by Garrick Dee
Updated November 13th, 2018
The Roomba 650 is great for folks looking for something autonomous that’ll clean their homes for them while they’re at work or doing other things.
Technology isn’t perfect but has improved tremendously since the first robot vacuums came out.
Unfortuntely purchasing a brand new Roomba 650 is more expensive than a 690. The latter has the same features as the 650 but with newer lithium ion battery that’ll last longer and have less power fade. It also has WiFi connectivity and compatible with Alexa so it’s a better deal at around $300 in my opinion.
Quick look at the features: Scheduled cleaning once a day (7 days a week), counter rotating brushes will do a great job at picking up hair and dust, 1 year warranty.
The Roomba 650 represents a major leap forward for iRobot in terms of reliability and cleaning performance.
It was one of their first robots to have a scheduling feature that will automatically clean at a specific time 7 days a week.
Navigation isn’t as efficient as the latest 900 series but it’s thorough.
Numerous tech sites like Digital Trends and Wired have reviewed this robot and the results were positive.
Both liked capable it is cleaning under furniture like beds and had decent suction. A few years back, this robot costs over $400. But with the new Roomba robots on board, price is now below $300.
A quick look at the features
- 3-stage cleaning system that uses a side brush, AeroVac cleaning head and suction
- AeroVac filter will block out allergens (but this isn’t a HEPA filter)
- Scheduled cleaning once a day
- Included in the package is one virtual wall that block off limit areas
- Comes with one brush cleaning tool
- The cleaning head automatically adjusts its height to properly reach hard floors, rugs or carpet
- Cliff sensors protects it from fall of stairs
- Scheduled cleaning 7 times a week
- It’s around a hundred bucks cheaper than the Roomba 760
- Transitions well from one type of surface to another
- Larger dirt bin compared to the 500-series
- Improved cleaning brushes compared to the 500-series
- Decent sized dirt bin
- According to reviews side brush works well in cleaning edges
- Not very good cleaning multiple rooms, best utilized to clean on a per room basis
- Motorized brush needs frequent cleaning
- No Remote
- Dirt bin not sealed so dirt can seep through the crevices
- No HEPA filtration
- Constantly bumps into objects so if you have expensive furniture, get it out of the way
What to expect from the Roomba 650?
The Roomba 500 is no longer in production and 650 is a direct replacement.
Improvements include a better agitating motorized brush and smoother airflow.
Both variants will have the same dimension and use the same IR sensors.
White some reviews say that it has strong suction, the Roomba has a three stage system that relies on suction, agitation from the side brush and the counter rotating brushes to clean floors.
First the side brushes flings dirt in front or side of the robot towards the counter rotating brushes that then sweep dirt up.
Suction is then used to dump debris into the bin. The latest Roomba 980 and 960 also has a more efficient navigation that can navigate through multiple rooms without getting lost.
Here’s a quick overview of the features…
Complete specs can be found here.
Roomba robots use a combination of IR sensors to help it navigate around a room. To help you understand how these sensors work together, have a look at this illustration.
Ireland’s Technology Blog shares how the 650 navigates in this video recording…
How does a Roomba pattern look like?
Well luckily I’ve found a photo on the web that’ll give you literally a bird’s eye view on how its cleaning pattern looks like.
Photo credits: http://signaltheorist.com/?p=91
It’s easy to see in the photo that this robot goes in a random direction. Not great for efficiency but it’s very thorough and does the job.
To give you an idea how this robot navigates, please watch this video…
You will notice that it has a random cleaning pattern and it does have a tendency to bump into obstacles and furniture.
Will it clean stairs?
Nope it cannot.
Yes you can schedule it to clean your floors at a specific time, once a day, 7 days a week.
This is the main difference between this model and the Roomba 630.
Charging time isn’t specified in the manual.
Robot clean up
Push a lever then pull out the dirt bin located underneath then empty it over a bin. Be careful when you pull it out because dirt may fall off if the cover opens on its own.
Better if you pull it out directly over a garbage bag. Filter is under the bin and it’s easy to pull out.
Both filters in the package are washable but iRobot recommends replacing them every 2 to 3 months to maintain suction performance.
Here’s a quick overview on how to clean it…
iRobot didn’t mention in their website or manual how long this will run but based on reviews expect around 30 minutes to a couple of hours max.
iRobot gives a 1 year warranty on the robot and 6 months on the battery in all their robot vacuums.
They’re pretty good with their return policy, just make sure to use this after getting it to see if there are any problems or if you have a potential lemon.
