The newest iRobot models are getting better than ever. The thing that we love about this Brand is that they manage to put an effort on constantly improving their robot vacuums and providing people more options and alternatives.

A selection of their best models is part of the 800 series, including the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 880. Even in 2017, a couple of years after their release, the Roomba 860 and 880 still sit on top of the list of best robot vacuum cleaners.

Is easy to see why. For the remarkably reasonable price, you are getting probably the most well-rounded electronic cleaning products on the market. But what exactly is the difference between these two?

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Difference Between the Roomba 860 vs 880

Main Differences

The most significant difference will be the price having in mind that the 860 is a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the 880 and it comes along with basically everything the 880 has but with some difference  let us show you the similitudes and differences between this 2:

  • Tangle-free extractors – Appear at first in the Roomba 880 and now present in the cheaper 860.
  • iAdapt navigation – Superior navigation when comparing it to the older Roombas (600 and 700 series) in that it did not bump into furniture as hard as a result avoiding unnecessarily scuffs.
  • Similar Design –When you look at it, there’s not much difference between the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 880.  Tehay feature the very same design and style, the identical big HOME button.  They even have the same dimensions as 13.9 inches in diameter and 3.6 inches tall. And finally, they also weight the same.
  • AeroForce 3-stage cleaning system – Provides up to 50% greater cleaning overall performance in comparison to earlier generation Roombas
  • Optical and acoustic sensors – This sensor can detect high concentrations of dust and then focuses on those areas that need more cleaning
  • Scheduled cleaning – Up to 7 times per week (or once per day)
  • Similar Core Technology – They share almost the same features. The Roomba 860 also uses the same iAdapt navigation technology as well as the AeroForce vacuuming technology.  They include a full bin indicator, that automatically recharges once the battery power runs low, plus they come with the HEPA filter and debris extractor. Both use a carrying handle as well.
  • No Carpet Boost for Either  These 2 models do not include the carpet boost, built-in camera, control for cleaning passes, and full bin action, Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile app access.
  • Roomba 860 is Cheaper  The Roomba 860, however, is $100 cheaper (check here to see today’s price). How can this be? The Roomba 860 doesn’t have entire-level cleaning which the Roomba 880 has.  That implies that you need to clean one room at a time and direct it to the next room to be sure that it cleans your entire home.  And unlike the Roomba 880, all you need to do would be to push the START button for it to resume cleaning where it left off to recharge.
  • 880 Comes with Extra Virtual Wall  An additional difference from the Roomba 880 is that the Roomba 860 is sold with one dual mode virtual wall barriers rather than the pair of virtual wall lighthouses.The dual mode virtual wall barriers will block off a full entrance to avoid the 860 from entering a room. It can also be employed as virtual wall halos to protect smaller areas in a room, such as your dog’s food bowl.
  • 880 Comes with Remote Control The Roomba 860 also doesn’t have a remote control device that could assist you to manage the robot vacuum and schedule cleaning without needing to pick-up the vacuum.  With the Roomba 860, you should schedule cleanings making use of the onboard buttons on the robot vacuum, and you’ll have to push the buttons to manually dock the 860 or to start cleaning.
  • 860 Has Lithium-Ion Battery Surprisingly, the Roomba 860 features a lithium-ion battery, which seems to be greater than the X-Life battery that comes included on the Roomba 880.  All things said, the Roomba 860 can go on cleaning for 75 minutes, which is 15 mins more than the Roomba 880.
  • Different Finish: Finally, the Roomba 860 variates from the black finish that comes on most Roombas, including the Roomba 880.  The 860 has a silver finish.

In case you are wondering how a virtual wall and lighthouse differ it’s actually quite simple.

A virtual wall is a system which utilizes an IR signal created to block a robot’s path. A lighthouse functions just like a doorway that opens or closes based on the status of the robot. When the robot starts cleaning a room, this lighthouse blocks the path up until the robot tells it via an IR signal that it has accomplished its task. The lighthouse then opens the “door” to permit the robot to go to another room.

Watch this video to see how it works:

In-Depth Review

Appearance and Size

Taking a look at each of the systems, they appear extremely similar. On the surface, really the only difference may be the color of the hull. The Roomba 860 model is a warm gray color when compared to 880 that is black. Apart from that, you will not find any significant variations in appearance. These two units measure 13.9 x 3.6 in (3.6 inches is the height). That low-profile is purposely design so that these machines can fit under most furniture.

Cleaning Performance

The two 860 and 880 are equipped with the AeroForce 3 Stage cleaning system (through brushing, agitation along with 5 times the suction power of earlier models) which is the major element and unique Roomba technology of what distinguishes a Roomba from the other common Robot Vacuums – performing pretty effectively on all floor types.

It is claimed to be 50 % “more effective” at collecting household dust compared to previous 700 series Roomba. Obviously seeing this with the naked eye is quite tricky to evaluate, but after looking at both an 880 and a 770 tested side-by-side it’s clear that the 800 series is really a considerable upgrade.

If you are thinking how’s a “round” vacuum cleaner, going to get into the edges and corners of my living room? iRobot have you insured, see they have incorporated them with a little spinning “sidebar brush” (the Edge Clean) so with regards to the edges and corners of the room, it is able to get clean right along the side.

You will notice that these guys do like to bump into things (though they have been created to approach obstacles with some type of caution), therefore they’re also fitted with some polymer bumper too.

They’re really good with pet hair and large bits of debris, but when they are having problems with them the Roomba’s also are incorporated with “tangle free extractors” which actually work to free itself and carry on regardless. Not ideal, however, it works at least some of the time.

