Robotic Vacuums

Roomba 980 vs Roomba 690: Which Robot Vacuum is a Better Value?

(Last Updated On: November 15, 2017)

The Roomba 980 remains to be iRobot’s top-of-the-line robot vacuum, with all the latest technologies that the company offers, including the ability to connect to your Wi-Fi network so you could use the iRobot Home app to control it from anywhere in the world.

However, with its hefty price tag, not a lot of people can afford it.

The good news is that for those who want to be able to remotely control their robot vacuum but do not have the budget for the Roomba 980, iRobot has the Roomba 690, which costs significantly less iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Connected Robotic Vacuum Cleaner– less than half of the 980’s price.

But what makes the Roomba 690 different from the Roomba 980?

Bottom Line Up Front: 

  • For Larger Floor Plans: If you have a home greater than 2500 square feet with multiple flooring types and rooms to cover, the Roomba 980 is worth the investment here. NOTE: It’s currently on sale for about $100 off at the listing referenced above.
  • For Everyone Else: The Roomba 690 available here will do just fine, with the added benefit of also having WiFi control. Special Holiday Pricing: The 690 is now available for 27% off at the listing referenced above. This is a record discount and one of my favorite deals right now.

Roomba 980: All the best features from iRobot in one robot vacuum

The Roomba 980 makes use of the iAdapt 2.0 technology, which uses a number of sensors and a very efficient cleaning pattern to ensure that the robot vacuum finds its way around your floor and delivers complete coverage. The Roomba 980 can either go around or go under furniture.

It also has a built-in camera that helps it map your floors using vSLAM technology. This helps the robot vacuum “see” things so that it always knows where it is and which sections of the floor it has already cleaned.

What’s more, the Roomba 980 can clean an entire level because it automatically recharges its battery and resumes cleaning where it left off.

The Roomba 980 is the only iRobot vacuum that has carpet boost technology, which delivers more suction power when it goes over carpeted floors and therefore gets rid of the dirt and dust hiding deep beneath the carpet fibers.

The Roomba 980 also features iRobot’s three-stage cleaning system, which agitates dust and dirt, extracts them from the debris extractor, and then sucks them in. Moreover, the Roomba 980 gives you several options for when it should start cleaning.

You can use the mobile app to either create cleaning schedules or to start the robot vacuum no matter where you are; you can press the big start button on the vacuum itself; or you can tell Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to start the Roomba 980.

Furthermore, the Roomba 980 features all the little extras that make cleaning your home more convenient. While all Roombas have side brushes that clean wall edges, the 980 has a separate edge cleaning mode, wherein it pays special attention to wall edges and the edges of furniture legs.

After it has finished cleaning the entire floor, the Roomba 980 will start cleaning wall edges if you turn this mode on.

More than just having a full bin indicator that tells you when it is time to empty the dust bin, the Roomba 980 also allows you to specify if you want it to pause immediately or to continue cleaning when the dust bin is full.

You can also instruct the Roomba 980 to make two passes over the entire area if you want it thoroughly cleaned. The Roomba 980 is powered by a lithium ion battery.

Additionally, every Roomba comes with a mechanism that controls where the robot vacuum goes. For the Roomba 980, there is the double mode virtual wall barrier.

This navigation control device can be used to block off an entire doorway, and it can also be used as a halo to protect particular areas within the room.

For instance, if you do not want the Roomba 980 to get close to your priceless vase or your pet’s water and food bowls, you can use the double mode virtual wall lighthouse barrier to keep the robot vacuum out.

Roomba 690:  Budget robot vacuum that you can control with a smartphone or with Amazon Alexa

For less than $400 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), the Roomba 690 gives you a capable robot vacuum cleaner that is Wi-Fi connected.

This means that, just like with the flagship Roomba 980, you can control the 690 using the iRobot Home app or Google Assistant and you can set cleaning schedules using the mobile app.

The Roomba 690 also comes with a double mode virtual wall barrier and it is also powered by a lithium ion battery.

However, the similarities between the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 980 end there. If anything, the Roomba 690 has more similar features to the older Roomba 650. In fact, one could say that it is an improved release of Roomba 650.  Some of the features of the Roomba 690 include:

iAdapt navigation technology. The Roomba 690 uses acoustic sensors and a very efficient cleaning pattern to clean your floors completely. These sensors also prevent your robot vacuum from falling off the stairs or any kind of platform.

