iRobot has introduced two lower-cost robot vacuums – the Roomba 690 and Roomba 890. The Roomba 690 is available now for $375, which is the same price as the Roomba 650 it’s replacing, and the Roomba 980 will be on sale in “late Q2” for an undisclosed price.
Since we don’t know the price of the Roomba 890 yet, we’ll focus mostly on how the Roomba 690 compares to other Roomba models. The main differences between the Roomba 690 and Roomba 890: the 890 features fancy “tangle-free” rubber extractors and a more powerful motor.
The main selling point of the Roomba 980, iRobot’s flagship model introduced in 2015, was the WiFi connectivity. It was iRobot’s first WiFi-enabled robot vacuum that allowed users to connect, manage, and monitor the vacuum through the HOME App on Android and iOS devices. iRobot was a little late to the game adding WiFi connectivity, but at least now their spreading it across their line.
The new Roomba 690 also works with the Home App, so it seems like a steal compared to the 980 ($899.99). The Roomba 690’s WiFi connectivity also means it can be controlled with your voice using Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo or Amazon Dot.
But being an entry-level model, there are some notable features missing from the Roomba 690 that are included on pricier models. For example, it doesn’t offer multi-room navigation – which can be found on both the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980 – it can’t recharge and resume cleaning where it left off, and it doesn’t let you know when the bin is full. The 690 is the only Roomba that doesn’t offer the “bin full indicator.”
While those features are for convenience, the Roomba 690 also lacks the powerful motor and additional cleaning features that can be found on the other models. Check out this comparison chart to see how the Roomba 690 stacks up against other Roombas:
Roomba 690 Isn’t the Only Budget-Friendly Robot Vacuums
Of course, there are other WiFi-enabled robot vacuums on the market that won’t completely break your budget. Neato’s Botvac Connected line of robot vacuums is the closest thing to the Roomba, perhaps even better. The Neato Botvac D3 Connected ($399) is a smidge more expensive than the Roomba 690, but it cleans up to 1,800 square feet, can be controlled via Alexa or smartwatches, offers SLAM-based navigation and can pick up cleaning where it left off after recharging its battery.
Neato beat iRobot to the punch when it comes to voice-controlled robot vacuums. Neato’s Botvac Connected Series integrated Alexa voice control in November 2016, and in March 2017 the company added more advanced voice control functionality with Google Home.
Another great option is the iLife A4. You lose the WiFi and voice control capabilities of the Roombas and Neato Botvac D3 Connected, but it’s hard to pass up on the $204 price.
If none of these options work for you, building your own robot vacuum is also an option. Check out how this DIYer built an Arduino-based dustbuster robot vacuum.