iRobot Roomba 650
Robot Vacuum Review
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The Roomba 650 vacuum cleaner is a lower cost, robot vacuum designed to make vacuuming your floors more convenient. As one of the less expensive options offered by iRobot, the Roomba 650 is designed as a value robot coming equipped with the essentials, but lacking fancier bells and whistles.
- Offers great value.
- Dirt detection system offers a quicker cleaning method.
- Scheduling the Roomba allows for effortless cleaning.
- There is no floor plan memory feature.
- There is no smartphone or app control.
- This is a great value if you’re looking for a basic robot with minimum bells and whistles.
- It’s aconvenient choice for those users who need to vacuum regularly but have limited time.
The iRobot 650 Roomba vacuum cleaner offers a sleek design with modern robot features. The Roomba 650 vacuum includes a handle on top for easy pick up, a simple user interface along the top of the robot, and durable walls that are built to give as they bump into objects during cleaning. Additionally, this vacuum offers a circular aesthetic with a black and gray color scheme.
- Power / Clean
- Filter Release
How It Cleans
Unlike most of the Roomba’s, the 650 does not have a memory feature. Instead, this iRobot vacuum uses a dirt detection system to analyze where dirt and debris is in the house. As the Roomba 650 travels to clean up the mess, it scans the room up to 60 times per second, helping to create a clear path. That said, the vacuum cleaner does bump into things (walls, chairs, etc.), but by scanning the room frequently, it tends to avoid those items after hitting them a time or two.
While trekking through your home, the Roomba 650 vacuum uses a three-stage cleaning process: agitate, brush, and suck. This process makes for a quick cleaning process as the vacuum moves throughout your home.
The iRobot 650 vacuum was one of the first Roomba’s we tested. As a less expensive option, the 650 was a good robot vacuum to test and compare among other, more expensive Roombas. We have had this Roomba since December 2015.
- Front Wheel
- Spinning Brush
- Back Wheels
- Dust Bin
Size & Dimensions
The Roomba 650 is approximately 3.6” tall. This allows the Roomba to drive under hard-to-reach spaces that most vacuums cannot clean.
This Roomba embodies a durable build, weighing in at 11.8 pounds. As a slightly heavier model, the 650 does have the ability to knock items off of tables, chairs, or other pieces of furniture, which may also lead to these items landing on the vacuum. That said, this Roomba is tough and has held up well when hit on the head from a fallen object.
The bumper ring surrounding the edge of the Roomba is also quite resilient. Its ability to bump into and off of objects and keep moving at a fast pace is impressive. One of the more common problems with my Roomba is the snagging of the brushes. There have been times where longer hairs and strings became a tangled mess around the brush, virtually preventing the brush from spinning.
Another situation to be on the lookout for is scratches. Over time, my Roomba has slid into spaces where it barely fit and the end result was a scratch or two along the top of the iRobot vacuum. Since the Roomba 650 does not have the memory feature, it may be smart to watch the vacuum perform its first few runs to ensure that it is not trying to work its way into tight spots. The scratches have not affected the performance of the vacuum, but I don’t necessarily like the effect they’ve had on the aesthetics.
Accessories & Parts
The Roomba 650 vacuum cleaner includes the following parts and accessories
- Virtual wall barrier
- Charging station
- HEPA filter x 2
- Spinning brush
- Cleaning tool
The virtual wall barrier is used to prevent the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner from going into a particular room or space. The Roomba 650 is equipped with one virtual wall, but you do have the option of purchasing more if you’d like.
Additionally, the virtual wall barriers do not need to be positioned to block off stairs. The Roomba contains a ledge notifier, which tells the vacuum to avoid that space.
Finally, we come to the cleaning accessories. The iRobot Roomba 650 robot vacuum includes a rotating brush, a HEPA filter, and a debris extractor (the rubber spinning tubes on the base). Over time, these parts will need to be replaced, but they are fairly inexpensive..
If you suffer from allergies, you may want to consider changing the HEPA filter more frequently.
The following vacuum cleaning tests are designed to show how the iRobot Roomba 650 robot vacuum performs on a variety of surfaces picking up a variety of debris. For these tests we look at hardwood floors, low pile carpets, and high pile carpets. For each floor surface type we test the vacuum cleaner against rice, dry cereal, kitty litter, and sugar.
