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It’s Roomba Time – iRobot Roomba 980 Review

If you were to ask me what are the three housework jobs that I absolutely detest I would say, in no particular order, ironing, putting the laundry away, and vacuuming.

I especially dislike vacuuming in this house, with its various types of flooring – carpet, hardwood floor, vinyl, pamment tiles, rugs. It doesn’t help that our usual vacuum cleaner has about as much suction as a sponge. 

A new vacuum cleaner was high on my list of ‘must buys’ for 2018, and I was just about to make a purchase when I was given the opportunity to review an iRobot Roomba 980

I’m sure you’ve heard about the iRobot range of vacuum cleaners – a vacuum cleaner that does all the work so you don’t have to? It’s fully automated so that all you have to do is tap a button (or set up a cleaning schedule via the iRobot app) and off it goes.

I had seen a lot about the iRobot in the press over the past year or so and while I’ll admit I definitely coveted it (because I love a gadget like this), I just couldn’t see how something so small could be the efficient cleaning machine so many sites had claimed it to be. I was very keen to try it out and put it through its paces in my home.

iRobot Roomba 980 Box

The iRobot Roomba 980 is ready to use within minutes of being taken out of its box. It comes with a partial charge so if you are desperate for it to start a clean then once you have connected to your home WiFI and linked it to the smartphone app (available on both the App Store and Google Play) then you are good to go. 

I didn’t do this though, as I wanted the iRobot Roomba 980 to do a full a clean downstairs and that would require a full battery charge. 

It's Roomba Time - iRobot Roomba 980 Review - Roomba on charger

However, while it was charging, I spent a bit of time on the app setting up a cleaning schedule and letting my son give the Roomba a new name. He chose Chewie. The force is strong in my child. 

It's Roomba Time - iRobot Roomba 980 Review - APP

Using the app is so simple. I have set up a cleaning schedule so that the Roomba 980 starts a clean at 8:45am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I’m out on the school run at this time and then head to the gym straight after so it’s great to know that the downstairs floors will be spotless when I get home.

When the Roomba is used for the first time it uses iAdapt® 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization to map out the layout of your property. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting it to be able to make its way around the majority of the living room but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it disappear behind the back of the sofa and then reappear a few seconds later. 

It navigated the different flooring levels in our living room with comparative ease too – moving from the hardwood floor to the rug then up onto the tiles around the wood burner without any trouble.

It then moved into the hallway with its pamment tiled floor before scooting onto the carpet of the dining room. This is where I really wasn’t expecting it to perform very well. But once again, the Roomba 980 was hell-bent on proving me wrong. 

Our dining room has a lot of footfall throughout the day as you need to walk through it to reach the kitchen. It’s carpet that needs to be vacuumed daily otherwise it gets very dirty very quickly. On this particular day, the carpet had the remnants of where my daughter spilt her breakfast cereal on the floor, dried muddy marks from wellies, dog hair, and general dust accumulations. I just couldn’t see how such a small vacuum could cope with that level of dirt.

But cope it did. And far better than I could have hoped for. The dried mud, the cereal, the dog hair – all gone. It’s fair to say that the Roomba 980 did a better job of the dining room carpet than I normally do.

The first time that I used the Roomba 980 the waste bin filled up quite quickly and I had to empty it twice before it had completed its full clean of the downstairs areas. Since using it that first time I now only have to empty it after it has cleaned the entire house or, if I haven’t used in a couple of days when it has completed each level (upstairs / downstairs).

It's Roomba Time - iRobot Roomba 980 Review - Cleaning report

After each clean cycle the iRobot Roomba 980 sends a report detailing the route it took, the square footage it cleaned, the time it took and how much dirt it collected. 

And if it happens to get into a spot of bother while it’s doing a clean it sends you a message to let you know. Which is what happened this morning while I was at the gym – I received a message to say that it’s left wheel was stuck. When this happens the iRobot Roomba 980 automatically switches itself off, so you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s not trying to free itself and potentially getting more caught up in whatever it got stuck on in the first place. 

So, one week into having the Roomba 980 in our lives do I feel as if it’s made a difference? Yes. Absolutely.  I don’t have the time to spend vacuuming our house every day and, to be honest, I don’t have the inclination either. But it is a house that needs vacuuming every day, especially our dining room. 

Having the iRobot Roomba 980 has meant that I can get on with my day without worrying about when I might be able to fit in vacuuming and, as I mentioned above, I know that the level of cleaning is far better than I can achieve with our current vacuum cleaner. It really is a brilliant vacuum cleaner – and the perfect option for us.


I was sent the iRobot Roomba 980 to try out for the purpose of this review, however, as always, all words and images are my own.  


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