Roomba 690 Review

Roomba 690 Review

The 690 is currently Roomba’s entry-level option and one of the least expensive options.

This model is an upgrade over the Roomba 650, has WIFI, and is compatible with the iRobot Home App.

However, it only has the basic navigational algorithm, so it’ll only bounce around in random directions.

I’ve put this robot to a series of tests, and I’ll reveal the results in this review.

How good is this entry-level Roomba?

Roomba 690 Review

The Roomba 690 is one of three options in the 600 series line that’s the cheapest in Roomba’s product line. This model is more expensive than the 675 in Amazon, but these two robots have identical features with slight cosmetic differences. The Roomba 690 is quite expensive for a random traversing robot – more costly than the Roborock E4 and Eufy 11S. Is this model worth more than other lower-priced options? We’ll find out in this review.

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Pros

  • Decent at deep cleaning carpet.
  • Very thorough at cleaning smaller areas.
  • Large dust bin that’s easy to empty.
  • Compatible with Alexa and iRobot Home App.

Cons

  • It tends to bump into furniture hard.
  • Random navigation is inefficient.
  • Long hair will wrap on the brushes.
  • It has limited app features.

Introduction to the Roomba 690

If you look at the iRobot website, the Roomba 690 is no longer listed. The Roomba 675 has replaced it as their flagship entry-level option along with the 614.

However, don’t get confused between these models. Both the Roomba 675 and 690 are very similar products in terms of features.

I’ll focus solely on the 690 for this review, and we’ll start with its design.

Roomba 690 Design

Roomba 690 Top

The Roomba 690 comes in a two-tone light-gray and charcoal finish with three buttons in the middle – spot, clean, home.

  1. Spot: Robot cleans in a small zone in a spiral pattern.
  2. Clean: Engages the default cleaning mode.
  3. Home: Returns to the dock to recharge.

On top of the round black interface is a handle that you can use to carry the robot. It comes in handy if you continuously move it around different rooms.

The small puck contraption on top is the IR sensor that helps the robot locate the dock.

Please note the version I have is 695, which is for the Asian market. Regardless, the 690 and 695 are the same products and compatible with the iRobot Home App.

Flipping the robot reveals a unique design in robotic vacuums.

Roomba 690 bottom

The 690 has a single side brush plus two main brushes in the middle.

These brushes are unique in that they counter-rotates. No other manufacturer has the same feature because iRobot has a patent on this technology.

How does the Roomba 690 navigate?

Don’t expect too much from the 690 in terms of navigation.

The 690 only relies on a series of infrared sensors on the front bumper, so it goes in a random direction when it bumps into something.

There’s no route planning pattern like more advanced robots like the Roborock S5 or the Roomba 960.

Everything is random, which is suitable for cleaning one room since it will be thorough.

However, it won’t do well cleaning multiple rooms or a larger expanse because of the randomness.

Will the Roomba 690 scuff furniture?

One issue I have with the Roomba 690 is its aggressive algorithm. It won’t slow down much as it approaches an obstacle like furniture. So it tends to smash into objects with some force.

The risk of scuffing furniture is on the high-end. The Roborock E4, Eufy 11S, or the ILIFE A6 will not bump as hard if you want a less aggressive option.

How will it do in cramped spaces?

The answer will depend on the amount of space. On these types of chair legs, it didn’t have any issues traversing in and around it.

However, on certain types of furniture like this office chair – it struggles to get out.

Roomba 690 can't get out of this office chair

The Roomba 690 will struggle with office chairs like this.

If you’re planning on purchasing this robot, keep it away from these types of chairs.

Can it avoid wires?

None of the robots I’ve tested so far can avoid wires altogether. Even the high-end Roborock S6 MaxV, with its AI technology, struggles to avoid it – if the wire is in the blind spot zone.

Before using the Roomba 690, make sure to clear all wires to maximize its functionality.

Does it have recharge and resume?

Nope, the Roomba 690 does not have recharge and resume. It only bounces around like a pinball until the battery level hits 20%, then it goes back to the dock.

Only a few robot vacuums have this feature under $300 – one of which is the Roborock E4.

App features of the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 is compatible with the iRobot Home App. However, this software may not be available in certain regions globally. If you’ve purchased this robot and live in certain parts of Asia, you won’t be able to download it directly from Google Play or the App Store.

