Roomba 985 vs Roomba 960 – Review and Comparison

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In this article, we will talk about two very popular robotic vacuums – Roomba 985 vs Roomba 960.

Robotic vacuums are getting more and more popular, thanks to constant technological advancements. The manufacturers continually improve their products, in order to make them more appealing to the customers.

Even though there is a wide range of robotic vacuums available on the market, there are some leading brands, such as iRobot with their Roomba’s. There are so many series available, that it can be quite difficult to choose the most suitable one.

Therefore, today we will compare two popular models – Roomba 985 vs Roomba 960. They are a common choice among many people who are new to robotic vacuums, thanks to their affordable price and decent performance.

Based on the opinions online as well as our own experience, we will give you a thorough review of each product. At the end of the article, you can also find a winner of this comparison.

Roomba 985 vs Roomba 960

NAME:Roomba 985Roomba 960
SIZE:13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 in.20 x 16.5 x 5.25 in.
WEIGHT:8.5 lb.4.4 lb.
CAPACITY:0.5 L. (17 oz.)0.6 L. (20 oz.)
BATTERY LIFE:120 minutes75 minutes

Main differences

In the beginning, we would like to address, that both products are actually decent robotic vacuums. What’s more, either one of them should be sufficient for everyday cleaning. However, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind before you make the final decision.

The first major difference is the suction. In most scenarios, higher suction makes the whole cleaning process easier, as it allows to get rid of the deeply embedded dirt. The Roomba 985 can produce up to 1900 Pa which is quite impressive, especially compared to the maximum suction of The Roomba 960 which is 900 Pa.

Another important dissimilarity is capacity. This is the second most limiting factor when it comes to the maximum cleaning time. In the Roomba 985, you can fit up to 0.5 l. (17 oz.) of dirt and debris while in the Roomba 960 has a maximum capacity of 0.6 l. (20 oz.).

The last crucial difference is the battery life. This is the most limiting factor in terms of maximum cleaning time, therefore, if you own a big household or you want to cover a large area, it’s definitely something to keep in mind. The Roomba 985 can operate for up to 120 minutes while the Roomba 960 can run only for 75 minutes.

Those are pretty much all the major differences, that you should know about. Based on the factors above you can already choose the Roomba that’s more suitable for your household. Although, we would highly recommend reading the rest of the article, in order to learn more well-detailed information.

Cleaning performance

Cleaning performance is one of the most important factors when choosing a new cleaning device. By this, we mean how well a particular vacuum does, compared to other products from a similar price range. We have to address once again, that both units do a sufficient job in terms of everyday cleaning.

Both Roomba 985 and Roomba 960 are completely sufficient for everyday floor maintenance, thanks to their efficient navigation system with mapping. This system allows the vacuums to perform really well, even without too much suction power.

They neatly swivel around the furniture by finding the most efficient cleaning path using a special camera. Both vacuums scan your house, in order to navigate, and easily go under and around your furniture.

This mapping system also allows for the recharge and resume function which allows the vacuums to go back to their docking station, recharge, and continue cleaning from the place they stopped. This way, you don’t have to worry about charging your Roomba for everyday use – Everything is done automatically.

Unfortunately, there is no way to create no-go zones or virtual barriers, however, you can use a special beacon-type device. Depending on the place you purchase your new Roomba, this device may or may not be included. You can set it up by placing a beacon-type device in a place you don’t want your Roomba to enter.

The navigation system also includes multiple sensors, that prevent your new Roomba from hitting walls or falling down the stairs. In order to make the units even smarter, the manufacturer also included special dirt detect sensors, that adjust the suction to your needs.

The Dual Multi-Surface brushes should work very well on all floor types, and what’s more, should work well with pet hair. A special design allows them to not get tangled around the pet hair and keep in constant contact with the currently cleaned surface.

To make the whole cleaning process even more efficient, there are multiple cleaning modes which you can choose. Everything can be done using a special app on your phone or by pressing the display on the vacuum itself. Of course, there is also an option to use simple voice commands.

Those are pretty much all the crucial aspects of the cleaning performance. Of course, there are many factors, that can indirectly alter the cleaning performance, however, we will talk about them in the latter part of this article.


Capacity is the second most limiting factor in terms of the maximum cleaning time. In most scenarios the capacity of both units should be completely sufficient, however, if you don’t want to empty the dustbin too often, it’s something to keep an eye on.

