iRobot Roomba 860: A Complete Guide and Review

If you’ve been looking into an iRobot Roomba for your home, you’ve likely come across the Roomba 860 model. This higher end vacuum has become a very popular option for those looking for a way to keep their homes cleans and their air pure when you don’t have a lot of time.

Even if you just want something to keep dirt and debris off your floors in between cleanings, the Roomba 860 might be just the thing you’re looking for!

If you already know you want this, then…

Click Here to Check Today’s Price on the Roomba 860 at Amazon

Otherwise, to help you decide if this robot vacuum is right for, we’ll take an in-depth look at what how this model works, what features it comes with, and how it compares to other competing models. With this information, you’ll be able to decide if this little gadget is the right technology to keep your house dirt free.

In the world of technological gadgets for the home, the last 20 years has seen impressive advancements.

And in the busy households with kids, these advances help us keep our homes clean, even when we aren’t home!

For cleaning your floors, that means robotic vacuum cleaners. And when it comes to robot vacuum cleaners, the Roomba has become a household name. Let’s take a look at the 860:

What is the Roomba 860? 

The Roomba 860 is one of iRobot’s advanced robotic cleaners. It comes equipped with several new technologies that make the 860 one of iRobot’s most popular models. It is not the most advanced or most expensive version of the Roomba, so this puts it in a nice comfortable upper-end, middle ground between the “no frills” version and luxury version. So, let’s take a look at the Roomba 860 and see why it has become so popular.

AeroForce Technology

The Roomba 860 features an impressive 3-stage technology that provides for up to 5 times more suction than the 600 and 700 series models. This process begins with a rotating brush on the side of Roomba which pushes all dirt and debris into the path of the Roomba’s under brushes and suction.

In the second stage, the Roomba brushes underneath the robot rotate in opposite directions so that there is nothing left in their path. Hair and dirt alike are forced upward into the vacuum’s suction to ensure that nothing is missed. The brushes also work to loosen dirt from carpet and hard floors so that they get a thorough scrubbing.

For the third stage, the vacuum itself sucks all materials brought into its path and passes it through an advanced filtration system. Large particles and hair are caught in the Roomba’s bin collector which can be easily emptied when full. In addition to all this, the Roomba 860 features a debris extractor which breaks down what is collected so that there will not be any clogging. This maximizes suction, ensures that suction isn’t lost, and collects every last bit of dirt, debris, and hair that comes across its path.

HEPA Filter

After the Roomba has sent everything through this three-stage process, it is recirculated into the air through a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter. HEPA is a government certified standard that removes 99.97% of all particles that are larger than 0.3 micrometers. These filters are perfect for those with breathing conditions or other allergies because they can remove almost all irritants from the air. If you have these conditions, or are otherwise concerned about the purity of your air, the HEPA filter included in the Roomba 860 is an excellent feature.

iAdapt Technology

All Roomba vacuums come with iRobot’s iAdapt technology. This technology uses acoustic and optical sensors to guide the Roomba around your house or apartment. This allows the robot to maneuver around your furniture, avoid steps, and run along walls. You will notice that the Roomba 860 will not follow a direct path when vacuuming your room. Instead, the iAdapt technology surveys the room in a somewhat zigzag pattern that will appear random.

While the 860 is zipping around your room, the sensors will be detecting the presence of dirt. As it does so, it will go over those same areas multiple times until it no longer detects anything on your floor. So, while it may look like your Roomba is just traveling around your rooms randomly, in reality, it is efficiently removing the dirt from your carpets.

Virtual Compatibilities

The Roomba 860 is compatible with three add-on features that you can purchase to customize your vacuuming: virtual walls, lighthouses, and barriers. These are used to restrict the Roomba from traveling into areas you do not want it to go. In this way, you can make sure that the Roomba focuses only on those areas you want it to vacuum.

Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve seen the main features of Roomba 860, let’s take a look some of the things users love and some of the things that users aren’t so crazy about when it comes to the Roomba 860.

Pros

It Cleans All Over: The Roomba 860 has enough power and technology to thoroughly clean any room or small apartment. It will get right up against all your walls and make sure there is no dirt left behind. This gives you the peace of mind that your home is clean.

Long-Lasting Battery: This model comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery. These batteries are lightweight (reducing the power needed to drive the vacuum around), and hold a large charge. The batteries can be recharged many times and are known for their reliability.

No-Hassle Charging: One great plus for the 860 is that when the batteries do get low, it will automatically return to its docking station in order to get recharged. You do not have to worry about plugging in the vacuum or making sure it is charged before you start it to work. It takes care of all that for you!

