iRobot Roomba 680 Review - Simple but Effective

iRobot Roomba 680 Review – Simple but Effective

Roomba is a name synonymous with robotic vacuums. iRobot started the home cleaning robot infatuation in 2001 and they haven’t slowed down. With the 900 series now being produced, consumers are looking for alternatives to the older lineups. The Roomba 680 is one that gets a lot of attention.

Is it right for you? It could be. In this review, I will look at the 680 to determine what it does well, where it falls short and if the missing features are worth looking elsewhere. By the end, you will know if the Roomba 680 is the robot for you, or if you should continue your search.

Who the Roomba 680 is For

If you are in the market for a robotic vacuum, you could do a lot worse than a Roomba. The 680 model might be a perfect fit for you, if:

  • You need a no-frills cleaner that just works.
  • You don’t need to rely on remote controls and mobile devices.
  • You aren’t looking to integrate with other smart home devices.
  • You need a reliable vacuum to keep all floor types clean.

Who the Roomba 680 is Not For

Not every robot vacuum is a good fit for everyone. You may find that the Roomba 680 is not the model for you if:

  • You suffer allergies and need HEPA filtration.
  • You have expansive floor space and need a daily clean.
  • You require scheduling further than a week in advance.

Dimensions, Features and Options

Let’s take a look at the accolades and features that the Roomba 680 has (or doesn’t have) in greater detail.

The Battery is Good, But Not Good Enough

When iRobot left the nickel-metal hydride batteries behind in exchange for lithium-ion, it was a good thing. Lithium-ion batteries recharge faster, last longer and have a longer lifespan for recharging cycles.

However, the 600 series uses either a 2200 mAh or 2600mAh battery pack. For their purposes, they do okay, though I would like to see a 3000mAh or higher battery inside. The recharge time for the 680 is just about three hours, which is an industry average.

The runtime is the important number and the Roomba 680 states its battery will last up to 60 minutes. As we all know by now (if you’ve been following my articles) seeing the full announced runtime is near impossible.

Too many factors go into what causes battery drain. You won’t generally see the full 60 minutes in your home. However, because there aren’t as many features and options running on the machine, you will get a good average of about 45 to 50 minutes.

This should be plenty of time to cover up to 1000 square feet completely. Depending on the amount of carpet and how dirty it is, probably even more.

The Roomba is looking for its charging dock.

The good news is, that if your robot runs out of battery power, it will stop cleaning and return to the docking station on its own to recharge. What it will not do, however, is resume cleaning once the battery is recharged.

If the robot does need to recharge in the middle of a cleaning cycle, you will have to manually restart it by using the local controls on the unit itself. Otherwise, it will wait until the next scheduled cleaning time to try again.

Local Controls and Only Local Controls

With most of the 600 series, you won’t have any form of remote control options. The 680 is no different. There isn’t a remote control option for the little robot and there isn’t any WiFi connection to allow for the use of a mobile app or voice controls.

With later models (particularly in the 800 and 900 series) you won’t have a need for a remote control because of the wireless capabilities. Instead, you would use the iRobot mobile app, or you could connect to an Amazon Alexa enabled the device for voice commands.

The Roomba 680 has neither. Instead, you will use push buttons located on the top of the unit itself. These local control buttons will allow you to do everything you need to get the cleanest floors possible.

You can press the clean button to start a cleaning cycle, or the spot clean button to have the robot concentrate on a specific area. Spot clean makes the robot do a thorough cleaning in a small area where it rotates in ever growing circles up to about three feet. The third button option is to send the robot home, or back to the charging dock.

Below the main controls, you have scheduling buttons. You can schedule the robot to clean at a specific time on one day, or at specific times for up to a week in advance. You will use the three day, minute and hour buttons at the top to set these dates and times.

You will be missing a lot of features that are found through the mobile app, such as monitoring, long-term scheduling, manual controls and mapping. However, you will be saving a lot of money over the models that have this functionality.

Containment is Included, Finally

The Roomba's virtual wall barrier accessory.

 

Roomba has one of the best and easiest to use containment devices in the industry. The Virtual Wall Barrier is a little battery powered tower that you can place on the floor to block the robot’s path. It will send out a beam in either a straight line (good for thresholds, hallways, etc.) or in a circle around the tower (called Halo-Mode).

The infrared beam projected by this tower will trip a sensor on the robot. When tripped the robot will stop and change direction, acting as if the beam were a solid object like a wall. In radius, or halo, mode, you can protect objects like floor lamps, pet dishes or potted plants, that you don’t want the robot near.

Unlike most of the 600 series robots, the 680 comes with a Virtual Wall Barrier included. While you only get one with the purchase price, you can purchase additional barriers direct from iRobot or from various third-party vendors. While all the 600 series robots work with virtual wall barriers, only the 680, 690 and 650, come with them included.

It Covers All Floor Types Worth Covering

Most robot vacuums do well on carpet. There are, surprisingly a few that don’t. There are also robot vacuums that excel on hard flooring. The Roomba 680 does great on all floor types. There are random bouts that crop up online that debate which cleans better, and between the 900 series and 600 series Roombas, the 600 series usually comes out on top.

Roomba 680 sucking up dirt on a hardwood floor.

This is because the motor and suction ratio is one of the best on the market. While the motor may not be the most powerful, it, along with the three-stage cleaning cycle and large collection bin, create a unique cleaning method that works just as well on carpet as it does on hard flooring.

There is a single side brush that will run along baseboards and get into corners to sweep dirt, dust and debris from these edges under to the main brush bars. The main brush bars will agitate, lift and separate dirt and dust while the motor fans create the suction to lift it up an deposit it into the collection bin.

