You have enough choices in your day to day life. Selecting the right robotic vacuum can be more complicated than you imagine. There are more vendors, models, and features than you might realize and finding that perfect match may seem impossible.
This article will review the iRobot Roomba 690. We will cover the features, capabilities, and limitations of this affordable name-brand model. By the end of the review, you will know if the Roomba 690 is a good fit for your needs or not.
iRobot Roomba 690
- Patented Dirt Detect sensors alert Roomba to work harder on concentrated areas of dirt, such as high traffic zones of your home
- Sleek, premium design complements your home décor; includes 1 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier for more control over where your robot cleans
- 3 Stage Cleaning System and Dual Multi Surface Brushes pick up everything from small particles to large debris
- Full suite of intelligent sensors guide the robot under and around furniture to help thoroughly clean your floors
Even among the various models with all the latest technology, the cost-effective and efficient Roomba 690 still manages to be a well-reviewed and sought-after vacuum. The Roomba 690 is the top of the 600 series and is built off of the Roomba 650 model. It has added features not available in other 600 series models.
The AeroVac technology uses a side brush and brush roller to sweep and lift debris from carpeting. The motor produces the suction power (about 900pa of airflow) and deposits the dirt in the dust bin.
Using iAdapt technology, the sensors help the robot navigate safely around the home, under furniture and beds and along baseboards to maintain the cleanliness of your floors. Touch sensors keep the robot from causing damage from running into walls and obstacles while the drop sensors keep the robot on solid ground.
Benefits of Robotic Vacuums
The sole purpose of a robotic vacuum like the Roomba 690, is to maintain the floors between your regular vacuuming chore days. The better the robot is, the longer you can go without pulling the upright vacuum out of the closet.
However, you should be aware that robotic vacuums, to date, do not produce the power or suction an upright model can. Robots are not yet designed to replace a standard vacuum or their cleaning abilities.
With the right robotic vacuum in your cleaning arsenal, though, you can have cleaner floors on a day-to-day basis. The Roomba 690 also uses WiFi communications making it even easier for you to stay on top of the cleaning process, even if you aren't at home.
Being efficient and economical is a benefit of a robotic vacuum that is often overlooked. By scheduling cleaning times, you can ensure that your upright stays in the closet and your floors get cleaned, even while you are away or handling other chores.
Features of Roomba 690
What does the Roomba 690 WiFi-connected robot vacuum offer you? Let's take a look at the features of the Roomba 690 to find out.
Up to 90 mins
13.7L X 13.7W X 3.6H inches
Up to 1100 Square Feet
12-month limited warranty for the robot and battery
The Roomba 690 is the only 600 series robot for sale that comes with wireless technology. With that technology, you can use the iRobot Home App to control, program, and schedule your robot. The app also gives you status updates on cleaning sessions, battery life, and offers some insight into the cleaning progress through reports and error displays.
One of the major benefits of the 690 is the ability to create a schedule for cleaning sessions. While most Roomba models have this option, none before the 690 allow you to do so through the app. Instead of resetting the schedule every seven days, the app will enable you to set a schedule for any day or time in the future. You also have the ability to edit an existing schedule without having to reprogram the entire week.
Dirt Detect Sensors
The Roomba 690 comes with a series of dirt detect sensors around the bottom of the machine.
These sensors will locate areas that are still dirty or have excess dirt.
When alerted to these areas the 690 will make a loop from its current path to go over the area one more time.
The dirt detect sensors also double as the cliff detect sensors that keep the robot from falling off stairs or high ledges.
3-Stage Cleaning System
With the iAdapt 3-stage cleaning system, the Roomba 690 powers through tough dirt and grime to keep your floors clean. The side brush and combination brush rolls work together to sweep hardwood floors and agitate carpet.
The brush roll lifts the dirt into the air chamber where the single-speed motor suctions it up and deposits it into the dust bin. The Roomba 690 is suited for low and medium pile carpeting, tight woven high pile carpeting and all hard flooring surfaces.
AeroVac was the first version of what is known as AeroForce in later models. The filtration used is standard, meaning it is not HEPA style filtration. Allergens such as dust mites and pet dander can still get through the filter material. However, the filter's primary job is to keep the dust and dirt in the dust bin and to keep the motor area clear of dust build-up. In these respects, the AeroVac system does its job.
Virtual Wall Barrier
For containment purposes, the Roomba 690 comes with one dual-mode virtual wall barrier. You can select either halo or linear modes to keep the robot from entering rooms or hallways or from getting near fragile items in the floor or even the pet food dishes.