It tells you when it’s full: This model comes with a “full bin” light indicator which lets you know when the collection bin needs to be emptied. This way, you do not have to keep checking to see if it’s full. This is a great convenience that will save you a lot of time.

You Can Schedule Cleaning: The Roomba 860 comes with the availability to schedule when it turns on and begins cleanings. You can set it to clean up to seven times per week at any set time you like. This gives you great versatility of usage that doesn’t come with all models.

Cons

Testing and customer reviews show that there are no inherent design flaws in the 860. iRobot has put together an excellent robot vacuum with this model. However, nothing in life is perfect, so there are a few things that you should consider.

Manual Reset Only: While we noted that one of the great conveniences of the 860 is that it will automatically return to the docking station when the battery is low, it will not return to vacuuming to finish the job. Once the battery is recharged, the Roomba 860 will either wait until the next scheduled cleaning or you will have to manually restart it.

Some Difficulty with Corners: Because of the Roomba’s circular design, it has trouble handling corners. This is a difficulty for all Roomba models, but Roomba seems to be sticking with the design. If you really want to get into the corners of your rooms, there are other models on the market that do a better job.

No Remote or Wifi: For a higher-end robot vacuum, it would be nice if it included a remote to make programming easier. And when everything in the world seems to come with an app now, iRobot only includes the Wifi app on the 900 series models. This would be a handy feature to include in the 860 given that it already costs more than the baseline models.

Mapping technology still isn’t perfect: While great advances have been made with the iAdapt technology, it does still seem to have some way to go. The Roomba 860, like many other robot vacuums, still has some trouble bumping around and more too haphazardly to be truly efficient and thorough.

How Does the Roomba 860 Compare?

So, we’ve seen how the “ins” and “outs” of the Roomba 860, but how does it stack up against other robot vacuums? Let’s take a look at a few of the models that people often compare with the 860 to help you decide if the 860 or one of these other models might be best for you.

Roomba 860 vs 650

The Roomba 650 is an entry-level Roomba with AeroVac technology instead of the more advanced AeroForce of the 860. This means that the 650 will not have quite the same suction as the 860, but it doesn’t mean that it is weak. The AeroVac technology still uses a 3-stage technology that is strong than any other company’s robotic vacuum.

The 650 also lacks the HEPA filtration of the 860. Instead, air is ejected from the vacuum through the AeroVac filter which only removes large particles. So, with the 860 you will get a much greater level of filtration.

However, the 650 will generally be less expensive than the 860, so if you are looking for a more “no-frills” model that just do some simple vacuuming, the Roomba 650 would be a good vacuum to consider. And if that’s what you’re looking for, consider checking out the Roomba 614 as well.

Roomba 860 vs 770

The Roomba 770 comes with a middle-grade vacuum technology: the AeroVac2. So, the 770 is a bit more powerful than the 650, but not nearly as powerful as the 860. As we pointed out above, the Roomba 860 will have around 5 times the suction of the 770. However, the 770 does come with HEPA filter, so you are able to get the superior filtration of the 860.

The Roomba 770 also lacks the debris extractor of the 860. So, the Roomba 860 will do a better job of eliminating jams and avoiding tangles. However, the 770 comes with a remote control which will make it a bit easier to program and schedule your Roomba. The 860 isn’t difficult to program, but this is certainly a plus for the 770. So, if you want to save a little money, would like a remote control, and don’t mind a little less suction, then the Roomba 770 might be a good option.

Roomba 860 vs 805

The Roomba 805 is an older model of the 800 series. iRobot discontinued the 805 a number of years ago, but you can still find some online, and often at a decent discount. The Roomba 860 has updated software, so it will do a better job covering your floor space and detecting dirt. The Roomba 805 comes with the same AeroForce system and HEPA filters, so each will clean quite well.

However, there is some chance that, due to the length these models have been in the boxes, their batteries may not be fully functional. For this reason, if you choose to get a Roomba 805 to save some money, you should probably be ready to make a claim against the warranty to get a replacement. If you don’t mind this hassle, the Roomba 805 can be a good way to save some money.

Roomba 860 vs 870

As you can probably guess, the difference between the 860 and 870 is slight. In fact, there is really only one difference between these two models: the battery. The Roomba 870 comes with a nickel metal hydride battery while the Roomba 860 comes with a lithium-ion battery. To the end user, you will hardly notice any difference between these two at all. The Ni-Mh battery is a bit heavier and usually cheaper than Li-ion batteries, but Li-ion batteries have a slightly longer lifetime.

Because iRobot has stopped manufacturing the 870, these can often be found at a discount, so might be a good way to save a few dollars. But for all practical purposes, both the Roomba 860 and the 870 will perform the same.

