Roomba 690 Review
Whenever you are on a lookout for the next iRobot vacuum cleaner, a Roomba model has to be on your radar. They are well established as the household name for robovacs and one of the best robot vacuums on the market for over a decade. When the 9 series was introduced to the market lots of Roomba owners were happy to find that they can control their vacuums even when they are away from home.
Back then it was hard to think of what can top that joy until the latest 6-series was introduced to the market. With all the bells and whistles it might just be amongst the best robot vacuums on the market today. Let’s take a look at the design and features first and continue with the Roomba 690 review.
Roomba 690 Design And Features
The Roomba 690 design is pretty round and functional, as we like to say. It is hardly distinguished from other robovacs in the Roomba series but what makes the 690 unique are the features that it incorporates. Let’s take a closer look at them and what’s new compared to older models of the same series.
The design of the Roomba 690 vacuum cleaner is the typical oval shape that we are accustomed to when reviewing iRobot products. There are a few features missing from the 690 that can be found in the much more expensive 800 and 900 series. For example, the 690 relies on acoustic sensors rather than the far-superior opticals oned found in the 960, for example. But more for that later when we take a deeper look at the 690 cleaning and routing performance.
In design, the 690 is a bit smaller than most other robotic vacuums by iRobot. In diameter, it is 13 inches where most other Roombas are 13.8-13.9 depending on the model and series. By being smaller, the 690 can get around smaller corners, clean more efficiently and get into tighter spaces easier than most. Here is an unboxing video of the 690 to get a better idea of the contents:
2. Wi-Fi Connectivity
The Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Connectivity allows you vacuum to connect to your wireless router and communicate over the internet in various ways. It is the way it connects to the iRobot Home app that lets you start, stop and schedule cleaning cycles on the go. You can tell the Roomba to clean and stop wherever you are, use the app when you are away and way more. You can also use the app to schedule cleaning cycles to make the robovac clean whenever is the most convenient time for you.
3. 3-Stage Cleaning System
The 690, like the rest of the iRobot range, offers a three-stage cleaning process.
What does that mean?
It is not as complicated as you think. It simply means that the 690 can vacuum more thoroughly compared to other robotic cleaners because of its three stages – counter-rotating brush cleaning, a side brush and the patented AeroVac technology.
4. AeroVac Technology
You might wonder what is AeroVac technology? Well, here is the answer:
Aerovac technology is a patented iRobot tech allowing Roomba vacuums to maximise airflow and optimise brushes to not just pull more dust and debris off the brushes, but to also push the debris and stack them towards the back of the bin in order to store dirt more effectively. By using AeroVac you will have to empty the bin far less often than before. It offers superior cleaning performance as well! The Dyson 360 still offers the best cleaning performance in class but it is lacking the navigation skills the Roomba offers.
5. iAdapt Technology
iAdapt is the brain of the Roomba 690. Its the combination of the complicated software that iRobot implants in their products and the array of sensors that help the Roomba vacuum navigate around the house to help clean it better. It helps it navigate and ensures that there is no place left untouched during the cleaning cycle. It moves around furniture and obstacles with ease. iAdapt can also tell the hoover when it is safe to go under certain types of furniture. The vacuum is suitable for cleaning all kinds of floors including hardwood, carpets, and laminate.
6. Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant Integration
This is bar far the coolest feature of the 690. It offers seamless integration with Amazon Alexa and Google assistant. Whichever you prefer to “smarten” your home you can use to control your Roomba vacuum.
You can use them both to stop or start cleaning, pause or even return to the home base. Just by saying “Alexa open Roomba” will give you access to the robovac by using the Amazon service.
“OK, Google, tell Roomba to clean” will activate the hoover using the Google Assistant service. It is a very convenient feature if you don’t really know where your phone is at the moment.
7. Automatic Recharge When Battery is Low
The 690’s Lithium-Ion is longer lasting and better performing battery compared to older generations of the 600 series. It allows longer running time during cleaning cycles but it will eventually need recharging. Thankfully, the Roomba 690 has an auto-recharging option available so it will automatically go back to the station to top up its battery.
The Roomba 690 battery life should be enough to clean a single, medium-sized room in one go.
You can activate the auto-recharge by using the app or any of the Alexa or Google Assistant as well. Just touch the button and the robovac will automatically navigate to the base station to recharge.
8. Spot Cleaning
If there is an area in your house that you feel that it is particularly dirty you ask your Roomba to spot-clean that particular area. The 690 can spot clean an area with a radius of three feet.
Roomba Cleaning And Navigating Performance
Overall, the Roomba 690 cleaning performance is excellent. It truly benefits from the three-stage cleaning technology incorporated in this robovac. It cleans thoroughly and efficiently but.
The 690 is amongst the most affordable vacuums by iRobot so it is lacking some features found in the much more expensive 9 series for example. We mentioned before, that the 900 series relies on optical sensors for navigation while the 600 series uses acoustic ones. That makes navigation harder and it is a bit more inaccurate than the high-end models. That also means that the 690 might struggle at optimising the cleaning process by discovering which areas are dirtier than others and pay them more attention when cleaning.
One of the most annoying parts is that even though the Roomba has an auto-charging option, you will still need to manually restart the vacuum in order to finish the cleaning cycle. Once charged, it doesn’t start automatically which can be a major annoyance. Most other robots can resume automatically.
Another issue with the cleaning is that the Roomba uses a rotating brush to clean dust and debris. While this can improve the performance and provide optimises cleaning, it can lead to a tangled hair around the brush. You will have to clean and untangle the brush every once in a while, especially if you have any pets in the house.
The navigating performance could be better too. It relies on a bit of an outdated technology. While it is still quite effective, the Roomba can occasionally “get lost” or stuck around more complicated pieces of furniture.
There is a filter involved as well and it is not a HEPA one either, unfortunately. It uses the original AeroVac filter found in older generations Roomba vacuums.
Here is a list of things that you might be missing out on if you decide on the 690 instead of the much better (and much more expensive) 900 series:
- Bin Indicator – the 690 doesn’t have an indicator of when the bin is full.
- Carpet Boost Mode – increased suction power for carpets.
- Pass Control – it allows to go over a vacuumed area more than once.
- Edge Cleaning Mode – the 900 series has a special edge cleaning mode.
- Auto Resume – you don’t have to manually restart cycles