iRobot Roomba 980 vs. 981 Robot Vacuum

iRobot, as the leader of the robotic appliance market, has released generation after generation of innovative, high-quality, super-smart robotic vacuum cleaners. In the 900 series, the seventh generation Roomba was released in 2015. Though, to this day, not many people know the differences between the 980 and 981. This guide serves to teach you every point of difference between the two.

iRobot Roomba 980 vs. 981
iRobot Roomba 980

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Roomba 980

If you have kids and pets at home, you will be delighted to hand over the job to a vacuum cleaner that tidies the floor of this robot vacuum. This unit effortlessly navigates to clean your entire home, keep track of its position, recharge as required, and resume the job until it’s finished. The Roomba 980 was released in North America and includes an adapter specifically designed for North American wall outlets


Just like the majority of the Roomba series, the Roomba 980 comes in a circular design with a glossy black finish. Measuring 13.8 inches across and 3.6 inches tall, this unit is relatively compact to clean some unreachable areas such as under the couch.

iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 980

At 11.48 pounds, the Roomba 980 is relatively light to bring it up and down the stairs. The 980 model also has Home, Clean, and Spot Clean buttons on its frame. The Spot Clean button is quite convenient as it can be used to clean the only stained area.

Wi-Fi and Voice-activated Control

The Roomba 980 features Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to send instructions remotely from anywhere on the planet using the iRobot HOME App on your smartphone. But the good thing about the 980 is that it is compatible with smart home devices like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

You can send voice prompts to your virtual assistant to start or stop the robot. Also, you can program routine cleaning schedules, activate the high-powered suction mode (Carpet Boost), request additional cleaning cycles, or use the Edge Clean mode to clean rooms’ perimeters.

iRobot Roomba 980
iRobot Roomba 980

Strong Power Suction

The Roomba 980 offers robust suction power to improve its suctioning of dirt, pet hair, and debris. This model also uses iAdapt 2.0 Navigation and advanced Debris Detection Tech to clean each level of your home and areas under furniture.

Thanks to its highly advanced navigation software, the 980 can effectively sense any obstacle and change directions before hitting them, which is a considerable upgrade from the previous models used to bump all those obstacles.

Long-lasting Battery

The Roomba 980 features a battery that can last up to 2 hours. It takes around 2 to 3 hours to charge fully, depending on how long the device is left unused. If you set the cleaning cycle for more than 120 minutes, you can also charge this unit in the middle of cleaning, and it will resume where it left off.

Dual Multi-Surface Brushes

What creates the Roomba 980 perfect for homes with pets is the dual brushes that can handle pet hair without fuss. These spinning brushes also help clean the edges or corners of a room by pulling in, while forcing it into the larger, central brush.

iRobot Roomba 980 vs. 981 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 980

Roomba 981

The Roomba 981 was released for North American and European markets. It comes with a Europlug that can plug into 110V to 240V outlets, making it compatible with households in the US and across Europe. Read more to find out how they differ in terms of specs and features.

Roomba 981 Review
Roomba 981


The Roomba 981 comes in a circular shape and black trimmings, which is like the Roomba 980. With the dimensions of 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.8 inches, this unit is short enough to keep the area under your sofa or bed clean from debris and dust.
At roughly 12.12 pounds, this is the slightly heftier model of the two. Still, it’ll be easy to transport it to other parts of your home as it also features a built-in carrying handle.

Battery Capacity

The Roomba 981 is powered by a lithium-ion battery that powers the robot for 120 minutes when fully charged. However, the exact time depends on several factors, including the battery age, cleaning quantity, and the floor type.

For instance, the runtime will be reduced when the unit is used to clean a thick carpet. The 981 also comes with an eco-mode to increase the time between charging charges.

Navigation Technology

The Roomba 981 comes with an iAdapt 2.0 Navigation and vSLAM tech, making this robot vacuum to continuously collect debris and dust on the whole level of your resident. It methodically cleans in neat rows, and when the battery is low, you can recharge it, and it will resume right where it has left off to ensure an extra clean.

iRobot Roomba 981 vs. 980
Roomba 981

Connectivity and Voice Control

Like the 980 models, the Roomba 981 comes with Wi-Fi technology, and a mobile app where you can control the cleaning process through the iRobot HOME App installed on your smartphones.

This robot vacuum is also highly compatible with smart home devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant. If you have one of these devices at home, you can connect it with the Roomba 981 and ask the unit to start or stop cleaning just by using your voice.

Dual Rubber Brushes

Much like the Roomba 980, this 981 model also features dual rubber brushes that work well in absorbing pet hair without making the hair get tangled. But the good thing about this model is it provides with High-Efficiency Filter. It ensures this device can capture nearly 99% of pet allergens and dust particles as small as 10 microns.

Suction Power

Like the previous model, the Roomba 981 can increase its suction power by ten times the standard suction power of the previous Roomba generation when it detects high concentrations of dirt on your carpets and floors. Power Boost Technology increases the suction power to pull out embedded dust and debris from carpeting.

iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum
Roomba 981

Verdict: Identical Specs, Different Plugs

The only significant difference between the two robots is the type of plug it comes with. The 980 was made for North American consumers, whereas the 981 serves both North American and European markets.

It also has a tiny difference in terms of color scheme, but everything under their 13.8-inch-diameter hoods is identical.

Our Overall Recommended Robot Vacuums

Affordable Option The iRobot Roomba 694 is a basic robot vacuum. It feels well-built, offers fantastic battery performance, and can adjust its suction power and brushroll height automatically depending on the surface that it's on.

Best of the Best The Roborock S7+ can vacuum and mop, and does an excellent job at both. It's also the company's most powerful vacuum yet, with 2,500Pa of suction.

Popular Option The Shark AV911S EZ is one of the least expensive robot vacuum with self-empty base. The bagless, self-emptying base holds up to 30 days of dirt and debris.

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