Roomba S9 vs 980: What are the differences?

roomba s9 vs 980

The Roomba S9 and Roomba 980 are two premium robot vacuums with some of the best technology. A few years ago, the 980 was the top of iRobot’s product range until the i7 got released. At the moment, it is the S9 that is the most premium robot vacuum, not just from iRobot but also on the market. Taking a look at navigation technology, design, cleaning technology and more, this Roomba S9 vs 980 will compare these two models and explain their differences and similarities.

Comparison Chart: Roomba S9 vs 980

Designroomba s9Roomba 980
iADAPT 3.0iADAPT 2.0
(40x Stronger)
(10x Stronger)
Resume Cleaning
Automatic Dirt
Bottom LineThe most
advanced Roomba
with the
best features
Good on
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck Price

1. Design, Measurements & Weight

Roomba s9
Roomba S9
Roomba 980
Roomba 980

The Roomba S9 was the first and only robot vacuum (so far)  from iRobot to not adopt the classic circular shape. Instead, the S9 has a D shaped body which assists the cleaning ability of the Roomba which we will talk about more in the next section. This is contrary to the Roomba 980 which has the classical circular Roomba look. The Roomba S9 is also a little different by having a copper finish on the top of the body, making it look a little classier. With a dark brown finish, the Roomba 980 is a little more simplistic in its finishings. This is how the two measure against each other:

  • Roomba S9 – 12.2 x 12.2 x 3.5 inches & 8.5 lbs
  • Roomba 980 – 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.6 inches & 8.7 lbs

iRobot Roomba 980 Wi-Fi Connected Vacuuming Robot
  • Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for...
  • Patented iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with VSlam technology...
  • Ideal for homes with pets; Premium 3 stage Cleaning...

2. Cleaning Technology

Being one of the most advanced robot vacuums you can buy, the Roomba S9 has a range of advanced cleaning technology that makes it more equipped than the 980. This comes from the design of the Roomba, its cleaning system and motor power. 

As mentioned previously, the Roomba S9 has a D-Shaped design that iRobot has called Perfect Edge Technology. This has several benefits that can improve cleaning performance. As a result, the Roomba S9 can get the main brush much closer to walls and fit in corners better. Roombas work by a side brush at the edge of the robot vacuum pushing dirt into the path of the main brush. On the S9, the side brush is much closer to the main brush which improves the efficiency of the cleaning system. Finally, the main brush is also much wider on the Roomba S9 then it is on the 980. 

roomba s9 perfect edge

The Roomba S9 has the most powerful cleaning motor that iRobot has produced and quite possibly the best on the market. The Superior 3-Stage Cleaning motor that is found in the Roomba S9 is extremely powerful, 40 times more powerful than the motor found in the 600 series. For comparison, the Roomba 980 has the Gen 3 Motor, which is 10 times more powerful than the 600 series 3-Stage Cleaning system. The main implication of this is that the Roomba S9 will be better at cleaning carpets although the 980 will still do a decent job. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 will have no problem cleaning on hard floors.

3. Navigation Technology


The Roomba S9 and 980 both use similar smart mapping navigation technologies, although the S9’s version is a little more advanced.  First up, the Roomba 980 has iAdapt 2.0, Smart Mapping & VSLAM which uses a camera house in the robot vacuum to take pictures and build up a map of your home. This will take into account walls, obstacles and furniture, and iRobots AI calculates the most efficient cleaning paths to take. In a very structured manner, the Roomba will navigate in carefully thought out paths.

The Roomba S9 has the upgraded iAdapt 3.0, which shares many similarities with iAdapt 2.0. Imprint Mapping, found in iAdapt 3.0, is a key difference between the two which identifies individual rooms. The user can instruct the Roomba S9 to clean an individual room, something you can’t do with the Roomba 980. This is a very useful feature that allows finer targeting of mess and dirt. For example, if food was dropped in the kitchen you can send the S9 to clean it without having to clean the other rooms.

4. Automatic Dirt Disposal

clean base

If you buy the Roomba S9 you have the option to buy a Clean Base unit after, or alternatively you could buy the Roomba S9+ which comes with it included. The Clean Base unit is a charging and docking station that enables iRobots new Automatic Dirt Disposal feature. Each time the Roomba S9 has done its clean it can dispose of the waste in its dustbin into the Clean Base. This can hold up to 30 cleans worth of waste which reduces the effort of maintaining the S9 significantly. Only the Roomba models with iAdapt 3.0, the S9 and i7, are compatible with the Clean Base unit. This means that Automatic Dirt Disposal is not possible with the Roomba 980, currently at least. Automatic Dirt Disposal is by no means necessary and is a premium feature. 

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
  • CLEANS UP AFTER YOU, AND ITSELF - Forget about...
  • OUR MOST ADVANCED CLEAN - You—& your home—deserve...
  • DEEPEST CLEAN - With 40X the suction power, the...

5. iRobot Home app

Both the Roomba S9 and 980 are Wifi connectable and work with iRobots companion Home app. This is a new control panel for the Roombas that has been introduced within the last few to improve functionality and offer a new set of features:

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

The Roomba S9 can also schedule the cleaning of individual rooms. This works with virtual assistants, so with Alexa, the command would sound like this; “Alexa, clean the bedroom”.

6. Main Differences

iRobot has released some new advanced technologies found in the Roomba S9 which make it quite different from the 980:

  1. The Roomba S9 has a D-Shaped design whilst the Roomba 980 has a circular design.
  2. The Roomba S9 has a copper finish whilst the Roomba 980 is a dark brown.
  3. The Roomba S9 has Perfect Edge technology.
  4. The Roomba S9 has the Superior 3-Stage Cleaning System which is 4 times more powerful than the Roomba 980’s Gen 3 Motor.
  5. The Roomba S9 has iAdapt 3.0 and Imprint Mapping, whilst the Roomba 980 has iAdapt 2.0 and Smart Mapping.
  6. The Roomba S9 works with the Clean Base and has Automatic Dirt Disposal.

7. Main Similarities

There are some similarities that the Roomba S9 and 980 share:

  1. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 work with the iRobot Home app.
  2. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 create Smart Maps.
  3. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 can Self-Recharge and Self-Resume cleaning.
  4. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 have HEPA Filters.
  5. Both the Roomba S9 and 980 work with virtual assistants and voice control.

Final Word

The Roomba S9 is the most powerful, has the best navigation technology and overall performance. On the other side, the Roomba 980 is a powerhouse of a robot vacuum with solid cleaning performance for a cheaper price. Since the Roomba 980 was released, there have been many upgrades from iRobot that can be seen in the S9. The 980 is still a very capable robot vacuum and will do as good of a job necessary cleaning most peoples homes. Where the S9 takes the lead is on heavily carpeted homes and those who want to pay more for Automatic Dirt Disposal. If you are still unsure about which Roomba to get I would also recommend reading more on the i7 and 960, as these are two other options at the top end of the range.


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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