognize areas with more dirt and focus on them more intensively.
On the other hand, the Roomba i3 relies heavily on a series of sensors, including cliff detection sensors to avoid falling off edges and bump sensors to detect obstacles. Although this device is also equipped with a floor tracking sensor to clean in neat rows like the Roomba 960, the lack of a camera makes it less efficient than the other.
The winner: The Roomba i3
These two iRobot models are equipped with user-friendly control methods.
They all have physical buttons on the robot for primary functions like starting or stopping a cleaning session. Additionally, you can tap into the iRobot Home app to control the robot, view cleaning history, and receive maintenance alerts. You can also set cleaning schedules, view detailed cleaning maps, and access advanced settings. However, the i3 offer more features on the app than the 960, such as the targeted cleaning room.
For those integrated into smart home environments, these machines also support voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Cleaning & Maintenance
The winner: Roomba 960
Both machines have a dustbin that is effortless to remove and empty. The Roomba 960 has a larger capacity of approximately 600 ml, while the Roomba i3’s is slightly smaller at about 500 ml.
As for the Roomba i3, you have the option to purchase a charging dock that includes a dirtbag instead of the standard docking station.
With this upgrade, the robot can now automatically empty its dustbin without any intervention from the user. Once the dustbin becomes full, the machine will return to its docking station, where all the collected dirt will be transferred to a dirtbag through the dirt disposal. The dirtbag can hold debris from up to 60 bins.
Regarding the filtration system, both models come equipped with a high-efficiency filter that effectively captures 99% of cat and dog allergens. In addition, their 3-Stage Cleaning System is optimized to extract, loosen, and eliminate pet hair from different types of flooring. As a result, these models are highly recommended for households with pets.
Both machines are equipped with a unique feature that offers great convenience to users: Dual-mode virtual wall barriers. While this accessory is not mandatory, some of you may find it necessary. By utilizing these barriers, the Roomba models can clean only the specific areas desired and avoid areas that do not require cleaning. This feature adds an extra level of control and customization to the cleaning process.
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
Quick Rundown Of Roomba i3
- POWERFUL CLEANING—SCHEDULED AROUND YOUR LIFE - Whether you’re relaxing at home or out enjoying life, Roomba i3 EVO takes care of dirt and messes with a Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System and 10x the Power-Lifting Suction*. *Compared to Roomba 600 series.Runtime : 75 minutes
- CLEAN BY ROOM, YOU’RE IN CONTROL - Roomba i3 EVO learns your home and creates an Imprint Smart Map so you can direct it to clean any room you want, any time you want—either on a set schedule or in the moment.
- CLEANING IN TIDY ROWS - Cleans intelligently in straight lines back and forth, to thoroughly clean your floors while navigating around furniture. When the i3 EVO needs to recharge, it will resume right where it left off ensuring a complete clean. Charger : 120V and 60 Hz
- FOCUSED CLEANING - Patented Dirt Detect Technology allows the Roomba i3 EVO to detect dirtier areas of your home and clean them more thoroughly. Integrated sensors tell the robot where it can and can’t fit, so it doesn’t get stuck under furniture.
- PERFECT FOR HOMES WITH PETS - Instead of using a single bristle brush, Roomba i3 EVO uses Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that flex to adjust to different floor types and avoid getting tangled with pet hair.
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- Roomba 960: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba-vacuuming-robot-irobot-roomba-restored-960/R960R99.html
- Roomba i3: https://www.irobot.com/en_US/roomba-i3-evo-robot-vacuum/I315020.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.