Roomba 880 Review

Roomba 880: Straight out of the box

I bought the iRobot Roomba 880 a couple of weeks ago but I didn't want to review it until I had run it through all its paces. It's pricey so I thought long and hard before I spent good money on it.

I also did a lot of research, talked to a couple of friends who had one, and read some of the inquiries on a message board. When I spend this much money I want to make sure it's worth it.

We got the second from the top of the line. As much as I wanted the extra "Carpet Boost" function of the Roomba 980, I didn't think it was worth the extra money. The 980 has other options, like an app for your cell phone and a "Remember and Resume" function that is really nice, but not a deal breaker for the 880.

There are good and bad points about the Roomba 880 so let me tell you what I found.

• It really does clean.
• It's not as loud as I thought it would be, though I'm told the "Carpet Boost" function of the Roomba 980 is loud.
• The dust bucket though small seems to pack a lot of dirt, but check the caveat in the Con column.
• It talks! It tells you when it's stuck or caught in a tight space. If you pick it up before turning it off it'll tell you it needs to be put in another room. I think this is because its sensors can't detect the ground.
• I love that it docks on its own when power is low. It gives you congratulatory music when it's successfully docked too.
• It is equally good on wood, carpet, and tile floors. And it has no problem traversing the various heights of each.
• The real bonus is that I can do something else while it's vacuuming. I have not used my regular vacuum cleaner since getting the Roomba.

• If I could change one thing, I'd make the docking station heavier so it doesn't move around when the Roomba is trying to dock to its charging station.
• The bin is ample (for such a small machine) but beware that it might give you an error message that the bin is full even when it's not. The first time I used it, it caught so much dust and fur from the places I couldn't reach, the Roomba pushed the debris into the machine. It wasn't hard to clean out but it's something to keep in mind. Now that I vacuum every day, it's not an issue.
• This probably isn't a con but it drives me crazy anyway. The Roomba seems to go over the same area many times. I can't complain because eventually it does clean the whole floor, but it's going to do it in its own fashion.
• It has a hard time sucking dirt from very deep grooves in floor tile. I have one bathroom with deep grooves and that's the only one I noticed where some dirt had been left behind.

Da Dogs:
The dogs' reaction was the biggest surprise of all. I expected a lot of yelling correction to leave the machine alone. Nope.

We have it scheduled for 9am everyday. It chimes to let you know it's going to work. The dogs bark at it once, and then they walk away. Even Nana (the border collie who wants to rule the world) was totally cool with it. I'd like to think it's because we ignored it and they took their cues from us.

The big test was when we were gone during the cleaning cycle. I half expected the Roomba to be in tiny pieces all over the house when we returned. The first time it had gone back to its docking station all by itself. The second time it trapped itself and the dogs in my studio. All I can figure is that it probably nudged the door closed. (The door swings pretty easily so one tiny push could close it.)

The dogs stayed outside (their run is attached to my studio) while the machine kept vacuuming. I suspect they've reached d├ętente with it.

In all, I am very pleased. The dust and fur is down substantially. We are sleeping better because now dust never lingers.

I think I could've been just as happy with the 780 but I liked that the 880 claims it is virtually maintenance free, while the 780 said it required minimum maintenance. Someday, I'd like to get a second machine. It's a big house!

I tested the 880 thoroughly.  If you know me, you already know I'm hard to please, so I can honestly say this surpassed my expectations. How long it operates this well has yet to be seen, but I'll let you know if anything changes.

The next thing on my Wish List is the iRobot Brava Mopping Robot. If I get one I'll be sure to report on that too.

See my review '18 months later' since I bought the Roomba.


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Darke Conteur said…
Wow, technology has certainly come a long way! With four cats, I think it would be great to have one of those things. I have vacuuming.
Mike Keyton said…
We have one. It's called Mike, and I make no noise at al
Ah, making vacuuming fun! :)

Does it scuff the walls or the moldings if it bumps into them, turns around, etc?
Maria Zannini said…
Darke: I don't mind vacuuming so much as I hate moving furniture to get behind and under things.

