iRobot Roomba 880

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Roomba 880
Operating Time (hours)
Charge Time (hours)
Operating Pattern
Back and Forth, Random
Scheduled Cleaning
Infrared Sensor
Dirt Sensor
Hardwood, Tile & Linoleum
Spot Mode
Height Adjustment
HEPA Filter
Multi-Room Navigation
Battery Indicator
Full Bin Indicator
Cliff Sensor
Charging Base
Return to Charging Base
Boundary Markers
Virtual Walls
Remote Control
Additional info
+ Tangle-Free AeroForce Extractors
+ iRobot® XLife™ Extended Life Battery
+ iAdapt® Responsive Navigation Technology
+ Airflow Accelerator
+ High-Efficiency Vacuum
Comparison: iRobot Roomba 880 vs iRobot Roomba 770

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Reviews list

Review by katie0123
We purchased the Roomba 880 directly from iRobot right when it came out. We were looking for a new vacuum anyway, and the reviews about how it handled pet hair sold it for us. We have 2 cats in 1,000 sq ft apartment. It's a constant battle against cat hair and tracked litter. So far, the Roomba has done really well with both! The rubber rollers on the bottom have been the biggest difference. Our old vacuum had the bristled roller on the bottom and wouldn't even rotate it was so tangled in hair. Now, hair isn't a problem. And the rubber rollers have enough give that when it starts to eat something like an iPhone charger, it just stops, and we can easily pull out whatever is caught (no damage to any items it's pulled in so far).

When we first got it, we ran it several times in a row – each ending with the "full bin" light. Definitely made me feel like we were missing a lot of the dust when we were vacuuming ourselves! Now we have it set to run every day, and it usually takes a few days to fill up the bin.

It is a bit loud when it's in the same room you, but as soon as it rounds a corner you can barely hear it. We just set it to run when we're not home, so the noise isn't an issue. It gets over the raised edges in the doorways fine, and it'll go under our bed. If it's not in it's dock when we get home, it's usually pulled in something like a iPhone charger cord or cat toy. It would get confused more often when we first got it, but it seems to be a rare occurrence now.

Our cats don't ride it, but they do follow it around. We turn it on when we're cooking and they'll be off following it instead of getting into the food.
Review by tharp83
I had a Roomba many years ago when they first came out. I was rather underwhelmed. It was loud, held very little dirt, got stuck often, and seemed to barely clean. I handed it 'down' to my mother who also rejected it. It sat unused on a lonely shelf until it made it's way to a yard sale. That Roomba was a novelty.

This Roomba is a masterpiece. Or at least the sonnet that I'm going to compose to it will be. I have carpet in two bedrooms and the rest of the house is hardwood or linoleum. First the carpets - holy cow, I had no idea they were that dirty! The Roomba gets out dirt my full-size vacuum cleaner misses. I set it out to clean my bedroom and it filled up with dirt before it finished. The amount of dirt and dust was astonishing. I started it again, this time it filled up with dirt but it did finish. The third time it cleaned the entire bedroom, bathroom, and walk-in closet and was only half full. I started running it every other day and it never fills up that way. My Roomba cleans my carpets while I'm at work, or walking the dog, or even lying on the couch stuffing my face with potato chips.

My Roomba has vacuumed my floor while my kids sleep in the room next door. The loudest noise is when it bumps into a door during it's navigation. It has only ever gotten stuck once which is under a particular dresser with a high side but a low front. I use the virtual walls to keep the Roomba out from under that dresser. If the Roomba finds a lot of dirt, it goes over the spot a few times to make sure it's clean. My carpeted rooms have never looked so nice or been so clean. My kids' babysitter told me the carpeting looks brand new - which is saying something in a kids room!

While the vacuum is insanely great on carpets, I'm a little less pleased on the hardwoods. Not that I'm unhappy, I'm just not jumping over the moon there. While it does vacuum a lot of dirt on the hardwood, it also seems to miss some spots. It may be that there is too much stuff on the floor - we are packing up the apartment to list it for sale. That makes it hard for the Roomba to navigate. I've only tried that room once but will update my review after trying it a few more times. It is a little louder when vacuuming hardwood as the carpet isn't muffling its sound.

It does a good job on the linoleum. However, I have a few deep pile rugs on the bathroom floor. One is long and narrow and the Roomba has a little trouble climbing up on it. After a few runs, I just started picking that rug up. The smaller rug though is fine. It does a great job on the kitchen floor.

