iRobot Roomba i3 vs iRobot Roomba 694 Specs: Comprehensive Comparison Guide

When it comes to maintaining a clean home, robotic vacuums have become a game-changer, and iRobot’s Roomba line is often a leading choice for consumers. Having put the iRobot Roomba i3 and iRobot Roomba 694 through their paces, I’ve gained firsthand experience with both models, allowing me to provide a clear comparison. The iRobot Roomba i3, with its enhanced navigation system and extended battery life, contrasts significantly with the more budget-friendly Roomba 694, which still offers a reliable clean for those with less complex requirements.

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In my time evaluating these vacuums, I’ve noted that although both models promise the convenience of hands-free cleaning with WiFi connectivity, there are clear distinctions in their performance and features. The i3 model, for instance, boasts a longer run time of up to 120 minutes, which is particularly beneficial for larger spaces, while the 694 can run for about 90 minutes, which should suffice for smaller homes or apartments. Noise level also comes into play; the i3 operates at a higher decibel level compared to the quieter operation of the 694.

Key Takeaways

  • The iRobot Roomba i3 offers a longer runtime and advanced navigation, catering to larger homes.
  • Roomba 694 provides a quieter and more economical option for everyday cleaning needs.
  • Both models feature WiFi connectivity for convenient hands-free operation.

Overview of Roomba Models

In comparing the Roomba i3 and Roomba 694, I scrutinized each model’s key aspects, such as design and cleaning performance, to evaluate their suitability for different cleaning needs.

General Info

When I first evaluated the Roomba i3 and the Roomba 694, I noted that they are both robot vacuums manufactured by iRobot. They cater to different market segments. The Roomba i3 is a mid-range model, while the 694 fits into the more budget-friendly category, serving as an entry-level option in the Roomba lineup.

Design and Build

Roomba i3:

  • Weight: Heavier than the 694, contributing to stability.
  • Dimensions: Compact size allows maneuverability around furniture.
  • Color: Aesthetically speaking, it’s finished in a matte black that suits modern decors.

Roomba 694:

  • Weight: Lighter, which can affect traction slightly.
  • Dimensions: Similar footprint to the i3 but slightly taller.
  • Color: Sports a sleek black and silver color scheme.

Cleaning Capabilities

The Roomba i3 impresses with its enhanced suction power, enabling it to pick up more debris, including pet hair. Its dustbin capacity is sufficient for average household needs. Conversely, the Roomba 694 is more modest in suction, focusing on essentials like dust and lighter debris. However, it can struggle with heavily soiled areas or larger debris.

Special Features

I found that the i3’s smart mapping feature allows it to navigate and clean more efficiently, learning the layout over time. The Roomba 694, on the other hand, lacks this advanced mapping but still uses a suite of sensors for basic navigation. Neither includes mopping.

User Experience and Control

Both vacuums are compatible with the iRobot Home App, which I found user-friendly, allowing app control for scheduling and settings adjustments. Additionally, they respond well to voice commands via common smart home assistants. An essential point is that the i3 provides more detailed cleaning reports and custom settings through the app.

Battery and Charging

Both models house a lithium-ion battery, with the Roomba i3 offering a longer runtime of up to 75 minutes before returning to its charging dock. In my tests, the Roomba 694 had an adequate runtime of around 60 minutes. Charge times for both models were standard, with the full charge taking a few hours.

Comparative Analysis

In assessing the Roomba i3 and Roomba 694, I’ve taken a close look at their performance across a range of important categories, detailing the nuances that distinguish their abilities and technologies.

Cleaning Efficiency on Various Surfaces

The Roomba i3 and 694 both effectively tackle dirt and debris on hardwood, bare floors, and carpets. However, I’ve observed that the Roomba i3 has a slight edge due to its carpet boost feature, which increases suction power automatically when a carpet is detected, allowing for a deeper clean. On the other hand, the Roomba 694 operates at a consistent suction power, which while efficient, might not extract as much debris from thicker carpets.

Filter and Allergen Management

Both models come equipped with a high-efficiency filter, proficient in capturing allergens. However, neither offers a HEPA filter, which might be a consideration for those with severe allergies. Regular maintenance is needed for these filters, but they are not washable, making long-term upkeep a bit more hands-on.

Navigation and Mapping Technologies

I find that navigation is one of the more distinct differences between the two. The Roomba i3 employs iAdapt 3.0 with smart mapping, mapping out the cleaning area, which allows for systematic and efficient cleaning routes and the option for targeted cleaning in specific rooms. The Roomba 694 relies on iAdapt 1.0, which lacks advanced mapping but still navigates adequately through a responsive set of sensors that allow the vacuum to maneuver around obstacles and drop-offs.

Suction Strength and Noise Levels

While testing, I’ve found that the Roomba i3 operates with stronger suction compared to the Roomba 694. This increased suction power is more noticeable on carpets and does contribute to a slightly higher noise level. Despite this, both vacuums maintain a noise output that’s relatively quiet and shouldn’t be overly intrusive during operation.

Battery Performance and Runtime

Battery longevity is imperative for uninterrupted cleaning. The Roomba i3 boasts up to 120 minutes of runtime, while the 694 caps at about 90 minutes. Both models transition back to their charging docks when their batteries run low, but the extended battery life of the i3 may translate to fewer interruptions, especially in larger homes.

Convenience and Maintenance

As for maintenance, both Roombas alert users when the dustbin is full, which is a handy feature that aids in maintenance. The i3 goes a step further by being compatible with iRobot’s Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, allowing it to empty itself after cleaning sessions, a convenience that reduces manual interaction. Each model includes side brushes that help sweep debris into the path of the vacuum, and while these require occasional replacement, they are generally easy to manage.

Price and Value Comparison

When comparing the iRobot Roomba i3 and the Roomba 694, I consider both the initial purchase cost and long-term maintenance expenses to determine their overall value.

Initial Purchase Cost

The Roomba i3 tends to be priced higher due to its more advanced features, such as stronger suction and smart mapping capabilities. In contrast, the Roomba 694 is more budget-friendly, making it a suitable option for those looking for essential cleaning functions without a significant financial commitment.

  • Roomba i3: Higher initial cost
  • Roomba 694: More affordable purchase price

Maintenance and Upkeep Costs

For both models, maintenance costs include replacement of side brushes and filters. The 694 model uses a standard filter while the i3 utilizes a high-efficiency filter, which may differ in price and need to be replaced periodically to maintain performance.

  • Roomba i3:
    • High-Efficiency Filter: Slightly more costly but improved dust capture
    • Side Brush: Requires occasional replacement, can affect long-term cost
  • Roomba 694:
    • Standard Filter: Less expensive but needs regular replacement
    • Side Brush: Comparable replacement frequency to the i3

The warranty terms from iRobot are consistent across both models, which offers some peace of mind regarding potential repair costs during the warranty period. In my experience, both models have durable brushes and filters that, when maintained properly, contribute to a manageable and predictable maintenance cost.

Consumer Insights and Feedback

In evaluating the iRobot Roomba i3 and the Roomba 694, I’ve considered extensive user feedback to ascertain the strengths and usability of each model.

User Reviews and Ratings

iRobot Roomba i3

  • Average Rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • Highlights: Users often praise the Roomba i3 for its enhanced 120-minute runtime and advanced features such as Carpet Boost. However, some users have noted that it operates at a higher noise level of 60dB.

iRobot Roomba 694

  • Average Rating: 4.2/5 stars
  • Highlights: The 694 model is commended for being budget-friendly with a quieter operation at 50dB. Despite its shorter 90-minute runtime, it still meets the needs of users looking for a basic, efficient robot vacuum.

Brand Reputation and Warranty

Brand Reputation

  • Both models hail from iRobot, a brand known for its pioneering robotics technology. The company has maintained a strong reputation, underscored by a commitment to consumer satisfaction and innovation.

Warranty Information:

  • iRobot typically offers a one-year limited warranty for its vacuum robots, reassuring customers of support should they encounter any defects.

Recommended Alternatives

Cheaper Alternatives:

  • For those looking for lower-cost alternatives without significantly compromising on quality, brands like Eufy and Shark might offer suitable models.

Alternative Models:

  • Within the iRobot ecosystem, models such as the Roomba s9+ and i7 represent higher-end alternatives with more sophisticated navigation and cleaning capabilities that users might consider if budget is less of a constraint.

By drawing on comprehensive testing and user reviews, I’ve determined that both the iRobot Roomba i3 and Roomba 694 cater to different user preferences, balancing features, cost, and brand reliability effectively.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

In assessing both the iRobot Roomba i3 and the Roomba 694, I have considered a range of criteria from cleaning performance to smart home integration.

Pros and Cons Summary

iRobot Roomba i3:

  • Pros:
    • Stronger suction and a more sophisticated three-stage cleaning system
    • Smart mapping technology for efficient navigation
    • Compatible with auto dirt disposal units
    • WiFi connectivity and smart home integration
  • Cons:
    • Higher price point compared to Roomba 694
    • Can be noisier during operation due to stronger suction

iRobot Roomba 694:

  • Pros:
    • More affordable, offering essential robotic cleaning at a lower cost
    • Adequate cleaning performance for hard floors and low-pile carpets
  • Cons:
    • Lacks advanced features such as smart mapping and carpet boost
    • No compatibility with auto dirt disposal systems

Buying Guide for Potential Buyers

When considering a purchase, key factors should include the specific cleaning experience needed, price comparison, and smart home integration.

  • For those requiring detailed cleaning and fully automated experiences, the Roomba i3 justifies its higher cost.
  • Buyers seeking basic cleaning at a more accessible price may find the Roomba 694 aligns better with budget and needs.


After thorough testing, I can confidently say that both models serve distinct market segments. The Roomba i3 stands out with its performance and technological features, while the Roomba 694 provides a solid cleaning experience for those on a tighter budget. When making a decision, weigh my observations against personal requirements for design, noise level, cleaning performance, and confidence in managing a smart home.

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