Everybody wants to be able to give their pets all the love in the world, without having to think about the piles of mess and shed hair they leave behind. Regular vacuums can be a hassle, and they usually aren’t made with your pets in mind. Roomba’s robot vacuums make it easy to keep the mess at bay, without being a hassle for your pet.
The five main Roomba vacuum models are all similarly designed (at least in appearance), and that can add to the confusion when you’re trying to decide which one is best for you. That said, these models all offer different features and performance.
Keep reading to learn more about the best Roomba robot vacuums for pet hair:
Pros: connects to WiFi, superior navigation, extended battery life, efficient cleaning
Cons: louder than other Roombas, comes at a higher price point
Best for Pets: The 980 model is best for really active pets that shed as much as they move around. This vacuum includes all the fancy features you could want, and some you never even considered having.
Pros: Good dust bin capacity, cleans well, comes with ample accessories
Cons: Maneuvers at an average level, will take a little longer to set up, isn’t ‘lightweight’ at about 13 lbs
Best for Pets: The 960 is a good fit for pets that shed and require frequent cleaning up after, but that aren’t as ‘spirited’ as pets that need the 980.
Pros: More affordable, good battery life, includes virtual wall with Halo capability, upgraded brushrolls
Cons: Doesn’t resume cleaning after self-charging, no power boost option, and doesn’t provide reports of digital maps
Best for Pets: This model is good for pets that leave behind a moderate mess, but not at the level of pets that the 960 and 980 are recommended for. While it doesn’t run for as long as the others, it’s improved brushroll design, filtration system, and the Halo-capable virtual walls make it great for pets.
Pros: Budget friendly, works and performs very well
Cons: Motor isn’t as powerful, doesn’t have newer brushroll design and uses previous filtration system, battery life isn’t as long
Best for Pets: The 690 model is good for pets that shed, but have shorter hair and don’t need as much picking up after. The brushrolls may have issues with longer pet hair causing tangles, but work fine with picking up shorter hair. It’s better for calmer pets, since it uses an older barrier system to block off areas, and won’t be able to use Halo mode for specific objects and areas.
Roomba features that are best for pet hair
All of the Roomba models come with a distinct set of advantages with the features and upgrades they include, but some of these advantages are really helpful for pet owners. Here’s what main features pet owners should be looking at when choosing their vacuum:
Roomba Virtual Barrier
Another thing you should think about when buying a robot vacuum for your pets is the virtual barrier, or virtual walls. Within the Roomba vacuum product line, there are two different kinds, namely the original design, and the newer, Dual Mode virtual wall. As expected, the original version works in standard mode only. The new virtual barrier can use standard mode, as well as Halo mode.
1: Normal Mode: The normal mode works by creating a straight line up to 10 feet long, and is best used for blocking off entries (to off limits rooms, hallways, or play areas).
2: Halo Mode: The Halo mode is better for protecting specific objects or smaller areas, like litter boxes, feeding bowls, or kennels and beds. It can create a barrier in a 4 foot radius.
The original virtual barrier is included with the Roomba 614, as do many of the older Roomba models, so they still can have a barrier, although it’s only equipped for standard mode. The upgraded, Dual Mode virtual barriers can operate in standard or Halo mode, and are included with the 690, 890, 960, and 980 Roomba models.
Pet Hair Length: When you’re choosing which Roomba vacuum to get, keep in mind that a golden retriever (which will shed long hair frequently) is going to need more clean up work than a short haired breed that doesn’t have serious shedding issues, and different Roombas will work better for each.
Long hair can cause tangles and slow down your vacuum, while short hair more often sticks on surfaces and can be tough to pick up.
For pets with short hair, the older bristle style brush is a good fit. However, if your pets have longer hair, the newer brushroll design is a better fit. The rubberized dual brushrolls work together to direct pet hair into the intake which does help prevent tangles and get more hair up.
The original bristle brushrolls are included on the 690 and 614 models, while the new, rubberized brushrolls come with the 890, 960, and 980 models.
Roomba Filtration System
Pet hair aside, one of the other issues pet owners have to deal with is the dander and allergens pets leave behind. This is especially true with allergy sufferers in the home. The Aeroforce filtration system is a good feature to have.
AEROFORCE: This filtration system comes with the 890, 960, and 980 models, and works in conjunction with the new brushroll design. Not only does it contain allergens, the dust cup can hold up to 60% more (for busy homes with a lot of pet messes that’s a big bonus, and less time emptying it out).
