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iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review


Roomba 690


Pet Hair








The Review

The Roomba 690 robot vacuum is a staple of the iRobot lineup of smart robotic vacuums. iRobot has been a leader in the robovac industry almost since the beginning. Founded in 1990 by MIT roboticists Colin Angle, Helen Greiner, and Rodney Brooks, iRobot launched its first vacuuming robot in 2002. Headquartered in Bedford, MA, iRobot currently has offices throughout the world, including Pasadena, CA, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Since the release of their first robot vacuum, iRobot has sold millions of units with the aim to take some of the drudgery out of our lives.

Robotic vacuums have become exceedingly popular over the past 10 years. As technology has progressed, they have become more adept at navigating the maze of obstacles that often obstruct thorough cleaning. Furthermore, additional convenience features, often integrated with our smart phones, continue to improve on the original functions and reduce the need for us to perform monotonous tasks, such as consistently vacuuming the carpet or floors. The iRobot 690 is a perfect example of the improvement of these little marvels from less advanced models such as the Roomba 675 robot. Gone are the days of your robot friend constantly needing you to “babysit” as it cleans your house. The iRobot line of vacuums are, for the most part, completely autonomous and require very little interaction from you. Read the iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum cleaner review below to see if this is the perfect companion for you and your family.

iRobot Roomba

Convenience at the Push of a Button

The Roomba 690 is part of the mid-grade line of robovacs from iRobot. While maybe not as feature-rich or powerful as the iRobot 890 or Roomba 960, the 690 version provides the same time-tested features iRobot made famous at a fraction of the cost. The features provided by this vacuum are impressive, considering it isn’t one of the top-of-the-line models. Below is a quick list of some of the top features:

• Wi-Fi connectivity
• App integration
• Remote start
• Scheduling
• Clean map reports
• Dirt Detect sensors
• Virtual Wall Barrier
• Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands

The array of features allows the iRobot 690 to compete with the big boys in the feature department. Being able to control your robot vacuum away from home cannot be underestimated. Run into a friend at the store and invite them over? No problem! Just pull up the app and tell your robot (give it a name!) to start cleaning. You can schedule your vacuum to run whenever best fits your schedule via the app for ultimate convenience. It is a nice feeling to come home to a freshly vacuumed carpet every day. Once it has completed its cycle, it will send you a notification that the cleaning has been completed and a cleaning map to boot!

Dog on floorStrong Clean Features

The Roomba 690 vacuum provides powerful suction to ensure it can clean up almost any condition floors. It excels at cleaning pet hair and making sure you don’t have the hair bunnies floating around the house. This robot uses a 3-Stage Cleaning System and Dual Multi-Surface Brushes to ensure it gets in every crack and cranny. A cleaning head automatically adjusts to ensure the brushes stay firmly in contact with the floor to ensure maximum pickup potential. Furthermore, a side brush allows it to get in the cracks of walls and corners. Another nice feature is the Dirt Detect sensor system that allows the iRobot 690 to know when it is on a particularly stubborn spot of dirt. It goes into a higher cleaning mode in these areas to ensure it is as clean as possible before moving on to the rest of the house. Not many other robovacs have this feature as they normally clean at the same rhythm throughout the entire cleaning cycle.

iRobot also features their Virtual Wall technology to allow you to stop the robot from going where you don’t want it to. Unlike some other robot vacuum cleaners that may use magnetic strips, the iRobot 690 employs the use of an invisible Virtual Wall to block certain rooms from being entered by the vacuum. The Virtual Wall is simple to use. Simply turn it on and point it where you want the laser to provide a barrier. If you have ever had to deal with the magnetic strips that you basically just lay across the floor in some other brands, you will know how much better the Virtual Wall performs.

Delivers Quiet and Hands-off Operation

In addition to the above, the vacuum also features several additional characteristics to make your life easier. The long battery life (90 minutes), ensures it can clean almost any size home. Furthermore, as it cleans your home a few times, it begins to learn the area and becomes more efficient in its cleaning process. It will begin to finish quicker and using less battery. If you have an exceptionally large home, you may want to think about getting two. It is fairly common among robot vacuum owners to have more than one. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a robot war?!?! Additionally, the 690 is not as loud as you normally expect from a traditional upright vacuum. It is about as loud as a remote control toy car, so you can be sure it won’t interrupt you (too much), if you are running it while you are at home. Finally, the dust bin ensures you aren’t spending too much time emptying it out. While it is not very big (you will probably need to empty after each cleaning), it is easily removed and emptied with minimal hassle.

The Not So Good

While this is a very respectable robot vacuum, there are a few problems that are associated with the Roomba 690. First, it doesn’t move in a grid-pattern like the Neato D7 vacuum does with its mapping system navigation. It just cleans all over the house in random directions. While this may not be a big deal overall, it can lead to missing a few spots after just one cleaning. Fortunately, as it is automated, you just run it every day (or whatever your schedule) and it will hit the missed spots next time (or the time after that). Coverage is very good, considering it moves about randomly, but if you only want to run it once a week, you may want to look at one of the more advanced models.

Another problem is the learning time for this robot to better learn the house. During the first run, you may experience some problems such as it is getting stuck or not being able to get back to its base. This can be frustrating until you realize it gets better after each run. By the third or fourth cleaning cycle there shouldn’t be any problems anymore as it should have progressively gotten better at learning the layout and what to avoid.

The Final Verdict

This robot is an impressive vacuum considering it is in the mid-range of the Roomba line of products. While the upper-tier are definitely more powerful and have a wider array of features, this version provides enough to make it an excellent buy. Most do not need the wide range of features inherent in the top-tier Roombas, especially when cost is a consideration. The iRobot 690 allows you to go about your day and come home to a clean house without lifting a finger (except emptying the dirt bin of course).

The best part of this robot is the range of convenience features inherent in the app and technical integrations. The app is easy to use and intuitive to even those not normally technically inclined. Setup is a breeze and shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Even connecting to Alexa or Google Home Assistant commonly takes less than two minutes as you are walked through the setup process. Scheduling features, map reports, voice activation, virtual walls, and remote start are just a few of the technological innovations that help to make this such a necessity for many of us. Being able to start your robot and let it run while away from home is a gift for those with busy lives that leave little room for cleaning consistently. While there are a couple problems associated with the first few days as it better learns the home, the iRobot 690 performs very well in cleaning the house.

The Dirt Detect sensors are excellent at ensuring dirty areas are cleaned with that little extra “oomph”. Furthermore, the cleaning system ensures that pet hair is not a problem for those of us with a couple (or 10) pets. If you are new to owning pets or are debating rescuing a dog and bringing one home from a shelter, this device could save you many hours frequently cleaning up after your new pet. While you may need to empty the bin more often to clean out the hair, it does a great job at picking up the hair that is shed from our pets. Just remember to pick up the house before starting the robot on its cleaning mission! It will run through and try to clean any spills, blankets, or toys that are left around the house.

Product Specifications

Dimensions13 x 13 x 3.6 inches
Weight7.8 lbs.
Wi-Fi EnabledYes
Virtual WallYes