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When Roomba 860 was released, it signaled the end of the 700 series as well as gave customers maintenance-free extractors that were up until then only available with the more expensive Roomba 880. Plus, the Roomba 860 has the longer-lasting lithium ion battery.
Around four years earlier, the Roomba 650 was launched and that also marked the end of the 500 series. The 600 series became iRobot’s entry level robot vacuum cleaners and it gave users a much more powerful cleaning especially compared to the 500 series.
Which one is the best Roomba for you?
Bottom Line Up Front: Here’s my top line take (to spare you from reading the entire comparison if you are in a hurry)…
- Go with the Roomba 652 IF you are on a budget and/or this is your first Roomba. Holiday Pricing Update: The 652 (updated 650) is available here for 33% off today as a Cyber deal.
- Go with the Roomba 860 IF you want a smarter navigating robot and want a better value for the money. Holiday Pricing Update: The 860 is available here for 30% off today as well.
Contents (Jump to)
The Roomba 860 has AeroForce three-stage cleaning system and the tangle-free extractors. This helps you get better cleaning – picking up 50% more dust, hair, and dirt from the floor – compared to Roombas that have the Aerovac 2 vacuuming technology.
It has a very smart navigation system that allows it to clean the dirtier areas more while also moving around the entire room and avoiding furniture or getting under it. It also sweeps clean all the edges and avoids cliffs and stairs.
The tangle-free extractors means that you spend less time maintaining and cleaning your brush, while the full bin indicator tells you when to empty the dustbin.
What makes the 860 more attractive is its lithium-ion battery, designed to last longer so you do not have to replace it as often as other battery types.
The Roomba 860 also allows you to schedule your cleaning. If you prefer to have it clean your house while you’re at work or if you want the room silent when you’re watching TV, then you would certainly appreciate the advanced scheduling it has.
The Roomba 650 is basically an entry level robot vacuum that does everything you expect a robot vacuum to do. It has all the basic features of a robot vacuum, meaning it goes around the room picking up dirt, dust and debris, while also avoiding stairs.
Plus, the Roomba 650 has the added scheduling feature that makes it more convenient.
Side-by-side Comparison: Roomba 860 vs. Roomba 650
So what are the differences between the Roomba 860 and the Roomba 650? This table should make it easier for you to compare the two:
|Roomba 860||Roomba 650|
|Price||$499.99 (check this listing for the latest live prices)||$374.99 (check this listing for the latest live prices)|
|Full bin indicator||√||χ|
|Dimensions (diameter x height, inches)||13.9 x 3.6||13.9 x 3.6|
The Roomba 650 and 860 both have all the basic features that you would find on all other Roombas. They have the iAdapt Navigation that makes use of a series of sensors and software that allow the Roomba to clean better with several passes and avoid dangerous drops and falls.
Both also have spot cleaning abilities that get activated when you want to clean dirtier areas. The spot clean mode makes the Roomba move around an area 3 feet in diameter and then go back to its original position for additional passes.
Both also go back to their charging bases when battery runs low, on top of you being able to dock it manually by simply pressing the Home button on their bases.
Apart from these features, the Roomba 860 and 650 also have the same dimensions: 13.9 inches in diameter and a height of 3.6 inches.
Neither the Roomba 650 nor the Roomba 860 have the features that you see on higher-end Roombas. For instance, neither of the two models have the carpet boost mode that gives you a more powerful clean for your carpets.
This mode boosts the vacuuming suction power by 10 times compared to the AeroVac technology, thus ensuring that dirt and dust that settle on your carpet gets picked up.
Both models also lack the edge cleaning mode. All Roombas feature side brushes that help clean the edges of walls, but the edge cleaning mode ensures that the stubborn dirt you find on your baseboard and the legs of your sofa and tables are cleaned.
Meanwhile, the full bin action control gives you two choices when the dustbin is full: finish the cleaning even when the bin is full or pause the cleaning for you to be able to empty the bin.
