Roomba 805 vs 860 – Which Robot Vacuum Is Best For Your Home?

Since both vacuums are sold under the iRobot brand, the Roomba 805 vs 860 battle is an interesting one indeed. Engineers from this company have been making home automation gadgets since the early 1990s, and they’ve put quite a bit of this past experience into their modern product lines.

The iRobot Roomba 860 is an easy-to-use premium vacuum that has attracted its share of attention from the high-end of the market, but the Roomba 805 shares a couple of features in common with it.

At first glance, the Roomba 860 is a beefier machine with a powerful motor and an onboard HEPA filter. Nevertheless, the two robotic vacuums are similar enough to go head-to-head. To see which one pulls away in the end, we’ll compare the Roomba 805 vs 860 stat for stat.

iRobot Roomba 805 Cleaning Vacuum Robot with Dual Virtual Wall Barriers and Bonus Filter

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  • Tangle-free extractors are installed on both models. Some users report that these special brushes are strong enough to remove large amounts of pet dander, and they generally do a good job of preventing clogs.
  • Both units come with AeroForce 3-stage cleaning technology, which can boost suction power by up to 50 percent according to the manufacturer. This can help the vacuums power through gritty messes.
  • The Roomba 805 and 860 both include what the manufacturer calls iAdapt navigational sensors. These are designed to better navigate and adapt to changing conditions in your home, which should keep the robots from getting confused when you move around furniture.
  • Each of them includes the ability to schedule up to seven cleanings a week. Users can also simply tap the clean button on the top of either vacuum to send it out right away.
  • Users report that both of the two options are relatively quiet as far as vacuums go. They do make a fair bit of noise (~60 db – same as a conversation in restaurant, office or a background music). Either robot vacuums should be much quieter than ~60 percent of robot vacuums and than a traditional upright.
  • The manufacturer provides a limited warranty that protects new robotic vacuums of either type against defective parts. While it doesn’t cover damage due to normal wear and tear, the terms of the agreement should help rectify the problem if you’re shipped a bad unit.

iRobot Roomba 860 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

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  • Roomba 860 units come with HEPA filters in addition to the high-efficiency AeroForce filtration system. This might be an important option for allergy sufferers.
  • While both vacuums have a low-profile design, the Roomba 860 is slightly thinner and leaner than the Roomba 805. This can help it get under certain types of furniture.
  • A stronger motor in the Roomba 860 can help it power through difficult messes that the Roomba 805 might balk at. This is of particular importance for pet users.
  • On average, the Roomba 860 is a bit more expensive than the Roomba 805 in order to make up for some of these extra niceties. However, during sales the prices might be reduced.
  • While the Roomba 805 can only clean dry messes, the Roomba 860 can vacuum up wet ones. This could be useful cleaning the kitchen or front room.
  • Perhaps because the motor is a bit weaker, the Roomba 805 battery life is somewhat longer than the Roomba 860. This means more time between charges at least in theory.

Setup Process

All 800 series iRobot vacuums have a somewhat similar setup procedure. New users will have to find a place for the Home Base unit that’s in an uncluttered area so their robotic vacuum can find its way back to it. Once it’s in place, the unit needs to be plugged in constantly. The owner’s guide recommends allowing the new Roomba to charge for up to three hours before doing anything with it. It also reads that charging time will normally be around two hours for every hour of cleaning once the setup process is complete.

While the company provides a number of instructional videos on YouTube, they’re all very general and many have been around for a few years. For instance, the following video shows how to set the schedule on a new robotic vacuum:

While the instructions are quite clear, they don’t go into the slightly different control schemes present on different models. Fortunately, the button configuration is nearly identical on the 805 and the 860, so users shouldn’t have too much of a problem. Both robots come mostly preassembled, but you will have to insert the bin yourself and make sure everything’s tightly held together.

iRobot Roomba 805 Robot Vacuum
  • -iAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home -AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System delivers up to 50% more cleaning performance
  • -Tangle-free extractors help prevent hair and debris clogs -AeroForce High-Efficiency Filter captures up to 99% of allergens, pollen, and particles as small as 10 microns
  • -Conveniently schedule up to 7x per week, or just press CLEAN on the robot -Automatically docks and recharges
  • -Avoids stairs and other drop-offs -Automatically adjusts to all floor types - carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate & more -Two Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers manage where your robot cleans
  • -Lithium Ion Battery delivers up to 3x the battery cycle lifetime -3.6" low profile cleans under furniture, beds and kickboards

Ease of Use

Controls on the Roomba 805 and 860 are almost the same in many ways. Once you’ve finished the setup process, you can tap the clean button on the top of the unit to send it on its way. You can also push the spot button if you’d like Roomba to spiral around the nearest three-foot area. This is useful for localized messes, such as if you tracked dried mud into the house.

A series of three other buttons on the top give you access to other features. One of these lets you set a schedule for up to seven times every week. Most users won’t have it clean once a day, but you’re able to do this if you want. In most cases, you’ll probably only want to vacuum three or four times a week.

The LCD screen on both models is hidden. When you tap the clean button to wake up Roomba, it will light up as will the LCD’s backlight. The labels on the buttons can be hard to read until you’ve woken the vacuum up, which can make setting the schedule difficult at first. Many users said they learned how to do it quickly enough, though. This might seem weird, but iRobot’s technicians designed it this way to save battery power.

Once button gives you the option to set the clock. The schedule will act up if the time and date aren’t set correctly. Neither unit comes with wireless connectivity, so there’s no option to connect to a network. The mobile app only supports the 900, 690 and 890 series Roomba models. Some users liked simplicity and were glad that these two units didn’t come with remote control features.