Roomba 690 app screenshots

Fortunately, there’s a workaround. Using a VPN and clearing the cache of the Play Store or Apple Play.

Roomba 690 app scheduling

The Roomba 690’s app scheduling feature. It doesn’t have as many options as the Roborock app.

The 690’s version of the app is relatively simple. You’ll see a green “New job” button on the upper right portion having several options – Create Schedule and Start Now.

  1. Create Schedule: Allows users to set a schedule when the time and day the robot will clean. Unfortunately, once you’ve selected the time for the day, there’s no option to create additional slots. The app only allows one cleaning run per day.
  2. Start Now: This option toggles the default cleaning cycle. So instead of pushing the “Clean” button on the robot, you can do it on the app.

Under “Create Schedule,” there’s also an “Automation” tab where you can sync with other “Smart Home Integration” apps to let the robot know you’ve left, so it can start cleaning.

Roomba 690 automation feature

How much power does the Roomba 690 have?

Roomba doesn’t use a measure to specify power. So I used an anemometer to measure airflow directly at the brush roll.

The Roomba 690 had 8.2 CFM (it only has one power setting), which is consistent in the three tests I did, which is relatively low compared to the Roborock E4.

I used airflow because it provides insight into how much air passes through the brushes.

It’s a good gauge for comparing different robot vacuums. In most cases, models with higher airflow do well in deep cleaning carpet and pick up heavy debris on hard floors like sand.

Other factors do come into consideration, like brush roll design.

Dust container design and volume

Roomba 690 dust bin

The Roomba 690 appears to have a large capacity bin, but it’s not with only a 0.3-liter capacity. I like that it has a large opening, so there’s little risk of anything clogging it.

This device slides in and out of the back. Disposing of dirt is straightforward with the wide opening – make sure to have a big enough trash bin.

The Roomba 690 has a wide opening making disposing of dirt easier.

However, with the motor inside it, you won’t be able to wash it under a faucet. You’ll have to clean it using a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment.

The Roomba 690 doesn’t have a sealed system and uses a standard filter. Upon closes inspection, you’ll notice it doesn’t have too much surface area, and the material is porous. Allergens will seep through it.

How noisy is the Roomba 690?

Using a sound meter, the Roomba 690 registered as much as 65.7 decibels on the sound meter, louder than the Roborock E5 in its highest power setting.

How does the Roomba 690 clean?

The random navigation of the Roomba 690 enables to clean small spaces thoroughly since it will go over it several times.

However, the downside to this randomness is the lack of efficiency.

I would not suggest using this robot in more than one room at a time. The large the area, the higher the risk of it not finding the dock or getting lost.

This model does come with one virtual wall barrier with two modes:

  1. Virtual wall mode: creates a 10-foot barrier preventing the robot from crossing over. Place this on one end of a door to block the robot from going out.
  2. Halo mode: produces a 4-foot diameter zone that the Roomba 690 will not enter. It’s a great option if you don’t want the robot to get into a small area in the kitchen.
Roomba 690 virtual wall

Depending on where you buy this, it’ll come with one or two virtual walls.

Dirt Detect

Another feature that helps the Roomba 690 clean is “Dirt Detect.”. It detects dirtier areas on the floor and automatically goes into spot cleaning mode when it senses more filth.

This feature helped with how the 690 performs in the cleaning tests, which I’ll share in the next section.

Cleaning Performance

I put all the robots I test through a series of tests on various debris types to see how it does.

These include Quaker oats, coffee grounds, pet litter, hair, Quinoa, Cheerios, and Fruit loops.

Some might say it’s not reflective of a real-world scenario, but it’s a good way of finding a robot’s weaknesses, which you’ll see later on.

First, here’s the complete results.

  • Overall: 94.25%
  • Hard floor: 97.55%
  • Sand on hard floor: 96.4%
  • Carpet (Surface pickup): 97.92%
  • Carpet (Deep cleaning): 85.16%

The overall scores were pretty good, but the tests reveal several issues. One is the side brush that spins too fast, so it tends to scatter debris around.

You’ll see this effect most on hard floors. It also flings debris around on carpets, but not as much.

The exhaust also blows hard thus, lighter bits of debris scatters behind it.

