iRobot’s Roomba is one of the best-selling robotic vacuums in the world, and for good reason. They are reliable, high-quality, and iRobot is always on the cutting-edge delivering the best new features and technology.
For that reason, it is worthwhile for us to take a deeper look some of the very best Roomba iterations and decide upon which versions of the Roomba are best.
We’ll take a look at some older, cheaper models, as well as the brand new i7 generation, and hopefully, uncover the best “Budget”, “Value”, and “Overall” Roomba models on the market. This is the ultimate Roomba model comparisons!
The 5 Best Roombas For 2020
iRobot Roomba 690
About the Roomba 690
The Roomba 690 released in May of 2017, so it is a relatively new product, considering that Roomba generally updates their product lines every few years.
The 690 is aimed at being a budget Roomba option, so it is stripped of a few of the more advanced features and components.
However, it still has plenty to offer.
The Roomba 690 comes equipped with wi-fi connectivity, Alexa compatibility, and works with iRobot’s Home App, so you immediately have much more utility and usefulness than many competitively priced robot vacuum brands offer.
The robot has a 3-Stage Cleaning System and Dual Multi-Surface Brushes, ensuring that it will pick up both large and small particles and debris.
There are also dirt-sensors that will allow it to focus in on concentrated areas of mess.
Robot vacuums often have navigation issues, falling down stairs, or going into rooms you don’t want them cleaning, but Roomba offers solutions to these problems.
The device has Cliff Sensors, meaning it won’t mistakenly tumble down the stairs, and included with the robot is one of iRobot’s Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers, a device that the Roomba connects to and knows not to move past.
As mentioned earlier, the iRobot Home App can be controlled from anywhere with a smartphone, and the Roomba also is Alexa compatible allowing for voice commands.
The Roomba 690 is a solid budget entry to the Roomba line of robot vacuums.
But it isn’t all good.
The advertisements claim that rugs and carpet are no match for the Roomba 690 thanks to the auto-adjusting height sensors, however, the cliff sensors and navigation technology seems to trip itself up quite often.
Rugs with black stripes are mistaken for ‘cliffs’ and the Roomba can get stuck in loops of cleaning the same spots over and over. It can also struggle with edge-cleaning.
It can also be noisy, another negative.
Overall, the Roomba 690 works, sometimes, but much of the newer technology in more current devices has surpassed it.
The Roomba 690 is an okay budget Roomba, but can also come with some headaches, keep reading to see some of the other options.
iRobot Roomba 890
About the Roomba 890
The iRobot Roomba 890 is very similar to the 690 in many ways, and they even released on the same day, however, there are a few places where the 890 separates itself as the better option.
But first, we’ll take a look at the shared features of the 690 and 890.
The 890 has the same navigation system, filter, side-brush, 3-Stage Cleaning System, virtual wall module, app and Alexa support as the Roomba 690.
On top of that, though, the 890 has a few superior features.
The 890 has 5x Suction Power, as well as an Advanced Dirt Detect system, meaning it will give you a more spotless clean than the 690.
Additionally, the Roomba 890 has superior Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes that instantly adjust and flex to stay in contact with floors.
The largest benefit to the rubber brushes comes in the boosted performance to cleaning pet hair. The brushes are tangle-free, and more completely grab all pet hair.
The Roomba 890 isn’t all that different from the 690, but it definitely improves in a few problem areas.
As is the case with many of the older Roomba’s, it can have issues with getting stuck, mediocre edge-cleaning, or not properly returning to its charging base, although it seems to happen less often than with the 690.
The 890 is less noisy than the 690, but still loud enough that it is worth noting.
When it comes to “Budget” Roomba’s, many of the older models have been phased out, and even the 890 looks to be on its way out the door.
However, for now this is our “Best Budget” Roomba, offering the best performance of any Roomba under $400.
iRobot Roomba 960
About the Roomba 960
The Roomba 960 was previously Roomba’s top-of-the-line model but has since been replaced by the i7 Series.
This means it is now available at a somewhat discounted price.
That’s good news for us consumers, as it is quite the device, and still one of the best robot vacuums on the market.
It has all the same great features we loved about the 690 and 890 models, including the Dual Multi-Surface Rubber Brushes, 5x Suction, Advanced Dirt Sensors, Virtual Walls, and more.
But it also does so much more.
For starters, it is the first Roomba device we’ve looked at that has Auto-Charge and Resume technology, which means it can charge an entire floor of your home (given the dustbin doesn’t fill up before then).
But perhaps the best feature of all, and the largest upgrade that the 960 offers, is the improved iAdapt 2.0 Navigation System with vSLAM technology.
This new navigation technology means a more thorough clean, no missed spots, no Roomba stuck in an endless cycle cleaning the same spot, and much less getting trapped on furniture or objects.
It also, through the iRobot Home App, uses this technology to provide cleaning coverage maps that shows detailed information such as where your robot cleaned, and how long it cleaned for.
The iRobot Roomba 960 is a substantial leap in technology from the previously reviewed models.
It offers all the same performance, with a vastly improved navigation technology.
Not to mention it offers much more advanced feedback data as to how your Roomba is cleaning your home.
Overall, the Roomba 960 is an incredible device, and it has become much more affordable (especially if purchased through Amazon).
While we see the appeal in purchasing a more affordable 690 or 890 model, we believe it is worth the extra cost to upgrade to the 960, our “Best Value Roomba”.