AEROVAC: The AeroVac filter is curved to direct dust and dirt to the dust cup, while adding extra air flow when working with the bristle brushroll. The design works as intended, but comes at the cost of less dust cup capacity.
Experiment: Roomba Cleaning Pet Hair Tests
Different types of Roomba vacuums work on different types of flooring. So it is essential to know which Roomba works with your floor type to make the correct purchasing decision.
Each Roomba had to undergo a performance test against different types of debris in order to see how they would fare against them. The four main types of debris that were tested on the Roomba are
- Kitty litter
The different types of debris were also tested on different types of floors to see how effectively the Roomba would be able to clean. The three different flooring types were:
- Low pile carpet
- High pile carpet
How To Test?
The process for choosing which Roomba vacuum would work best for pet hair required a bit more work and experimentation. Pet hair is much more difficult to obtain at will as compared to the other types of debris you could buy at your local grocery store.
Even if you could easily obtain pet hair as easily as you could obtain the other types of debris used in the testing, it would not be able to imitate the true outcome of pet hair getting spread onto the floor or furniture. Simply spreading a bag of dog hair across the floor would not even begin to compare to the deep set hair and pet dander that gets spread and rubbed around your house.
Pet dander and hair gets even more rooted into carpets than most other types of furniture and flooring. Pets have a tendency to roll and rub around on carpets so hair and dander will mix thoroughly into your carpet along with other types of debris. Carpets are much more difficult to clean than hardwood floors so the challenge lies within suctioning all of the pet hair out of your carpet completely.
In order to provide precise information about how effectively the Roomba can remove pet hair and dander, we carried out cleaning performance tests with the method of allowing pet hair and dander to build up over a longer period of time to simulate the actual experience. By doing these home tests, we were able to determine the strong and weak points of different Roomba models. The result that the Roombas performed better on low carpets than high carpets, but they ultimately did best on hardwood floors.
As far as performance goes, the Roomba 690 did the best at cleaning high carpets. The Roomba 980 did the best at cleaning low carpets. Every Roomba model performed excellently at cleaning hardwood floors.
Other features may also be taken into consideration when you are trying to make a purchasing decision for a Roomba product, but if you are particularly looking for a Roomba that excels in cleaning performance for each surface, then these performance tests may help you determine which Roomba will work best for your floor types.
Along with the Roomba’s level of performance, there are also many other interesting features that the Roomba has to offer aside from outside features such as the price and size. For example, all of the Roomba products we tested can self charge. Some of them are capable of going right back to work after they have received a full charge.
Features such as this can add to the overall quality of the Roomba you are searching for. So take note of all of the special features you want out of your vacuum when you are buying your own.
Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum
The Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum is the most advanced Roomba vacuum that is currently being produced and sold to the public. Along with its excellent scores on cleaning performance tests, this robot is full of all kinds of amazing features. It can run for around 120 minutes on full charge and its advanced navigation and floor mapping will allow it to go anywhere in your house at an efficient rate.
The Roomba 980 robot vacuum is built with a round design and the camera is located in the middle of it, and the Clean button is located directly above it. The design features on the underside include:
- Charging contact pins – The charging contact pins are designed to transmit information to the charging base to give as signal as to when the Roomba is charging.
- Spinning side brush – The spinning side brush is built to rotate while it traps and cleans debris from corners and the edges of furniture.
- Dust bin and HEPA filter – By pulling the release located on the front of the Roomba, you will be able to access the dust bin and HEPA filter in order to clean and remove the debris.
- Dual brushrolls – The dual brushrolls are designed to collect long pet hair from any surface it treads without the concern of getting it tangled within the brush bristles.
Accessories Included: The Roomba 980 also comes with some very useful accessories included, such as:
- Two virtual walls (Dual-Mode Barriers)
- Charging station
The Roomba 980 robot has been proven to work exceptionally well on cleaning the different types of debris used in the cleaning performance tests, barely leaving a trace behind. This Roomba product also worked really well with hardwood floors and cleaned low and high carpets better than the other Roomba products.
Ease of Use
The Roomba 980 can be connected and controlled from the convenience of your smartphone or home assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa. You can set its navigational path and allow it to automatically resume its patch once it has been fully charged. The Power Boost function will allow your Roomba to increase the power of its suction in order to clean in more dirty or hard to reach areas of your house.
The Roomba 980 robot vacuum is great for people who:
- Have a large home that requires constant and thorough cleaning
- Want an extra level of cleaning power with the Power Boost function
- Want two virtual barriers for an easier and more convenient cleaning process, especially for larger homes.
Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum
The Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum is the Roomba model that is one below the Roomba 980. There aren’t too many differences between these two models. The main difference you can find between these two models is that the 980 is equipped with two virtual barriers as well as the special Power Boost mode which is used in cleaning high-traffic area.
The Roomba 960 and 980 look very similar in design. They have the same type of in-board camera as well.
On this 960 robot, you will find the “clean” button located right above the on-board camera. Very convenient placement for easy startup.
This robot also comes equipped with a bumper near the top of the machine while the release hatch where the dust bin is located is at the bottom.
In order to give you the best clean possible, the Roomba 960 has all different types of cleaning brushes on the underside of the machine.
- Spinning side brushes
These side spinning brushes rotate while the Roomba makes its way around your house. They help capture any dust that has collected on the edges and corners of your home and makes the debris accessible for the main brushroll to capture.
- Charging Contact Pins
The charging contact pins are the connection that communicates with the charging station. It helps the Roomba know when it has arrive back at “home base”. The machine will connect itself by the pins to the charger where it will begin recharging the battery for the next round of cleaning.
- Dual brushrolls
The dual brushrolls are rubberized brushes that work together as they spin in opposite directions. As they spin differently, they create an advantage over dust and debris to suck up anything with snagging or tangling the messes together. This is especially useful when capturing pet hair or any type of human hair.
- Dust Bin and HEPA filters
The dust bin can be released and opened from the front of the vacuum. Simply slide out the bin and empty the rubbish and change the HEPA filter as necessary.
Accessories Included: The Roomba 960 vacuum comes equipped with many different types of accessories. Some of these include:
- One virtual wall
- Charging station
The accessories that are featured with the Roomba 960 model are quite similar to that of the Roomba 980 model. You will see the only difference between the two is the 980 model has two virtual walls and the 960 is only equipped with one.
Ease of Use
It is easy to use the Roomba 960 robot vacuum. It is intuitive and features like WIFI, voice control and cleaning schedule make keep your home clean a breeze.
The Roomba 960 model can easily navigate and if it sees an area in your home too large for one charging cycle it will recharge and resume right where it left off.
This Roomba model is perfect for those who:
- Like bells and whistles: If this model fits within your budget, get it. It has many advanced features, a powerful motor, an improved navigator and dirt detection technology.
- Want advanced navigation: Yhe advanced navigation of the Roomba 960 means you will see cleaner and straighter lines. The machine will work with more methodical movements, as well. The onboard camera will assist in creating a map of the area to clean in order to precisely grab every area.
- You have a larger home: If you live in a larger home, the advanced navigation of this model is a big plus. On top of that, you want a battery that will last longer, recharge quickly and resume at the leave off site.
Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum
The Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum model is the least expensive equipped with dual brush rolls, on the market right now.
This model has a 60 minute run time, WiFi, drop detection, and indicator light that signals when the dust bin is full.
Unfortunately, this model does not have a digital map, power boost, and the recharge resume function.
The Roomba 890 robot is designed a bit differently than that of the 900 Roomba series. The 890 has no camera on top. Instead, this model relies on sensors placed around the vacuum that are able to identify obstacles in the way and navigate the area to clean.
The underside of the Roomba 890 is equipped with:
- Wheels: There are two large wheels on each side of the vacuum with one small wheel up at the front to help with navigation as well as navigate different floor types.
- Charging Contact Pins: The charging contact pins are the connection that communicates with the charging station. It helps the Roomba know when it has arrive back at “home base”.
- Spinning Side Brush: This brush rotates to help capture any dust or debris that collects in the edges and corners of your home. It is especially helpful in any area that could be missed due to the Roomba’s round shape.
- Dust bin and HEPA filter: The dust bin on this model has the release latch on the side of the vacuum. You are able to slide out the entire bin along with the HEPA filter in order for an easy empty and clean.
- Dual Brushrolls: The brushrolls work together while spinning in opposite directions to pick up dust and debris without snagging or tangling together.
- Edge Sensors: The edge sensor help the vacuum identity and sense any hazard areas that might cause damage to it and areas that should be handled with caution.
Accessories Included: The Roomba 890 model comes with
- One virtual wall
- Charging station
The accessories basic for this model and pretty much the same as the other Roomba models. This 890 is the first model to have the advanced virtual wall with Lighthouse technology.
Ease of Use
The Roomba 890 robot is actually very intuitive, to no surprise. It is equipped with WiFi, a charger, the advanced virtual wall, and clean button.
Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum
Unlike the other featured Roomba models, the 690 is the only vacuum without the newer rubberized brushrolls. The new brushroll certainly does help pickup pet hair, although older Roomba models still deliver plenty of benefits.
