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Roomba 690 Review

The House Method team tested the iRobot Roomba 690 on carpets and hard floors and measured suction power, maneuverability, noise, mobility, and more. Read our full review here.

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When you think of robot vacuum cleaners, chances are iRobot’s Roomba line comes to mind. Roomba vacuums can go places your upright or stick vacuums can’t, like under low-set furniture or around tight spaces. They can also be scheduled to clean your house every day, so you don’t have to worry about manually vacuuming your floors.

The iRobot Roomba 690 offers a lot of functionality for its price. You can control its cleaning schedule and habits via a smartphone app or give it voice commands through popular smart home devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Overall score: 9.58/10

The value prop

The Roomba 690 is one of the more affordable iRobot models and comes equipped with features like WiFi connectivity and Dirt Detection technology. It doesn’t have the advanced cleaning technology that the Roomba 980 has, but it’s still a powerful and efficient vacuum that is great for day-to-day use. It’s the best robot vacuum for those on a budget.

Pros
  • It’s relatively quiet compared to other Roomba models.
  • It features Dirt Detection technology, allowing for more precise cleaning around your home.
Cons
  • This vacuum has been found to experience navigation issues with dark flooring.
  • It has a small dust bin.

Roomba 690 design

Circular in shape, the Roomba 690 has a black and silver body with a sleek interface. On top of the vacuum, you’ll find a start button, a home icon that sends the robot back to its dock, and a spot cleaning icon.

Because of its round shape, it doesn’t do a great job getting into corners (something the D-shaped Neato Botvac D7 Connected vacuum does well), but it does have an Edge-Sweeping Brush designed at a 27-degree angle to sweep debris away from edges and corners.

One of our favorite design features is the inclusion of Dirt Detect Technology. With this technology, a dirt detect sensor recognizes areas that need a little more suction and kicks on maximum power to provide a more thorough cleaning.

Some other important design features of the Roomba 690 include:

  • One-click cleaning—With the push of a button, the Roomba 690 will actively drive around your home and search for dirt and debris to pick up. You can click the button on top of the vacuum’s interface or schedule it to start through the iRobot HOME App.
  • Smart sensors—This robotic vacuum is equipped with anti-drop and anti-collision sensors that manage it as it moves around the room and prevent it from falling down stairs or repeatedly hitting objects.

Vacuum assembly

Setting up the Roomba 690 is extremely simple. After positioning the Home Base in an uncluttered area and plugging it in, flip over the vacuum and pull out the yellow plastic tab sticking out from the battery. Though this robot vacuum comes with a partial battery charge, we recommend completely charging the battery before use—this will prevent the Roomba from returning to its Home Base to recharge sooner than it would have if it had a fully charged battery. Allow the Roomba to charge on the Home Base for three hours for a full battery.

While your Roomba is charging, we recommend downloading the iRobot HOME App and connecting your vacuum to Wi-Fi. Though the app isn’t necessary to use with your Roomba, it gives you instructions on how to set up and use your Roomba, allows you to set an automatic cleaning schedule for the week, enables automatic software updates, and provides access to frequently asked questions.

How the Roomba 690 cleans

This robot vacuum uses a patented three-stage cleaning system with dual multi-surface brushes, a specially designed Edge-Sweeping Brush, and powerful vacuum suction to clean everything from small particles to large debris. It can be controlled by manually pressing the buttons on its lid or by using the iRobot HOME App for smartphones.

Perhaps one of its best performance features is the Dual Multi-Surface Brush system. The first brush loosens, lifts, and pulls in debris from floors while the second brush accelerates debris into the suction channel. We were shocked at how much embedded dirt and hair this robotic vacuum pulled up during our cleaning tests.

Another bonus feature: this device is Wi-Fi enabled and can be integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

View our complete guide to vacuuming to give your home a more in-depth clean.

What to note about the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 is one of the few robotic vacuums that has voice prompts to let you know the current status of the vacuum and whether it’s charging or cleaning. Similar to other Roomba vacuums, the Roomba 690 automatically returns to its dock to recharge when the battery is low. One downside to this vacuum is that it doesn’t have a memory feature that remembers the layout of your home like some of the newer Roombas do.

The “CLEAN” button, located on the top of the Roomba 690 interface, makes this unit extremely easy to use. Simply press the button to start a cleaning cycle. The Roomba will return to its charging base once cleaning is complete.”

How big is the Roomba 690?

Dimension Measurement
Height 3.7 inches
Length 13.0 inches
Width 13.0  inches
Dust canister 0.08 gallons

Accessories included with the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 comes with a flat cleaning tool, a charging dock, a line cord, an extra filter, and a dual-mode virtual wall barrier.

Dual-mode virtual wall barrier

The virtual wall barrier runs on two AA batteries (these come included in the box). Small and intuitive to use, the virtual wall keeps your Roomba vacuum in the places you want cleaned and out of the ones you don’t.

