The most annoying part of vacuuming is the prep work. If you want to avoid making thousands of little passes with an awkward push vacuum, you’ll need to put in a significant amount of time picking up and putting away toys, cleaning up clothing, and moving furniture.
Unfortunately, many robot vacuums aren’t able to make much of an improvement in this regard. Just like with push vacuums, their instruction manuals warn you to tidy up beforehand if you don’t want the robovac to get stuck. They often come with additional accessories (such as infrared beacons or other navigational guides) to cordon off terminally cluttered areas.
However, iRobot’s Roomba line has been around long enough to know that this is not necessarily a time or energy saver. According to many happy owners of the Roomba 980, this particular model has been able to keep their homes clean with minimal effort on their part. So, if you’re willing to lay out the cash (they can be quite expensive), this is the best vacuum you can get your hands on.
However, there are significant concerns with this model; this Roomba is loud enough to burst your eardrums. I’ll explain how much noise it makes by going from the lowest noise register to the highest. Unfortunately, even on Eco Mode, which serves as a lower power mode, it already measures in at 70 dB. During regular use, at approximately 12 feet away, it registers at about 77 dB, and when it is bumped up to max for carpet cleaning, it made a whopping 80dB of noise. That’s almost as loud as a prop plane flying overhead.
This is a significant concern for some people, especially those who work from home. Not only can it interrupt with day to day activities, but it also ruins professionals who need to have video conferences and phone calls. This means that the Roomba can’t run anywhere near the home office, as it can be very distracting. At the same time, it can’t function inside a living room with families and kids as it can drown out screen time.
There’s also no remote with manual directional control. So there’s no way to put it to work where you need it to — it’s annoying to see a mess on the floor, push the “Clean” button and then have to wait twenty minutes before the robovac makes its way over. If you want a particular spot clean, you’ll have to carry the vacuum over and hit the button.
And finally, it’s very expensive. No matter how much money you have lying around, $900 is a large sum when you get a decent robot vacuum (some even from iRobot’s own Roomba line) for less than half that much.
Overall, the Roomba 980 is very loud and expensive, which is why it isn’t the top choice for anyone who wants peace and quiet in their homes while cleaning. Perhaps it is better to look at other models by Roomba or consider other brands altogether.