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Keeping the floors clean can be a major hassle, and who hasn’t had the fantasy of a self maintaining home? While there’s no magic table that cleans the dishes on it, and no floor that waxes itself, there is a more accessible solution that more and more people are turning to: robotic vacuums.

Robot vacuums add a big dose of convenience to any home, and as a result, more people are investing in one. Now, most people have some familiarity with these kinds of vacuums, even if the details aren’t spot on.

By far, Roomba has the biggest name in the robot vacuum game. Made by iRobot, the two most popular Roomba models include the Roomba 690 and the Roomba 960. What’s the difference? We’re going to get down to the nitty gritty and give you all the details in this comparison guide.

If you’re short on time and just need the big picture however, here it is:

The Roomba 690 is a really good choice for someone just getting into the idea of a robotic vacuum. That said, the Roomba 960 wins as the best robot vacuum in general.

Main Differences Between the Roomba 690 and 960?

Both models look very similar. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means they have the same features.

There are actually plenty of differences between the two that you wouldn’t otherwise notice. Here’s a quick look at the bigger ones:

  • The 960 has rollers without brushes while the 690 uses bristles that rotate.
  • The 960 automatically recharges itself when low on battery and resumes cleaning once charged. The 690 must be prompted to clean again once its charged.
  • The 690 uses previous versions of sensor technology to navigate and map cleanings, while the 960 uses the improved iAdapt 2.0 technology.
  • The 690 uses only the older iAdapt tech for navigation, while the 960 has a camera mounted to improve navigation.
  • The 960 includes HEPA filtration and improved Aeroforce technology to contain allergens. The 690 has the Aerovac three stage cleaning system and filter.
  • The 960 is able to reach tough spots and corners by using a special edge cleaning mode, and the 690 does not include side brushes to take care of corners.
  • The 690 needs to be emptied more frequently to avoid overfilling it, since it doesn’t have a ‘full’ indicator for the dust cup. The 960 automatically alerts you when the dust cup has reached capacity.

 Similarities Between The Two Models?

Both models have features that still make life a lot easier, and it’s good to take a look at what they have in common.

When you’re on the fence between the two, this can make it easier to decide which extra things are necessary, and which ones you won’t miss not having.

  • Both have rechargeable, Lithium Ion batteries which are included.
  • Both the 690 and 960 can interact with either Google Assistant or Alexa with voice control.
  • Each model can be controlled with the iHome app, and they both connect to WiFi.
  • The iHome app allows you to initiate spot cleaning with both models.
  • The 690 and 960 each automatically return to their charging dock when low on battery.
  • Each model comes with a blocking system to keep the vacuums out of certain areas, with virtual wall barriers.
  • Both the 690 and 960 allow for customized cleaning schedules, and allow you to schedule cleanings far in advance.

Comparing Their Features

Now it’s time to get more into the details for each of these vacuums. We’re going to look at the options and features available with each model so you can make the best choice for your home. Keep in mind, that while they’re both great vacuums, you still might have to weigh your options and decide what you can’t live without, and what you don’t mind giving up.

  1. Multiple Cleaning Functions

The 690 model doesn’t include any kind of multiple pass function. The 960 however, was built with this new feature, also called MPC, or Multiple Pass Control. That means you can direct the vacuum to clean difficult areas a second time over.

This is an ideal feature for homes with kids and pets, where there tends to be an excess of messy areas and spills. You don’t have to manually initiate MPC either, you can set it to automatic and the robot vacuum uses sensors to determine when another pass is needed.

In Summary: Since the 690 doesn’t include the option for multiple passes over, the 960 wins without contest.

2. Navigation Efficiency and Mapping

The newer navigation technology, iAdapt 2.0, is definitely a big leap toward more comprehensive mapping and navigating for robot vacuums. It allows for more accurate mapping, and helps vacuums avoid obstacles and ledges much better. Roomba 690 mapping is also worthy to mention.

The  iAdapt 2.0 technology certainly works more like we would expect , and cleans a room much like you would: in a straight (whenever possible of course), methodical process. While the older technology did seem to have the vacuums moving about in random patterns, it still works sufficiently to clean your floors.

In Summary:  The 960 wins this round thanks to its superior iAdapt 2.0 navigation system.[/su_highlight

3. Wireless Abilities: iHome App

The iHome app allows you to have the wireless ability for both the Roomba 690 and 960 to connect to your home network so you will be able to have full access and control of your Roomba from the convenience of your smartphone. With iHome App Control, you will be able to give your robot vacuum a designated time to clean, turn on the spot cleaning feature. start or stop it from cleaning, and will even give you the option to name your robot vacuum. No matter where you are, you will be able to have an extra level of control over your robot vacuum just by utilizing the iHome app.

In Summary: You can easily control either models with the iHome app on your smartphone for extra levels of cleaning and personalization.

4. Brushless Extractors

The Roomba 960 has brushless extractors that will allow you to loosen the dirt and debris out of certain areas for easier cleaning. They will not get tangled easily with threads and long hair as opposed to the Roomba 690, whose bristle extractors have to constantly be cleaned in order to function properly. Carrying out maintenance on these extractors on the 960 are much easier than the Roomba 690 because you will not have to remove any string or hair from any of the brushes.

In Summary: The maintenance process is easier to carry out with the extractors on the robot Roomba 960 and it will do an amazing job of clearing out any kind of debris from smaller spaces.

