Roomba vs. Shark Robot Vacuums - Which is best for you?

Find out the difference between various Roomba and Shark robot vacuums, and choose the right one for you from three categories - budget, mid-tier and premium.
Roomba vs. Shark
Updated: 21st Oct 2020
Published: 13th Oct 2020
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By SHN Team

We are the SMARTHOME news team, with over 30 years of combined experience in publishing, tech and no Read More..

1. Comparison Chart
   a) Category Winners
2. Roomba - Brand & Models
3. Shark - Brand & Models
4. Roomba vs. Shark – Comparing the Models
   a) Budget Tier
   b) Mid-Tier
   c) Premium Tier
5. The Perfect Robot Vacuum for Your Home
6. FAQ

 

With so much innovation on the smart home front today, it’s easy to forget one of the first products to appear on the scene. Robot vacuum cleaners have been around since 2002, when the first Roomba models started hitting the market.

Today, there are numerous manufacturers offering a wide range of these little robot helpers. Varying in features and price, it’s certain anyone can find the right one for their home. Over time, two companies have managed to establish themselves as leaders in this niche.

Although it’s possible you haven’t heard of the iRobot company, you’ve definitely heard about their Roomba robotic vacuums. Leading the innovation in this field, their products are considered the best on the market.

Compared to that, the Shark brand has been churning out all kinds of vacuum cleaners for quite some time now. Trying to keep up with current market trends, their robot vacuums are definitely worth considering.

If you’re wondering which is the best, please read on to find out.

Comparison Chart

If you’re interested to compare different features of each relevant product side-by-side, this chart can give you a clear insight in much detail. Please note that the models are sorted by price, from the most to least expensive.

Scroll left to see full table >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

iRobot Roomba S9+ iRobot Roomba i7+ iRobot Roomba 980 Shark IQ RV1001AE iRobot Roomba 960 iRobot Roomba 890 Shark IQ RV1001 iRobot Roomba E5 Shark ION R85 iRobot Roomba 675 Shark ION RV871 iRobot Roomba 614 Shark ION R72 Shark ION R75
Battery 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 3,300 mAh 1,800 mAh 2,600 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 1,800 mAh 2,600 mAh 2,600 mAh
Run Time (approx.) 120 min. 90 min. 120 min. 90 min. 75 min. 90 90 min. 90 min. 90 min. 90 min. 90 min. 90 60 min. 60 min.
Dust Bin Capacity 13.52 fl oz / 0.4 lit. 16. 91 fl oz / 0.5 lit. 10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit 5.41 fl oz / 0.16 lit. 10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit 10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit 25.7 fl oz / 0.76 lit. 20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit. 20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit. 10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit 19.2 fl oz / 0.57 lit 10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit 13.52 fl oz / 0.4 lit. 16 fl oz / 0.47 lit.
Diameter 12.25 in. / 31.75 cm 13.3 in. / 33.78 cm 13.9 in. / 35.31 cm 12.6 in. / 32 cm 13.8 in. / 35.05 cm 13.9 in. / 35.31 cm 12.6 in. / 32 cm 13.3 in. / 33.78 cm 12.8 in. / 32.51 cm 13.4 in. / 34.04 cm 12.8 in. / 32.51 cm 13.9 in. / 35.31 cm 12.6 in. / 32 cm 12.6 in. / 32 cm
Height 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm 3.6 in. / 9.14 cm 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm 3.5 in. / 8.9 cm
Weight 8.15 lbs. / 3.7 kg 7.4 lbs. / 3.4 kg 8.7 lbs. / 3.9 kg 5.87 lbs. / 2.7 kg 8.6 lbs. / 3.9 kg 8.4 lbs. / 3.8 kg 5.7 lbs. / 2.6 kg 7.2 lbs. / 3.3 kg 5.5 lbs. / 2.5 kg 7.8 lbs. / 3.5 kg 5.4 lbs. / 2.45 kg 7.9 lbs. / 3.6 kg 6.6 lbs. / 3 kg 5.3 lbs. / 2.4 kg
Spinning Side Brushes 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 0 2 1 2 2
Brushroll Dual Rollers, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Single Roller, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Dual Rollers, Rubber Single Roller, Bristles Dual Rollers, Bristles, and Composite Materials Single Roller, Rubber Single Roller, Bristles Single Roller, Bristles Single Roller, Bristles
Cleaning path width 10.7 7 in. 7 in. 5.63 in. 7 in. 7 in. 5.63 in. 7 in. 5.9 in. 7 in. 5.9 in. 7 in. 5.9 in. 5.9 in.
Auto Empty Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No No No No No
Self-Charging Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scheduling Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Full Bin Indicator Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Recharge & Resume Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No No No
Cleaning Reports Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes No No No
Wireless Control Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi None Remote Control Wi-Fi
Boundaries In-app Digital Markers In-app Digital Markers + Virtual Barrier Virtual Barrier Boundary Strips Virtual Barrier Virtual Barrier Boundary Strips Virtual Barrier Boundary Strips None Boundary Strips None Boundary Strips Boundary Strips
Price on Amazon $1,299.00 $799.00 $780.00 $599.99 $499.99 $499.00 $449.00 $379.99 $339.99 $299.99 $299.00 $249.99 $251.15 $199.98
Rating on Amazon 4.0 4.3 3.8 4.2 4.4 4.2 4.2 4.4 3.8 4.3 4.4 4.4 4.2 4.0
Rating on Google 4.3 4.2 4.0 3.4 4.1 4.1 3.7 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.2 3.6 3.6
SmartHome Score 4.3 4.4 4 4.1 4.2 4.1 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.1 4 4.1 3.9 3.7
Amazon Product Link Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page Amazon Product Page

