The robot vacuum tech race has been progressing for many years. Two manufacturers that have stuck out for most of this duration are Bobsweep and iRobot. Bobsweep’s BOB line includes the well known PetHair model and its older brother the PetHair Plus, the proclaimed “MVP” of the brand. This comparison will breakdown these two brands for you and will label the importance of their features.
These are, as they state on the tin, designed to address all your pet hair concerns at home. iRobot’s Roomba product line is the best-known set of robot vacuums in the world. Their Wifi enabled Roombas including the 690, 890, 960 and 980 have the best features you can get from a robot vacuum.
Roomba has a much larger line of products than Bobsweep, so this comparison of these brands will pick out the similarly matched Roomba 690 against the BOB PetHair as well as the Roomba 980 against PetHair Plus.
iRobot has released a new Roomba i7+ since this was written with its own auto disposal system. Read about why it is the best Roomba yet.
Read also: iLife vs Roomba
- 1 Comparison Table
- 2 Bobsweep PetHair vs Roomba 690
- 2.1 Design
- 2.2 Dimensions & Weight
- 2.3 Navigation Features
- 2.4 Connectivity and Voice Control
- 2.5 Cleaning Capabilities
- 2.6 Battery Life
- 3 BOB PetHair Plus vs Roomba 980
- 3.1 Design
- 3.2 Navigation
- 3.3 Connectivity
- 3.4 Cleaning Capabilities
- 3.5 Battery Life
- 3.6 Final Word
iRobot Roomba: The best brand of robot vacuums available with the best reputation. Their newer models have Wifi connectivity and work with iRobot Home app making them smart devices. The Roomba 980 is at the top of the range and is the best robot vacuum in 2018 because of its navigation technology, motor strength, and smart features. This does come with a higher price though.
Bobsweep: A solid budget brand of robot vacuum that is well equipped to deal with pet hair and hard floors. A perk of Bobsweeps PetHair range is the built-in mop, something that Roombas do not have. They don't have Wifi connectivity or as strong motors. Overall they aren't quite as good as the best Roombas but they are significantly cheaper.
For the sake of comparison, we will compare the Roomba 690 against the Bobsweep PetHair, and then the Roomba 980 against the Bobsweep PetHair Plus.
Bobsweep PetHair vs Roomba 690
Purchasing a smart home device that is good looking while keeping all of its functionality is always important. While the design language on both devices is pretty great there are some differences. Both devices keep the classic robot vacuum round design while adding new features.
The PetHair comes in two variants. The two colors are champagne and rouge, which is a pleasant, nice shade of red. The Roomba comes in just a single color, a silver-greyish center, with black edges, giving it a real robot look.
Dimensions & Weight
The dimensions of the two vacuums are also very alike. The Roomba weighs 7.8lbs, which is about 3.5 kg. It has a height of 3.6 inches in and a diameter of 13 inches. This is very typical of Roombas in general as they all measure to the same height with little variation in diameter. The weight of the Roomba 690 is very typical for a robot vacuum. The Roomba 690 goes for simplicity by only having three buttons; power, clean and home.
- Weight 7.8lbs
- Height 3.6 inches
- Diameter 13 inches
- 3 buttons: power, clean and home
The dimensions of Bobsweep PetHair are 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.9 inches, which gives for a very similar overall size to the Roomba. It weighs 7.7lbs which is very close to the Roombas weight close to 3,5kg. There aren't any major differences in the design as the round shape of robot vacuums is standard as it prevents the devices from getting stuck in corners. The PetHair is a little bulkier, but it will certainly go unnoticed. The PetHair has an LCD panel on top, showing performance stats and more detailed controls such as program, charge, start, and mode.
- Weight 7.7 lbs
- Height 3.9 inches
- Diameter 13.8 inches
- LCD screen display user interface
The Roomba 690 uses iAdapt Navigation technology which consists of a gallery of lasers to the allow the bot to smartly navigate around obstacles. This is a relatively random mode of navigation, a form which gets outdated by the more current Smart Mapping & VSLAM used in the Roomba 900 series. This means that cleaning routes will less time efficient and therefore it will take longer to clean your home.
