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Product Review & Information

iRobot Roomba 618 Review

We test, review, compare and critic the features of this popular robotic vacuum.

by PITeam

Product Review & Information

iRobot Roomba 618 Review

We test, review, compare and critic the features of this popular robotic vacuum.

by PITeam

by PITeam

If you find yourself in the market for a new robotic vacuum, then you’re in luck. The iRobot Roomba 618 could be the model you are looking for. The 618 is a model without a lot of fancy features and confusing control options. Instead, it offers a simple, clean, and affordable price tag.

Is the Roomba 618 right for you? This article will examine the 618 by features and options and compare it to some of the most popular models available. With hundreds of robots to choose from, the 618 might be the stand out model you need in your home. Let’s find out.

iRobot Roomba 618

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iRobot Roomba 618 Robotic Vacuum
18 Reviews
iRobot Roomba 618 Robotic Vacuum
  • The Roomba 618 Vacuuming Robot provides a thorough...
  • Just press CLEAN on the robot - no programming...

Vacuums, robotic or manual, have one purpose. Their job is to collect dirt, dust, and debris from our floors and embedded in our carpet. How a manual vacuum works is slightly different than how a robotic vacuum like the Roomba 618 works.

For starters, there is no power cord. The robots are battery operated and will run until the charge is depleted. While this does prevent them from creating as much suction power as your upright, it doesn’t stop them from maintaining your floors. The robot use sensors to move around your home and detect dirt, obstacles, and other items that may get in the way or prevent the robot from performing its duties.

Next, robots have a series of brushes instead of just one large roller. The Roomba 618, for example, has three brushes. There is a side brush to gather debris from outside the reach of the main rollers and to push the dirt in the robot’s path. Underneath there are the rollers that rotate against each other to lift and separate the debris for collection.

The motor creates the suction power needed for the debris collection and pushes the exhaust air through a filter to help keep your floors clear of dust particles. The entire process is made automatic with little to no effort needed on your part, unlike the upright model stuck in your closet.


Benefits of Robotic Vacuums

Robotic vacuums can benefit a busy home. There are many facets where the robot will help out around the house in more ways than just cleaning floors. For example, they free up time on chore days so you can focus on other tasks. Having your floors swept and vacuumed while you handle the dishes or clean the bathroom.

Another benefit of the robots is that you don’t have to get your large, heavy upright out every time there is a small mess. The Roomba 618 will perform a spot clean that focuses on a small area (about 3 feet in diameter) and can then be sent back to the charging station automatically.

You will also find that robot vacuums take less time to maintain and clean than your primary vacuum. Even if the robot hasn't been maintained in a while and the brush roll is full of hair or strings, the entire process takes less than ten minutes.


Features of Roomba 618

The Roomba 618 is a model that doesn’t have a ton of flashy features. Designed as a budget-friendly model, it has the necessities and not much more. Simple, affordable, and user-friendly.

Cleaning Time/Runtime

Up to 90 minutes

Charging Time

3-3.5 hours

Robot Weight

7.9 LBS

Robot Dimensions

13.7L X 13.7W X 3.6H inches

Coverage Area

About 900 square feet

Warranty

12-month limited warranty for the robot and the battery

3 Stage Cleaning System

The 618 uses the patented AeroVac iRobot 3-stage cleaning system. This method of cleaning combines a side brush to sweep and brush roll to collect debris. The brushes work together to loosen, lift, and separate the debris for the second stage, collection.

The motor provides the suction power to lift the debris into the air chamber and deposits it into the dust bin. The third stage, filtration, keeps the motor clean of dust build-up and prevents larger particles from returning to the air or floors of your home.

Dual Multi-Surface Brushes

The combination brush rollers use soft bristles to sweep hardwood floors and agitate carpet. The two rollers rotate opposite each other to lift debris and to pull apart such things as hair or string to help prevent clogs and tangles.

Cleaning the brushes is relatively straightforward, and the robot includes a cleaning tool to help tear through any tangles that do exist. Unlike an upright vacuum, you don’t need a screwdriver to remove the rollers, and the entire cleaning process will take you less than three minutes.

Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head

The most effective robots have solid, constant contact with the floor surface. However, plush carpeting and hardwood floors require a different height to the cleaning brushes. The Roomba 618 answers this issue by using an auto-adjusting cleaning head.

The head pivots up and down to keep the brushes in contact with the floor surface at the proper height to maximize suction and sweeping or carpet agitation. The sensors can detect the floor height as the robot transitions to a new surface and will adjust the head up or down as needed to maintain the proper contact height.

Roomba hardwood floor and wall

Edge Sweeping Brush

The sweeping edge brush, or side brush, is a small rotating silicone bristled brush that collects debris and dirt outside the reach of the robot. It is particularly useful along edges and baseboards and to get as deep into corners as possible.

The brush sweeps the areas clear of dirt and dust, pushing the debris in the path of the robot. Because of the material and job, the side brush will need to be replaced once in a while.

A regular maintenance routine will show wear and tear over time. You can expect to change the side brush about every nine months.

Cliff Detect

The series of sensors on the bottom of the robot has two jobs. The main task is to prevent the robot from falling over edges of stairs or off ledges. Cliff detect sensors use infrared lights to determine how far off the ground the robot is or is about to be. When this distance measures more than an inch and a half, the robot is alerted.

Upon being alerted, the robot will change direction, slow or even stop. The 618 will execute a slow maneuver and test movement until it is clear and can continue. If it becomes trapped or thinks it is, the robot will shut down and alert you of the situation through audible beeps.

XLife Extended Battery

Instead of continuing the use of the Nickle Metal-Hydride batteries, iRobot switched all of their robots to lithium-ion batteries. This change came shortly after the release of the 700 series and was incorporated as back compatible to some of the 600 series robots that still used the NiMH style.

The change was given a boost, known as the XLife battery. It is an 1800mAh lithium-ion battery. However, unlike the standard Roomba 1800 model replacement battery, the XLife will maintain the number of recharging cycles it can handle from 2000 to about 4000. In essence, the time before the battery needs to be replaced is doubled.

It should be noted that the XLife doesn’t provide any extra runtime for the robots, compared to the models that use the standard Roomba 1800 battery. It only extends the life of the battery itself.

Home Base Charging Station

The robot will come with a Home Base charging station. This is the device that will recharge the battery when the robot docks and will house the robot when not in use. You will need to position the Home Base (covered further below) properly, keep it clear of heat sources and cleaned.

The robot will monitor its battery charge level and will return to the Home Base automatically when the charge is low. After the initial charge session, you will only need to manually place the robot on the dock in the rare event the battery dies entirely before the Roomba 618 can return to the Home Base.

iAdapt Navigation Technology

iAdapt navigation technology is the name of the series of sensors and computer algorithms that allow the robot to maneuver around your home without falling off stairs, damaging walls or furniture and keeping your floors clean.

Cliff detect sensors, touch sensors, and dirt detection sensors all work together to help the robot move through your home, under furniture, and around table legs to get as much as your floors covered as possible.


Performance of the iRobot Roomba 618

If you want to know how the Roomba 618 performs in specific situations, we have outlined the most common aspects of the cleaning ability here. Have a look.

Carpets

When it comes to cleaning carpets, the Roomba 618 is quite adept. It will agitate low and medium-pile carpeting and clean decently. The brush roller is the main issue when it comes to carpeting as it does collect hair and strings as your upright brush roller does.

The cleaning of the rollers is simple and won’t take long, but it is a factor in the final decision. If you have wall-to-wall, the Roomba 618 may not be the best option for you since it might require daily cleaning of the rollers.

However, if you have only a few rooms with carpet or have rugs and throws instead, the Roomba 618 is a viable option for you.

Hardwood Floors

roomba 618 on hardwood floor

On hardwood floors and other hard flooring surfaces, the Roomba 618 is beastly.

The side brush and combination rollers will sweep any hard surface and keep them clear of dust and debris. 

The only aspect here, again, comes from the bristle brush rollers. The bristles are soft; however, with repeated use, they might scratch more delicate surfaces.

