It is no secret that robotic vacuums are quickly becoming a favorite purchase for homeowners. Currently, there are well over two dozen different vendors, each with dozens of different models. Finding the perfect robot for your home can be a chore in itself.
The Roomba 890 from iRobot is a popular and well-received vacuum that has found its way into many homes across the country. Is yours next? This Roomba 890 review will help you decide if the 890 is a good fit for your home's floor cleaning needs.
iRobot Roomba 890
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Like most robotic vacuums, the Roomba 890 uses a bevy of sensors, computer-processed algorithms, battery power, and motors to navigate and clean your home. Everything on the vacuum works together to keep your floors clean.
The technology behind the navigation is known as iAdapt. The Roomba 890 uses the first generation navigation technology to control the sensors. These sensors include drop sensors to protect the robot from falling down stairs or tumbling over ledges, bump sensors to detect and avoid physical obstacles, and infrared sensors to find the charging station and identify virtual barriers.
You will also find that the second generation motor and AeroForce technology allows you to breathe a little easier. The 2nd gen motor produces up to 5x the suction power of the 600 series robots to clean carpeting better and pick up more stubborn debris regularly.
AeroForce is the second generation of suction and filtration, following the impressive (by the standards of the time) AeroVac technology. AeroForce, though, brings us HEPA filtration - collecting in-home allergens to a size of 3 microns, thus reducing the amount of pollen, pet dander and dust in the air and floors of your home.
Benefits of Robotic Vacuums
There are several benefits to owning and using a robotic vacuum. One thing to understand, though, is what they cannot do. No robot vacuum to date is designed to eliminate the need for your upright vacuum completely. The power, suction, and filtration of your large, heavy, stuck-in-the-closet vacuum are still needed.
A robotic vacuum is designed to run daily, though. Moving through your home to pick up new messes, sweep the hard floors and keep your carpets presentable between regular cleanings with the upright.
In this aspect, they are priceless. Instead of having to vacuum the floors yourself two or three times a week (or more) you can now make chore day a once a week, or once every other week thing.
If you purchase the Roomba 890, you will be able to schedule these daily cleanings. You don’t even have to be home for the robot to go about its job. There’s something you can’t say about your standard upright model!
Features of Roomba 890
Up to 60 minutes
13.9 x 13.9 x 3.6 in.
Up to 900 Square Feet
1-year limited warranty for robot and battery
iRobot Home App/ Voice Commands
One of the most used features of the Roomba 890 is the iRobot Home App.
Since not all of the 800 series is WiFi-enabled, the addition of alternative controls, scheduling and programming come in quite handy.
Because the robot is WiFi-enabled, you also get the option to use voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices, including full control of the robot cleaning schedule and updates.
3-Stage Cleaning System
The Roomba vacuums all use a 3-stage cleaning system.
The first stage, sweeping, is done by the side brush, sweeping debris into the path of the robot for collection.
The second stage, agitation and lift, is done by the tangle-free rubber extractors.
Carpet fibers are agitated to loosen and lift dirt and debris into the suction chamber.
Finally, the third stage, suction, is complete when the motor produces airflow to lift the dirt into the air chamber and deposit it into the collection bin.
Another advantage of the Roomba 890 over most of the previous models is the high-efficiency air filter. This filter is HEPA quality, meaning it will capture particles known to cause allergic reactions. These include mold and mildew, pet dander, pollen, and dust mites.
The filter itself is not washable, but regular cleaning by pulling off the larger debris and knocking the screen on the inside of your trash can will prolong the life and make the robot run more efficiently. You can expect to change the filter every 4 to 6 months.
Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers
With the purchase of the Roomba 890, you will receive one containment barrier.
The dual-mode virtual wall is a small, battery-operated tower that you can place around your home to help the robot navigate.
There are two modes you can choose from - linear and halo. In linear mode, the infrared beam is put out in a straight line.
The robot will detect the beam and turn around without crossing it. This mode is useful along doorways or hallways you don't want the robot to enter.
In halo mode, the infrared beam comes out in a circle. The 4-foot diameter barrier protects things on your floors such as pet dishes, floor lamps, or that puzzle you’ve been working on for a month now.
Auto-Adjusting Cleaning Head
The Roomba 890 also comes with an automatically adjusting cleaning head.
This is the part of the robot that houses the dual, tangle-free extractors.
The cleaning head has a small sensor that detects the level of the flooring underneath.
