Roomba 761 vs 650: Which Robot Vacuum to Choose in 2020?

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the winner is, then we recommend the Roomba 650.

Preview
Winner
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
Model
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
Price
$599.00
$539.00
Winner
Preview
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Model
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
Price
$599.00
Preview
iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
Model
iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
Price
$539.00

I like to keep things clean in my home. Every member of my family is responsible for some part of the house. Most of the time, we do our chores on the weekend. Yet, even with our coordinated efforts, there is still dust that gathers on the floors. When we have guests, it can be a challenge to find the time to get everything done. We are starting to think about using a robotic vacuum as a helper, and I have been researching several models. In this post, I will share my Roomba 761 vs 650 comparison.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Roomba Robotic Vacuum

The advantage of a robotic vacuum is its ability to take the hard work out of cleaning your floors. These devices have been designed to pick up dirt and dust from any kind of floor surface. Their short height lets them access hard-to-reach areas under your furniture. If you schedule a daily vacuuming run, you will soon discover a big difference in the cleanliness of your floors.

However, a Roomba may not be the solution for everyone. One thing to consider is the kind of floor surfaces you have. Although they are getting stronger, most of these machines work best on non-carpeted surfaces or low pile carpet. If you are looking to clean an area with a great deal of deep pile carpeting, you may just want to stick with a strong, upright vacuum. A Roomba may be great for surface messes like spilled popcorn, but you will want to use something stronger to get deep into the carpet fibers.

Another important consideration is how well you deal with new technology. Some people love exploring the latest gadgets. Other people find any kind of technology frustrating. If you always miss your favorite shows because you cannot figure out how to program your DVR, a programmable robot may not be the ideal solution. You can either do the vacuuming yourself or try to purchase an earlier version of the Roomba that only operates when you push the big, central button.

Meet the Roomba 761

iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

The Roomba 761 is a versatile machine that can handle many different cleaning scenarios. It navigates with an upgraded version of the iAdapt 1.0 navigation system. While it still has a somewhat random cleaning pattern, it is gentler on obstacles than previous versions. The 700-series is equipped with a three-stage cleaning system that can tackle dirt, dust and other messes around your home. It also has a convenient set of programming buttons that give users the option of setting a daily cleaning time or weekly schedule. When you purchase the Roomba 761, you also receive a charging dock, a remote control, an extra set of filters and two Virtual Wall devices.

Pros

  • Better on pet hair than previous models
  • Simple, onboard scheduling controls
  • Full bin indicator light

Cons

  • Noisy operation
  • Remote control does not give consistent control
  • Cleaning pattern is erratic

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Other Roomba 761 comparisons:

Meet the Roomba 650

iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 650 is one of iRobot’s most popular machines, praised for its reliability and simplicity. The 650 uses an earlier generation of iRobot technology while still providing a consistent clean in most situations. It uses the basic iAdapt 1.0 navigation technology and an earlier version of the AeroVac cleaning system. Unlike its other siblings in the 600-line, the 650 has programmable scheduling buttons like the 761. In the Roomba 650 package, you will find a charging dock, an extra AeroVac filter, and a single Virtual Wall device.

Pros

  • Less expensive option
  • 60-minutes of cleaning on a single charge
  • Makes a big difference with daily use

Cons

  • Can scuff furniture
  • Brushes can get tangled with pet hair
  • Can run out of charge before reaching its dock

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Our Roomba 650 comparisons:

The Standard Features of the Roomba 761

iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

Every generation of Roomba robotic vacuums adds new innovations. The 761 has features that enhance its vacuuming performance compared to previous models. Some of these features are small improvements, and some are brand new to the 700-series.

iAdapt 1.0 Navigation System

The iAdapt 1.0 navigation system is a sensor-driven process that helps your vacuum learn its surroundings. Once you start a cleaning cycle, your robot goes forward until it encounters an obstacle or barrier. It then makes contact with the obstacle to see if it is solid or if it allows the Roomba through. This lets your machine avoid table legs but pass under bed skirts. In the past, users complained that these robots could be too rough in their approach. Starting with the 700-series, the navigation process was reconfigured so that the robots slowed down when they sensed an obstacle, pushing against it gently. The 761 is also equipped with a rubber bumper that makes it even gentler.

In the Roomba 761 package, you will find two Virtual Wall devices. These devices send out an electronic signal that triggers the obstacle sensors on the vacuum. You can use them to keep your Roomba away from fragile objects or sensitive areas. You can also use Virtual Walls to prevent it from leaving a room before it has cleaned it completely. By sending the signal across a doorway, the unit will turn back toward the desired cleaning area.

Underneath the robot, you will find another set of Cliff Detect sensors. These sensors keep it from falling down the stairs. Your vacuum will clean to the edge of the top step without going over.