This is noted primarily in softwood flooring and floors that require a sealant.

The bristles can (though it is rare) scratch these surface types and it is recommended that you test the robot in a small area before letting it loose.

Pet Hair Collection

Because of the brush roller, pet hair collection is limited. While the Roomba 618 is rated as a pet hair vacuum, it isn’t the best. iRobot did make corrections to the brush rolls in the 800 series robots. Instead of bristle brushes, they now use a rubber paddled roller that doesn’t get as quickly wrapped with pet hair. The Roomba 880 is a popular model with the newer rollers.

However, as long as the brush rolls are kept clean, they will collect pet hair. If you have one shedding pet or multiple pets that don’t shed a lot, the Roomba 618 will be able to keep up. If, on the other hand, you have pets that shed a lot, you may find the Roomba 618 struggles to keep up.

Area Size

The lithium-ion battery will push the robot to run for up to 90 minutes. In real-world applications, the runtime is closer to 60 minutes unless the entire floor space is hardwood flooring. The more rooms you have, the more furniture and obstacles that the robot has to contend with, the less it will be out actually cleaning.

On average, though, the Roomba 618 is ideal for smaller homes. Apartments, condos, and single-family homes with less than 1000 square feet are perfect for the robot to keep up on. It is also a viable option as a second robot for homes with multiple floors.


Comparison with Other Roomba Models

How does the Roomba 618 stack up against other similar and popular models? We compare the 618 to several other models here.

Roomba 614 vs. 618

Roomba 618 product

The most confusing aspect of the Roomba models is the various model numbers in otherwise similar seeming models. The Roomba 614 is more popular than the 618, but the machines are identical. The only reason for the different model number is for selling exclusivity.

The Roomba 614 was the base model for this series and was sold through the iRobot store as well as most online storefronts. The 618 was initially sold only through Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond stores.

The only difference beside where they were first sold and the model number is that the 618 uses the XLife battery. The 614 was issues the standard Roomba 1800 battery and isn’t capable of handling the XLife.

iRobot Roomba 618 vs. 620

In keeping with the exclusive model numbers, the Roomba 620 was sold through Kohl's stores. In addition to the store difference, the 620 only comes with a single filter (already installed). The Roomba 618 comes with the installed filter as well as an additional AeroVac filter to aid in maintenance.

You will eventually have to purchase more filters either way, though having an extra one included is a nice bonus. The 620 sold for less than the 618 in the beginning. However, because of their age and availability, there is little, if any, price discrepancy. The 618 is a better deal as you get the additional filter for the same cost now.

Roomba 618 vs. 650

The Roomba 650 is an actual different model. Unlike the others that only get sold in various stores, the 650 was designed to be the best of the 600 series. This was quickly replaced with the release of the Roomba 690, though. The 650 comes with a virtual wall containment device that the Roomba 618 doesn’t have.

The other primary difference is that the Roomba 650 can be scheduled. You can’t program the 618, and it will only clean when you press the Clean button manually. If you want a robot that can be programmed, the 618 won’t work for you. Alternatively, the Roomba 650 can have a 7-day schedule created to clean at any time.

Roomba 618 vs. 670/675

The Roomba 670 is one of the few 600 series models that have wireless communications. While you can't locally program the 670, you can use voice commands and the iRobot Home app for control, including scheduling. The Roomba 618 doesn't have this option.

The Roomba 670 is another model that has an exclusive sales number. The Roomba 675 is white with black accents and was sold only at Costco stores. The 675, is all black and was sold through the iRobot store, Amazon and most brick and mortar storefronts. Other than the colors and where ti was sold, the 675 has an extra containment (virtual wall) option.

Both the 675 and 670 are better models than the 618 only because of the wireless technology, which was rare to find in the 600 series robots.

Roomba 618 vs. 680

The Roomba 680 is an identical model to the Roomba 670 and 680 except that is doesn't have the wireless communications. Unlike the 618 models, the 680 does come with virtual wall containment. This alone makes it a more viable option as the cost is still lower than other 600 series robots and compared to the 618 the price is about the same.

