iRobot ® Roomba 870 – Full Review

iRobot recently launched the new 800 model series (Roomba 870 and Roomba 880) of their well-known vacuuming robot the Roomba.

The 800 series Roomba robotic vacuums are by far equipped with the most advanced technology in sensors, design, battery life, automation and proficiency in cleaning in comparison to the previous 500, 600 (650), 700 (770, 780, 790) models.

However, as the iRobot Company has expanded the features of the 800 Roomba’s-they also have a notably higher price in comparison to previous models as they are the most expensively priced models introduced by the iRobot Company to date.

The Roomba 870 is one of the latest models that is garnering a lot of attention from consumers searching for the best robotic vacuum. It is equipped with a more advanced cleaning technology than the 600 & 700 series Roomba models, and only has a few miniscule features different than the Roomba 880 (it does not come with a remote, and does not include the 880’s room 2 room navigation feature.)

The 870 Roomba includes many nice attributes in comparison to iRobot’s previous series of models, yet it is almost the same as the Roomba 880 without the 880’s larger price tag.

The Roomba 870 is built to clean, and clean well. It features new technologies such as Aeroforce, iAdapt Navigation, Dirt Detect Series2 and a modern sleek design (will be explained in detail further in this review), that enable it to more efficiently collect debris, dust, particles, and dirt from a variety of floor surfaces.

It also requires less “babysitting” as it has been designed to perform more tasks on its own, hold more debris, and does not get “stuck” in rooms or in areas as prominently as the former Roomba 660 & 770 models. It also has rollers instead of brushes (like in the 600 & 700 models) that crawl over surfaces and capture debris, which makes this tangle free element nice for people that have pet hair, or long hair and that do not like detangling their Roomba every few runs.

 

 

 

iRobot Roomba 870: How Does it Work?

The iRobot Roomba 870 model allows you to maintain your home’s vacuuming needs by scheduling it to clean certain areas, at whatever times you choose. It also is better capable of detecting if it has cleaned a surface most effectively.

Additionally, its automated functions include cleaning on schedule, docking and recharge on demand, and notifications through light color and flash differentiations that let you know when the unit is full, charging, has run out of battery, or if there are other problems you need to tend to.

 

Customer Reviews & Feedback

Amazon:

When evaluating the iRobot Roomba 870 reviews on Amazon, we found that:

87% of 4-5 star ratings!!!
The Roomba 870 has received and impressive amount of high ratings from buyers who have been very satisfied with this vacuum robots performance and quality. Reviewers often reported that the Roomba 870 is remarkable for picking up pet hair and mentioned time and time again that it does in fact clean better and that it works much better than the older Roomba models in battery life, in cleaning edges, and staying free from tangles.

“Wow! Awesome, Fantastic, and Amazing. We have three indoor Australian Shepherd Dogs that SHED Year Round. It picks up the Pet Hair as good as our Dyson. Wish I had bought one ten years ago. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.”
(By Stephen Bull, Amazon Rating Given: 5 Stars)

“Its faster that my Roomba 700, and perform better with dust, although it doesnt possess brushes. How it performs with cat hair is amazing!”
(By Luis Franco, Amazon Rating Given: 5 Stars)

“A must buy for hardwood floors. .. This robot makes life better with its ability to remove the need to clean up after pets (two large dogs that shed frequently) and children.. It’s erratic cleaning paths at first had me skeptical but it always seems to get the job done. all-in-all I still stand behind my purchase and would recommend this product.”
(By Michelle Sams, Amazon Rating Given: 4 Stars)

For more reviews on Amazon.com, Click Here »

 

10% of 2-3 stars ratings:
Only a very small handful of reviewers provided the Roomba 870 with 2-3 star ratings in their reviews. These ratings were given by users who were disappointed with the scanty cleaning pattern that the Roomba 870 takes in a room, from consumers who stated it did get stuck, and that were not impressed with the Roomba 870’s battery life.

