How Much Dirt Does a Roomba Hold?

How big is the bin on your Roomba? Source

Perhaps one of the most underrated features of robovacs is the dustbin capacity. This is the maximum amount of dust and debris the bin can hold before it needs to be emptied and cleaned. More often than not, people focus on the suction power, battery capacity, run time, and if a Roomba remembers a room layout.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of dustbin capacity on the overall performance of the Roomba. For one, it affects the cleaning time of the robot. The bigger the capacity, the longer the cleaning time (battery limitations notwithstanding).

The Roomba senses when the bin is full and the red indicator lights up or starts to blink. This prompts you to empty the bin and clean the sensor and sensor ports before the robot can resume its cleaning.

Although Roombas generally share the same cleaning blueprint, they have different dustbin capacities. It’s worth knowing how much dirt these Roomba models can handle so that you can choose the right Roomba for your needs.

Roomba i7+

The i7+ has a basic dustbin capacity of 400ml but it is also self- emptying

Dustbin capacity: 400 ml

The Roomba i7+ is packed with amazing features and it’s so smart that it can empty its own dustbin. Essentially, you can leave the robot to its own device without having to touch it.

Dustin capacity is 400 ml, but it’s worth noting that this particular model has a different mechanism. It comes with the Clean Base, which requires a compatible dustbin that only works with the i7+. 

To get an idea of the capacity, the dust bag in the base station can hold 30 times the volume of the Roomba’s own dustbin, which is basically 30 dustbins. Depending on how dirty your floor is, it could take as long as a few months or as little as a few weeks before you need to replace the dust bag. Households with pets and heavy foot traffic could benefit from getting the i7+.

When the robot’s dust box is full, it connects to the Clean Base station where it sucks the dirt and debris from the robot. When the base is full, the indicator light on the device and in the app tells you that you need to empty it and replace with a fresh bag.

Roomba s9+

The S9+ is also self emptying and has a dustbin capacity of 400ml.

Dustbin capacity: 400 ml

Roomba S9+ is the latest iRobot model and sports a new D-shape look, which gives a better and more efficient edge-cleaning and corner-cleaning performance. Just like the i7+, the S9+ has an automatic dirt disposal.

Although the dustbin is a complete redesign, the capacity remains at 400ml, just like the i7+. It is currently the most powerful Roomba with 2600 Pa. To complement this suction power, the robot has a cleaner pick up that doesn’t scatter the debris. This means that the newfound dirt pick up efficiency can fill up the dustbin and the dust bag faster.

When the dustbin is full, the full bin indicator lights up to alert you that it needs to be emptied or replaced.

Roomba i7

The S7 has a bigger dustbin capacity than the S7+. 500ml vs 400ml.

Dustbin capacity: 500 ml

Roomba i7 is essentially the identical twin of the i7+ in form and features. The only difference is that it does not have the self-emptying dustbin. A little known fact is that the i7 has a bigger dustbin capacity of 500 ml vs. 400 ml of the i7+. 

It also shares the same full bin indicator mechanism of the i7+ in that the indicator light illuminates or blinks when the dustbin is full. The only difference is that you clean the dustbin manually before the robot resumes its cleaning run.

Roomba 980

The 980 has a very large dustbin capacity- 600ml

Dustbin capacity: 600 ml

Roomba 980 was all the rage in the robovac realm when it was released because of its advanced features and its carpet boost technology. To keep up with all the dirt and debris, the dustbin capacity of the robot is 600 ml. This is ideal for households with bigger floor areas or have multiple furry pets.

The 980 has the full bin indicator which lights up when the dustbin is full. With the default bin behavior setting, the robot will keep cleaning even if the bin becomes full in the middle of a cleaning job. 

Roomba 960 

The Roomba 960 also has a large 600ml dustbin capacity.

Dustbin capacity: 600 ml

Not surprisingly, the Roomba 960’s popularity waned a bit when the 980 entered the picture. Both models are a step up from its predecessors, but the 960 lacks the carpet boost that the 980 introduced. 

But all is not lost because the dustbin capacity is 600 ml, which could last for a while before the full bin indicator starts blinking to indicate that it needs to be emptied.