The Roomba 690 robot is a good option for people with short haired pets that don’t shed excessively. If that’s the case for your household, the 690 can be a budget friendly option that still gets the job done, especially considering the difference in price compared to the newest models.
Design: This Roomba looks similar to other models, with the circular design and ‘Clean’ button in the center. It still includes the front bumper, dust cup and filter release, as well as the top seated handle.
Taking a look from below, the 690 includes:
- Bristle Brushroll – As mentioned before, this model doesn’t include the rubberized, dual brushroll, and has a single bristle brush instead. While it may get tangled in longer pet hair, it cleans up shorter hair efficiently.
- Wheels – There’s a smaller wheel toward the front, and two larger wheels situated near the back. This helps the vacuum balance and navigate, even on different flooring.
- Dust bin and HEPA filter – On the top of the 690, there’s a latch you can pull to open the dust bin, where the HEPA filter is also contained.
- Charging Contact Pins – These pins help you know when the Roomba is successfully charging; they’re designed to sense a connection to the charger and give an audible ring to let you know it’s working.
- Edge Sensors – These are located around the bottom edges, and help prevent the 690 from falling off ledges and elevated areas.
- Spinning Side Brush – The side brush helps to keep edges and corners clean by sweeping dust and dirt of the surfaces into the path where the Roomba can gather it up.
Accessories Included: The Roomba 690 robot vacuum comes with:
- Single virtual barrier
- HEPA filter
This model includes the starter accessories such as the charger, virtual barrier, and filter. The virtual barrier is the original style with a single mode, as opposed to the newer versions that allow Halo mode to block off specific items.
Ease of Use: Like other Roomba models, the 690 is user friendly with an intuitive design. You can start the 690 by using your smartphone and wifi capability, through voice command, or by pressing the ‘clean’ button on the top. It also includes a charger and virtual wall for ease of use.
The Roomba 690 robot vacuum is great for people who:
- Don’t have pets with long hair: Since this model uses the older, AeroVac filtration system and original bristle brushrolls, it isn’t ideal for homes that have long haired pets, although it performs well for homes with short haired pets.
- Want the most affordable option with the advanced virtual barrier: The newer virtual wall is perfect for pet owners that need to keep the vacuum away from specific objects like pet beds and accessories, while the older style blocks the vacuum in straight lines.
- Want the best value: Of all the various Roomba models we’ve gone through, the Roomba 690 is by far the best in value, whether you have a home with pets or just need help cleaning, and really, it beats out possibly any other robot vacuum out there.
What’s the best Roomba for dogs & cats?
Here’s the long and short of it: No matter what kind of pet you have, and what length hair they have, Roomba vacuums are a solid investment. For pet owners, there are certain features to take note of when thinking of making a purchase:
Filtration Systems (AeroForce vs. AeroVac)
The AeroVac filtration system is the older design, with the bristle brushroll. This system can have issues with getting tangled from long hair, and the filter isn’t quite as efficient as the newer version, but still works well for short haired pets.
The AeroForce filtration system uses the HEPA filter, which has improved performance, with the rubberized dual brushrolls, which excel in dealing with long pet hair.
Virtual Walls (Advanced vs. Basic)
The Roomba 980, 960, 890, and 690 all include the newer virtual barrier, which allows you to block off a radius around specific items or areas. The infrared light can also block off a straight section up to 10’.
The Roomba 614 and earlier models come with the basic virtual wall, which only blocks a straight path, to prevent entry into hallways or specific rooms.
Run Times (Recharge & Resume vs. Limited)
The 900 series of Roomba models have a more advanced way of dealing with charging and cleaning. They use the ‘Recharge and Resume’ feature, which means that the vacuum can stop cleaning when the battery is low, recharge at the charging dock, and resume the cleaning session when it’s sufficiently charged.
The Recharge & Resume feature is especially helpful for larger households, homes that need more cleaning, or homes with active, messy pets.
Older Roomba vacuums don’t have the ‘Resume’ feature, and can run for about 60 minutes at a time (less than the 900 series, but still sufficient for cleaning in most cases). That means the of the models we’ve reviewed, the 890, 690, and 614 Roomba models (although there are other older Roombas on the market as well) don’t include this feature, but still top many other robot vacuums in their run time.
Are you a pet parent that already uses a Roomba? Would you like to share your experience with how the Roomba you have works for you and your pets? We’d love to hear from you, so send us an email and let us know!
With so many Roombas, it can be difficult to select one. If you’d like a little extra help choosing the one that’s right for you, just send us an email; we’re here to help!