“It cleans the areas it runs in, but it doesn’t always cover the whole floor. I moves in what seems like a random pattern and actually never gets all areas each time it runs. When it runs repeatedly, it usually covers the whole floor. It definitely reduces the cleaning effort and keeps the problem areas clean.”
(By Robert Farley, Amazon Rating Given: 3 Stars)

“It cleans randomly but doesn’t pick up everything. It gets stuck frequently so it needs supervision. Still I used it daily and it tends to keep things to a low roar.”
(By Ann Boyd, Amazon Rating Given: 3 Stars)

“This thing spends far too much time figuring out how to get under furniture that it cannot get back out of. 90% of the time I find it stranded under a couch or entertainment stand, battery dead. I paid lots of $$ for something with a design flaw of this magnitude.”
(By Anonymous Customer, Amazon Rating Given: 3 Stars)

For more reviews on Amazon.com, Click Here »

 

Only 4% of 1 star ratings:
Only 4% of all buyers of the Roomba 870 model gave it 1 star. Most 1 star reviewers (like a few 3 star raters) stated that the Roomba 870 had issues with dark colored surfaces, while others found that its erratic pattern of cleaning a deal-breaker.

 

 

“The unboxing, setup and initial charging of the 870 were simple, as others have noted. It is also aesthetically pleasing with its sleek black/silver casing. My new 870 was left to charge overnight, and after getting a few obstacles such as plants, small footstools, etc., off the floor as well as putting the dining room chairs upside down on the table so it could access as much open floor space as possible for maximum cleaning efficacy, I let it loose on its maiden voyage the following morning. The dogs and I followed and watched it like a hawk for quite some time as it randomly zigzagged around our living/dining room (rectangular, not huge) and I noted that it seemed to be able to “see” pale objects (namely the skirting board running around the entire room) so it slows down and barely bumps into them, and navigates along them very slowly and carefully, while it had considerable difficulty with dark objects (in our case, the dining table legs, and the legs/bottom edge of our TV stand), so it would crash into these with full force.”
(By S.N., Amazon Rating Given: 1 Stars)

For more reviews on Amazon.com, Click Here »

 

YouTube reviews:

 

Other Models of Roomba iRobot – Comparison:

 

 

 

Product Features

As with many Roomba models previous, the Roomba 870 is shaped in the form of a futuristic disc. It weighs in at about 8.4 lbs just like the Roomba 880, but a little heavier than the 770 and 660 models.

It is 3.6 inches tall and sports a diameter of 13.9 inches.

The power button is located in the center of the machine just as with the 880 and the 500, 600, and 700 models. It is available in only a single color of grey/black (similar to the 600 &700 models), but unlike the solid black newer model of the 800 series, the Roomba 880.

 

Automated Features

 

Virtual Walls or Virtual LightHouse Devices

Perhaps the largest, and most advanced feature of the 400,500, 600, 700, and Roomba 800 series models is the ability of customized programming that virtual walls/lighthouses provide the consumer with.

The Roomba 870 comes in the box with 2 virtual walls/lighthouses. These devices feature a state of the art software that uses infrared sensors that communicate with the iRobot Roomba to further assist it to clean the areas you want cleaned and to disbar or gate it off from the specific areas that you want it to avoid accessing and cleaning.

Another words, the virtual walls that are included with your Roomba 870 purchase can be programmed to direct the robot to access a room after its finished cleaning the main space or to block the robot from accessing a room, if it is populated with people or just does not need to be cleaned at the scheduled time.

It consists of two modes:

  • Virtual Lighthouse (which opens the room for it to sense that it needs to access it for cleaning purposes)
  • Virtual Wall (which blocks access to a specified area of your home that you DO NOT want it to access or clean.)

 

Example 1: How Lighthouse Mode Works:

Say you want the Roomba 870 to clean one main room, and then you want it to proceed to a second room for further cleaning in (20 minute increments on full-battery life-span) without returning to charge or docking itself at home base.