When the robot is on carpeting, the head will adjust downward to allow the extractors to agitate the carpet.
On a hard flooring, the head is lifted to enable better contact for sweeping.
Scheduling is an often over-looked feature that holds quite a bit of importance. The Roomba 890 can be scheduled to clean at any time on any day. You can create a schedule using the iRobot Home App or even voice controls through your Alexa device.
Scheduled cleanings allow you to come home from work to clean floors, or do other chores while the floors are being tended to. Because you can schedule form the mobile app, you don't even need to be home, so when the call comes in that your mother-in-law is on her way over, you can have the Roomba run through the house while you are still at work.
Performance of the iRobot Roomba 890
Not every robot vacuum is created equal, and not all robots clean the same flooring type as well as others. The Roomba 890 is no exception. Here is how it fares on various surfaces and areas.
For low and medium-pile carpet, the Roomba 890 does a fairly decent job. The rubber extractors agitate well and lift a lot more dirt from the carpet than you may expect. High pile carpeting, though, will still give the robot some trouble. It may not get tangled, but it doesn't quite have the power to clean the thicker carpet efficiently.
On hard surfaces the Roomba 890 is king. The adjustable cleaning head, bristle-free rubber extractors, and side brush all come in to play here. Hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl, and even stone, granite, and marble are no match.
You can even safely clean softwood floorings such as pine, cedar, or redwood. The extractors do not contain hard bristles, so the surfaces aren't scratched.
Pet Hair Removal
When it comes to shedding pets, the Roomba 890 will save your sanity. Instead of you having to sweep up what appears to be a brand-new puppy every other day, the 890 will make short work of the shed fur.
The tangle-free extractors are designed with pet hair in mind. They will lift and separate the hairs for better collection without leaving anything behind.
You will need to remove the end caps when cleaning the extractors, though, as a lot of hair will be collected there. The hair is, however, off of your floors.
One downfall of the Roomba 890 capabilities is the small battery and short runtime. Because the robot doesn't map your home, as the Roomba 980 or 985 will, it cannot resume cleaning from where it left off when the battery died.
This means that larger areas or homes won’t get the full benefit of the cleaning the robot is capable of. Smaller floor plans and apartments or condos will see the most benefit. Anything with an area size of 900 square feet or less should see the most use of the 890 model.
Comparison with Other Roomba Models
So how does the Roomba 890 compare to other Roomba models? Look no further. We have the comparisons for you right here so you can decide for yourself which model may (or may not) be better suited for your needs.
890 vs. 891
The difference here is control. The Roomba 890 and 891 are virtually identical. They share the same filtration, navigation, motor, and sensors. There are only two small differences between them.
The first difference is the containment options. With the Roomba 890, you get the 3rd generation barrier known as the dual-mode virtual wall barrier (as discussed above). For the Roomba 891, you will get the 1st generation virtual lighthouse. It is important to note that the functionality is the same here. Both produce infrared beams that prevent the robot from crossing over.
The second difference, and more important, is that the 891 doesn’t have WiFi capabilities. If you need or want the control options of the mobile app and voice commands, then the Roomba 891 won’t be for you.
890 vs. 880
Another model that is quite similar to the 890 is the 880. Like the 891, there are some key differences, though. The 880 does not have WiFi capabilities and also comes with the virtual lighthouse instead of the dual-mode virtual barrier. However, you get two lighthouses instead of just one. And yes, all Roomba models are compatible with all three virtual barriers, including the lighthouse.
The other differences, though, are quite significant, too. The 880 is an older model and is harder to find; it also ships with a Nickle Metal-Hydride battery (better known as NiMH) instead of the lithium-ion battery of the 890. When you go to replace this battery (which you will do much sooner than with the 890) you won't find one available and will have to instead, purchase the Xlife battery.
Finally, the local controls are different, as well. Because you cannot use the iRobot Home app with the 880, the scheduling and programming buttons are located on the robot itself.
890 vs. 860
The Roomba 860 was the first model in the 800 series to be released. At that time, it was a marvel to watch and own. However, it lacked a lot of things that were added with the 890. For starters, like the 891 and 880 models, there are no WiFi communications, meaning you won’t get to use the mobile app or voice controls.
It does come with a dual-mode virtual wall barrier, though, as well as a lithium-ion battery pack. Of course, since there are no digital control options, you are stuck with the local controls like you are with the 880 and 891.