Hard floor results

Roomba 690 cleaning quaker oats on hard floors Roomba 690 cleaning coffee on hard floors Roomba 690 cleaning Quinoa on hard floors Roomba 690 cleaning pet litter on hard floors
  • Quaker oats: 98%
  • Coffee: 98.2%
  • Quinoa: 97.6%
  • Pet litter: 96.4%

Despite the high scores, I wasn’t satisfied with how the Roomba 690 cleaned hard floors. The side brush flung around bits of debris and scattered the mess to a larger area.

I had to clean these messes after running the robot with a stick vacuum.

If you need to clean anything like pet litter or sand, the Roomba 690 isn’t the best robot for the task.

Sand on hard floor test

Roomba 690 sand on hard floor test

Another test I did on hard floors was on sand. It is the litmus for robot vacuums as sand can be challenging to pick up if the robot lacks airflow or has a poorly designed brush.

The Roomba 690 was able to pick up an average of 96.4%. Not as good as the other premium robots I’ve tested that picked up upwards of 99%.

Again, the reason is the side brush spinning too fast and the random algorithm.

Hair wrap test on hard floors

Roomba 690 hair wrap test on hard floors

A bunch of hair stuck on the side brush.

I spread out one gram of five to seven-inch human hair to see how the Roomba 690 handles it.

Unfortunately, it did not go well. Nearly all the hair wrapped on both brushes. Barely any strand wend inside the container.

Here’s how the brush looks after the test.

Roomba 690 hair wrapped on the brushes

You can see how much hair is on the brush. I needed a scissor to extract it as the brush tool isn’t enough to cut it.

Edge cleaning

To test how the Roomba 690 cleans edges, I scattered pet litter on one corner of the room and let the robot run for five minutes.

Roomba 690 edge cleaning

It didn’t do so well. The side brush couldn’t dislodge the pet litter from the edges; hence, the sub-par results.

Carpet results

Now, let’s check how the Roomba 690 did on the carpet.

Low pile results

Roomba 690 cleaning quaker oats on low pile carpet Roomba 690 cleaning coffee on low pile carpet Roomba 690 cleaning quinoa on low pile carpet Roomba 690 cleaning pet litter on low pile carpet
  • Quaker oats: 97.4%
  • Coffee: 96.4%
  • Quinoa: 100%
  • Pet litter: 100%

Surprisingly, the Roomba 690 did well cleaning Quinoa and pet litter on this surface – it was able to pick up 100%.

One reason is the dirt detection kicking in and the robot circling and cleaning the debris without the side brush hitting it.

Mid pile results

Roomba cleaning quaker oats on mid pile carpet Roomba 690 cleaning coffee on mid pile carpet Roomba 690 cleaning quinoa on mid pile carpet
  • Quaker oats: 99.4%
  • Coffee: 92%
  • Quinoa: 99.6%
  • Pet litter: 98.6%

The Roomba 690 struggles most with cleaning fine debris like coffee grounds on mid pile carpets.

As for the other larger stuff, It was able to pick up more – in the high 90s.

Deep cleaning test

To see how well the Roomba 690 cleans embedded dirt, I rubbed 100 grams of sand on mid-pile carpet then ran the robot for five minutes to see how much it picks up.

The Roomba 690 was able to pick up an average of 85.16% in three tests. It was better than the Roborock E4 that only picked up 69.83%.

It did better than the E4 because of the dirt detect system that tells the robot to focus more on the dirtier regions.

Hair wrap test on carpet

I did another hair wrap test on carpets with the same amount of hair. The results were similar to the hard floor test, with most hair wrapping on the brush.

Roomba 690 hair on brush

You can barely see any hair inside the dust container.

Roomba 690 dust bin after hair wrap test

I would not recommend this robot for cleaning long hair.

Large debris test

Cleaning debris like Fruit loops and Cheerios won’t be a problem for the Roomba 690.

The Roomba 690 has enough airflow to pick up small and large debris.

It has enough clearance and airflow for this task. How it picks it up will be random because of its unorganized navigation.

How long will the Roomba 690 run?

On a full charge, the Roomba 690 will run for 90 minutes, which is below average compared to other brands like Roborock.