The Roomba 870 will set out on its destination from its main base/dock station to clean the main space (ie. Living Room, Kitchen, Around Patio Sliding Doors, and Kitchen Area.)

It will spend 20 minutes cleaning the area around its dock, and then proceed to cover the Dining Area (20 minutes), and Bathroom (20 minutes) before returning to the main docking station/base and recharging.

As you see by the diagram pictured above, the strategic placements of the devices when set on Lighthouse Mode will send a signal to the Roomba that notifies it to travel into those said rooms for further cleaning duties- before it will return to its base.

 

Example 2: How Virtual Wall Mode Works:

The Roomba 870’s virtual wall mode works the exact opposite of its mode when set on lighthouse feature. Instead of notifying the Roomba to proceed in cleaning other designated areas of your home, the virtual wall acts as a barrier or fence to block off rooms or areas of your home that you do not want the robot to access.

You can place the devices on the outside of rooms or a set area of space and select the virtual mode on the devices to program the Roomba 870 to stay within the set perimeters that you designate.

This will then signal it to clean as programmed or scheduled in all the areas that you need to be cleaned, but it also keeps the robotic vacuum from entering into rooms that are populated or do not need to be cleaned.

The Roomba will then clean as you have schedules and programmed (20 minutes at a time) and avoid entirely the spaces, areas that you have indicated by virtual wall mode which you do not need or it to clean.

 

 

Buttons, Digital Display, and Functions

The Roomba 870 is designed modernly, and applies a slew of digital features that draws in the best interest of prospective consumers.

On Robot Clock: The Roomba 870 features a digital time-clock right on the upper-face of the machine that works to keep time for the device itself, and also that helps with the process of the other functional scheduled cleaning it performs.

Customized Cleaning as Schedule: As with most of the previous 500, 600, and 700 series iRobot Roomba models, you can program this beast of a vacuum robot to clean on time, days, and within a specified time interval to better target your cleaning needs.

Spot Cleaning at Whim: Spot Cleaning Mode is a new element just introduced in the 700 and 800 Roomba series models. But consumers are just eating this feature up, because it’s efficient, quick, and easy for most small vacuuming maintenance. This command can be implemented while the Roomba is cleaning or at its base. All you do is select this mode- and it initiates the vacuum to clean a 1 meter “squared” area of space to clean in its located perimeters at the time of spot clean mode activation- and then once it senses the area/space is cleaned most efficiently it will then return to its base.

Automated Dock/ Recharge: The Roomba 870 will dock after cleaning, when spot clean is complete, or a pre-schedule cleaning is finished (with or without added virtual wall/lighthouse devices employed.) It is automated to return to its base, and to recharge when cleaning is done or when battery life has been so depleted it can no longer perform properly.

Flash & Color Indicators and Notifications: There are many notifications and indicator lights, colors, and flashes that will communicate with you as the Roomba 870 robot vacuum performs certain tasks:

  • is near battery discharge, has a complete depleted battery (flashing amber or red light, or steady red light),
  • is clogged (steady red light),
  • is experiencing some other unknown issue(s) that needs attention (red light flashing or steady),
  • needs to be emptied (orange to red, flashing & solid)
  • or is in the state of charging or is fully charged ( Amber Orange to Green when charging to fully charged.)

 

 

Cleaning Capabilities and Functions:

The iRobot 800 series and essentially the 870 and 880 Roomba models are proclaimed by iRobot to pick up 50 % more air-borne allergens, pet hair, debris, particles, and dirt than the 600 & 700 series Roomba robots do.

iRobot has superiorly developed a few new cleaning technologies that help the 870 model, robotic vacuum to better perform more efficiently and pro-actively when combing your floor spaces for dirt, and to enable the vacuum to involve less hands-on maintenance from the consumer it its process of doing its job.

