iRobot Roomba 960 Unveiled: Way cheaper than the 980 robot vac – and very nearly as smart

iRobot has launched an all-new robot vac, the Roomba 960. The chore-chopping autonomous vacuum cleaner is a pared down version of Roomba 980, with one key difference – its price.

Along with Dyson, iRobot makes some of the best robot vacs around, and the latest addition to its Roomba range is designed to tempt even more households towards the brave-new world of Jetsons-like vacuums.

In a nutshell, what’s really noteworthy about the 960 is that it packs nearly all of the same tech as iRobot’s current flagship, Dyson Eye 360 rival the Roomba 980, but costs $200 (approximately £150) less than high-end model.

Related: 14 Best Vacuum Cleaners

This means it features the same core sensors and smart floor-mapping technology, so you can lounge on the sofa catching up on Stranger Things while your vacuum does the dirty work.

The same intelligent charging functionality is present, too, so while the 960 features a slightly smaller battery – iRobot claims it will go for 75 minutes between charges, while the 980 lasts for up to two hours – it will still tell itself when it’s time to power-up.

What’s missing? Well, for the extra £150 you’ll get to blow on Lures in Pokémon Go, you have to sacrifice the Carpet Boost feature, which is when the Roomba tells itself your floor or carpet needs a deeper clean and automatically turbo-charges itself.

You also won’t get the latest Generation 3 motor, having to settle instead for an older one as seen in the Roomba 800 series – but everything else is there, including smartphone support so you can control your vac via an app on your mobile.

iRobot has only confirmed US and Canadian availability for the Roomba 960 at present, but we’d fully expect it to land in the UK in due course.

Review: iRobot Roomba 880

Updated August 8, 2016 to clarify iRobot’s claimed battery life for the Roomba 960

What do Dyson have to offer? Watch our Dyson Eye 360 review.

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Have you bought a robot vac yet? Let us know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.