Category Winners

The chart below provides a quick overview of which models came out as winners for each of the three categories.

 

Best Budget

Best Mid-tier

Best Premium

Name    

Shark ION R85

Roomba 960

Roomba i7+

Quick Summary

Being the best budget robot vacuum, the R85 offers all the basic functions such products should have. Besides the powerful suction and good battery life, it doesn’t offer any advanced features, which is understandable at this price range

This is by far the best buy robot vacuum you can get. Offering reliable navigation and many advanced features, it’s well worth the price.

Although almost twice as expensive as the best mid-tier model, the i7+ includes many advanced features. Thanks to its class leading navigation and auto empty feature, this is the robot vacuum to go for if you don’t mind the price tag.

Price

$339.99 on Amazon

£266.76 on Amazon

$499.99 on Amazon

£392.30 on Amazon

$799.00 on Amazon

£626.91 on Amazon 

SMARTHOME news

rating

3.9

4.2

4.2

Amazon rating

3.8

4.4

4.3

Average rating on Google

4.0

4.1

4.4

Run time (approx.)

90 minutes

75 minutes

90 minutes

Recharge and resume

No

Yes

Yes

Cleaning path width

5.9 in.

7 in.

7 in.

Cleaning rollers

Single roller with bristles

Dual rollers made of rubber.

Dual rollers made of rubber.

Auto empty option

No

No

Yes

Boundaries

Boundary strips

Virtual barrier

In-app digital markers + virtual barrier

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Good suction power
  • App and voice commands
  • Precise and reliable navigation
  • Recharge and resume feature
  • Free “Virtual Wall Barrier”
  • Tangle-free rollers
  • Auto empty feature
  • Class leading navigation
  • Advanced barrier identification
  • Recharge and resume feature

Cons

  • Navigates randomly
  • Inefficient use of battery
  • Uses outdated boundary strips
  • Bristled brush tangles up long and pet hair
  • Expensive
  • Could use better battery life
  • Expensive
  • Auto empty feature uses disposable dust bags

Roomba - Brand & Models

iRobot is an American company that’s been around since 1990 and has a pretty strong pedigree. Three former members of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab decided at one point to use their knowledge and make their own company. Banking on their experience in creating robots for space exploration and military defense, they ended up creating robot vacuum cleaners.

So, in 2002, the very first Roomba model hit the market. Today, iRobot mostly revolves around their robotic Roomba vacuum cleaners and Braava floor moppers. Of course, the Roomba lineup is the more popular of the two.

In the list below you can see some of the notable models in iRobot’s Roomba range, separated into three price categories.

  • Premium
    • Roomba S9+
    • Roomba i7+
    • Roomba 980
  • Mid-Tier
    • Roomba 960
    • Roomba 890
  • Budget
    • Roomba E5
    • Roomba 675
    • Roomba 614

Besides the S9+ and i7+ models, Roomba also offers these as standalone robot cleaners without the auto empty option. These models are known simply as the S9 and i7.

To compare specs and feature of the Roomba models mentioned above, please check the table below.

 

iRobot Roomba S9+

iRobot Roomba i7+

iRobot Roomba 980

iRobot Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba 890

iRobot Roomba E5

iRobot Roomba 675

iRobot Roomba 614

Battery

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

3,300 mAh

2,600 mAh

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

Run Time (approx.)

120 min.

90 min.

120 min.

75 min.

90

90 min.

90 min.

90

Dust Bin Capacity

13.52 fl oz / 0.4 lit.

16. 91 fl oz / 0.5 lit.

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit.

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

Spinning Side Brushes

2

1

1

1

1

1

0

1

Brushroll

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Bristles, and Composite Materials

Single Roller, Bristles

Cleaning path width

10.7

7 in.

7 in.

7 in.

7 in.

7 in.

7 in.