Roomba e5

The Roomba e5 has a dustbin capacity of 500ml.

Dustbin capacity: 500 ml

Roomba e5 may not have all the bells and whistles of the i7 and s9, but it still performs exceptionally well in the cleaning front. It’s also more than half the price of the high-end models. 

In terms of dustbin capacity, it can accommodate 500 ml of dirt, gunk, and debris before it needs to be emptied and cleaned. This is a step up from the Roomba models before it. The indicator light illuminates when the dustbin reaches its capacity.

Roomba 890

The Roomba 890 has a dustbin capacity of only 300ml.

Dustbin capacity: 300 ml

Consumers looking for a robovac with advanced features at a friendly price point find that the 890 is the right Roomba for their needs. The dustbin capacity maxes out at 300 ml so it’s ideal for small homes and fewer pets. 

The 890 has a bin icon that illuminates to indicate that the dustbin is full and it needs to be emptied and cleaned. So you don’t have to worry about the bin overflowing with dust. You can also see the full bin status in the iRobot Home app.

Roomba 860

The Roomba 860 has a huge dustbin capacity of 650 ml.

Dustbin capacity: 650 ml

The silver finish of the Roomba 860 is what sets it apart from the other robots in the 800 series. Released in early 2016, the 860 doesn’t have the smart path planning and mapping technology that newer models have. 

It may be navigationally challenged, but it reigns supreme in concentrated cleaning. This means that it zeroes in on areas where there is a high concentration of dirt, dust, debris, and pet hair. It focuses on areas that need more attention. 

This remarkable robot behavior is complemented by a massive 650 ml of dustbin capacity. It only makes sense that the dustbin can accommodate a lot more dirt and debris before it needs to be emptied. The built-in full bin indicator comes handy when the robot is working extra hard.

Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 has a dustbin capacity of 600 ml.

Dustbin capacity: 600 ml

With the unbelievably low price point, the Roomba 690 is considered an entry-level robovac. But in terms of features, the 690 is really a mid-range model in the Roomba’s long line of robot vacuums.  

Since it uses the older AeroVac cleaning technology, its performance is not at par with the newer models. But it still cleans thoroughly albeit with navigational shortcomings.

The Roomba 690 can hold 600 ml of dust and debris. Unfortunately, there is no full bin indicator to let you know that it’s time to empty the bin and clean it. You have to check the bin regularly to make sure it’s not overflowing.

Roomba 880

The Roomba 880 has a dustbin capacity somewhere between 650ml and 700ml.

Dustbin capacity: Estimated between 650ml and 700ml

The Roomba 880 ditches the bristly brushes in favor of extractors made of rubber. With no pointed bristles, there’s less debris and hair that cling around the brushes. Of course, you still have to deal with hair that get stuck on the wheel and the rotating brush.

For a Roomba model that claims to have a large dustbin, the 880 is mum about its dustbin capacity. Since Roombas can hold between 300 ml and 650 ml of dust and debris, the 880 could possibly be hovering in the 650 ml to 700 ml range. 

With continued use, you’ll be able to gauge how large the dustbin is by how frequently the full bin indicator lights up. But then again, we all wish dustbins are bottomless pits so we don’t have to manually clean them regularly.

[1] What is Roomba dirt detect?

Roomba’s Dirt Detect technology enables the robot to focus on cleaning areas where there is a higher concentration of dirt. When the Roomba senses more dirt in one section of the floor, it will activate the Dirt Detect mode to clean the area thoroughly. It will stay in that particular area and make several passes until the sensors no longer detect dirt and other particles.

Roomba models that have Dirt Detect Series 1 make use of acoustic impact sensors to detect dirtier areas. When dirt hits the metal plates of the sensors, it creates a vibration that triggers the Dirt Detect function, prompting the robot to concentrate on that area until it’s clean.

Dirt Detect Series 2, on the other hand, uses optical and acoustic sensors to activate concentrate cleaning. This means that the robot will automatically do concentrated cleaning in the area where dirt is excessive.

Different Roomba models will have different Dirt Detect indicators. In general, for the s, i, 500, 600, 700, and 800 series, a blue light will flash when the Dirt Detect mode is activated. For the e series, the CLEAN button will flash white.

