You can’t compare robot vacuums adequately without including an iRobot Roomba 690 review.
When iRobot’s Roomba robot vacuums transformed our idea of what a vacuum cleaner was back in 2002, they were one of the only kids on the block making affordable consumer robovacs. While they weren’t the first to market a robotic vacuum cleaner, iRobot was the first to make robot vacuums exciting and “sexy.”
Since then, Roomba has continued to dominate the robovac market. While it has some stiff competition from Eufy and Neato Robotics, iRobot still has the edge with its Roomba brand name.
The question then becomes, is iRobot just leveraging its brand name for sales, without putting efforts into making quality products that work for consumers? Or, are they (like some charge with Dyson), using their past glory to promote current mediocre products? In this review, we will discuss the Roomba 690. For comparison of all the previous Roomba iRobot models, see this post.
iRobot Roomba 690 Review of Features
When putting together an iRobot Roomba 690 review, you have to look at a number of different variables, from price to power to reliability. Fortunately, the Roomba 690 vacuum cleaner provides an excellent value for what you get.
1. Value: The Roomba 609 is a Great Value
First, you should be aware (if you are new to the world of robot vacuums) that all robot vacuums, at least the good ones, are generally much more expensive than traditional vacuum cleaners.
High-end robot vacuums can run about $1,000.
This may seem a lot if you are used to picking up a cheap upright vacuum cleaner at Walmart for $50.
As with anything, generally speaking, the more money you spend, the more features you get. This is especially true of technological items such as automobiles and home appliances that tend to start with very basic versions that offer minimal functionality on the low end, then get more pricey as more features are added, all the way up to super high-end models that use the latest in gee-whiz technology along with all sorts of bells and whistles.
This is what makes the Roomba 690 robot vacuum so great. It is Roomba’s entry-level self-propelled vacuum, yet it has a lot of features that you would normally find on a high-end robot vacuum.
We will get to those features in a moment, but for now, just realize that at an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $374.99, the Roomba 690 robovac is one of the most affordable robot vacuums.
For a truly entry-level vacuum cleaner that is more than $100 cheaper, you can try the Eufy RoboVac 11. But, as you will see, the Roomba 690 has more features.
2. Wi-Fi Connectivity
The future of robot vacuums is Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can control your robovac with your smartphone or tablet. It is actually somewhat surprising that in 2018, all new robot vacuums don’t come with this feature...but the fact is, they do not.
While you can expect Wi-Fi connectivity to be a standard feature for all new robovacs soon, for now, it is still a great add-on. Once you have it, you will not want to live without it.
Not only can the Roomba 690 connect with your smartphone app, it can also be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa with voice commands.
3. Dual-Mode Virtual Wall Beacon
Since a robot vacuum runs by itself, you need to set limits if you don’t want the vacuum cleaner to enter certain rooms or areas. Sometimes this can be done with a simple rubber bumper, but manipulating and moving a manual barrier can be a bit of a pain in the rear end.
The Roomba 690 has a great solution: a “virtual wall.” This is a small tower that runs on two AA batteries. It has two modes. When the tower is slid into the “up” position, it creates a 10-foot digital barrier that the Roomba will not pass. If you slide the tower down into the “down” position, it creates a “halo” barrier. This is a circular barrier with a diameter of four-feet and can be used to keep the Roomba away from items like pet’s water bowls.
4. Strong Battery Life
While it may not be the longest lasting battery on a robovac, the Roomba 690 is capable of running for 70 minutes, which can get a significant amount of cleaning done. The much more expensive Dyson 360 eye barely lasts 45 minutes on one battery charge.
The Roomba 690: Great Value for the Money
The bottom line in this Roomba 690 review is that the Roomba 690 offers great value for the money. For an entry-level robotic vacuum cleaner, it offers features you would usually find on more expensive models. These features include the ability to run the Roomba from your smartphone app, and an advanced virtual wall beacon. It is a really great machine for an affordable price.
You can find other cordless vacuum cleaners we reviewed here.
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