Best Roomba for Cat Hair: 9 Need-to-Know Features


Roomba 650

  • Best for single cat and apartment/small home living!
  • 75 minute battery life
  • Cliff detection for two-store homes

Roomba 880

  • Best for up to 2 cats in a mid-size home!
  • 75 minutes battery life
  • Cliff detection
  • Tangle free technology
  • Multiroom navigation technology
  • 5x air power booster

Roomba 980

  • Best for 2 or more cats in a large home!
  • 120 minute battery life
  • Cliff detection
  • Tangle free technology
  • 5x air power booster
  • Self-recharge and resume!
  • Multiroom navigation
  • Carpet Boost
  • Comes with an iOS/Android App!

Are you a pet owner looking for a Roomba for cat hair? If you feel like day after day you're at war with your pet cats' hairs, and you've tried everything from buying the proper upright vacuum cleanerto buying the best cat brush for shedding, it may now be time to invest in the Roomba!

iRobot's Roomba can be an incredible investment to clearing your home of cat and other pet hair. This brand of robot vacuum is one of the top of the line. With the Roomba, you can go from from vacuuming weekly, to once every 2-3 months!

Still not convinced that a Roomba is for your household? As an added bonus, Roombas can double as a play toy for your cat!

Cats love playing with roombas
Disclaimer: Only certain cats enjoy riding Roombas around. Other cats are terrified of them, as they are with other vacuum cleaners.

iRobot Roombas - A brief background

iRobot, Roomba's parent company, started producing robotic solutions since the early 1990s, when it landed a government deal selling special bomb disposal units. Their portfolio has expanded since then to include robotic vacuum cleaners, automatic moppers, and automatic pool cleaners.

iRobot used to sell military robots.
Left to Right: The Braava 380t Mopping Robot, iRobot 710 Kobra, and Roomba Model 980 . iRobot used to sell military robots, until it sold its military off in early 2016. This model, the iRobot 710 Kobra had a gripper arm attachment that allowed it to lift 330 pounds. We won't be reviewing these types of models, but it's quite fascinating to know what this company was capable of building!

Currently, iRobot concentrates on household products, and leads the industry in robotic vacuum cleaners.

All Roombas come equipped with HEPA filters that trap the smallest particles - an important feature if any of your housemates suffer from allergies or asthma. Coupled with state-of-the-art patented technology, Roombas can quickly and efficiently navigate and clean around your home.

9 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Roomba for Cat Hair

So Roombas are great robot vacuum cleaners, but which model is proper for you? Let's look at the top 9 features that may vary among models, and that you should look for when deciding which suites you best.

1) Filters - Consider the Price & Order a pack with your Roomba

Filters are especially important if you want to pull out harmful dust particles and cat dander out of the air. If you or a loved one suffers from allergies, you'll want to look for cleaners that come with HEPA-grade filters. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and is a type of mechanical air filter. It forces air through a fine mesh, trapping articles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and tobacco smoke. Fortunately, all iRobot Roomba models come with HEPA filters that help trap the smallest dust particles that can cause complication with those with allergies or asthma.

Another product you may consider if you really want to clear out your air, is an air purifier.

Chart showing how much HEPA filters block for best air purifiers for cat allergies.
Prostar-Mechanical

Filter cost

Be sure to consider the cost of the filters when deciding on your Roomba model. Check out the price of each filter, and be sure they fall within your budget. Additionally, you'll want to order them along with your first Roomba purchase.

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Product NameQuantity per OrderReplacement PeriodUnit Cost
Roomba 500,600 Series Replacement Filters10 pack2-3 months$ Check price
1111Amazon 4.5 logo(171+ reviews)
Roomba 800,900 Series Replacement Filters3 pack2-3 months$ Check price
24.9924.99Amazon 4.5 logo(62+ reviews)

A note on Washable Filters

You may have considered buying a vacuum with a washable filter, since they might last longer and are more convinient. However, note that these filter-types, if HEPA-grade, should be replaced after 2-3 uses anyway, as washing they won't release them of the trapped micro-particles.

Another point to consider is that these washable replacements are often double the cost or replacement filters and so it's a much cheaper, and safer decision to go with replaceable filters.

2) Consider Battery Range, Bin Size and Auto Recharge Features are necessary

Battery Range doesn't really matter without a Large Bin

Be aware that a long battery life doesn't necessarily mean continuous cleaning for days, as you'll have to empty out your bin every so often. If you want to maximize the Roomba's cleaning time, consider purchasing an 800+ model, as their compact, brushless technology allows for a bigger bin space.

Self-recharge feature allows Roombas to recharge itself, then finish the job

A Roomba's work time relies on battery life. Some Roombas can return back to their charging station, recharge, then go back to complete the job. As you can see this in the "Self-recharge & resume" column of the comparison table above, this feature is available for models 900+ and up.

Consider the cost of Replacement Batteries

Think ahead to buying replacement batteries. Luckily, there are cheaper alternatives to buying the branded replacements, which have been rated to be just as good as the original.

