Tried It – Is The Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum Worth It?

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Is the Roomba 960 robot vacuum worth the $550 price tag? After using it for over a month, I’ll say “maybe” depending on your floors, your needs and your lifestyle. In my latest #TrieditTuesday review, I’ll cut through the hype and lay out the pros and cons for you.

I’ve wanted a Roomba since they were first released in 2002. Now that we’re living in an open concept home, with dark floors that show every speck of dust, and we have a new puppy, I felt like there was enough justification to finally try one. As someone who spends a LOT of time in the kitchen, our kitchen floor needs to be vacuumed daily. And housework is definitely not my jam.

After looking at the features of a lot of Roomba models, we settled on the Roomba 960. There’s a quiz on the Roomba web site to help you determine the model that is right for you. When we took the quiz, the 960 was the recommended model. It does everything that the newer ($1,000) i7 model does but without the self-emptying feature. Plus it has a smaller footprint.


Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum Features vs Reality

  • Cleans an entire level of your home: With Smart Mapping and vSLAM® technology, the Roomba® 960 robot vacuum seamlessly navigates your home, keeping track of where it’s been and where it has yet to clean. – Yes, it does a great job with this.
  • Cleans until the job is done: Roomba® 960 robot vacuum cleans continuously for up to 75 minutes*, then recharges and resumes cleaning until the job is done. We have a large open concept house with a combined living room, dining room and kitchen but 75 minutes is plenty of time to get the floors and carpeting clean. However, the unit has trouble getting itself back onto the charger. I often think it’s charging and then find out it wasn’t seated properly.
  • Dirt, meet your match: The Roomba®  robot vacuum removes dirt from high traffic spots of your home using patented Dirt Detect™ Technology. Sensors recognize concentrated areas of dirt and prompt the robot to clean them more thoroughly. Not so sure about this. I don’t ever see it stop and linger over one particular spot.
  • Designed to clean under furniture: At just 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba® robot vacuum is designed to clean under beds, sofas, toe kicks, and other hard-to-reach areas.  It does a GREAT job with this, getting under our stove and into some hard-to-reach places.
  • Won’t fall down stairs: Cliff Detect sensors prevent the robot from falling down stairs or tumbling over drop-offs. Yes.
  • Sweeps corners and along walls: The Edge-Sweeping Brush is specially designed at a 27-degree angle to sweep debris away from edges and corners and into the path of the 3-Stage Cleaning System to be suctioned off your floors. Yes, it does a very good job with this.
  • The High-Efficiency Filter: is made from a special material that captures 99% of dust, mites, and allergens as small as 10 microns. It has a filter and after a little over a month the filter looks really dirty. Filter replacements are $27.99 for a 3-pack.

  • Bonus: Includes 1 extra Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier device ($50 Value!); create an invisible barrier that keeps your Roomba robot vacuum out of specified areas or away from objects. We’ve been using it at the top of the stairs but I might move it over by the dog bowls instead.

PRO’s – These Things Work Well

  • App was easy to set up and works beautifully. If you want your floors vacuumed every day at 9 AM, it’ll go off without a hitch (provided the unit is charged and the tray isn’t full.) However, our unit often gets stuck which means that if we’re running it when we’re not home, it’s likely that it won’t fully complete its cycle.
  • It does a GREAT job on the hardwood floors. Roomba picks up all of the crumbs, dog hair, and small bits that seem to accumulate out of nowhere.
  • Roomba does a great job on our regular wall-to-wall carpeting and bathroom floors. I love that it can scoot under the bed and get into all of the nooks and crannies. And it moves flawlessly from the wall-to-wall carpeting onto the tiled bathroom floors.

CON’s – These Things Do NOT Work Well

  • Roomba is supposed to learn and train itself over time, but it still constantly gets stuck on the area rug in our living room. It’s not the pile/thickness that is the problem, I think it’s the pattern. It doesn’t get stuck transitioning from the wood to the carpet. It just gets up on the carpet and then gets confused. The Roomba will error out and we have to manually move it to a new location … multiple times. Very, very annoying.

    Is the Roomba 960 robot vacuum worth $550? In this Roomba review, I'll cut through the hype and lay out the pros and cons for you. |

    Stuck again!

  • It runs over cords and table legs and gets stuck.
  • You have to empty it. Not daily but every couple of days. You’re supposed to get a warning when the tray is full, but I’ve never gotten one.
  • It doesn’t always get itself seated back properly on the charger. Roomba returns to the charger when it’s finished but sometimes it doesn’t end up charging, which means it’s not ready to go the next day. And it’s tricky to manually put it back on the charger. It looks like it’s charging when it isn’t.


Is the Roomba 960 robot vacuum worth $550? In this Roomba review, I'll cut through the hype and lay out the pros and cons for you. |















Every Tuesday I try a new product and post a (brutally honest) review. This is not an ad. I have received no compensation for this post. Check out all of my other review posts HERE.

  1. Kelly H. says:

    Great review, Jill! I’ve been looking forward to what you thought.
    So, net-net: would you spend the $550 all over again for what it’s doing for you?
    – Kelly H.

    • jzmcbride says:

      I’m gonna have to say “yes” since we’re still using it daily. It’s not perfect, but it beats vacuuming with our Dyson.

  2. Dawn Kelly says:

    We bought the Eufy brand for $200ish and while I have to religiously empty it (full disclosure I have way too many dogs) it’s the best $$$ I ever spent

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