It’s a testament to the success of iRobot that its Roomba brand is becoming interchangeable with “robot vacuum.” It’s simple to understand why after having your floors cleaned with the Roomba 960. Among the company’s upper-tiered offerings, this robot vac includes Wi-Fi connectivity, camera navigation, voice control, and a smartphone iphone app that delivers alerts and detailed cleaning reports. Most impressive, though, is its three-stage cleaning system that delivered the very best results of the robot vacuums we tested.

Design
The first-generation Roomba pretty much defined the template for all robot vacuums to check out. But there are a number of different Roomba models, plus they don’t share yet features and specs.

The Roomba 960 measures 13.8-by-3.6 inches and weighs 8.5 pounds. A big “clean” button sits prominently at the top between its spot cleaning and home buttons. You need to use these to manually control the robot vacuum, although as you’ll see in a bit, there are benefits to using more hands-free options. A camera embedded at the front end of the 960 allows it to navigate easier, and there’s a dust bin in back.

iRobot
Slightly a lot more than 3.5 inches high, the Roomba 960 may easily get under most furniture

All of the dirty work is performed by the couple of roller brushes underneath that interact to lift and loosen from tiny particles to large debris for suctioning. A side brush, when activated, sweeps along walls, baseboards, and furniture legs. Additionally, there are several sensors that make it identify high concentrations of dirt that want more attention, and a few wheels to permit it to safely maneuver room terrain.

The Roomba 960 connects to Wi-Fi, and you could control it with the iRobot Home iphone app (for iOS and Android). Out of your box, you’ll have to charge the vacuum in its docking station-this takes around three hours. Afterward, follow the prompts in the companion software to hook up to your network.

Prepare yourself to Roomba
There are some methods to initiate a cleaning with the Roomba 960: Press the “Clean” button at the top of the vacuum, utilize the virtual version in the companion app, or use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands.

iRobot
The Roomba 960 moves methodically through open space and navigates well around most objects/

One of the features of the 960 over various other Roomba models is you can tell it how exactly to clean by selecting from three cleaning-pass settings in the app:

One-cleaning pass: In this mode, the Roomba 960 can make an individual pass over the complete area
Two-cleaning pass: The Roomba 960 will double back over cleaned areas ;that is especially useful in homes with pets
Automatic: This mode allows the Roomba 960 to choose how many passes to create, based on how big is the area. A smaller room are certain to get several passes, while a more substantial room will get just one single.
There’s also an “edge clean” feature you could toggle to really have the robot vac clean along walls and furniture legs, furthermore to open areas.

I used the Roomba 960 to completely clean the downstairs of my condo, a location of roughly 400 square feet which includes low-pile carpet, hardwood flooring, and linoleum. For the first few cleanings, I left obstacles on the floor-mostly detritus my kids had left out, including a box, some colored markers, and scattered toys. Another few cleanings I picked everything off the ground except the furniture.

Michael Ansaldo/IDG
The iRobot Home software alerts you when the bin is full in order to pause the cleaning to empty it.

In both scenarios, the Roomba 960 moved over the open floor until it encountered something in its path, of which point it could stop and “think” before active it. It deftly weaved between and around the legs of tables and dining chairs, and easily got in and out from under a couch and lounge chair without getting stuck.

It rarely bumped into an object, and it never attemptedto roll over one cluttering its path, even a tiny one just like a pen. It could “see” it and determine the ultimate way to clean around it.

I was also very happy to view it transition smoothly in one floor type to some other. The lip between your living-room carpet and the hardwood entryway gave it no issue, nor did the seam between that hardwood and the toilet linoleum. If there are areas that for reasons uknown you want the Roomba 960 to stay away from, you can employ the vacuum’s included Virtual Wall Barrier. This battery-powered device emits a low profile cone-shaped barrier only the Roomba can easily see that blocks openings as high as 10 feet. Just transform it on and set it on to the floor before any forbidden zone.

The Roomba 960 can operate for approximately 70- to 75 minutes on a charge. If there’s still cleaning to be achieved when the battery is running low, it’ll go back to its dock to recharge, and continue before cleaning is finished.

Each cleaning of my space took only 45- to 60 minutes, according to how dirty the ground was. If the Roomba 960’s dustbin chock-full prior to the cleaning was complete, I’d get an alert pushed to my phone. I’d pause the cleaning in the app; remove, empty, and return the dustbin; and tap the Clean button in the iphone app to resume the cleaning. With the cleaning pass set to automatic, the Roomba 960 did two complete passes over the downstairs flooring, picking right up things on the next pass it missed on the first. When the work was done, I’d get another alert on my phone, and the vacuum would automatically go back to its dock and power down.

Michael Ansaldo/IDG
You can find detailed reports on each cleaning.

The Roomba 960 did an incredible job of cleaning all three floor surfaces in my own space, sucking up food crumbs, cat litter, tracked-in dirt, and tiny items of torn paper. Most surprising was just how much pet hair it pulled up, as there hadn’t been much obvious on to the floor. Overall, iRobot’s vacuum did at least aswell on the carpeting as a stick vacuum-and it performed better still on wood and linoleum.

The iRobot Home iphone app logs the full total area the Roomba 960 has cleaned, and every individual cleaning, like the date, time, and duration. Tapping a cleaning entry displays a map of the region the Roomba vacuumed. The iphone app also provides more descriptive lifetime stats, like the number of cleaning jobs, total job time, and just how many times the Roomba 960 detected dirt.

Unlike the other robot vacuums inside our initial roundup, the Roomba 960 doesn’t let you direct it manually. You can schedule up to a week worth of cleanings, though, for daily maintenance.

In the event you buy it?
The Roomba 960 isn’t cheap, nevertheless, you get your money’s worth. Navigation is preferable to everything you get from robot vacuums that use sensors alone, and since it isn’t slowed by obstacles or transitioning in one floor surface to some other, you’re not wasting battery. And it leaves your floors spotless. Beyond that, the voice activation and detailed cleaning reports are simply gravy. If all that’s still insufficient so that you can justify ponying up $600, browse the Eufy RobotVac 11 which sheds lots of the advanced features-alo