The lower number means this robot is more suitable inside smaller homes as it utilizes a standard algorithm.

What comes in the box?

Here’s what you’ll get out of the box.

  1. Roomba 960 robot vacuum
  2. Manual and quick start guide
  3. Two virtual walls
  4. Brush cleaning tool
  5. Two extra filters

Please note that these are the accessories you’ll get from the Asian version. If you buy this robot from Amazon, I believe it only comes with one virtual wall.

Maintenance

Robot vacuums like the Roomba 690 need some upkeep to work at their peak. For the Roomba 690, it’s the basic stuff like regularly cleaning the main brushes and side brushes.

These rollers are a magnet for long human hair and pet hair. So you’ll always have to check these parts for any accumulation.

Another area to maintain is the filter. The Roomba 690 utilizes a standard filter that’s easy to maintain. I believe it is washable, but a better way to clean it is to use a handheld with a brush attachment to remove any gunk accumulation.

You can easily extend the service life by doing this regularly.

The good thing about iRobot products is the availability of parts. You can find everything online – filters, brushes, and even batteries because Roomba products are popular.

Other Roomba comparisons

Product Specifications

ModelRoomba 690
ManufactureriRobot
Battery1,800 mAh Li-ion
Run timeUp to 90 mins.
Water Tank CapacityN/A
Dirt Capacity (dry)300 ml.
Weight7.8 pounds
Diameter13 inches
Height3.7 inches
Smart NavigationNo
Recharge and ResumeNo
HEPA FiltrationNo
Side BrushYes
Extra FilterYes
Manufactured InN/A
Warranty1 year
PriceCheck Price

Where can I buy the Roomba 690?

The Roomba 690 is available in online stores like Amazon and Walmart. Please check the links below for the latest prices.

Disclosure: If you buy through the link above, I will earn a commission but no extra cost. So it’s a win-win for both of us!

Does the Roomba 690 offer excellent value?

I’m hesitant to recommend the Roomba 690 for several reasons.

First is the price. You can purchase a smart robot vacuum like the Roborock E4 or even the 360 S5 for less than the Roomba 690’s current price and offer more functionality.

Second, it’s a random navigating robot, which means it isn’t efficient at all. It may work inside small spaces, but once you’ve tried a robot like the Roborock S5 Max or even a 360 S6, you’ll hesitate to go back to a product like the 690.

Lastly is the lack of filtration. The Roomba 690 doesn’t have a HEPA filter; thus, allergens will exit through the exhaust.

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01/22/2022 05:12 am GMT

The Verdict: Random Navigating Robot is Excellent on Carpet.

The Roomba 690 is one of the costlier options with a standard algorithm. Despite the low airflow, this robot works decently on carpet, thanks to the counter-rotating brushes.

I would not recommend this product in large homes or homes with only hard floors. However, it may be useful if you need something to clean a small space with lots of carpets.

This is where it will shine with the thoroughness it brings to the table.

4 Reasons to buy the Roomba 690

  1. Decent on carpets: It will clean carpets better than hard floors as debris won’t scatter as much. The dirt detect feature works well at cleaning dirtier areas since it focuses more on these zones.
  2. Very thorough: This robot will clean randomly until the battery runs low, so there is a high level of thoroughness it brings to the table.
  3. Longevity: One reason why Roomba robots are prevalent is their longevity. With proper maintenance, it will last for many years.
  4. Availability of parts: One advantage of buying a Roomba is the availability of parts. If a component goes out, chances are it is available on Amazon or eBay.
One of the Cheapest Roomba Options Available Right Now
  • Usability - 94%
    94%
  • Surface Cleaning - 96%
    96%
  • Deep Cleaning - 85.16%
    85%
  • Quality - 92%
    92%
  • Design - 92%
    92%
  • Value - 89%
    89%
91%

Summary

The Roomba 690 is a good option for people looking for a mid-priced robot that will do the job. It isn’t stellar in any category but still decent. It does well at picking up surface dirt, but struggles a bit when it comes to deep cleaning carpet. This robot uses the standard navigation system that goes in a random direction, so don’t expect it to do well at cleaning large areas. It’s best used on a single room basis to take full advantage of its thoroughness. Overall, the performance is decent, but other options will do better that cost less such as the Roborock E25 and Shark ION R85.

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