iRobot Roomba 650

The iRobot Roomba 650 is a low priced robot vacuum that is really easy to use, it does not come with an app, or even wifi connectivity as more modern or high end vacuums do but for such a simple vacuum it is not really needed.

iRobot and Roomba are names that are synonymous with the robot vacuum and they have been around for so long anyone who knows anything about robot vacuums will probably think of a Roomba when they are asked to visualise one. Roomba are not quite the hoover of the branding world but they are as close as you get and their designs are well known and liked. When it comes to design something that is a little unusual on the 650 is that it conceals a quite useful handle on the top which is helpful when manually repositioning the vacuum or moving it from one floor to another. Speaking of moving floors the 650 has a selection of “eyes” in the form on infa red lights under the base which will make sure there is floor in the areas which the 650 moves into. This makes sure it does not take a tumble, go over and edge or try to move down stairs.

We’ve heard the 650 referred to as “old faithful” over the last five years, it is more than five years since it hit the market and it is still doing the job in many a home and office.

With no app the control mechanism is based on the unit with the majority of input been done via the “clean” button located in the centre. There are five other buttons on the chasse. Much like the Roomba 980 five years its superior the 650 one of these input buttons is the spot cleaning button. This feature is useful and saves power and time when there is just a limited area that needs cleaning. Spot cleaning on the 650 is not quite as advanced as on the 980 in that it will just carry out intensive cleaning around the immediate location of the robot after which the device will return to its dock for charging (as per its standard operation).

Some highlights:

  • The price
  • Deep and thorough cleaning
  • Moves fast and really effective at cleaning carpets
  • Vacuum can be charged directly, you can plug the charger directly into the vacuum. We prefer to use the return to base charging dock with all robot vacuums, however, if you do have a need to charge it directly this is a feature that is not so common anymore and we are sure it has its uses

Some lowlights:

  • As with many of the Roomba range the 650 does not do the best job on pet hair
  • No app, however, we must stress it still does a great job, the app may add features and off site remote control but none of these are essential
  • A little aggressive in how it moves around, it can quite forcefully bump walls and objects

Appless scheduling

As regular readers know “appless” often gets a mention from us and not always in a negative light, especially if the vacuum as the ability to work with or without an app as an option. This is because for every 4-5 people out there who love the feature rich apps there is 1-2 people who just want the simplicity of a button on the decide they can press to turn it on. The 650 allows you to schedule the vacuum to clean at a time convenient to you, as there is no app rather than a option of app or no app you cannot simply set it going using your phone no matter where in the world you are, however, you can set a schedule in advance. Scheduling the 650 is a little like setting an old digital alarm clock to go off as you input the start times into the device using the buttons on the chasse, it will then start the job as the clock ticks around to the pre-determined time go time.

Power for the oldies

As a five year old vacuum you may be wondering about the battery life as that’s still one of the key selling points especially amongst the older crowd and, as we hinted at earlier, as this is an appless robot vacuum it is seeing growth in that market.

The battery on the 650 is not too different to the current modern crop in terms of how much cleaning time you will get out of it, however, just like modern models the 650 has a return to base feature where it will get back to the charging dock if it is getting low on power and recharge itself.


When it comes to the best robot vacuum there is no need to get a new mega expensive latest model, you will be in good hands with the 650 and especially if you have not used a robot vacuum before or are entering the market for the first time. The 650 is easy to use, does a good job and given its age is seriously cheaper than the competition, even if it does look a little aggressive as it navigates your floors by todays standards.

Everything that the 650 does it does well, you could say it paved the way for robovacums all those years ago. When it first came out it was much more expensive but did cause a buzz. If it had launched at the price is it now it would have made some serious waves.

The bottom line is that you can pick up the 650, a good robot vacuum for less than the price of a standard vacuum today so the choice is really between paying out a serious wad of cash for a upright from a brand like Dyson or having your floors cleaned for you with a robovac like the iRobot Roomba 650 for a fraction of the cost, this is a great product and even 5 years later it is highly recommended.

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