iRobot Roomba 790 Review

The Roomba 790 is the newest robot vacuum in the 700 series line and probably the last Roomba to use a bristled brush.

iRobot Roomba 790 Review

Their latest product, the new 880 (still not available in Amazon though) uses rubber “extractors” instead of bristles.

Update: Roomba has several new robots in their product line worth looking at. All of which are better than the Roomba 790. There is the Roomba 860, 960, 980 and the their latest – the Roomba I7. Check my Best Roomba guide to see which one will best suite your needs.

It has received fairly good scores from several tech websites like CNET, Wired and PC Mag.

All of them agree that it cleans reasonably well, its high price tag isn’t for everyone but if you absolutely want your homes clean but don’t have the time or just too lazy to pick up a vacuum then this would be for you.

What’s the difference between the 790 and its predecessors?

This one has the so-called “Wireless Command Center” that allows you to turn on the robot from another room (it has a range of 25 feet) using radio frequency. But is it worth the $100 difference?

Learn more in this review.

Here’s the RF control a.k.a. the wireless command center…

wireless command center

Photo courtesy of Engadget.

Features at a glance

  • Comes with two virtual lighthouses
  • HEPA filtration
  • Extra set of brushes
  • Round and flat brush cleaning tools
  • A full bin indicator lets you know when it’s time to empty
  • Can be scheduled once a day up to 7 times a week
  • Counter rotating brushes can pick up pet hair, dust and various other debris
  • New power management system allows it to run 50% longer than older Roombas

Pros

  • Performed well on hardwood floors
  • Wireless control uses radio frequency that has a range of up to 25 feet
  • Comes with an extra brush
  • Let’s you know if it needs to be emptied
  • Uses HEPA filtration

Cons

  • Costs more than a top of the line Dyson upright
  • Long hair will wrap up on the bristles
  • Likes to bump into objects which may damage furniture
  • Because of its randomness, it takes a long time to clean a room compared to a more efficient Neato
  • HEPA filters are expensive
  • Doesn’t hold too much dirt

What to expect from the iRobot Roomba 790?

The control center that’s the main reason why this costs a hundred bucks more has 5 main functions:

  1. Clean – instead of getting up and pressing the clean button, you can do it on the comfort of your couch
  2. Spot clean
  3. Schedule
  4. Go back to charging station
  5. Use the remote controls to manual control the robot

Complete specs can be found here.

CNet’s First Look

How to Schedule

Navigation

All Roomba 700 and 600 series robot vacuums use the same set of sensors to map out a cleaning path around a room.

The main difference with the 790 is that it uses virtual lighthouses act as a door that keeps the robot in a room until it is finished cleaning, the robot will then send a signal to the virtual lighthouse asking it to turn off its infrared wall so it could move to another room.

Just in case you’re curious how a Roomba navigates, have a look at this illustration:

Roomba Nav

Here’s a cool photo I found on the web on the cleaning pattern of a Roomba.

Roomba Long Exposure Pattern

Photo credits: http://signaltheorist.com/?p=91

Will it Clean Stairs?

Nope.

Scheduled Cleaning

All Roomba 700 series vacuums can be scheduled to clean once a day (even at different times each day) for 7 days a week.

You can scheduling using the RF remote or do it on the robot itself.

Charging Time

It takes around 3 hours to charge.

Robot clean up

In order to maximize the service life of any iRobot Roomba, you need to address three main areas – the counter rotating brushes, wheels, and sensors. These 3 areas must be cleaned on a regular basis, particularly hair so that it won’t break prematurely. Sensors need to be wiped with a clean microfiber cloth.

I found a couple of videos to help you see how this process is done.

This is a demo on cleaning a 760/770/780 which is basically the same as the 790

Run Time

In a test done by RobotShop (they tested the 780 which is basically has the same features as the 790), it took around 22 minutes to clean their a room and a charge lasted around 4 hours…

Warranty

All iRobot vacuums get 1 year warranty on the robot and 6 months on the battery.

Bare floor cleaning

Based on a review done by PC Mag, it performed very well on hardwood floors outperforming the Neato on the sawdust/sand mix and rice test.

It held its own in the pet hair test as well.

Reviews in Amazon said it did a good job on hard floors but one consumer complained that it didn’t do as well on tiled floors though.

