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iRobot Roomba 780 Available from Amazon

iRobot Roomba 780 Media Photo

After almost a year of being on the market, iRobot’s flagship robot vacuum, the iRobot Roomba 780 is going to be available from mega retail site Amazon.com. Currently Amazon is selling the 780 at a discounted price, over $100 cheaper than you can get it from iRobot themselves, and it is available with free shipping, of course. The 700 Series Roombas went on sale in May of 2011. For a long time, the Roomba 760 has been available from Amazon, but not the 780 or the 770. As of this writing, the 770 is still not available.

About the Roomba 780

As noted on the Amazon product page, the Roomba 780 features a new cleaning head, which does a better job of picking up debris like dirt, dust, hair, and pet dander. The vacuum comes with HEPA filters, which capture smaller dust and pollen particles and so makes the Roomba friendly to people who suffer from allergies. The 780 comes with on-board scheduling, a remote control, and new power management so that the robot has a longer battery life. The great thing about onboard scheduling, is that you program the robot to clean the house when you’re gone. Programming the Roomba is done using the new touchpad control which is built into the top surface of the robot, which is actually quite slick.

What comes in the box: the robot itself, 1 battery, 2 AeroVac Series 2 HEPA filters, 1 bristle brush, 1 side brush, 1 beater brush. a self-charging home base for the robot, power supply, IR remote control, 2 brush cleaning tools, an extra set of the brushes (bristle, side, and beater), an extra set of the AeroVac HEPA filters, and 2 virtual wall Lighthouse modules. The Lighthouse modules require 2 C batteries, which are not included in the box.

According to iRobot, the Roomba 780 removes up to 98% of the dirt, pet hair, and dust in your room. Roombas navigate using what is now called iAdapt technology, which is the traditional Roomba way of cleaning a room by crossing a room in random directions, doing wall-following behavior, and also spiraling. If you watch a Roomba, it really will get every single spot on a floor before it’s done. The engineers at iRobot have made sure of that. The vacuum will also get places that may be hard to reach with a traditional vacuum, be it upright or tank style. Finally, Roombas have dirt detect technology, which makes it so that the robot will find the dirty areas of your floor and spend extra time cleaning them up.

The included Lighthouses keep the robot in one room until the Roomba has finished cleaning it, at which point they will let the vacuum procced to the next room. It’s a clever way to get your whole house clean with as little intervention as possible.

We’ve tested the Roomba 780 against older Roombas, the Neato XV Series robots, and even Mint Robot cleaners, and we really think that the 780 is the number one best robot out there for anybody with carpeted floors. Amazon 780 Product Page Link

iRobot Roomba 780 vs Roomba 535 Showdown!

Continuing our in-depth coverage of the iRobot Roomba 780 robot vacuum cleaner, I would be remiss in not comparing a Roomba 700 series to a 500 series. In particular, we took both robots and had them vacuum the same room, one after the other, the same way we did in our Mint Cleaner vs Roomba 700 Series comparison. I should also note that there is already some information comparing the 500 Series and 700 Series Roombas, here in our 780 review.

iRobot Roomba 500 Series vs 700 Series

So let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about the differences between the two robots. On the left is a Roomba 535. One of the biggest differences is that all the 700 Series robots have on-board scheduling. As mentioned elsewhere, the 760, 770, and 780 have a new cleaning head designed to pick up finer particles, AreoVac Series 2 dust bins which have better suction, and a 50% longer battery life. In the 770 and 780 only, there is a new improved Dirt Detect feature and a bin full indicator light on the top of the robot. The 780 has a touchpad control instead of buttons on the top.

As you can see in the photo above, the 780 has two more cliff sensors behind the drive wheels, for a total of six. This enables the robot to back up, which is something that the 780 does and the 535 doesn’t do. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this is entirely new to the 700 Series robot vacuums. When the Dirt Detect kicks in, they do a spot clean, and unlike earlier Roombas, which circled around a dirty spot, the 700 series actually runs back and forth over the spot.

Another new feature that is easy to overlook is that the battery has a door. On the 535, you have to take the whole bottom off of the vacuum to get to the battery. On the 780, there is an easy to open port. You’ll also notice that the side brushes are different. The 535 has six arms while the 780 has three. I did not notice any real difference in performance between these two brushes.

Roombas side by side with the bottom off

Here they are with the bottoms taken off. Again the 535 is on the left. As mentioned in the 780 review, the cleaning head has been redesigned. It has been my experience so far that it collects less hair around the beater bearings. The cleaning head in past Roombas has been something of a magnet for controversy because it has a gear box on one side which is designed in such a way that it’s not completely sealed. So some of them may slowly collect fine debris inside, and as such eventually it may have problems or need to be replaced. The jury is still out on whether or not this will continue to be a problem with the 700 Series, but a careful look at it reveals that some changes have been made to the design. Only time will tell whether or not this will make a difference.

