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iRobot Roomba 800 Series ditches bristles for improved performance


November 13, 2013

The Roomba 800 Series has no bristles

The Roomba 800 Series has no bristles

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According to iRobot, the global market for vacuum cleaners costing over US$200 is worth $6 billion a year. The company is looking to grab a greater share of this pie with its new Roomba 800 Series robot vacuum that was rolled out this week. The 800 Series boasts a number of innovations, the biggest of which is its new AeroForce Extractors, which see conventional bristles replaced with textured rollers to provide what the company claims is a 50 percent improvement in performance.

From the outside, the 800 Series doesn't look too different from its earlier incarnations. The thick, plastic robotic disc still cruises about the room either on command or according to a preset schedule, it still comes with Virtual Wall barriers to keep it away from where it shouldn't be and Virtual Wall Lighthouses to guide it from room to room.

The 800 Series can detect dirt and debris, provide “elbow grease” to particularly dirty areas and even has a Spot Clean Mode that can be activated from its remote control. When its HEPA-filtered bin is full, it lets its owner know, and when its battery runs low, it goes back to base for a quick charge.

However, what's new isn't what’s been put in, but what’s been left out. In this case, it’s bristles.

“Bristle brushes have been around for a hundred years. With these new AeroForce Extractors, we've invented a completely different way to clean your floor,” says Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. “With the Roomba 800 Series and AeroForce technology, iRobot is disrupting the floor care category yet again.”

According to iRobot, the bristles in the 800 series have been replaced by the new AeroForce system, featuring AeroForce Extractors. Instead of bristles, these are a set of angled, textured rollers that are counter rotating. The Extractors accelerate the air flowing between them with a suction five times stronger than in previous Roomba models. The company claims that this breaks up dirt and debris with 50 percent greater efficiency.

The upshot of this, says iRobot, is not only better cleaning, but less maintenance because eliminating the bristles also eliminates tangled hair, which should make dog owners happy. In addition, the bin is 60 percent larger and the new XLife battery battery doubles the cleaning cycles over the life of the robot.

The first of the Roomba 800 series, the Roomba 880, is available in North America for $699.99.

The video below shows the features of the Roomba 800 Series.

Source: iRobot

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

I've tried a couple versions of roomba vacuums. I was mildly impressed, but not enough to keep it going. Basically they were good for one room. Set it up, close the door, let it run, vacuum the rest of the house yourself. They get closer each iteration, but not close enough, yet. And the price? Ah, need to get it down to $100 and you'll sell a bunch of these. At $100, I may even break down and get another one, for one room.

David Finney

I have four carpets in my one room, 16' x 16' hardwood floor apartment. Dust accumulates on shelves and the table, but not the floor. I have a Roomba 770 run every day. Every evening I return to find the carpets fluffed and clean. Fantastic job. Once a week maintenance of the machine, and I'm glad I bought the thing. When I have a larger place I'll buy two. For sure. They're cool machines.


If you're like me you like this idea but are waiting for them to get good enough and cheap enough to be worthwhile. To my mind I hesitate to buy one now knowing there will be a better, cheaper one next year. If I was iRobot, I'd offer heavy discounts for upgrades to new models for customers brave enough to "jump on the bandwagon" early. If they did that I might jump on myself.


Conspicuous lack of audio from the demos (and lack of sound mention in the article). My Roomba is almost completely unusable, because it's so noisy.


I agree that hair removal from brushes can be a drag, but suction alone will not remove long wife-hair from a carpet.

Very happy with my Roboking, black cat hair on white tiles and light carpets used to suck. Nice and quiet-ish

Those of you waiting for an autonomous vehicle (with room mapping, a good battery, self-recharging and ability to return to the same spot in the next room after recharging) to come down in price much may be kidding yourselves.


It's still just a robotic carpet sweeper, not a vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaners, the only appliance where sucking more means it's better. ;-)

Gregg Eshelman
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