Sometimes cleaning floors with a standard vacuum cleaner after every few days isn’t enough. All home floor surfaces need to be cleaned and maintained seven days a week. But owing to busy schedules, we might not have the time to perform this task on a daily basis. And this is where a robot vacuum comes into the picture.
Robot vacuums neither get bored nor distracted, and they’ve got no problem working 7 days a week. In most homes, robotic vacuums keep the floors tidy with little to no supervision, blasting away all kinds of crumbs and dirt on wood, tile, carpets, and even rugs. At WiselyPick, we’ve been testing dozens of Roomba series robots over the past several years, and we think that the iRobot Roomba 690 is a solid, affordable and durable machine that money can buy.
The Roomba 690 is at the top of the brand’s 600 series and an upgrade of the 650 Roomba model. Although it is slightly less powerful than the more expensive Roomba 800 and 900 series, it still excels in performance and costs 2-3 times less. More importantly, the vacuum is equipped with advanced features like Wi-Fi connectivity, smartphone app controls, scheduled cleanings, and voice commands via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
In our iRobot Roomba 690 review, we explore the important features setting this vacuum apart from the competition. We’re going to cover the capabilities and limitations of this lower priced robot vacuum. Follow us through this in-depth irobot 690 review so as to determine whether or not the Roomba 690 is a good fit for your needs.
The Roomba 690 is a great option for anyone who desires more convenient cleaning sessions for multiple floors, such as tile, laminate, wooden, thin carpets and rugs. It provides a 90-minute runtime, and includes dirt detect sensors which guide the robot to concentrate on areas with higher dirt accumulation. However, it isn’t the best choice for deep cleaning thick shaggy-style carpets as it lacks the deep-cleaning capacity of its pricier Roomba 960 and 980 alternatives.
Be that as it may, the vacuum has a low profile design that makes it easy to pick up dust and pet hair where they often hide, such as under sofas, tables, and beds. It uses a 3-stage cleaning system to loosen, lift and suction dust and pet hair. More importantly, you’ve got the ability to keep the vacuum within the area you need to clean thanks to the virtual wall navigation system.
This budget-friendly robot vacuum is built to last and is easy to repair or modify in the event it bumps into objects on its random paths. Even if one of its parts breaks down after a few years, you can easily swap it in a new part at home. iRobot is renowned for keeping spare parts available for each model they’ve ever made.
iRobot Roomba 690 Features & Specs Review
We’ll start off our iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum review with the design. This vacuum comes in a sleek, black-silver body with a circular design that complements any home décor. The outer perimeter consists of durable walls which protect the unit against damage when it bumps into obstacles. The vacuum measures 13 inches long, 13 inches wide and 3.6 inches tall.
With these dimensions, the vacuum boasts a compact footprint to get under low-profile furniture, such as tables, couches, beds, and cabinets. It also weighs only 7.8 pounds and has an ergonomic carry handle that makes transportation a breeze.
At the top, you’ll find a large silver button labeled “Clean” on it. This button has three important functions to undertake: start, pause, and end the cleaning session. Under the “Clean” button is a home icon whose function is to send the machine back to the docking or charging station. Above the spot cleaning icon is the backlit panel that displays the battery status, Wi-Fi connectivity and any error codes on the unit.
Brush & Filter System
The Roomba 690 uses an effective iAdapt 3-stage cleaning system to loosen, lift and suction tough dirt, grime or pet hair and to keep your floors clean. Its brush system comprises the side brushes and dual multi-surface brush rolls that work together for a more thorough cleaning. The first brush loosens and lifts the dirt from hard floors and carpets, while the second one transmits the debris into the suction channel where the single-speed motor will suction it up and dump it into the dirt container.
The edge brush and dual brush rolls sweep all hard flooring surfaces and agitate low-medium pile carpeting as well as taut woven deep pile carpeting. This 3-stage cleaning system allows for more hair pickup than most other units out there. As the first brush digs and pulls up long pet hair, the second brush sends it into the suction channel, thus minimizing the chance of hair getting wrapped around the unit’s moving parts.