My floors have never been so clean and with so little effort. I come home to clean floors and the Roomba parked back on it's charger. Sigh...

Edit (4/11/14):
Yesterday I got two additional lighthouse/virtual walls and now the Roomba cleans my room, my kids room, and both bathrooms before it quietly returns to it's dock and waits for my next command. I wish my dog and kids behaved like that.

Warning!! Once you buy a Roomba, you'll start thinking, 'Maybe I need more robots. Maybe I should have one mop my floor...' My Braava arrived yesterday and is mopping my kitchen floor now.
Review by Dawn Tarin
We bought this Roomba 880 robot vacuum cleaner to help clean our family vacation apartment. The apartment is only about 700 sq feet and is occupied for about 3-4 months of the year, so lots of dust accumulates between visits. I have a very severe dust mite allergy, and I usually sneeze for most of the time we are in the apartment, even if we damp dust and HEPA vacuum it with our Dyson canister vacuum cleaner soon after we arrive. I was very curious (and skeptical) to see whether Minnie (our Roomba) could alleviate these symptoms and reduce our cleaning workload while on vacation.

The apartment has mixed surfaces. About two thirds of it is tiled and the rest is carpet, including the bedrooms. The floor plan is fairly open, except that the 2 bedrooms and bathrooms are separate along a corridor. This is important when considering how to use the robot most efficiently. Now that we have had Minnie for around a month, I have to say that she (has to be a she - the error messages are all given by a female voice!) does a superb job. My husband is an efficient demon with the Dyson, doing a VERY thorough job. However, he insists that Minnie does a better job than he can. My allergies have improved hugely. So much so, that we are going to have to buy a second Roomba for our home.

Now for some nitty gritty:

1. Does a fantastic job, probably better than most humans
2. Happily goes under beds, eliminating those dust bunnies which make me sneeze all night
3. Very easy to use
4. Very easy to empty the bin and clean the filter - takes about 2 minutes, maximum. Good idea to clean the HEPA filter with a handheld vacuum like the Dyson models, to prolong filter life
5. Virtual wall lighthouses work very well, once you understand their intricacies
6. Can be left unattended or scheduled to clean while you are away, once you have Roomba-prepped the area to be cleaned
7. Massively reduces the dust load in a home, far more than human vacuuming can reasonably do. Be aware that the first few times in a carpeted room, you may need to empty the bin every 15 mins or so. It really is that good at picking up dust. Be prepared to babysit the robot constantly at first!
8. Much quieter than a standard manual HEPA vacuum, but don't expect to be able to hold a telephone conversation with someone on a bad cellphone connection when you are 3 yards away from it
9. Decent battery life. Probably about 3.5 hours on our machine. We can now clean the whole apartment in less than 2 hours - no need to recharge. However the first few cleanings, particularly on carpet areas, took much longer than this, and required an overnight charge to finish.
10. I have long hair - about 4 inches below the shoulder. Minnie picks it all up, even from carpet. It can wrap around the rollers, but simply removing the rollers and tugging on the hair pulls most of it away in one neat coil. Much easier than brush vacuum cleaners!