For that reason alone I think it's great for older people or those with disabilities.

PS I'm told cats love to ride those things. I've seen video proof. :)
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Anytime you want to vacuum at my house, I'll have room and board waiting for you. :) I would pay extra for a vacuum 'cleaner' that doesn't make noise.
Marianne Arkins said…
thanks for the review ... been toying with the idea of getting one, because FUR. Will look forward to hearing about the mopping machine! I hate mopping.
Maria Zannini said…
Madeline: Not that I've seen. I read somewhere that someone claimed their machine scuffed their molding but I don't see how. It's smooth plastic.

I like too that it seems very careful. As soon as it bumps something it backs up and keeps testing for an opening.
Maria Zannini said…
Marianne: We just bought this so I have to time our high $$ purchases, but the mopping machine is on my list for next time.

As for the vacuum, yeah, fur. Iko is shedding right now. Normally we'd be sucking in fur for the next three weeks, but this time we've hardly noticed.
JackieBCentralTexas said…
Have wanted a Roomba for years, yes because of fur and dust also as when use regular vac or sweep dust becomes airborne and takes a while to settle.

My house cat is not big like Iko and Nana but she is long haired so sheds a lot pretty much year round. As unable to move most of my furniture at this point the robot vac is a good option but will wait a while longer for more updates to see if it keeps performing as well Maria.
betty said…
Thanks for the review! I like that the dogs didn't seem to be too put out with it and that it does pretty much what the advertising said it would do.

Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: I was thinking of you when I wrote this review because of your condition. It's hard for me to get down on my knees--which is how I used to wipe down the floors in hard to reach areas.

I'll let you know if anything changes, but so far so good. It has worked everyday (sometimes twice a day) since we got it.
Maria Zannini said…
Betty: I was shocked, absolutely shocked that the dogs left it alone. Nana almost always lunged at the regular vacuum cleaner when I used it. I'm thinking it's probably because I moved quickly and sharply with the push vacuum whereas the Roomba is slow and consistent.
Stacy McKitrick said…
My friend has one (not sure if it's that brand, though). She loves it. Maybe one day I'll seriously look at one, but man, that price!

Now, if there was only a robot that dusted. :)
Maria Zannini said…
True. But I spent that much on my Dyson vacuum cleaner, and now I don't have to push it around. :)

I think for dusting we're going to have to wait for Rosie the maid (from the Jetsons) to be created.
Sarah Ahiers said…
What happens if it goes over water from a spilled water dish or, ahem, dog pee?
Tula has a drippy beard so there are always water puddles everywhere and I just wonder how it would handle that.
JackieBCentralTexas said…
I spent that much on my Dyson vacuum cleaner too and to use it now I have to push it around in front of my power chair.

As you might imagine that gets awkward in certain areas of house.
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: Oh, man. I'll bet that gets annoying. Sorry to hear that.
Maria Zannini said…
Sarah: Hmm...good question. It hasn't gone over any spilled water but it did push around one of Nana's plush toys--until she went back and saved her squeaky chick.

I would think it would smear liquid. It's hit the dogs' water fountain a few times but it's so heavy the Roomba just bumped it and backed away.
JackieBCentralTexas said…
You know it has actually been something that has helped me adapt and overcome my inability to stand and use the vac under my own power. Liberating some days and depressing others but always nice to have the option Maria, same goes for sweeping big open areas with my broom. That creates another problem as have to sweep into a pile for my husband to pick up with the dust pan so I do not fall flat on my face.

Good thing he is willing to help me are we would be in a world of trouble for sure all the way around. :-)
Jenny Schwartz said…
That sounds really good. Experiment, successful! :)
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: I'm glad he's such a big help to you. That's what a good relationship is all about.
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: I was sweating it for the first few days, thinking the dogs would tear it up when they were left alone, but they're totally indifferent to it now.
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