In as much as the Roomba 900 Series boasts the best and latest features, the Roomba 690 and 890 have remained afloat in the market courtesy of their affordability. At least they cost several hundred dollars lesser than the 960 and 980. But then, when shopping, it might be hard for you to settle on one of them. That said, you’d want to read this Roomba 690 vs 890 comparison review to understand the models deeper so that you can make the best purchase decision.
The Roomba 690 retails at under $300 while the Roomba 890 has a price tag of around $500.
Table of Contents
- 1 Roomba 690 – best model in 600 series
- 2 iRobot Roomba 890 – Smart Choice for home
- 3 ROOMBA 690 VS ROOMBA 890 COMPARISON REVIEW
- 4 OUR VERDICT
- 5 OUR RECOMMENDATION
Roomba 690 – best model in 600 series
The Roomba 690 was my second robot vacuum after the older Roomba 650. Though there was a lot of hype about it during its release, it didn’t live up to the expectations considering the only new feature brought on board was Wi-Fi and Alexa compatibility.
But I’m glad the price was not exaggerated; you will get it on Amazon at around $300 which is not bad for a Smart vacuum cleaner from such a top brand. I like the fact that this robot vacuum blends affordability and performance. Though it may not make it even in the top 5 best Roombas shortlist, it will still offer you some great performance on floors, carpets and pet hair.
But here are two important things to note. First, this cleaner is not ideal for high traffic rooms and second, it’s very selective on dark carpets. This seems to be a major problem but then when you remember the extras it offers as well as unique technology like Dirt Detect and Virtual Walls, not forgetting the price tag, the Roomba 690 is still a worthy purchase if you are looking for an entry-level Smart robot vacuum.
But I’m afraid, if you are looking for a cleaner that will also do allergens, this one won’t be ideal. The filters are not true HEPA so the filtration efficiency is lower; true HEPA is 99.97% efficient while HEPA style filters will do anything between 85% and 90%.
Also, the 60 minutes runtime and fast battery wear will want you to think twice especially if you have large floors.
- Very affordable price
- For floors, carpets and pet hair
- Dirt Detect
- Wi-Fi and Alexa compatible
- Virtual Walls
- Misses some carpet spots
- Clumsy navigation system
- Short battery runtime (60 mins)
- Tangling in brushes
- HEPA style filters
iRobot Roomba 890 – Smart Choice for home
This is another mid-range vacuum cleaner that leads the pack in the 800 Series. Though a lot of websites portray it as a clever choice while others find it an affordable option, I have different thoughts. On a normal day, the Roomba 890 will cost you around $500; that’s in the same range as high-end vacs like Deebot R95 that for sure beat the Roomba 890.
But still there’s something about the Roomba 890 and one thing you will love it for is the similar features it bears together with the coveted Roomba 960.
The first important function is the 5x boosted suction power. Though not as efficient as the Roomba 980 when it Carpet Boost, it produces enough suction for thorough carpet cleaning. Another thing, it has a new anti-tangle brush that reduces tangling.
So, if you have long haired breeds; Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Afghan Hound, Havanese, and the likes, this is a Roomba you’d want to have. If you also have allergies; whether pet related or not, the HEPA filters used in this cleaner will make sure you have fresh air always. It captures 99.97% of allergens and compared to HEPA style filters, this is just impressive.
- 5x more suction pover
- Tangle-free Brush system
- For Floors, carpets and pet hair
- Dirt Detect Series 2
- Longer runtime (60 mins)
- Wi‐Fi and Alexa Compatible
- Misses some carpet spots
- Clumsy navigation system
- Short battery runtime (60 mins)
- Auto resume
ROOMBA 690 VS ROOMBA 890 COMPARISON REVIEW
Like promised, we are going to strip down these two models to see how they stack up against each other. We are going to focus on the main aspects of robot vacuum cleaners so without wasting time, let’s get straight down to business.
1. DIMENSIONS, DESIGN & AESTHETICS
This is an area that the Roomba 890 and 690 have a fair share of similarities and differences. But just to alert you early enough, there is no much that should influence your buying decision here. The dimensions are all equal; just a few interface design changes and perhaps the finish bring the difference.