Cons (most of these are minor design niggles, and I have tried to suggest a way to work with them)
1. Instruction manual leaves a lot to be desired. It is fairly brief, and tells you most of the essentials, but it doesn't help you to understand how to use your Roomba most effectively. The iRobot web site doesn't fill in the gaps. You either have to learn from experience, or Google and hope that you find the answer
2. Some of the information in the manual is misleading. For example, the cleaning patterns illustrated are not how the 880 works. If you start cleaning from the Home Base, the Roomba does a sort of random straight line scribble over the whole room, not a spiral and straight edge clean as displayed in the manual. It will pay special attention to edges, but the cleaning pattern is not as illustrated. I am certain that many engineers who own Roombas may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown if they watch this apparently random pattern. Having said that, our Minnie does pick up >99% of "bits" that I have noticed before starting her. This includes bread crumbs, hairs, lint, onion and garlic papery skins, grit from drilling the wall, etc. Just be patient and don't obsessively watch - she will get it.
3. Virtual wall light houses are essential for an efficient clean, and their use is very poorly described in the manual. From a combination of experience and reading, I have come up with the following:
a) Virtual wall lighthouses (VWLH) supplied with the 880 (2 of them) can be used to divide up a complex shaped area to clean it more efficiently. When you start Roomba, it counts how many VWLH are present (seems like it may only be able to count to 3 though!), then immediately starts cleaning the starting area where you first pressed the Clean button. All of the VWLH devices go into Virtual Wall mode at this point, penning the Roomba into the area you designated. According to, the Roomba will clean that first area until it is clean, or for a maximum of 25 mins. With Minnie, this is NOT true. For the first few uses, she would clean an area for over 45 mins, so the online info is not necessarily accurate. Once Roomba has finished the first area, the closest VWLH will then go into "lighthouse" mode, allowing Roomba to cross into the next area. Once she has passed into that area, it becomes a virtual wall again, keeping her in the new zone until Roomba has finished cleaning it. It then reverts to lighthouse mode, allowing the robot to exit the area and proceed to the next area protected by a VWLH, if any. This process is repeated until the segregated zones are cleaned, at which point the Roomba returns to its home base.
b) Light house placement is somewhat critical. The VWLH and the Home Base both emit a kind of "halo" of a no-go zone around themselves, so that the robot can't nudge them out of position. It seems to be about 8-10 inches in radius. This means that you must not place the home base too close to a doorway where you intend to use a VWLH, or the two will interfere, and the robot may not clean the room. We have found that the best placement is on the far side of a threshold, behind, but level with the door frame. Experience will teach you what works best for you.
c) If you are cleaning a narrow hallway, do not put the home base on one of the long walls, as the robot may get confused and stay down one end of the hall for much of the cleaning cycle (yes, I have done this). The halo effect can block a lot of the corridor and make it hard for Roomba to navigate along it past the home base or VWLH. You will know this is happening if Roomba keeps pirouetting on the spot before moving on to an area it has already cleaned. Happens with VWLHs as well as Home base - so place them both thoughtfully!
4. Blinking lights are not well explained. For example:
a) A blue starfish light on top of Roomba means that the side brush is slowing down. If the robot is on a deep pile carpet, it may just be friction from that. If not, you need to stop it and untangle any accumulated crud from the side brush under the robot
b) A flashing blue magnifying glass usually means that Roomba has detected extra dirt. This light will usually change to the signal described in c), but if it doesn't you may need to clean the counter-rotating rubber rollers as described in the manual, and wipe out the channel under those (when the machine is upside down) to the collector bin. The dirt detector in the 880 is an optical sensor (not acoustic as in older models) above the rollers in the channel to the bin - if it gets very dirty, it can give false signals.
c) A solid blue magnifying glass means that Roomba is in intensive clean mode. Now this gets confusing... If it goes into this mode itself, it will do a fan-shaped back and forth motion over about a 1 yard area. If it is showing this icon after you pressed the Spot clean button, it will spiral over about the same area, unless it hits something, at which point it will go back to normal cleaning mode. Don't stress, it is cleaning! :)
5. We have never heard a full bin warning. It would be helpful if it was either used, or nice and loud! The machine does not stop cleaning when the bin is full, so you may want to clean again if you find it with a full bin, as it is obviously not very efficient in this condition.
6. It is hard to get error messages replayed. The manual says to press Clean once to replay them, but when we have done this, the robot just starts cleaning again. Oh well, I guess it fixed itself?
7. If you do have severe allergies, you don't want to be anywhere near this when it is cleaning. I sneeze constantly and get red itchy eyes if I am in the same room. Hardly surprising when you see the side brush spinning - it must throw dust and hair/fur up into the air. Having said that, it is really no worse than a manual vacuum cleaner, which throws up dust mechanically and also from the exhaust disturbing the floor layer. In my case, my husband is the lead babysitter for Minnie when she is cleaning. Nice for me!
8. Some room prep is really needed for a MUCH better clean. Common sense stuff. Roomba will not suck up thick power cords, but it will tangle on the thinner iPhone/iPad/MacBook charging cables and similar. Also socks, small toys etc. can block the rollers. We lift dining chairs and place them upside down on the dining table (like restaurants) to get the best crumb patrol in the dining room. Light furniture needs to have delicate items moved - Roomba can hit it quite hard the first few times, and your smashed fine porcelain vase may end up in Roomba's collection bin.

OK, apologies for the long review, but I wanted to convey accurately just how good this device is. The supporting documentation needs extensive reworking, but the vacuum cleaner is outstanding. When it finally wears out, we will certainly buy another. We can't imagine living without Minnie, now that we have seen what a great job she does. If you follow the instructions for user maintenance, regularly empty the bin and clean the rollers, brush and filters (and wipe down the machine), you may be as amazed as me at how much your allergies can improve with a Roomba in your home. Goodbye Kleenex, hello Roomba!