In linear mode, the battery-operated device sends out an infrared light up to 10 feet. This prevents the robot from crossing the light into an area you wish it to remain out of. In halo mode, the infrared light is circular and extends from the device out to four feet in diameter.
The Home Base self-charging station acts as a dock when the robot is not in use and recharges the battery to prepare for the next cleaning session. The Home Base will also be the contact point for the WiFi set up when using the mobile app or voice commands.
When the robot is cleaning your floors, it will monitor the battery charge level. When this drops below a specific amount (usually between 10 and 15% charge remaining), the 690 will begin making its way back to the Home Base.
You don't have to do anything to make this happen. However, if you wish to cancel the cleaning session manually, you can do so using the local controls, voice commands, or the mobile app. The robot will stop the cleaning and return to the Home Base to charge and await further instructions.
Dual Multi-Surface Brushes
The dual multi-surface brushes work together to lift and separate dirt and debris.
The bristles on the primary brush roll are easily tangled with hair, fur, and string.
However, iRobot includes a flat cleaning tool that allows you to slip in and cut off the hair and string without too much trouble.
It still adds time to the maintenance routine, but you don't have to pull out scissors and tweezers to clean the rollers as you do with your upright vacuum.
As stated earlier, the Roomba 690 does have WiFi capabilities. You can connect the robot to your home wireless network using the iRobot Home app. Once set up, you can then use all of the wireless features such as the app itself to control the robot, or voice commands through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Each program has its own set of voice commands, though they accomplish the same feats.
With the wireless commands or mobile app, you aren't required to be within a specific area to get the robot to work, as you are with the infrared remote found on other models. You don't even have to be home (except if using the voice commands). Being able to start a cleaning session from work to come home to a clean floor is a feature many consumers find alluring.
The side brush, or edge-sweeping brush, has two main functions. First, it is designed to gather dirt and debris and push it into the path of the robot for collection. It will help get into corners and clean along the baseboards as well.
There is only one side brush on the robot, and you will see it going back and forth along the edges of your home collecting and sweeping as it moves.
Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head
The cleaning head of the Roomba 690 is auto-adjustable. The head will pivot up and down to maintain direct contact between the floor and the combination brush roll. When the robot switches from hard flooring to carpeting, the cleaning head will drop down to allow the brush roll to agitate the carpet. When switching to hardwood flooring, the head will lift slightly to avoid scratching the surfaces with the brush roll.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba 690
You purchase a robotic vacuum to perform a duty or take on a job. The cleaning situations and floor types will determine how well it does that job. Let's examine various conditions to see how the Roomba 690 performs.
Because iRobot got away form the combination brush roll in favor of the tangle-free rubber extractors (such as those found on the Roomba 960), the 690's performance on carpeting is subpar.
The brush roll does its job well enough, but it makes clean up a hassle. String, carpet fiber, pet fur, and hair all get easily caught and tangled in the bristles.
The Roomba 690 is best suited for low and medium-pile carpets. Lighter throw rugs and smaller area rugs may be too light and get moved, dragged or crumpled as the robot passes over them.
On most hard flooring surfaces the Roomba 690 does a decent job. If you have a lot of hardwood flooring in your home, you may find that the Roomba 690 keeps up well with dust, dirt, and pet hair. However for softer surface types such as padded laminate, pine, fir, or sealant covered flooring, the bristle brush roll may leave scratches.
It is advised that you test the robot in an out of the way spot before letting it loose all over the floor, just in case.
Pet Hair Removal
The Roomba 690 isn't the best option for pet hair removal. Those with a lot of pets would be better suited, looking at the 800 series robots such as the Roomba 805 or Roomba 880. The bristled roller of the 690 will pick up pet hair, for a time. Once the brush is full, though (and depending on the amount of pet hair, this could happen quickly), the robot will get bogged down and not able to pick up much of anything.
If continuous and constant maintenance is not your idea of a helpful robot, and you have a lot of shedding pets, the Roomba 690 may not be ideal for you.
One thing the Roomba 690 can do is cover a lot of ground. On a single charge, the Roomba is known to cover up to 1100 square feet of hard flooring or 900 square feet of carpeting. Anything beyond these sizes will leave the 690 struggling to clean it all, often failing.
Single-family homes, condos, and apartments will find the most use of the Roomba 690, as well as those looking for a cheaper option for a second floor or vacation home.
Comparison with Other Roomba Models
If you are considering other Roomba models, you may wonder how the Roomba 690 compares. This section is just for you. Let's take a look at the 690 vs. other popular Roomba models.
