Life is busy. It’s hard to find the time to clean your home properly, especially the floors. Instead of using your time and energy to do the cleaning, the floors could already be cleaned by the time you get home. As long as you have the Roomba 801, of course.
The Roomba is well known in the floor cleaning world, but will the 801 work for you and your home? That’s what I intend to answer in this review. I’ll check out all the features of the Roomba 801, your cleaning options, and the dimensions. If you find that it doesn’t work out for you, I’ll also give you a few other options to help clean your home.
To put it simply though: the 801 is for basic home layouts. It is low maintenance compared to even cheaper models, like the 600 series. Ultimately, it’s a good option that balances features and price.
Who the iRobot Roomba 801 Is For
Before you make your purchase, it’s best to discern whether the Roomba 801 will work for your home. This little cleaner will be best if you:
- Have an open floor plan that’s more hardwood than carpet
- Want better cleaning power than other cleaning robots
- Don’t want to mess with a lot of extra features
Who the Roomba 801 Doesn’t Suit
This is a great vacuum, but the Roomba 801 won’t be worth it if you:
- Have allergies and need an option with HEPA filtration
- You need more options, such as remotes or voice activation
- You live in a smaller area and don’t need the extra cleaning power
Understanding Its Features and Dimensions
I’d like to show you exactly what you’ll get when you make your purchase. It can feel like a lot of Roombas are similar, so I’ll show you the differences with the 801.
Big Improvements in its Battery
In the 800 series specifically, iRobot Roomba 801 has upgraded the lithium-ion battery pack. This means that the batteries are much larger than they were, although the XLife batteries are still just larger lithium-ion packs. They now have a minimum 3300mAh per pack. Basically: the 800 series has a much longer. Compared to the 600 and 700 series, which run for 60 minutes, the 800 series can run for up to 120 minutes.
This depends on your settings, how often you do maintenance, and your floor type though. If you have more carpet, the motor will have to work harder and the runtime will be shorter. The same is true if you have any heavily spoiled areas.
Honestly, it’s pretty much impossible to get the full 120 minutes. I’ve been able to get at least 100 minutes out of a full charge though when cleaning floors between 1100 and 1600 square feet. You’ll get less time if your carpet’s dirtier, of course, but without the extraneous features of other Roomba’s, your battery should last longer.
That being said, you can still find other Roombas that have even better battery life. The 900 series for instance has gone another step up with a 3600mAh battery pack, but the bigger the battery pack, the longer the recharge time.
The Roomba 801 will take a little longer than the 600 and 700 series to charge. It’s not as drastic as I thought it would be though. While the 600 and 700 series take around three hours to charge, the 801 only needs one more, at four. Four hours should be more than enough time to clean your floor before recharging again for the next cleaning cycle, unless you happen to have a large floor.
If that does happen, and your robot vac needs to recharge before resuming cleaning, keep in mind that the 801 will not resume cleaning on its own. It will recharge itself, but you’ll have to restart the cleaning cycle on your own when you’d like it to resume.
You Can Control Your Roomba
Even in the 800 series, there is some difference between Roombas. For instance, at the higher end of the series, the Roomba 890 has wireless communications. This allows you to use the mobile app and voice commands with Amazon Alexa. You are unable to use these features with the Roomba 801.
You do have some local controls nonetheless, which allow you to perform all the actions of the robot vacuum by clicking directly on the unit. You can click on the large central cleaning button to get the 801 started. Create a cleaning schedule from there using the daily and weekly scheduling button. Click the Day, Hour, and Minute buttons to add in a schedule for up to seven days.
You also have the ability to set the Roomba on a spot cleaning mission. Place it in a heavily soiled area, press the spot clean button, and watch the robot complete the cleaning cycle. It will move outward as far as three feet to clean the area completely.
You do actually have the option of a remote control if you’d like to control the Roomba like that. Do keep in mind that you’ll have to buy this separately though. If you can lean down to set your 801 on your own, you might not want to buy the remote from somewhere else.
This is especially true since the 801 doesn’t necessarily work super well with the remote. Many reviewers are very dissatisfied and end up returning the remote. I wasn’t too satisfied myself, but the directional buttons and docking buttons on the remote are nice features. You can also steer the Roomba around your home using the remote. You just need to get the remote to work first.
I’d suggest skipping the remote when you make your purchase if you can spare it. The local controls work just fine.
More Effective and Powerful Cleaning
The 800 series is part of the second generation of motor and suction technology. There are many improvements over the AeroVac with the AeroForce technology.
The suction power is one of these improvements. The motor works to create up to five times the suction power. You can really see the difference too! The vacuum will suck up more dust, dirt, and debris than previous models.
This Roomba 801 is a little smarter too. With new motor speed and adjustments, the robot will detect how far off the ground it is and actually adjust the height of its speed and brush bars by itself. This ensures that it cleans properly on all types of flooring. When it’s on hard floors, the brush bars will be fully extended to sweep across. When it’s on carpeting, those bars will retract to match the height of the carpeting.
It was nice to see the Roomba automatically adjust its own settings, but I did find that it still couldn’t handle shag carpeting. The bars just can’t adjust enough. Honestly though, most robotic vacuums like the Roomba have a hard time on shag carpets.
Check to see if it will work on the carpeting before you leave it alone. Otherwise, if the pile of carpet is too high, it can become tangled in the brush bars. Your 801 will then beep in distress before it shuts down. You’ll have to untangle it yourself and reset the robot. If you’re not home, you’ll need to wait until you return to get your Roomba 801 running again.
If you need something with a HEPA certified filter or something that has more filtration, you might not want to choose the Roomba 801. The air filtration hasn’t improved, still using the same filter as previous models. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the 801 will collect all particles down to 10 microns in size, but this isn’t enough to be HEPA certified.
Those of you with allergies will want a HEPA filter that collects even smaller particles down to 3 microns in size. This means that a HEPA filter will collect 99 percent of allergens in the home compared to the Roomba 801, which will only capture 80 percent of allergens. Granted, this should be good for most homes unless you or someone else has severe allergies.
Alternative Models to Consider
You’ve looked through the Roomba 801 specifications and features. Maybe you’re in love with it, or maybe it doesn’t work for you. You might even just want to see what else is out there before you buy. No matter your reason, I have a few other options here that you might want to consider instead.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see another Roomba robot vacuum on the list. The Roomba 980 is the step up from the 801 and is considered top of the line. There’s a reason for this: you can get all the features you could need. This includes wireless communication for mobile and voice control, along with HEPA filtration too.
You’ll notice that the Roomba 980 has second generation navigation and mapping too with the iAdapt 2.0 technology. It won’t bang into walls or furniture as much. It also won’t clean carpets as well as the 800 series. Yes, it still clean carpets and doesn’t tangle much, but it still doesn’t clean as well.
As part of a previous series, you can still get a great product with the Roomba 690 but at a less expensive price. You won’t have the AeroForce technology, so there will be less suction, although the vacuum still works well. If you were reading about the Roomba 801 and thinking it was too advanced for your home, the 690 is a great option.
This is especially true if your home is small and you don’t need 120 minutes of battery life either. You can run the 690 for an hour and still clean up 1100 square feet. You’ll gain wireless communication with this model too. Log in to the mobile app or give the Roomba 690 a voice command with Amazon Alexa.
bObsweep PetHair Plus
This is the vacuum for you if you have pets or allergies. The PetHair Plus can handle a bunch of pet hair, and has HEPA filtration to boot. It’s best for those of you with hard flooring though, since you don’t have a great ability to clean your carpets with this.
The PetHair Plus doesn’t work for carpeting of any type, although it does work well on hard flooring. You’ll be better off choosing another option if you have a lot of carpeting, even if you still want the HEPA filtration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have any burning questions about the Roomba 801? Well, here are your answers.
Question: Can I contain the iRobot Roomba to a room?
Answer: Containment works with the virtual barriers the iRobot Roomba sets up. Basically, they’re infrared beams that prevent the robot from going in certain areas. Think of something like child gates. You will need to make a separate purchase for the beams. Or you can just set up physical blockades, since the Roomba is made to avoid bumping into things.
Question: Does the Roomba vacuum clean stairs?
Answer: Actually, no, but no robotic vacuum can clean the stairs. It’s not impossible, although I personally wouldn’t want to lift the vacuum for every stair to clean it.
Your Roomba won’t get stuck on the stairs either. It has sensors to prevent it from going over ledges or falling down the stairs. This means it won’t really like cleaning the stairs anyway. You’re better off doing what you would normally do.
Question: How well does the Roomba transition from hardwood to carpets?
Answer: It’s a seamless transition more or less. The technology allows the robot Roomba to move to new terrains easily as long as the difference isn’t over an inch and a half. The brush bars will automatically adjust for a better clean.
If your rugs have fringes or tassels though, you might find your irobot Roomba vacuum getting tangled up. To prevent this, be sure to tuck those fringes underneath when you turn your Roomba on.
The Roomba 801 isn’t for everyone. Of course, it isn’t! It lacks the wireless communication and voice control some people need, and doesn’t have HEPA filtration for those of you with allergies.
If you don’t need the WiFi connection though, and have HEPA on your upright vacuum, the Roomba 801 has a powerful motor to help make cleaning easier. It can handle all floor types relatively easily except shag, get into your corners, and work for as long as you set it. The Roomba 801 is a simple robot that does its job.
If you need the HEPA filtration, or your heart is really set on using the mobile app or voice control, you’ll want to look elsewhere, but otherwise, the Roomba 801 is a solid choice. It may lack some features, but it more than makes up for them in battery life and cleaning power.
What I Like
- Cleans all floor types well
- The AeroForce technology cleans and suctions better than previous models
- You can add optional items like the remote and wall barriers
What I Don’t Like
- No HEPA certification
- You don’t have voice commands
Where to Buy the Roomba 801
Get yours on Amazon. You can check for discounts or free shipping for the Roomba 801.