iRobot Roomba 560 Review: Old Tech Roomba

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The 560 is a third generation Roomba and PCMag called it a “souped-up” Discovery (2nd generation) because it had a bigger chassis and wheels and had better suspension.

iRobot Roomba 560 Review

This was the first Roomba to have the anti-tangle feature wherein the brushes will rotate backwards to untangle itself from any tassels or loose wires and while it can be scheduled, it doesn’t have a remote.

iRobot claims that you can clean up to 4 rooms. This is only possible if you use the 4 virtual lighthouses instead of the 2 virtual walls included in this package.

However several online reviews claim otherwise saying that it had some trouble moving from one room to another as well as finding its charging dock.

Often times running out of battery in doing so. You can read more of that in the reviews section.

Update September 22, 2017: Ever since I published this post a few years ago, iRobot has new robot vacuums such as the Roomba 650, 860, 960 and 980. Click on the links to get more information or check out the Best Roomba article. These newer cleaners have smarter navigation and better cleaning performance.

Pros

  • You can buy used one for as low as $199
  • Scheduling feature (once a day, 7 days a week)
  • Sealed body so dust won’t clog sensors
  • Brushes are adjustable so it can pick up dirt on shaggy carpet
  • Works on dark carpet
  • Picks up heavy debris like nuts and bolts well

Cons

  • Takes a long time to clean a room, around 20+ minutes on an average sized room
  • Some issues in detecting the virtual wall/lighthouse and docking based on reviews
  • Will have trouble picking up light debris like paper and pet hair
  • Small dirt bin
  • Hair will wrap around motorized brush and side brushes
  • Needs frequent cleaning
  • No full bin indicator

What to Expect from the iRobot Roomba 560?

From the Roomba 560 onward, iRobot has made great improvements in terms of performance and reliability.

The 560 is the first Roomba to use a modular design which means parts are easier to replace. Cleaning performance also made a quantum leap as well as long term viability.

In the package you’ll get 2 virtual walls and an extra filter. The filtration system traps allergens according to iRobot but it isn’t a HEPA filter.

Like all Roomba vacuums, it has two counter rotating brushes – one agitator and one bristled brush.

  • Brushes automatically adjusts depending on the thickness of the carpet
  • Has an anti-tassel feature that untangles itself from tassels or cords
  • Filters trap allergen
  • Has 2 virtual walls (batteries not included)
  • Extra filter included

Complete specs can be found here.

Navigation

To give you a better understanding on how a Roomba navigates without sounding to technical have a look at this illustration.

You’ll notice that it looks more like a 700 series but the basic layout of sensors is still the same.

Roomba Nav

I’ve also found a cool long-exposure photo that shows you the cleaning pattern.

Roomba Long Exposure Shot

Source: Flickr

Remember that I said iRobot that this can clean up to 4 rooms without any help?

Well in theory it can but based numerous reviews like this one in geek.com, it has a tendency to miss the lighthouse and get out of the room and more complex layouts it will have trouble finding its charging base.

Note: You’ll notice that in the reviews of PCMag and Geek.com, they mentioned that it had a virtual lighthouse that allowed it to clean multiple rooms but based on reviews the 560 sold in Amazon does not have the virtual lighthouse but only virtual walls.

It still can clean multiple rooms if you take out the virtual wall but it’ll be trickier.

One of the videos in the “see it in action” section tried to do a multi room cleaning minus the virtual wall and the result was positive.

Will it Clean Stairs?

No.

Scheduled Cleaning

Yes you can schedule this to clean autonomously once a day, seven days a week. However it does not have a remote.

Charging Time

Normal charge time would take around 3 hours but iRobot recommends that you charge this for 16 hours in its first use.

Robot Clean Up

One improvement that the 560 has over the Discovery is the use of a modular design. This makes replacing parts easier.

Areas that need frequent cleaning are the side brush and counter rotating brushes that have a tendency to pick up a lot of pet hair. This is a necessary step so that these parts don’t wear out quickly.

Here’s a video detailing how to meticulously clean the 560…

Run Time

Robot Shop tested the run time and said it ran just a little over 2 hours which is a very good number considering this robot uses a NiCad battery.

Warranty

All iRobot Roomba vacuums come with a 1 year warranty on the robot and 6 months on the warranty…

Bare Floor Cleaning

It does a good job on bare floors but because it has a rather weak suction, it’ll have trouble picking up lighter debris like pet hair, paper or anything similar.

It does a good job with heavier debris like nuts and bolts.

Carpet Cleaning

The spring loaded wheels and adjustable brushes make this suitable for both thin and thick carpet but don’t expect too much in terms of deep cleaning because of the weak suction.