These add-on features include the following key attributes and explanations of how they better work to improve the cleaning performance and ease the use of the Roomba 870 model in comparison to other brands of robot vacuums and the also former, outdated models of the Roomba iRobot hands-free vacuums:

  • Dirt Detect Series 2: It was not until the 700 and 800 modernistic models of the Roomba was released that Dirt Detect Series2 was introduced. Before it was a less efficient system of Direct Detect Series1 that stood behind the built in sensory software that enables the Roomba to comb floor spaces to understand and “just know” where to clean.But iRobot has revved up their game (as they do) to bring an even better sensory dirt detective software into the most recent models. This system is said to be ultra-sensitive so that the Roomba can clean an area and avoid (its former system’s glitches of getting lost in a spot or leaving a spot that has not been cleaned 100% to perfection.)
  • AeroForce: AeroForce is a premium mechanism and one of the newest features of the Roomba 700 & 800 series models that includes a few different technologies to induce the best cleaning performance expected from a modern vacuum robot machine.
  1. The first and most noted improvement of AeroForce dynamic features in the Roomba 870 is the AeroForce Brushless extractor design- which involves a new rubber roller system instead of brushes that often get entangled with hair, carpet fringes, and more.
  2. The second is an Airflow Accelerator system which first works to break up debris and particles before vacuuming them up. This system along with the pro-active, tangle-free brushless extractors pulverize dirt, debris, and particles and then collect it with the most powerful of most Roomba 800 series models.
  3. The third advanced feature of the Roomba 870 is an excelled performance motor that also works collaboratively with the special extractors and the Airflow Accelerator system to enhance the 870’s overall cleaning ability to more than a 50% improvement in comparison to past Roomba series models (so iRobot states on their official website.)
  • XLife Battery Life Extention by iRobot: iRobot XLife Batter Life Extension technology has enabled the new 800 series models to reflect up to 2X the battery life and cleaning power of older models in the 400, 500, 600 & 700 series. This also helps you to spare the cost of replacing the batter quarterly during the year- and instead provides you with more than 6-months of battery life and a longer span of cleaning power- before the Roomba will need to be recharged (up to 2-3 hours depending on the circumstance.)
  • iAdapt Robotic Navigation: iAdapt robotic navigation is an equipped technology present in the last few 100′ series of Roomba models. It is an intense, embedded software system placed into the Roomba 870 vacuum robot that is comprised of top-of-the-line sensors that detect MORE dirt and debris on floor surfaces. It also helps to better assist the robot in sensing “hard to clean areas” that may require repeated coverage and such.

 

What’s the Difference? iRobot Roomba 870 vs Roomba 880:

The Roomba 870 includes all the fancy digital and high-tech, advanced features that the latest Roomba 880 boasts, except for it does not come with a remote control (remote control is optional and can be purchased for an added price.) And it does not have the room to room navigation feature like the 880 that enables it to be scheduled to clean more than one area at a time (without virtual lighthouses\walls.)

 

 

What’s in the Package?

When you order the iRobot Roomba 870 your purchase will include:

  • iRobot Roomba 870 Machine
  • 1 Roomba 870 Home Base (Dock)
  • A Detailed Roomba 870 User Guide
  • 2 Virtual Wall/Lighthouse Infrared Sensory & Programmable Devices
  • 1 Replacement Hepa Filter
  • Batteries for Virtual Walls/LightHouse Devices Included (4 C’s).

 

 

Product Accessories & Replacements

Your purchase of the Roomba 870 includes the elements listed above. However, there is a few accessories and add on’s that you may have to purchase individually to ensure the best performance and maintenance of your iRobot Roomba 870.

Products that After Extended Use & Time Will Need to Be Replaced:

Hepa Filter: The Hepa Filter is very important for your Roomba 870. It is the main element of your Roomba 800 series model that allows your automated robot vacuum to pick up the smallest of dirt, dust, allergens, and pet dander. Although, you can manually clean the Hepa Filter after numerous uses, it is best advised that you replace it at least every 2 months, and more often so if you use it more so it works optimally to clean, suck-up, and reduce air-born allergens that permeate in your floor spaces.

