Roomba i3 vs Roomba 980 – Review and Comparison

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In this article, we will talk about two very popular robotic vacuums – Roomba i3 vs Roomba 980.

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

This has resulted in a new problem which is picking the right robotic vacuum for your household. Even though there are only a few top brands making robotic vacuums, there are hundreds of series and thousands of models available on the market.

Comparing even a few of them can become intimidating, especially for people who are new to those products – This is why we created this article.

Today, we will focus on two very popular models – Roomba i3 vs Roomba 980. Those two robotic vacuums are a common choice among many beginners.

Both units are rather efficient and dependable, however, they have a few differences, that you should be aware of. Based on the opinions online, as well as our own experience, we will give you a thorough review of each model. At the end of the article, you can also find a winner of this comparison.

Without further ado, let’s get into the proper part of the article.

Roomba i3 vs Roomba 980

NAME:Roomba i3Roomba 980
SIZE:13.26 x 13.26 x 3.63 in.13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 in.
WEIGHT:10.36 lb.8.7 lb.
CAPACITY:0.5 L. (17 oz.)0.6 L. (20 oz.)
UNIQUE FEATURES:Clean base compatibility, learns your cleaning habits
NOISE LEVEL:68 db70 dB
BATTERY LIFE:120 minutes120 minutes

Main differences

In the beginning, we would like to address, that each vacuum is a very reliable unit offering great performance. Both Roomba’s are convenient and easy-to-use, however, there are a few key differences, that you should keep in mind before making the final decision.

The first important dissimilarity is dustbin capacity. While this won’t make any difference in terms of maximum cleaning time, it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you don’t fancy emptying the dustbin too often.

If you are going after the longest runtime, you also don’t have to worry about this factor, as the vacuum should run out of battery sooner, than from empty space in the dustbin. Roomba i3 has a dustbin capacity of 0.5 L. (17 oz.) while the Roomba 980 can hold up to 0.6 L. (20 oz.).

The next important difference is suction power. This is one of the most important factors when comparing robotic vacuums, as it greatly influences overall cleaning performance. Based on the specifications, that can be found online, Roomba i3 seems to be more powerful than Roomba 980.

Nonetheless, the Roomba 980 still boasts an above-average suction, offering 1600 Pa. This is much more than can be found in the majority of robotic vacuums, available online.

Another important dissimilarity is clean base compatibility. A clean base is a station, that allows your Roomba to empty itself, therefore, you no longer have to worry about emptying the dustbin. Of course, this can’t last forever, as there are basic maintenance features you will have to take care of.

The clean base is only compatible with Roomba i3, and other models from the “i series”. It’s quite unfortunate, as the station seems to be a great addition.

Those are pretty much all the important differences. Based on the factors above, you can already make the final decision. Although, we would highly recommend reading the rest of the article, in order to learn more well-detailed information. At the end of the article, you can also find a winner of this comparison.

Cleaning performance

Cleaning performance is one of the most important aspects when comparing different cleaning devices. By this, we mean how well a particular unit does, compared to other products from a similar price range.

We have to say, that both Roomba’s are great at removing all kinds of dirt and debris. Even though they are not made for things such as pet hair, they can still take care of them. The only thing you have to remember is to regularly clean the brushes, so the vacuum doesn’t jam.

As we mentioned earlier, suction power is a very important aspect. This is one of the main factors, that influence the overall cleaning performance. Typically, the higher the suction the better, as the unit is capable of removing deeply embedded dirt and debris.

Therefore, Roomba i3 seems to be a winner when it comes to this aspect. Even though there are no official numbers given by the manufacturer, it should have the suction 10x higher compared to Roomba 600 series. The suction in the 600 series was around 600 Pa.

Nonetheless, its opponent, Roomba 980 still boasts an above-average suction, offering 1600 Pa of power. It’s more than can be found in the majority of robotic vacuums available online. The only difference could be visible when cleaning carpets or spots with deeply embedded dirt and debris.

Both Roomba i3 and Roomba 980 have mapping technology, which is another huge advantage. Opposed to just randomly bouncing around, the units set and follow an efficient cleaning path. They navigate in tight, little rows navigating under and around the furniture.

The Roomba i3 can additionally learn your cleaning habits, and suggest extra cleaning when the pollen count is high, or during pet shedding season. This is something rare in robotic vacuums, even in the most advanced ones.