Consumers say that the Aerovac system does a very good job on hard floors, especially areas that are hard to reach. One good example would be areas under beds. The low profile design of this robot will work great to clean these parts.
This system has two counter rotating brushes. One has bristles and does the agitating on carpet. The second brush has rubber squeegee like flaps. Both these work together to pick up dirt. Check the illustration below.
This were the counter rotating brush system shines – in agitating dirt on carpet.
Some consumers raved about the “spot” cleaning feature that does a thorough job when you want to clean dirtier areas but don’t expect deep cleaning from this.
A cleaning test to see how much sugar the Roomba 650 will be able to pick up on carpet.
I’m not sure if this is low or medium pile carpet. Sorry couldn’t find one in English…
Transitioning from hard floors to rugs won’t be a problem unless it’s a really shaggy and thick rug. Remember to always visually check if it can go over your rugs before letting it run without supervision so you’ll know its limitations.
Another benefit of the two brush system is it picks up quite a lot of pet hair.
Consumers were happy with how the Roomba 650 helped them deal with pet hair especially during shedding season.
One even said that they’d buy another Roomba if it breaks after the warranty because it’s that useful.
This is one of the bestselling robot vacuums in Amazon and of the close to 300 reviews, only around 12 people gave it negative review.
A majority of consumers loved how it cleaned their floors without them having to lift a heavy upright vacuum.
The biggest compliment I saw in the reviews is its ability to go under furniture in areas that are impossible to reach with full sized cleaners.
Pet owners and parents were the happiest with this product because it helped extend time between major clean ups.
This product isn’t cheap and this is a luxury item but a necessity for those who can afford it. It’s so useful that they’d buy another one even if it breaks. There are even folks who own more than one Roomba!
In one review, an Amazon customer compared this to the XV-11, the result?
- Both robots do very well in picking up dirt with the Neato doing slightly better because it had a stronger motor.
- Neato is lounder than Roomba and may perform better
- Roomba’s charge will last longer than a Neato.
- Neato will do better in a room with more obstacles while a Roomba does better in open area without too much obstacles
If there is a downside to the Roomba 650, it would be not finding its way back to the dock when cleaning a large area.
You’ve got to remember that this robot only relies on infrared sensors to navigate.
It does not have the laser-sensor and S.L.A.M. software of the Neato BotVac so don’t expect it to clean more than one room.
Cleaning performance is also an issue for some. But don’t expect a robot vacuum to deep clean because these machines only have small motors.
The main purpose of these tools is maintenance clean ups so dirt doesn’t pile up.
Bet Bath and Beyond reviews
Out of the 50 people who left a review only one left a bad review who said that it did well cleaning cat litter but had trouble going up over a tile in her kitchen.
If you ask me that’s nick picking already.
Consumers liked how this cleaned a variety of surfaces like carpet, bare floor and rugs. Pet owners were among the happiest because it helped them with cleaning pet hair. The downside though would be the motorized brush needing constant maintenance.
If you want something that will require less upkeep then have a look at the Roomba 860, 880, 960 and 980. These variants use the newer rubber extractors that does attracts less hair.
iRobot Store reviews
Similar to Bed Bath and Beyond, only 1 here left a bad review and it didn’t get a bad review because of performance in fact it did its job in cleaning, the problem is it died after 15 months.
Other reviews were positive with a lot of people saying that it helped them clean up their homes without them lifting a finger.
Overall consumers were happy despite costing several hundred dollars.
A brand new Roomba 650 will cost over $600 in Amazon! Refurbished units are cheaper but you won’t be getting something brand new.
There’s a better deal available…
An newer version of this robot is available and it’ll cost just under $300. The Roomba 690 is exactly the same as the 650 in terms of cleaning performance and navigation. But it also comes with modern features like WiFi connectivity and Alexa compatibility.
It’ll also be eligible to Amazon’s free 2-day shipping if you join Prime. They also sell extended warranties if you want that extra peace of mind.
This mid-level robot vacuum is great for folks with children or pets who can afford to spend but aren’t willing to fork out top dollar for a high-end robot cleaner.
It only has one virtual wall so it’s best to use this one room at a time.
You will need to remove any obstacles and chairs (if possible) to maximize it’s efficiency and range.
If you need something with WiFi connectivity then opt for the Roomba 690. You will have access to the Roomba app and it is compatible with Alexa.
While it can pick up a lot of debris on both carpet and hard floors, if there are large bits and pieces laying around like coins or hair pins it’ll be better to pick those up by hand just to preserve the brushes that already takes a lot of beating.