The Roomba 985 can fit up to 0.5 l. of dust, dirt, and debris while the Roomba 960 can fit up to 0.6 l. of dirt and debris. In order to make this more understandable, the vacuums can cover approximately 1500 or 2000 sq. ft. (depending on which one you choose) of the area in one cleaning cycle.

While the main limiting factor is still of course battery life, you can estimate how long you can go without emptying the dust bin. From our experience, you should do it every two days or so.

Noise level

The noise level is something, that many people don’t pay attention to. While in upright vacuums, this isn’t a primary aspect, in robotic ones we usually take it into consideration. After all, the robotic vacuums were created in order to free up our time. Having an extra loud unit running in the background may be a little distracting.

The noise level in both Roombas is fairly similar, as they produce approximately 65 dB. In order to make it more understandable for you, it’s comparable to a noise of a normal conversation or a microwave operating.

Remote control features

The manufacturers often implement multiple remote control features in their products, in order to make them using them more convenient. In this case, the situation doesn’t look any different, you can find multiple ways to operate your new Roomba.

Both units are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to give them simple voice commands. The products also can be controlled using an official iRobot app, that can be downloaded online.

The app is probably the most advanced way to control and set up vacuums. There’s also the possibility to see cleaning reports or get real-time notifications.

Battery life

The battery life is the most limiting factor when it comes to the maximum cleaning time. This is definitely something to keep an eye on if you own a big household or you want to cover a large area. This is especially important because there’s a major difference between those two vacuums.

The Roomba 985 can operate for up to 120 minutes which is a pretty good score for a robotic vacuum. Unfortunately, its competitor, the Roomba 960, can run only for up to 75 minutes. This should be enough for a quick clean-up, however, the battery life could be longer.

Another thing, that you should keep in mind is that both units feature recharge and return function, which allows them to get back to cleaning after recharging.


Design is a crucial part of every robotic vacuum, as they need to remain slim and low-profile. This is because they need to fit under and around most of the furniture. What’s more, the design has to be user-friendly, offering convenient features and efficient cleaning. Fortunately, both Roombas meet those requirements.

If you would like to learn some more technical information, the Roomba 985 measures 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 in. and weighs 8.5 lb. A little surprising can be that the Roomba 960 also measures 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 in. and weighs 8.5 lb.

The cleaning technology is fairly simple yet still effective. The “Unique Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes” can be something unusual, as they work very well with pet hair.


Price is another crucial aspect when picking a new cleaning device. What’s more, most often it’s the first thing that many people check when comparing two similar units. Even though many people may already know the price difference, we still decided to touch on this aspect.

The Roomba 985 can be found on Amazon for the price of $579.99 (Click here to see the price!). The Roomba 960 can also be found on Amazon for the price of $439.99 (Click here to see the price!).

You have to keep in mind, that the price tends to fluctuate a lot. Therefore, it can already differ from what’s written above. In order to be sure, we highly recommend checking the price once again before making the final decision.

Necessary maintenance

Maintenance is something, that many people don’t pay attention to. In our opinion, it’s a big mistake, as, in order to keep your new robotic vacuum operating at the desired level and prevent permanent damage, you should always take proper maintenance steps.

We won’t be getting into details here as it would simply make the article too long. We will, however, give you a couple of basic maintenance tips, that will work for most of the robotic vacuums. In order to learn the rest of the important maintenance tips, we highly recommend reading the user’s guide.

  • Regularly clean/rinse all the brushes
  • Regularly check the brush roll and side brushes for any stuck dirt and/or debris
  • At least once a week clean the cover of the vacuum/wheels
  • Replace any used or damaged elements as fast as possible
  • Regularly empty and check the vacuum’s dustbin for any stuck dirt or debris

Once again, we need to address, that those are only a couple of basic maintenance steps. If you want to learn all the essential details, you will have to read the user’s guide.


In conclusion, both robotic vacuums are decent units, that will work suffice in most scenarios. What’s more, either one of them should satisfy most of the customers, who are looking for a basic floor maintenance product. There are, however, a few crucial differences, that you should keep in mind.

Some of the most important differences are suction power (the Roomba 985 is much more powerful), capacity (the Roomba 960 can hold little more dirt and debris), and battery life (the Roomba 985 can operate for much longer).

Based on the factors above we would say, that the Roomba 985 is a winner of this comparison. This unit beats its competitor in almost every aspect, offering much better cleaning performance. However, the Roomba 960 shouldn’t be written off so easily – It will suffice for everyday cleaning, and it will offer a similar amount of convenient features.

We hope, that after reading this article you will be satisfied with your final choice.