Cleaning Performance

Tangle-free extractors and AeroForce flow technology make the Roomba 800 series fairly good at cleaning up messes. Both of these vacuums ship with this technology built into the motor and rollers, so they’ll be able to pick up dust and hair without getting clogged. Users do need to regularly clean the rollers however.

All 800 series Roomba models are supposed to automatically adjust to different floor types. They’re rated to work with carpet, tile, hardwood and laminate flooring. Some users feel that they don’t work well with high-pile rugs, but fortunately fewer homeowners these days have shag carpeting. The motor on the Roomba 860 provides up to five times more suction power over other similar Roomba vacuums, which makes it a stronger contender in this round of the Roomba 805 vs 860 fight.

Navigation is much improved compared to earlier models, but the Roomba 805 and 860 both have a tendency to run around seemingly at random. They’re supposed to use a structured pattern, but they’ll more often than not run repeatedly over the same spots to make sure they’re cleaned. Fortunately, this means that they’re not going to miss any areas of your home. The onboard iAdapt sensors help to adjust the cleaning pattern to different surfaces.

Battery Life & Charging

When looking at the Roomba 860 vs 805, it’s obvious the 805 has less suction power. This translates into less battery life for the 860, since it tends to be a bit more power hungry. Most users would happily take this trade-off, but it’s important to consider if you don’t like to wait too long for a charge. Regularly charging the battery will help improve how much power it can hold over time. Either vacuum will take around two hours to charge up from a worn down battery.

Roomba 860 vacuums usually run for around 90 minutes before they have to return to their home base, so in most cases it should be able to get everything cleaned up before running out of power. Since it uses brushless rollers instead of traditional vacuum brushes, it doesn’t loose power fighting against tangles. These rollers improve the 805’s battery life too, though the real reason it can outlast the Roomba 860 is because it doesn’t feature as much suction.

Neither robot vacuum comes with any advanced battery management features. They simply run until they’ve used up around 80 percent of their battery life and then return to the iRobot Home Base. You’ll have to tell them to start cleaning all over again when the battery gets recharged. Unfortunately, neither vacuum can automatically resume where it last left off. They simple start the process all over again.

iRobot Roomba 860 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
  • I adapt navigation Uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home
  • Aero Force 3-stage cleaning system delivers up to 50Percent more cleaning performance
  • Angle-free extractors help prevent hair and debris clogs
  • Lithium Ion battery delivers up to 2x the battery Life
  • Conveniently schedule up to 7x per week, or just press clean on the robot. Note: Contact the Manufacture for any technical issues 1-877-855-8593 .

Special Features

All Roomba 800 series vacuums have cliff sensors that keep them from falling off of edges. While you probably don’t want your robovac to consistently get too close to the staircase, it should be able to sense if it’s on the edge and back off. Both units also have bin sensors that notify you when the dust cup gets filled up. All of these special sensors need to be cleaned off regularly.

All members of the 800 series family use the same random system for navigation that older 600 and 700 series Roomba robot vacuums used. The Roomba 860 vs 805 battle is tied in this respect.

Fortunately, both units include iAdapt navigational sensors to force the robot to slow down when it detects an obstacle. Either of the two robovacs should be able to sense even dark furniture, which can prevent scuffs from happening.

Homeowners who want to block off sections they’d rather not have their Roomba go can use a Virtual Wall. The Roomba 805 works with two dual-mode Virtual Wall barriers. These are small devices that send out a signal the vacuum detects and shies away from.

Most Roomba 860 packages include a Virtual Wall Halo with it. There are a few buttons on the device that give you the freedom to set how large you want the invisible barrier to be. Unfortunately, though, this is really the only technology that either vacuum integrates with.

Final Verdict

In the Roomba 805 vs 860 showdown, the Roomba 860 triumphs in several categories. With better overall suction and an onboard HEPA filter, it’s a better overall vacuum that should take care of most irritating allergens.

The low-profile design is also a huge plus, since it can easily get under furniture. Roomba 860 vacuums can go where 805 units can’t. In fact, they’ll probably fit in many spaces that it would be hard to fit an upright vacuum such as under a low couch.

One area where the Roomba 805 robot vacuum does shine is its regular price. Some users have felt that it’s a better deal than most other similar robotic vacuums because it doesn’t cost nearly as much.

Those who are looking for a simple yet sturdy and well-built automatic vacuum might want to give it a try. However, iRobot may offer some price reductions and therefore the price of Roomba 860 can even be better sometimes than Roomba 805 (as for example at the writing of this article).

Neither vacuum has much in the way of smart home integration, so users looking for wireless connectivity and the ability to control their vacuum through an app might want to instead take a look at the iRobot Roomba 890.

Google Assistant users can ask the 890 to start or stop vacuuming without being in the same room. It provides full support for WiFi and even works with Alexa. The 890’s price is relatively reasonable as well, so it deserves a look.

Homeowners who don’t mind opening their wallets for a great robot vacuum might want to look into the Roomba 980. It can generate up to 10 times as much suction as older models and run for nearly two hours between charges.

This is possibly the best battery life of any other consumer-grade robot vacuum. It supports WiFi, Alexa and the Google Assistant. It also offers several other smart home integration-related niceties. While it might come at a relatively steep price, users who order one may find that they get a good deal for their money.

Those who aren’t completely sold on Roomba technology but still want support for WiFi connectivity and Alexa might instead want to look into the Neato Robotics D7.

Since the D7 robot vacuum maps out floors, it can theoretically do a much better job of navigating than Roomba 800 series robot vacuums that use random navigation. Maps that the Neato D7 makes are persistent, so it can remember the placement of furniture around your house without having to wander around.

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