Robotic Vacuums

The Ultimate Roomba 690 Review – Hands on With the New Roomba 690

(Last Updated On: July 18, 2017)

When iRobot first came out with the Roomba 980 and Roomba 960, it was a dream come true for those who have always wanted to control their Roombas even when they were not home.

Back then, it was pretty hard to think of another feature that would top this particular function. However, the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 890 might be the best Roombas to be launched in recent years.

Let us take a look at the Roomba 690.

Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 allows you to clean your home remotely using the mobile app. It has the iAdapt navigation technology that helps it find its way around your house and it can clean under furniture while also avoiding stairs and steep falls.

You can also just tell it to start cleaning using a simple voice command because of its compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The best piece of news about the Roomba 690, however, is that you can get all of these – plus other features for only $375 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

A closer look at the Roomba 690’s features

iAdapt technology. The Roomba 690 has a sophisticated software and a number of sensors that allow it to find its way around your room and to cover the entire floor area. It gives your floor multiple passes to make sure that it is clean, while also going under furniture and avoiding obstacles.

The Roomba 690 can also clean along the edges and corners and it can clean all floor types such as laminated floors, hardwood, tile, and carpeted floors.

Three-stage cleaning system. Like all other Roombas, the Roomba 690 offers three-stage cleaning. In the 690’s case, it uses counter-rotating brushes, a side brush, and AeroVac technology to deliver a more thorough clean.

The main brush can pick dirt, dust and debris off the floor, while the side brushes can sweep the dust from near the edges of walls toward the center. This will help make it easier for the vacuum to suck it all in.

The AeroVac suctioning technology has an optimized airflow that can better pick up dust and dirt swept by the brushes compared with other suctions found on other vacuums.

Wi-Fi connectivity. Like the Roomba 980 and 960, the Roomba 690 has a mobile app that you can download on your smartphone. You can use the iRobot Home App to have your 690 start cleaning even when you are away from home. You can also use the mobile app to schedule cleanings.

Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Your Roomba 690 can start cleaning through several ways.  You can use the mobile app to remotely initiate cleaning, you can create a cleaning schedule, or you can press the START button on the unit itself.

Additionally, you can actually tell your Roomba 690 to start cleaning by using voice commands if you have Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Just say “Alexa open Roomba” if you have Amazon Alexa devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Show or Echo Dot.

If you have Google Assistant, you can just say “Ok Google, tell Roomba to start cleaning” and watch the Roomba 690 launch into action.

With the use of other commands, you can ask your Roomba 690 to pause or resume cleaning or to go back to the home base. You can also check on the status and location of your robot vacuum.

Auto Recharge. Unlike most Series 600 models, which have nickel metal hydride batteries, the Roomba 690 has a lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion is longer lasting and allows your vacuum longer running time.

When the battery runs low, the Roomba 690 will find its way back to the charging base to recharge automatically. You can also manually dock it using the docking button on the robot vacuum or by issuing the right voice command.

Spot Cleaning. If there are areas that are dirtier, or if you spilled something on the floor, you can ask your Roomba 690 to do a spot cleaning on that specific area. The 690 will clean a spot of around three feet in diameter.

A quick look at the Roomba 690’s features:

  Roomba 690
iAdapt Y
AeroVac Y
Entire level cleaning N
Connects to your Wi-Fi network? Y
AeroVac Filter Y
Carpet boost mode N
Edge cleaning mode N
Full bin indicator N
Full bin action control N
Built-in camera N
Debris extractor N
Scheduling Y
Cleaning passes control N
Auto recharge Y
Manual docking Y
Spot cleaning mode Y
Battery type Lithium ion
Remote control App-based
Works with Amazon Alexa Y
Dimensions (d x h, inches) 13.0 x 3.7
Weight (lbs.) 7.8
Warranty 1 year

What’s in the box?

  • Roomba 690
  • Home Base® Charging Station
  • Dual Mode Virtual Wall® Barrier with two AA batteries
  • Line cord
  • Extra AeroVac filter
  • Flat cleaning tool
  • User guide

What you would like about the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 is the most affordable Roomba model with Wi-Fi connectivity and which you can control using Amazon Alexa devices or Google Assistant. It gives your floors a thorough cleaning and it has a long lasting battery that gives it enough power to clean a medium-sized room.

