iRobot Roomba 650 Review - The Vacuuming Robot

iRobot Roomba 650 Review - The Vacuuming Robot

You might be wondering why a company that specializes in air conditioning near Santa Clarita, California is writing a review of a Roomba vacuuming robot.  But for those of you who have read our blog, an iRobot Roomba 650 Review is not that far out there.  At All Systems Mechanical, we write these reviews to help people gain a better understanding of how they can improve their health and quality of lives by improving indoor air quality.  Although your air conditioner is a key part of your indoor air quality, it isn’t everything.  You also might know from our articles that the proper use of high quality air filters and vacuuming regularly are just as important to your health as your HVAC system.  Indoor air quality is important to us and we are sometimes asked by customers about Roomba vacuums.  We don’t sell Roombas, or even vacuum cleaners for that matter.  But we do often give recommendations on them.  But seriously, can a little robot that runs around your house brushing up the dirt left by your dog really improve your air quality?  I was skeptical, but loving gadgets myself, I had to get one.  After a bit of research and a lot of price-hunting, I settled on the iRobot Roomba 650.  Let me say it again – we don’t sell Roombas – so as always, this will be an objective, iRobot Roomba 650 review.  In this article, we will look at the iRobot Roomba 650 from a couple of different aspects including features, performance and cost.

iRobot Roomba 650 Review of Features

irobot_roomba_650_reviewMost of the features touted by the iRobot Roomba 650 are design-driven, rather than stuff you can fiddle with and set up yourself.  In fact, the setup for the Roomba is surprisingly simple and its display panel is spartan.  All you pretty much do when you get it is plug it in, let it charge and set up its schedule.  At first I was disappointed at how simple it was – I mean, I really wanted to fool around with my new toy.  Surprisingly, however, after my initial disappointment I realized something…how often do you really need to mess with a robot that vacuums your floors for you?  Isn’t the idea to set it and forget about it?

General Features of iRobot Roomba 650

In this section I will briefly describe some of the features included in the Roomba 650. For a review of how well it worked, skip down to the next section, “Performance Review.”

Pros of the Roomba 650

What really sets the Roomba 650 apart from other robot vacuums in the Roomba series (and the reason I chose it) is that it is specifically designed for people who have pets.  The vacuum uses two, counter-rotating brushes to agitate pet hair and dust out of your carpet or flooring, where it can be sucked up by the vacuum motor.

irobot roomba 650 review

An additional strong-suit for the Roomba 650 is its battery run time.  Most robot vacuums on the market run anywhere from 1-2 hours before requiring recharging, while the Roomba 650 boasts a 4 hour run-cycle, covering each part of your floor several times.

Cons of the Roomba 650

why I got a roomba 650

“Fozzy” – Why I got a Roomba…

I am not sure that I’d consider this is a con necessarily, but it is important to know what you are getting; the Roomba 650 is not meant to be a stand-alone vacuum cleaner.  A little robot that tends to your floor just doesn’t have the suction or the power to penetrate deep into your carpets that a stand-alone does.  What is does do, however, is increase the time between vacuuming sessions and keep the carpet looking clean all the time, especially if you have a puppy that routinely destroys his new toys on your carpet…ahem, Fozzy!

For more information on how to properly use your stand-alone vacuum cleaner, try:

How to use a vacuum cleaner and why.

Programmable Schedule

One of the best features of the 650 is its scheduling feature.  Although not unique to the 650, scheduling cleanings is easy.  Simply press and hold the “Schedule” button at the bottom.  Then use the “Day,” “Hour,” and “Minute” buttons to enter in up to seven programmed schedule times per week.

irobot roomba 650 review control panelClean Feature

The main display panel features a large button in the middle with the word “clean” on it, for obvious reasons.  This function allows you to tell your Roomba 650 to clean the room at any time of the day.  Note: this feature will not disable the scheduled cleaning, however, so realize that your Roomba will actually clean the room twice that day should you decide to use it.

Dock Feature

Most of the time, you’ll set your Roomba 650 up to clean sometime around 2am so you don’t have to see or hear it. But if you use the “Clean” feature (as you will right after you get it just so you can watch it), you may want it to go back to its dock and stop cleaning.  To do this, press the “Dock” button, and the Roomba will start searching for its docking station.  When it gets within range as it continues to clean, it will adjust itself appropriately and drive right in.  Pretty fun to watch.