7 in.

Auto Empty

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

Self-Charging

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Recharge & Resume

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Cleaning Reports

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Wireless Control

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

None

Boundaries

In-app Digital Markers

In-app Digital Markers + Virtual Barrier

Virtual Barrier

Virtual Barrier

Virtual Barrier

Virtual Barrier

None

None

Amazon Product Link

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Rating on Amazon

4.0

4.3

3.8

4.4

4.2

4.4

4.3

4.4

 

 

Shark - Brand & Models

Shark is a product brand of the US-based company Shark Ninja. Along with their Ninja line of kitchen appliances, the company provides all kinds of vacuum cleaners under their Shark brand. To keep up with the market demand, they’ve ventured into robotic vacuums as well. Today, they have a wide range of robot vacuums, offering them at pretty affordable prices.

Shark offers their models in two distinct series. While the IQ series includes premium models, ION models provide more budget-friendly robot vacuums. In the list below, you can find some of the notable Shark robotic vacuums.

  • IQ Series
    • Shark IQ RV1001AE
    • Shark IQ RV1001
  • ION Series
    • Shark ION RV871
    • Shark ION R85
    • Shark ION R75
    • Shark ION R72

To compare some of the basic specs and features of the Shark robot vacuums, check the table below:

Shark IQ RV1001AE

Shark IQ RV1001

Shark ION R85

Shark ION RV871

Shark ION R72

Shark ION R75

Battery

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

2,600 mAh

2,600 mAh

Run Time (approx.)

90 min.

90 min.

90 min.

90 min.

60 min.

60 min.

Dust Bin Capacity

5.41 fl oz / 0.16 lit.

25.7 fl oz / 0.76 lit.

20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit.

19.2 fl oz / 0.57 lit

13.52 fl oz / 0.4 lit.

16 fl oz / 0.47 lit.

Spinning Side Brushes

2

2

2

2

2

2

Brushroll

Single Roller, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Single Roller, Bristles

Single Roller, Rubber

Single Roller, Bristles

Single Roller, Bristles

Cleaning path width

5.63 in.

5.63 in.

5.9 in.

5.9 in.

5.9 in.

5.9 in.

Auto Empty

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Self-Charging

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Recharge & Resume

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Cleaning Reports

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Wireless Control

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Remote Control

Wi-Fi

Boundaries

Boundary Strips

Boundary Strips

Boundary Strips

Boundary Strips

Boundary Strips

Boundary Strips

Amazon Product Link

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Rating on Amazon

4.2

4.2

3.8

4.4

4.2

4.0

 

 

Roomba vs. Shark – Comparing the Models

To be able to decide which model is the best fit for you, it’s important to determine your requirements first. When choosing between different models and especially different brands, there’s a lot to you should take into consideration. In most cases, people make their decision by analyzing the price, features, and performance of a product.

Just like with any other device you buy, there’s one general rule of thumb that can serve as a starting criteria, and that’s the price. Of course, depending on how much you’re willing to spend on a robotic vacuum cleaner will determine what kind of features you can expect to get from the device.

To make that analysis easier, it’s best to separate robot vacuums into three price tiers – Budget Tier, Mid-Tier, and Premium Tier. If you’ve set your budget for the purchase up front, this will definitely help you save time analyzing products that are just out of your price range. This will also allow you to find the best balance between the price and features you get with each model.

Budget Tier

When considering which robotic vacuum cleaner to buy, be prepared to shell out a decent amount of money. If you don’t actually care about all the bells and whistles more premium models have, then look no further than the budget tier.

Opting for a more affordable option doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a crappy device. Quite the contrary. Besides the basic features, some of the models in this range will surprise you with some of the things they can do. Of course, when looking at the budget models you have to be aware that these devices are intended for smaller home layouts. That being said, they can be a perfect solution for one-bedroom apartments or certain sections of a larger house.

Shark ION R85 vs. Roomba E5

In this category, clear rivals are the Shark ION R85 and the Roomba E5. Both models come with the basic set of features a robot vacuum should have. As mentioned above, at this price level, you can’t expect some of the advanced options pricier models feature.

BUDGET CATEGORY

iRobot Roomba E5

Shark ION R85

Battery

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

Run Time (approx.)

90 min.

90 min.

Dust Bin Capacity

20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit.

20.29 fl oz / 0.6 lit.

Spinning Side Brushes

1

2

Brushroll

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Single Roller, Bristles

Cleaning path width

7 in.

5.9 in.

Auto Empty

No

No

Self-Charging

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Recharge & Resume

No

No

Cleaning Reports

No

No

Wireless Control

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Boundaries

Virtual Barrier

Boundary Strips

Amazon Product Link

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Rating on Amazon

4.4

3.8

Shark ION R85

Shark ION R85

Shark developed the R85 as the successor to the R75 robot vacuum cleaner of their ION series. Along with much stronger suction power than the previous model, the R85 has also received an increase of 50% to its battery life.

