Even with more and updated technology, older robotic vacuum models remain popular choices. The wallet-friendly price, basic yet easy to understand controls, and availability keep these older robots in homes. While you do have hundreds of robots to choose from, the Roomba 650 remains a popular and highly touted model.
This review will examine the iRobot Roomba 650 and find out if it is the right choice for you. We will also compare it to other popular models and tell you how it performs in various situations. Read on to find out if your next robot vacuum is the Roomba 650.
iRobot Roomba 650
- iAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to...
- 3 Stage Cleaning System agitates, brushes and...
- Conveniently schedule up to 7x per week, or just...
- Automatically docks and recharges. At just 3.6...
Knowing how a vacuum works will help you understand the technology behind it and how all of the various pieces are related to each other. For robotic vacuums, the same mechanics are involved, though usually on a smaller scale.
The Roomba 650 uses sensors to navigate and clean. The touch sensors protect your walls and furniture from being bashed into high speeds, which could cause damage. The cliff detect sensors keep the robots on level ground and from falling off ledges or down a flight of stairs. Other sensors detect infrared beams from remote controls, blockades or wireless signals for communication.
Using AeroVac technology, the Roomba 650 will sweep baseboards and corners with the side brush to push debris into the path of the robot. The agitation and lifting of the combination brush roll will pull the dirt into the air chamber where the suction created by the motor deposits it into the dust bin before the exhaust air is filtered and the cycle repeats.
With the sensors, motors, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and filters, the robots can run around your home unsupervised to help maintain floor cleanliness between regular cleanings with your larger, more powerful upright vacuum.
Benefits of Robotic Vacuums
Robot vacuums are designed to be your little helpers. They can’t recreate the power, suction, and thoroughness of an upright model. However, they can perform daily to help you maintain your floors between chore days when you lug out the bulky unit from the closet.
Robotic vacuums like the Roomba 650 are also there for you in a pinch. It is much easier to place the small robot on a spill that just happened and press a button than it is to retrieve the upright from the closet.
Spot cleaning is a specialty of the Roomba models, and it makes quick works of small messes.
You also can schedule a cleaning so you can have your floors vacuumed while you are at work or out running errands for the day. Letting the robot take care of the floors so you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere is a huge relief to many.
Features of Roomba 650
Up to 90 minutes
13.7L X 13.7W X 3.6H inches
Approximately 900 sq. ft.
12-month limited warranty for the robot and the battery
The local control buttons on the Roomba 650 allow you to set the time and date. Once you have set the date, you can then proceed to create a 7-day schedule. Using the buttons, you will scroll through the days of the week and set a time you want the robot to clean the floors. You can schedule up to 7 days at a time.
When the seventh day scheduled cleaning is complete, you will need to create a new schedule for the next week. It should be noted that if the battery dies without being able to recharge or you have to reboot the robot, the date, time, and any scheduled cleanings will be lost.
iAdapt cleaning technology allows the robot to navigate the home using a series of sensors. In the Roomba 650, the iAdapt technology is still using version one of the firmware and software. The sensors are basic and use a mixture of infrared, acoustic, and touch to avoid obstacles, falls and damaging itself or your furniture.
The navigation system doesn’t use cameras or lasers to guide, so you won’t have a robot that can map your home or understand its location. As a result, the cleaning pattern appears random and often crazy. Each cleaning session is a new venture, and while the first run may miss a spot or two, those spots will be covered on the second cleaning session. It is paramount to run the robot daily to ensure complete coverage of your floors.
3-Stage Cleaning System
The AeroVac system uses a patented 3-stage cleaning system to deliver results on all floor types. The side brush sweeps along edges, in corners and in hard to reach places, pushing dirt into the path of the robot.
The counter-rotating brush rolls agitate carpets, loosen dirt and debris, and lift it into the air chamber. The suction pulls the dirt into the dust bin and filters the exhaust air.
AeroVac is the predecessor to the more advanced AeroForce technology and is the bar the newer models are compared against. With an average of 900pa airflow, dirt is removed from low and medium-pile carpeting and all types of hardwood floors.
The AeroVac filter is a standard filter that has two jobs. The first job is to maintain the cleanliness of the motor area, preventing dust and dirt build-up, which can cause overheating.
The second job is to filter the exhaust air and capture particles down to 10 microns in size. This isn’t a HEPA quality filter, though and won’t reduce the number of allergens in your carpeting. The filters are not washable and will require periodic replacement. On average, you can expect to change the filter every 4 to 6 months, depending on maintenance and use.