Also, a Cliff Detect feature driven by sensors is used in order to prevent the robot from falling down the stairs and any costly breakages. There are also advanced sensors that enable the robot to “hug the walls” and clean using angled side brushes that push the dirt into the path of the Roomba. The Roomba 690 will self-autonomously return to Home Base when running low power, which is a standard feature across every Roomba model. The Roomba 690 does not have a manual driving option. The only options as indicated by the buttons on the machine are to start it up or return it to the Home Base station.
- iAdapt Navigation is sensor driven
- Cliff Detect prevent Roomba falling down stairs
- Angled side brushes eliminate dirt on corners
- Return to Home Base when on low battery
The PetHair uses a self-navigation system that combines various software and hardware. It is driven by infrared sensors that constantly send out signals that detect objects leading to a change of direction. This is a very similar principle to the iAdapt Navigation in the Roomba 690. WIth any robot vacuums be careful covering them in stickers or any other accessories as these can interrupt the navigating process. The Bobsweep PetHair does self autonomously return to the docking station when the battery drops below 15 percent, like the Roomba 690. One advantage that the PetHair has over the Roomba 690 is its ability to resume cleaning on its own. This is especially useful if you're popping out of the house.
It has an equatable cliff detect system to the Roombas, but it has been reported by a few users to not be so effective in practice with some of their robot vacuums getting stuck and falling down stairs. Some find that the PetHair could not often find its docking station. Other than a few reported slip-ups that, the software is mostly at a standard so the Bobsweep can clean independently.
It comes with an infrared remote control which mimics the functions and buttons found on the robot vacuum itself. This remote allows a manual control option with the Bobsweep PetHair, unlike the Roomba 690. Don't expect too many thrills though, it isn't a speed demon
- Self-Navigation System is similar principal to the iAdapt Navigation
- Self-recharge by returning to the docking station can be unreliable
- Self-resume of cleaning after recharging
- Cliff Detect System is not as reliable as Roombas
- Manual Control lets you take the wheel
Connectivity and Voice Control
The Roomba 690 can be controlled via the iRobot Home app, available for both IOS and Android. It is one of four Roombas that are Wifi enabled and arguably “smart robot vacuums”. Once you have downloaded the app the connect process takes just a couple of minutes, and you are ready to go. The iRobot Home app is pretty jam-packed with features, although some of them just apply to the 900 series Roombas. The app is intended to act as the principal user interface for the 690, in place of the buttons on the vacuum itself. This involves power on, play and plus cleaning, scheduling and more.
The Wifi enabled Roombas can also be hooked up to Alexa, the smart assistant. Just download the Home app, update the software and search for the iRobot HOME skill in the Alexa app.
- iRobot Home app on IOS & Android
- Roomba 960 is Wifi enabled
- Alexa voice control is available
The PetHair does not come with Wifi connectivity and therefore any IOS or Android app. This also means it does not come with the option of voice control. As mentioned before, the PetHair has a remote that can be used to drive the device around your home manually.
- No Wifi or app
The Roomba 690 uses the Aerovac 3-Stage Cleaning System, the most common in iRobots range although now it is a little outdated. Newer models such as the Roomba 890, 960 and 980 come equipped with the Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning System or 3rd Gen Motor which are 5 and 10 times stronger respectively. It has an intelligent system of cleaning to target areas which have high levels of dirt. This is labeled by iRobot as Dirt Detect Technology that is currently patented. It prioritizes spots that that are detected dirtier than others, ensuring a thorough cleaning. Given how robot vacuums are sub-par to regular vacuums, on the whole, dirt detect features can help fill this hole.
The 33-watt motor is pretty solid for this price range, certainly, at the level, you need for pet hair and hard floors. It also comes with an angled side brush and a rolling brush mechanism to push dirt on edges into the path of the Roomba. Like all Roomba models, it does not have any mopping capabilities. If you are desiring this feature from iRobot you can look at their Braava range of robot mops. The Roomba 690 comes with a 600ml dustbin which is significantly smaller than the Bobsweep PetHairs. It can hold an adequate amount of dirt and debris. This is traded off with the fact the Roomba 690 is a more compact device than the PetHair.
