The Roomba 860 robot vacuum cleaner is designed to be an important 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 existence. 

Some of the Problems with Early Roomba Designs


I had one of those early 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 can be really exciting. Here is this little machine that navigates itself around your home. It knows how to avoid obstacles and 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.

iRobot Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum
  • 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% more cleaning performance

Vacuum Heaven!

Unfortunately, the reality of the early 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 fairly quickly. For another, the battery needed recharging a lot. The little robot vacuum cleaner that could, simply could not 24 hours a day. It needs a lot of time to recharge.

I had a special edition for pets, designed to pick up pet hair and dander. This 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. But, 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 extensive. 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 that was not as maintenance-free as I’d hoped, I gave that Roomba robot vacuum cleaner away to a friend.

Because of these problems with the Roomba, 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. This is good news for you, the consumer.

The Roomba 860 is simply 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 early Roomba, which was the pet hair (and mine) tangling in the brushes, is now (mostly) fixed – or at least, vastly improved. The Roomba’s Tangle-Free Extractors are designed to make it a lot easier to clean your vacuum brushes, without feeling like you need a huge bowie knife or a buzz saw to get through the wound hair.

The Tangle-Free AeroForce Extractors is what makes 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 hair from the floor. Without it, you’d have to get out another device to remove the tangled hair yourself and trust me, 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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iRobot claims that the new “XLife” lithium packs will last twice as much as the previous Roomba series (600 and 700). This means that your Roomba 860 will not need to be charged as much, and you can actually have it doing what it is supposed to be doing – 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 navigates around the house at a fast speed, I was amazed that the battery could last this long, and I didn’t always have to charge the vacuum cleaner 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 begin 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 before 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, but part and parcel of 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. As this appliance has dirt sensors, it can locate the dirt, dust, and hair on your floors to leave your home virtually spotless and not leave you disappointed.

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. These rollers don’t just pick up particles it finds but loosen the carpet fibers to break up dirt, which makes it easier for the Roomba 860 to suck up any particles it comes across. 

Most robot vacuums come with an iAdapt technology that is a combination of optical and acoustic sensors to help this device roam around your home. This technology also helps to navigate the robot close to walls, to avoid steps, and move around and in-between furniture. Without this technology, the Roomba 860 would bump into everything in my home.

But instead, this machine doesn’t just follow a straight path when focusing on each room, as 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 some dirt. During this stage, it would slowly approach the particles to detect its size to collect everything around it. I found that it detected dirt and dust from the carpets easier than hardfloors, 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 clever device handles virtually everything without you having to even press a button, there is one thing you have to do for it. After this robot vacuum has fully charged in the docking station, it won’t resume cleaning (should it have not performed the entire cleaning job). Therefore, you have the choice of not completing your entire home and waiting until your next scheduled clear, or you can manually reset so it continues cleaning.

Should you choose the latter option, I found 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 clever 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 corners 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


The Roomba 860 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is an amazing advanced cleaning machine that fixes a lot of the problems that earlier Roombas had. Now, if they can just get the price down on new Roombas (who wants to pay $499.99 for a vacuum?), then we'd be even happier.

One major advantage of this vacuum cleaner is that it returns to its docking station to recharge without you having to tell it or use a remote control. There’s no need for any cords or plugging the vacuum in to ensure it is ready to work as the Roomba 860 handles this stress for you.

Roomba 860 Compared to 650


If you’re searching for a basic robot vacuum, the Roomba 650 is an ideal option as it features an AeroVac technology, instead of AeroForce technology that the 860 model offers. This difference means that the Roomba 650 doesn’t have as much power behind the suction and can sometimes can confused by bumping into furniture. However, if you have fairly 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 floor surfaces are still present. As you cannot see these particles floating around in your home, you’re more prone to consuming them which isn’t ideal if you live with people who suffer from allergies.

Finally, another difference between these models is the price. As the Roomba 650 takes a simple approach to vacuum and doesn’t target as small or big particles, it’s a lower price.

Roomba 860 Compared to 805


The Roomba 805 is one of the older models by Roomba, which is now discontinued. When you look at how the brand has developed since their earlier models, it’s evident to see that their technology has dramatically advanced. First, the Roomba 860 has more technical sensors that can detect dirt and dust from farther away, and target closer to corners.

One major difference between these models is the battery life. The earlier version takes longer to fully charge, and once its battery is full, you’ll not quite reach two hours of cleaning time. This factor depends on the size of your house and how thoroughly it needs to be cleaned before you declare whether this is a huge disadvantage.

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.

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