What little extra you will pay for the 680 is made up for with the inclusion of the virtual wall. Buying a separate virtual wall for your 618 will end up costing more than if you purchased the 680.


Downsides of the Roomba 618 Model

We could probably talk for days about the disadvantages of the Roomba 618, but only if we compare it to the latest models that are superior in cleaning and technology. As it sits, the Roomba 618 isn’t a bad robot vacuum.

There are two main aspects of the model that are disappointing, though. The bristled brush rollers are a pain to keep clean and will get tangled with hair and strings and carpet fibers quite often. They are easier to clean than you upright vacuums brush rollers, but it could still be better.

Roomba’s like the 890 and Roomba 960 use the rubber extractors that are far superior to the brush rollers of the 618.

The other disadvantage is the battery. The XLife battery is a decent enough battery and provides an average industry hour to hour and a half of runtime. However, with the lack of technology in the 618, the runtime could easily be doubled.

The Roomba 618 is inefficient with its battery consumption, and that hurts its performance. Otherwise, there aren’t any notable issues with the Roomba 618.


Roomba 618 Accessories

The Roomba 618 is compatible with quite a few accessories that you can purchase separately. Some are mandatory, and you will need to budget them into your annual bills.

Things like the battery, filters, and side brushes are going to need to be replaced. When you replace the battery, make sure you order the XLife battery as it is the only option that is compatible. The XLife battery should provide you with 20 to 30 months of service before needing to be replaced, though.

The filters are a different story. Depending on the use, you will need to replace the filter about every four to six months. The side brushes will last you a bit longer, requiring a replacement after about nine months. You can purchase a replenishment kit that has the filters, side brushes, and extra brush rollers through Amazon or the iRobot store. One kit should last your robot for at least one year.

You will also find that the dual-mode virtual wall barrier is compatible with the 600 series robots, including the 618. This device is a containment option that prevents the robot from going into areas you don’t want it to have access to. There are two modes you can choose from.

In halo mode, the infrared light comes out in a circle around the device. It extends about 4 feet and is useful for protecting obstacles on the floor like pet dishes and floor lamps.

In linear mode, the light extends 10 feet straight out. This will keep the robot in a room, or a specific area of a room so you can have items on the floor that won’t get disturbed while the robot cleans the rest of the space. This is particularly useful to block doorways or cover the area the Christmas tree uses.


How to Charge this Roomba Model

To charge the robot, you will first need to assemble and set up the Home Base station. There area few guidelines for using the Home Base properly.

You need to ensure that the Home Base is on hard, flat, and level ground. There should also be two feet of open space on either side and four feet in the front. This will allow the homing beacon to reach the robot as well as giving the 618 enough room to maneuver into proper position.

The first time you charge the robot, you will have to place it on the Home Base yourself. From then on, the robot will monitor its battery level. When the level drops below about 15%, the 618 will begin making its way back to the Home Base.

The robot will dock and recharge automatically, without requiring you to do anything. However, there will be some instances when the robot cannot get all the way back to the dock before the battery dies. When this happens, you will need to place the robot on the Home Base again manually.


How to Extend the Battery Life

The battery cannot be programmed. It can’t be forced to last longer or to provide more power to the robot. What you can do, though, is prolong the length of time the battery lasts before needing replacement.

One thing you should know is that all batteries, including lithium-ion batteries, have a charge memory. Basically what happens is after a time the battery will “remember” how much is actually being used before the recharge cycle. When this happens, you may notice that the battery only lasts 90% of the time it used to.

To prevent this, at least once a month you should prevent the robot from docking to recharge until the battery drains completely. Allowing the battery to drain fully will erase this memory and bring the capacity of the cells back to 100%.

If you are going to be away for a week or more, you should place the robot in idle mode. Full instructions on how to do this are located in the owner’s manual.

If you aren’t away, you should run the robot daily. This will keep the battery charging and draining to help the battery memory and prevent an overcharge form sitting on the charger too long.


Cleaning, Care & Maintenance

The cleaning and care routine should be carried out at least weekly. You may need to do this more often, depending on how much debris and build-up there is. The basic routine should consist of the following items.