When it comes to the design, they are both round-shaped and though they won’t fit in corners like the D-shaped Neato robots, the sides brushes will ensure the corners are at least swept, but not thoroughly. The finishing is also very different. While the Roomba 690 is dark and has a silver accent, the Roomba 890 is black with a brownish accent in the middle.
In terms of dimensions, these cleaners are quite similar with the weight only being the difference. Like all Roombas, they have a diameter of 13.6-inches and stand at 3.6 inches high. The problem with most review websites is that they have hyped the Roombas so much and won’t be honest about its design. The Roomba is not the definition of a low profile design and will only get under furniture with much higher clearance. Regarding weight, the Roomba 690 weighed in at 7.4 lbs. while the rival was a little bit heavier at 8.4 lbs.
2. CLEANING PERFORMANCE (Cleaning tests)
I know this is the most interesting bit of this Roomba 890 vs 690 comparison review. On our side, we refined our research and did numerous tests to give you real insights on how these two cleaners compare as far as cleaning is concerned. We will share with you our exclusive tests results under different conditions.
To make it easier for our readers, we have segmented this section into two. In the first section, we will compare the different features and in the second part, we will share with you the results of the cleaning performance comparison.Cleaning priority – The Roomba 690 and 890 have been designed for all around use. You can clean hardwood floors, tile, carpets and pet hair as well as allergens. But then, all these are marketing hypes, the real answer to this is in our cleaning test. Make sure to check each of the two Roomba’s performance on the different surfaces. Suction – This is an important dynamic when it comes to robot vacuuming. Suction power is the force that picks up dirt from the floor to the bin. The Roomba 690 has quite an old motor considering we now have generation 2 motors like the one used in the Roomba 980. It can deliver around 600Pa while the 890 has a 1st Generation motor that delivers around 800Pa. Brush – This is another important feature that will determine the cleaning performance of your vacuum. It is also an area where these two vacuum cleaners greatly differ. During the era of the 600 Series, iRobot was using the dual multi-surface brush system that was new at the time. It performs quite well but then, tangling is the menace. On the other hand, the Roomba 890 has the same dual multi-surface brush but now with anti-tangle technology making it suitable for pets. Filter system – Also here, the Roomba 890 and 680 are different as the former uses an AeroForce filter system while the latter has AeroVac. The difference between the two is basically the filter used inside. Roomba 690 uses a HEPA style filter while the Roomba 890 has a true HEPA filter. Dirt detection – This is a revolutionary feature that looks for areas where there is concentrated dirt for a detailed clean. This technology is in both models but the Roomba 890 has a more advanced version. In the older Roomba, it is called Dirt Detect and uses acoustic sensors to detect dirt. Once it detects an area with concentrated dirt, it switched to Spot mode until the dirt is vacuumed. On the other hand, the 890 has Dirt Detect Series II that uses acoustic and optical sensors to detect dirt.
Our Exclusive Cleaning Test Results
Hardwood/Tile/Vinyl On these surfaces, robot vacuums normally produce the same results so here, we will use the results we got on the hardwood floor.
To get the real performance of these robot vacuums, we tested it with some of the common dirt and messes that it will be handling on a daily basis. We used kitty litter, sugar, cereals, Cheerios, flour, and sugar. We run the test by pouring some small amount of this dirt on hardwood floor, thin carpet and thick carpet. Here are our results.
The Roomba 690 collected 98% of the sugar we had poured on the floor, 98% flour, 90% kitty litter, 96% cereals, 100% Cheerios and 98% rice. On the other hand, the 890 exhibited better performance considering the boosted suction power. It picked all the scattered sugar, flour, rice, and Cheerios. The only dirt that seemed to be a problem for it was kitty litter but still, 94% isn’t that bad.
This is where the Roomba 890 manifested its superiority; the 5x more suction power than average Roombas. But still, the performance is so wanting for both models and if you have a thick carpet, I won’t guarantee you thorough cleaning even with the Roomba 890. That’s why the Roomba 980 remains a top model for those with carpets; whether thin or thick.
In this comparison, I will use some data I have for the Roomba 980 so that you may see the difference. I was fortunate to find the Roomba 980 at my friend’s place so I said, why not compare the performance of these two to that of the king, the 980 when switched to Carpet Boost.
