iRobot Roomba 694 is an entry-level Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum for small homes and apartments.
With its iOS and Android app, think of this Roomba as a starter robot vac, a first foray into the world of robot vacs for both the uninitiated and those needing or wanting only the basics at an entry-level price. What it is NOT is a replacement for a stick vac with attachments to get into corners, onto baseboards and wherever this or any robot vac cannot.
**WHAT’S IN THE BOX**
- iRobot Roomba 694
- Extra filter
- Charger/Home base with power cord
- Manual and Warranty
- Available for $250 from Amazon.
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Remove from box, remove plastic covering. Unscrew battery cover to remove plastic battery insulator so Roomba can charge. As per instructions in the manual, download the iRobot Home app.
Place the “home base” according to instructions.
Launch the app and follow prompts to connect with Roomba. Personalize use with scheduled cleaning, cleaning zones and routines around the user’s lifestyle, home setup, and schedule so cleaning can be done while home or away. It’s all pretty basic.
Give it a try!
**PUT TO THE TEST**
Along with the app, I let Roomba roam to get the lay of the land. I pressed the CLEAN button in the app and off it went. It adjusted as it transitioned from the hard floor up and onto the few rugs we have. It learned where tables and chairs are located and learned to maneuver around them and through available openings to get under a table, for example. Roomba detected the limits of the rooms and learned where the baseboards are and to scoot along them, cleaning with its side brush.
Roomba learned where the step into the living room is and not to try to go down the step.
Following it around, I set test zones to avoid, as if a child’s play area. I set it to maneuver around the dog’s food and water bowl area. It roamed and carved a swath to clean, learning the terrain. After its first run, it did as it was supposed to do and returned to its base.
I took it from its base and did as the manual instructs – emptied the bin (after each use).
Next, I set Roomba to clean on a schedule as if I was going to be away, and I watched as it made its rounds.
It seems that the more it is out and about, the more it learns the obstacles and general lay of the land. As a test, I put a box on the floor near the dog bowls. As Roomba approached, it slowed, assessed and avoided it.
In another test, I sprinkled a small amount of salt and cereal on the kitchen floor. Then, I pressed the CLEAN button in the app and watched. Away from base, Roomba roamed. As it approached the debris it did as programmed, moving in a spiral pattern and performed a more thorough cleaning, all the while with the CLEAN button blinking on the top of Roomba.
For my next test, I used Alexa to begin a cleaning session with my voice. I did not do the same test with the Google Home app.
Specifications call for up to 90 minutes running on a single charge. When it senses low battery, it attempts a return to base where it rests on its charging pad to top up the battery. This is not possible where there is at least one step to negotiate.
Cleaning time! This model came with a bristle-type brush similar to what would be found on a traditional vacuum. Unlike a higher-tech rubber brush on many more modern models, this brush easily picked up hair and stringy debris that became entangled in the brush. Removing the brush to untangle the mess was necessary.
What characteristics and capabilities come with more advanced robot vacuums? You’ll see soon enough as I am working on another robot vacuum review.
Mission accomplished. This entry-level iRobot Roomba 694 has come a long way since my first Roomba experience in 2005. For a small home or apartment that does not have a requirement to pick up a lot of pet fur or hair, Roomba 694 is a good choice at $250. Again, this or any robot vacuum of which I am aware is not a replacement for a more proper vacuum. A traditional vacuum, be it a stick vac or any of the other configurations, and the customary attachments, are needed to brush and vacuum baseboards and so much more. Unfortunately, robot vacuums just cannot help to brush and suck up dirt from anywhere but the floor where it can traverse.
Other models add more power, a greater cleaning area, auto-emptying and even the ability to wash floors as well as vacuum. More advanced models use artificial intelligence to a greater degree with smarter mapping technology. Other models add the ability to mop bare floors. All advanced robot vacuums have greater cost to accompany their greater smarts and capabilities.
In conclusion, iRobot Roomba 694 may be bare bones, but if bare bones is right for you, go for it!
iRobot provides a one-year parts and labor warranty.