Selecting the best robot vacuum cleaner for your home can be a very challenging task especially if you are new to the industry.
There is a great necessity to know the different features of thousands of brands and models that are available in the market. In this guide, we will look at the differences and similarities between the Roomba 981 vs i6+ to know which one of them is the best fit for you.
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At a glance
Last update on 2022-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The quick answer
The Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981 both boast good suction capabilities compared to the previous product line of the brand.
They also make use of infrared and visual sensors to navigate through the house. However, the Roomba i6+ has a much better advantage in terms of hardware since it is able to Keep Out Zones and Smart Mapping which allows better control of the device.
Not only that, but you also get greater value in terms of the Self-Disposal Mechanism which fully eliminates the need for human intervention.
Basically, the Roomba i6+ has all the features of the Roomba 981 plus the added benefits of several software enhancements. If you are an owner with a large home who also needs more functionality, then the Roomba i6+.
Bear in mind that the Roomba i6+ is a few hundred dollars more expensive than the Roomba 981, which makes it a bit discouraging for new robot vacuum owners.
If you want to get a vacuum with equally great hardware and software, then the victor is the Roomba i6+.
The Roomba i6+ (the same as the Roomba i7+) is one of the most latest models of the brand and part of the i series robot vacuums that also includes the cheaper Roomba i3+.
It features several upgrades that do not exist on the 981. These include Smart Mapping, Keep Out Zones, Self-Disposal, and Imprint Link Technology. It is currently considered one of the best robot vacuums in the market due to its efficiency in cleaning.
Despite having new and improved functions, it still retains the same level of suction as the 981. This makes it a good all-around vacuum that balances cleaning ability and control.
Strengths: Keep Out Zones, Self-Disposal, Imprint Smart Mapping with Layout, App
Read the full Roomba i6+ review
Last update on 2022-09-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Roomba 981 (the same as the Roomba 980) can be considered as the little brother of the Roomba i6+ and is the most recent release in the Roomba 900 series from iRobot.
Both robotic vacuums have the same suction capabilities, but the 981 lacks some important features that will surely help in better cleaning processes. It is able to navigate a room through sensors as well as self-charge.
Strengths: Good suction power, App, and more affordable price
Weaknesses: Lacks in the software department
Read the full iRobot Roomba 981 review
These are the boons and banes of both devices in general:
- Automates cleaning
- Self-navigates through the room
- App capabilities
- Good sucking power
- Solid battery life
- Zero mopping ability
- Both are expensive compared to other brands
- Needs a constant power source
Last update on 2022-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Side by side comparison
Here are some features that exist in both Roomba 981 and Roomba i6+:
Powerful Cleaning Performance
Great suction power is a trademark for an iRobot vacuum cleaner. The same can be said for the Roomba 981 and Roomba i6+ as they both boast 10x more power lifting suction compared to traditional models.
Furthermore, this power is complemented by a 3-stage cleaning system to ensure that nothing escapes the grasps of the robot.
This makes picking up dirt, debris, gunk, or pet hair on all floor types very easy and gives the house a thorough clean.
Logical Cleaning Pattern
Both the Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981 do not clean the room in randomized patterns. Instead, they use logical cleaning through the Neat Rows system to navigate the entire room.
Neat Rows allow the devices to make use of their sensors so that they can identify and locate the most efficient cleaning session routes. This way, any owner will be guaranteed that no spot will be missed during the entire process.
A Logical Cleaning Pattern also ensures that commonly neglected spots such as wall and floor edges as well as regions under furniture are taken care of.
Smart Home Enabled
Another great feature of these Roomba vacuum cleaners is that they have wifi connectivity and can be integrated into Alexa and Google. This allows for voice control and long-distance commands even if you are not in the vicinity. You can even set-up scheduled cleaning for better time management!
Safe From Allergens
The Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981 have a HEPA filter that can block allergens and dust that can not be seen by the naked eye. This makes them great for homes with pets that shed heavily.
Not only that, but the great powerlifting suction also picks up pet hair and irritants that can not be seen by the naked eye and the allergenlock technology keeps odors locked away.
This ensures 100% protection even when disposing of the contents of the robot since no hazards will escape the filters.
Recharge and Resume
Operations of the Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981 are smooth and seamless. Both products have heavy-duty batteries which provide a long runtime and helps them provide an interrupted cleaning process.
Once their energy gets depleted, they have the ability to self-dock and return to the charging station and regain battery levels.
This recharge and resume process ensures that there is no downtime during cleaning. Both robot vacuums are also capable of locating where they left-off due to their memory.
The Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981’s Multi-stage cleaning ensures that every nook and cranny of your home is taken care of. They have dual rubber brushes that do not get tangled with a pet or human hair, making them great for vacuuming anywhere.
They work well with rugs and carpet thanks to carpet boost mode. The vertical clearances are designed to stay in contact with the floor so that even hardwood and concrete floor surfaces are dealt with.
Most of the advanced controls of the robot vacuum can be accessed through your smartphone with the iRobot Home app. It provides unique cleaning suggestions that are based on your robot’s cleaning habits.
You can even set scheduling, see reports on the whole process as well as terminate operations instantly even if you are not in your home. The app can be downloaded on both iOS and Android phones.