Automatic Virtual Wall
The iRobot Roomba 650 vacuum cleaner comes with one automatic virtual wall. This device is used as a containment option for preventing access to rooms or areas of your home. The device is always-on and activated when the robot comes near it. When activated it produces an infrared beam detected by the robot’s RCON sensor.
When the robot nears the infrared light, it will act as though it has encountered a solid wall, changing direction and avoiding the area. The virtual wall requires two C sized batteries that are not included.
Self-Charging & Docking
Like all 600 series and newer robots, the Roomba 650 will monitor the battery charge level. When the charge drops below a certain percentage (generally between 10 and 15% remaining), the robot will stop the cleaning session.
The 650 will attempt to return to the charging station on its own, using the RCON sensor to detect the Home Base charging dock’s infrared beacon. The robot will dock and begin the charging process, which takes about three hours.
When the charge is complete, you are required to restart the cleaning session or wait until the next scheduled session. The 650 will not resume cleaning after a battery charge automatically.
Dual Counter-Rotating Brushes
For sweeping, carpet agitation, and debris extraction, the Roomba 650 uses two brush rolls. These two rollers rotate in opposite directions to loosen dirt, separate larger debris and lift it to the air chamber.
The bristles are soft so they won’t scratch most surfaces. However, care should be taken on softwood flooring as scratches have been reported. This isn’t a common occurrence, though you should check in a small, confined area before letting the robot loose all over the floor.
Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head
The auto-adjust cleaning head detects the distance from the bottom of the robot to the floor and pivots accordingly. This pivoting action keeps the brush rolls in firm and constant contact with the floor without applying too much pressure.
The cleaning head maintains a constant angle for the brush rolls to be more productive regardless of the floor type underneath.
Cliff/Dirt Detect Sensors
The cliff detect sensors, located around the bottom of the machine, alert when there is a drop greater than an inch and a half. These sensors keep the robot moving on solid ground and prevent falls off ledges or down a flight of stairs.
The cliff detect sensors also double as dirt detection sensors, using infrared light to determine when an area the robot has passed still contains dirt. When alerted to this, the robot will make a u-turn style loop and go over the dirty area once again.
Edge Sweeping Brush
Roomba’s edge sweeping brush, also called a side brush, sweeps out beyond the body of the robot. It directs dirt to the front of the machine, into the path of the robot. It also has the job of reaching into corners and along edges or baseboards to keep those areas clean.
You will note that the round shape of the Roomba doesn’t allow for thorough corner cleaning, and there will be some debris left in the corner of your home. This design flaw wasn’t addressed until the recent release of the Roomba s9.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba 650
How does the Roomba 650 perform on various floor types and in certain situations? Let’s have a look.
The 650 model is designed for all floor types, but on carpet, that isn’t completely honest. It will clean carpet, though high pile carpeting will be snagged, cause clogs and may prevent the robot from moving well, if at all. On low and medium-pile carpeting, the 650 does a decent job.
It will agitate the carpet fibers and clean well enough, though you may find it isn’t as good as you expected. Still, as a floor maintenance robot, it does its job and rarely complains about it.
On most hardwood floors the iRobot Roomba 650 does an excellent job. It will sweep debris out of corners and along edges while keeping the entire surface clean and dust-free. Those of you that have softwood flooring or sealant covered surfaces will need to keep a close eye on the robot, though.
It has been reported that the brush rolls on these surfaces can leave scratches. It isn’t a typical report, though and many disagree with the statements. However, it is wise to test a small area of the floor first, just in case.
Pet Hair Removal
Removing pet hair is important in many homes. If you have shedding pets, you know how much trouble it can be to get the pet hair out of carpet or the large balls of fur that accumulate along the edges of your rooms.
The Roomba 650 will collect pet hair. However, because the machine uses a bristle brush roll, the hair will find itself wrapped around the rollers, and little will make it to the bin. You will need to do some extra maintenance to keep the brush roll clean.
If you do have pets, it is advised you find a Roomba model that doesn’t use the brush rollers. Models like the Roomba 880, for example, or the Roomba 960 use tangle-free rubber extractors that perform much better with pet hair.
Another common area of concern is the size of your home or floor plan. Since the 650 will not recharge and resume cleaning, larger floor sizes will need multiple daily outings, which can take up a lot of time.
If your home is under 1000 square feet, you won’t have any problems getting the coverage you need form the Roomba 650. Anything over that though, and you should look for a model that can recharge and resume cleaning, with mapping functionality to get every square foot possible. The Roomba 980, for example, is an ideal choice.
Comparison with Other Roomba Models
Comparing the Roomba 650 against other models should be on your to-do list when deciding which robot to purchase. We have taken the liberty to compare the 650 against other popular models to give you an idea of where it stands within the robot vacuum market.