Both vacuums are also compatible with a beacon-type virtual barrier. Unfortunately, there is no other convenient way to block certain areas of your house. Those units don’t offer keep-out zones and magnetic boundary tape.

The clean base is also a great feature, however, this one is only available in the Roomba i3. A clean base is a station, that allows the vacuum to empty the dustbin automatically. You don’t have to do anything, at least until the clean base is full. After that, you will have to take proper maintenance steps.

Another important aspect is the auto-recharge function, which allows the vacuums to go back to their docking station, recharge, and continue cleaning after. Thanks to this, the maximum runtime shouldn’t be as important to you. What’s more, the vacuum continues cleaning from the place it stopped, thanks to mapping technology.

Those are all the most important aspects of cleaning performance, that you should keep in mind. Of course, there might be some more in-direct factors, that may alter the cleaning performance, however, we will talk about those in the latter part of the article.


Capacity is another important aspect in terms of robotic vacuums. While this won’t have any influence regarding maximum cleaning time, it may be something to consider if you don’t fancy emptying out the dustbin.

The Roomba i3 can store up to 0.5 L. (17 oz.) of dirt and debris while the Roomba 980 has the maximum dustbin capacity of 0.6 L. (20 oz.). This is rather a typical size for robotic vacuums, nonetheless, it should suffice most of the time.

Noise level

Noise level is something, that many people skip, however, we always take this factor into consideration. After all, the robotic vacuums were made to free up our time, therefore, an extra loud unit working in the background can be quite distracting.

Roomba i3 produces around 68 dB while the Roomba 980 produces around 70 dB of the noise level. This is once again, a pretty typical noise level for a robotic vacuum, however, considering the suction of both units it’s still impressive.

Remote control features

The manufacturers usually implement multiple remote control features, in order to make using their devices more convenient. Voice commands, remote controllers, or smartphone apps are a standard nowadays, and this time it’s no different.

Both Roomba i3 and Roomba 980 can be operated multiple ways, although, the most common one is through a smartphone app. By using your phone, you can start and stop the cleaning process, change cleaning modes, etc. Both models are also compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Battery life

Battery life is the main limiting factor when it comes to maximum runtime. This is something, that you will have to keep in mind, especially, if you live in a big household, or you want to cover a large area.

Both Roomba i3 and Roomba 980 have the same maximum cleaning time, offering 120 minutes of battery life. Once again, it’s quite impressive results compared to other robotic vacuums which usually operate for 60-90 minutes. 

You also have to keep in mind, that both units have the auto-recharge function. It allows the vacuums to go back to their docking station, recharge, and continue cleaning after. This won’t, however, influence how much area can a vacuum clean in one go.


Design is an essential part of every robotic vacuum, as they need to fit under and around most of the furniture. What’s more, they also need to remain convenient and easy to use most of the time. Thankfully, both units meet all the requirements above.

If you would like to learn some more technical information, the Roomba i3 measures approximately 13.26 x 13.26 x 3.63 in. and weighs 10.36 lb., while the Roomba 980 measures 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 in. and weighs 8.7 lb.


The price of the vacuums is another essential aspect, although, it’s also usually the first thing to compare between different units. Therefore, you may already know the price difference, nonetheless, we still decided to touch on this aspect.

Roomba i3 can be found on Amazon for the price of $399.99 (Click here to see the current price!), while the Roomba 980 can also be found on Amazon for the same price of $399.99 (Click here to see the current price!).

You should also keep in mind, that there are various discounts available – Even right now, the i3 model is discounted by 18%.

Necessary maintenance

Another very important aspect, that’s often skipped is maintenance. In order to keep your new robotic vacuum at the desired level, and to prevent permanent damage, you should always take proper maintenance steps.

We won’t be getting into details, as it would simply make the whole article too long. We will, however, give you a few basic tips, that should work for the majority of robotic vacuums.

In order to keep your new robotic vacuum operating at the desired level, you will have to:

  • 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 highly recommend reading the user’s guide in order to learn all the crucial maintenance steps.


In conclusion, both robotic vacuums are very reliable and efficient units, that should be sufficient for most of the customers. There are, however, a few key differences, that you should know about before making the final decision.

Some of the most important differences are dust bin capacity (0.1 L. more in Roomba 980), suction power (Roomba i3 is more powerful), and clean base compatibility (feature only available in Roomba i3).

Based on the factors above, it’s easy to say, that the Roomba i3 is a winner of this comparison. Nonetheless, the 980 model is still an efficient, reliable choice that should work equally well for the majority of the time.

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