iRobot Roomba 960 vs 985 Comparison In Depth Review

Roomba smart vacuum for a cleaner home

The article will provide you detailed overview about iRobot Roomba 960 vs 985 comparison review.

Roomba 960 and Roomba 980 are among the top mid-tier robot vacuums in Roomba 900 series. They have lot of common features and functions. However there are some key differences in features and function between these two Roomba series vacuums. Before going into details let me first answer the questions briefly that most of you are looking for.

If you are new to the term smart home? Then we highly recommend you read this introductory article on smart home and smart home devices.

Does the difference between Key features and functions of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 is significant enough to justify a higher price for 985?

The simple answer for the above question is ‘No’. In our view Roomba 960 provides better value for money compared to 985. Yes, we are aware of the extra features and extra suction power of Roomba 985, still we believe the cost if not justifiable.

Having answered the most important question, let us now go in to detailed comparison.

Do not miss this articles on how to make your home smart with Amazon Alexa.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs 985 Comparison Review 2021

We suggest to go through the below details to understand the main difference between the Roomba 960 and Roomba 985.

Features Comparison Roomba 960 Vs 985

Size – Dimensions Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

The only visible difference between Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 is that of colour.

The Roomba 960 is light grey in colour and is 13.8 Inches wide by 3.6 Inches in height. It comes up with a large Clean Button that is nested between two smaller buttons at the top of the panel. The smaller buttons are Home and Spot Clean which is quite similar to most of the Roomba Models.

It has a little protruding knob towards the front of the unit. The prime objective of the knob is to let the unit know that whether it can fit in under a particular place or not. The helps in preventing unit to get stuck in narrow places such underneath of cabinet, bed or couch etc.

The dimensions of the Roomba 985 are exactly the same as that of the Roomba 960. It is also 13.8 Inches wide by 3.6 Inches tall. The placement of buttons  is also exactly the same. Clean, Home and Spot Clean buttons.

Therefore the only difference that can be highlighted in terms of appearance is that Roomba 985 has a darker top plate with a Halo-type finish. If you ask my opinion in terms of colour Roomba 985 is much more attractive then grey coloured Roomba 960.

Weight of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

In terms of weight Roomba 980 is slighter heavier then Roomba 960. The weight of Roomba 960 is 8.5 lbs whereas Roomba 980 weighs around 8.7 lbs.

The difference is weight is not much. Both of these models can easily be carried from one place to another. The attached carrying handle makes transportation of these vacuums much easier.

Capacity and Battery Power of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

The Roomba 960 takes around 180 Minutes or 3 hours in order to gets its battery fully charged. Once the battery is fully charged it can run up to 75 minutes.  I believe 75 minutes is good enough time to clean small or even medium size houses and flats.

Roomba 985 however has an advantage when it comes to battery time. A fully charged battery of Roomba 985 can easily run for around 120 minutes. Whereas the charging time is same for both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985, around 180 minutes.

One amazing feature of both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 worth mentioning here is Recharge and Resume. Once these models recognize that there battery is getting low, they automatically go back to the dock station for more charging. After getting charged they resume the cleaning from the same place they left.

Therefore when it comes to Battery strength and charging time Roomba 985 has clear advantage. It has extended battery time as compared to Roomba 960.

High Quality iRobot Roomba Filters

Both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 come up with high Quality and highly efficient filters.

These type of filters are most common in leading Air-Purifiers available in the market. They have the ability to trap more then 95% of harmful particles in the air including dust and tobacco particles. They make your home environment clean and healthy, that you can enjoy living with your family and loved ones.

Cleaning, Brushes and Suction Features of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

The Roomba 960 is equipped with AeroForce, 3 Stage cleaning system. The cleaning system allows the vacuum to pull out tiny dust and dirt particles. The suction power of Roomba 960 is almost 5 times greater then Roomba 600 series models.

Another function that Roomba 960 comes up with is Dirt Detection. The Dirt Detection sensors, detect places in the house that have accumulated higher quantity of dust as compare to other places. Therefore Roomba 960 will then spend additional time in cleaning of those areas.

