Roomba 690 Review
The Roomba 690 is the best affordable iRobot vacuum for pet hair.
Released in 2016, this model has remained dominant in the market courtesy of its smart connectivity and affordability.
It was released in the market together with the iRobot 890 though it came to replace the iRobot 650 which lacked WiFi.
This vacuum is best for all bare floors and pet hair but not carpets.
Read along to find out more about this cheap iRobot vacuum.
Design, dimensions, and aesthetics
The Roomba 690 is round-shaped and comes with a retractable bumper around it to absorb shock when it hits obstacles. This ensures the robot vacuum remains intact and none of your stuff in the house gets damaged.
This cleaner has a dark finish and silver accent.
Regarding dimensions, the 690 is not among the slimmest robot vacuums we have seen.
It has a 13-inch diameter and has a 3.6-inches height. The weight is 7.8 lbs, and the bin can hold 0.3L of dirt.
Roomba 690 cleaning performance
So, what kind of features allow it to do all these?
Under the hood, the iRobot 690 packs a 1st Gen motor. It is not the best so far as we have a 2nd and 3rd Gen motors which are quieter, and more efficient.
It operates at around 68db and delivers an average of 550Pa. This is the reason it is not ideal for medium and high pile carpets.
To thoroughly vacuum a medium pile carpet, you need at least 800 Pa while high pile requires more than 1300 Pa to get the job done.
The brush system is the same dual multi surface bristle brush the predecessor, iRobot 650 comes with.
One brush is for agitating dirt and the other one for picking up dirt. As a bristle brush, it agitates carpet dirt and stains very well, but the only problem is that long dog hair may tangle it. That’s why the higher models come with an anti-tangle brush.
Next up is filtration and iRobot 690 has the Aerovac filtration system. It uses HEPA-style filters which are not so efficient, but they will at least leave your house free from bad odor.
It is however not the best for allergy sufferers as it is not so efficient to capture much of the pet-related dander.
The iRobot 690 also comes with Dirt Detect series I. This is a proprietary technology that finds where there is concentrated dirt, and the Roomba will automatically head there and switch to spot mode.
In this mode, it moves in a circular pattern and ensures all the dirt is collected. Dirt Detect I uses acoustic sensors to find dirt hotspots.
Battery and autonomy
The Roomba 690 shares the same battery with the 650 and 890. This is a 1800mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery that can last it for an hour on a single charge.
Please note that this is on bare floors, but for carpets, it may run for a shorter time, say 55 minutes. The explanation for this is that on carpets, the wheels face a little resistance and to make sure that it gets going, it will require more torque, and that translates to more power.
As for power management, the 690 will recharge automatically at the supplied docking station.
Recharge time is around 2-3 hours, but unfortunately, it won’t resume cleaning after that. You have to prompt it again so that it can finish cleaning.
Navigation and maneuverability
The Roomba 690 boasts iRobot’s revolutionary iAdapt 1.0 navigation system.
This technology uses sensors to enable the vacuum to locate its position in the house. This is in relation to the walls. Several sensors send invisible beams to the wall, and when they bounce back to the vacuum cleaner, the software processes the data, and the result is accurate localization.
Besides, we have obstacle detection sensors that prevent it from hitting household fittings though it frequently collides with household stuff, especially in high-traffic rooms.
Moreover, the 690 has drop sensors that detect stairs and other drop zones. Once such an area is identified, it will make a 360 degrees turn.
When it comes to floor mapping and scanning, we don’t have a systematic or methodical cleaning pattern.
Neither does the iRobot 690 have a map memory like the 890. What this means is that the cleaner moves randomly and in large apartments with many rooms, it is prone to missing some spots.
To complement the navigation system, this cleaner has large offroad wheels that can climb all dirt particles up to 1.6 cm high.
The iRobot 690 also comes with Virtual Walls, and as the name suggests, this is a boundary marking feature that uses invisible laser beams to set invisible limits.
You need at least two Virtual Walls to get the most out of this feature. Unfortunately, only one is supplied with the 690, but for its price, this shouldn’t be a concern. An additional node can be bought separately.
Smart connectivity and convenience
One of the major highlights of the Roomba 690 is the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi compatibility.
Homeowners can now operate the robot vacuum remotely via the Smartphone app. Setting it up is easy and straightforward.
Besides this, it can work with Alexa and Google Assistant and several other smart home devices for example Wink and SmartThings.
For the record, the Wi-Fi is just for connectivity but not cleaning so even if you don’t have Wi-Fi, you can still clean the house only that app and voice control will be limited.
As for convenience, we are looking at the programmability of the vacuum.
The 690, just like other robot vacuums has a 7-day schedule feature. Preset your preferred cleaning times and it will automatically initiate cleaning.
Cost and value for money
Upon its release, the Roomba 690 retailed at around $400 but thanks to market dynamics, and competition from other brands, you can find it now at less than $300.
This is the average retail price currently, but at times the price has dropped below the $300 mark.
Make sure to sign up for our exclusive price drop alerts, and we’ll notify you immediately the price comes down.
When it comes to value for money, the Roomba 690 scores highly. It comes with Wi-Fi something the iRobot 650 doesn’t come with yet it retails at almost the same price.
Compared to the iRobot 675, the 690 also comes with a dual mode Virtual Wall barrier when the iRobot 675 has none yet it costs the same $300.
When you think about venturing to other brands in this budget range, there are a few robot vacuums that can match the 690’s performance.
Does Roomba 690 learn rooms?
No, the 690 is not like the 890. It doesn’t have a floor mapping function meaning it doesn’t know where it has been, and where it should go next. In other words, it uses an entirely random navigation pattern, and that’s the reason it is prone to missing some spots.
Can Roomba 690 clean multiple rooms and multi-levels?
Yes, iRobot 690 can clean multiple rooms. However, it may move to the next room before finishing one room. Use Virtual Walls to block doorways to ensure it entirely covers one room before moving to the next. As for multi-levels, you have to carry it from one floor to another.
What’s the difference between Roomba 690 vs. 675 vs. 890?
iRobot 890 comes with an entirely new 2nd Gen motor, and the output is 900Pa. It also has a new brush system, Dirt Detect series II and AeroForce cleaning system as opposed to Aerovac.
On the other hand, the 675 shares much of the features the 690 has only that it doesn’t come with a dual-mode Virtual Walls node included, but it can work with this boundary marking technology.
The 690 may not be the best Roomba in the market, but it is a worthy robot vacuum that offers excellent value for money.
Retailing at around $300, it comes with some noteworthy features including Dirt Detect, and Wi-Fi.
It provides outstanding cleaning performance on bare floors and low pile carpets and gets rid of just any kind of dirt including pet hair.
If you are looking for a cheap Roomba for pet hair, this is your perfect match.