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The Roomba 690 is iRobot’s answer for those who want a Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum cleaner that they could control remotely through their smartphones, but that does not cost more than $500.
The Roomba 690 connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to use the iRobot Home app to control and manage it, as well as create cleaning schedules.
The Roomba 690 is part of iRobot’s Series 600 robot vacuums, which use older technologies such as the iAdapt navigation and AeroVac cleaning technologies. But how does it compare with other robot vacuums in the same series, particularly the Roomba 650, which is the only other Series 600 robot vacuum still available on the site?
Bottom Line Up Front:
- Get the Roomba 690: If you want the ability to control your Roomba via WiFi remote app, the Roomba 690 is clearly the best option here. It’s also available for about 20% off right now, which is a record low (and actually making it cheaper than the 650).
- Get the Roomba 650: However, if price is the primary motivating factor, the Roomba 650 is a better deal here for almost identical features.
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Side by side comparison: Roomba 690 vs Roomba 650
You could say that the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 650 are the budget-friendly versions of the Roomba Series 900 models. The more expensive Roombas might be more powerful, but the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 650 can deliver a thorough cleaning.
How does the Roomba 690 compare with the Roomba 650?
|Roomba 690||Roomba 650|
|Entire level cleaning||N||N|
|Connects to your Wi-Fi network?||Y||N|
|Carpet boost mode||N||N|
|Edge cleaning mode||N||N|
|Full bin indicator||N||N|
|Full bin action control||N||N|
|Cleaning passes control||N||N|
|Spot cleaning mode||Y||Y|
|Battery type||Lithium ion||Nickel metal hydride|
|Works with Amazon Alexa||Y||N|
|Dimensions (d x h, inches)||13.0 x 3.7||13.4 x 3.62|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year|
How are they alike?
The Roomba 690 and the Roomba 650 both use iAdapt navigation technology, which makes use of sensors and a proprietary software that tells your robot vacuum where to go and to make a number of passes over the same area.
These sensors also help the vacuum avoid steep falls and either go around or under furniture. Moreover, the iAdapt technology guides the robot vacuum to clean along walls and edges.
Series 600 robots make use of acoustic sensors to find the areas of your floor that are dirtier and thus need a more thorough clean.
Both robot vacuums use the powerful and optimized airflow of the AeroVac technology, which makes use of counter rotating brushes that sweep dust, dirt and debris into the center of the unit so that they could be sucked into
Aside from the counter rotating brushes, these robot vacuums also have spinning side brushes that can easily clean wall edges.
Both the Roomba 690 and 650 can find their way back to their charging stations if their batteries run low on energy, but you can also dock them manually. They can also deliver spot cleaning, which allows both robot vacuums to concentrate on cleaning a smaller area.
Spot cleaning is perfect for cleaning up those spills or those really dirty areas.
How are they different?
The Roomba 650 and Roomba 690 are slightly different when it comes to dimensions. The Roomba 690, with its 13-inch diameter and 3.7-inch height, is slightly smaller and taller than the Roomba 650, which is 13.4 inches in diameter and 3.62 inches in height.
This means that the Roomba 650 has an easier time going under furniture and can cover a bigger area in a single pass. However, the Roomba 690 will be able to fit into tighter corners. The two models weigh essentially the same, with the Roomba 650 being just 0.1 pounds heavier than the 690.
Meanwhile, the other differences between the two show that the Roomba 690 is better than the Roomba 650:
- While you can set both the Roomba 690 and Roomba 650 to clean using a maximum of seven cleaning schedules, it is easier and more convenient to set up schedules for the 690. This is because you can use the mobile app to create your schedules for the 690 rather than pick up the robot vacuum and manually set the schedules on the device itself, which is exactly what you need to do with the 650.
- Wi-Fi support and mobile app. The Roomba 690 shines brighter than the 650 because you can control it even when you are not home. Thanks to the mobile app, you can manually start, stop, or pause a cleaning remotely, and you can easily create cleaning schedules.
- Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Even if you do not have your phone with you, you can just ask Alexa to tell your Roomba 690 to start cleaning.
- Battery type. The Roomba 650 uses a nickel metal hydride battery. This is good and can provide long cleaning times for your robot vacuum. However, the Roomba 690 uses a lithium ion battery, which lasts longer than a NiMH battery.
What could be better: The things you miss out on when you buy a Roomba 690 or 650
Series 600 robot vacuums from iRobot do not use HEPA filters, instead they use AeroVac filters. AeroVac filters can catch fine debris and dust, but compared to the HEPA filters found on more advanced Roombas, they still let through
HEPA filters can remove at least 99.97% of pollens, dust particles and allergens that are smaller than 0.3 micron, giving you better air quality after cleaning
The Roomba 690 and Roomba 650 also do not offer the carpet boost mode that you find on the Roomba 980, nor the entire-level cleaning and the separate edge cleaning modes that you find on Series 900 Roombas.
Other features that you might miss include the full bin indicator present on more advanced Roombas, and the full bin action control that allows you to specify whether the Roomba should stop cleaning immediately when the dustbin is full or to continue cleaning until it is finished.
Furthermore, both the Roomba 690 and 650 won’t allow you to control cleaning passes, which means that you are limited to only one pass over each area of your floor.
The Roomba 690 and 650 do not offer the visual location camera that allows for better mapping of your floors, nor do they have the debris extractor because they use counter-rotating brushes to do their job.
Without the debris extractor, which is brushless, the Roomba 650 and 690 could be more prone to tangles and jams, and may therefore require you to clean the brushes regularly.
The Roomba 650 and the Roomba 690 are highly similar robot vacuums that deliver the same level of cleaning to your home. They use the same navigation and cleaning technologies and they even look and weigh the same, and are almost identical in size.
It would not be a stretch to say that the Roomba 690 is just the Roomba 650, but with added Wi-Fi connectivity, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support. For this reason, the Roomba 650 pales in comparison when it comes to features. In fact, it wins only in price. (Read here my full review of the Roomba 650!)
You can buy the Roomba 650 without the Braava mopping robot for less than $300 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) at Amazon.
If you are choosing between these two and you would like to save money, or if you do not care about being able to control your Roomba using a smartphone app or using voice commands, then go for the Roomba 650.
Other Alternatives to Consider
However, there are simply a lot of things that you can do with the Roomba 690. The price difference is not that big, so it makes no sense to not add $80 or so for the added features that were previously only available on Roomba 980 and 960, the most expensive Roombas available in the market.
Do note, however, that both the Roomba 690 and Roomba 650 use technology that is more than five years old. A lot has happened and improvements on both the AeroVac cleaning and iAdapt navigation technologies have been introduced since then.
If you can wait, you might want to find out what the Roomba 890 can offer you. It offers the same Wi-Fi connectivity, iRobot Home app, and voice command via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant that you find on the Roomba 690, but has the AeroForce cleaning technology that you find on both the Roomba 960 and 980.
It also makes use of HEPA filter and lithium-ion batteries. More than that, the Roomba 890 promises to deliver five times stronger suction power than the Roomba 690.
However, you must be prepared to wait. While the Roomba 890 has been announced, there is no definite word yet on when it will be available for purchase. Pricing information has similarly not been disclosed, but it might be the replacement for the Roomba 860 that currently sells for around $500 as of this writing.
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!