The robot vacuum cleaner iRobot Roomba 981 is a model that is almost similar to the Roomba 980 we reviewed in our columns, with the only insight that the 981 benefits from a minor upgrade in the navigation system.

Benefiting from a navigation system update, however, the iRobot Roomba 981 robot vacuum cleaner has the same features as the iRobot Roomba 980: this first iRobot powered robot is autonomous and provides excellent surface coverage and near-perfection effective aspiration. No matter how hard we try, there isn’t anything for which to blame him.

It’s a connected model: the iRobot HOME application allows you to remotely control the robot (with a WiFi connection) and to know where it is in the cleaning process (as well as the dust bin filling level!).

For example, the application allows you to schedule a delayed start (up to 7 days a week), so that Roomba can automatically start when you’re at work. It can also be used for drawing up cleaning plans. The robot can’t be controlled directly though. The information displayed (Clean Map Report) is interesting: we consider the time taken to clean, the house map, and even the dirty places where the robot had to use its spot mode! Upon completion of the cleaning a notification can be sent to your phone.

The tank of iRobot Roomba 981  is equipped with a HEPA filter: therefore, the air that the robot vacuum cleaner avoids is free of allergens and small particles. It is easy to remove and it is closed, thus preventing dust release when handled: a good point. Once the dust container is full an indicator light warns that it must be filled.



  • Global simplicity of use.
  • Ergonomic and relevant iRobot Home application (maintenance alerts, activation of modes).
  • Excellent efficiency on all soils.
  • Impeccable surface coverage.
  • Autonomous navigation in domestic situations.


  • Maybe it would have been nice to be able to program it even without a smartphone.
  • Consumes a little to maintain the battery charge.
  • No Windows Phone application.