The Roomba 650 and 860 also do not have the cleaning passes control, which tells the unit to make two passes over your floor, instead of just one. Other features not found on either model are the on-board camera and the Wi-fi connectivity.
So where do the Roomba 860 and Roomba 650 differ from each other?
The Roomba 860 is priced at $499.99 (check this listing for the latest live prices) – $100 cheaper than the Roomba 880, which has a similar set of features. The only difference is that the 880 has a nickel metal hydrite battery and a remote controller while the 860 has a lithium-ion battery and doesn’t come with a remote controller.
Meanwhile, the Roomba 650 is priced even lower than both the Roomba 860 and 880, selling only for $374.99 (check this listing for the latest live prices). This makes it the most affordable Roomba sold on the official site.
The Roomba 650 takes after the black color of most Roombas available in the market. The Roomba 860 gives you an alternative with its gray color.
AeroForce vs. AeroVac
Roomba 650 uses AeroVac technology, which optimizes airflow so that the hair and dust are pulled off the brushes. This process helps ensure that the dustbin fills up more evenly, so you empty it less frequently.
Meanwhile, the AeroForce vacuuming technology you find on Roomba 860 is typical of the company’s higher-end 800 and 900 series.
This technology gives you a more efficient vacuum suction, making it as much as 5 times more powerful than the 600 series Roombas. Both the 860 and 650 do not have the carpet boost feature.
The Roomba 650 makes use of AeroVac filters that can catch pet fur, lint, hair and carpet fuzz with no problem. The Roomba 860, on the other hand, uses high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filters.
This is certified by the US Department of Energy to remove around 99.97% of particulates, pollens and allergens in the air. The HEPA filter can suck in particles as small as 0.3 microns.
The 860 has tangle-free debris extractors, a feature that you can see on Series 800 and 900 models. In short, it is a feature that you see only in the pricier Roombas.
These extractors break down debris, hair and pet hair so that you would not have to deal with tangles or jams. These extractors also use an airflow accelerator that forms a sealed channel and helps the Roomba 860 focus the airflow and suck in more dirt, hair and debris.
The Roomba 650 does not have this feature, and it is a big minus point for it. While the 860 still gets jammed and tangled, especially when your pet undergoes heavy shedding, but it is still better than the frequency of tangling that you experience with the 650.
The Roomba 650 does not have a full bin indicator, which is a simple yet very convenient feature that alerts you when you need to empty the dustbin. The Roomba 860 has one. The Roomba 860 also has a carrying handle, which makes it very easy to take the Roomba from one room to the other.
Lithium-ion batteries, like the one you find in the Roomba 860, have more lifecycles than nickel metal hydride batteries. That means that lithium-ion batteries last longer so you would need to replace them less often.
On paper, a lithium-ion battery gives you more run time than Ni-MH batteries. When you use a nickel metal hydride battery, you would need to charge it for 16 hours when you have not used your Roomba for a long time.
Roomba 860 vs. Roomba 650: The Final Verdict
On a price to features ratio, the Roomba 860 wins. It packs more features than you would find on higher priced Roombas, plus it has a lithium-ion battery that can last longer than other batteries.
It also has a more powerful vacuuming technology than the Roomba 650 and does a good job at keeping dirt and hair out of the air with the HEPA filter. However, all of these features do come at a price: the Roomba 860 is $125 (check this listing for the latest live prices) more expensive than the Roomba 650.
If you have a small house or if you plan to use your robotic vacuum for a small area, then you might not need to pay for all the features you get from Roomba 860.
For one, since you are planning to cover only a small area, you can have more runs so Aerovac would be adequate and you can just empty the dustbin when the Roomba 650 finishes its cleaning.
Also, if you do not have any pets and you plan to use your Roomba 650 every day, you might not need the HEPA filter as the AeroVac filter would already be sufficient.
In short, if you do not need all the bells and whistles and just want a no-nonsense robot vacuum cleaner, then it is good that you have the option to save with the Roomba 650. But if you find that you need a more powerful clean and you have pets at home, then the Roomba 860 would be the better choice.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!