There are two switches on the virtual wall barrier. When the switch is in the “up” position, the device functions as a virtual wall and can block openings of up to 10 feet. In this setting, it creates an invisible, cone-shaped barrier that only Roombas can see. When the switch is in the “down” position, the device creates a protective zone that the Roomba won’t enter. This prevents the vacuum from bumping into items you want to protect, like a dog bowl or vase.

Flat cleaning tool

This tool has plastic teeth and a cutting blade that helps you quickly remove hair and debris from the iRobot Roomba brushes.

iRobot Roomba 690 vs. iRobot Roomba 890 vs. iRobot Roomba 980

iRobot offers a variety of robot vacuums that deliver exceptional cleaning performance and make vacuuming more convenient. Check out the Roomba 690 compared to two of the more advanced Roomba models.

Dust bin capacity
Weight
Run time
Charge time
Accessories

Roomba 690

Dust bin capacity

0.08 gallons

Weight

7.8 pounds

Run time

90 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Dual-mode virtual wall barrier, charging station, extra filter, cleaning tool

Roomba 890

Dust bin capacity

0.2 gallons

Weight

8.4 pounds

Run time

60 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Dual-mode virtual wall barrier

Roomba 980

Dust bin capacity

0.8 gallons

Weight

8.7 pounds

Run time

120 minutes

Charge time

120 minutes

Accessories

Two dual-mode virtual wall barriers

Looking for more Roomba reviews? Check out the following:

Read our review comparing the Roomba 960 and the Roomba 980.

Cleaning tests

We performed three different tests that measured suction power, maneuverability, and mobility on hard floors, low-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet. For our suction tests, we used Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair.

Cleaning score: 9.42/10

Test 1—Suction test on hard floors

Overall, we were genuinely surprised at how well the Roomba 690 performed. Since the 690 is one of the lower-tier iRobot models, we didn’t think it would perform as well as the more advanced Roombas. However, the Roomba 690 did a great job picking up all of the substances. On hard floors, this robot vacuum cleaner received a perfect score. It sucked up the Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair without any difficulty.

Test 2—Suction test on high-pile carpet

The Roomba 690 did better than the Roomba 960 at getting over high-pile carpet and sucking up messes on this surface. Though it experienced difficulty sucking up the coffee grounds, it picked up the Cheerios, kitty litter, and pet hair in two to three passes.

Test 3—Suction test on low-pile carpet

On low-pile carpet, the Roomba 690 picked up the Cheerios, kitty litter, and pet hair in one pass. The Roomba had a hard time picking up the coffee grounds—even after going over the fine substance a few times, there were still coffee particles all over the carpet. We ended up using a separate hand vac to get rid of the remaining mess. We concluded that fine particles are more difficult for the Roomba 690 to effectively suck up.

Maneuverability

Overall, the Roomba 690 has exceptional maneuverability. It sensed obstacles immediately and was able to move under coffee tables and around furniture, but it did have trouble getting over thicker area rugs. During our testing, this robot vacuum moved back and forth across low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet, and hard floors with ease. Whenever its battery started to run low, the Roomba would easily make its way back to the charging dock and secure itself to the station.

Note: Because of its height, the Roomba 690 can get stuck when sliding under low-set furniture. This could lead to some scratches on the top of the device; while this won’t take away from performance, it could impact the overall look of the vacuum.

Usability

The Roomba 690 is incredibly easy to use and offers a hands-off approach to vacuuming. Like other Roomba robots, the 690 is powered by a full suite of intelligent sensors that automatically guide the robot around your home. Before setting this vacuum loose, consider clearing your floors as much as possible to ensure the Roomba doesn’t get stuck on any cords or large objects.

Noise

The Roomba 690 is one of the quietest vacuums we tested, measuring 66.4 decibels. This is similar to what normal conversation sounds like.

Roomba 690 maintenance

We were very impressed with how much dirt and debris the Roomba 690 picked up during testing. When it came time to empty the dust bin, the process was super easy. It took us 10 seconds to remove the canister and empty out all of its contents. Simply press the button at the front of the vacuum, pull the bin out, and dump the debris into the trash.

To keep the Roomba running at peak performance, you’ll want to empty the dust bin after each use. We also recommend cleaning the filter once a week (twice a week in homes with pets), cleaning the brushes once a week, cleaning the front caster wheel once every two weeks, and cleaning the side brush, cliff sensors, and charging contacts once a month.

Additionally, iRobot recommends replacing the following accessories as follows:

  • HEPA filter—2 months
  • Spinning brush—6 months
  • Front wheel—12 months
  • Brushroll—12 months
  • Battery—18–36 months

Filtration

The Roomba 690 uses AeroVac filtration to filter out dust particles and debris. The main job of this filter is to pull all the hair, dirt, and grime off of the cleaning brushes and move them to the dust bin. To clean the filter, pinch the yellow tabs located around the dust bin, pull out the filter, and clean it with cold water.