This three-stage cleaning allows for all hard flooring to be cleaned without any issues. This includes hardwood, laminate, tile, stone, vinyl and all other non-carpeted surfaces. On carpet, you will be able to clean any low pile, medium or even high pile carpeting without fuss.

The machine may complain about shag carpeting and will have problems with high-pile shag (think the 1970s) as the bristles on the brush bar will try to collect the fibers. This can result in tangling and may slow or stop the robot.

The Filtration is Good, Just Not the Best

AeroVac technology is the fancy name given to the Roomba for their air quality control system. The filter is the key component here. What you should be aware of is that the AeroVac filter is not a washable filter. It does need to be replaced regularly, which is about every 6 to 9 months.

The Roomba's Aerovac filter.

The filter is also rated to collect particles down to 10 microns. However, the particle sizes below 10 microns cause allergy symptoms. If you suffer allergies, you should look for a vacuum with a HEPA rated filter.

HEPA filters collect particles down to 3 microns in size, effectively capturing up to 99 percent of all household allergens. Roomba 680 can’t make this claim. However, the filter is good enough to capture about 85 percent of household allergens, including pet dander.

For serious allergy sufferers, this may not be enough and could be the tipping point for considering the purchase.

Specifications Chart

Now we will take a look at the Roomba 680 specifications in this handy little chart I made for you. Aren’t I nice

Roomba 680
Battery 2600mAh Lithium-Ion
Runtime Up to 60 minutes
Charge Time 3 hours
Automatic Recharge Yes
Dimensions 13.4×13.4×3.6
Weight 7.9 pounds
Dust Bin Capacity 0.6L
Navigation Sensor based iAdapt technology
Drop Sensors Yes
Bump Sensors Yes
Dirt Detection Sensors Yes
Filter AeroVac
Spot Clean Yes
Edge Clean No
Side Brushes 1
Cleaning Method Dual Brush Bar 3-stage
Wireless Communications No
Mobile App No
Remote Control No
Local Control Yes
Scheduling Yes
Containment Virtual Wall Barriers (1 Included)
Warranty 1 Year

Alternative Options

Sometimes in the course of our research, we find that what we are looking at just isn’t a good fit for our needs. If you find that the Roomba 680 may not be what you are looking for, here are a few other options to consider.

Roomba 690

If all that you see is missing is the ability to control the robot remotely, then the Roomba 690 might be something to consider. The 690 does not have a remote control, it has, instead, wireless communications. With this, you can use the mobile app or voice commands with Alexa or Google Home.

The major difference between the 680 and 690 is the wireless communications. If this is something you really want or need in your robot, then the Roomba 690 could be the choice for you.

bObsweep PetHair Plus

The PetHair Plus from bObsweep is one of the closest rivals of the Roomba 600 series. It does have HEPA certified filtration. If you are an allergy sufferer, then this may be the one you are looking for.

What you will miss out on is a better clean on carpets as the PetHair Plus works better on hard flooring. It also has a more random cleaning pattern and is known to miss quite a few spots during each cycle. However, over the course of a few cycles it will hit all the floor areas, and in time will have your entire home clean.

Eufy 11 Plus

The Eufy 11 Plus also has HEPA filtration which makes it a good solution for allergy sufferers. It, like the bObsweep, does a great job on hard flooring of all types. Where it will falter in comparison to the Roomba 680 is on carpets.

Another downside to the Eufy is that the sensors don’t always work the best, or most reliable. It is known to bump into tables and chairs and even walls at times with more force than it should. However, if you have a fairly open floor plan or a lot of shedding pets, the Eufy 11 Plus is a good option to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

I will answer a few of the most common questions for you here, in case there was anything I missed in the review.

Q. Will it fall off of the stairs if I run it on the top floor?
A. No. The Roomba 680, along with every other robot vacuum comes with infrared sensors on the bottom that alert it to drop-offs. When activated the robot will stop and change direction. I cannot find a single instance when this sensor has failed resulting in the Roomba falling off of stairs of ledges.

This Roomba's drop sensor prevents it from falling down a flight of stairs.

The other sensors also work very well, the bump sensors prevent hard collisions and the dirt detection sensors alert the robot of heavily soiled areas. All the sensors working together with the iAdapt navigation technology do a great job.

Q. Is the maintenance something anyone can do?
A. Absolutely. The largest hurdle in the maintenance of the 680 is the removal of the brush bars. With the included tool though, it will take you about 5 minutes to remove, clean and reassemble. From there you just need to wipe off the sensors, empty and wipe out the collection bin and put it all back together.

The entire process should take you no more than fifteen minutes.

In Conclusion

The Roomba 680 is not the state of the art top of the line robot vacuum. For that, you will need to look at the 900 series. However, for a robot vacuum that does its job quickly, reliably and thoroughly, you really can’t go wrong.

As long as you don’t need the HEPA filtration or the use of mobile apps to run your vacuum, it will do an incredible job on virtually every floor type. While it isn’t the right choice for everyone, it is a smart choice for those looking for an economy class robotic vacuum without all the added features to make it confusing to use.

In a Nutshell

The Roomba 680 is a solid choice for those looking to save money on a robot vacuum but still want a good, thorough clean. However, it isn’t for everyone. Some need the wireless connectivity and others will need HEPA filtration. If you do not, the Roomba 680 is a solid choice.

What I Like

  • The inclusion of the Virtual Wall Barrier is a big plus.
  • The navigation and mapping work better than most other options.
  • The controls are simple and straightforward.

What I Do Not Like

  • No wireless communications for mobile app or voice controls.
  • HEPA filtration should be a standard.
  • No entire level cleaning after a recharge.
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