Roomba 860 Review (Robot Vacuum) with Top 3 Alternative

iRobot Roomba 860 is one of my best friends. In this quid pro quo relationship, I maintain it and supply with electricity, while it (the 860) vacuums dust and debris. It does a better job than I would, and I get to spend my time doing something I genuinely enjoy, like drinking coffee with my friends and family. Isn’t that great?

In this Roomba 860 Review, we will present you the product objectively, explaining its strengths and weaknesses. Note that we will also discuss some alternatives, all featured by iRobot manufacturer (and provide you with brief robot vacuum comparison)

iRobots Roomba 860: Short Overview

Roomba 860 belongs to iRobots Roomba 800+ line. I still remember the first time I got this device; it was the BOMB! Till this day,

I still believe it is one of the iRobot’s best vacuum cleaners, right next to Roomba 880 and 980.

Roomba 860 is the mid-priced, durable and efficient robotic vacuum. It is only 3.6 inches tall and can go under most objects. This vacuum cleaner is easy to set up and use, due to its ability to self-charge.

Also, you can make your cleaning schedule and instruct it on how often it should clean your home during the week.

It is one of the first Roomba vacuums to introduce easy to empty dustbins (tangle-free), which makes the maintenance even more straightforward.

It also looks very cool and futuristic, like most Roomba vacuums. Its battery life is relatively long (up to 90 minutes).

Upon purchase, you receive Roomba 860 vacuum, charging dock (with the power plug-in cable), one virtual lighthouse, one extra filter, and instructions.


  • Features self-charging.
  • Can be scheduled.
  • Excellent pat hair collector.
  • Features side brushes.
  • 3-stage cleaning system.


  • Design issues with dustbin.
  • May struggle with carpet cleaning.
  • Lacks multi-room navigation.


Roomba 860 Review: By Performance, Design, and Feedback

As with our other vacuum cleaner reviews, we will focus on cleaner’s cleaning performance, design, tech-oriented features, known issues, surface performance, and other vital factors. Hope you’ll enjoy it and find the data that is important to you.

roomba 860 review Design

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On Design

Roomba 860 is 13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 inches big, weighing exactly 8 pounds. It is powered by one lithium battery (battery included), able to operate for as long as 90 minutes (give or take).

Its gray/black design makes it look very futuristic. Due to its simple and efficient (and modern) design, it will blend in all contemporary homes.

It isn’t too big nor too small: the size is perfect, the balance between optimal space coverage and obstacle doing. Thanks to its size, it will clean beneath furniture and beds, and navigate between legs (chairs and tables) rather effectively.


Roomba 860 starts off badly, as do all robotic vacuum cleaners. First, it wanders around your room and starts learning and remembering. If it hits a wall or an object, it will pause for a very brief moment to update the memory.

The first time you use it, you can’t expect the most efficient cleaning. However, after it recharges, it will clean the room much more efficiently (since it now knows where the obstacles are).

Roomba 860 finds its way out of every tight situation, but it isn’t the most effective vacuum for carpet.

Sometimes, Roomba 860 would treat carpets as if they are obstacles, simply dodging them (especially if the rug is thick). However, it is an excellent robot vacuum for hardwood floors.

It isn’t as smart as Roomba’s newest models (like Roomba 960 and Roomba 980), but it is still a brilliant navigator.

It does feature iAdapt navigation system and comes with one virtual wall. This means that you can create one virtual wall to prevent it from leaving the room.

Cleaning Performance

Roomba 860 features iRobot’s AeroForce 3 Stage Cleaning system, which combines the processes of agitation, and then brushing and suctioning. It also comes with one side brush, helping it clean the corners more efficiently.

Cleaning with 860 is simple and straightforward. Once the robot is charged, you press Clean and let it do the work. If low on power, the 860 will dock and recharge, making your life even more comfortable (it will always be ready to clean).

The AeroForce cleaning system includes debris extractors, making maintenance simpler. Also, the 860 features iRobots Gen 2 motors with 5X suction power (5X referring to iRobot’s power comparison).

It features two extractors which rotate in opposite directions, allowing the vacuum to clean rapidly.

The extractors feature rubber tread, which prolongs the vacuum’s durability and extends its self-maintaining ability. This robotic vacuum also features Dirt Detect technology, giving this robot an ability to spot dirt and fine dust.

Roomba 860 will use integrated sensors (both acoustic and visual sensors) to spot and clean dust and hair. And thanks to the durable extractors, the Roomba 860 is one of the best robot vacuum for pet hair.

Smart Features

Though not as smart as its heiresses, 860 is still an intelligent vacuum cleaner. It features Virtual Wall technology, allowing you to limit its movement.

You will have to install the virtual wall manually, but the process is reasonably straightforward.

It does feature iAdapt Navigation system but lacks Multi-Room navigation. Still, Roomba 860 will navigate through the room very effectively, avoiding obstacles and cleaning hidden dust and debris.

It is also an intelligent power consumer, able to clean the not more than 90 minutes (features 3X battery life compared to other iRobot Vacuums). It does feature self-charging but lacks recharge and resume option (highlighted by Roomba 960 and Roomba 980).

Note that you can schedule it to clean your home according to your liking. For instance, you can instruct it to clean your house when it is empty, which is an excellent deal for both you and the robot: you won’t be in its way, and your home will be clean when you return.

