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iRobot Roomba 880 Review: Strengths, Weaknesses and Its Ideal User

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iRobot Roomba 880 Review: Strengths, Weaknesses and Its Ideal User

No one wants to make a purchase decision blindly, especially a major one. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a high-tech robot vacuum, you need to know how well it works and if your investment will make your life a little easier.

We have everything you need to know if you’re considering buying the iRobot Roomba 880 robot vacuum, from its strong points to areas where it’s a little off its game.

The vacuum

The iRobot Roomba 880 is a high-end robot vacuum — the second most advanced from the iRobot brand — and is priced at $699.99 at the iRobot store. It has automatic self-charging, an option for scheduled cleanings, a tangle-free debris extractor for dealing with hair, and multi-room navigation for cleaning up to three rooms.

It comes with an iRobot XLife extended-life battery, two Virtual Wall Lighthouses (designed to keep the robot out of off-limit areas), an integrated “home base,” a remote control and an extra HEPA filter. It’s an impressive lineup of features.

Compare the iRobot Roomba 880 with other top vacuums in NerdWallet’s Best Robot Vacuums of 2015.

The reviews

We analyzed reviews of various robotic vacuums to see what experts and shoppers had to say, combing through expert opinions and nearly 8,000 reviews on sites including the Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping.

The iRobot Roomba 880 earned an 8.7 overall rating (compared to an 8.6 average for all robot vacuums we studied). It scored particularly high in proficiency of hardwood floor cleaning (9.4 compared to 9.2 average), ease of programming and operations (9.8 compared to 9.2 average) and durability (9.6 compared to 9.0 average).

The Roomba 880 came up short on maneuverability (7.8 compared to 8.0 average) and noise level (6.7 compared to 7.9 average).

The pros

Overall, the Roomba 880 earned close to average or slightly above average ratings compared to the other robots we analyzed. Buyers seemed particularly pleased that, though it’s strongest on bare floors, it can clean both floors and carpet fairly well. Ease of use and upkeep also earned high marks.

Users particularly liked the following features:

  • Performance on bare floors and carpet
  • Pet hair pickup
  • Cleaning under furniture
  • Ease of cleaning
  • Included remote control

The cons

But the reviews weren’t a slam dunk. Consumers report that the Roomba 880 is relatively noisy while it’s cleaning, something that could be a nuisance to some people. Additionally, navigation can be an issue; the robot has been known to leave parts of rooms untouched.

The cons we saw cited most frequently included:

  • Lackluster performance on rugs
  • Propensity to miss sections of rooms during cleaning
  • High noise level during operation

The verdict

If you’re in the market for a reliable and durable vacuum from a trusted brand, we recommend the iRobot Roomba 880. Its easy-to-program design and handy remote make it an especially good fit for busy residents.

But if you’re not thrilled about spending close to $700 on a vacuum, we suggest checking out the iRobot Roomba 650 instead. It earned an 8.8 overall score in our analysis and is priced at $399.99 at the iRobot store.

Not done researching yet? See how other robot vacuums fared in our reviews:

For more vacuum buying advice, see:

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.