The battery, side brush component, wheels, and even the cleaning head all appear to be interchangeable between the two robots. The caster wheels appear to be identical. I was able to pop all the modules all out of one robot, and then insert them into the other. I wasn’t brave enough to turn them on with the parts exchanged, but I did note that the side brush unit has identical part numbers on the circuit board. The wheel units appear to be identical with the exception that the newer wheels lack a hole that is in the older ones, and are labeled L and R.

The batteries for these two Roombas appear to be the same but have different part numbers. On the 500 Series, the battery is part number UNH071113 0740. On the 780, the battery is labeled “Model 3000”. Both are APS (Advanced Power System). Both are Ni-MH. Both appear to be made of the same number of cells. The Model 3000 is listed on iRobot’s site as having 3000 milliampere-hour (mAh). I’ve done a little research on the other battery and can only assume that it is the same.

Roomba dust bin comparison AeroVac Series 2

As mentioned above, the 700 Series Roombas have a new suction and bin component, called “AeroVac Series 2.” This new one is the top bin pictured here. The new bins are one single chamber with two HEPA filters on the top. When you really look at them with an eye towards comparison, it’s a little bit hard to tell which bin can hold more, because the older bins have an extra compartment on the bottom. Of course, this is the area that the smaller particles end up in, so it doesn’t really fill up as much, at least in my experience. If you consider them side by side, though, it does look like the newer one will hold more debris. The newer bin is easier to clean. You just knock it out, and then pull out the two filters and knock them out. With the older bins, you have to knock out the top, then open the bottom and knock it out, and then pull the filter out of the bottom and knock that out. The filter in the older ones is kind of fiddly with getting it put back in. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s noticeable.

When running the robots, they both seem equally loud. The Roomba 780 sounds a little different on carpet, like the beaters are working harder or something. It also appeared to me, just from watching the two robot vacuum cleaners in action, that the 780 did a better job of seeing objects in its path and slowing down before bumping into them. In other words, the 535 plowed into more furniture at full speed than the 780 did. Something interesting did happen when we first ran the 780 on one of our carpeted rooms, though. It looked to us like the carpet was cleaner than we could remember having seen it in a long time. We decided that further testing was required.

Cords and fringe to get the Roombas stuck

So we set up our living room as a test area. This included scattering some extra dirt and lint around to give the robots a good test. We ran the 500 series Roomba first, and then followed it up with the 700 series robot. The we did the same thing but backwards in another room in the house. In the living room test, we also set up a small area with some cords to see if either robot would get stuck, or if they would run off with any of the cords. The living room area is about 150 square feet and has a large area rug in the center. It also has an entertainment center, a dining table, a cabinet, a couch, and an easy chair. It needs to be noted that both robots were run with new batteries, but the 535 has an old filter, even though I spent some time cleaning it out before this test. So the 500 Series has a little handicap.

Dust bun from the 500 Series - top area

Bottom of the 500 Series Dust Bin

And here are the results from the 535 cleaning the living room. It took an hour to complete the room, and did a decent job of cleaning. There were a few visible fuzzies left in the carpet that the cleaning head didn’t seem to be able to pull out of the pile. The Dirt Detect light came on when it went over some of the dirty areas we had set up for the test. The 535 got kind of tangled in the cable trap, but made it out OK, and didn’t pull anything out after it. (I do have to say that this robot does have a reputation for getting tangled up in cords and once somehow managed to topple a floor lamp.) So as you can see, after cleaning the room, the dust bin was maybe a third full in the top, and there was some fine dust in the bottom chamber of the bin.

Then we ran the Roomba 780 in the same room, right after we ran the 535. The 780 finished the room in 45 minutes, which was 15 minutes faster than the other robot vaccum. Also, I noticed that the 780, when doing the rug, kept finding dirty spots. So the Dirt Detect light would go on, and the Roomba would go over the same spot a couple of times. I counted this four different times, and thought that it was pretty interesting, considering that the 535 hadn’t found any Dirt Detect areas on the rug. Also, as noted above, the 780 Roomba sounded like it was really doing more with the beaters on the rug. So how did it do?

Full 700 Series Roomba Dust Bin

Wow! I was really shocked to find that the 780’s dust bin was completely full! Check this out. We ran this robot after the 535 had cleaned the floor, and there was actually more debris in the dust bin than was in the 535.

