Roomba e5 vs 960: Similarities and Differences

Roomba e5 vs 960

Two of iRobots most popular Roombas include the older 960 and relatively newer e5. These two robot vacuums are around the same level when it comes to the technology they have within them. This article will compare the Roomba e5 vs 960 by looking at their design, navigation technology, cleaning technology and more.

Related: Roomba e5 vs 890

Comparison Chart: Roomba e5 vs 960

DesignRoomba 960roomba e5
iADAPT 2.0iADAPT 1.0
(5x Stronger)
(5x Stronger)
Resume Cleaning
Automatic Dirt
Bottom LineRecommended
Pick for the
mid price
Pick for
budget option
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck Price

1.Design & Measurements

roomba e5
Roomba e5
Roomba 960
Roomba 960

The Roomba e5 and 960 have fairly similar designs with a few minimal differences. Each has a relatively dark color scheme although the e5 is a chromatic black whilst the 960 is more of a dark grey. They both have the standard circular robot vacuum shape although the layout of the buttons on the Roomba e5 is vertical whilst horizontal on the 960. The dimensions and weight are as follows:

  • Roomba e5 – 13.3×13.3×3.6 inches & 7.2 lbs
  • Roomba 960 – 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches & 8.5 lbs

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors,Black
  • IT WON'T STOP TILL THE JOB IS DONE - Intelligently maps...
  • NAVIGATES IN NEAT ROWS - Purposefully & logically...
  • IDEAL FOR HOMES WITH PETS - Unique Dual Multi-Surface...

2. Navigation Technology

A major difference between the Roomba e5 and 960 is the quality of navigation technology. The Roomba 960 has the far more advanced iAdapt 2.0, whilst the e5 has the relatively basic iAdapt 1.0. iAdapt 2.0 uses a camera, housed on the top of the Roomba 960, which builds up a map of the users home including the floorplan and obstacles such as furniture. 

This technology is called Smart Mapping & VSLAM and allows the Roomba to take the most efficient cleaning route based on the map. These are then available to view in the iRobot Home app as well as accompanying cleaning statistics. If you were to upgrade to the i7 or S9, you would get iAdapt 3.0 which distinguishes individual rooms and allows you to clean them in isolation.

smart mapping & VSLAM iadapt 2.0 technology

With iAdapt 2.0, the Roomba 960 can also Self-Recharge and Self-Resume cleaning afterward. It will pick up from exactly where it left off on the Smart Map. The e5, like all Roombas, will return to the Home Base to recharge on its own but it will not continue cleaning on its own. Therefore, if your cleaning area is large and requires more than one run of battery you will fair better with the Roomba 960 as it can top itself up.

iAdapt 1.0, found in the Roomba e5, is relatively basic as it uses infrared sensors to randomly navigate. Therefore, the cleaning route it takes is not informed by the smart map and the clean will take longer in total. The e5 does have Cliff Detect, just like the 960, which will prevent it from falling downstairs and damaging itself.

3. Cleaning Motor

3 stage cleaning system

When it comes to raw suction power, it is the cleaning motor of the Roomba that determines how effective it is. The Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning Motor is used in both the Roomba e5 and 960. It is five times stronger than the 600 series 3-Stage Cleaning motor and half the strength of the Gen 3 Motor found in the Roomba 980 and i7. Both models will clean fine on hard floors but may struggle more on thicker and denser carpets. If you have more challenging carpets you will want to upgrade to either the Gen 3 motor as mentioned or ideally the Superior 3-Stage Cleaning motor found in the  Roomba S9. As per standard with all Roombas, both the e5 and 960 have Dirt Detect which identifies high concentrations of dirt and applies more attention to them.

iRobot Roomba E5 (5150) Robot Vacuum - Wi-Fi Connected, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum, Black
  • IDEAL FOR HOMES WITH PETS - Unique Dual Multi-Surface...