In this part, we will look at the major variations between the Roomba i6+ vs Roomba 981.
Smart Home Mapping
This can be considered as one of the greatest differences between the Roomba i6+ and Roomba 981. In comparison, the Roomba i6+ is Smart Home Mapping-ready, meaning that it is capable of creating floor plans and layout of your home based on its visual sensors.
This allows the user to assign labels to any room and command the robot vacuum to go to specific spots.
It also remembers the floor plan so that there is no need to gain information on the next clean.
On the other hand, the Roomba 981 is only capable of absorbing information based on its sensors. This means that it can not map the layout of a house, let alone keep it for future reference. Despite this, it still has good software that allows logical cleaning.
Keep Out Zones
Restriction zones are a must-have for any advanced robot vacuum cleaner. The Roomba i6+, thanks to its advanced software, has a Keep out Zone system that allows a user to select points in the house where the robot vacuum should not go to.
Using the layout created by the Smart Home Mapping, you can draw squares on the region where you want it to stay away from. This provides better control and efficiency.
This feature does not exist in the Roomba 981, as the only way to restrict it from entering another area is through the purchase of additional virtual barriers.
The Roomba i6+ eliminates this need, making it a more superior robot vacuum.
The iRobot Roomba i6+ completely removes the need for human presence thanks to its self-emptying mechanism.
There is no need for the owner to take out the bin after every clean as the robot vacuum does it for you. The Roomba i6+’s Automatic Dirt Disposal System is able to store dirt for up to 60 days, making it less taxing to maintain.
Pair this clean base feature with the self-charging capability, and you got a very smart and reliable robot vacuum that does everything by itself.
The iRobot Roomba 981 does not have this feature, and there is a need to get the contents of the bin out every two cleaning cycles or less.
However, this depends on your floor size, as well as how clean it is. Overall, the iRobot Roomba i6+ does the same job as the iRobot Roomba 981 in a better and more efficient way.
The dust bin capacity of the iRobot Roomba i6+ is 0.7L. This enables it to have a run time fit for more than 3 cycles without the need for emptying. In such cases where the bin is full, the robot vacuum proceeds to self-emptying using the Automatic Dirt Disposal Dock.
On the other hand, the Roomba 981’s capacity is only at 0.5 L which equals about 2 cycles. Once it is full, there will be a need to remove the bin by yourself and dump the contents into the trash.
Furthermore, the bin of the iRobot Roomba i6+ is washable while 981’s is not. This makes the former a bit easier to maintain.
The navigation software of the iRobot Roomba 981 was what made it a very formidable force in the robot vacuum cleaner industry. It used both vSLAM and iAdapt 2.0 to determine its next actions, as well as to locate an efficient cleaning path.
This was further improved in the iRobot Roomba i6+, as the device used the new iAdapt 3.0 version. This meant better sensing capabilities which enable it to detect the presence of dirt.
The iRobot Roomba i6+ is at a higher price point due to its added features. If you’re not too fussed about the self-emptying clean base, you can get the vacuum only which will save you some money.
On the other hand, as the older model, the Roomba 981 retails for less and can often be found in discount sales.
What filters do the robot vacuums use?
The Roomba 981 and i6+ both use High-Efficiency Filters that are proven and tested to contain and block allergens and irritants from spreading. This makes the robots good for homes with pets as well as pollen-based pollutants.
What is the main difference between the i6+ and 981?
The main difference between the two is that i6+ has better software features, but the 981 is cheaper. The i6+ is a far more superior robot compared to the 981.
Will the i6+ and 981 work without WiFi?
Yes, these devices can function without the use of an internet connection. However, you will need a WiFi connection if you want to control the robots using the native home app. The app control provides more rewards in terms of cleaning modes, schedules, and voice command integration, so any user should take advantage of it.
Can I find replacement parts?
If your iRobot experiences damage in terms of individual parts, you can quickly look for replacements on their official site. There are even spare parts in Amazon, but make sure that you are searching in the official store.
How many square feet do the robots clean per cycle?
It is impossible to know how many feet both robots cover in one cleaning cycle due to factors such as floor type, elevation, and the existence of furniture. However, both robots have a charge and resume feature meaning that there is no need to worry about any tasks’ accomplishment.
Both iRobot Roomba i6+ and 981 provide great hardware capabilities to improve cleaning processes. While the i6+ provides more in software, the 981 is more affordable – making it fit for anyone’s budget.
If you are searching for a robot that is cheaper and can give your house a good clean, then you should get the iRobot Roomba 981. Bear in mind that you might miss out on some important features.
On the other hand, if you want the best of the best level of efficiency, control, power, and technology, then the Roomba i6+ is the perfect tool for you.
Between the two, it is clear that i6+ is the better robot due to its superior self-disposal and mapping features.
Emma Marie is a valued writer at the Little Robot Shop. She studied robotics and deeply understands technology, which shows in her writing. She consistently produces high-quality content, making her a perfect fit for the Little Robot Shop team.
While not writing, Emma works in a popular electronics retail chain. Emma also enjoys running and has two dogs with whom she loves spending time.