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Product NameFeatureUnit Cost
Roomba 800,900 Series Replacement FiltersAuthentic and 2x battery life$ Check price
79.9979.99Amazon 4.5 logo(1,574+ reviews)
Powerextra 3.5Ah for iRobot RoombaHigh capacity battery for longer running time$ Check price
25.9925.99Amazon 4.5 logo(1,574+ reviews)

3) Maintenance should be Easy with iRobot's Tangle Free Technology

Robotic vacuum cleaners will pick up anything in its way including rubber bands or strings that can tangle their bristles. Luckily, select Roomba models such as the 860 come with tangle-free debris extractors, backed by 12 patents that minimizes your need to take apart the brush and clean it.

Roomba underbelly showing upgrade from 700 series
The newer 800 series models come equipped with rubber cylinders that eliminate the need to hand-clean the bristles. This system also allows for more room for a bigger bin and filter. Click on the image above to check Amazon pricing.

Although most of the vacuuming will be automated, you'll want to check your Roomba monthly for any messes in its system. For example, your carpet may be clean if the Roomba cleared it of your cat's recent vomit, but your Roomba's innards won't be.

4) Loudness - Expect quieter than full vacuums, but noise nonetheless

If you're going to be using this while you're at home, you must ensure that the noise is kept to a management level. Noise levels can depend on what type of flooring you have (Roombas tend to be quieter on tile), so depending on your floor plan, noise levels will vary. Fortunately, these small vacuums have been noted to make only about a fourth the noise level of a full, upright Dyson.

Newer models tend to be quieter, when comparing the 780 to 880 models.

5) Remote Control App - Extra feature with 900+ models

Many of the iRobot vacuums come with an app you can install on your phone to control your Roomba. This app allows you to set schedules and start your Roomba remotely, as long as you are connected to the same WiFi network.

Roomba Remote Control
The 900+ models come with an app so you can tell your Roomba when to start cleaning. Click on the image above to check Amazon pricing.

The app is available for Roomba 900 models.

6) Automatically detect type of floor

Depending on the surface type of the floor (carpet, tile, wood) the Roomba can adjust and clean appropriately. This is helpful, as carpets need more powerful cleaning. Since the Roomba can automatically adjust depending on the floor, you won't be using as much battery power on tile floors, which don't need that much suction.

7) Smartness - Check out some of Roomba's Sweet Technolgy!

Avoid Stairs with Cliff Detection technology

Nowadays, iRobots come with a sensor that allows it to detect whether it's at the end of a cliff. This is especially useful if you're using your iRobot on the second floor of your home. Check out how it works below:

Note, however that this may mean the vacuum may avoid dark colored rugs, so be sure to check out any reviews for specifics.

How does Roomba clean efficiently?

iRobot holds two patents of which Roombas technology use in order to clean rooms in the shortest amount of time.

  • Wall Following. Here, Roomba will move along the walls of your room, while using its side-mounted flailing brush to clean corners.
  • Random Bounce. Here, Roomba cleans until it hits an obstacle, then moves again in a random direction.

With the newer models such as 980 Roombas are able to use a more intelligent approach called VSLAM (Vision Simultaeneous Localization and Mapping). Here, Roombas are able to use onboard infrared cameras to take snapshots of its surroundings, allowing them to map out where they've been and where they're going.

Staying within a room until cleaned

The Roomba 880 comes with a Virtual Wall Lighthouses that manage multiple room cleanings. This technology draws an infrared line that the Roomba cannot pass until it has completed its cleaning in a particular room.

8) Shape and Roundedness

Some automatic vacuum cleaners come in a rectangular shape, which can be more difficult to get the corners and walls. Fortunately, Roombas have a circular contour, making it easy for them to hug the walls while cleaning them. Some say that Roomba's circular design makes it hard to reach corners, but Roombas also come with a side brush that facilitates these hard-to-reach areas.

Another feature of its circular contour is how efficient Roombas are when turning.

9) Power - Airflow Accelerator Technology

The models in the 800's tend have a new technology called Airflow Accelerators that are designed to concentrate stream of air to a target area.

This technology uses spinning thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) tubes to kick carpet debris into its belly.

Top-Rated Roombas for Cat Hair, Allergies and Litter Dust

Here is now a comparison table of the different Roomba models out there.

Model NameBattery Life (min)AppTangle FreeCliff DetectionPowerSelf-recharge & ResumeMultiroom NavigationCarpet BoostPrice
Roomba 650Best roomba for cats75NoNoYesNo multiplierNoNoNo$$ Check price
374.99374.99Amazon 4.5 logo(3,024+ reviews)
Roomba 860Best roomba for cats75NoYesYes5x air powerNoNoNo$$ Check price
499.99499.99Amazon 4.5 logo(186+ reviews)
Roomba 880Best roomba for cats75NoYesYes5x air powerNoYesNo$$$ Check price
599.99599.99Amazon 4.5 logo(1,596+ reviews)
Roomba 960Best roomba for cats75YesYesYes5x air powerYesYesNo$$$ Check price
699.99699.99Amazon 4.5 logo(38+ reviews)
Roomba 980Best roomba for cats120YesYesYes5x air powerYesYesyes$$$ Check price
896896Amazon 4.5 logo(583+ reviews)

Conclusion

If you're living with a cat that sheds, it's a great idea for you to invest in a Roomba to save you hours off of chores over the weekends.

Hopefully this guide gave you a good overview of some of the things you need to know when purchasing a robotic vacuum cleaner. As noted, don't forget to invest in a powerful upright vacuum, in addition to a Roomba for deep cleaning days.

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