5. Camera Functions (Built In)

The Roomba 960 is designed with a built in camera with VSLAM technology to assist it in its capability to create a navigational map of your house to clean and move around any obstructions in its way. Once it has a precise map of the area you want it to clean, it can start moving along its path efficiently to clean. The camera will make it easier to detect anything obstructing its path and form a new pathway to avoid them.

This is another feature that sets the Roomba 960 apart from the 690 as the 690 does not have the VSLAM technology included in its design. The 690 will only be able to rely on its physical sensors to detect its designated path or any obstacles. The 960 outshines the 690 in the navigation department.

In Summary:   The Roomba 960’s built-in camera with VSLAM technology gives it an advantage with precise mapping and navigation features that rival the navigation abilities of the 690.

6. Filters

While Roomba has always had boasting power when it comes to its microfiltration systems, there are differences in how the two models achieve it. While the 690’s Aerovac technology can collect small particles, the 960 uses HEPA filtration. This means that it gets rid of 99.99% of allergens and dust particles, which makes it ideal for  people with allergies or pets .

In Summary:  There’s no disputing this one. Thanks to uber effective HEPA filtration, the 960 comes out on top. 

7. How Well Do They Spot Clean?

The Roomba 690 and the Roomba 960 are both capable of having the Spot Cleaning feature. With this feature that you can access through the iHome app control, you will be able to move your iRobot to a specific path or area of your house for a more thorough level of cleaning. It will be able to clean that one spot by moving around in a circular motion in a three foot diameter in order to get it clean. It will then divert back to its original path once that area is completely clean.

In Summary: Spot Cleaning is an excellent feature that both models are capable of and it will allow you to clean any specific area you desire, which can come in handy in case of a sudden messy accident.

8. Efficiency in Edge Cleaning

The Roomba 960 has a new form of cleaning technology called Edge Cleaning. The side brushes on the 960 will be able to reach edges and corners that are otherwise difficult or impossible to reach. This is a feature that the  690 does not have, so the 960 takes your cleaning abilities to a whole new level.

In Edge Cleaning Mode, the 960 will go along its designated area of cleaning and clear the debris from any hard to reach area it comes across. The only flaw of this feature, however, is that the Roomba 960 will  ]run slower while it is using this function[/su_highlight. This will cause the battery life to drain faster, which can easily become an inconvenience.

In Summary: Edge Cleaning mode on the Roomba 960 is an amazing feature. It will allow you to have a more thorough cleaning in more tight spaces.

9. Cleaning/Vacuuming the Whole Level

Both Roomba models are capable of cleaning designated areas at the times you set for them, but only the Roomba 960 will give you entire level cleaning. During entire level cleaning, the Roomba will automatically   leave its cleaning area to go back to its dock and recharge , then it returns to its job once the battery level is full. The Roomba 690 will go back to its dock to recharge as well, but you will have to personally make it move again manually or through your iHome app once it is done charging.

In Summary: The Roomba 960 is much more efficient for entire level cleaning since it will resume its job automatically once it is fully charged again.

10. Smart Home

 Smart Home Integration  provides you with an extra level of convenience because it will allow you to connect your Roomba device to any home device, such as  Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa , through the WiFi in your home and your iHome app. This is so you can use your voice to give it a new command. Both the Roomba 690 and the 960 are capable of having this feature. You will not be required to move from your seat to control your iRobot vacuum when you have voice activated home devices to do the work for you.

In Summary: Since both iRobot devices are capable of Smart Home Integration, you can now control your iRobot with the sound of your voice connected to your home devices.

Highlights I Like About Roomba 690

The Roomba 690 has many essential features that you will discover to be an excellent addition to your home:

  • Automatic charging and docking capabilities that will allow the 690 to go back to its dock to recharge when its battery is low.
  • iHome capabilities will allow you to have a bigger level of control over your Roomba device. It also gives you the ability to control your robot vacuum with your home devices.
  • Virtual Wall Barriers designed to help your Roomba avoid any obstructions in its designated cleaning areas.
  • Powered by Lithium-Ion batteries.
  • Capable of spot cleaning.

Highlights I Like About Roomba 960

The Roomba 960 comes with many essential features that will have you wondering how you went without it before:

  • Built-in camera with VSLAM technology will allow your iRobot to have top notch navigation capabilities.
  • IAdapt 2.0 software will increase the power of your Roomba’s sensors to improve its overall functionality.
  • Designed with HEPA filtration which will be good for homes with pets and people with allergies.
  • Capable of Entire Level cleaning.
  • Less maintenance required with brushless extractors.

My Final Verdict?

So what’s the verdict for roomba 960 vs 690? if you are in search of a high quality device for your home that will still give you the best value for your budget then the Roomba 960 will be the best option for you. The Roomba 960 has many essential features that the Roomba 690 just cannot measure up to. The Roomba 690 is more affordable up front, but the Roomba 960 will prove to be more valuable to you in the long run.

The Roomba 690 will still be an amazing cleaning device to keep around the house if you have to remain on a tighter budget. Although it does not have the features of the 960, it will still be able to save you money while giving your house the thorough clean it needs. It will still have some of the same amazing features such as Smart Home Integration and iHome App capabilities.

My personal choice would be the Roomba 960 because of all of the extra features that are included in this product. With the information provided, invest your focus on which option would work best for you.

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