Roomba 690 Vs. 805
When looking at the Roomba 800 series, there are going to be a lot of improvements over the 600 series. For starters, the Roomba 805, like the other 800 models, uses the AeroForce technology for filtration and motor power. The 805 still uses the standard non-HEPA filter like the 690, but there is more suction power created by the motor.
You gain better cleaning on carpet thanks to the 805's use of the rubber extractors instead of the bristle brush roll. What you lose, though, is the ability to use wireless networks for mobile app and voice commands. The Roomba 805 is not compatible with WiFi like the 690. The choice then becomes choosing between better control options or better cleaning on carpeting.
Roomba 690 Vs. 890
If the Roomba 690 is the top of the 600 series, the Roomba 890 is the top of the 800 series. Like the 690, the 890 has WiFi capabilities, scheduling, and uses the iRobot Home app as well as voice controls.
You don't lose anything by upgrading your selection to the Roomba 890, and with the AeroForce high-efficiency filter, you gain HEPA style filtration. The Roomba 890 also uses the tangle-free extractors and is better suited for larger homes, pets and all floor types. However, the Roomba 690 is less expensive than the 890 and for that reason alone still stands up to a lot of consumers.
Roomba 690 Vs. 675
For all intents and purposes, the Roomba 675 is the same as the Roomba 690, only cheaper. It has the same body, features, and options as the 690 and cleans the same. It also has wireless communications, the use of voice commands and the mobile app.
What it doesn't have is the included dual-mode virtual wall barrier. The cost difference between the Roomba 690 and 675 isn't enough to overcome the cost of a virtual wall, so in the long run, you are saving money purchasing the Roomba 690. However, if you don't plan to use the virtual containment, or already have some, you can save money by going with the 675 model.
Roomba 690 Vs. 671
The Roomba 671 is often mistakenly reviewed. Comparing it to the Roomba 675 will bring up false leads such as the 671 doesn't have dirt detect, or has fewer sensors.
The truth is that the Roomba 671 and Roomba 675 are the same models. The only difference between the two is where they were initially sold. The 675 model was primarily available only at Costco stores, Canadian Tire and a few select brick and mortar shops around the country.
The 671, was primarily sold through Target and Kohl's and only had a different model number to avoid the retailers having to compete on pricing through coupons or specials.
As it is, compared to the Roomba 690, the Roomba 671 has the same drawbacks as the 675, namely the lack of a virtual wall. The 671 is still cheaper than the 690, but that can be overlooked for the containment inclusion.
Roomba 690 Vs. 614
The Roomba 614, like the 675 and 671 before it, lacks the inclusion of the virtual wall containment. Wireless communications were also stripped from the 614, making it less desirable than the 690 from the control standpoint.
However, unlike the Roomba 690, the 614 is still available for sale through iRobot's online shop. While the 690 and 614 are still made in limited quantities, you can only purchase the Roomba 690 through specific vendors such as Amazon. If you want to save a few bucks and don't want WiFi controls, the 614 is a viable option. Otherwise, the Roomba 690 is still the better purchase.
Roomba 690 Vs. 650
The Roomba 690 was modeled off of the Roomba 650. In essence, they are as much the same robot as the 675 and 671 are. However, the difference here is that the 650 doesn't have WiFi or mobile app capabilities. The Roomba 650, like the 614, is still sold through the iRobot Store, though, for those not wanting to go through Amazon.
If a direct purchase is your plan, the Roomba 650 is an option. However, with better service, faster shipping, and wireless controls, the Roomba 690 purchased through Amazon is still a better deal.
Roomba 690 Vs. 980
At the time of its debut, the Roomba 980 became the best robot vacuum on the market. It comes with the 3rd generation motor, camera-based navigation, mapping abilities as well as a host of features the Roomba 690 could only dream of.
You get the HEPA style filtration, the 2nd generation of navigation (iAdapt 2.0) and recharge and resume functionality. The Roomba 980 clean s all floor types without hesitation and will return to cleaning form where ti left off after a battery charge.
Compared to the Roomba 980, the 690 models can only offer a smaller price tag. However, if you want the best possible clean without spending over $1000 for the latest i- or s-series Roomba, the 980 is the best option available.
Roomba 690 Accessories
The Roomba 6980 comes with the standard lithium-ion battery that provides up to 90 minutes of runtime. The battery will hold a charge through at least 2000 charging cycles, which should provide you with at least 24 months of service. You also get two filters (one installed) as well as the dual-mode virtual wall barrier (and batteries).
The mobile app is a free download from the iOS store or Google Play. Alexa skills for voice commands can also be installed free of charge.
There are replenishment kits available that come with extra filters, brush rolls, and side brushes. You should be prepared to replace the filters every four months and the side brush about every 9 months, depending on the frequency of use.