In case the flooring for example carpet etc changed Roomba 960 automatically adjusts it cleaning head and brushes direction when it moves around different terrain. This ensures that all surfaces in your home get proper cleaning.

Now coming to Roomba 985, it also has 3 stage cleaning system quite similar to Roomba 960. One major difference between Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 is of suction power. The suction power of Roomba 985 is almost 10 times when compared to Roomba 600 series models. Or we can say its around double suction power compared to Roomba 960. The additional suction power of course make cleaning results better.

Roomba 985 also has Power Boost Mode. When Roomba 985 detects carpeted floor it automatically turns on the Power Boost Mode, that helps it in deep cleaning on rugs and carpets.

A small downside of the Power Boost Mode is that since Roomba 985 increases its suction power multiple times in this mode, it gets loud louder when working in Power Boost Mode. Loud enough that you can’t have a phone call in the same room where Roomba 985 is working on the Power Boost Mode.

Navigation System of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

Both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 use iRobot iAdapt 2.0 software with vSlam(Visual Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) as Navigation system while moving around in home.

Both of these models have Cliff Detect system. The prime function of the system is to avoid vacuum to go to dangerous places like stairs and obstacles etc.

Both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 are equipped with camera on the front on the top of the plate. The camera provides them with visual sensor to navigate around in home as well as to prepare a virtual floor plan that can be used as a reference next time while cleaning the floor.

Mobile Application and Voice Based Control

Both of the Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 can easily be connected to iRobot Home App (Available for Both Android and iOS). Therefore it is very easy to control them through the App as long as they are connected to a WiFi Network.

Just by using your mobile phone and App you can control basic Roomba’s functions like:

  • Checking Cleaning History
  • Schedule the Devices to clean at specific times
  • Monitoring Progress of Virtual Mapping of Home Floor Plan for cleaning

Furthermore they can easily be controlled with virtual assistants like Google Home and Alexa using voice commands by connecting them to Roomba.

Maintenance Requirements of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 both have dustbin capacity of 600 ML. The capacity is enough and you do not need to empty the dustbin everyday.

Just a rough estimate if your house has not too much off dirt and Pet hairs on average you need to empty the dustbin around once in one to two weeks.

Another tip to avoid charging issues: Regularly wipe down your Roomba and Docking station’s charging ports. Also clean the filter inside and brush roll to reduce chances of entangled or clogged hair.

My friendly advice is to regularly clean and do necessary maintenance of your Roomba so that you can use them over longer period of time.

Extra Features of Roomba 960 and Roomba 985

Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 both come with dual mode virtual wall device. The main objective of the virtual wall device is to create virtual wall barrier when you don’t want it to enter a specific room. It uses infrared beams to create virtual walls.

Another superb feature that both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 are equipped with is halo mode. This mode help you to protect a specific area around a fragile item like vase or some furniture etc.

Pros and Cons of iRobot Roomba

Roomba 960 Pros & Cons


  • Good Cleaning Quality
  • Reasonable/Affordable Price


  • Reduced Battery life when compared with Roomba 985
  • Power Boost Mode is not available

Roomba 985 Pros & Cons


  • Beautiful Design and Executive Outlook
  • Powerful Battery – Ability to work for longer period of time


  • Higher Price when Compared with Roomba 960
  • Extra Loud while running on Power Boost Mode

Roomba 960 or Roomba 985 – How to Choose

Roomba 960

Roomba 960 is for the people who are looking for high performing robot vacuum that cleans well at economical price.

Roomba 985

Roomba 985 is for the people that are not much concern about price. They need highest quality cleaning, shiny floor and better performance.

Concluding Remarks

Both Roomba 960 and Roomba 985 belong to the same family of vacuums with lot of similar features. In our view we will always go for Roomba 960 because it offers better value of money. At the same time it has all the features that you need or expect from a robot vacuum.

Do not forget to read this article on security and privacy for virtual assistants.

John Roberts is an experienced blogger and smart home expert. His blog posts cover everything from smart home automation to product reviews and much more. He's the co-founder of, a blog that provides guidance to get the most out of your smart home systems.
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