As you will see on the table, the Roomba 690 was at its lowest managing only 82% of sugar, 80% of flour, and 90% of kitty litter. On the other hand, 94% of rice and Cheerios was picked. For the Roomba 890, there was some slight improvement but not worth the $200 price difference. It picked 84% of all the sugar and flour and 85% of kitty litter. It then performed well on Cheerios and rice picking 94%.
Here, the performance of both models wasn’t bad at all.
Here, the Roomba 890 and 690 didn’t perform as bad as they did on heavy pile. At least they were able to pick much of the fine particles, especially dust, flour and sugar which hide deep inside the fabric. So, in as much as their performance is dismal on heavy carpets, you can still rely on one of them if you have thin carpet.
So, what amount of dirt did each of the two Roombas pick?
The Roomba 690 comes last here again collecting 90% of sugar, 86% flour, 90% kit litter, and 98% of Cheerios and rice. On the other hand, the Roomba 890 manages to collect all the Cheerios and rice, 100%. Floor and sugar is a slight problem at 90% while kitty litter remains the problem at 86%.
Unfortunately here, we were not able to conduct deep tests because finding the dirt in question is not easy. We were able to collect pet dirt for a few weeks but then, but the time we were doing the test, the dirt had lost its natural characteristics so obviously, the results would be biased.
But having kept pets and used the two vacuum cleaners, there are a few things I would like to share with you regarding their performance.
When I had the Roomba 690, I was living in a two bedroom apartment with an engineered hardwood floor. With two Havanese and my wife’s cat, the Roomba 690 was often overwhelmed. I liked how it was able to pull the long dog fur and all the cat hair. But then, it tangled almost daily because of the dog’s long hair. Regarding filtration, I can’t give it credit because there was no much difference. As you understand, this is a HEPA style filter and filters around 85% – 90% of allergens.
The Roomba 890, on the other hand, is improved and will suck all the hair, fur, flakes, and dander. Besides this, it comes with a HEPA filter so most of the time, you will have fresh breathable air. But still, it is not something you can rely on to clean the air when you have more than one pet or if your house is poorly ventilated. Also, remember to empty the bin frequently especially if you have pets. I once replaced my filter thinking it was worn out yet the problem was the stinking dander in the bin.
3. NAVIGATION AND MAPPING SYSTEM
What’s the size of your apartment or floor area? Do you have a lot of furniture and household fittings? How fast do you want the cleaner to be? These three questions are very important when buying a robot vacuum cleaner.
To answer them satisfactorily, it is the navigation and mapping system that is put on the spot.
The Roomba 690 was very clumsy when navigating around and most of the time, it looked unsure whether to go in the direction it was facing. But the worst thing is the frequency at which it got stuck. It got twice as much as the Roomba 890 but when clutter is reduced, at least it becomes swift. On carpets with dark spots, it also seems to decode them as a fall so when it reaches such spots, it diverts. This is quite serious considering the dirt on the dark spots is the most visible. One last thing, the Roomba 890 cleaned much faster than the Roomba 690.
The Roomba 890 comes with the same iAdapt 1.0 navigation system but with an upgraded software that processes information faster. This is why it is harder for the 890 to hit the wall as it will slow down faster because of the enhanced communication. Regarding mapping and scanning, the faster software also gives the Roomba 890 an upper hand. At least it made some logical turns unlike the stupid Roomba 690 that made some funny turns and always took the longest routes.
There is also another feature called Virtual Walls that allows homeowners to restrict the robot from going to specific areas. Both the 890 and 690 are compatible with this feature and come with 1 dual-mode Virtual Wall included.
4. BATTERY PERFORMANCE
That in mind, you want to know how it goes down in the Roomba 890 vs 690 supremacy war. One thing I want you to note here is that there are a lot of similarities but at the end of the day, the performance varies.
In our tests, the Roomba 690 did 47 minutes on thick carpet, 54 minutes on thin carpet and 63 minutes on hardwood and tile. On the other hand, the Roomba 890 averaged 50 minutes on the thick carpet, 60 minutes on thin carpet, and 64 minutes on wood and tile.
When the bin was full, the runtime greatly reduced so you would want to empty the bin frequently to save the battery life. When the bin was half full, the runtime dipped by around 10% so on a hardwood floor, the Roomba 890 lasted around 59 minutes.