The 690’s physical dimensions make it smaller than most Roombas. It is only 13 inches in diameter, whereas the Roomba Series 900 models are 13.8 inches and the Series 800 are 13.9 inches. This means that the 690 can get into tighter spaces and corners.

What could be better

The Roomba 690 relies on acoustic sensors instead of the optical sensors you find on Series 700 and 800 Roombas. It also does not have the cameras you find on the Roomba 960 and 980.

This means that the 690 is rather limited when it comes to detecting dirtier parts of your floor and that it might not be as thorough with its cleaning as the other Roombas.

Also, while it can recharge on its own, you would still need to manually restart the Roomba 690 for it to resume and finish cleaning.

Moreover, because the Roomba 690 uses a brush, it is also more prone to tangles and jams, on top of needing more cleaning and maintenance than older Roombas with the brush-free debris extractor.

Also, because of the 690’s smaller diameter, it might take longer to finish cleaning a room. It is also taller by 0.1 inch or 2.54 mm compared with earlier Roombas. This might not be too much of a problem, but it might get stuck under furniture with lower vertical clearance.

Furthermore, the lower price tag means that the Roomba 690 is not equipped with most of the newer cleaning and navigation technologies featured in recent Roombas.

In essence, it is a Series 600 Roomba with Wi-Fi compatibility and controllability using voice commands. However, you are still working with cleaning and navigation technologies that are at least five years old.

For instance, it uses AeroVac technology instead of the AeroForce or AeroVac 2 technology that provides anywhere from five to ten times more vacuuming power.

It also uses an AeroVac filter instead of the HEPA filters that you see on higher-level Roombas. This means that the filter used by the Roomba 690 releases more dust and dirt back into the air compared to the HEPA filter.

Some of the features of a Series 700, 800, or 900 Roomba that you will miss when you buy a Roomba 690 are:

  • Auto resume. The Roomba 980 and 960 are able to automatically resume cleaning after recharging.
  • Carpet boost mode. This feature allows you to turn up the suction power to ensure cleaner carpets.
  • Edge cleaning mode. While all Roomba models have side brushes that can clean along the edges and at the corners, the Roomba 980 and 960 have a special edge cleaning mode that removes even the most stubborn dirt and debris hiding along wall edges. This feature effectively slows down the robot vacuum to ensure a better and more thorough clean.
  • Full bin indicator and full bin action control. Series 700 and higher-level Roomba models tell you when the dust bin is full and needs to be emptied. This useful feature is missing from the Roomba 690. What’s more, you cannot specify what you want the Roomba 690 to do when the bin is full. With the Roomba 980 and 960, you will know when the bin is almost full and you can tell the robot vacuum to either continue cleaning until it is finished, or to pause immediately so you can empty the bin first.
  • Cleaning passes control. This feature allows you to ask the robot vacuum to go over the same areas twice, which is perfect for first-time cleaning or when you have not cleaned for a longer period of time.

Final recommendations for the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 is iRobot’s answer to two trends that are forming in the robot vacuum space.

  1. It mimics the Alexa capabilities of the Samsung Powerbot VR7000, which also comes with a mobile app that you can use to control it. The Roomba 690, however, is more affordable than the Powerbot VR7000’s $1,000 price.
  2. It goes head to head with budget robot vacuum cleaners that you can control with a mobile app. Wi-Fi connected robot vacuums Rollibot LE-601 and Ecovacs Deebot are both less than $400. However, at $375 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), the Roomba 690 also offers Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility.

The Roomba 690 is a capable robot vacuum cleaner that delivers an efficient clean. It is also a Roomba that you can control through your voice or through your smartphone.

However, if you want a more powerful and better-cleaning vacuum with these features, you might want to buy the Roomba 980 or the Roomba 960.

These models, however, have more expensive price tags, with the (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) selling for $900 and the Roomba 960 selling for $700 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

Another option, though, is to wait for the Roomba 890, which will also have the same cleaning technologies as the other Series 800 models. However, because pricing, release date and other details for the 890 have not been released yet, it might be a long wait.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

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!

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