Battery: iRobot offers a 6-month warranty on your XLife Extended Roomba 870 model’s battery. However, after many uses and time proceeds, you will need to eventually reinvest in a new battery for your Roomba 870.

 

Add-On Accessories for Roomba 870:

All Roomba models and series have replacement parts that you can order as well as other add on products that may make your Roomba vacuum more efficient in cleaning for you. This list includes:

A Remote Control: If you choose the luxury of remote programming your Roomba to clean, schedule cleanings, dock & recharge, and give it commands without accessing the machine itself.

Additional Virtual Wall/Lighthouse Devices: As explained and aforementioned in this review, virtual lighthouse and wall devices can make your Roomba 870 perform EVEN better and more profoundly when programmed to omit areas of the house and to enter into more than a singular room or space or high-traffic area that needs to be cleaned STAT. If you have a large home, or even a 2-story home with levels- you may want to call upon the added assistance that these devices provide you with. If 2 is not enough for you, then look at the inexpensive cost of investing in a few more of these handy devices.

Side Brushes for Corner and Edges: A very popular and inexpensive add-on accessory to the Roomba 870 is that of opting for the Roomba’s specially designed side brushes. These brushes, help to reach edges and corners in a reach-span that the Roomba machine alone cannot; they scrape off more debris from a wider diameter stand point.

 

 

Warranty and Support Information

Warranty:

The 870 Roomba vacuum, iRobot model itself includes the common warranty among all iRobot Roomba products (Limited 1-Year Warranty.) The Battery that is included with your initial purchase is covered with a 6-Month warranty (after then it will need to be purchased and replaced out of pocket expense.)

For more warranty information & details, and customer service inquiries contact iRobot with details provided below OR if purchased through Amazon contact the seller direct for the best service.

 

Support:

  • By Phone.
  • By Email.
  • Live Chat.
  • Online FAQs and tutorials.

See manufacturer’s official website iRobot for more warranty information, and for other support inquiries.

 

 

Roomba 870 – Most Frequently Asked Questions:

“Can the Roomba 870 collect sand and debris like small pet foods, and cherrio’s cereal bits?”

Yes, the powerful Aeroforce, built-in- cleaning technology of the Roomba 870 robot vacuum does make it possible for it to pick up debris like kibble, pet food, and even cherrio’s cereal bits. It breaks it down into bits, and sucks it right up leaving your floor surface impressively clean.

“How does the Roomba 870 fare on dark surfaces- I heard it’s a glitch in the models?”

There has been a great amount of complaints and remarks given about the ability for the Roomba 870 to successfully peruse, cover, and vacuum dirt from dark-colored surfaces (whether it be dark laminate floors, hardwood surfaces, tiles, or dark carpets and area rugs. However, although some users claim their Roomba has issues on dark surfaces, other also say that they had no problem with it. The proficiency of the Roomba 870 to cover dark floor surfaces should be considered on a case by case basis.

“Is the Roomba 870 efficient at retrieving pet hair, and human hair?”

The large, and high-quality Hepa filter that is included with your Roomba 870 robot makes it super-efficient at capturing the most, minute and unseen of allergens, particles, and dirt. Also, with its special tangle free extractors, the Roomba 870 employs an improved approach to sucking up the effects of long human hair and pet hair.

“How is the Roomba 870 & 880 different, there is a significant price difference. Please explain further.”

The main 3 differences between the Roomba 870 and 880 are the price, the remote, and the feature of room-to-room navigation. The 870 does not come with a remote, it does not feature room-to-room navigation, and its price is much lower than the 880 Roomba model.

“What is the big difference of Virtual Walls & Virtual Lighthouses with the Roomba?”

Virtual Walls- Block Roomba from entering designated areas. Virtual Lighthouses- Initially it blocks the Roomba from continuing to the second room (just like the Virtual Wall mode), and only after cleaning ends, it welcome and invite Roomba to access the specified area.