- Aerovac 3-Stage Cleaning System is slightly outdated but still practical
- Dirt Detect identifies and spot cleans areas with extra dirt
- Angled Side Brush pushes dirt from corners into the path of the Roomba
- A 600ml dustbin can hold a decent amount of debris
The PetHair, as the name states, is directed to help people with pets maintain a clean home. It does do a good job on the whole at fulfilling this promise. Overall it has most of the elements which are similar to the Roomba 690 and even outperforms and offers additional features in some circumstances. It is equipped with one of the largest dustbins in the industry, with the capacity of 1 litre meaning it should require less frequent bein emptying. It simultaneously vacuums, mops, sweeps, and UV sterilizes the cleaning surface, and it performs very when dealing with hard floors. It has two side brushes just like the Roomba 690 to cover dirt on edges.
One of the major perks of the PetHair over the Roomba 690 is the inbuilt microfiber mop. This will as stated on the tin, mop your floor. The mop can be used both as damp for mopping and as dry for a more polished look. The robot uses highly sensitive dirt detecting sensors and a “spot cleaning mode” that mirrors the Dirt Detect found in the Roomba. Following the detection of large amounts of dirt, it will zigzag over it to make sure the job is done. The suction mechanism and motor are medium powered, similar to most robot vacuums in this price range. Overall the strength of suction is not as good as Roomba 690. It is suitable for hard floors, as well as low to medium piled carpets. The filters are modern HEPA filters, a feature the Roomba 690 does not have. It also has a powerful rolling and spinning brush mechanism.
- 1 Litre dustbin is very large
- 2 side brushes for corners
- Microfiber mop for cleaning floors
- Spot cleaning deals with high concentrations of dirt
Roomba 690 comes with a lithium-ion battery, with a capacity of 2100mAh. This takes 3 hours to fully charge and give you a solid 60 minutes of cleaning. As mentioned previously, when reaching a low battery level, the Roomba 690 will make it back to the Home Base station on its own to charge. If your cleaning area isn't huge this should be long enough to get a good round of cleaning done. Unlike the newer Roomba 960 and 980, it will not restart cleaning on its own, something that the PetHair will do.
- 3 Hours charging time
- 1 Hour battery life
- Self-recharge but no self-resume
The PetHairs battery is on the same level as the iRobot Roomba 690. It is slightly bigger, using an X-AMPlified lithium-ion 2200mAh battery that also takes 3 hours to charge. The battery capacity is not crucially important as various factors affect how long it will run. Although it is just 100mAh bigger, it has a proportionally longer battery life of 75-80 minutes before returning to charge. One advantage of the Bobsweep is that it will resume cleaning on its own (if set to) after recharging. It is important to note that battery life can vary between cleans as carpet requires more attention due to the debris being harder to extract compared to hard floors.
- 3 Hours charging time
- 75 – 80 minutes of battery life
- Self-recharge & self-resume
BOB PetHair Plus vs Roomba 980
The designs of the both these models reflect their predecessors, but with a heavier duty and robust feel and look about them.
The Roomba 980 comes in a classic glossy black robot design with the standard circular shape. The Roomba 980 stands at the standard brand height of 3.6 inches tall as it optimized to get under low objects. Compared the Roomba 690, it is wider by almost an inch with a diameter of 13.9 inches, and 1lb heavier at 8.7 lbs. Minimalistic and high-performance comes to mind when observing the Roomba 980. It just hosts a few buttons like the 690 to make its use simple and also encourage the use of the iRobot Home App.
- Weight 8.7 lbs
- Height 3.6 inches
- Diameter 13.9 inches
- 3 buttons: power, clean and home
BOB PetHair Plus
The PetHair Plus is available in two extra color variants, compared to the original – Cobalt blue and Charcoal. Design-wise, the most striking thing about the PetHair Plus is these colors. The PetHair Plus is 13.8 inches in diameter and 4.5 inches tall, quite the bit bulkier due to the height. It is one of the tallest robotic vacuums on the market and it is unlikely this extra inch will make the difference in your cleaning. If you have some low gaps for your robot vacuum to clean under you might find there are circumstances where the Roomba 980 will be able to fit where the PetHair Plus may not. It is 7.2 lbs, making it slightly lighter than its counterpart but such a difference will go unnoticed.
