Roomba S9 vs 960: What are the differences?

Roomba S9 vs 960

With iRobot releasing so many upgrades to the technology in Roombas, each model released has either a few or a large number of differences. The Roomba S9 is the most advanced robot vacuum from iRobot, if not on the market. The 960 used to be one of top of the range products and is still a more than capable robot vacuum for most peoples homes. This comparison of the Roomba S9 vs 960 will touch upon the main differences in the design, navigation technology, cleaning technology as well as the similarities between the two.

iRobot Roomba s9+ (9550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal- Empties itself, Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Powerful Suction, Anti-Allergen System, Corners & Edges, Ideal for Pet Hair, black
  • The World's Best Robot Vacuum: Empties on its own, Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal...
  • Superior 3 stage cleaning system; Delivers upto 40x the suction for our deepest clean yet;...
  • PerfectEdge Technology with advanced sensors, and a specially designed Corner Brush...

Comparison Chart: Roomba S9 vs 960

Designroomba s9Roomba 960
iADAPT 3.0iADAPT 2.0
(40x Stronger)
(5x Stronger)
Resume Cleaning
Automatic Dirt
Bottom LineThe most
advanced Roomba
with the
best features
Pick for the
mid price

1. Design & Measurements

Roomba s9
Roomba S9
Roomba 960
Roomba 960

The Roomba S9 is a D-Shape whilst the 960 is circular. In fact, every other Roomba apart from the S9 is a circular shape which is the traditional robot vacuum shape. The upgrade to a D-Shape allows the Roomba to fit in better against walls and corners, which will be discussed more later. Each Roomba has a slightly different color scheme and finishing, with the S9 having a polished copper looks and the 960 having dark grey coloring. Here are the dimensions and weight of each of these robot vacuums:

  • Roomba S9 – 12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 inches & 8.5 lbs
  • Roomba 960 – 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches & 8.5 lb

iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum- Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Power-Lifting Suction delivers 5X the air power for improved pick-up performance....
  • Intelligently maps and cleans an entire level of your home. Patented iAdapt 2. 0...
  • Ideal for homes with pets. Premium 3-stage cleaning system cleans the dirt and pet hair...

2. Cleaning Technology

The Roomba S9 has a substantially stronger cleaning motor than the 960, giving it far more suction power. In the Roomba S9 is the Superior 3-Stage Cleaning Motor, the most powerful from iRobot as well as on the market. Its maximum suction is 40 times greater than the 3-Stage Cleaning Motor found in the 600 series. The Roomba 960 has the Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning Motor which is 5 times stronger than the 600 series. This, of course, means that the maximum power of the Roomba S9s motor is 8 times greater than the 960.

Both the S9 and 960 will be able to handle mess on hard floors, but it is on carpets where the S9 really comes into its own. If your home is heavily carpeted and typically accumulates a lot of dirt, you will be better off with the S9. if your home is predominantly hard floor and you have a few rugs you probably won’t need the extra power, although it won’t hurt.

Another key difference is the cleaning technology comes from the D-Shaped design of the Roomba S9, called Perfect Edge Technology. This design has several benefits which allow the robot vacuum to be more effective when cleaning. The main brush underneath the Roomba is able to wider than it is on circular Roombas, which also means the side brush is much closer to the main brush too. Finally, the flat edge allows the Roomba to get much closer into walls and corners rather than relying on the side brush to flick the dirt into the path of the Roomba.

roomba s9 design

3. Navigation Technology

The Roomba S9 and 960 use similar forms of navigation technology although the S9’s a little more advanced. Each has a camera that builds up a map of the users home which includes walls, obstacles, and furniture. This is called Smart Mapping & VSLAM, with the cleaning maps being available in the iRobot Home app. From this the intelligent AI calculates the most efficient and effective cleaning routes to take. The Roomba 960 uses iRobots labeled iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology whilst the S9 has iAdapt 3.0. In addition to iAdapt 3.0, the S9 has Imprint Mapping which distinguishes individual rooms on the smart map. Each room can be individually cleaned by the Roomba S9, a useful feature that can improve the precision of cleaning and respond to certain mess created.

4. Automatic Dirt Disposal

Roomba i7+ self disposing system

A relatively new feature from iRobot is Automatic Dirt Disposal, where the Roomba empties its dustbin into an additional Clean Base unit that holds 30 cleans. Only the Roomba i7 and S9 are compatible with the Clean Base which is sold as a combined product if you buy the i7+ and S9+. You can buy a Roomba i7 and S9 and then purchase the Clean Base unit as an additional unit later on. This premium feature is not an option with the Roomba 960. Whilst not essential for effective cleaning, the Clean Base unit does add a new level of ease of use to the robot vacuum.

5. iRobot Home app

iRobots companion Home app connects to both the Roomba S9 and 960 and provides a new set of features and control options. From the app, you can do a range of things including:

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

6. Main Differences

There are quite a few differences between the Roomba S9 and 960, which are all upgrades to the newer model:

  1. The Roomba S9 has a D-Shaped design whilst the Roomba 960 has a circular design.
  2. The Roomba S9 has a copper finish whilst the Roomba 960 is a dark grey.
  3. The Roomba S9 has Perfect Edge technology.
  4. The Roomba S9 has the Superior 3-Stage Cleaning System which is 8 times more powerful than the Roomba 960’s Aeroforce 3-Stage Cleaning System.
  5. The Roomba S9 has iAdapt 3.0 and Imprint Mapping, whilst the Roomba 960 has iAdapt 2.0 and Smart Mapping.
  6. The Roomba S9 works with the Clean Base and has Automatic Dirt Disposal.

7. Main Similarities

Whilst there are more differences than similarities, there are few worth noting:

  1. Both the Roomba S9 and 960 work with the iRobot Home app.
  2. Both the Roomba S9 and 960 create Smart Maps.
  3. Both the Roomba S9 and 960 can Self-Recharge and Self-Resume cleaning.
  4. Both the Roomba S9 and 960 have HEPA Filters.
  5. Both the Roomba S9 and 960 work with virtual assistants and voice control.

Final Word

Without a doubt, the Roomba S9 is quite a bit more advanced than the 960, and certainly a lot more powerful. The right option for you decides on your budget, your flooring and whether you would like to pay the Automatic Dirt Disposal feature. Without a doubt, the Roomba S9 is a powerhouse of a robot vacuum is unmatched by any over Roomba on thick carpets. If your home is mostly hard floor then the extra money spent on power isn’t necessary.

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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