Roomba 650 vs. 860
The Roomba 650 is outclassed by the Roomba 860. It has a more powerful motor that creates five times more suction power. The Roomba 860 also collects up to 50% more dirt and debris. On top of all that, the Roomba 860 also has HEPA filtration to reduce allergens in your home.
Another improvement is the use of the tangle-free extractors over the bristled brush rollers. The 860 is superior in carpet cleaning and collecting pet hair. The 650 will still be alluring to those on a tighter budget or homes that are looking for a second robot to use on a separate floor.
Roomba 650 vs. 690
Everything that the Roomba 650 is is what the Roomba 690 is. They share the same batteries, filters, cleaning brushes, and programming capabilities. The difference comes in the use of wireless technology. The Roomba 690 has WiFi capabilities and can make use of the iRobot Home App and voice controls through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The only other difference is in the included containment options. Where the Roomba 650 comes with an automatic virtual wall, the Roomba 690 comes with a dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The dual-mode barrier lets you choose between linear mode and halo mode, offering more protection in more areas over the auto wall.
Roomba 650 vs. 880
Like the 860 before it, the Roomba 880 uses tangle-free extractors and a newer motor to proved better cleaning and power. With five times more power and 50% more dirt collection, the 880 is far superior to the 650 models. The 880 also uses HEPA filtration to reduce allergens.
The major differences, though are in the extras. The Roomba 880 has WiFi capabilities to use voice and mobile app commands, as well as containing two virtual wall lighthouses. With the continually dropping price of the 880, it is a steal compared to the value of the Roomba 650.
Roomba 650 vs. 980
The Roomba 980 is the top-of-the-line model for the 900 series, and even with newer models released since its debut, many find the 980 to be the best option available still. Along with the HEPA filtration and WiFi capabilities, the Roomba 980 offers an even newer motor style with even more power. The new motor can produce ten times more power than the Roomba 650.
The 980 also has camera-based navigation and vSLAM technologies. It can recharge the battery when it gets low and using the map of your home it creates, will resume cleaning from where it left off.
The Roomba 980 is a complete package and compared to the Roomba 650 is decades ahead in terms of technology. It is also far ahead when it comes to the price tag, too, making the Roomba 650 a value for the price.
Roomba 650 Accessories
The Roomba 650 comes with an AeroVac standard filter and a side brush. Each of these will need to be replaced as they wear out. The filter can be knocked off inside your trash can but cannot be washed. Each filter, assuming daily cleaning sessions, will last about four months.
The side brush will also eventually wear down and should last, on average, about nine months. When it comes to the lithium-ion battery, you can expect about 1500 to 2000 charging cycles before the battery stops holding a charge and needs replacement. This is generally about 18 to 24 months but can last longer (see battery tips below).
The virtual containment options for the 650 are limited to the automatic virtual wall and the dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The robot does come with a single automatic wall, but you can purchase more if you find there is a need for them. Amazon and the iRobot store are the best places to find more virtual wall barriers.
How to Charge this Roomba Model
The Roomba 650 will recharge itself when the battery level gets low. There is a battery charge level monitor that alerts the robot when the remaining charge level drops below 15%. When this alert triggers, the robot will stop the cleaning cycle and begin making its way back to the Home Base charging dock.
When you first unpack the robot, it will need to be charged. You will have to set up the Home Base station (see below) and then manually place the robot on the dock for the initial charge. Occasionally, the robot will die in the middle of your floor if it cannot make it back to the Home Base in time. If this happens, you just need to use the carrying handle to lift the robot and then place it on the Home Base to recharge.
Positioning the Roomba Home Base
To properly position the Home Base charging station, you need to adhere to a few guidelines. Not only will this ensure that the 650 can dock correctly, but it will also ensure the charging contacts are level and in a good connection.
First, make sure the Home Base is placed on a firm, flat surface. Avoid putting the docking station on carpeting. You should also attempt to keep the Home Base and the recharging robot out of direct sunlight to prevent overheating. Keeping the Home Base away from windows and other natural heat sources is crucial.
The Home Base also sends out an infrared beacon signal to help the robot find its way back. You should ensure there is enough room for the signal to reach out into the room and for the robot to maneuver around to position itself for docking. There should be at least two feet of space on either side of the Home Base and four feet of open space in front of the charging station.
Tips for Using a Roomba 650
The Roomba 650 does require a bit more maintenance than the newer models. However, a regular weekly maintenance schedule will help the robot perform at its best every time it goes out to clean.
A regular maintenance schedule should include emptying and wiping the dust bin, cleaning off the filter and inspecting the brushes for tangles, clogs, and wear. Replace the filter, side brush, and brush rollers as needed to maintain peak performance.