Roomba 860 vs 880

The Roomba 880 comes with all the same features as the 870, including a Ni-Mh battery. So, all three of these 800 series models will give you the same cleaning performance. The difference between 880 and the 860 is that the 880 comes with a remote control. This will make it easier to program and schedule the Roomba 880 than the Roomba 860. If you like all the features of the 800 series, and would like a remote control, then the 880 is the version for you.

Roomba 860 vs 960

The 900 series is the premium line of Roomba vacuums. So these will be more expensive than the 860, but they also come with some great advanced features. Like the 860, the 960 comes with AeroForce technology and iAdapt mapping for complete coverage and powerful suction. In addition, they both come with HEPA filters and Li-ion batteries for reliable charging.

The main difference between the 860 and the 960 is that the 960 comes with the iRobot Home App. You will be able to connect to your Roomba 960 via your home wifi on both Android and Apple smartphones or tablets. Through the app, you can program the Roomba remotely and control all of its settings. You could even turn on your Roomba when you aren’t home!

Furthermore, the Roomba 960 comes with a specialized camera for mapping your home. The Roomba 860 uses only optical and acoustic sensors, so this additional feature of the 960 will ensure more thorough coverage.

So, if you want the advanced feature of being able to control your Roomba through an app on your phone, and what only the best coverage for your floors, then the 960 is a great option.

Roomba 860 vs 980

Like the 960, the Roomba 980 (Black Friday deals here) comes with the ability to control the vacuum through a mobile app. It comes with all the same advanced features of both the 960 and the 860. The big difference between the 980 and all other Roomba vacuums is that it comes with iRobot’s Carpet Boost technology. This feature, when activated, will provide 10 times more suction than all other Roomba vacuums. This feature will drain the battery faster, so it should be used sparingly. However, when you really have a tough spot to clean, this boost can really suck up the dirt and debris.

Roomba 860 vs Neato D80

In the world of robot vacuums, Roomba and Neato are always competing head-to-head. Both companies produce some of the leading models at different price levels. The Roomba generally has a more well-known name, but Neato is a company which focuses solely on robot vacuums and therefore has a niche edge with some high-tech features.

The first major difference you will notice is the design. While the Roomba is circular, the Neato is a “D” shape. This square head means that the Neato is able to get closer to the wall with its suction than the Roomba. Both use rotating brushes to push debris and dirt from walls into the path of the vacuum, but Neato does this more efficiently.

The Neato, however, is much louder than the Roomba. This may be a downside for those wanting the robot vacuum to run at night. Furthermore, the Roomba features a HEPA filter, but the Neato D80 only features a “high-performance” filter which is not as thorough as the HEPA filter. So, if filtration is important for your, Roomba 860 is the better option.

Roomba 860 vs Neato D85

The Neato D85 comes with all the features of the D80, but with 2 more layers of filtration. These are designed especially for those with pets and those with allergy concerns. So, the D85 is closer to matching the filtering capability of the Roomba 860. The HEPA filter is still the superior filtration system, but if you really want a Neato D series and need the filtration, the D85 is the better option over the D80. Neither model will filter quite as well as the Roomba 860.

Roomba Comparative Chart

Roomba 860 Comparative Chart

Warranty

Because you are dealing with some rather serious technology, it is important that you know what kind of warranty and guarantees are involved. iRobot offers a 1-year limited liability warranty on the Roomba 860 which will cover all manufacturing errors or parts defects. This will not, however, cover any damage due to customer abuse or damage. This would also include things like electrical surges.

One way you can cover your Roomba against those things that iRobot will not cover is to purchase additional warranties. These extended warranties can be easily added to your purchase when you buy the Roomba from places like Amazon. Plus, Amazon offers a hassle-free 30 day guarantee just in case you might happen to get a defective unit. This would save you the headache of having to contact iRobot under the warranty.

Our Verdict: The Roomba 860

When it comes to robot vacuums, the Roomba 860 offer an excellent high-end option with some desirable features. The HEPA filter and advanced vacuuming system should appeal to everyone, especially those concerned with air purity. While it does not come with some of the features (like Wifi) that we’d like to see on a model that goes beyond the bare-bones, it reaches a nice middle ground with the advanced features it does include. If you really want the higher technical options, you’ll have to spend a bit more money. But if you are happy without having the mobile app option, the Roomba 860 will do a great job automatically keeping your home clean.

Click Here to Check Today’s Price on the Roomba 860 at Amazon

 

About the author

Rachel Fink

Rachel Fink is a writer and mom of 7 kids. She keeps her sanity by keeping a stash of chocolate and coffee nearby.

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