Spot Feature

If your dog has just destroyed a toy on your carpet and you don’t feel like cleaning it up, you can pick up your Roomba 650 and place it right in the middle of the mess.  Press the “Spot” button and it will begin a spiral pattern until it gets every last bit of debris.  One of the nice features about the Roomba 650 series is that they feature a “dirt-detect” function that allows your robot to detect areas of high dirt concentration, and focus more on these.

iRobot Roomba 650 Review of Performance

carpet after robot roomba 650 review

The carpet after a Roomba 650 cleaning.

Now, I’ve got to admit, I was a bit skeptical about this little thing’s ability to clean your house.  I mean, it’s only about 18 inches in diameter and weighs about 10 pounds.  How powerful could it be?  Going into this, I mostly thought of it as a cool little gimmick; a conversation starter, and if it ended up cleaning the little pieces of dog treat and toy that my puppy left behind, then I’d be happy.  To my surprise, I was wrong.

dirt tray of irobot Roomba 650The first night I tested it, I made sure to vacuum using my Miele sometime during the day, which if you’ve read some of my air quality posts, you know I highly recommend.  Upon waking the next morning, however, much to my surprise the carpet did not only look clean and well brushed, but it looked like it had just been…well, vacuumed.  Fair enough, right?  Here’s where I was sold – when I opened up the dirt collection tray to empty it, it was completely filled with dust and debris, an amount that I didn’t even think could still be in my carpet.  But how?

I was a bit frustrated at first because I had used my Miele vacuum earlier in the day.  How could it have missed these spots?  So I dug. I read forums and searched performance specs and finally realized three of the Roomba 650’s most powerful features: it never gets bored, it is really slow, and it travels over the same spot 4-5 times.

Think about it – is the rushed, half-assed job I did vacuuming my floors really going to compare to a robot that spends four hours going over every single spot it can possibly get to 4-5 times?  No way.

This is where the world of vacuuming robots really begins to step up.  It is not as powerful as your regular vacuum, it won’t remove as many allergens or dust particles, but what it lacks in power it makes up for with persistence.  Your Roomba will vacuum every night, under the table that you’re too lazy to move, against the walls that you don’t care about, slowly and methodically hitting each spot 4-5 times.  The best part about the 650 is that its brushes are specifically designed to remove animal hair.

I must admit, that although I was a skeptic at first, this experience has changed my mind.  Roomba won’t replace your heavy-duty vacuum, but if you vacuum once a week on the weekends, rest assured that your Roomba 650 will pick up the slack throughout the rest of the week.

For more information on the Roomba 650, try this short video from iRobot before moving on the the “Cost” section: iRobot Roomba 650

Cost of the iRobot Roomba 650

Despite how many customers have asked us questions about Roombas, it still took me two years to buy one.  The biggest factor for me was price.  The iRobot Roomba 650 prices in at around $400.  That’s no small chunk of change we are talking about, and this is one of the features that I think will continue to keep it out of most people’s lives for the next few years.  Shop around though, with a little luck and a lot of patience, I was able to find one for $350 with free shipping included.  Worth the extra time.

Final Thoughts on the iRobot Roomba 650

Really, I would say that the price is probably the only factor to really consider if you are thinking about a Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum.  At the end of the day, for me, with my German background and need for everything to look clean, the iRobot Roomba 650 was well worth the cash.  I’ve had it a week now, and I already like my puppy more.  So if you are a clean freak or someone who has a puppy, it’s well worth it.  With years of use, it will end up being about $0.25 per cleaning – not bad in my book.  Plus, the decreased dust and dander in the house has really helped my wife’s asthma and allergies – it’s just another tool to add to your anti-allergy and asthma campaign.  For more on asthma and how your air conditioner and vacuum can help, try: How to reduce asthma symptoms and how your air conditioner can help.

Like I said, ASM HVAC of Santa Clarita is not just about air conditioning.  We make our living selling air conditioners, but your HVAC system is just the start and proper vacuuming is another big part of keeping your family clean and healthy.  In this iRobot Roomba 650 Review, I hoped to give you a little insight into how you can make your life a little easier.  In the end, if you can get past the price, I think that the Roomba 650 is well worth your money.  If you live in Santa Clarita or Los Angeles and have any questions or need help, please feel free to contact us, or visit our All Systems Mechanical air conditioning blog.


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Timothy Kautz
About the author
Tim K.

The University of Virginia - 2005 / The Wharton School of Finance - 2016 / U.S. Naval Aviator 2005-2015. At All Systems Mechanical air conditioning and heating, we believe that the experience our clients have is every bit as important as the products they receive. Simply put, our results speak for themselves, and we'd be happy to help. If you're in the market for a new AC or furnace, make sure that you get a fair price! Try our online calculator; click the tab on the top of this page for more information.

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