  • Wipe the body off with a dry cloth, cleaning the sensors and any dust build-up from the robot.
  • Empty the dust bin and wipe clean.
  • Check the filter and knock off the larger debris collection until it is time to replace the filter.
  • Check the side brush and bristled brush rollers for damage, wear and tear or tangles. Cleaning them or replacing as needed.
  • See if there is a clog, build-up or tangles int eh air chamber or around the wheel axles. Clean out as needed.

Common Roomba 618 Issues & Fixes

The Roomba 618 is pretty good at telling you when something is wrong. If there is something wrong with the robot, it will beep a certain number of times to alert you to the problem. You can use the chart below to figure out what the beeps mean and how to fix the issue.

Code/Number of Beeps

Error

What to do

1

Collection bin is inserted improperly.

Remove and replace the collection bin, making sure it is inserted correctly.

2

Something is caught in the extractors

Remove the extractors and wipe them off, clearing out any tangles you find.

5/7

One (not both) of the wheels is stuck.

Inspect the wheels for anything wrapped around it, preventing it from spinning.

6

Cliff sensors dirty/ robot is high-centered on a ledge

Clean the sensors or move the robot to a new location and press the Clean button to restart.

9

Bumper sensor is dirty, or the bumper cannot move.

Tap the bumper a few times to ensure it is working properly, or clean the bumper sensor.

10/11

Both wheels are stuck.

The Roomba is unable to move so you must move it to a new location or unclog the debris from both wheels.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here we will answer some of the more common questions surrounding the Roomba 618 and iRobot in general.

Is Roomba 618 programmable or scheduling?

The Roomba 618 is not able to be programmed. There aren’t any extra control options for the robot except for the three buttons on the robot face. Pressing Clean will send the robot to clean your home. If you press Clean again, the session will pause so you can give another set of instructions. Your options are to send the robot to the Home Base or to perform a Spot Clean. You won't be able to create schedules, change cleaning modes, or any other programmable feature found in other models.

How do I reset a Roomba 618 unit?

If you ever find yourself in need of a factory reset you can do it quite simply. This may come up when there is a firmware update, or the robot starts acting out of character. To perform a rest just press and hold the Clean button for about 20 seconds. The robot will beep to confirm the reset is complete.

How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?

The best way to contact iRobot is to call their toll free number at 1-800-727-9077. There are other methods of contact as well, including email and live chat. You can find the addresses and chat links on their support page.

Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 618?

When the 618 was initially released, you could only find it at Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond. However, the model is old enough now that online retailers have it for sale. Your best option is to purchase through Amazon. This will ensure you have the right model, full Amazon support, and a new-in-box robot.

How quiet is the Roomba 618 when cleaning?

The Roomba 600 series, including the 618, will produce about 67dB of noise when cleaning. This is loud enough to be annoying when it is the same room as your conversation or television, but not so loud it disturbs you completely.

Can I replace the Roomba 618 battery by myself?

When it is time to replace the battery in the Roomba 618, you don't need to call in a specialist. There is an access panel on the underside of the robot that you can open and pull out the old battery. It has a press connection tab that you release to remove the battery. Installation of the new battery is the reverse of removal.

Can a Roomba 618 clean stairs?

No. No robot vacuum can clean stairs; they won't have any room to maneuver and will fall off trying, even with the cliff detect sensors.


Conclusion

What used to be a Walmart exclusive is now available to anyone with access to Amazon. The Roomba 618 isn’t the fanciest model on the market, and it sure isn’t the most capable. With a few disadvantages, such as the brush roller and inefficient battery use, you may not find the 618 a perfect fit for your needs.

However, if you are looking for a dutiful and reliable robot to help maintain your floors, the Roomba 618 is worth a closer look. There aren’t any fancy control options, making it very user-friendly for older generations and those without a home wireless network. Smaller spaces or homes with open floor plans will find the most use of the robot.

As the second robot in multi-floor homes, the 618 is a great companion at an affordable price. You won’t be disappointed.


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