Although it’s slightly larger and has less battery capacity (2600 mAh for R75 and 1800 mAh for R85), the run time between two charging cycles is now 90 minutes. Compared to that, the R75 would have to stop cleaning and head back to the charging station after only 60 minutes of operation. That 30-minute improvement really makes a difference if you’re living in anything larger than a one-bedroom apartment.

Besides these two welcome improvements, there aren’t any other significant steps forward with the newer model. The R85 still doesn’t have any kind of navigation to provide for a guided and logical cleaning path. Instead, it will clean randomly and adjust the trajectory after bumping into furniture or walls. Fortunately, these collisions are very light as Shark uses touch sensors that activate immediately upon impact, telling the robot to change its course.

To prevent the R85 from wandering into certain spaces, you’ll have to stick Shark’s boundary strips to the floor. When your robot approaches the strip, it will recognize it as a no-go territory, allowing you to wall-off that area. For example, you might want to prevent the R85 from hitting your pet’s water bowl, so it doesn’t spill all over the floor. The same applies to floor vases. Although this method is outdated by today’s standards, it still does the job.

Another thing worth pointing out is that the R85 has a brush with bristles in its main rollers. This will cause long hair to eventually get stuck. True, it has a self-cleaning system for the roller brush, but it will still require you to manually remove long hair. And if you have pets in your home, the process gets a bit more complicated.

Even without the advanced features the more expensive models have, the Shark ION R85 can clean pretty well without making too much noise. Which is absolutely acceptable, considering the price.

Pros:

  • An affordable robot vacuum cleaner
  • Decent battery life
  • Has two side brushes
  • Good cleaning suction
  • Fairly large dust container
  • You can control it using an app or voice commands

Cons:

  • Navigates randomly
  • Doesn’t use the battery life efficiently
  • Boundary strips are not an elegant solution for walling off areas around your home
  • Uses bristled brush in its rollers which requires occasional manual cleaning
iRobot Roomba E5

iRobot Roomba E5

iRobot’s Roomba E5 comes with an 1800 mAh battery which provides 90 minutes of uninterrupted cleaning time. And thanks to the seven-inch cleaning path width – a standard for all Roomba models – it will cover more ground in one cleaning cycle. With a powerful suction and twin brushless rollers, you don’t have to worry about long and pet hair anymore. It will pass straight to the dust container, without getting stuck anywhere in the process.

Unfortunately, the Roomba E5 doesn’t have any kind of smart navigation. Instead, it will move randomly, sensing obstacles and avoiding them without any logical pattern. To compensate for this, the E5 has a seven-inch cleaning path width, allowing it to cover more ground in one cleaning cycle. Thanks to the integrated obstacle sensors, you can be sure the E5 won’t go around your home bumping into walls and furniture.

With Virtual Wall Barrier, an innovative infra-red system, you can prevent the Roomba E5 from entering certain areas of your home. This standalone device allows you to place it anywhere, controlling the access of your robot vacuum cleaner. Since it’s not fixed to the floor, you can easily move it around your home. Using multiple Virtual Wall Barriers, you can fully customize the cleaning area for your Roomba E5. Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase these devices on your own, since they’re not included in the box.

On the downside, the Roomba E5 isn’t exactly cheap. That’s especially true since it comes with a similar set of features you can find in more affordable models on the market.

Pros:

  • Has twin brushless rollers which don’t allow for hair to get stuck
  • Reliable performance
  • Great customer support
  • Uses Virtual Wall Barriers to wall-off certain areas of your home

Cons:

  • Navigates randomly
  • Too expensive for a vacuum robot without a navigation system
  • Virtual Wall Barriers are sold separately
  • Noisier than the competition

Shark ION R85 vs. Roomba E5

 
 
Please change percentage here -> 82
 
 
Please change percentage here -> 75

Winner: Shark ION RV85

Comparing the Shark ION R85 to the iRobot Roomba E5, the first thing of note is the price difference. When looking for a device on a strict budget, every cent counts. In that sense, Shark’s robot vacuum is definitely a better choice.

Both models come with an 1800 mAh battery which allows for 90 minutes of cleaning time. However, thanks to a better sensor system and wider cleaning path, the Roomba E5 will use this time much more efficiently. But when it comes to suction power, the Shark takes the win in this area.

Using brushless rollers, both models are capable of preventing long hair to tangle up. With almost identical dust bin capacity, neither one has an upper hand in this area either.

When you consider the features and pricing, the R85 offers almost the same level of performance at a significantly lower price than the Roomba E5. That’s why the Shark ION R85 is a winner in the budget category.