We discussed the results and thought that maybe our carpet is an endless supply of lint and dirt. So of course the 780 would come up with some more dirt. But that doesn’t explain why the 780 would come up with more dirt. So we ran the 535 again.

Last 500 Series Cleaning Test Shot

And it basically came up with lint. Not satisfied, we ran the same test in a another carpeted room, except that in that room we ran the 780 first and then followed it up with the 535. I’m not going to post the photos from that one, but again, we found that the 780 picked up more debris, although the 535 found plenty too, it wasn’t as dramatic a difference.

So there you have it. It looks like the iRobot Roomba 780 is a real upgrade from a 500 Series robot vacuum cleaner. So if you’re trying to decide if you should spend the extra money on a newer Roomba, the answer is: Yes.

Get the iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot at Amazon

More Information

Roomba 700 Series at Engadget
Roomba 700 Series on Gizmodo
Roomba 780 review at Robot Buying Guide

Mint Robot Cleaner vs iRobot Roomba 780 – Robot Cleaner Showdown!

What’s the first thing a person should do when they get their fancy, top of the line, iRobot Roomba 780in? Challenge it to a cage match verses a tough competitor, and then break down the differences between them. So in this article, we’re not only going to compare the Roomba 780 and the Mint Cleaner, we’re going see how they do in a cleaning smackdown. Two robots enter. One robot leaves!

(Later note: Don’t miss our in-depth review of the Roomba 780 and also check out our 780 vs 500 Series Roomba robot vacuum cleaner comparison.)

Mint vs Roomba 780 Review

The challenge

Two rooms. Both with hardwood floors. One bedroom, one office, two robot floor cleaners. We were surprised by the results!

So comparing the Mint and the Roomba. Let’s talk about the really big differences first. Obviously, the Roomba vacuums and does carpets and all other floor surfaces, while the Mint sweeps and does not do carpets. Besides price (the Mint being $400 US cheaper), that’s probably the biggest difference. Also in the big difference department is navigation technology. The iRobot Roomba uses different behaviors in a meaningful but admittedly random way. The Mint actually maps the room it is cleaning and does so in a methodical way. As we will see later, this leads to meaningful differences in the amount of time each robot requires to finish a room. The Roomba can be scheduled, comes with virtual walls, and also comes with a dock that it can go back to when finished. The Mint doesn’t have any of that, but can be tucked away in a small space when not in use.

The Roomba 700 series robots come with remote controls so that you can steer them around, tell them to spot clean certain places, and also to go home to their dock. The Mint does not come with a remote. The Mint is whisper quiet, although it does make noise when it bumps into things. You could have a phone conversation in the same room, but you might end up having to explain what that funny noise was. “No. I didn’t drop anything. It’s my cleaning robot.” The Roomba 780, like all iRobots before it, is not something you would want to have a phone conversation in the same room with. In fact, you’ll probably want to make sure and use the scheduler so that you don’t have to be around when it is working. The mint is almost an inch shorter, and is smaller and thus can fit into tighter spaces.

Similarities: Both clean floors automatically. Both come with cliff-detection technology to keep them from falling down stairways. Both do a great job of cleaning. Both recharge. You can replace the batteries in both. The Roomba 780 vacuum and Mint cleaner also do their best to slow down before they run into things. Both have schemes for cleaning multiple rooms effectively (but one does it way better than the other).

Roomba 780 Vacuuming Bedroom

The Bedroom

Our 100 square foot bedroom, with a bed, two nightstands, two dressers, two outlet strips, and some miscellaneous cords – mostly for chargers, alarm clocks, and a nightstand lamp. The bed is high enough for both robots to clean under. Only the Mint can fit between the legs of the nightstands, although it doesn’t end up mattering much, because that’s also where all the power cables are. We ran the Roomba 780 first, and then had the Mint clean up after to see how good a job it did.

Fuzzies Left by the RoombaThe Roomba took 28 minutes to clean the bedroom floor. It also required some prep work, moving cables out of the way. The 700 series Roombas are built to know when they’ve sucked up a cable, and actually reverse their brushes to spit them back out, which is cool. At the same time, I’ve had my 500 series Roomba suck up a cable and then drag a lamp off of a table, so I have some trust issues. The Roomba still ends up running over some cords, makes more noise, and can’t get under the night stands, so it leaves some fuzzies under one of the nightstands. Here is the bin after vacuuming the bedroom.

Roomba AeroVac bin after the Bedroom

I do have to say, really quickly here because it doesn’t matter much in the comparison, that the new AeroVac Series 2 bin at least looks like an improvement over the previous technology. Here is what the Mint picked up with a Swiffer Pad after the Roomba.