On the top, there is the LCD display, a few control buttons, and the signal transmitter which is the same style as the older version. The front houses the infrared sensor and bumper, whilst the removable dustbin and the replaceable filters are in the back of the vacuum. The power switch and charging inlet are located on the right side.
- 2 colors
- 13.8 inches diameter
- 4.5 inches tall
- 7.2 lbs weight
- LCD Display
The Roomba 980 uses some relatively cutting-edge technology for a robot vacuums. The navigation method used by this Roomba involves Smart Mapping & VSLAM, which involves image mapping in your home using a camera. iAdapt 2.0 Navigation combines this with laser and sensor navigations, to guide the Roomba 980 to take intelligent and efficient cleaning routes.
This Smart Mapping approach provides the basis for the Clean Map Reports found in the iRobot Home App, hence why the Roomba 690 does not produce such reports. This will be explored more in the next section. The newer navigation technology combined with self autonomously resuming cleaning lets the 980 resume the job exactly where it left it.
This addresses this gap that was seen in the Roomba 690 against the PetHair. Some of the older technologies of navigation such as Cliff Detect and “wall hugging” for the side brushes still apply in the Roomba 980. This is simply because they are highly effective.
- Smart Mapping & VSLAM
- iAdapt 2.0 Navigation
- Self-recharge and self-resume cleaning
- Cliff Detect prevents falling down the stairs
BOB PetHair Plus
The PetHair Plus has a significantly superior software to both the BOB Classic and the PetHair. It can detect obstacles and avoid them much more successfully than its predecessors. The PetHair Plus successfully addressed the navigation issues seen with the original PetHair such as finding its charging dock when a low battery has been detected. The cliff avoidance issue mentioned with the PetHair was also dealt through this upgrade successfully. This model has remote is included in the box allowing you to drive your bot manually if you want to do small jobs or deal with specific patches that aren't being cleaned effectively.
- Detect obstacles and maneuver around effectively
- Addressed issues in original model
- Manual driving mode for specific dirt patches
The Roomba 980 is the best Wifi enabled robot vacuums you can purchase currently. Setting up the Roomba 980 with the iRobot Home app is identical to the 690, simple and quick. The Roomba 980 Smart Mapping builds up maps of your home and creates in-depth reports. Overall, this is a very smart device and a worthwhile part of a smart home ecosystem. These Clean Map Reports provide a breakdown of what happened during the last 30 cleans such as the duration, dirt events and more. The basis of the app as a user interface is the same with that of the Roomba 690. This is where you schedule, plan and command your Roombas cleaning.
- Clean Map reports from Smart Mapping provide insight
- Schedule, plan and command from the Home app
Bobsweep PetHair Plus
Bobsweep is yet to integrated Wifi connectivity and an app to go with it. Instead of wireless capabilities, it uses an included remote. The setup is relatively difficult compared to the Roomba 980.
The Roomba 980 uses iRobots 3rd Gen Motor, is, in fact, the only Roomba to do so. This power of this motor makes the Roomba 980 the best robot vacuum you can get your hands on in 2018. A new Carpet Boost technology identifies target areas using iRobots Dirt Detect and then actions a spot clean which pumps up the suction of the vacuum to full whack. This is especially useful for thicker and deep carpet pile which robot vacuums generally struggle on. The Roomba 980 will not stop this spot clean until the job is done. As with all Roombas, there are side brushes to deal with corners.