Carpet cleaning

AIn a test done by CNet, it did fairly well on carpeted surface. In the rice test, it picked up 2.32 out of a possible 2.5 ounces on short pile carpet and around 2 out of 2.5 on medium pile carpet.

In the sand / sawdust test, it didn’t do as well picking up 0.3 and 0.23 ounces out of 1.25 ounces on medium and short pile carpet respectively.

Spot cleaning a cup of rice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCpjDOZpuPg

Spot cleaning 125 pennies

Rugs

It won’t have any trouble transitioning from carpet / hard floors to rugs but make sure to tuck away any long tassels so that it doesn’t get stuck.

Pet hair removal

Again, referencing to a test done by CNet, it picked up more pet hair on hardwood floor as compared to carpet.

On hardwood it picked up 0.17 out of 0.2 ounces while those numbers dropped to 0.047 and 0.05 on medium and short pile carpet.

Product specifications

Battery typeNot specified
Charger typeCharging Station
Charge time3 hours
Run Time question mark4 hours
Doorsill crossingup to 1.5 cm
Net weight (with battery)8.4 pounds
Shipping weight14.4 pounds
Diameter13.9 inches
Height3.6 inches
Multi Room question mark
Yes
Self docking question mark
Yes
Remote control
Yes
Hepa filtration
Yes
Cliff detection question mark
Yes
Self adjusting question mark
Yes
Edge brushes
Yes
Full bin indicator question mark
Yes
Stair Cleaning
No
Cleaning sessions per week question mark7
Extra Filter1
Containment question mark2 virtual lighthouses
Brush cleaning tools2
Accessories included1 robot battery

Charging base

A/C adapter

Remote (AA-batteries not included)

2 extra beater brushes

2 extra side brushes

3 virtual lighthouses (needs 2 C batteries that are not included)

Wireless command center
(needs 4 AA batteries that are not included)

3 extra dual HEPA filters

2 brush cleaning tools

1 screwdriver

1 accessory storage case

1 instructional DVD
Voltage110v
Manufactured inChina
Warranty1-year on robot
6-months on battery

Customer reviews

In Amazon it has received close to a 5 star rating despite its premium price tag.

Consumers say that this is a huge influence in their purchases. Cleaning performance is very good because it’s completely autonomous.

Even 3 and 2 star reviews said it performed well but issues like having a small dirt cup, long cleaning times, very high price, and trouble finding the charging station dragged the rating down.

Reviews from other sites

PC Mag

Alex Colon says that while it was effective in cleaning and the RF control adds a lot of convenience, the price tag is a bit tough to swallow, since it costs more than a top of the line Dyson upright vacuum but for those who want their floors clean but just too lazy to pick up an upright, this might be the vacuum for them.

CNet

CNet provided one of the more thorough reviews as they did 3 separate tests to compare how the 790 fared against competing brands LG, Neato and Infinuvo.

The results were mixed, it did its best work on hardwood surface as it picked up more sand and sawdust compared to the Neato and it held its own on the rice and pet hair test on hard wood, on carpet though it didn’t do as well.

rice test roomba790pethair sand/sawdust test

Where can I buy this?

You can buy this robot from Amazon for around $500 but it isn’t brand new anymore.

Please check my article about the best Roombas where I feature the latest variants that have better navigation which will be more efficient and run longer.

Conclusion

This top-of-line robot vacuum would suit homes without pets with mostly hardwood flooring as it’ll have some trouble picking up fine debris like powder on low to medium pile carpet.

One consumer said that it also had trouble picking up on tiled floors so you’ll also have to take that in consideration.

The RF remote is a nice addition because you can access the robot even if you’re not in the same room. It has a range of 25 feet which is much longer than a standard IR remote.

The price you pay for convenience.

If you don’t mind not having the touch pad controls, RF remote and the full bin indicator, the Roomba 760 would be a better deal at around $450 as it is basically has the same features as the 790 and you save $250.

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About the author: Garrick, the visionary behind Cordless Vacuum Guide, brings over a decade of hands-on expertise in cordless vacuum testing to his insightful reviews showcased on this platform. Beyond his passion for empowering consumers with informed choices, he cherishes precious moments with his family, exploring global cuisines and exploring different horizons with his beloved wife and son. Follow him on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram.