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iRobot Roomba 694 robot vacuum review

The iRobot Roomba 694 is a capable, bump-and-clean robot vacuum that’s enhanced by the features in its accompanying app.

iRobot Roomba 694 review
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Our Verdict

The Roomba 694 is a solid robot vacuum with a great app, but it’s only worth it if the Roomba 675 isn’t available.

For

  • Solid cleaning performance
  • Timed cleaning options in app
  • Location-based cleaning options

Against

  • No mapping
  • Similar model still available for less
iRobot Roomba 694: Specs

Size: 13.4 inches x 3.5 inches
Modes: Vacuuming
Weight: 6.77 pounds
On board dustbin capacity: 0.35 liters
Smart home compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant

There are fancy, high-end robot vacuums, and then there are models like the iRobot Roomba 694, which will clean your floors with minimal hassle. No creating a map of your home, no massive learning curve for an app, just move the electrical cords out of the way and press “Clean.” In our iRobot Roomba 694 review, we found a robot vacuum that does just that. But it’s connected to an easy-to-use app that enhances the user experience and adds some higher end bells and whistles -- like geofencing -- that are typically found on more expensive robot vacuums.

But, while it’s straightforward and easy to use, I’m not sure the $274 Roomba 694 is a great value if you can still find the Roomba 675, which is essentially the same machine but $25 less.

iRobot Roomba 694 review: Price and availability

The iRobot Roomba 694 was first released in 2020 and is currently available on Amazon.com for $274. The Roomba 694 is a bump-and-clean device, meaning it will not map your home’s layout nor will it travel in a consistent pattern. However, you can control it via the iRobot Home app. Though it replaces the older iRobot Roomba 675, that model is also still available for the time being on Amazon.com for $249.

iRobot Roomba 694 review: Design

The iRobot Roomba 694 is an understated robot vacuum. It trades the rugged grey plastic accents on the Roomba 675 for a more grown-up look — much like a college kid at a job interview. Even the 675’s grey carrying handle is gone.

iRobot Roomba 694 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Instead, the Roomba 694 is a round ninja with a shiny, reflective black top and matte black plastic around the sides. A matte black button with green text saying “Clean” sits in the center. Spot cleaning and Home buttons create a ring around that button. Just beneath the small grey iRobot logo on the lid are lights for Wi-Fi and battery. The battery light changes between a green outline when it has enough power and a red outline when it’s low or sitting on the charger. Unfortunately, thanks to years of smartphone conditioning, seeing an outline of a green battery makes me think it’s low on power instead of fully charged.

iRobot Roomba 694 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Although the iRobot Roomba 694 sports a more sophisticated look on the surface, flipping the robot over reveals an underside that is identical to the Roomba 675. I placed them side-by-side upside down and the only discernible difference was the model numbers. Both robot vacuums use a dual brushroll system that features one rubber-finned brush and one bristle brush interspersed with hard plastic fins. Those rolls are held in place with a grey plastic and metal “cage” and sit between two large rubberized wheels. Above the left wheel is a white, three-spoked spinning brush for catching additional debris and guiding the dirt toward the rollers.

The dustbin on the iRobot Roomba 694 releases via a button on the top rear of the vacuum. It’s nearly, if not completely, identical to the release on the Roomba 675. Inside the dustbin is a removable filter and a little latched swinging gate that holds the debris from emptying everywhere upon removal. Just like the dustbin gate on the Roomba 675, the gate on the Roomba 694 had a tendency to swing freely and get in the way while emptying the bin.

iRobot Roomba 694: Cleaning performance

The iRobot Roomba 694 is not a mapping robot vacuum; instead this budget vacuum is more like a giant pool ball that moves in a straight line until it bounces off of a wall or other obstacle. Unlike other bump-and-clean vacuums such as the Eufy RoboVac 11s, which will wander around until the battery is low, you’re able to tell the Roomba 694 to clean for a set amount of time before heading home. Via the app, your options are 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or none. I found that a 15-minute cleaning was enough time for the robot to do a quick pass in my dining room, where the dock is located, and a small section of my kitchen. This vacuum is also smart enough that if you start it off of its dock, it’ll still return to the dock when cleaning is complete. I started another 15-minute cleaning with the Roomba placed out of view of its dock and was pleasantly surprised when the bot found it at the end of the cleaning session.

iRobot Roomba 694 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Just like the Roomba 675, the iRobot Roomba 694 has automatic dirt detection, meaning it’ll increase suction when it detects a greater amount of debris on the floor. This was observed in our testing as I could hear the bot increase suction and watch it spin around a spot of kitty litter with extra vigor.

In our lab tests, the Roomba 694 earned an overall average score of 90.85. It’s on a par with the Roomba i3, which uses all rubber brush rolls, and slightly higher than the Roomba 675. Its overall score was just a hair below the Neato D4, which offers mapping capabilities.

Combined cleaning performance scores
Overall ScoreCerealKitty litterDog hair
Roomba 69490.8598.892.7581
Roomba 67589.799.8894.9374.25
Roborock S4 Max96.2598.3896.3894
Eufy RoboVac 11s*85.810089.9567.5
Roomba i390.1210094.8575.5
Neato D4*91.398.983.791.3

*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area.