All of the accessories, including replacement parts like the auto-adjusting cleaning head, can be found on the iRobot store or through trusted vendor sites like Amazon.
Setting Up the WiFi Connection
You will need to download, install, and log into the iRobot Home app before you can set up the wireless connection.
Once you have done so, the app will find the Home Base and begin the sync.
Once the Roomba 690 is charged on the dock after the initial sync, the app will also find the robot model.
You just have to verify the information and allow a few seconds for communications tests.
Once everything is complete (about 5 minutes total), you can use the app or voice commands to begin controlling your robot.
How to Charge this Roomba Model
Charging the Roomba 690 couldn't be easier; you don't have to do much of anything at all. The initial charge will require you to properly set up the Home Base and place the robot on the dock. Once the first charging cycle is complete, the robot will automatically return to the Home Base when the battery level gets too low.
Occasionally, you will find the 690 dead in the middle of the floor. When the robot cannot make it back to the charging station before the battery dies, you will need to carry it and place it on the dock as you did for the initial charge.
Positioning the Roomba Home Base
Setting up the Home Base charging station is also fairly straightforward. There are a few guidelines to follow to prevent overheating and proper docking of the robot.
You should ensure the Home Base is out of direct sunlight from doors and windows. Also, prevent anything from covering the Home Base and the robot while it is charging. Maintain a clearance of two feet on either side of the unit and four feet in front. This will allow the robot to find, position itself, and dock without issue.
Finally, you should place the Home Base on solid ground. Carpeting can cause the docking ramp to tilt or lift, preventing the robot from mounting for a recharging session.
How to Extend the Battery Life
The 1800mAh lithium-ion battery pack that comes with the Roomba 690 should last you about two faithful years. You can reach this milestone or even further by following a few tips to help prolong the battery life.
Cleaning, Care & Maintenance
You should have a regular cleaning and maintenance routine that you administer to the robot once a week. These tips will prolong the life of the robot, prevent major issues, and keep the 690 performing to the best of its abilities.
Common Roomba 690 Issues & Fixes
There are a few issues that arise from time to time with the use of robotics, computers, and machines in general. The Roomba 690 is not exempt from this.
One of the best features, though, is diagnostics through the mobile app. The Roomba 690 will go through a series of audible beeps to alert you to the issue. Since the 690 has WiFi abilities, you can quickly diagnose the problem by using the mobile app.
If you prefer to go "old-school" and look thing sup yourself, you can reference this chart for the most common error code issues.
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
Now we will answer common questions about the Roomba 690 and iRobot in general.
Does Roomba 690 remember a home's layout?
No. The Roomba 690 does not have vSLAM or mapping abilities to know where it has been or where it has left to go. It will not remember the layout or return to clean areas that may have been missed before the battery level dropped.
How do I reset a Roomba 690 unit?
To perform a factory reset of the Roomba 690, you need to remove it from the Home Base and then press and hold the Clean button. After 10 seconds, release the button, and the robot should beep at you. The display will read "rSt" when the reset has completed.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
Contacting iRobot customer support is easy. They have multiple phone numbers based on your location and needs (pre-sales or tech support). There are also email option as well as live chat during business hours. All the numbers, addresses and chat links are located on the iRobot contact page.
Where and when can I get the best deals on a Roomba 690?
If you are looking for the best deals, Amazon has you covered. Not only do they offer the lowest prices daily, but they will also have Black Friday Roomba 690 deals or Cyber Monday Roomba 690 specials going on. Checking the website during these specials will give you notice when the robot will be on sale and for how long.
Where to buy parts and accessories for Roomba 690?
The best place to purchase parts and accessories is through Amazon or the iRobot store. You should ensure that the item you are purchasing is compatible with the Roomba 690. A lot of parts look the same but won't work or fit in the 690 if they are not designed for it. Filters, batteries, and wheels are the most common purchases that end up being a wrong fit.
Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 690?
The Roomba 690 is not available through iRobot's store. Instead, you will need to find the robot vacuum on Amazon. The best pricing, as well as full warranty, are available through Amazon where shipping is fast, and you can often find deals or combinations with replenishment kits or virtual walls.
The Roomba 690 is quickly being outdated by technology. However, because it does have wireless communications and reliable cleaning ability, it remains a favorite for budget-conscious consumers.
If you have a smaller home, apartment, or are looking for a second robot, the Roomba 690 is an ideal candidate. There will be extra maintenance involved because of the brush rollers and older style parts. However, if you want a robot that helps maintain your floors while you tend to other tasks, you could do a lot worse than the Roomba 690.
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