Is the Roomba 690 a good value?

While I love the Roomba 980 and Roomba 890, their price puts them out of range for most people. The Roomba 690 is the best robot vacuum for those on a budget. It offers much of the same iRobot technology and suction power that’s included with the iRobot 900 series but at a much more affordable price.

As with the 980, the 690 is Wi-Fi-enabled and works with Google Home and Alexa. It also uses the same virtual wall barrier system to give your house a more precise clean. However, since this vacuum has trouble picking up fine particles, we recommend checking out our Roomba 980 review or supplementing your Roomba 690 with a handheld vacuum like the Dyson Car + Boat.

Who should buy the Roomba 690?

We recommend the Roomba 690 if you’re looking for the following:

  • An affordable robot vacuum—Robotic vacuums are some of the most expensive types of vacuums available. Since the Roomba 690 is one of the older iRobot versions, it comes at a much lower price but still retains some top features like smartphone capabilities and scheduled programming.
  • A WiFi-enabled vacuum—If you don’t want to worry about taking the time out of your busy schedule to vacuum the house, the Roomba 690 may be a great option. Thanks to its WiFi connectivity, it can be controlled with a smartphone and programmed to clean when you’re away.
  • A vacuum for light, everyday cleaning—Since this robot vacuum is small and doesn’t have a large dust bin, it’s not good for large messes.

Roomba 690 specifications

Below is a list of the most important iRobot Roomba 690 specifications.

Specifications
Type Robot
Manufacturer iRobot
Model Roomba 690
Length 13 inches
Width 13 inches
Height 3.7 inches
Weight 7.8 pounds
Floor type All floors
Dust bin capacity 0.08 gallons
Power cord length N/A
Cordless or corded Cordless
Bagless Yes
Warranty 1-year limited

Consumer ratings

See how other sites rate the iRobot Roomba 690.

Source Consumer rating Number of ratings
Amazon 4.1 stars out of 5 1,871
Bed Bath & Beyond 4.3 stars out of 5 316
Walmart 4.2 stars out of 5 78
Best Buy 4.5 stars out of 5 1,143
Sylvane N/A N/A

Customer reviews

“Love this—I got the iRobot 690 over cheaper, advertised off-name options because of the positive reviews it received for pet hair pickup, and it hasn’t disappointed! It’s great for pet hair and pretty good-sized dirty carpet areas. For massive cleanups (like a spilled potted plant’s dirt) you’re still going to need a manual vacuum, but for day-to-day cleaning, this is great. It’s only 4 stars because it seems to keep cleaning the same area over and over—it keeps running for an hour constantly and it seems to not really differentiate between areas it’s already done and new areas. So regardless of “dirt” on the carpet, it might go over clean areas 3 or 4 times and the dirt areas 1 time. But since it does a good job cleaning that’s really usually enough. I just wish it was more efficient, and the dirt collection “bucket” could be bigger. But still well worth the price and a great buy.” — Amazon review

“I’ve had Roomba lust for years but was set back by the price. My husband saw it on sale and decided to buy one. So exciting! I had doubts but I’m very impressed. We have wood floors downstairs and two cats. Seems like it sweeps constantly! This does a really good job picking up crud. Big and small pieces. It’s very good at navigating but gets stuck in few spots. I’ve watched it go around the round base of our ottoman and wow! So cool. The app notifies you if it’s stuck and allows you to start it. It also calls for help if it gets stuck. Love that it returns to its charging base! Overall a great little vacuum. Picks up tons of cat hair and annoying crumbs a broom can’t get. Some issues but really for the most part I’m quite happy.” — Amazon review

Buy the Roomba 690

Frequently asked questions

Will the Roomba 690 work without using the iRobot HOME App?

Yes, the Roomba 690 can be used without the iRobot HOME App. However, using the App allows you to use your iOS or Android smart device and get the best possible experience with your iRobot product. With the iRobot HOME App, you can schedule your Roomba 690 to clean while you’re away, customize cleaning preferences, and much more.

Can the Roomba 690 adjust to different floor surfaces?

Yes. Roomba vacuums automatically adjust to clean carpets and hard floors as it moves throughout your house.

Does the Roomba 690 work with Alexa?

Yes, the Roomba 690 can connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

What is Roomba Dirt Detect?

Roomba uses acoustic sensors to detect small particles, focusing its cleaning efforts in dirtier areas. In these problem areas, the Roomba will automatically work harder, making several passes over the mess until the floor is clean.

About the author

Kealia is a staff writer and social media coordinator for House Method. She writes for a variety of beats, including home inspiration (her favorite), real estate, and home wellness.


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