Like all Roombas, the 690 can easily go under furniture or avoid obstacles. There is no onboard camera on the Roomba 690, though, which means that it does not feature the vSLAM mapping technology that the Roomba 980 has.

AeroVac technology. The Roomba 690 also features the three-stage cleaning system that all Roombas use in the 600 series. The Roomba 690 has counter-rotating brushes to agitate the dirt, side brushes to help clean wall edges, and enough suction power to clean your floors.

Lithium-ion battery. One of the improvements of the Roomba690 over the Roomba 650 is the use of lithium ion battery instead of nickel metal hydrite battery. This allows the Roomba 690 to clean longer than the 650.

When the battery runs low, the Roomba 690 can find its way back to the charging dock and recharge itself. However, unlike the Roomba 980 that can automatically resume cleaning after charging, the Roomba 690 needs to be manually restarted so that it could continue to clean.

A lot of features you see in the Roomba 980 have been omitted from the Roomba 690. With a price tag that is more than $400 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) cheaper than the Roomba 980, the 690 does without the following features:

Entire-level cleaning. Because the Roomba 690 does not automatically resume cleaning after recharging itself, it does not deliver entire-level cleaning for bigger rooms and floor plans.

Carpet boost mode. The Roomba 690 uses an older motor that does not have the power to deliver the same suction power that the carpet boost mode does. The Roomba 980, on the other hand, uses iRobot’s Gen 3 motor and has the built in “carpet boost” mode.

Edge cleaning mode. The Roomba 690 has side brushes that can clean wall edges, but you cannot instruct it to clean wall edges more thoroughly after it finishes its regular cleaning run.

Full bin indicator and full bin action control. Like the Roomba 650, you will have no way of knowing for sure if the dustbin is full or not with the Roomba 690. You would just need to empty the bin every so often to make sure that it is not full. The Roomba 690 will continue to clean even when the bin is filled.

Debris extractor. The Roomba 690 uses counter-rotating brushes instead of the brushless debris extractor. This means that the Roomba 690 requires more cleaning and maintenance to ensure that its brushes are free from hair tangles.

Cleaning passes control. The Roomba 690 will only pass through the same area once for every cleaning run.

Side by side comparison: Roomba 980 vs. 690

A side-by-side comparison of the features of Roomba 980 and Roomba 690

  Roomba 690 Roomba 980
Navigation iAdapt iAdapt 2.0
Cleaning AeroVac technology AeroForce technology
Entire level cleaning N Y
Connects to your Wi-Fi network? Y Y
Filter used AeroVac HEPA
Carpet boost mode N Y
Edge cleaning mode N Y
Full bin indicator N Y
Full bin action control N Y
Built-in camera N Y
Debris extractor N Y
Scheduling Y Y
Cleaning passes control N Y
Auto recharge Y Y
Manual docking Y Y
Spot cleaning mode Y Y
Lithium ion battery Y Y
Remote control App-based App-based
Works with Amazon Alexa Y Y
Dimensions (d x h, inches) 13.0 x 3.7 13.8 x 3.6
Weight (lbs.) 7.8 8.7
Warranty 1 year 1 year

Final word on the Roomba 980 and Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 and Roomba 980 give you the convenience of being able to operate your robot vacuum using voice commands or a mobile app. If you have a large home and do not mind paying top dollar for the best features, then you should definitely look at the Roomba 980.

Aside from very powerful cleaning technologies, the Roomba 980 is also equipped with a motor that can provide you with up to 10 times the power that the Roomba 650’s motor is capable of.

The Roomba 980 is iRobot’s best robot vacuum and guarantees cleaner carpets and even cleaner hardwood floors. This is true even for those with large homes; you can just schedule or start a Roomba 980 to clean, leave it alone, and it will continue cleaning until the job is done.

There are, however, situations when the Roomba 690 is more practical. Obviously, it is a good choice for those who have a tight budget but still wants the Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Those who have small apartments and homes will also benefit from the Roomba 690 because they would probably not need the added features found on the Roomba 980.

Furthermore, there are people who use upright vacuum cleaners to clean their homes weekly and then rely on robot vacuums to make sure that their floors stay clean until the next vacuuming season.

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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