Roomba 880 vs 890 – Which One is Better Value?

The top of the line for the iRobot Roomba 800 series is the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 890. These robot vacuums pack value and features together to offer you a home cleaning solution you can be proud of.

The differences between the two models are very slight, but they might be enough to pull you to one side or the other. The similarities will make a choice more difficult but will help you decide which features you can do without or just have to have.

If you want to see the complete run down of the entire side by side comparison, keep reading the article below. If you are in a hurry and just want the final verdict: We believe the Roomba 890 is a superior machine to the 880 and would recommend it for your robotic vacuum needs.

Roomba 880
Roomba 890

Differences between Roomba 880 and 890

The differences between the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 890 are very slight. However, they may be important enough to make you choose one over the other.

  • The Roomba 880 has a Nickel Metal Hydride battery (NiMH). The 890 comes with the newer Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack.
  • The Roomba 880 has a remote control while the 890 utilizes the iHome App through your smartphone.
  • The 880 model comes with the lighthouse smart barriers while the 890 uses the virtual wall barriers.
  • The 890 makes use of voice control activation using Alexa and Google Assistant. The 880 does not have this feature.
  • The look of the robots has changed slightly, with fewer buttons on the top of the 890 because of the iHome control options.

Similarities between Roomba 880 and 890

While the differences set them apart, it’s the similarities that make the choices even more difficult. When you see what they have in common, separating the differences will help make your choice a little bit easier.

  • Both the 880 and the 890 utilize the iAdapt first generation navigation and mapping software.
  • The vacuum technology AeroForce is used by both systems.
  • Each of the models uses a high-efficiency HEPA filter to trap the smallest allergen particles.
  • Both models will indicate when their collection bin is full.
  • Each of the Roomba units will spot clean for extra cleaning power in the spaces you designate.
  • The Roomba 880 and the 890 both can be set to clean on a schedule.

Comparison Table

Check out the handy-dandy comparison chart we made just to show you the features side by side:

Roomba 880 Roomba 890
Battery NiMH Li-Ion
Battery Life Up to 60 minutes Up to 120 minutes
Filter High-efficiency HEPA High-efficiency HEPA
Navigation and Mapping iAdapt generation 1 iAdapt generation 1
Spot Clean Yes Yes
Self-Programming Yes Yes
Remote Control Yes No
iHome Support No Yes
Voice Control No Yes
Barriers Virtual Lighthouses (2) Virtual Wall Barrier (1)
Tangle Free Brush-less Extractors Yes Yes
Price Check on Amazon Check on Amazon

Features and Options

Let us take a look at some of the features and options in greater detail:

1. The Batteries

The Roomba 880 comes with the NiMH rechargeable battery pack. These batteries will last up to an hour on a single charge and optimal conditions. The Roomba 890 comes with the newer style Lithium-Ion battery pack. These charge faster and last longer than the NiMH batteries.

While some reports state the 890 can go up to two hours on a single charge, we have yet to actually see it in action. The standard for this robotic vacuum is still about one hour per charge.

However, the charge time is far quicker on the 890, and that helps a lot.

Bottom Line: The Roomba 890 has the advantage over the 880 with the faster charging, longer lasting Lithium-Ion batteries.

2. Brush-less Extractors

The tangle-free extractors (also referred to as beater bars) are the brush-less bars that rotate to loosen the dirt and debris so the suction can take them up.

Starting with the 800 series, iRobot removed the brushes and bristles in exchange for the tangle-free design we have on these models.

It should be noted that they do an incredible job with pet hair and debris. However, longer hairs and string will still get wrapped around like any other vacuum. They are easily cleaned off though since there are no brushes to snag and tangle the hairs.

Bottom Line: The brush-less, tangle-free extractors are a huge improvement over the older bristle beater bars.

3. Remote Operation

The Roomba 880 unit comes with a remote control. You can use the remote to start a cleaning, make a schedule and call for a spot clean. You have to be within 15 feet of the robot to use the remote.

The 890, on the other hand, uses the wireless technology and the iHome app for complete control over the vacuum. You can use your smartphone to communicate with the Roomba 890 from anywhere. You don’t even have to be home.

Bottom Line: With the iHome WiFi app, the 890 is the better option. If you don’t have a need for wireless communications though, the remote control works just fine.

4. Spot Cleaning

Both of the robot vacuums have the ability to spot clean. When enabled (either using the remote control on the 880 or the iHome app on the 890) the vacuum will leave it’s assigned route and do a few circles in the area you pinpoint.

The sensors will tell the vacuum when the spot is free of debris, and it will then return to it’s assigned route from where it left off.

Bottom Line: Both models have the spot clean feature.

5. Navigation and Mapping

Each of the robot vacuums utilizes audible and physical sensors to map and navigate your home. With iAdapt technology.

These sensors also prevent the Roomba from falling of stairs or ledges and help determine when an area is completely clean.

You also don’t have to worry about moving your furniture around or redecorating your home. In these events, the Roomba will sense that it’s mapping if off and will remap your area.

Bottom Line: Both models have the iAdapt navigation, which help it navigate your home and clean every square inch of your home.

6. Virtual Barriers

The Roomba 880 comes with two Virtual Wall Lighthouses (VWL). These beacons can be set up to prevent the vacuum from leaving an area (or entering one) until the current area is clean. The robot vacuum will send a signal to the lighthouse alerting it that the area is clean and the lighthouse will disable the barrier, allowing the robot to pass to the next area. They can also be set to Virtual Wall mode, which just blocks the Roomba from entering a set area.

In the 890 model, the lighthouses have been replaced with the simpler Virtual Wall Barrier (VWB). The action is the same: prevent access to a certain area. Unlike the lighthouses, though, the wall barriers do not have lighthouse mode to keep the Roomba in one room until the room is clean. It can only block the Roomba from entering an area or create a radius barrier. You can surround objects the vacuum may run into, such as pet food dishes or floor vases with the radius barrier.

Bottom Line: We love the fact the lighthouse acts as a gatekeeper and not just a wall, therefore the 880 gets the nod in this instance.

What We Like About the Roomba 880

  • The ability to schedule cleanings is a great feature.
  • We love that you can use the remote control to request a spot cleaning.
  • The Virtual Lighthouses make the Roomba clean one room at a time.
  • iAdapt sensor technology makes mapping and navigation easy.
  • Tangle-free extractors make maintenance quick and simple.

What We Like About the Roomba 890

  • The virtual wall barriers work well in radius mode.
  • Scheduling is easier than ever thanks to the iHome app.
  • WiFi connectivity enables the use of voice commands with smart home devices like Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Lithium-Ion batteries are a large advance over the NiMH batteries.
  • The brush-less extractors are easy to maintain and pick up pet hair with ease.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for an 800 series Roomba, the top of the line models are hard to pick from. They will both clean your home very well and allow you to keep up on your chore list.

The Roomba 880 is a perfect entry-level robotic vacuum that comes with enough features to get you excited about home cleaning automation. The remote control will allow you to effortlessly start the cleaning cycle outside of scheduling and choose to spot clean when needed.

The Roomba 890 is just a bit more superior in our minds though, and if you are going to pay for the convenience of automatic cleaning, you can’t go wrong with the 890 model. If you already have some smart home integration such as Alexa, the 890 will fit in perfectly. With the use of the iHome app the ability to clean your floors at any time from anywhere is a huge bonus.

The Roomba 890 is our pick between these two models, and even though the cost is lower than the 880, there is still reason enough to choose either one. In the end, you need to decide which model best suits your current as well as future needs.

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