The Roomba 690 also uses the AeroVac filtration system (AeroForce in latest models) to keep the dirt and dust in the dust bin and to prevent the motor from getting clogged with dust buildup. This standard filter system is not HEPA style, which means that it doesn’t treat allergens and bacteria the proper way. Even while Roomba 690 can handle pet hair fairly well, it might encounter clogging at some point.
Auto Dirt Detection Sensors
The Roomba 690 features a set of patented dirt detect sensors which are capable of locating areas with excess dirt buildup. These special sensors are positioned around the bottom of the unit, and their function is to instruct the robot to make several passes over a floor area with a higher dirt concentration. Upon spotting an overly dirty area, these intelligent sensors tell the robot to work even harder until all the dirt has been removed.
When alerted to these areas, the machine makes a loop from its current path and goes over the area a few more times. These sensors also guide the robot to focus on areas with hidden dirt, such as under and around furniture or appliances. The Roomba 690 provides the option of checking the app for the number of Dirt Detect events the robot has encountered.
By so doing, you’ll be in a position to better understand how effective your robot vacuum is at cleaning. More often than not, Dirt Detect events may increase depending on whether you have a pet catastrophe or toddler tragedy. Worth noting, the dirt detection sensors also double up as the cliff detection sensors which prevent the robot from falling off high ledges or stairs.
Maneuverability & Auto-Adjusting Cleaning Head
The circular shape of the Roomba 690 is a great aspect that provides maximum maneuverability. It has what it takes to rotate or spin a full 360 degrees while cleaning. The ability to turn around and head in a different direction makes it a perfect machine for cleaning around tight spaces and corners.
Furthermore, this robotic vacuum cleaner boasts a much lower profile than most other robotic units out there. The low-profile design facilitates easy cleanup under more spaces. Of course, it can get stuck under some narrower areas, but the iRobot has added a feature to the HOME App section that allows you to press a button and locate the exact spot where the robot got trapped.
The Roomba 690 also has an auto-adjusting cleaning, which pivots up and down to keep the combination brush roll directly engaged to the floor. The head changes contact when the robot switches from hard flooring to carpeting. On hard flooring, the cleaning head is slightly lifted so that the brush roll cannot scratch the surface. While on carpeting, the head drops down so that the brush roll can agitate the carpet.
The Roomba 690 is Wi-Fi supported through the 2.4GHz band, but not the 5GHz band. The iRobot Home App allows you to connect the robot vacuum to your home wireless network. After set up, it becomes possible to use all the wireless functions – including the app – to control the robot or issue voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Each of these programs has a unique set of voice commands, but they’re designed to accomplish similar feats. We can’t conclude our iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi review without mentioning that wireless commands or mobile app can get the robot to work even if you aren’t within a specific area. Even if you aren’t home, it is possible to use Wi-Fi communications, except the voice commands.
The streamlined app has the ‘Clean’ button on the main screen which activates the machine even without you being on the same Wi-Fi network. Therefore, you can give the Roomba 690 directions to start the cleaning session using the office network. Being able get home and find a clean floor is an alluring feature which makes it easier to stay on top of the cleaning process.
Scheduling & Restrictions
Through the iRobot Home App, you can control the Roomba 690 from anywhere using a mobile device. It is compatible with iPhone iOS version 11 or higher, and Android OS version 5.0 or higher. The Home App provides real-time updates on schedule cleaning tasks, cleaning processes, access tips, support, and so much more anytime and from any location.
It is also easy to restrict the robot and control where it should clean. The Roomba 690 is equipped with one dual-mode Virtual Wall barrier which runs on 2 AA batteries included with the robot. The wall barrier sets an infrared fence which tells the robot to clean only certain areas and not to trespass into unwanted zones. There are two modes on the virtual mode barrier: virtual wall mode (also called the linear mode) and halo mode.
