The Roomba 860 robot vacuum cleaner is designed to be an essential upgrade to earlier Roombas, offering a lot of relief from some of the problems of the first Roomba designs. At the touch of a button, this robot cleaner can have your house dust-free in no time. If you’re busy or don’t like chores, these bad boys can actually improve your cleaning experience.
Some of the Problems with Early Roomba Designs
I had one of those first Roomba robots, and while I loved many things about this hands-free vacuum cleaner, it wasn’t as “hands-free” as I hoped.
This is the thing—when you first get a Roomba and see it in action, it is fascinating. Here is this little machine that navigates itself around your home, and it knows how to avoid obstacles. Plus, it does its job with a lot less noise and hassle than a standard vacuum cleaner.
When you first got one of these early Roombas, you probably had this thought that vacuuming daily might actually be a possibility. You had this neat little robot machine that would just roam around your home, picking up all the dirt and dust before it even had a chance to settle.
- 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 percent more cleaning performance
Unfortunately, the reality of the first Roomba was not as great as its initial promise. For one thing, the container for the dust and dirt was pretty small and needed to be emptied relatively quickly. Furthermore, the battery needed to be recharged often. The little robot vacuum cleaner that could, simply could not 24 hours a day. It requires a lot of time to power up.
I had the special edition for pets, designed to pick up pet hair and dander. It was supposed to be a heavy-duty, special Roomba vacuum that would be able to handle extra hairs and pet “stuff.”
Well, it did, up to a degree. Unfortunately, the brushes would get clogged with cat hair and they needed a lot of unwinding and picking at to get that hair out. Mind you, I had a Maine Coon cat with long hair, and those cats are big, and the hair is long. Still, it was just one cat. I can’t imagine how a household with more than one cat or big dogs would get on with this product.
Also, the battery life was not good. The battery eventually died, and rather than going through the hassle of replacing the battery on a Roomba vacuum I gave it away to a friend.
Because of those problems with it, and its high cost, I did not choose to reinvest in one of these machines for many years – until now.
Why the Roomba 800 Series is Better
All of the problems I mentioned above are why iRobot—the company that makes Roombas— has done a lot of technology work to upgrade its robotic vacuums. That’s is good news for you, the consumer.
The Roomba 860 is vastly superior to those early Roomba “pet edition” vacuum cleaners. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Tangle-Free Extractors
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I am absolutely thrilled to say that the number one issue I had with my first Roomba, was the pet hair tangling in the brushes, and it’s vastly improved. The Roomba’s Tangle-Free Extractors are designed to make it easier to clean your vacuum brushes, without feeling like you need a huge bowie knife to get through the hair.
The Tangle-Free AeroForce Extractors are what make Roomba models so adored and efficient. These work hard to increase suction and improve airflow no matter the amount of hair, dust, and dirt that seeps through the filters. In fact, these extractors make the Roomba 860 great at picking up all kinds of dirt and debris from the floor. Without it, you’d have to get out another device to remove the tangled hair yourself, and that’s not a pretty task.
This Tangle-Free feature also helps to improve the overall performance of your vacuum cleaner by providing five times more air power compared with original Roomba products.
2. Extended Battery Life
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- 1 iRobot XLife Extended Life Battery. Robot run times remain the same between recharges
iRobot claims that the new “XLife” lithium packs will last twice as much as the previous Roomba series (600 and 700). That means that your Roomba 860 will not need to be charged as much, and you can have it vacuuming, instead of sitting in a charging station.
This particular model uses lithium-ion batteries that provide an extended two hours of cleaning. As the machine navigated around the house at a fast speed, I was amazed that the battery could last so long, and I didn’t always have to charge it before using it again.
When the battery begins to run low on robot vacuums, they’ll cleverly locate themselves toward the docking station to automatically start charging. But don’t worry, it’ll notify you of a low battery well in advance, so you’re aware of how much time you have left to clean. Compared to previous Roomba models, this vacuum cleaner works non-stop and quicker than ever to provide a thorough clean in a short amount of time.
3. Better Suction
The Roomba 860 has much better suction power than previous Roomba series. What’s the point of having a robot vacuum cleaner tool around your home if it is leaving lots of dirt and debris behind? Thankfully, the 800 series has really upped the game in terms of robotic house cleaning. You will notice the difference if you’ve owned previous models.
Compared to regular upright vacuum cleaners, robot vacuums do not have as much suction power. However, the good thing about part owning an automatic cleaner is having the workload taken off of you. With that being said, the Roomba 860 machine provides an effective clean and doesn’t leave any dirt or debris behind. Since this appliance has dirt sensors, it can locate the dirt, dust, and hair on your floors to leave your home virtually spotless.
A large component of the excellent suction is the rollers that can spin quickly to shake and collect any dirt the robot vacuum comes across. The rollers not only pick up the particles it finds but loosens the carpet fibers to break up dirt— which makes it easier for the Roomba 860 to suck up debris.