Mid-Tier

The major benefit of the mid-tier over the budget tier is that these pricier devices don’t act randomly at all. Thanks to their capability to learn the layout of your home, they can fully optimize each cleaning run. This in turn allows them to perform more efficiently on one battery charge than the devices without this ability.

Venturing in this price range, all models come with almost the same set of basic features. That’s why it all comes down to how well each of the robot vacuums can navigate around your home.

iRobot Roomba 960 vs. Shark IQ RV1001

Out of all the Shark and Roomba models in the mid-tier category, the ones that provide a good balance at a decent price are the Roomba 960 and the Shark IQ RV1001. When you look at the specs in the table below, it seems like Shark’s model gets the upper hand in this duel. The only way to see which one is the best is to go into more detail and about well they perform the cleaning jobs around your home.

MID-TIER CATEGORY

iRobot Roomba 960

Shark IQ RV1001

Battery

2,600 mAh

1,800 mAh

Run Time (approx.)

75 min.

90 min.

Dust Bin Capacity

10.14 fl oz / 0.3 lit

25.7 fl oz / 0.76 lit.

Spinning Side Brushes

1

2

Brushroll

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Cleaning path width

7 in.

5.63 in.

Auto Empty

No

No

Self-Charging

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Recharge & Resume

Yes

Yes

Cleaning Reports

Yes

Yes

Wireless Control

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Boundaries

Virtual Barrier

Boundary Strips

Amazon Product Link

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Rating on Amazon

4.4

4.2

iRobot Roomba 960

iRobot Roomba 960

Using a 2600 mAh battery, the Roomba 960 has the autonomy of approximately 75 minutes between two charging cycles. Although some cheaper models provide more cleaning time with less battery capacity, with the Roomba 960 you don’t have to worry about that. Thanks to the “recharge and resume” system, this robot vacuum will continue its cleaning routine once it recharges itself. Of course, once the battery is full, it will resume where it left off without any issues.

With dual rubberized cleaning rollers, you can be sure no long hair or pet hair will get caught for you to untangle. The wide cleaning path of seven inches allows Roomba 960 to cover more ground with less passes, making the best use of the battery.

When it comes to navigation, unlike budget tier models, this category brings smart automation to your home. With the system that learns the layout of your home, the Roomba 960 quickly adjusts its route to create an optimal cleaning path. Utilizing several cameras, it scans your home to obtain as straight cleaning lines as possible.

Just like its cheaper sibling the Roomba E5, the Roomba 960 uses infra-red Virtual Wall Barriers to allow you to wall-off certain areas of your home. Although these are available separately, iRobot provides up to two free barrier devices, depending on the offer you can get.

Pros:

  • Maps the layout of your home to achieve the optimal cleaning path
  • Recharge and resume features allow it to continue cleaning until the job is done
  • Comes with a free Virtual Wall Barrier device
  • Tangle-free rubberized cleaning rollers prevent hair accumulation

Cons:

  • More expensive than competition in this range
  • Could have a better battery life so it can do more cleaning in one run
Shark IQ RV1001

Shark IQ RV1001

Benefiting from pretty powerful suction, the Shark IQ RV1001 can scoop up dirt much faster. Along with its 1800 mAh battery and 90-minute cleaning run time, it will definitely keep your house clean with ease. And what it can’t clean in one run, it will automatically return to finish up as soon as it recharges.

Like most robot vacuum cleaners in this price range, the RV1001 also uses a set of two rubberized rollers to pick up dust and dirt. By not using brushes with bristles, you can rest easy knowing no long hair will jam up the rollers. This is also ideal for pet owners who know how tiresome this gets with conventional vacuum cleaners.

Unlike more affordable models, the RV1001 uses smart navigation to handle its cleaning runs. Using Shark’s mobile app, you can even select which rooms you’d like RV1001 to clean. Of course, it can also learn the layout of your home, although not as precisely as Roomba models. In fact, the navigation is quite unreliable at times. Hopefully, this is something Shark can definitely work to improve with future models.

Although the RV1001 is a more premium model than the RV871, it still comes with the outdated barrier strips. Although you get an eight foot long strip in the box, this might prove not enough if your home layout is of medium size.

Pros:

  • More affordable than the equivalent Roomba model
  • Good run time on one battery charge
  • Recharge and resume feature works as intended
  • Rubber rollers prevent long and pet hair to tangle up

Cons:

  • Navigation can be unreliable at times
  • Uses boundary strips to wall off certain areas in your home

iRobot Roomba 960 vs. Shark IQ RV1001

 
 
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Please change percentage here -> 78

Winner: Roomba 960

When you look at the specs both the Shark IQ RV1001 and the Roomba 960 come with, they appear quite similar. Of course, the price tag on the Shark is much lower than what you need to fork out for the Roomba.

