iRobot Roomba 880: This Bot Leaves The Competition In The Dust!

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The 8.4-pound Roomba is a apable and cute robot vacuum. It has a width of 13.9 inches and a height of 3.6 inches. The robot finished in black (unlike the 790’s blue finish), and has a carrying handle so you can easily transport it.

Stylistically, theĀ iRobot Roomba 880 doesn’t stray too far from iRobot’s existing design. It has the same rounded look, and that same large Clean/Power button in the middle. The company clearly wanted to maintain the Roomba’s unassuming, minimalist design and sturdy construction.

It comes with a removable dust bin with an easy-access release button, left and right side wheels, a removable caster wheel in the front, debris extractors, and a spinning side brush. Aside from the vacuum itself, you also get a Home Base, or dock, two Virtual Wall/Lighthouse sensors with four C batteries included, an extra HEPA filter, and a remote control with two AA batteries included.


The most interesting feature offered on the Roomba 880 is iRobot’s newly designed AeroForce cleaning system. It includes two bristle-free extractors that rotate inward toward one another to speed airflow and increase suction. There’s also a high-efficiency vacuum, and a new XLife battery that claims to last much longer.

The display on the top of the vacuum includes the following buttons: Dock, Clock, Schedule, and Spot. Hit the Dock button and your Roomba will return to Home Base to charge. Select Clock and you can set the day, hour, and minute. Choose Schedule and you can program a specific cleaning routine for your Roomba to tackle every week. And the unique Spot option targets small cleaning areas — it rotates outward 3 feet from its starting point and then returns back to where it began to deep clean a particular section of floor.

The 880 also has various indicator lights to communicate with you as it cleans or charges. Docked, the battery light will flash amber as it charges and it will maintain a solid green color when it’s fully charged. Solid red means that the battery is empty. A Dirt Detect feature senses debris and targets those areas for cleaning. A troubleshooting light will appear if there’s a problem, and an antitangle light will display when the Roomba is trying to untangle itself from something. A full bin light lets you know when the tray needs to be emptied.

You can control those things directly on the Roomba, but you can also initiate regular cleaning and spot cleaning from the remote, dock the Roomba, or steer it around using the arrow buttons. And if you want to block off a particular room for cleaning, the Virtual Walls act like invisible fences; the 880 won’t move past them. You also have the option of turning your Virtual Walls into Lighthouses. Position them throughout your home and your Roomba will be able to follow them around to clean room by room and get back to Home Base without getting lost.


So, how did it do?

First, all of the built-in sensors performed flawlessly. The cliff sensors that keep the Roomba from taking a tumble down a flight of stairs knew every time it got near an edge, stopped, and changed direction. The Virtual Walls and Lighthouses I set up also did a great job either confining or leading the Roomba where it needed to go to clean around my house. And when I tested it in my living room, it fit underneath a pretty low arm chair, the media center, and the coffee table without objection. Now that’s dedication.

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