iRobot Roomba 870 and 780 Comparison

Are you debating whether to invest in the Roomba 780 or 870, however are unsure on their exact differences between the two models (and ultimately which Roomba represents the best value for money)? 

If so, you have come to the right place. An objective comparison between the Roomba 780 Vs 870, highlighting their significant differences as well as their commonalities -- helping you to decide which presents itself as the best model for you.

Main Points of Difference:

  • Improved Cleaning Performance
  • Updated Navigation System
  • 780 comes with Lighthouses, 870 comes with Walls
  • Quieter vacuuming with the 870.
  • Less hands on maintenance with the 870 (upgraded bin capacity).
  • Difference in price of roughly 100 dollars.

Cleaning Mechanism

Roomba 780: 3 Stage Cleaning with AeroVac Series 2' | Adjusting Clean | Clean Edge |

Roomba 870:  Aeroforce | Adjustable Clean | Edge Clean

This is essentially where the major difference lies between the new premium 800 series and the 700 series of Roombas. Although 'Aeroforce' works on a similar three process basis, iRobot have made improvements in each department from i) a more efficient form of capturing the dust, especially pet hair and dirt particles from all types of flooring (with tangle free extractors), to ii) efficiently setting a basis to suck the particles into the bin capacity (air flow accelerator) as well as iii) a five times more powerful suction vacuum (high efficiency vacuum).

iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot for Pets and Allergies
Amazon Price: $599.99 $554.50 Buy Now
(price as of May 17, 2014)

All of which contributes to the 870 being fifty percent better than the 780 at cleaning. Of course this also affords the ability of the Roomba 870 being faster as well as essentially less passes are needed to get the 'same results' as the 780 (or to get a better cleaned floor) and can essentially 'just get more done'.

They both still come with the same adjustable cleaning technology though, which is the ability for the cleaning brush bars to adjust for different floor types (lowering for hard flooring and raising for soft flooring e.g. carpets to gain a more optimized clean) as well as edge clean -- whereby despite their round shape they can up and close to cleaning the sides and skirting for your rooms.

Navigation System

Roomba 780: iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology | Multi-Room w/ 2 Light Houses

Roomba 870: iAdapt Responsive Cleaning Technology | 2 Virtual Walls

Both Roomba vacuums come with the intelligent mapping technology that basically allows the Roomba vacuums to constantly draw up an efficient pathway for them to clean (with multiple passes). When they do this they take into account the layout of the room and the potential obstacles that it has to deal with (e.g. furniture, potential drop offs and so on) -- they do have fitted rubber bumpers though to prevent ever damaging your sofa etc.

Even if they come into contact with wires and cords (which you should ideally move out the way before you set the Roomba going), they have a smart 'escape technology' which allows them to set themselves free and continue cleaning. 

There is however a difference between the two models in this regard also. The Roomba 870 comes with virtual walls, which allows you to keep the Roomba cleaning within a certain area without the presence of physical barriers and the same can be done with the 780. However, the 780 has virtual lighthouses -- this is the technology that can make the Roomba do room to room cleaning (i.e once it is done cleaning one room it will go on to the next). This is not so with the Roomba 870 -- however if you want this feature, then you will need the Roomba 880 that comes with the two virtual lighthouses instead of walls.

iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot For Pets and Allergies
Amazon Price: $699.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 17, 2014)

Fitted Cleaning Technology

Roomba 780: Dirt Detect with Persistent Cleaning (Series 2)

Roomba 870: Dirt Detect Series 2 | Persistent Pass

Both vacuums also come with the clever dirt detect technology that identifies particularly dirty areas on your flooring with optical and acoustic sensors. It will then perform the persistent pass feature, where like you would with a normal vacuum -- performing multiple passes over that area (going back and forth over it) to clean it to a standard until its satisfied.

Battery Life & Charging

Roomba 780: Run time - 70 mins before returning to the dock.

Roomba 870: 90 minutes plus (Xlife battery), 7 Days a Week Schedule

Although they feature the same lit-ion battery, the Roomba 870 is said to be slightly more efficient in its power usage and so can clean quicker and go for slightly longer. However, what is cool about both models is there ability to take themselves back to their docking station and get recharged if they are running low on power. 

I thought this would also be an appropriate section to mention their ability to be 'scheduled 7 times a week' so you can essentially set the Roomba vacuums to clean whilst you are away or asleep -- so you never actually see the Roomba cleaning but can wake up or return to a clean floor. A really cool feature. Both vacuums come with a very clear and detailed instruction guide for when it comes to programming your Roomba vacuum.

Filtration System

Roomba 780: Dual HEPA filter

Roomba 870: Dual HEPA filter

As with most modern vacuum cleaners these days, both the Roomba vacuums come with a very sophisticated filtration system (the Dual high efficiency particulate air filter) to prevent allergens and dust particles from escaping into your home's air supply -- keeping it clean and fresh. This is particularly re-assuring to those who suffer with allergies, asthma or have young kids in the house. 

Practical Features & Specifications

Roomba 780: Remote Control | Bin Indicator |Dimensions: Height 8.0 cm x Diameter 35 cm | Weight: 6.3 kgs | Bin Capacity: 0.26 litres

Roomba 870: Bin Indicator | Bin Capacity: 0.416 liters | Dimensions - 13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 inches

The Roomba 780 comes with a remote control and has the touch sensitive buttons to alter settings, the 870 just has the standard settings (again if you want these extras with the 870 you need the 880 model). The Roomba 870 does however come with a 60% bigger bin capacity, which is a pretty significant improvement and upgrade -- meaning it is essentially even less 'hands on' as you don't have to keep emptying the bin (well as frequently as you would with the 780 anyway). They will let you now via a visual and audible indicator when it does need to be emptied though. 

Noise Level Produced 

Also note that despite the improvements made with regards to the cleaning power and effectiveness made with the 870, iRobot have also managed to make it quieter than the 780 roomba model. They have done this through a range of acoustic engineering and dampening technologies installed (however the Roomba 780 is still pretty quiet in itself).

In fact, it is quite hard to actual tell the difference in noise levels between the two as they are both so quiet. What is for sure, is they are both much quieter than your typical standard vacuum.

Further Information

They both come with the typical iRobot Roomba warranty coverage. Where you get one year for the actual components and parts (along with the labor to fit them) and six months on the battery installed in them.

Which Should You Buy the Roomba 780 or 870?

One thing left to compare is their price. The Roomba 780 can be bought for around $600 whereas the 870 comes in at approximately $700 (perhaps cheaper for both if you shop around), however generally speaking there is a 100 dollars difference. So essentially the question is that extra 100 bucks for the Rooma 870 worth it in comparison to the Roomba 780?

My answer: Absolutely! The Roomba 870 far out performs the  780 in terms of the actual cleaning performance (particularly if your house suffers with pet hair) and practical aspects -- plus you will have all the very latest updates and so on, making it more than worth the difference in price between the two (especially if you are spending 500 bucks plus for it anyway -- you may as well get the best). If you really want the extra features that come with the Roomba 780 (the main benefit being the room to room cleaning) then I seriously urge you to consider the 880 model. 

However, which will you go for and why? Let me know your thoughts on the 780 Vs 870 in the comments section just below -- also if you have any questions just shoot them below and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.