They both include tangle-free rubber rollers, are able to recharge and resume their cleaning section, and are powerful enough to clean any type of surface.

Although the Shark IQ RV1001 has a smaller battery capacity, it manages to achieve a cleaning range of 90 minutes. This is 15 minutes longer than the Roomba 960, even if the Roomba has 800 mAh more than the Shark. That’s probably due to its larger size and weight.

Unfortunately for the RV1001, its unreliable navigation tends to squander this fact, allowing the Roomba 960 to reign in the navigation arena. Additionally, the Roomba’s larger seven-inch cleaning path allows it to make fewer cleaning passes, thus saving battery even more. Using the mobile app to control every single aspect of its performance, you can further optimize the Roomba’s cleaning runs.

Although the Shark IQ RV1001 is the cheaper of the two, the higher price tag in this battle really brings benefits you can feel. Along with their unparalleled customer support, as well as with the quality of overall performance and reliability, the Roomba 960 is the one to choose in the mid-tier price segment.

Premium Tier

Finally, the premium tier gets all the spotlight. This is only fair since the devices in this category bring the full spectrum of features today’s robotic vacuums showcase. One of the major features you get when you venture in this price range is the auto-empty capability.

This feature allows your robot cleaner to empty its dust bin straight into the charging station. Of course, this is possible thanks to an integrated collection box of a fairly large capacity. This way, you won’t have to open up the vacuum and throw away the debris as often as you’d do without this feature.

Roomba i7+ vs. Shark IQ RV1001AE

In the premium arena, two flagship models face off against each other. For Roomba, it’s the i7+, a model that’s second from the top in their lineup, right beneath the S9+. And for Shark, the IQ RV1001AE defends the honor of its maker.

Both robot vacuums come with a revolutionary auto empty feature and a host of other advanced features. Of course, there are some slight differences that pop up at first glance. And again, the only way to decide a winner, is to look at all the details of their performance.

PREMIUM CATEGORY

iRobot Roomba i7+

Shark IQ RV1001AE

Battery

1,800 mAh

1,800 mAh

Run Time (approx.)

90 min.

90 min.

Dust Bin Capacity

16. 91 fl oz / 0.5 lit.

5.41 fl oz / 0.16 lit.

Spinning Side Brushes

1

2

Brushroll

Dual Rollers, Rubber

Single Roller, Rubber

Cleaning path width

7 in.

5.63 in.

Auto Empty

Yes

Yes

Self-Charging

Yes

Yes

Scheduling

Yes

Yes

Recharge & Resume

Yes

Yes

Cleaning Reports

Yes

Yes

Wireless Control

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi

Boundaries

In-app Digital Markers + Virtual Barrier

Boundary Strips

Amazon Product Link

Amazon Product Page

Amazon Product Page

Rating on Amazon

4.3

4.2

Roomba i7+

Roomba i7+

Although this isn’t the top model in iRobot’s Roomba lineup, the i7+ strikes a decent balance between the price and features. Compared to that, the Roomba i9+ is a slightly better device for sure, but it’s just too expensive, costing over a thousand dollars.

Comparing the i7+ to the Roomba 960, the former just tops it in almost every category. It provides more powerful suction, improved navigation, as well as the auto-empty feature. As mentioned above, this allows it to empty its dust bin into the large container mounted on the charging base. Now, every time it needs to recharge, it will also dump its waste into the container.

The only down-side to the Roomba’s auto empty feature is that it uses bags to collect the debris in the charging base. Although this is quite convenient, it will slightly increase the maintenance price, since you’ll have to buy new dust bags from time to time.

As far as battery performance is concerned, the i7+ provides the standard 90 minutes of autonomy. Using the intelligent mapping of your home and optimizing the cleaning patterns, this is sufficient even for larger homes. And with the recharge and resume function, you can be sure no cleaning job will end up incomplete.

Getting back to the topic of navigation, the improvements are quite substantial here as well. Using the mobile app, you can select which rooms you want your Roomba to clean, as well as set virtual walls. This way you can forget about placing the infra-red barrier devices around your home. Instead, simply mark off the areas you don’t want the robot to enter and that’s it.

Of course, the Roomba i7+ comes with tangle-free rubber rollers, fall and barrier sensors, as well as the trademark seven-inch cleaning path width.

Pros:

  • Auto-empty feature
  • Class-leading navigation
  • Virtual barriers via the mobile app
  • Detailed map of each cleaning session
  • Recharge and resume function

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Uses the dust bag system in the charging base for the auto empty feature equals more expense in the long run
Shark IQ RV1001AE

Shark IQ RV1001AE

In the case of this model’s name, the AE stands for Auto Empty. As previously stated, this feature is the mark of premium models and it comes at a pretty steep price. Luckily, Shark offers their premium model at a quite competitive price. Additionally, unlike Roomba, Shark opted for a bagless auto empty system. Although not as elegant as taking out the bag and throwing it in the trash, having no bag will save you from the additional maintenance costs.

