Roomba 880 Review

roomba, out of the box
Roomba 880: Straight out of the box.

I bought the iRobot Roomba 880 a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t want to review it until I had run it through all its paces. It’s pricey so I thought long and hard before I spent good money on it.

I also did a lot of research, talked to a couple of friends who had one, and read some of the inquiries on a message board. When I spend this much money I want to make sure it’s worth it.

We got the second from the top of the line. As much as I wanted the extra “Carpet Boost” function of the Roomba 980, I didn’t think it was worth the extra money. The 980 has other options, like an app for your cell phone and a “Remember and Resume” function that is really nice, but not a deal breaker for the 880.

There are good and bad points about the Roomba 880 so let me tell you what I found.

• It really does clean.
• It’s not as loud as I thought it would be, though I’m told the “Carpet Boost” function of the Roomba 980 is loud.
• The dust bucket though small seems to pack a lot of dirt, but check the caveat in the Con column.
• It talks! It tells you when it’s stuck or caught in a tight space. If you pick it up before turning it off it’ll tell you it needs to be put in another room. I think this is because its sensors can’t detect the ground.
• I love that it docks on its own when power is low. It gives you congratulatory music when it’s successfully docked too.
• It is equally good on wood, carpet, and tile floors. And it has no problem traversing the various heights of each.
• The real bonus is that I can do something else while it’s vacuuming. I have not used my regular vacuum cleaner since getting the Roomba.

• If I could change one thing, I’d make the docking station heavier so it doesn’t move around when the Roomba is trying to dock to its charging station.
• The bin is ample (for such a small machine) but beware that it might give you an error message that the bin is full even when it’s not. The first time I used it, it caught so much dust and fur from the places I couldn’t reach, the Roomba pushed the debris into the machine. It wasn’t hard to clean out but it’s something to keep in mind. Now that I vacuum every day, it’s not an issue.
• This probably isn’t a con but it drives me crazy anyway. The Roomba seems to go over the same area many times. I can’t complain because eventually it does clean the whole floor, but it’s going to do it in its own fashion.
• It has a hard time sucking dirt from very deep grooves in floor tile. I have one bathroom with deep grooves and that’s the only one I noticed where some dirt had been left behind.

A short clip to give you some idea of the noise level. Surprisingly, it’s less noisy than my regular vacuum cleaner.

Da Dogs:
The dogs’ reaction was the biggest surprise of all. I expected a lot of yelling correction to leave the machine alone. Nope.

We have it scheduled for 9am everyday. It chimes to let you know it’s going to work. The dogs bark at it once, and then they walk away. Even Nana (the border collie who wants to rule the world) was totally cool with it. I’d like to think it’s because we ignored it and they took their cues from us.

The big test was when we were gone during the cleaning cycle. I half expected the Roomba to be in tiny pieces all over the house when we returned. The first time it had gone back to its docking station all by itself. The second time it trapped itself and the dogs in my studio. All I can figure is that it probably nudged the door closed. (The door swings pretty easily so one tiny push could close it.)

The dogs stayed outside (their run is attached to my studio) while the machine kept vacuuming. I suspect they’ve reached détente with it.

In all, I am very pleased. The dust and fur is down substantially. We are sleeping better because now dust never lingers.

I think I could’ve been just as happy with the 780 but I liked that the 880 claims it is virtually maintenance free, while the 780 said it required minimum maintenance. Someday, I’d like to get a second machine. It’s a big house!

I tested the 880 thoroughly.  If you know me, you already know I’m hard to please, so I can honestly say this surpassed my expectations. How long it operates this well has yet to be seen, but I’ll let you know if anything changes.

The next thing on my Wish List is the iRobot Brava Mopping Robot. If I get one I’ll be sure to report on that too.


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This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking on these links cost you nothing, but they do help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting MariaZanniniHome. I appreciate you!

All original content copyrighted by Maria Zannini 2016 - 2018.


    • Darke: I don’t mind vacuuming so much as I hate moving furniture to get behind and under things.

      For that reason alone I think it’s great for older people or those with disabilities.

      PS I’m told cats love to ride those things. I’ve seen video proof. 🙂

    • Madeline: Not that I’ve seen. I read somewhere that someone claimed their machine scuffed their molding but I don’t see how. It’s smooth plastic.

      I like too that it seems very careful. As soon as it bumps something it backs up and keeps testing for an opening.

  1. Marianne Arkins

    thanks for the review … been toying with the idea of getting one, because FUR. Will look forward to hearing about the mopping machine! I hate mopping.

    • Marianne: We just bought this so I have to time our high $$ purchases, but the mopping machine is on my list for next time.

      As for the vacuum, yeah, fur. Iko is shedding right now. Normally we’d be sucking in fur for the next three weeks, but this time we’ve hardly noticed.

  2. JackieBCentralTexas

    Have wanted a Roomba for years, yes because of fur and dust also as when use regular vac or sweep dust becomes airborne and takes a while to settle.

    My house cat is not big like Iko and Nana but she is long haired so sheds a lot pretty much year round. As unable to move most of my furniture at this point the robot vac is a good option but will wait a while longer for more updates to see if it keeps performing as well Maria.

    • Jackie: I was thinking of you when I wrote this review because of your condition. It’s hard for me to get down on my knees–which is how I used to wipe down the floors in hard to reach areas.

      I’ll let you know if anything changes, but so far so good. It has worked everyday (sometimes twice a day) since we got it.

      • JackieBCentralTexas

        I spent that much on my Dyson vacuum cleaner too and to use it now I have to push it around in front of my power chair.

        As you might imagine that gets awkward in certain areas of house.

          • JackieBCentralTexas

            You know it has actually been something that has helped me adapt and overcome my inability to stand and use the vac under my own power. Liberating some days and depressing others but always nice to have the option Maria, same goes for sweeping big open areas with my broom. That creates another problem as have to sweep into a pile for my husband to pick up with the dust pan so I do not fall flat on my face.

            Good thing he is willing to help me are we would be in a world of trouble for sure all the way around. 🙂

    • Betty: I was shocked, absolutely shocked that the dogs left it alone. Nana almost always lunged at the regular vacuum cleaner when I used it. I’m thinking it’s probably because I moved quickly and sharply with the push vacuum whereas the Roomba is slow and consistent.

    • Sarah: Hmm…good question. It hasn’t gone over any spilled water but it did push around one of Nana’s plush toys–until she went back and saved her squeaky chick.

      I would think it would smear liquid. It’s hit the dogs’ water fountain a few times but it’s so heavy the Roomba just bumped it and backed away.

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