4. Battery Life

The Roomba e5 has a run time of around 90 minutes meaning it should cover a large area over a full charge. Compared to this, the 960 will last for 75 minutes, but as mentioned before, this is made relatively less important thanks to the Self-Recharge and Self-Resume cleaning function. Anyone with a very large cleaning area will undoubtedly want to opt for iAdapt 2.0 or higher, as found in the Roomba 960 but not the e5.

5. iRobot Home App

irobot app

Both the Roomba e5 and 960 are Wifi connectable devices that connect to iRobots companion Home app. If you get the Roomba 960 you can access the Smart Map and other related features, but both the 960 and e5 will do the following:

  • Schedule cleaning
  • Pause and Resume cleaning
  • View cleaning statistics
  • Receive real-time notifications
  • Voice Assistant access – Alexa, Home & more

6. Differences

Here is a compiled list of the main differences between the Roomba e5 and 960 as touched upon already in this article:

  1. The Roomba e5 has a black finish whilst the  Roomba 960 is a dark grey.
  2. The Roomba e5 is slightly smaller.
  3. The Roomba e5 has iAdapt 1.0 whilst the Roomba 960 has iAdapt 2.0.
  4. The Roomba e5 has 90 minutes of battery life while the Roomba 960 has 75 minutes.
  5. The Roomba 960 has Smart Mapping & VSLAM.
  6. The Roomba 960 can Self-Resume cleaning after Self-Recharging.

7. Similarities

Here are the remaining features from iRobot that the Roomba e5 and 960 share

  1. Both the Roomba e5 and 960 have HEPA filters.
  2. Both the Roomba e5 and 960 work with the iRobot Home app.
  3. Both the Roomba e5 and 960 have Dirt Detect.
  4. Both the Roomba e5 and 960 have Cliff Detect.
  5. Both the Roomba e5 and 960 have voice control options (Alexa, Home and more).

Final Word

The Roomba e5 and 960 are not far away from each other when it comes to the standard of features they contain. Overall, the Roomba 960 is a fair bit more advanced due to the high standard of the Smart Mapping & VSLAM technology that comes with iAdapt 2.0 and the Self-Recharge and Self-Resume feature. This is certainly wanted if your cleaning area is very large. These are suited for hard floor homes as if you have many thick and dense carpets you will want a Gen 3 or Superior 3-Stage Cleaning motor found in the Roomba 980, i7 and S9.


In this section, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the Roomba e5, Roomba 960 and how the two compare against each other.

What series is the Roomba e5?

The Roomba e5 was released in 2019 and doesn’t really fit into any particular series. Normally Roombas series are classified through numbers, with an example being the Roomba 960 which is a 900 series. The Roomba e5 has the Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning Motor which is also in the Roomba 960 and 890, so it sits somewhere around those two models. In terms of features, it is most similar to the Roomba 890.

Do the Roomba e5 and 960 map your home?

The Roomba e5 uses iAdapt 1.0 and therefore does not map your home whilst the Roomba 960 has iAdapt 2.0 which includes Smart Mapping technology. Using a camera housed in the top of the robot vacuum the Roomba 960 takes images to build up a virtual map of your floorspace, including objects such as furniture. This is then used to calculate the most efficient cleaning route and is available in the iRobot Home app.

How long do the Roomba e5 and 960 run for?

The Roomba e5 has a battery life of 90 minutes whilst the Roomba 960 will run for just 1 hour 15 minutes. However, the Roomba 960 has the ability to resume cleaning autonomously once it has recharged fully. In theory, this means that the Roomba 960 can indefinitely clean for a practically unlimited amount of time. The Roomba e5 can return to the docking station to charge but can’t resume cleaning as it does not have iAdapt 2.0 which enables this feature.

Is the Roomba e5 or 960 better on carpets?

Each of these Roombas shares the Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning System and therefore have the same suction power and ability to clean on carpets.

Photo of Rupert Pople

Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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