Another thing that would probably fluctuate the runtime is the brushes. I noticed the Roomba 690 often dipped runtime and one of my easy troubleshooting steps was cleaning the tangled brush.
So, what about recharging. Will the Roomba recharge? And thereafter, does it resume cleaning or you have to prompt it?
The Roomba 890 and 690 all have the self-recharge feature. When the power level is in critical condition, it finds its way to the Home base for recharging. The recharge time for both robots is around two and a half hours but I noted that the longer you use it, the longer the charging time but just in the range of 2 – 3 hours.
5. SMART FEATURES & CONVENIENCE
That said, you’d want to know which of the two vacuums cleaners will offer you more convenience and Smart features.
When it comes to convenience, we are solely focusing on programmability. Can you schedule the Roomba to clean at a later time? Yes, just like all Roombas the 690 and 890 can be scheduled to clean at specific times throughout the week. I really like this function especially the ease of use.
My grandmother hardly uses the Smartphone App. As long as she has scheduled it, it runs throughout the week. But one flaw that no one seems to be addressing is that this feature assumes you will be cleaning the house only once a day. For pet lovers like us who keep two or three pets, we have to vacuum at least twice daily so, in the second cleaning cycle, you have to initiate a cleaning session.
A robot cleaner requires frequent maintenance so you would want to know which one of the two between Roomba 690 vs 890 requires lesser maintenance.
To be honest with you, there is none of the two that has lesser maintenance.
Another important thing to note is that the maintenance requirements are determined by the level of usage.
That means, the more the vacuum is used the more it will require maintenance. I have used both vacuum cleaner and so I have quite a lot regarding the maintenance of the two.
Some of the maintenance requirements include bin emptying, filter replacement, brush replacement, battery replacement and so on. While cleaning and bin emptying remains constant, the prices of the replacement parts may vary.
7. COST & VALUE FOR MONEY
Now, all said and done, it’s time you make up your mind which of the two cleaners you are going to buy. But just before that, a discussion on the cost and value for money would be very resourceful.
There are some really awesome cheap models; the likes of ECOVACS DEEBOT N78 that in fact has a mop, the new ILIFE V8s Pro, bObsweep, Eufy RoboVac II and so many other robot vacuums in the $200 price range. Something like the ILIFE V5s Pro will give you the same service as the Roomba 690 only that it doesn’t have Wi-Fi and Alexa. Otherwise, if I had the chance to choose something else apart from Roomba, I wouldn’t run out of options.
At least it doesn’t exceed the $500 mark and still offers some exclusive features found in the Roomba 900 Series. If you want more suction power, this is a robot you want to own. When it comes to pets, it does an amazing job and that’s the case for hardwood floors.
Now, we are almost coming to the end of our review and in this section, we want to give you our verdict on what’s the best robot vacuum cleaner in this Roomba 890 vs 690 comparison review. Remember, our verdict here will solely be based on the features and performance; price won’t be a consideration just yet.
Though these two vacuum cleaners have a lot of similarities, there is a great difference in features and performance and that explains the $200 price gap.
The Roomba 890 has some few extras that in fact attribute to the better performance of the 890 during our cleaning tests.
First, it has 5x more vacuuming power than the Roomba 690. The second thing, it will not tangle like the Roomba 600 Series old brush so even if you have long-haired breeds, the 890 won’t get jammed.
Another thing, the 890 has a HEPA filter that makes it best for allergy sufferers. This is compared to the HEPA style filter used in the 690’s AeroVac filter.
Lastly, the 890 has an upgraded software so even though they both have iAdapt 1.0, the fast data procession in the 890 makes it more intelligent.
However, if you bring in the issue of price, the Roomba 890’s boat may start sinking. One argument will be from those who have small apartments with no pets. It would be stupid to spend $200 on a vacuum that has extras meant for cleaning needs you don’t have. But that’s a story for another day. Bottomline is, from an overall perspective, it is hard to call a winner between the Roomba 690 and 890 because cleaning needs are different.
By now I know you have learned a lot and maybe settling on one of the two vacuums is still a problem. To be honest with you, you are the one who will make the best decision on which of the two you are going with because you understand your cleaning needs better. But fortunately, our business is to help you do the shopping so to wind up this comparison review, here are a few takeaways.