For these tests, the debris was spread out over our testing area. After spreading the material, we completed the vacuum test. In the case of the Roomba 650, this test consisted of a 7 minute run time which gave the Roomba sufficient time to clean the area.
To determine the amount of debris that the vacuum picked up, we use a three step process:
- Step 1 – Weigh the empty dust bin
- Step 2 – Run the vacuum and weigh the dust bin again
- Step 3 – Subtract the weight of the full dust bin by the weight of the empty dust bin. This helps to account for every ounce of debris that is in the bin.
The Roomba 650 performed extremely well throughout our hardwood floor tests, picking up at least 89% of each kind of debris we placed in its path.
- Hardwood – Rice 93%
- Hardwood – Cereal 89%
- Hardwood – Kitty Litter 95%
- Hardwood – Sugar 95%
Low Pile Carpet
Once again, the Roomba performed well on the low pile carpet. Although this unit only picked up 73% of the sugar on the testing lane, the rest of the debris was cleaned up with ease.
- Low Carpet – Rice 99%
- Low Carpet – Cereal 100%
- Low Carpet – Kitty Litter 98%
- Low Carpet – Sugar 73%
High Pile Carpet
Last but not least, we evaluated the Roomba 650 robot vacuum’s performance on high pile carpet. Similar to the low pile carpet, the vacuum struggled with picking up sugar on the high pile carpet. Based off of my visual, the sugar was able to fall through the threading of the carpet, making it difficult for the Roomba to pick up. That said, the 650 did great with each of the other debris types.
- High Carpet – Rice 92%
- High Carpet – Cereal 98%
- High Carpet – Kitty Litter 93%
- High Carpet – Sugar 49%
Getting started with the iRobot Roomba 650 vacuum is quite simple. There’s no lengthy setup period, it’s more of an unbox, charge, and let it run type of product.
Roomba 650 Setup
Setting up the Roomba 650 is about as easy as most imagine it should be. Simply unbox, plug in, and allow your Roomba to charge, and then manually tap the cleaning button or set a programmed cleaning schedule. You’re done.
Next up, let’s discuss scheduling. This robot vacuum has an internal schedule that gives users the opportunity to have their floors vacuumed at a specific time every day.
For example, I was able to set my 650 to clean my floor at 12pm sharp, Monday—Friday. This can be a major plus for a lot of users, as the schedule can provide clean floors every day with little to no effort on your end. The days and times for scheduled cleaning are programmed by using the buttons located on top of the Roomba. If you would rather have the Roomba clean at a less specific time, you can press the “clean” button.
All things considered, the Roomba 650 is extremely easy to use. Whether you schedule it or just click the clean button, you do not have to follow it around, push it, or plug it in, as you do with most other vacuums. This iRobot vacuum does all of the dirty work for you.
Built with a circular design, the Roomba 650 is able to maneuver in a 360 degree manner. Additionally, the vacuum is only 3.6″ tall, therefore allowing it to clean under low spaces with ease. The combination of these two attributes creates a highly maneuverable robot vacuum.
The only downfall of having a circular design is how the 650 cleans corners. The spinning brush attached to the vacuum does a nice job of reaching out into those corners, but a majority of the time the unit is not able to fully clean the corners, leaving a small amount of debris for you to clean by hand or with a hand held vacuum cleaner.
Maintaining the Roomba is simple. Typically, the most maintenance comes from emptying the dust bin, which should be emptied every 1-2 vacuums, unless you have pets, which requires more frequent cleaning of that bin.
Aside from the dust bin, the rotating brush on the bottom of the vacuum is another item that you should pay close attention to. The more you use the vacuum cleaner, the faster the individual brushes will wear down, resulting in reduced cleaning performance. Roomba recommends you replace the brush every few months, but if you are keeping a close eye on your iRobot vacuum then you should be able to tell when this part needs to be changed.
The internal HEPA filter should be cleaned every few vacuumings. You can clean it by simply brushing the dirt away with your hand, with hot water, or with compressed air. Eventually, you will want to replace the filter (especially if you suffer from allergies). As with the spinning brush, it is best to replace if you feel like performance is being negatively impacted.
Two rubber tubes found on the bottom of the Roomba, also known as the debris extractors, won’t need to be replaced as often as the spinning brush or HEPA filter. Although the debris extractor can get clogged / tangled, the rubber cylinders can be popped out of the vacuum and cleaned quite easily.
