In the Roomba 780, iRobot allows busy people to spend less time with cleaning chores and more time with their work or family.
It’s able to do this because the Roomba can be scheduled to clean on its own and will return to the charging base once it needs a recharge.
All you have to do is empty it.
Related: Find out the latest Roomba products in this article.
Spec-wise, it isn’t any different from the Roomba 770 that I’ve written about earlier but let’s dig deep and find out how consumers feel on how it performed in their homes.
If you’re curious here are the main differences, unlike the 770 that used virtual walls, the 780 uses virtual lighthouses that confine it in an area then at a predetermined time automatically shuts off so the robot can move to another room.
Virtual walls meanwhile act as a physical barrier that keeps the robot out or in a confined area.
Second difference is the 780 uses touch pad controls whereas the 770 uses physical buttons.
- Picks up pet hair well
- Improved containment system – uses a lighthouse instead of a virtual wall
- Reasonably quite compared to other robots
- Improved navigation system
- HEPA filtration
- Good edge cleaning
- Can clean areas under furniture
- Easy to setup out and use of the box
- Very expensive
- Small dirt bin
- If the doors are light enough, it can bump the door shut and lock itself in a room
- Because of its round shape, won’t do well on corners
- No firmware update
- Can’t clean stairs
What to expect from the iRobot Roomba 780?
It uses a 3-step system to clean.
First there is a three-prong side brush that can reach all the way to the edges. This tool will grab dirt and funnel it towards the counter rotation brushes in the middle (2nd step). The lastly, suction takes over and pulls dirt toward the dirt bin at the back of the robot.
There are two HEPA filters that flank both sides of the dirt bin. Both these will be capable of filtering allergens up to 0.3 micros.
Here are the other features
- 2 counter rotating motorized brushes
- Dual HEPA filters
- 3-stage cleaning will work on all types of surfaces
- Only 3.6” tall – can go under most furniture and clean flooring underneath
- Soft touch bumper won’t damage furniture
- Goes back-and-forth over dirtier areas it detects
- On board scheduling allows users to schedule automated cleaning up to 7-times per week
- Full bin indicator lets you know when it needs to be emptied
Complete specs can be found here.
Unlike the Neato robots that have a more predictable pattern, iRobot tends will bump into objects then move in a random pattern that can be head-scratching if you watch it but it does a good job in reaching most areas.
While there will be a few missed spots here and there, it has improved over earlier models.
It doesn’t bump into obstacles at full speed instead it slows down thus avoiding damage to furniture.
Remember to do your part and prep the area that needs cleaning. This includes removing stuff that can get in the way like wires or toys. No robot is smart enough to decide on its own to avoid these obstacles.
There should be at least 3-feet of space all around the charging base to avoid issues with docking.
iRobot provides a better containment system with this variant. Unlike the older variant that only has a virtual wall, this robot uses a virtual lighthouse that acts like a door.
However this isn’t perfect. Rooms will vary in size so will cleaning times. So if it is cleaning a big room it may go to the other room before it finishes cleaning it.
What people would do is clean one room at a time with the doors closed.
Pet hair removal
There were a lot of happy pet owners using this and some had more than 4 dogs!
That’s because this robot has two counter rotation brushes that will grab pet hair.
Remember to clean the brushes regularly to maintain performance especially your home has a lot of pets.
Will it clean stairs?
Similar to the 770, it will allow up to 7 scheduled clean-ups per week.
Usually takes around 2 to 3 hours.
Filter clean up
You will need to replace the HEPA filter every 2 to 3 months to maintain performance.
Replacement filters are available in Amazon for around $20 each for a pack of 3.
HEPA filters are washable just make sure that it’s fully dry when putting it back in.
Official run time listed is at 90 minutes but some consumers have claimed to get as much as 4 hours of run time per charge.
Customer service and warranty
Feedback on customer service is generally positive, with iRobot offering a replacement if there are defects.
It comes with a one-year warranty on the robot and 6-months on the battery.
Bare floor cleaning
The presence of 3 brushes, make this an ideal vacuum to clean bare floors.
The side brush and the 2-counter rotating brushes will pick up most, if not all dust and pet hair off this type of surface.
It may struggle however with larger debris like cheerios’ as the side brush will have a tendency of flinging them out of its way but for smaller bits it’ll suck them all in.
First off let’s set expectations in order, don’t expect this to deep clean, currently there is no robot vacuum in the market that can do this.
But for maintenance clean-ups it does a good job with dirt and pet hair with its 3 brushes.
