Bissell SmartClean vs. Roomba: Which Is Best For You?

iRobot’s Roomba is the benchmark for robot vacuums in the market right now. It would seem that to get a good sense of whether a robot vacuum is worth its salt, you have to compare it to a Roomba. That is not to say that Bissell needs it, though. The company has been around for close to 150 years and has made a name for itself in the home care space. How does the company’s SmartClean robot vacuum brand hold up to Roomba?

Bissell SmartClean

Bissell currently has two robot vacuums on sale on its Web site. The SmartClean Robotic Vacuum 1605C and the SmartClean Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum 1974. Both the robot vacuums have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $299.99, but they are available for $80 less.

Bissell’s robot vacuums use a unique brush roll and side brushes to sweep and agitate dust and debris, putting these into the path of the strong suction that sends the debris into the 0.4-liter dustbin. Both models are rechargeable and use a lithium-ion battery.

The Bissell SmartClean can efficiently clean bare floors and carpeted floors. It uses sensors to navigate and avoid colliding with walls and furniture, as well as avoid falling down stairs. There are also sensors that find dirtier parts of your floor so that it could clean more efficiently. It can go around low-lying furniture or go under it so that it could clean there as well.

It uses an invisible wall, which keeps the robot vacuum inside the room that you are cleaning and out of wherever you do not want it to go.

You can also schedule your Bissell robot vacuum. You can set it to clean when you are not home or to clean at a certain time. This robot vacuum also comes with the docking station, a power adapter, and an Invisible Wall.

The Bissell robot vacuum has several cleaning paths. There is the Along Wall mode that tells it to follow the wall edges, then there’s the spiral mode that sends the robot to work on a smaller area while moving in a circular motion. There’s also the Z mode, where the robot vacuum moves in parallel lines. Then there is the random mode, where the robot vacuum goes around your floors in a random manner. The last mode is the auto mode, where the robot vacuum decides on which cleaning pattern to use for a particular area of your floor.

What could be better

The Bissell SmartClean Robotic Vacuum 1605C and the SmartClean Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum 1974 both work with a remote control, but you would have to buy this remote control separately for $20.


In the world of robot vacuums, it is no exaggeration to say that Roombas need no introduction. Roombas are known for their being well-made robot vacuums and the brand has constantly evolved to include the latest vacuum technologies over the years.

Comparing Bissell SmartClean and Roomba

Bissell SmartClean robot vacuums work like earlier Roomba models, such as the Series 600 and Series 700 models. Bissell mimics Roomba’s three-stage cleaning system, which uses a main brush, a side brush, and a powerful vacuum suction to clean your floors very efficiently. The Roomba 614 uses Aerovac cleaning technology, using a main brush and a side brush to agitate dirt and dust, and then uses a powerful suction to suck in all the dirt.

Roomba’s dirt detect technology also makes use of sensors to find the dirtier areas of your floor and then concentrates cleaning there, much like what Bissell’s robot vacuum does.

The two SmartClean models and the Roomba 614 all have the ability to go back to the charging dock in order to recharge when their batteries run low.

The differences between Bissell’s robot vacuums and the Roomba 614

The Bissell SmartClean Robotic Vacuum 1605C and the SmartClean Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum 1974 have a sleek design with a colorful touch, unlike most Roombas, which are dark-colored. Bissell has a circular shape for its robot vacuums, and these are topped by a diamond-patterned gray top that is ringed by either sky blue or lime green ring. The lower part of the top has the control panel that allows you to start and stop a cleaning run, choose a cleaning mode, and create a schedule.

On the other hand, Roomba has more traditional and sparse aesthetics. Roomba models use silver, black, and titanium colors for its top and it is dominated by the big CLEAN button.

Bissell’s robot vacuums and the Roomba 614 uses lithium ion batteries. But the Roomba 614 only gives you a maximum of 60 minutes of cleaning time, while both Bissell models provide 80 minutes of run time.

Another plus for the Bissell robot vacuums is that you can create cleaning schedules for it. The Roomba 614 does not support scheduling.

