iRobot Roomba 880 Review

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Bottom Line

It's pricey, but owners who like to save time, while still maintaining a clean house, say the iRobot Roomba 880 is worth every penny. It's reported as durable, easy to use and program, and quite intuitive once set. The two small quibbles we saw are that the dust bin is small and fills quickly, and the 880 doesn't get close enough to obstacles (like table legs) to effectively clean around them.

ProsMinimalist design, Simple to program, Good suction power, Includes a remote, Automatically returns to charging stationConsSmall dust bin

Breaking it down

Performance

Powerful for a robot vacuum. Tired of pushing around a vacuum? Then you're going to love the iRobot Roomba 880. In professional tests the 880 earns Excellent scores for both carpet and hardwood -- better than most of the uprights in that same roundup. It features AeroForce technology that is better at deep cleaning carpets and picking up debris on smooth surfaces than previous robotic vacuuming technologies. Experts and owners say that it moves seamlessly from one type of surface to another and reliably stops at the tops of stairways. At Reviewed.com Jonathan Chan is impressed with its cleaning performance, but says it's too "timid" to clean effectively around small obstacles, like table legs, because the previous technologies have been refined so it doesn't smash into furniture as older models did. Still, that means it doesn't ding up your stuff either. Still, he's impressed with how well the 880 cleans underneath objects.

Features

Targeted and remote cleaning ability. Although the Roomba 880 can be programmed to clean while you're away, it also includes a remote feature so you can steer the Roomba where you want it to clean when you are at home. For spot messes, the 880 can be set to clean a 3-foot area of floor. It also has a dirt detector that senses debris. The Roomba 880 includes two "virtual walls" if you want to block of specific rooms or areas. However, they can also be set to act as lighthouses to guide your Roomba around the home and back to base -- something those with larger homes really appreciate. The Roomba has indicator lights to tell you when the bin needs to be emptied, what the battery charge level is, and if it's stuck and needs to be freed.

Ease of use

Simple and intuitive. Although a few people say that initially setting up the iRobot Roomba 880 can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have a large home or one with a lot of obstacles to negotiate, most say it's extremely easy to figure out and super simple to program. The dust bin is a bit small, and expert and user reviewers both say it needs to be emptied frequently, but that's reported as very easy to do. One caveat: be sure the dustbin is well seated when you replace it, or it may trail debris as the robot vac roams around the house. The controls are conveniently located on the top of the Roomba, and the large, easy-to-read display makes it simple to set programs. It docks automatically for recharging when cleaning is done.

Durability/maintenance

Doesn't clog easily. Experts and users say the Roomba 880 doesn't clog easily and the rollers rarely get choked up by strings or long pet hairs. However, it needs to be regularly maintained, including emptying the bin at least daily if it's used that frequently. Most say the rechargeable battery seems very long-lived, with plenty of power for cleaning even a good-sized home, but a few disagree, saying it doesn't seem to last long before it needs a charge. We saw very few durability complaints; this Roomba seems to hold up well. iRobot gets excellent reviews for customer service.

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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Roomba 880 vacuum cleaner, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

This is the first time ConsumerReports.org has tested robotic vacuum cleaners and the Roomba 880 is one of those tested. Each robotic vacuum is subject to comparative testing and rated on its performance on both carpet and bare floors, as well as ease of use, navigation and noise.

2. Reviewed.com

iRobot Roomba 880 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review, Jonathan Chan, May 15, 2015

Jonathan Chan gives the Roomba 880 a thorough review, testing it for design, accessories, cleaning and navigation. He says the 880, "sits near the top of the iRobot vacuum lineup." His one quibble is that the 880 is a bit too careful about avoiding obstacles which leads to it picking up less dirt than it could -- or should. Still, he says it could be a nice upgrade over a more basic robotic vacuum.

3. CNET

iRobot Roomba 880 review, Megan Wollerton, March 7, 2014

Megan Wollerton gives the Roomba 880 a thorough review, noting that this is an update of a previous CNET review of the Roomba 790, which the 880 replaces. She notes that this model has a newly redesigned cleaning system for better airflow and increased suction. Ultimately, she gives the 880 4 stars out of 5, and an overall rating of 8.3 out of 10 based upon performance, usability, design and features.

4. Geek.com

Roomba 880: The best cleaning robot is back with a new design and $700 price tag, Sal Cangeloso, Nov. 12, 2013

In this hands on review of the Roomba 880, Sal Cangeloso says the improvement over previous versions of the Roomba as a vacuum is "pretty incredible." However, he notes that, as a robot, nothing much has changed technology-wise.

5. Amazon.com

iRobot Roomba 880 Vacuum Cleaning Robot For Pets and Allergies, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2016

In about 1,360 reviews, the Roomba 880 earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners love the amount of work it saves them, with many saying they use it every day to control pet hair and dust. Some say there's a bit of a learning curve, but once they figure out the programming operation is simple and intuitive. The Roomba 880 is particularly popular with pet owners.