Maintenance And Durability (Dustbin Issues)

860’s most prominent design flaw is the dustbin. Because the hole (for dustbin) is tiny, even the minimal amount of dirt (especially hair) will cause the dustbin to sit in its slot improperly.

When this happens, the Roomba 860 will alert you that you have to “empty the dustbin,” even though it is empty.

Consequently, you will have to pick up any hair and dust bunnies manually, so that the vacuum doesn’t alert you regularly.

Though the problem doesn’t cause any issues regarding cleaning performance, it is annoying and makes maintenance a bit dirty.

And as with any other Roomba vacuum cleaner, make sure you maintain it regularly. Replace the filters when you see fit and clean the brushes and extractors. Regular maintenance will guarantee that 860 cleans your rooms on an optimal level for a very long time.

Top 3 Alternatives for Roomba 860 

Alternatives to Roomba 860 include 880, 960 and 980. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only Roomba products on our list.

Roomba 880 vs 860: Younger and Smarter

Roomba 880 is 860’s younger and smarter brother.

It offers the same cleaning performance but features Multi-Room Navigation. This vacuum comes with two virtual Lighthouses.

In Lighthouse mode, the 880 will clean one room, and then move on to next one. It can clean up to three rooms in Lighthouse mode.

On the other hand, you can use Virtual Wall to limit its cleaning to only one room. 880 is more expensive than the 860, due to more advanced features.

Its instruction manual is terrible, and the maintenance process is a bit more complicated than with 860.

If you are interested in 880, the more advanced version of 860. Note that the 880 struggles with carpet cleaning even more than the 860.

  • More expensive.
  • Features Multi-Room Navigation.
  • Better battery durability.
  • Features HE (High-Efficiency) filter.



Roomba 960 vs 860: Lot of new things (Compared to 800 Series)

iRobot Roomba 960 features a lot of new things (compared to 800 series). It connects to iRobot Home App, giving you more control over your 960.

You can monitor its patterns, control its schedule, utilize its battery (which is worse than those in 860 and 880).

960 also features “Recharge and Resume” mode, allowing it to clean for roughly 75 minutes, then recharge, and then pick up where it left off.

It also features Entire Floor Cleaning, clean map reports, and other smart features.

However, when it comes to raw cleaning performance, it isn’t as good as 860. Then again, it offers a lot more adjustability and smart features (which can make your life more comfortable).

  • More expensive.
  • Worse cleaning performance.
  • Smarter features.
  • Less battery life.



Roomba 980 vs 860: Which one is Best iRobot Vacuum Cleaner

Roomba 980 is my favorite Roomba vacuum cleaner, even though it is the most expensive iRobot’s vacuum.

It combines excellent cleaning performance and smart technology.

It connects to the iRobot app, it features Voice-activated Control (works with Alexa and Google Assistant).

More importantly, 980 is a lot more powerful than other Roombas, features 10x suctioning power.

It also has “carpet boost” technology (ideal vacuum for carpet) and more advanced cleaning settings than the 960.

If you are looking for the best and the most advanced Roomba robot, I suggest you go with the 980.

  • The most expensive Roomba.
  • Better cleaning performance.
  • Most advanced and feature-packed Roomba.
  • Extra-long battery life (120 min).


Comparison Table with Top Alternatives (860 vs 880 vs 960 vs 980)

Product Name

Multi-Room Navigation

AeroForce Cleaning

Carpet Boost

Irobot Home App

Battery Life (min)


Roomba 860







Roomba 880







Roomba 960

Yes + Entire Level Cleaning






Roomba 980

Yes + Entire Level Cleaning






Robotic Vacuum Cleaners: Why We Should Consider

Robotic vacuum cleaners are relatively new technology. They often look like disks, so that they can go under the furniture and beds and clean those hard to get spots. There are many advantages to robotic vacuums:

  • If well-programmed, robotic vacuums will effectively navigate on their own and clean your room (some can clear your entire level).
  • Some of these vacuums (like Roomba 860) are smart, in the sense that they learn and adapt quite rapidly. iRobot (manufacturer of Roomba 860) introduces features such as voice control and recharge and resume features in their newest robotic vacuum cleaners.
  • You can schedule them to clean your home across the entire week (plan their recharging, cleaning, resting, etc.).
  • Robotic vacuum cleaners are small and require a lot less maintenance than regular, manual vacuum cleaners. Sure, you have to empty the dustbin and clear the brushes, but that pretty much covers the maintenance process.
  • As we said, they feature low-disk design and can go under the furniture and around the corners smoothly. Most Roomba vacuums feature side brush, which helps them clean corners and wall edges.


There is no doubt that Roomba vacuum cleaners are of high quality. But, you need to pick one according to your budget and preferences. Roomba 860 maybe lacks some of the more advanced features of 960 and 980 but is an excellent all-surface vacuum cleaner.

It features Roomba’s AeroForce 3 Stage cleaning system, has a relatively efficient battery, and sophisticated movement pattern. It adapts to new spaces rapidly and delivers consistent cleaning performance.

Make sure you clean the filter according to the manual’s instructions, and that you clean the brushes and extractors (don’t forget the side brush). If you are interested in alternatives, you should read our other robot vacuum cleaner reviews. But, if you liked what you saw (regarding 860), you can purchase it here!

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