The main issue with the 860 models is the price. While the clean is the same as the 890, you get a lot more features and reliability over the Roomba 860, and for the same price. So, unless you find the 860 with a considerable price cut, the 890 is going to be the better option, always.
890 vs. 960
In what should be a “no-brainer” as newer trumps older, the Roomba 960 isn’t so much better than the Roomba 890 that you can easily dismiss the comparison. Yes, the Roomba 960 is a more efficient and robust machine, but is it worth it?
To start, the Roomba 890 doesn't have anything that the 960 does. However, the 960 has a few things that the 890 lacks. First, the 960 uses iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology. The newer version allows the use of a camera to create a map of your home and lets the robot clean in a pattern similar to a human.
Because of the mapping feature, the robot can also recharge the battery and then resume cleaning right where it left off, known as entire level cleaning; the 960 will make sure every portion of your floor is cleaned before calling it quits.
The 960 has a stronger battery allowing up to 75 minutes of cleaning time instead of just 60 minutes. And finally, the 960 gives you edge cleaning mode that the 890 lacks. It is no doubt that the Roomba 960 is a superior machine. However, it costs a bit more than the 890, and that plays a huge roll in the final decision.
If you can live without camera-based navigation and edge cleaning mode operation, the 890 is probably a more economical purchase as the cleaning efficiency is the same. The 960 is better at cleaning promptly, but the result is the same.
890 Vs. 980
The same arguments from the above 960 comparisons can be translated to the 980. However, this time the 980 wins over the 890. The Roomba 980 has a few things that the 890 and 960 do not have.
The most important one, though, is the new motor. The Roomba 980 is the first model to use the 3rd generation motor and has up to 10x more suction and power over the 600 series (if you recall, the 890 only has 5x more power).
If you have a large floor plan with a lot of carpeting, the 980 is going to be one of the best options you can find. With the vSLAM navigation and mapping, larger collection bin, more efficient clean and superior carpet cleaning, if your final choice comes down to the 890 and 980, the 900 series is going to be the best option.
890 Vs. 690
The top of the 800 series and the top of the 600 series are still worthy competitors. Much like the 890 vs. 960, the 890 is a much better machine, but the 690 still holds some value.
What you won’t see with the 690 is a HEPA quality filter or a powerful motor. The 600 series is considered a budget-friendly, or starter robot, series. Better for small spaces, without shedding pets, the Roomba 690 still holds a place for many homes.
The most significant difference (and decision-maker) though, is the lack of rubber extractors on the 690. Instead, you will find soft bristle rollers that agitate the carpet and lift the debris. The bristle style rollers are much harder to keep clean and get wrapped with hair, string, and pet fur much easier.
The maintenance routine alone is enough to make you purchase the 890, not to mention the other accessories and advancements that come with it. Still, for small apartments, or homes without pets, the 690 is an ideal and inexpensive option.
890 Vs. e5/e6
To get a full understanding of the differences between the Roomba e5 and e6 models, you can see the full review here. For this article, though, know that they are identical in almost every way (aside from some accessories).
The Roomba e5 was released alongside the Roomba i7, which is one of the latest series to come from iRobot. The e5 was designed to be the new entry-level robot. It doesn't have the camera-based navigation made famous in the 900 series and in many ways it resembles and cleans like the 890.
It does have the 3rd generation motor, though, so it will deep clean carpeting better than the 890. It has the same WiFi capabilities, containment options, and cleaning patterns. While the computer is smarter, the battery is better, and the sensors are more intelligent, the money saved by purchasing the 890 becomes more relevant.
How do you decide? Simple. If you have a larger floor plan (over 1000 square feet), a lot of shedding pets or have flooring that is primarily carpeting, then look for the Roomba e5/e6/. Otherwise, save a bit of cash and opt for the Roomba 890.
Comparison with Other Brands
There are other robot vacuum manufacturers besides iRobot. Neato has long been the main Roomba rival, and a case can be made for Shark Ion as well. How does the Roomba 890 stack up? Let's take a look.
Roomba 890 Vs. Neato
If there is a rival for the top spot in the robotic vacuum market, Neato is it. For years, Neato and iRobot have gone head to head, usually with iRobot coming out slightly on top. For the Roomba 890, though, the biggest competition comes from the Neato BotVac Connected D-series.
The D3 and D4 Connected are two models that are compatible in terms of performance and price. The biggest factor here is that all of the D-series models use LIDAR navigation. Instead of a camera-based system like the 900 series Roomba models, the Neato robots use lasers.
