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Is the Roomba 690 still a worthy buy for pet owners in 2018?

Are you shopping for the best vacuum for pet hair? Here’s an affordable option; Roomba 690 that is unforgiving on pet messes and works with Alexa

roomba 690

Are you looking for the best vacuum for pet hair on a tight budget? We present to you the Roomba 690, a high-performance robot vacuum from iRobot that has beaten the odds to remain among the most dominant vacuum cleaners in the market.

This vacuum is a favorite for many pet owners, and even though there are some better models in the market from the same brand, it’s affordable price and the fact that it has Wi-Fi and Alexa make it an excellent choice for buyers. But is it still a worthy buy now that iRobot has released several new models with better technology?

Roomba 690, a great value for money

roomba 690
Image: iRobot

There’s no doubt iRobot is the most successful robot vacuum brand. Theirs is a story of determination and patience. Since the Massachusetts based company released its first model, the engineers have been improving every detail of the iRobot vacuums; from the aesthetics to the performance. But one thing that has been consistent with all the models is the high price tags. iRobot is the best and most expensive robot vacuum brand. The crème models; Roomba 980 and i7+ retail at over $900. The Roomba 690 itself retailed at over $450 when it was released back in the dawn of 2017.

You will agree with me that the competition has been very stiff and iRobot had to adjust prices downwards. We’ve seen $200 vacuum model like Deebot N79s that offer the same performance as some of these expensive Roombas. For iRobot, the Roomba 690 serves as their cheapest model for pet hair and an interesting feature that makes it even better is the Wi-Fi and Alexa compatibility. Right now, the vacuum retails at around $300 which is a great price.

Surprisingly, the vacuum’s price has gone down twice this year to about $270. If you are looking for good value for your money, the Roomba 690 is the best. If you look at how the Roomba prices have fluctuated over the years, it’s only Roomba 690 that has the best discounts. We expect the price to come down further in the upcoming 2018 Black Friday.

Getting started with the Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 arrives in a nice compact package with a one-year warranty. A quick peep into what’s in the box reveals the main robot, integrated charging base, extra filter and brush, and 1 Virtual Walls node, the manual and warranty documentation. As usual, you need to charge the vacuum first before the first use. The vacuum takes around 3 hours to recharge fully. On hardwood floor, the 690 lasts for about 65 minutes, but on carpets, the runtime is cut down to 58 minutes on low pile and 52 minutes on high pile. Getting started with the smart features is pretty easy. Make sure you have reliable Wi-Fi connection and the iRobot HOME App. But that is not to say that you can’t use it without Wi-Fi, there are all the controls you need on the Roomba’s top interface.

A cleaning system worth the price

roomba 690
Image: SnagBest

Regarding cleaning performance, this vacuum is not the best in the iRobot product portfolio, and again, it’s because it’s an old model. Right now, iRoomba boasts AeroForce cleaning system that has a better filter system, and improved Dirt Detect technology.

While later Roomba models come with true-HEPA filters, this model has HEPA-style filters. Now that you are looking for a vacuum for pets, a true-HEPA filter should be your priority as they are 99.97% efficient.

Unfortunately, this model’s high-efficiency filters are around 90% efficient, so if you are allergic, the pet-related allergens may trouble you. But for the price, you shouldn’t complain as long as it does the primary job of picking pet hair effectively. Another cool feature the Roomba 690 boasts is the Dirt Detect technology that works to find where there is concentrated dirt and the vacuum automatically switches to Spot mode. To note, the latest Roombas have Dirt Detect Series II while this old model has Series I.

Not so good vacuum power, but just enough for pet hair

For high pile carpet owners, the Roomba 690 may not be a popular model because it uses an old motor that manages around 600 Pa on average. This may seem a shortcoming now that cheaper models like Xiaomi and ECOVACS have over 1,000 Pa. This may look like a shortcoming for the 690, but for pet owners, it is a feature that has made it remain relevant. These high suction vacuums like Roomba 980 and Botvac D7 Connected blow away pet hair to the far corners if they are not within their reach. They tend to scatter the hair, but in the long run, they do a good job. For this model, at least it was gentle on how it hovered around. It doesn’t lift the pet hair like the other powerful vacuums, and that makes it a great vacuum for pet owners.

Rubber extractors dramatically reduce pet hair tangling

The new brush design is also worth mentioning. Unlike your ordinary vacuum that comes with bristle brushes, this vacuum has been designed with rubber extractors which are in fact more durable. But the most important thing is that rubber extractors do not tangle like the bristle brushes. So if you have the heavy-shedding dog breeds like Chihuahua, the Roomba 690 is an awesome model. But how I wish it had the tangle free system that the AeroForce cleaning system boasts. One problem you will notice with Roomba 690 is that the long hairs get twisted on the rubber bar. The later iRobot models have a dual multisurface brush but with an added feature; anti-tangle technology.

Old navigation system, but still reliable

irobot roomba 690
Image: Yahoo

One of the reasons that could make you shy away from the Roomba 690 is the rather old navigation system. iRobot built the vacuum with their traditional iAdapt navigation system that uses onboard sensors for localization. The sensors send invisible laser beams to the walls, and when they bounce back, the navigation software finds its position in the house. The floor mapping system also uses the same approach. For averagely sized apartments, with average traffic, this vacuum performs fairly and will get stuck or hit obstacles a few times.

But hey, it’s 2018, and there is much improvement Roomba has had. The 900 Series comes with iAdapat 2.0 VSLAM navigation that uses sensors and a real-time camera. That’s what you’d wish for if you have a high traffic room or a large floor to clean. The navigation is precise while the floor mapping system is intelligent enough. The result is faster cleaning. The old navigation system is among the shortcomings of the Roomba 690. But that’s only because there are better alternatives right now. On the sides the Roomba 690 has soft-touch bumpers that retract when the robot hits obstacles, consequently absorbing the impact.

Cheapest Roomba with Wi-Fi and Alexa compatibility

This vacuum owes much of its design and features to the older Roomba 650 only that this one has smart connectivity. It has been equipped with 2.4 GHz WI-Fi for Smartphone operation on the App. The vacuum is also the cheapest Roomba that works with Alexa and other voice assistants. Several integrations are also compatible for example IFTTT and other IoT technologies.

But I’m afraid there are a few of the latest iRobot app features that you will sacrifice. The later models have Clean Maps, advanced cleaning settings, and even wireless updates. But for this model, and also notably the more expensive 800 Series lack when it comes to App features. But for such an awesome iRobot vacuum at less than $300, I can’t complain.

Final words

The Roomba 690 is a relatively old model with a few shortcomings here and there. If you are looking for an affordable vacuum for your thick carpets, this is not the right choice. But it does a great job in homes with pet hair. Most of these new Roombas have super high suction power which tends to blow away the pet hair. But this model delivers just enough suction to pick up the hair without lifting or blowing them away. If you have hard floors, this is still a great option. The icing on the cake is that the Roomba 690 has Wi-Fi and Alexa compatibility. You get all that for just $300, or even less!

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down in the comments. 

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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