Don’t rely on this as your main cleaner but only as a maintenance in-between-deep-cleaning-sessions vacuum so you don’t have to bring out that heavy upright as often.

Rugs

It’ll work well on most rugs from thin to thick shag and even though there are some complaints about it not working on dark rugs/carpet, video reviews reveal otherwise.

Pet Hair Removal

The counter rotating brush will do most of the work in picking up pet hair and it did a fairly decent job based on reviews.

Take note that the dirt bin isn’t big so you’ll need to empty it frequently if you have a lot of pets.

If you have 2 or more shedding pets at home, you may want to consider the newer Roomba 650.

See it in Action

Product Specifications

Battery typeNiCad
Charger typeCharging Station
Charge time3 hours
Run Time 2 hours
based on a review done by Robot Reviews
Net weight (with battery)8.2 pounds
Shipping weight12 pounds
Diameter13.3 inches
Height3 inches
Multi Room
Yes
Self docking
Yes
Remote control
No
Hepa filtration
No
Cliff detection
Yes
Self adjusting
Yes
Edge brushes
Yes
Full bin indicator
No
Stair Cleaning
No
Cleaning sessions per week 7
Extra Filter1
Containment 2 virtual walls
Brush cleaning tools1
Accessories includedCharging base

A/C adapter

2 virtual walls (needs 2 C batteries that are not included)

1 extra aerovac filter

1 brush cleaning tool

1 extra filter
Voltage110v
Manufactured inChina
Warranty1-year on robot
6-months on battery

Customer Reviews

It scored high marks when it comes to cleaning and the scheduling feature is another plus.

It was also able to pick up pet hair fairly well based on these reviews but the dirt bin filled up rather quickly, especially on the first few runs because floors tend to be dirtier during this phase.

Negative reviews mentioned that cleaning performance wasn’t the problem. I’ve summarized the common issues that consumers have encountered below.

First and the most common complaint is the side brush breaks after a few months (some 4 and 5 star reviews also mentioned this).

Second, it had some trouble going back to the charging base.

Third, counter rotating brushes will need frequent cleaning.

Lastly, there were also complaints about product failures within the first year of ownership.

Reviews from other sites

Video Review from Robot Shop

Epinions

Over 40 people left a review here and it had a higher rating than Amazon. Opinions were similar to that in Amazon, consumers were happy because it has scheduling, reached areas under furniture and did a good job picking up debris.

Complaints are similar – side brush breaking, small dirt bin, side brush and main cleaning brushes need frequent cleaning, not completely automated and some quality control issues.

There was also one consumer who pointed out that the gear box in the 560 instead completely sealed allowing dust and dirt to get into the gear which is one of the culprits why it broke down quite often.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this robot from Amazon but it’ll cost you over $1,000!!! A better option in my opinion would be getting the newer Roomba 690 which will cost much less. And that variant will be eligible to their free 2-day shipping if you join Prime.

You can also purchase extended warranties of up to 3 years if you want that extra peace of mind.

To Wrap Up

This robot is great for folks who live in small to medium sized homes looking for an affordable robot vacuum.

And don’t mind not having premium features like a full bin indicator, remote and a virtual lighthouse.

Cleaning performance is great thanks to the counter rotating brushes but these will require some upkeep for it to run smoothly.

It will take around 20 minutes or so to clean an average sized room so don’t bother watching it, just let it do its thing.

Dirt bin is small so you’ll need to monitor this manually since it doesn’t have a full bin indicator.

Also it may be a good idea to buy extra side brushes just in case the one that comes in it breaks, as a lot of consumers complained about this in reviews.

Overall this is a good robot vacuum that does a good enough job for in-between maintenance clean-up jobs.

Unfortunately iRobot has discontinued this product and warranty claims may be an issue, you may want to have a look at the newer 650 if you’re looking to buy a mid-priced Roomba.

1 thought on “iRobot Roomba 560 Review: Old Tech Roomba”

  1. I bought a 650 today from an estate sale for $15. It was a very upper class house. I was told it was as is and it didn’t work. I figured it was lacking in upkeep. (it was) I cleaned tons of hair and dirt from it. The battery won’t stay charged long. (may purchase a new one) I am in the process of discharging and recharging. Hope all this does wonders for the batteries. I am a man who lives by himself. I don’t clean house very often. I figured when I started the Roomba 650 in my house it would jump upside down and die. I ran it for a short while and it quit. Hope the pm on the batteries do the trick. I am thinking about purchasing a docking station and letting it do it’s thing. Any other recommendations would really be appreciated. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE !

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