“Will the Roomba 870 scratch the edges of the walls it crawls and the baseboards? “

As far as tests of the Roomba 870 go, and consumer reports NO- the Roomba 870 bares no harm or ill will to your walls and baseboards as it cleans.

“Can the Roomba 870 robot vacuum handle a 2500 sq. feet home without issues?”

It can certainly clean it, as you designate with its program features, scheduled cleaning and lighthouse/virtual wall device integration. But it depends on how dirty the floors are, and how long it runs- if the battery will outlast its cleaning spree.

 

The Upside of Using the iRobot Roomba 870

Extended battery life– Unit runs and can clean longer than previous models
Traps Pet Hair– Fuss Free with new de-tangler element of rubber rollers instead of brush bristles so there is no need to spend time fishing out hair and long strings to get it running smoothly again.
Runs more quietly – The Roomba 870 has a new motor that cleans and runs more quietly than other series of the Roomba vacs.
Larger trash bin– The Roomba 870 contains a larger holding capacity in its trash bin which allows users to NOT empty it as often as other Roomba models.
Returns to base on-time with battery life to spare: This specific model of Roomba does indeed sense when its battery life is about to expire. Instead of dying in the middle of a room, it will return to its docking station to initiate charging.
Runs faster, more efficiently, at covering areas of your home: With its precision cleaning technology in full-play, users that have rated the Roomba 870 report that it DOES pick up more dust, allergens, debris, and dirt from their floors.

 

The Downside of the iRobot Roomba 870

Price tag is questioned by consumers: The increased pricing of the Roomba 870 is something that consumers call into question when supplying their experiences and reviews on this vacuum robot. Although it is higher priced than previous series models of the Roomba- it does feature better performance and more advanced cleaning features that make it priceless to many in comparison to the other cheaper-priced Roomba series models.
Dark colored surfaces challenged: The #1 complaint that consumers give the Roomba 870 may or may not be a glitch in its programming. Reviewers and users state that the Roomba 870 does not always perform its best 100% when traveling across- dark colored surfaces (whether it be dark hard-wood floors, laminates, or carpet.)
Cleans in random patterns erratically: The random process at which the Roomba cleans floor surfaces can often put off consumers who “babysit it and watch, and wait.” However, although this is not a number one complaint worthy of 1-star rated reviews- it is common that Roomba 870 buyers report this very factor in reviews that they have published on Amazon (even 5,4,3,2 star rating providers have noted this issue- some get over it and some do not.)

 

 

About iRobot Company

Roomba robotic floor-cleaning machines were first introduced in 1990, by the now renowned iRobot company. The robotic vacuum, the Roomba was the initial product that led to this generation’s notoriousness of the iRobot household name. First came the primitive robot vacuums, then came the wet mops, floor scrubbers and the most-advanced, floor cleaning products to enter the market. The iRobot manufacturing company has facilitated the generation, invention, and production of the most, highly-advanced technological robot devices in history. They are popular for their Roomba vacuum robots, but have also contributed their innovations into military-caliber products which are then employed into our most-current, top-secret military defense force.

 

 

iRobot Roomba 870: Final Recommendation

The Roomba 870 model from iRobot’s latest 800 series as a well-recognized automated, robotic vacuum brand’s newest model, is worth a firm look and investigation- especially if your other robot vacuum is not cutting the mustard!

It proves fast, quiet, and swift in the most positive user ratings on Amazon, and very few buyers have commented negatively to this machine’s performance, accuracy, and efficiency as a robotic vacuum.

It is a step up or upgrade from the Roomba 700 series, and also considered in most comparison reviews of robot vacuums- to be one of the most sought after robot vacuum machines of many models, makes, and brands now manufactured and sold.

If you want to spare the added cost of paying for the Roomba 880 (sans the remote, and room- to-room navigation feature), the Roomba 870 may just be what your budget can afford (variable 100$-$200 dollar price difference.)


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