The Roomba 694 was particularly impressive in our hardwood lab tests, where it earned an overall average score of 95.2. In our Cheerios pick up test, the vacuum picked up 97.6% of the cereal. Though we noticed it crushed several pieces under its wheels, the robot cleaned up after itself.

When cleaning up kitty litter, the Roomba 694 registered a 93.6% pickup rate, nearly the same as the Roomba 675, but not quite as good as the Roborock S4 Max or the Roomba i3. Though the Roomba 694 picked up 94.5% of the dog hair scattered in our test area, a fair amount of the hair was wrapped around the side brush and the edges of the two main brush rolls.

Hardwood Floor results
CerealKitty litterDog hair
Roomba 69497.693.694.5
Roomba 67599.7593.7577
Roborock S4 Max96.7597.75100
Eufy RoboVac 11s*10094.960
Roomba i310095.793
Neato D4*98.994.487.5

*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area.

On our cereal carpet tests, the Roomba 694 matched the perfect score of most other robot vacuums in this category. While it didn’t fare quite as well with kitty litter, the vac still cleaned up 91.9%, besting the Neato D4 by 19 points. The Roomba 675 took the top score, picking up 96.1% of the litter. When it came to dog hair, the Roomba 694 avoided getting the hair wrapped around its side brush, but a lot of static electricity between the machine, the carpet, and the hair meant that several pieces of hair clung to the top and sides of the bot. The Roomba 694 picked up 67.5% of the hair, slightly less than the Roomba 675, but better than the Roomba i3. Still, the Roomba 694 was far below the 88% pickup rate earned by our current best robot vacuum pick, the Roborock S4 Max.

Carpet tests
CerealKitty litterDog hair
Roomba 69410091.967.5
Roomba 67510096.171.5
Roborock S4 Max1009588
Eufy RoboVac 11s*1008575
Roomba i31009458
Neato D4*98.972.995

*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area.

Just like the Roomba 675, when you first unbox the Roomba 694, there’s a sticker encouraging you to tinker with the robot, stating “This robot contains an electronic and software interface that allows you to control or modify its behavior, and remotely monitor its sensors. For software programmers interested in giving your iRobot robot new functionality, we encourage you to do so.” I haven’t seen this on iRobot’s higher end offerings, but I’m willing to bet most people aren’t looking to reverse engineer a $1,099 Roomba s9+.

iRobot also sells replacement parts for its robots, meaning you don’t have a $274 paperweight should a wheel or brush roll on the Roomba 694 go bad.

iRobot Roomba 694 review: Setup and app

Getting the iRobot Roomba 694 up and cleaning was a breeze. After plugging in the small dock, pressing the Clean/Power button in the center of the robot and placing it on the dock, I let it charge overnight. The manual states the robot should be allowed to charge for three hours.

iRobot Roomba 694 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Using the iRobot Home app (Android and iOS), I was able to quickly connect the Roomba 694 to my Wi-Fi network. The instructions within the app are illustrated and easy to follow.

The Roomba 694 can be ordered around by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Though I’ve tested many other robot vacuums with this capability, this was the first time that my kitchen Amazon Echo immediately informed me that it was connected to a robot vacuum. The Echo in the kitchen started telling me how to initiate a cleaning while the Roomba 694 was also declaring itself connected in the dining room. The ensuing cacophony of computerized voices made me wonder how the Jetsons never lost their minds.

You can send the Roomba 694 on a cleaning mission using either the app or the physical buttons on the bot. However, there are functions specific to each method. A spot cleaning may only be initiated from the button on the machine, which makes sense as you’d typically place the Roomba 694 in the specific area you’d want cleaned.

iRobot Roomba 694 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

From the app, you can initiate timed cleanings in 15-minute intervals up to 45 minutes. You can also schedule cleanings once a day or schedule the Roomba 694 to start cleaning when you leave the house on specific days of the week. Should you come home before the cleaning is done, you can tell the robot to continue cleaning or tell it to stop. I enabled this on my iPhone 11 Pro using IFTTT, though the geofencing also works via August, Ecobee, My Leviton, or MyQ.

iRobot Roomba 694 review: Verdict

The iRobot Roomba 694 is an upscale-looking robot vacuum, a solid cleaner and, thanks to its app, offers unique options beyond basic daily scheduling. As bump-and-clean robots go, it’s not a bad deal for $274. However, although the older Roomba 675 is being phased out by iRobot, it’s still available on Amazon and other websites for $249. It offers nearly identical performance — including the timed cleaning and geofencing — and won’t vacuum up quite as many dollars. But if you’re looking for an attractive robot vacuum with straightforward cleaning, the iRobot Roomba 694 is a good choice.

Meghan McDonough

Meghan McDonough is a journalist who currently tests and writes about robot vacuums. Since 2008, she’s written about laptops, mobile phones, headphones, speakers, and other consumer tech. When she sees an unfamiliar device, Meghan has a habit of asking complete strangers, “What is that? Does it work well for you?”

In her spare time, Meghan enjoys seeing live music, tending to her garden, and playing endless games of fetch with her Goldendoodle, Duke of Squirrel.