Budget Roomba Showdown – Roomba 650 and 690 Differences

iRobot introduced the Roomba 690 in 2017 as WiFi-connected versions of the Roomba 650. The 690 is aimed at consumers trying to decide between the Roomba 650 and competing robot vacuums in the same price range, such as the Neato Botvac D3 connected. For consumers comparing the two brands, the 650’s features did not compare favorably to the Neato, which has WiFi connectivity among other fancy features. That’s where the Roomba 690 comes in. As an upgraded version of the Roomba 650, how does the 690 compare?

If you don’t have time to read the article, here is the bottom line. Prices on the 650 and 690 are always changing. If there is a significant discount on the 650, get it over the 690 because the main difference is merely Wi-Fi & app connectivity.  If the both models are the same price, go for the 690, which is slightly better but not by much. If they are the same price, then you might as well get the newer one. To easily check which one is cheaper right now, click here to see their current prices on Amazon: 650 and 690.

Comparison Table

Roomba 650

Roomba 690

 

Included Accessories 1 Virtual Wall 1 Virtual Wall Barrier
Programmable Schedule Onboard Controls via App
Multi-Room Navigation yes yes
iRobot App & Wi-Fi no yes
Alexa Compatible no yes
Physical Dimensions 13.39 inches in diameter, 3.62 inches in height 13.0 inches in diameter, 3.7 inches in height
Weight 7.9 lbs 7.8 lbs
Battery Type Ni-CD Lithium Ion
Battery Life about 1 hour about 1 hour
Charge to Full about 3 hours about 3 hours
Cleaning Mechanism rotating brushes rotating brushes
Price Check on Amazon Check on Amazon

 

The biggest difference between the two models is Wi-Fi connectivity. You can control the Roomba 690 with the iRobot Home app or by yelling at Alexa. You can also check on the status of your Roomba when you’re not home–not that there are too many scenarios which this will be useful.

What are all the differences?

  • The 650 is sometimes cheaper.
  • The 650 comes with 1 Virtual Wall accessory. The 690 comes with 1 Virtual Wall Barrier accessory (see Question 2 for explanation of the difference between the two)
  • You can use voice commands to ask Alexa to start your 690. If you do that with the 650, Alexa will just think you’re crazy.
  • The 690 is ever-so-slightly narrower and taller. Not enough to make a difference in maneuverability.

What are the similarities?

  • They both dock automatically at the end of a cleaning cycle to recharge.
  • Both can be scheduled to clean at certain times on certain days of the week.
  • Both come with 1 virtual wall accessory–something to fence off areas you don’t want the Roomba to go–but the 690’s virtual wall is slightly better. See the Virtual Wall question below.

Roomba 690 Video Overview

Here is a good video overview of the Roomba 690:

See Amazon user reviews for the 690.

 

Does the Roomba 650 or 690 damage baseboards?

roomba 650 navigates around a chair

Not really, but they may start to discolor baseboards over a year or so of daily vacuuming. Two things help the Roomba reduce its damage to baseboards:

Proximity Sensors

Both the 650 and 690 have sensors at the front of the unit, telling it to slow down when it gets near an object or a wall. It’s pretty neat to witness this in person, the Roomba goes at full speed and slows down before hitting any surface.

Spring-cushioned bumpers

All modern Roomba units have a giant bumper on the front of the unit. The bumper is attached to a spring, which helps cushion any impact it makes with your furniture, walls, cats, etc.

 

What’s the difference between the Virtual Wall and the Virtual Wall Barrier?

The 650 comes with the basic Virtual Wall, which prevents the Roomba from passing through a line marked by the beacon.

roomba gets redirected by a virtual wall

The 690 comes with a more advanced Virtual Wall, called the VW Barrier, which can do the above or mark off a radius of about 4 feet around itself so the Roomba does not hit anything in that circle.

roomba gets diverted by a virtual wall barrier

 

Are these good for households with pets? What about long hair?

All Roombas are set-it-and-forget-it devices. However, the 650 and 690 are part of the 600 series, the only modern Roombas that do not come equipped with brushless rollers.

Brushless rollers, or as iRobot insists on calling them, “AeroForce Extractors”, are rubber rollers with treads that beat and break up dust particles on the floor, making it much easier for the motor to suck up loose debris. In traditional vacuums, rotating bristles does this job quite well. But the bristles are extremely prone to trapping pet and human hair. That’s where the Roombas’ brushless rollers come in. Since Roombas are supposed to take the pain out of vacuuming your floors, their maintenance should be a breeze too.

Unforunately this is not the case with the 600 series. Sure they are great starter robot vacuums, but if you are spending this much money on a vacuum, you might as well get one that is not a headache to maintain.

Having said that, if you do not have pets or long hair, the Roomba 650 and 690 are both great vacuums. Their only drawback is that long hair gets stuck in the bristles and are a pain to clean out, just like your upright vacuum and other robot vacuum brands.

For those with long hair or pets, we recommend the Roomba 860 (if on a budget) or the Roomba 960 (if you would like faster cleaning times and Wi-Fi). Both are excellent for their price.

 

 

Verdict – So which Model is Better?

Roomba 650 detecting stairs and turning around

 

The whole point of the 600 series is so budget-conscious consumers can pick up a robot vacuum with the quality that comes from iRobot yet still save money. Being a budget vacuum, the Wi-Fi connectivity of the 690 seems slightly unnecessary.

The list price of the 650 and 690 are the same. However, Amazon will sometimes discount one of them more than the other. The 690 is SLIGHTLY better than the 650 in many ways, so go for the 690 if they are the same price.

If one is significantly cheaper, go for whichever one is cheaper at the moment. There’s not a noticeable difference in daily use.  

If you can afford to spend a little more, you should consider the Roomba 860. I cannot recommend the Roomba 860 enough. It is the cheapest Roomba with brushless rollers on the market today, and the brushless rollers are about 100 times more useful than Wi-Fi connectivity, conservatively speaking. They will save precious time when it comes time to clean out the rollers.

 

 

 

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