Take note that you’ll have to check the brushes at least once a week to see if there’s any hair (pet or human) rolled up.
Here’s a short video on how maitenance is done. Check more frequently if anyone in your home has long hair or if you have more pets.
Like the 770, the sensors may have issues going really dark carpet because its sensors may think that it’s open air (like the edge of a stairway).
There were a handful of reviews that point this out.
If rugs are too thick let’s say thicker than ¾”, it can get stuck climbing it. If rugs are too light, it may push them aside, so before letting it clean without supervision, do a visual check first to see how it reacts with different types of carpet in your home.
Also if rugs have long tassels, you might want to clean it with a separate vacuum as those tassels can get stuck between the 2 brushes.
The Roomba 780 though has a feature that automatically stops the brushes once it detects something stuck in between them and rotates and lets you know through a message in the LCD screen.
RobotShop testing the 780
Over 150 people left a review in Amazon, and almost a hundred gave it 5 stars! Some people who gave one star reviews said it performed well!
Satisfied consumers loved the way it cleaned dirt and even pet hair especially (a lot of pet owners bought this!) on hard floor.
There were also reviews who weren’t Roomba users that like the performance of older models so much that they decided to upgrade.
Some issues include navigation issues where the robot will get lost under furniture. But most didn’t seem to mind it getting lost as it did not happen too often.
Other issues include the small dirt been that needs frequent emptying. Hair will also wrap around the two side brushes and main brush so expect to do a lot of maintenance clean ups if you have pets.
Some folks say that if you use this for the first time, it will pick up a lot of dirt. And if you use this regularly, you will not need to empty it as much because the floors are cleaner!
There were also some reports of lemon units which are normal for appliances this complex but there were less than 10 reported cases here.
Noise is another complaint but it is subjective, one owner measured it and reported that it produced between 55 to 65Db.
Another suggestion made in reviews is that if your room has light doors, consider putting a wedge so that the robot won’t bump it and lock itself in OR just close the door and let it clean the room and just move it to another room when it’s finished.
Reviews from other sites
Performance wise it was highly rated – they loved how this robot performed on all types of indoor surfaces such as carpet, hardwood, tiled and linoleum flooring but they mentioned that you shouldn’t ditch the full sized vacuum just yet and they did question if you should invest this much in a robot for a simple task for vacuuming.
But for those busy folks who can afford it, it is a smart buy.
Over 100 people (most of them verified reviewers) left reviews and a lot of them have pets.
Consumers were happy with how this product helps them clean pet hair.
Folks who have back issues were another set of happy customers.
Overall they were happy with how it kept their floors clean, especially those hard to reach areas under the table or bed.
There were only very few complains about lemon units (less than 5).
Build quality was good, HEPA filters snap snugly in place, touch controls were nice but he complained about hair (human not pet) getting wound up on brushes and run time isn’t longer than previous models even though iRobot claims that 50% battery life which could mean it’ll last longer than older models.
Where can I buy this?
You can buy this robot in Amazon for as low as $200 but it won’t be eligible for their free 2-day shipping.
A better option would be to get the Roomba 860 or 890 that has a the new bristle-free extractors that require less maintenance. These newer Roomba robots also have the newer Li-Ion batteries which will run longer.
This is great for extremely busy people looking to a buy a robot vacuum for the first time.
Pet owners who want a tool that will help them clean pet hair should consider this product.
Take note that it will not clean stairs so you will still need a separate handheld if you live in a multi-level home. But you can move this robot up and down and it’ll do the work for you.
If you already own the 770 wait a little longer for a more substantial upgrade because both of these robots have the same motor and brush the only difference is the 780 uses a virtual lighthouse and digital buttons.
It as a better containment system that will allow this to clean multiple rooms.
If you have more than two rooms and want to schedule this to clean on its own, consider getting extra lighthouses.
Two counter-rotating brushes will pick up stubborn hair and dust on both hard floor and carpet.
But don’t ditch your full sized vacuum just yet if you have wall to wall carpet.
While there were some complaints about the noise, it is really subjective.
The obvious downside is the price, at close to $600 it is expensive but a worthwhile investment to those who can afford it.
It comes with a lot in the package that includes an extra set of HEPA filters that’ll last you 4 to 6 months, see what comes in the package here.
Overall, a very good automated vacuum that’ll do a great job on hard floors and a very decent job on carpet.
Just make sure to do your part when you buy this – regularly clean the brushes and sensors and remove the clutter that gets in the way before letting this robot do its job.