[2] What is Roomba Spot cleaning?

The Roomba’s Spot Clean mode enables the robot to concentrate on one spot where there is a significant amount of dirt or particles. It has a laser focus on the localized area and spirals back and forth within a 3-foot diameter range. 

Spot Clean mode behavior is the same for Roomba 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800 series. For the 900 series, the robot boosts its vacuum power as needed to give the best possible clean up. 

[3] What is the Roomba three-stage cleaning system?

Roomba’s three-stage cleaning is unique to iRobot robovacs. This patented cleaning system works to provide a thorough cleaning for every pass regardless of floor types.

Stage 1: The spinning side brush cleans along wall edges grabbing dirt and pushing it into the path of the robot’s counter-rotating brushes. 

Stage 2: Two counter-rotating brushes lift dust, debris and hair off the floor and into the bin.

Stage 3: The Roomba’s powerful vacuum pulls the dirt and hair off the brushes and into the AeroVac/AeroForce bin. Optimized airflow guides the dirt, debris, and small particles to the back of the bin, which enables the bin to fill more evenly. This allows you to empty the bin less often.

 [4] How does a Roomba HEPA filter work? 

HEPA is the acronym for high-efficiency particulate absorber. HEPA filters are designed to absorb and trap airborne particles in the air. 

The HEPA filter forces air through a very fine fiber mesh which traps harmful allergens like dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander, and tobacco smoke. Robovacs with HEPA filtration system are safer for household with members who suffer from allergies and asthma.

True HEPA filters are those that can capture 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. Among the Roomba models, the e, i, and 900 series have true HEPA filters. Other robovacs use HEPA-style filters, which still use the HEPA filter technology, but may only trap up to 90% of allergens.

[5] Can Roombas handle dog hair?

In general, Roombas can handle dog hair, but some Roombas are better at picking up hair than others. The Roomba e and i series are marketed as the best robovacs to handle dog hair.  Based on the proposed IEC fiber pick-up test, the e and i series pick up more pet hair than other robovacs in the market.

If you have a heavy shredder at home, clean-up should be a breeze with the Roomba’s 3-stage cleaning system which uses a powerful lifting suction. The rubber brushes make for a smoother and tangle-free cleaning.

Apart from the suction power, the Dirt Detect technology and the advanced HEPA filtration system ensure a deeper clean every time.

[6] Are any models self-emptying?

It took a little bit of time for iRobot to develop a self-emptying Roomba, but they did it. The i7+ is the first self-emptying Roomba with its Clean Base station. 

The automatic dirt disposal technology in the i7 enables the robot to dock to the station whenever it’s full so it can empty itself. The disposal unit can hold 30 bins of dirt, hair, and debris. The only other model that has the automatic dirt disposal feature is the Roomba s9+.

[7] How do you empty a Roomba bin?

Roombas typically follow the same process when emptying the dustbin from the robot itself. Even the self-emptying i7+ and s9+ need to be cleaned regularly using simple maintenance tasks.

For the 800 and 900 series:

  1. When the full bin indicator lights up, remove and empty the AeroForce bin. 
  2. To clean the filter, squeeze and lift the filter door release tab. 
  3. Pull the protruding yellow tab to get the filter. 
  4. Shake off any dirt and debris. 
  5. Put back the filter by pressing the side of the filter against the metal lever in the filter compartment and close the filter door.
  6. With a clean dry cloth, wipe the inner and outer sensor ports on the bin and the full bin sensors on the robot.
  7. Place the bin back into the robot.

For older models:

  1. Open the bin door and empty the bin into the trash.
  2. To remove the filter, push it down from its latch. 
  3. Clean the filter by tapping it on the side of the trash can.
  4. Slide the filter back in.
  5. Place the bin back in the robot

So, How Much Dirt Can a Roomba Hold?

Many people think that all Roomba vacuums hold the same amount of dirt but as we can see from above- they would be wrong.

But to give you a quick and easy guide to the dustbin capacity of the 10 most popular Roomba vacuums, I have created a chart.

The model with the largest capacity appears at the top.

Roomba ModelDustbin Capacity (ml)Self Emptying
880 650- 700N