The Gen 3 Motor is 10 times as powerful as the 3 Stage Cleaning Aerovac System seen in the Roomba 690 as well as many other models. It is equipped with the newest generation HEPA filters and a 600 ml dustbin. This has been a relatively powerful step towards bridging the gap of the capabilities of robot vacuums and regular vacuums. Roombas have always been proficient at collecting light debris such as pet hair on hard floors, but some debris in rugs and carpets have often proven more challenging. The Roomba 980 has the feel of a heavy-duty piece of machinery rather than being a flimsy robot vacuum. This comes with a tradeoff of noise; more powerful suction makes more noise. It is a pretty unavoidable side effect of cleaning but this can be managed by scheduling cleaning for when your away from home.
- 3rd Gen Motor very powerful
- Carpet Boost effective on thicker carpets
- Dirt Detect identify areas of high dirt and put in extra effort
Bobsweep PetHair Plus
The pet hair plus performs to a very high standard when it comes to cleaning various hard surfaces, and even corners. The maximum power is not on par with the Roomba 980 so high pile rugs and carpets will not be as effectively cleaned. If you have carpets and rugs then some additional manual cleaning may be required, although the Roomba 980 will not have a 100 percent success rate either. A distinctive feature of the PetHair Plus is the microfiber mop. As discussed previously in this article, no Roomba has a mop and instead, iRobot created the Braava range of products which are dedicated robot mops.
The dustbin is 1000ml is the same size as the original, which is again, much larger than Roombas. It can cover a very wide area and it does do a good cleaning job on pet hair and hard floors. It also has UV light cleaning and sterilization, in order to keep those surfaces extra clean. It is certainly an upgrade from the original Bobsweep PetHair although it is generally not up to the cleaning capability of the Roomba 980, as a vacuum at least.
- Not as powerful as Roomba 980
- Mopping inbuilt
- The dustbin is very large.
The battery life of both of these devices has improved over the last generation. They both have a lithium-ion battery, but they are more efficient than last gen batteries. The Roomba 980 has a 3000mAh battery, and last for 2 hours which is decent. The self-recharge and self-resume function make the importance of battery life less than it used to be. The Roomba 980 recharges in 3-3.5 hours.
- 2 hours battery life
- Self-recharge and self-resume function
- Recharge takes 3-3.5 hours
Bobsweep PetHair Plus
The PetHair Plus has a 2200mAh battery, which does not sound like a lot, but the robot vacuum is well optimized, so the battery has a very solid 3 hours of battery life. It can self-recharge and resume too. The PetHair Plus recharges in 3-4 hours.
- 3 hours of battery life
- self-recharge and self-resume function
- Recharge takes 3-4 hours
Weighing these two brands of robot vacuum up and dissecting their model highlight that they are actually a quite varied set of devices. Each of the brands has their advantages and disadvantages. In order to help you choose we will go over a summary of the points. Overall our winner is iRobots Roomba. They are the leaders of the robot vacuum market and offer the best quality features, although at a higher price.
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If you are looking for a robot device to be a valued component of your smart home ecosystem then iRobots Roomba is the way forward. The models which are Wifi enabled and support the iRobot Home app include the Roombas reviewed here; the Roomba 690 and 960, but also the Roomba 890 and 960. The Roomba 980 is a beast of the robot vacuum, in fact, the best you can get. This is due to its supreme Smart Mapping & VSLAM navigation technology and also its very powerful cleaning motor. This is the obvious choice for those with many rugs and carpets as the Carpet Boost mode will do a better performance on this flooring than any other robot vacuum in 2018. iRobots Roombas are expensive, especially the Roomba 980 at the top of the range, although there are a few cheaper options.
Budget buyers looking for efficiency at a very reasonable price should consider the original Bobsweep PetHair. As the name clearly indicates, both of the Bobsweep models were built to pick up pet hair, which they do a mostly decent job. On hard floors, they are good to go, although they may struggle relatively on thicker carpets and rugs. Roomba does have cheaper options which have similar features, such as the Roomba 614. As the cleaning motors are less powerful, the Bobsweep PetHair models are quieter than the likes of the Roomba 980. The Bobsweep PetHair mopping function offers a strong advantage over any Roomba and makes their value considerably greater. Overall this is a better budget option for those looking for an all rounded cleaning machine but remember Roomba has some older alternatives that are cheaper.