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your iRobot Roomba vacuum, you’ll want to be sure you are checking the debris extractor for any tangles or clogs. That said, the debris extractor does have the longest life span of the Roomba parts.
After having my Roomba 650 for 2 years, I have yet to replace the spinning brush, I replace the HEPA filter 1-2 times a year, and I have not had to replace my debris extractor yet.
The following table indicates the frequency at which you will likely want to replace the various maintenance components of the vacuum. Please bear in mind that, these are based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. I personally feel they are recommending replacing more than is necessary, but you may prefer to simply follow the manufacture’s guidelines.
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency||Replacement Cost|
|HEPA filter||2 months||$1.50 / per - Buy|
|Spinning brush||6 months||$1.25 / per - Buy|
|Front wheel||12 months||$8 / per - Buy|
|Brushroll||12 months||$5 / per - Buy|
|Battery||18-36 months||$20 / per - Buy|
All vacuum cleaner reviews on Modern Castle are put through our standard noise test. For this test, we use a sound meter to measure noise in terms of decibel level.
My Roomba 650 vacuum is over 2 years old and still running on its original battery. That said, the run time of the vacuum has decreased, meaning it may be time to get a new battery.
With regards to longevity, I must say I am impressed with the ability of the battery to continue running after this amount of time. When originally purchasing the 650, I figured the less expensive Roomba models would not have the battery lifespan that the more expensive iRobot vacuums do. I was wrong.
This Roomba has a wide span in terms of charging time. When completely dead, it could take up to 16 hours to complete a full charge. On the other hand, it could also charge in just a couple of hours if it did not drain its entire battery during the previous cleaning cycle.
On a full charge, the Roomba 650 is able to vacuum for about 1-1.5 hours. This number varies because of how large the messes are, how many obstacles get in the way, how large the room is, and your battery.
The Roomba 650 can run for up to approximately 90 minutes on a single charge.
Fortunately, battery technology continues to improve, in addition to prices continuing to drop. Roomba’s newest generation battery — the XLife extended life battery — is compatible on the 400, 600, 700, and 800 series Roomba models. It has a capacity of 3,000 mAh.
|Charging Time||2-3 hours|
|Run Time||60-90 minutes|
|Replacement Cost||$20 - Buy|
Priced at $299, this vacuum is a steal of a deal. The cleaning power, low maintenance, hassle free cleaning, and low cost all combine to create a great value.
Roomba has several more expensive options, but for a robot vacuum without all of the bells and whistles, this model should not be overlooked. There is no smart phone / app control, but the scheduling feature included in the technology of this vacuum is impressive in it itself.
Additionally, a 30-day return policy and a 1 year warranty kicks in the day the vacuum is purchased. Although the warranty is not extremely long, Roomba seems to stand behind its product, stating it will repair, exchange, or upgrade the unit, if the claim is legit.
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the iRobot Roomba 650 vacuum cleaner:
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.3 liter|
|Returns||30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer|
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum, but don’t want to fork over a ton of money, the Roomba 650 is a solid option. As one of the lower cost models Roomba has produced, the 650 is a great option for pet owners, as well as the everyday user who likes the idea of a convenient self-cleaning vacuum.
I would recommend the Roomba 650 robot vacuum cleaner if you:
- Want the convenience of a robot vacuum – Convenience can be key for those with a busy lifestyle. Robot vacuums, such as the Roomba 650, make vacuuming simple with just the push of a button or a pre-set schedule.
- Want minimal maintenance – Changing the HEPA filter, the debris extractor, and the rotating brush is about the only maintenance required with this vacuum. No serious maintenance is required to keep the iRobot Roomba 650 running.
- Don’t need the memory feature – The 650 does not come with a memory feature. In other words, this vacuum will not memorize your home and create a specific path by which it will clean every use. This vacuum utilizes a dirt detection system, which works specifically to located dirt and debris and clean it up. Therefore, you will want to be sure you’re okay with a more basic Roomba before going with the 650 model.
For more information on the Roomba 650 see Amazon.com.
Surprising Performance on a Budget
The Roomba 650 offers surprising performance for its price. It excelled across almost all of our cleaning tests, only slightly faltering on the sugar debris type. As far as overall cleaning performance, value, and usability go, the Roomba 650 offers tremendous performance and is an excellent choice especially for those who don’t care as much about fancy bells and whistles.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, and poodle, Tibbers.