LIDAR works by scanning the ceiling for landmarks, corners, walls, and doorways to create a map. The D-series robots can resume cleaning after a battery charge, which is one feature the Roomba 890 doesn't have. They, too, tout HEPA style filtration and WiFI connectivity.
While the Neato vacuums have an apparent upper hand in navigation, they cannot clean carpet as well. So if you have rugs, area throws or wall to wall carpeting, you may still be better off with the Roomba.
Roomba 890 Vs. Shark Ion
Shark is a well known and respected name when it comes to upright vacuums. Their initial foray into the robot market, though, was less than stellar. In short, the robots just didn't perform. However, the later models are a lot better, and many of the latest version, such as S89 can give the Roomba 900 series a run for their money.
When it comes to the Roomba 890, though the best apples-to-apples comparison will come from the Shark Ion 750. It uses the same sensor-based navigation (Shark calls this Smart Sensors), has HEPA filtration and WiFi connectivity.
The Ion 750 uses a brush roll that is much larger than the extractors of the Roomba. The brush roll extends almost to the edge of the robot. It is a bristle brush roll though and requires extra attention during the routine maintenance.
The bristles are also stiff, which means that softwood flooring might get scratched or marred and you will need to check in a small area to be sure before letting it run rampant all over your floors.
The battery is larger and takes more time to recharge but is also less efficient than the battery of the 890. Even though the more substantial battery should produce more power and run longer, it does not. The Shark Ion 750 also runs for up to 60 minutes but adds an hour to the recharge cycle.
If you don’t mind cleaning out a bristle brush roll and waiting longer for the robot to recharge, the Shark Ion 750 could be a model worth investigating further. However, for a better clean on carpeting, no fear of scratching softer surfaces and a more efficient machine, the Roomba 890 is still a better purchase option.
Roomba 890 Accessories
An accessory is anything that can be removed or added to the robot to improve operation or functionality. The Roomba 890 has a few accessories, some are required, others are optional.
The replaceable components of the robot will need to be priced and budgeted for. The filters and side brushes, for example, will need to be replaced about twice a year. You can get a maintenance package that includes the side brushes and filters, or get a pack of each as needed.
The Roomba 890 does come with an extra filter, though, so you shouldn't need to purchase for at least a full year.
The battery will eventually die out. It should last you a minimum of 3000 charging cycles, or between 3 and 5 years. When it does die out or stops holding a charge, a replacement is just a few clicks away.
The virtual barriers are the most common accessory purchased for the robot, though. You can buy a single or two-pack of the dual-mode virtual barriers. If, however, you are interested in the virtual wall or virtual lighthouse, the Roomba 890 is compatible with those as well.
Setting Up the WiFi Connection
To set up the wireless controls, you will need to connect your Roomba to your wireless network. This is done through the mobile app, a free download from your respective app store.
Once you are logged into the app, the step by step process will take you through connecting the Home Base charging station and finally the robot itself. The entire process takes about 5 minutes as long as you know your WiFi password.
How do I Charge this Roomba Model
The initial charge is about the only time you will need to handle the robot to get the battery powered up. Once the Home Base is positioned and powered on, you need to pull the tab off of the battery and place the robot in the dock.
After about 3 hours, the robot will be charged and ready to work. From that point on the Roomba, 890 will make its way back to the charging station when the battery level drops below 15%.
In the rare case that the battery dies before the robot can return to the charging station, you will need to place it there again manually. This usually happens if the Home Base is not clear of obstacles or has been moved recently.
Positioning the Roomba Home Base
Placing the Roomba Home Base is quite simple. There are just a few things you need to pay attention to during the initial setup process.
First, it will need to be located near a power outlet. The cord is about 6-feet long, so make sure you have enough room to get to it. Next, it will need to be placed on a hard floor surface like tile or linoleum. You just want to ensure it doesn’t rock or sway (like it can when placed on carpet) and that the ramp is flush with the floor.
Finally, you will need to ensure there is clearance; at least two feet on either side and four feet in the front. This will give the robot enough room to move around and line up with the dock as well as find the infrared signal to locate the base quickly.
Tips for Using a Roomba 890
To keep your floors as clean as possible and your Roomba 890 running in perfect condition, there are a few things you should do.
Cleaning, Care & Maintenance
To keep your Roomba in top-notch condition, you need to have a regular care and cleaning routine. The process is made as simple as possible by iRobot and maintaining the 890 in working condition is easy.