Really Impressive!!! If you click the picture to zoom in, you’ll see that there are some big particles, and two smallish dist bunnies that were left behind by the Roomba. Otherwise, it looks clean enough that we were both really amazed. Yes, here is the Mint cleaner pad after zipping around the same territory. The Mint did the bedroom in 17 minutes, which is 60% of the time. It was also really shocking, after the noise from the Roomba, to hear how quietly the Mint operates. Although I lack the technology to test it scientifically, I would have to say that between the two, the Roomba definitely plays rougher, moves furniture more while cleaning, and bumps into everything a little harder. However, I would say that the Roomba does do a better job of “seeing” furniture, and so the Mint tends to hit furniture at full speed more often than the Roomba. Because the Roomba climbs over cords, it did get some more of the space under the bed that was blocked to the Mint.

So did the Roomba 780 clean the floor thoroughly? We think so, and it passed the Mint white glove test pretty well.

Mint Cleaning a Floor

Second Run

A week later, we did the same room, but in the opposite order, to see how the Mint would do. Last time we ran the Roomba first, and then had the Mint test how iRobot device did. This time we sent the Mint cleaner to sweep up, and then had the Roomba see if there was anything left to pick up.

Mint swiffer pad after sweeping bedroom

So here is what the Mint Swiffer pad looked like after the bedroom. This is what it usually looks like every time we use the Mint. There’s always a big rolled up line of dust bunny along the front edge, and then plenty of larger pieces of dirt and debris all over the pad. Also some hair.

Roomba bin after Mint cleaning

Here is the Roomba AeroVac bin after vacuuming the bedroom. This is almost as impressive as what happened the week before. After the amazing showing by the Roomba, we had expected the Mint to have similar success. I mean, they’re both cleaners. It’s cool that they both do a good job.

We tested another room and found similar results. Each of the robots did find a little bit more dirt and dust after the other had cleaned up, but not so much. In all of the rooms, the Mint was faster.

Home Base

iRobot Roomba at home charging in dock

Mint Vacuum At home next to trash can

Prior to the Roomba 780 invasion, our home was occupied by an iRobot Roomba 500 series robot and a Mint Cleaner. While the Roomba would get the occasional assignment cleaning our living room, which has a large area rug, it mostly lived in the basement, which has wall-to-wall carpeting. The Mint lived upstairs in the kitchen, and basically found a home next to the trash can. Each floor of our house is only 800 square feet, so space is precious, and the Mint takes up very little. A Roomba and base takes up a little too much.

Multi-Room Cleaning

As mentioned above, both robots have schemes for cleaning multiple rooms. The Mint strategy is to use an extra Northstar module to keep the Mint from straying into the next room. It’s my view that this wasn’t designed very well by the engineers at Evolution Robotics. What happens is that you have to set up a Northstar navigation module in each room, and the second module only keeps the Mint from going into the next room. So you actually have to carry the robot into the next room and start it up again once it finishes the first one. Which is weird.

The Roombas have the much-vaunted “Lighthouse” technology, where the lighthouse acts like a gatekeeper and lets the Roomba into the second room when it has finished cleaning the first. The 780 ships with 2 of these Lighthouse virtual walls. The 770 and 760 ship with 2 virtual walls.


I don’t think we really have a clear winner here. Both robots are great at cleaning. Both have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Our informal testing indicates that the Roomba 780 cleaned up a little more thoroughly than the Mint. The Roomba is really the clear choice for people who have a lot of carpeting. Also, being able to schedule your robot to clean the house while you’re gone is really great. The Mint is significantly less expensive (even the cheapest model of the 700 Series, the Roomba 760, is more than twice as expensive). Also, the Mint requires less prep work to get a room ready to clean, and requires next to no maintenance. You just pick it up afterwards and change the pad. With the Roomba, you need to empty the bin, knock out the filters, and clean out the brushes. The eventually you have to change the filters.

Consumer robots are really here to save mankind from the drudgery of cleaning floors. Both robots are a welcome luxury, and we love using them! I would say that if you were trying to choose between the two, the three biggest things to consider would be the price of the robot, the amount of carpeting you have in your home, and the amount of prep work and maintenance you’re willing to put up with. For someone with hard wood floors throughout their house, our vote is still very much with the Mint Cleaner. (See our more in-depth review of the Mint, here.) For someone with carpeting and/or a real desire for high-tech features like scheduling, a self-charging dock, and a remote control, the iRobot Roomba 780 is pretty hard to beat.

Get the iRobot Roomba 780 Vacuum Cleaning Robot at Amazon

Mint User Reviews and More Information on Amazon

Later Note: There is also now a Mint Plus available at Amazon!