Further, the Roomba 614 is both wider and taller than the Bissell 1605C and Bissell 1974. This means that the Roomba 614 can cover a wider area in a single pass, but the Bissell robot vacuums can get under more furniture and go into narrower spaces than the Roomba 614.

Side-by-side comparison of Bissell SmartClean Robotic Vacuum 1605C, the SmartClean Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum 1974, and the Roomba 614

To get a clearer view of how Bissell SmartClean robot vacuums compare with Roomba 614, here is a side by side comparison.

Model  Roomba  614  Bissell 1605C  Bissell 1974
Price  $299.99  $219.99  $219.99 
Dimensions (d x h, inches)  13.4 x 3.7  13.0 x 3.4  13.0 x 3.4 
Weight (lbs.)  7.5  5  5 
3-Stage Cleaning  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Navigation technology  iAdapt sensors  Sensor based  Sensor based 
Maximum run time  60  80  80 
Self-Charging  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Finds dirtier areas of your floor  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Scheduling  No  Yes  Yes 
Lithium ion battery  Yes  Yes  Yes 

As you can see, Bissell’s robot vacuums have roughly the same features as the similarly priced Roomba 614. In fact, Bissell SmartClean robot vacuums are even better with a 20 minute longer running time and a scheduling feature.

Of course, there are Roombas that allow you to create your own schedule. There are other technologies that you might want that are seen on higher end Roombas.

For instance, all the other Roombas available on the company’s online store right now are all Wi-Fi enabled. This allows you to remotely control your robot vacuum even when you are not home. When you are home, you have the option to use voice commands to have your robot start or stop cleaning.

Later model Roombas like those from the Series 800 and 900 also have better sensors, allowing the robot vacuum to detect dirt and be smarter in navigating across your floors. These also use brushless debris extractors, which iRobot claims to pick up more dirt and dust without tangling. These models also have a more powerful suction.

These features, however, adds to the price. The most affordable Wi-Fi connected Roomba, the Roomba 690 costs $375, or $155 more than Bissell’s robot vacuums.

If you want to splurge, you can get a Roomba 980 for only $900 and get all the best technologies that a Roomba has to offer. The Roomba 980 has carpet boost, which makes it the best for thick carpets. It also has VSLAM technology that augments its sensor based navigation with a virtual map it creates with the robot vacuum’s onboard camera. The Roomba 980 also has a run time of 120 minutes, or 40 minutes more than Bissell’s. Further, the 980 also has more smart features that you can access on the smartphone app such as the Clean Map Reports, and Custom Cleaning Preferences.

Side by side comparison of all Roomba models

Model  Roomba  690 Roomba  890  Roomba  960  Roomba  980 
Price  $374.99  $499.99  $699.99  $899.99 
Dimensions (d x h, inches)  13.0 x 3.7  13.9 x 3.6  13.8 x 3.6  13.8 x 3.6 
Weight (lbs.)  7.8  8.4  8.5  8.5 
3-Stage Cleaning  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Vacuuming technology  Aerovac  AeroForce  AeroForce  AeroForce 
Navigation technology  iAdapt  iAdapt  iAdapt 2.0  iAdapt 2.0 
Run Time  60  60  75  120 
Self-Charging  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Dirt Detect  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Scheduling  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Wi-Fi Connected  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Tangle-Free Rollers  No  Yes  Yes  Yes 
High-Efficiency Filter  No  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Multi-Room Cleaning  No  No  Yes  Yes 
Recharge and Resume  No  No  Yes  Yes 
Lithium ion battery  Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 
Clean Map Reports  No  No  Yes  Yes 
Custom Cleaning Preferences  No  No  Yes  Yes 
Carpet Boost  No  No  No  Yes 

Bissell SmartClean vs. Roomba: The Final Say

If you are looking for a robot vacuum that will only cost you $300 or below, the Bissell SmartClean Robotic Vacuum 1605C and the SmartClean Multi-Surface Robotic Vacuum 1974 give you a better price, scheduling ability, and a more updated look. But if you are willing to spend more for better features, you can get later model Roombas for the features that you like. Bissell does not offer much choices in terms of models.