Compared to cheaper Shark models, the RV1001AE does benefit from a slightly better navigation. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to provide the best optimization when deciding which route to take during a cleaning cycle. The mobile app allows you to choose which rooms to clean for the next run, but that pretty much sums it up.

Of course, like the models in the lower tiers, the RV1001AE also uses rubberized rollers that prevent long hair from tangling up. It has the usual 90-minute operation time between the charging cycles and a 5.63-inch cleaning path width, a standard for Shark robot vacuums.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price for an auto empty robot vacuum
  • Auto empty feature
  • Strong suction power
  • Bagless auto empty design

Cons:

  • Navigation and home mapping aren’t precise enough
  • It takes a lot of time to learn your home layout
  • Uses barrier strips to wall off areas in your home

Roomba i7+ vs. Shark IQ RV1001AE

 
 
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Winner: Roomba i7+

Pitting the Roomba i7+ against the Shark IQ RV1001AE in the premium category proved to be quite competitive – despite the significant difference in their price tags. Besides the usual features other robot vacuums provide, both are able to clean without interruption for full 90 minutes, recharge and get back to cleaning.

As the hot feature in the premium segment, the i7+ and RV1001AE include the auto empty feature as well. The only difference is in the way they approach it.

The Roomba i7+ employs an elegant solution for collecting dust and debris using a dust bag in its charging station. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting dirty while cleaning the large bin. This is especially useful for anyone who suffers from dust, pollen, and animal hair allergies.

Compared to that, the Shark IQ RV1001AE uses a bagless design. Instead of a bag which you have to replace from time to time, Shark lets you simply empty the bin in a trash can and place it back on the charging unit. Although this might have unfavorable implications for people with allergies, it will save you money in the long run.

When it comes to navigation, both devices are capable of learning the layout of your home and use it to optimize the cleaning routes. Unfortunately, the quality and precision of Shark’s navigation don’t even come close to Roomba’s market-leading system. By scanning the surrounding area, the Roomba i7+ will quickly get its bearings and choose the most efficient route to clean your home.

Coupled with the best mobile app on the marked and unparalleled customer support, the Roomba i7+ comes out as a winner from this duel. And if you wonder about the price, rest assured, it’s certainly justifiable.

The Perfect Robot Vacuum for Your Home

Hopefully, this article helped you choose the best robot vacuum cleaner for your home. Depending on the size of the area you want to keep clean, as well as your budget, there’s lots of models to choose from. Thanks to the huge variety of Shark and iRobot’s Roomba models, chances are you won’t have any trouble finding the right fit.

As you can see, Roomba starts with a higher price tag, immediately dissuading the price-conscious customers. But, after you learn about all the features these robot vacuums provide, it’s certain this will nudge you in their direction. Of course, each Roomba has an adequate rival in Shark. And they try to vie for your attention by allowing you to leave a few hard-earned bucks in your wallet.

But when you go into more detail on each of the products, you’ll see there’s a delicate balance between the features and the price. If you’re dead set on getting the cheapest model that works well, then Shark’s ION R85 is the one for you. And you won’t be sorry at all.

If you decide to spend a little more on a robotic vacuum cleaner and you care about reliable performance, the Roomba 960 will fit right in. With an ideal mix of precise navigation, good battery life, and recharge and resume features, there won’t be any cleaning jobs left to wait.

Finally, if you have a large floor area and don’t want to constantly take care of your little robot, the premium models will perform perfectly. With their auto empty feature, it will take around 30 cleaning sessions until you have to empty the large dust bin mounted on the charging station. Of course, this comes at a price, but in the case of Roomba i7+, it’s a well-earned one.

FAQ

How much electricity a robot vacuum can use?

By some estimates a standard robotic vacuum spends only $4-$5 a year in electricity. That’s really not that much, is it? This calculation is based on an average use of once every two days. During the non-operating hours, the battery will keep recharging as it constantly loses power. Of course, this consumption is called trickle-charging, meaning it uses very little electricity to keep your battery at 100%.

Compared to a 1400W traditional or upright vacuum cleaner, the difference isn’t really that significant. If you run this type of vacuum for four hours per month in total, it will spend some $6-$7 dollars in electricity per year.

Of course, take these figures just as a comparison and not the hard facts. The cost can range widely depending on the electricity price in your area and how often you use your robot vacuum.

Can I throw away my old vacuum cleaner once I get a robotic one?