To see a deeper look at the Roomba 690 in action, watch the video below:
iRobot Roomba i7
About the iRobot Roomba i7
The iRobot Roomba i7 was released in September of 2018, and so far, it has proven to be a definite upgrade over the already-impressive Roomba 960.
By now you can assume that the i7 has all the baseline Roomba features we’ve gone over (Sensors, 3-Stage Cleaning System, Dual Multi-Surface Brushes, Dirt Detect, etc).
Those aren’t the features that make this device exciting.
The Roomba i7 has a few new features that really set it apart from the prior generation.
First and foremost, the Suction Power in the new models has doubled from 5X Suction, to 10X. That means an even deeper clean, and less of a constant need to dust as the robot leaves less small dust particles behind.
Additionally, that iAdapt Navigation System that we just raved about in the Roomba 960 has improved yet again. The iAdapt 3.0 Navigation System with vSLAM technology and Imprint Smart Mapping allows the robot to learn, map, and even adapt to your home.
With the iRobot Home App, you can control which rooms are cleaned, choosing to clean single rooms with the push of a button.
While you can use the virtual wall module, you can also create cleaning schedules that exclude entire rooms and areas virtually, eliminating the need for the physical module.
The Roomba i7 has the same auto-adjusting height sensors for traversing carpets and rugs, and thanks to the improved navigation system it seems to get stuck in tricky areas less often than its predecessors.
The iRobot i7 is definitely a cutting-edge piece of robot technology, and easily one of the very best robot vacuums on the market.
It really is a no hassle option, that can effortlessly clean an entire floor of your home.
Roomba still kind of struggles with edge-cleaning, although to be fair, most robot vacuums do. In this regard, even the i7 is only satisfactory.
However, when it comes to cleaning area and cleaning performance the Roomba i7 is the best robot we’ve looked at so far.
It eliminates so many of the headaches that robot vacuums seem to come with.
It’s much quieter than every other Roomba that came before it, it cleans much more thoroughly, and it has so many great quality of life features.
That being said, it still offers that industry-wide issue – emptying the dustbin.
There is nothing worse than a robot vacuum that needs constant supervision, and while the Roomba i7 really cuts back on the amount of times it will get stuck in a loop or against furniture, it still can’t empty its own dustbin.
But, if you’ve got the money, now there is a Roomba that can do just that.
iRobot Roomba i7+
About the Roomba i7+
Okay, so this is pretty much the same robot as the basic Roomba i7 model, but it comes with a completely different charging dock that offers a first-of-its-kind feature in the robot vacuum industry.
That large tower on the Roomba i7+’s charging dock is actually an Automatic Dirt Disposal device.
Gone are the days of emptying your Roomba in the middle of a clean.
Well actually, you don’t even really need to ever touch your Roomba again (given it doesn’t get stuck).
The Roomba i7+ is more or less the same device as the Roomba i7, just with an added vacuum piece that attaches to the Automatic Dirt Disposal charging base.
When the Roomba’s dustbin fills up the Roomba will now return to the base, empty the dustbin, and continue.
When you consider this feature, in addition to the charge and resume feature, you realize that the device can clean entire floors of your home without any human intervention.
The auto dirt disposal empties into a disposable bag that holds 30 dustbins worth of dust and hair, so your interactions with any vacuuming dust will be minimal.
Otherwise, the i7+ has all the same great features as the base model i7, including the exceptional, upgraded iAdapt 3.0 Navigation System.
The iRobot Roomba i7 base model and the i7+ are essentially the same device, but the i7+ offers the ground-breaking new Automatic Dust Disposal system.
This alone sets it apart, and iRobot charges a hefty price for that upgrade, prices between the i7 and i7+ varying up to as much as $400.
It is definitely worth noting that although the actual Roomba is incredibly silent, the Auto Dirt Disposal feature is quite loud, due to the vacuuming from the dustbin into the tower.
The Roomba i7+ is proof that the robot vacuum sector is constantly evolving, and we look forward to seeing future iterations of this technology.
The Roomba i7+ is bar none the “Best Overall Roomba” and if you can afford it, you will not regret investing in this cutting-edge piece of robot technology.
For a great, in-depth look at the vacuum, check out the video below:
We looked at some of the very best that the iRobot Roomba brand has offered over the years, at a variety of different price ranges, but there were a few standouts.
While “Budget” is a relative term, Roomba doesn’t exactly offer cheap products, unless you buy a much older, or used robot vacuum.
But for our “Best Budget Roomba” we settled on the Roomba 890, thanks to its improved rubber brushes over the Roomba 690.
However, this is a rare case where we are going to make a serious suggestion, for only a slightly higher price you can purchase our “Best Value Roomba” – the Roomba 960.
The 960 is a marked improvement over the 890, offering a superior navigation system that makes for a much more pleasant cleaning experience.
The Roomba 960 device is much quieter than its predecessors, and it comes with increased cleaning performance (better suction, sensors, etc).
Additionally, the 960 has great features like cleaning report maps and charge and resume cleaning.
For these reasons, our “Best Value Roomba” is our editors pick, as the 960 combines great price with great performance.
But our “Best Overall Roomba” is the brand-new Roomba i7+, complete with Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system.
It is incredibly expensive, but also incredibly worth it if you want hassle-free robot vacuuming.
iRobot continuously impresses with their robot vacuums, and the new i7+ is yet another impressive Roomba.
Writer and Researcher
Sean is a Canadian University graduate with a degree in Communication Studies and Business Management. With over four years of experience in the field working with different newspapers and online magazines, mixed with his impeccable researching abilities, his talents are a perfect fit for Meccano Home.