4. Advanced Schedule Options
You can now set your Roomba 860 to clean on a regular schedule, such as having it run every day or every week at specific times. This way, you can have your vacuum cleaner run while you are at work and come home to a nice, clean carpet! This is such a neat feature that I use all the time because there’s never an excuse to not clean your home.
Pressing the schedule button once enables you to set the different days of the week and allocate a time that best works for you. It’s a simple process to follow, and even though I’m not an expert in technology, I got the hang of this in no time.
The advanced scheduling setting is probably my favorite feature of this robot vacuum because it’s so simple to set up. After just a few minutes of programming in the days and times you want it to clean, you don’t have to worry about adjusting the settings.
5. IAdapt Technology
Most robot vacuums come with an iAdapt technology that is a combination of optical and acoustic sensors to help the device roam around your home. This technology also helps to navigate the robot close to walls, to avoid steps, and to move around and in-between furniture. Without this technology, the Roomba 860 would bump into everything in my home.
But instead, it doesn’t just follow a straight path when focusing on each room. It follows a zigzag route to target every speck of dust and dirt in your home. I noticed that this vacuum darted from room to room until it sensed dirt. During this process, it would slowly approach the particles to detect its size and collected everything around it. I found that it caught dirt and dust from the carpets easier than hard floors—which is quite rare for robot vacuums, though I’m not complaining.
Disadvantages of the Roomba 860
Like any technology, there are some disadvantages that I want to address with you. However, let me make it clear that I’m impressed with the overall mobility, performance, and design of this little machine. But everything could be improved.
1. Sometimes Requires a Manual Reset
Although this smart device handles virtually everything without you having to press a button, there is one thing you have to do for it. After it has fully charged in the docking station, it won’t resume cleaning. Therefore, you have the choice of not completing your entire home and waiting, or you can manually reset it continues cleaning.
Should you choose the latter option, I discovered that the Roomba 860 got confused with which rooms it had already targeted, and it then repeats the same surfaces. I guess this isn’t such a bad thing to get a clean home!
2. Struggles With Some Corners
As intelligent as robot vacuums are, the majority of them still struggle to handle corners. The Roomba 860 is no exception to this as it can’t quite get right into the corners of your rooms. I know this isn’t because of the dirt sensors as it lurks around the area where dirt particles are, but it can’t quite reach them. I guess a circular design isn’t quite ideal for getting into the crevices of your home, so you might have to manually clean them yourself.
3. The Technology Isn’t Quite There
We exist in a world powered by technology so when something can’t connect to the Wifi, it completely baffles us. You can get the Wifi app on the 900 series, but not the Roomba 860, which makes it a sighing disappointment for the younger generation and those who like to track their cleaning progress.
Should the 860 model have a Wifi app, it’d be a great addition to follow the route the vacuum follows and monitor when the battery is low. This would be particularly ideal if you intend on using the vacuum cleaner while you’re out of the house so you can check that everything is running smoothly.
The technology of the routes still requires some work. Although the iAdapt technology can accurately detect when there is dirt and dust on the floor, the Roomba 860 still sometimes bumps into furniture. I don’t tend to move my sofa and tables around so I gathered that this vacuum would remember where everything is in my home, but it doesn’t seem to have that. Perhaps if the technology was more advanced, there would be fewer bumps and cleaning sessions would actually improve each time.
The Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Roomba 860 Compared to 650
If you’re searching for a basic robot vacuum, the Roomba 650 is an ideal option because it features an AeroVac technology, instead of the AeroForce technology that the 860 model offers. The difference is that the Roomba 650 doesn’t have as much power behind the suction and can sometimes get confused by bumping into furniture. However, if you have relatively empty rooms, this won’t be too much of a disadvantage for you.
The 650 model doesn’t feature HEPA filtration like the Roomba 860, which means that any allergens and pollen found in the air and on the floor surfaces are still present. If you can’t see the particles floating around in your home, you’re more likely to inhale them—which is an issue if you live with people who suffer from allergies.
Finally, another difference between these models is the price. The Roomba 650 takes a simple approach to vacuuming, and it’s a lower price.
Roomba 860 Compared to 805
What Are Your Thoughts on My Roomba 860 Review?
Now that you’ve heard my side of the story, I’d love to hear what you think of my Roomba 860 review. This smart, independent, and intelligent robot vacuum cleaner is a way of the future and cleans nearly every surface it comes into contact with. For its size and suction power, it runs relatively quiet and has dual virtual wall functions to provide as few obstructions as possible. Invest your time and money into this easy-to-set-up appliance that’ll improve your cleaning tactics and life!
Do you own one of these cleaning appliances, or do you have something else you’d like to add to this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this robot vacuum, so share your thoughts in the comments.
With a degree in engineering, Kathryn Hansen loves to write about how things work. Having her own dilemmas on how to pick the best vacuum cleaner for her large family (with a handful of furry four-legged members as well), Kathryn decided to help others in the same situation. After all, vacuum cleaners are critical to a healthy lifestyle and people have a hard time choosing the best one for their needs.