The Roombas also come with HEPA filters that help to pick up extremely small bacteria and allergens (as tiny as .3 microns). But because this is bagless there is certainly still a degree of exposure whenever you empty the bin.

Also, the HEPA filter is not washable. One method you can use to improve the lifespan of the filters is to apply a hand vacuum with a brush attachment to clean filters.

Product Specifications

Roomba

     880    860
Multi-room navigation
     YES      NO
Tangle-free extractors
     YES     YES
Remote      YES      NO
Accessories 2 – virtual lighthouses

3 – extra side brushes

extra HEPA filter

remote control (with 2-AAA batteries)

1 – virtual wall

Navigation

The Roombas come with the iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology and to be fair it does get the job done, but in a kind of unusual way, they have a tendency to work from the middle in an outward motion. It goes in and out of furniture, doesn’t drop off from points of fall because uses the cliff sensors, additionally it won’t be getting stuck in carpet tassels and cables due to the anti-tangling technology and acts to basically map out the entire floor plan to get finished.

They also come with the Dirt Detect Series 2 which is basically through the use of sensors (both acoustic as well as optical)it’s going to discover exactly where your floor is especially dirty and where some additional efforts are needed. Whenever it discovers that point, exactly like you would using a standard vacuum it will go over that point over and over again to get rid of the additional dirt and dust. You will notice a little blue “sherlock’s magnifying style’ glass symbol turn on when it’s in this mode.

Now obviously where the Roomba 860 and 880 are different when it comes to navigation is the utilization of accessories. The Roomba 860 only includes a single virtual wall which in most cases is sort of lacking because basically all you can do is clean one room on each cycle and block off one line of the area that you don’t want it to clean. Additionally, it includes a Halo mode, in order to fend it off from things you would like to “protect”.

The Roomba 880, however, comes with two virtual lighthouses. That works great when you want to clean up to three rooms per cycle and offers two virtual walls essentially.

Battery

Both Roombas come with an improved lithium Xlife battery, that lasts a lot longer than regular batteries. In our test, we check that they last around an hour and a half of total cleaning time before it sends itself back to the home base for cleaning.

Earlier Roomba models will use the NiMH batteries which are known to have shorter lifespans. The battery for the 860 is Lithium-Ion which should last about three times as long as prior generations. The 880 comes with an “Advanced” iRobot XLife Extended Life Nickel-Metal Hydride battery, which is better than the prior model batteries but not as good as the 860’s battery.

*When the battery power is too low to continue cleaning each Roomba with re-dock itself.

Accessories

The 880 comes with extra accessories than the 860, and that’s the main reason for the price difference between these two Roombas.

The Roomba 880:

  • Roomba 880 vacuum unit
  • Charging station
  • Remote
  • Battery for 880 unit
  • Replaceable corner brushes
  • Rubber Rollers/Extractors
  • 2-Virtual Wall Lighthouses
  • 2-HEPA filters

The Roomba 860:

  • Roomba 860 vacuum unit
  • Charging station
  • Battery for 860 unit
  • Replaceable corner brushers
  • 1-Virtual Wall
  • Rubber Rollers
  • 2-Hepa Filters

Price

The biggest price difference as we said before would be the accessories.

When you buy an 880 on Amazon you will get a lot more Add-ons. These include two virtual lighthouses, a remote, 3 extra side brushes, and HEPA filter. The 860 will comes with fewer accessories, instead of two virtual lighthouses, it comes with just one virtual wall.

One of the best places to get this robot vacuum is on Amazon. The Roomba 880 would cost in the $600 range but it comes with goodies like a remote control, 2 virtual lighthouse and 3 extra side brushes.

The 860 would be a great choice in case you want a more affordable vacuum at just under $430. You will get the standard stuff like a virtual wall, HEPA filter but you won’t get any remote or any extra side brush.

Which one should you choose? Roomba 860 vs 880

Because they are so similar, choosing between both models can be difficult. Here’s a cheat sheet, if you’re still undecided.

Pick the 860 if… Pick the 880 if…
You won’t need to change the setting often
You want the ease of use of a remote
You have a smaller home, or you only have one or two larger rooms that need cleaning
If you have a larger home with multiple rooms that need to be cleaned
You want a decent robot vacuum for a low price
You want the accessories that come with the 880
CLICK FOR PRICE

The Bottom Line

Roomba 860 and 880 are excellent robotic vacuums which have been very popular. They have a huge number of happy consumers and iRobot is a highly-trusted company. Both these robotic vacuums are generally considered as successful models and every owner will vouch for their performance and high durability.

To wrap this up, Roomba 860 is a robotic vacuum that can take care of simple duties but can not thoroughly clean your home properly. It will take some looking after and manual interference but is more than able to clean one room at the time.

When it comes to 880, it is a far more advanced floor cleaner which includes greater features and can clean your house in a better way. Roomba 880 is a highly effective robotic vacuum cleaner and features great navigation, smart AI, and good cleaning power.

While the majority of the features are similar, there are a few differences that can’t be discounted. The fact that the 880 has the lighthouse technology that enables you to setup your machine to clean in a more customized and logical way rather than the device jumping everywhere. The 880 also includes a remote that we really don’t feel is that big of a deal.

The one thing that we don’t like regarding the 880 is that it utilizes a Nickel battery which will not hold the long life that the Lithium battery does.

But besides all these both vacuums are great and we are pretty sure that you will be happy with your choice. Most folks that buy a robot vacuum, and understand the pluses and minuses beforehand, are pretty happy with their choice.