Troubleshooting Your Roomba
The Roomba 890 will alert you if something is wrong. There will be an audible beeping coming from the robot which will clue you into the error code being reported. The number of beeps corresponds to the number of the error code. The following chart will aid in your diagnosis.
Code/Number of Beeps
What to do
The 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.
The bumper sensor is dirty, or the bumper cannot move.
Tap the bumper a few times to ensure it is working correctly, 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.
There are also error codes specifically for the battery. The battery indicator will blink a certain number of times to tell you what the issue is.
Battery Indicator Blinks
What to do
Battery not inserted.
Ensure the battery is seated correctly 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.
The 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 the battery
The battery needs to be replaced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some of the most common questions about the Roomba 890 model.
Can I use this Roomba 890 with 220 volts power?
Nothing is stopping you from using the Roomba 890 with a 220-volt converter. The voltage rating for the robot is between 110 and 240 volts. However, it should be noted that using a North American model (which the Roomba 890 is) outside of North America instantly voids the warranty.
If you are in Asia or Europe, you should purchase the Roomba 890 equivalent for your area.
What can I do to extend the battery life?
The lithium-ion batteries are designed to last through 3000 charging cycles. Depending on your care and usage, you can meet or exceed this number easily. Try to keep the battery cool. When not in use, the Home Base and Roomba shouldn’t be in direct sunlight.
Allowing the battery to cool will help prolong the life. You should also put the robot in idle mode when you are going to be away for extended periods. Finally, lithium-ion batteries still have what is known as battery memory.
If the battery isn’t completely depleted at least once a month, it won’t hold as much charge or for as long. Try to prevent the robot from recharging until the battery completely dies at least once every four weeks.
Are these robotic vacuums noisy?
The Roomba 890 is not the quietest machine around. For that matter, none of the Roomba models are designed to be "quiet." You can expect the Roomba 890 to produce about 65 to 68 dB of sound while cleaning. This is about the same as a hairdryer or city traffic.
How do I clean my Roomba?
Cleaning the 890 should be a regular practice. You will need to use a dry cloth to wipe off the body and sensors from dirt and dust build-up. Keeping the collection bin empty and wiped out is also essential and should be done after every cleaning run or two.
You will also need to inspect the side brush and filter for wear and tear or debris collection, cleaning off or replacing as needed. Also, the tangle-free extractors should be removed, wiped off, and the end caps checked for hair or string. The entire weekly routine should take no more than 5 or 10 minutes.
How do I contact iRobot Roomba customer support?
There are several contact methods depending on what services you need (pre-sales or tech support). You can call, initiate a live chat session or send an email to the proper department. All of the required contact methods, numbers, and addresses are located on the iRobot contact page.
Where are the best places to buy a Roomba 890?
Currently, the Roomba 890 can be found at local brick and mortar shops or online at Amazon. Purchasing through Amazon is the preferred method as they are a trusted vendor. Buying through them will not void your warranty, and it makes claims, processing, and support a little easier.
Where to buy parts and accessories for Roomba 890?
You can browse through the available replacement parts in two main places. The first is through the iRobot shop. This option is quickly going away, though as newer models and their components are pushing out the older models. You can also look on Amazon for authorized parts and accessories.
What do iRobot Roomba warranties include? What does Limited Lifetime Warranty mean?
Each Roomba purchase (through iRobot or an authorized vendor) comes with a 30-day return policy. This no-questions-asked policy allows you to ship the robot back for a full refund. Once that trial period is over the 12-month limited warranty kicks in.
The warranty covers the robot from defects, malfunctions, and errors in operation. It does not include problems from neglect or lack of proper care. All moving parts are excluded from the warranty, including the extractors, brush rolls, side brush, and even the filter.
The battery is covered for 1 year as well, should anything go wrong with it. You can see the full details and how to make a claim on the warranties page.
The Roomba 890, at one time, was the best of the best. Prior to the 960 and 980 models being released, there were few robots on the market that could match the performance and cleaning of the Roomba 890. Because of this, the 890 is still a formidable machine worthy of being in most homes.
With HEPA style filters, a powerful, 2nd generation motor and WiFi capabilities, there isn't much the robot cannot do. The battery does limit the time it can clean, though and is best suited for apartments, condos, and smaller homes.
For those looking for a reliable robot vacuum with multiple control options, have a mix of carpet and hard flooring and a floor area less than 900 square feet, the Roomba 890 might just be the perfect model for you.
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