iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum Review

Robot vacuum technology has come a long way over the years, though the market as a whole remains dominated by just a handful of brands. The most iconic of all being iRobot – creator of the world-famous Roomba. Unashamedly exclusive (and reassuringly expensive), the Roomba has always been the gold-standard for robotic vacuum cleaners. 

This is precisely what makes the iRobot Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum so interesting, which along with ticking all the right boxes quality-wise is also up for grabs at a suspiciously low price. Whether it's a robot vacuum for hardwood floor or a robot vacuum for pet hair, the iRobot Roomba 690 seems to have all the makings of a super-premium model, though retails for exponentially less than iRobot’s top-shelf models.

In this iRobot Roomba 690 review, I’ll be taking a look at how this low-cost cleaner with high-profile pedigree shapes up when put to the test. 

Features and Specifications

As mentioned above, the Roomba 690 impresses on paper with a long list of superb features and functionalities. Many of which you would associate with a much more expensive device, including but not limited to the following:

  • A sleek, glossy and premium aesthetic with all the hallmarks of iRobot’s most iconic cleaners to compliment any interior space.
  • Ultra-effective three-stage cleaning system, which is designed to deal with everything from large pieces of debris to tiny dust particles.
  • Dirt detection sensors ensure the iRobot Roomba 690 focuses heavily on dirtier areas while breezing over cleaner spaces. 
  • Automatic adjustments enable the vacuum to squeeze under furniture and around fixtures, giving the whole place a comprehensive clean.
  • Easy to control using the official iRobot Home app, or by connecting the device to Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant.
  • Impressive battery life of up to 90 minutes, after which the iRobot Roomba 690 automatically returns to its docking station to charge.
  • Suitable for carpets and hard floors alike, adjusting automatically to glide effortlessly from one room to the next.

The list goes on, with the iRobot Roomba 690 manual providing a complete rundown of its features and functionalities. Though it has to be said you’re unlikely to need it, as setting up and activating the Roomba 690 via the mobile app is a walk in the park.

Design, Shape, and Size

Kicking things off with the basics first, the manufacturer outlines the official  size and weight specifications of the iRobot Roomba 690 as follows:

  • Product Dimensions - 13 x 13 x 3.6 inches
  • Item Weight - 7.8 pounds

The iRobot Roomba 690 has the same circular design as most robotic cleaners, with three central buttons in the center – Clean, Home and Spot Clean. The clean button also doubles as the power button when long-pressed. Each of the buttons has been designed to illuminate or flash to indicate different things, such as charging, low power, Wi-Fi connectivity and troubleshooting codes.

Measuring 3.7 inches in height, the Roomba 690 is taller than the 2.85-inch Eufy RoboVac 11S, but still more than slender enough to get under most standard pieces of furniture. There are hidden sensors all around the outside of the device, while the compact charging station can be placed anywhere around the home with around 50cm of free space to either side.  

App or No App?

One of the most impressive things about the iRobot Roomba 690 is its user-friendliness, right out of the box. After setting it in place and ‘waking it up’ on its charging station, you can simply hit the ‘Clean’ button to set it in motion. Though it’s far better to connect your cleaner to the accompanying mobile app via Wi-Fi, which opens the door to its various additional features and functionalities.

You can then control your iRobot remotely, with a screen that mirrors the buttons on the top of the device itself. You can also set a weekly cleaning schedule, monitor the Roomba 690’s cleaning progress and performance, keep tabs on battery life and so on. By far, one of the easiest apps to accompany any robotic vacuum cleaner on the market.

Some have commented that the iRobot Roomba 690 doesn’t come with a traditional remote control, but it’s not as if you really need one. The app more than takes care of everything and is just as easy to use as a traditional remote control would be.

Performance

Put to the test, the iRobot Roomba 690 doesn’t disappoint. My initial thoughts were that it was slightly louder than some of its counterparts, but not to such an extent as to become intrusive. In any case, the cleaning power and performance of the Roomba 690 more than justifies a tiny bit of extra noise while it does its thing.

The way this thing maneuvers in and around obstacles is extremely impressive – right on par with some of iRobot’s top-shelf machines for three times the price.  Rather than banging into walls before making adjustments, it stops within millimeters of obstacles before turning and heading off elsewhere. 

Rather than biting off more than it can chew with thicker rugs, I’m pleased to say the Roomba 690 accepts its limitations and doesn’t even try. This is an improvement over some comparably priced cleaners, which simply end up getting tangled by overestimating their own capabilities.

From cereal to cat litter to a surprising amount of pet hair and general debris, this thing deals with everyday mess like a premium robot vacuum cleaner.  Emptying the dust chamber takes a bit of prodding and poking due to its size, but this is hardly a deal-breaker when you consider what you’re actually getting for your money. 

About the Brand

iRobot is one of the most iconic names in the field of robotic vacuum cleaner technology, famed for introducing some of the first and most effective automated cleaning devices worldwide. Today, iRobot is synonymous with super-premium appliances for the discerning home, which are often used to set the bar for the industry as a whole.

Most robotic vacuum cleaners are compared and contrasted with those from iRobot to assess their quality and capabilities, which says something about the Roomba range. The Roomba 690 is one of the most affordable products to come from iRobot to date, bringing superior cleaning power and performance to its lowest price to date.

Competing Products

Of course, the Roomba 690 isn’t the only robotic vacuum cleaner competing for the crown within this particular price bracket. A couple of comparable cleaners spring to mind as direct competition for the Roomba 690, which in both instances bring their own unique pros and cons to the table.

One of which being the Eufy RoboVac 11s, which combines outstanding cleaning power and a list of impressive features with an incredibly affordable price tag. 1,300 Pa suction power, a 100-minute battery and a super-sleek profile, with a handy remote control for easy operation. 

On the downside, the Eufy RoboVac 11s doesn’t come with a mobile app and nor is it Bluetooth/Wi-Fi enabled.

As you’d expect, the Roomba 890 takes the cleaning power and performance of its sibling to a higher level. Power Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power for improved pick-up performance, while an updated navigation system and high-efficiency filtration technology help bring a seriously hygienic clean to the entire home.

Also as you’d expect, the 890 retails for a higher price than the iRobot Roomba 690, though represents exceptional value for money for such a quality cleaner.

Conclusion

From top to bottom, the iRobot Roomba 690 delivers on everything it promises and more. The bottom line being that if you’re looking to pick up a prestigious robot vacuum that combines pedigree with a price that’s practically unbeatable, you won’t go wrong with the iRobot Roomba 690.

Tiffany Wong
 

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