iRobot's budget Roomba obeys your Alexa commands

The affordable Roomba 690 also heeds your calls for Alexa to clean.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
2 min read

Haven't pounced yet on a robot vacuum? Perhaps the $375 (£290 in the UK, roughly AU$498 in Australia) iRobot Roomba 690 will convince you that the moment to splurge has arrived. This is the most affordable machine yet to both automatically clean floors and feature app-connected smarts. Thanks to a recent Alexa skill, the Roomba 690 is also one of four iRobot devices you can boss around using Amazon's voice assistant.

The other Roomba vacuums now compatible with Alexa include the upcoming Roomba 890, plus iRobot's current connected models, the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980. iRobot hasn't released pricing for the Roomba 890 but has confirmed it will eventually replace the company's older $500 Roomba 860 product. Likewise, the Roomba 690 will bump the Roomba 650 from iRobot's vacuum lineup.

Give Alexa Roomba powers

According to iRobot, to enable Alexa control over compatible Roomba vacuums users simply say, "Alexa, open Roomba". Speaking this phrase within earshot of Amazon devices such as the Echo and Echo Dot will activate the Alexa skill within the iRobot Home app. With that accomplished you'll be able to ask Alexa to start, stop or dock the robotic floor cleaner.

Of course the Roomba 690 isn't the only smart robot vacuum cleaner with a budget-friendly price. For $400 (£310 in the UK, roughly AU$531 in Australia) the Neato Botvac D3 Connected talks to a companion mobile app over Wi-Fi too.

You can tell Alexa to control the D3 as well or command it through a quick Facebook Chatbot text message. Additionally the D3 works with Google Home voice-activated speakers and the Google Assistant virtual helper. Those are two tricks iRobot's connected Roombas have yet to master.

The iRobot Roomba 690 in a nutshell

  • Based on the basic Roomba 650 model
  • Connects to home Wi-Fi networks and links to companion mobile app
  • Supports voice control through the Alexa virtual assistant
  • Costs $375 (£290 in the UK, roughly AU$498 in Australia)
  • Available for preorder now and shipping to retail stores in Q2 of 2017