The virtual wall mode on the device uses an invisible cone-shape barrier to block the openings up to 10 feet in length. On the other hand, the halo mode forms a spherical zone with a diameter of 4 feet where the robot cannot enter. The Roomba cannot bump into items within that spherical zone thus preventing damage.
Runtime & Auto Recharge
The Roomba 690 has a longer running time than most other expensive models like Dyson 360 Eye. With a single charge of Li-Ion battery, it can run for up to 90 minutes before it automatically docks and recharges itself. In comparison, the Dyson 360 Eye can provide juice for a maximum of 70 minutes only.
This model stands out from the crowd because it allows you to clean several parts of the home with a single charge, such as cleaning living room, hallway, kitchen, and more. As soon as the battery runs out, the device automatically goes to the included Home Base recharging station.
While it takes only 3 hours to fully recharge, the Roomba 690 hits a snag when it comes to resuming the work. Unlike the Roomba 960 and 980 series models, it lacks the recharge and resume feature, forcing you to restart the robot manually in order to resume the cleaning task. Another drawback we noticed is that the robot may lose direction while looking for a home, and if not guided, it may end up bumping into walls or going in circles.
iRobot Roomba 690 Performance
We ran the Roomba 690 over the debris laced on a number of surfaces, including hardwood floors, low pile carpets, deeper pile carpets and more. From our test results, we got a bigger picture as to how the Roomba 690 performs with various types of dirt, such as kitty litter, rice, and sugar. For the most past, the results were quite positive.
This robot vacuum performed excellently on hardwood surfaces, picking up about 95-100% of the debris. It didn’t immediately pick up slightly larger items like oat cereal and rice, with the brushes throwing them to the side. Nonetheless, the robot made repeated passes over the area until the debris was all gone.
We also noticed the Roomba 690 struggled to clean up sugar on low pile carpeting, vacuuming up just about 75% of the debris. But we had much better results cleaning other types of debris on low pile carpets. The robot vacuum had enough power to remove 98% of kitty litter and 100% of rice on low pile carpets.
On high pile carpeting, the Roomba 690 only picked up 66% of sugar, but grabbed up to 99% of rice and kitty litter. As per our test results, it seems that the robot struggles to pick up smaller, finer items like sugar. Perhaps its brushes aren’t able to sense smaller particles to truly agitate and remove them off of deeper pile carpets.
iRobot Roomba 690 Accessories
The Roomba 690 purchase includes the standard Li-Ion battery with up to 90 minutes runtime. The battery should provide at least 2 years of service, being able to hold charge through over 2000 charging cycles. Also available are two filters (one installed) and the dual-mode virtual barrier (including 2 standard AA batteries).
You can download the Mobile App for free from Google Play or iOS store. You can also install Alexa skills for voice commands free of charge. Separate replenishment kits are also available for extra filters, side brushes, and brush rolls.
Depending on the frequency of use, we recommend replacing the filters every 4 months and side brushes every 9 months. You can find all the accessories and replacement parts (such as the auto-adjust cleaning head) on the iRobot store or other reliable vendors like Amazon.
What We Loved
What Could Be Better
Owning a robot vacuum at home can be a life saver especially if you run busy day-to-day schedules. The affordable and efficient Roomba 690 is an ideal candidate for any modern home, more-so for people who live in a smaller apartment. Even though pricier alternatives like the Roomba 890, 960 and 980 models offer stronger navigation skills and deeper carpet cleaning, the Roomba 690 provides the same great app options and voice controls.
Sure enough, it can’t talk back to you, but you can “talk” to it and issue cleaning instructions via voice control features like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This little tech piece doesn’t cost a fortune, and it can clean better than even some higher-priced Roomba robot vacuum models. With Wi-Fi support, you have all you need to start the cleaning session even while on a vacation several miles away from home.
If you are looking for an affordable robot vacuum that can work on multiple floor types, then rest assured the Roomba 690 is a great fit. There will be a little maintenance involved as the brush rollers are of tangle-free style. However, maintenance isn’t a big issue considering the Roomba 690 has good suction and can do a lot more while you tend to other pressing tasks.