A few years ago I bought my first Roomba, and I could not be happier with the purchase. Yes it is true that it does not replace a traditional vacuum cleaner (it does not have the same power and can not reach places like sofas, beds, etc.), but for daily cleaning and in my home it is an essential appliance. And more if, as in my case, you have cats that are releasing hair without stopping.
That’s why I really wanted to try the Roomba 896, a more advanced and recent model than my own, and the truth is that I’ve taken a surprise. Despite having some shade, this model of robot vacuum cleaner manages to significantly improve some aspects in which the Roombas of the entry range do not perform as well. Let’s see it thoroughly in our analysis.
Roomba 896, technical specifications
||ROOMBA 896 (895)
||WiFi, compatible with Alexa
|SMART NAVIGATION WITH MAPPING
||Virtual wall, spare parts
||No manufacturer data
||515 dollars (model 895, which is the same as 896 except for the color)
By price and specifications, we are facing a mid-range Roomba : with better features and equipment than the models of the 600 range, but without the “intelligent” navigation of the 900 range models.
In the box, in addition to the robot vacuum cleaner itself and the charging base to which it connects, include a “virtual wall” that will be very useful if you are one of those who clean room by room or if you have any area that you want that Roomba does not come close.
A traditional design “without intelligence …”
Few surprises in what is the design itself Roomba 896, at least as you get out of the box. Before you you will have a round Roomba, with a design very similar to that of the classic Roombas but updated. It maintains the handle that, for me, is essential in this type of robots: the Roomba 896 is very comfortable to take from room to room or when you want to empty your deposit.
In the upper part it includes three luminous indicators : the one of the WiFi network, the one of the battery and the one of the state of the deposit. If you are running out of battery, the one that has the shape of a battery will light up. If, on the other hand, the dirt deposit is full, a drawing of a trash bin in deep red will alert you.
Although we talk about WiFi and yes it is a Roomba “connected” through an app (we will explain later), it is not an intelligent Roomba: it does not map the surroundings, unlike the models of other brands or those that it said of the 900 series. Instead, we have random patterns of movements. This does not mean that it cleans badly, but that you will have to adapt a bit to the vacuum cleaner. In my case, I always prefer to use this type of vacuum cleaner room by room. Cleaning is much more efficient, especially if you have a large house or a lot of obstacles.
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Regarding the virtual wall, it works with batteries and has two modes of use: the straight line mode (think, for example, if you want to block the Roomba inside a room without closing the door and you want to create an intelligent barrea) and the circular mode (For example, if you have your pet’s food bowls and you do not want them to get close to them, but do border them). It works really well.
Two notes before moving on to the next section. The first: iRobot has very mastered the design of Roombas, and is especially noticeable in how they get that they do not get stuck easily. It is not exclusive to this model (my old Roomba is almost an SUV) but in it it remains: they save carpets, small heights and manage to get out of holes in which others, like the Ilife that I tried not long ago, were stuck.
The second, autonomy. iRobot does not provide official information on battery capacity, but if we talk about autonomy in my case it was always between hour and hour and a half. Enough to clean three rooms without problem, while my Roomba a little older never came to complete two rooms with the same load.
But with “trick” on the brushes
If you are familiar with the Roomba models that iRobot has been selling for years, up to here everything may be familiar: Roomba with a traditional design, with an app but without intelligent navigation. However, once you turn the Roomba you get a surprise, and is that inside are not the traditional brushes but other rubber. It’s what they call the Aeroforce system . It is not a new system (it dates from 2014), but it can not be found in the lower range Roombas.
The two brushes grind the dirt without tangles or jams, something common with the old system. According to iRobot they also get “a power five times higher”. This is very difficult to quantify and prove, but in my case I noticed a better aspiration with the plastic brushes than with the traditional black bristle brushes : the Roomba 896 was able to clean dirt that my Roomba 630, with the traditional system, I left on the floor.
This is especially noticeable in the carpets : the rubber brushes make strength and manage to remove the dirt that is something stuck in the fabric. In addition, there is the benefit of maintenance: as it is rare that they get stuck and that inside they get threads, hair or other dirt, you will not have to be so careful or clean them so often.
The Aeroforce system is completed by a HEPA filter, which is accessed above the tank and which makes the aspiration more efficient. Of course, you will have to clean it frequently because it accumulates all the dirt that otherwise would go back into the air of your room. It also includes Dirt Detect sensors: if you find small accumulations of dirt, focus on them making more passes.
The application is useful … with nuances
If the brushes of the Roomba 896 seemed to me a genius, there is another section with which I took a disappointment: the application . The Roomba 896 works perfectly independently, but iRobot has designed an app so you can manage your operation “out of the box” from your phone and even when you’re away from home. Among its functions are the following:
- Clean or stop: you can hit a button to start cleaning or stop it.
- Programming: you can schedule the cleanings daily, specifying different hours for each day of the week.
- Locate the Roomba: in case you have been stopped somewhere that is not in sight.
- Historical of works: every time it has worked shows a small report.
- Condition: if you have to clean deposit, clean brushes, etc.
In addition, the application can send you notifications if you wish. For example, it alerts you if the Roomba has clogged or if it has already finished cleaning.
Why did not the app convince me? Because I think she’s not ready for a Roomba that does not have smart navigation. As I said, in my case I usually go cleaning from room to room. Programming or activating it remotely, therefore, is not an option. Yes it is good to let you know when you run out of battery or know how long it has taken to clean a certain site, but it is not essential either.