You should also wipe off the body and sensors of the robot, keeping them free of dust build-up. Dust covering the sensors will prevent the infrared lights from working correctly.
To help prolong the battery life (see more details below), you should place the robot in idle mode when you are away for more than a week.
How to Extend the Battery Life
A lithium-ion battery pack works better and lasts longer than a Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) battery. They hold more charge and can be recharged more times, making them ideal for robotic vacuums.
The 1800mAh battery pack int eh Roomba 650 will give the robot power for up to 90 minutes. It will be able to recharge between 1500 and 2000 times before the pack stops holding a charge. You can prolong this time by following a few battery maintenance tips.
Common Roomba 650 Issues & Fixes
reference chart below to find out the problem and possible solution.
Code/Number of Beeps
What to do
Collection bin is inserted improperly.
Remove and replace the collection bin, making sure it is inserted correctly.
Something is caught in the extractors
Remove the extractors and wipe them off, clearing out any tangles you find.
One (not both) of the wheels is stuck.
Inspect the wheels for anything wrapped around it preventing it from spinning.
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.
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.
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.
Battery Indicator Blinks
What to do
Battery not inserted.
Ensure the battery is properly seated and that you have removed the plastic tabs.
Battery current is too high.
If in warranty, make a battery claim. Outside of warranty period, replace the battery.
Battery contacts not making connection
Return to manufacturer for service, or try cleaning the battery contacts.
Charging contacts not making connection
Clean the contacts on the bottom of the robot and the Home Base to ensure proper seating.
Move the Roomba to a cooler spot, along with the Home Base. Make sure it isn’t in direct sunlight and that nothing is on the robot while charging.
Battery cannot cool.
The sensors regulating temperature detect the battery is hot longer than 4 hours after use or charging. Remove the robot from the charger for an hour and try again.
Cannot communicate with battery
The battery needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we will answer some common questions about the Roomba 650 and iRobot for you.
Does Roomba 650 remember a home’s layout?
No, the Roomba 650 does not have a mapping feature or SLAM algorithms to know where it is, concerning your home's layout. Since it cannot map the floors, it will not have a map to remember. For models that do remember your home's design, you will need to look to the 900 series with models like the 960 and 980, or the i7 and s9 series robots.
How do I reset a Roomba 650 unit?
To reset the 650, you need to first remove it from the Home Base charging station. Once removed, press and hold the Clean button for 10 seconds. When you let go of the button, the display will read "rSt” indicating a successful reboot. You won’t have to reboot often, but there may be situations for troubleshooting or software updates that may require it.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
Contacting customer support is as simple as making a phone call, sending an email, or using the live chat options in your web browser. You can contact iRobot for presales and tech support about the Roomba 650 during regular business hours. The hours, phone numbers, email addresses, and live chat links are located on the iRobot Customer Service page.
Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 650?
Because the Roomba 650 is an older model, there are fewer and fewer shops and retailers selling it. The best place to find a new-in-box 650 model is through Amazon, which is an authorized reseller for iRobot and Roomba.
Which is better - Roomba 650 vs. Neato XV-21?
“Better” is a relative term and open to interpretation. However, the Neato XV-21 appears to be a better option with more features and a slightly higher price point. The XV-21 uses laser-guided navigation, creates maps, and can remember your homes' layout. It also has a HEPA filter to reduce allergens.
It is marketed for homes with pets and for collecting pet hair. However, it still uses a bristle brush roller that doesn’t have the dual, counter-rotating action that the Roomba 650 does. On paper, the Neato XV-21 seems like a better investment, though in practice the cleaning abilities are about the same. Only you can decide if the higher price for added features outweigh the cost savings of a similar cleaning robot.
How quiet is the Roomba 650 when cleaning?
The Roomba 650 isn't the quietest vacuum on the market, but it won't disrupt your day. On average the Roomba 650 will produce about 67dB of noise. This is the same amount as city traffic through a closed window or a hairdryer in another room. You may need to raise your voice during a conversation if the 650 is running in the same room as you, but otherwise, it won't be much of a nuisance.
The Roomba 650 is a cost-effective robot that is best used as a secondary model in homes that have more than one floor, or larger floor plans. Used in tandem with a more feature-rich robot, such as the Roomba 960, will ensure a deeper, more thorough clean. You can use the Roomba 650 on a different floor or in a finished basement to reduce the amount times you need to carry a robot up and down the stairs.
On its own, the cost savings alone don’t really prevent the purchase of newer, more advanced robots. Even the 800 series bots will clean better and offer less maintenance for a price that isn’t much more expensive.
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