Please don’t. Although robot vacuums do a solid job of cleaning your house of dirt, dust, and debris, you’ll still need your traditional vacuum cleaner from time to time. There will be some areas around your home that a robot vacuum just can’t get to. For example, if you’ve carpeted the staircase in your house, that’s not something these devices can clean. This is where your old vacuum comes in.

You may also block off certain portions of your home on purpose. This will prevent the robot from spilling your pet’s water bowl, for instance. There might be an old vase you like standing in the corner of your living room. You certainly don’t want it knocked over, do you? That’s why you’ll have to clean these areas by yourself, using the old vacuum.

Will a vacuum robot fall down the stairs once it gets to the edge?

It shouldn’t. Most robot vacuums, if not all, have downward pointing sensors dedicated especially to detecting any difference in height or type of surface they’re encountering. The main reason being to prevent them from falling down the stairs. After all, these are not the cheapest pieces of equipment you have in your home.

Are dark-colored floors an obstacle for robot vacuums?

As mentioned in the previous question, robot vacuums use sensors to detect the change in the surface that’s in front of them. This is mainly to prevent them from falling down the stairs or ledges you may have in your house. That’s why they see the dark surface color as a threat, and don’t want to venture further.

One solution to this problem is to pick up your little robot and place it on the darkest spot on your floor or carpet. Whichever your robot has a problem with. Then, start the cleaning cycle and it should be able to recognize that your floor doesn’t pose a threat to it. If your robot has decent mapping capabilities, it should remember that spot as a no-threat zone and clean it without any glitches in the future.

If this doesn’t solve your problem, you can consider taping over its downward sensors that keep it from falling over a ledge. It goes without saying that this isn’t something you should do, especially if you’re vacuuming the top floor of your house. Without the sensors, it will definitely fall down the stairs, breaking up into pieces as it does.

Are there any floor or carpet types that don’t work for robot vacuums?

More advanced robot vacuums can work with any type of floor or carpet. Just look at the manual and check if it’s rated for all floor types. If so, it shouldn’t have any problems cleaning anything you throw under it.

That being said, most manufacturers throw in various carpet types into one “carpet” category. Although there are some robot vacuums that really don’t care what kind of carpet you have, others may encounter some issues with certain carpet types.

Robot vacuums with low clearance might struggle even with medium pile carpets. Not to mention the ones with high pile. These could make your robot throw an error as soon as it steps on such a surface. If you have this kind of problem, make sure to return your vacuum and change it for a more capable model. If not, you’ll have to vacuum that carpet by yourself using a traditional vacuum cleaner.

What happens if my robot vacuum encounters long fringe of my carpet?

Long carpet fringe may be a problem for some robot vacuums. However, they shouldn’t be strong enough to rip them out. Once your robot encounters the long fringe, it will suck it in and the fringe will get stuck in the cleaning rollers. When that happens, the robot will stop and register an error code. Then, you’ll have to pick it up and remove the fringe from the rollers.

With some Roomba models though, this won’t present any problem at all. When it sucks in some of that long fringe and get stuck, it will reverse the rollers and untangle itself. Once it does, it should mark that as an obstacle, and go around it. Of course, it will probably run into longer fringe along the way, but worry not, in the end, it will continue its cleaning cycle.

Can I expect a robot vacuum to go banging into walls and furniture?

Yes and no. This mainly depends on the model you buy. Roomba robot vacuums use photo sensors to detect if there are any obstacles in front or around them. This allows them to easily navigate around obstacles without hitting them in the process.

Compared to that, Shark robot vacuums use a different sensing system. To know when they approach an obstacle, they first have to hit it. Although this sounds silly, it actually isn’t. Shark uses pressure sensors placed all around their edge. Once they hit an obstacle, they know they did it, and will adjust their trajectory to go around it.

This may not be the most sophisticated method of detecting obstacles, but it shouldn’t have any impact on your walls or furniture. Pun not intended, of course. The robot’s moving speed is quite slow and the sensors are sensitive enough that it takes only a slight touch for them to stop the robot.

Is it possible to program robot vacuums manually?

In most cases, you won’t be able to do any programming or scheduling without a dedicated mobile app. That being said, some basic programming might be possible on certain models of robot vacuums. Of course, this depends on the level of features they come with.

Into the basic programming category falls in the option to press a button on your robot vacuum to tell it to start the cleaning cycle. Also, if you press the button again during its cleaning run, it will stop, and in most cases return to its charging station. If it doesn’t have the self-charging option, you’ll have to carry it by yourself, of course.

Another case where you might want to use manual programming is when your Wi-Fi network loses the internet connection. If this takes too long, you can create a private network from your computer, allowing your mobile phone and your robot vacuum to communicate without the Internet. It goes without saying that you’ll have to Google the instructions using your phone’s mobile network first.

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