AeroVac 2 Cleaning System

The AeroVac 2 cleaning system has a stronger vacuum than previous models which gives this unit better performance on carpeting. This is a three-stage system that begins with brushes that loosen dirt and debris and sweep it toward the vacuum. The vacuum then pulls the dirt into the machine where it sits until you empty the bin. In the final step, air travels through the dual AeroVac filters which remove small particles of dust and dander from your home environment. The redesigned filters of the 700-series give the dirt bin a little more volume for a longer cleaning session.

Programmable Scheduling

One of the great things about the Roomba 761 is the ability to program a cleaning cycle. You can do this with simple buttons that allow you to set a time and day of the week for a session. Many people prefer to have a daily cleaning time, but you can also set a weekly schedule with varied times.

Remote Control

The 761 comes with a remote control that lets you interrupt the current cleaning session and move the robot to another part of the room. This is helpful if you have an unexpected spill. With the random pattern of the Roomba, it can also give you the satisfaction of guiding your robot to an area that you think it has missed.

Rechargeable Battery

The Roomba 761 is powered with a rechargeable nickel-metal hydride battery. This battery gives it about 60 minutes of cleaning on a single charge. Once the battery charge falls too low for cleaning, it will automatically seek out its charging dock. Some users have complained about the machine getting lost on the way to the dock and running out of energy. This often happens because the dock is not in an open area. When there are too many obstacles around, the Roomba can get confused.

Dirt Detect

The Roomba 761 has a set of Dirt Detect sensors underneath the unit. These are a combination of visual and auditory sensors that identify larger messes. When extra dirt triggers these sensors, they signal the 761 to increase its vacuum power and spend more time on that section. I have found that if you use the remote control to guide the Roomba to a mess, the Dirt Detect sensors will automatically kick in.

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Essential Features of the Roomba 650

iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 650 is a simpler version of the iRobot robotic vacuum. It has the basic version of the iAdapt navigation system and the original AeroVac cleaning system. The 650 also has programmable scheduling buttons. Even though it does not have as many features as the 761, it can still do a competent job in cleaning your home.

Basic Sensor-driven Navigation

The Roomba 650 gets around by using the iAdapt 1.0 navigation system. It makes the same kind of internal map as the 761. This version has not been adjusted to slow the device down when it approaches obstacles. For this reason, it is best to remove any clutter from the floor when using this vacuum. You may also want to invest in extra Virtual Wall devices if you have fragile items. These can be purchased from several places online.

AeroVac Cleaning System

The Roomba 650 has the original version of the three-stage AeroVac cleaning system. It does not have as much vacuuming power as the 761. However, if your floor surfaces are mostly hardwood or tile, the 650 will not give you any issues. Most owners find that this unit can handle a great deal of dust and dirt based on the amount they remove from the dirt bin with every cleaning.

Onboard Controls

In addition to scheduling buttons, the Roomba 650 has three main control buttons. The Clean button is the one to use to start a basic cleaning cycle, vacuuming until the Roomba runs low on charge. If you want to interrupt a session, you can press the Dock button. The unit will immediately begin to search out its charging dock. This is great if an unexpected guest comes to your home.

The final button starts the special Spot cleaning mode. When your toddler knocks over a bowl of dry cereal, this is the setting you need. To use this mode, you must carry the Roomba to the center of the spill using the built-in handle. Once it is in place, you press the Spot button. The 650 will start cleaning in a spiral pattern until it has cleaned a circle that is about one yard in diameter. You never know when spills will happen, and the Roomba 650 is ready to handle them.

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Praise for the Roomba 761

In order to form an accurate opinion about a cleaning device, you need to know how it functions in the real world. For this reason, I have been searching through online reviews for these robotic vacuums. In general, the 761 gets positive reviews from its users. Its owners like to program it to run when they are out of the house, and they love coming home to a job well done. They appreciate that the 761 is easy to use and provides reliable dirt removal with daily use.

Positive Reviews for the Roomba 650

The Roomba 650 is a well-loved machine. It may not be the best fit for larger homes, but users with small to average-sized floorplans think this unit does its job very well. Many of them commented how, even from the first cleaning, the Roomba 650 seemed to gobble up dust, dirt and other messes. They also enjoyed the ability to give the unit a convenient vacuuming schedule.

Final Thoughts on the Roomba 761 vs 650 Debate

When you are comparing two different generations of iRobot vacuums, the later version has an unfair technological advantage. It is hard not to argue for the robot with the most advanced navigation system and strongest vacuuming power. Because there is a significant price difference between the two models, I want to acknowledge that, in the right situation, the Roomba 650 may be all the power you need to get the job done. However, if you can afford it, I would recommend the Roomba 761. In your situation, those technological tweaks may be the difference between a robot that does a pretty good job and a robot that does a great job.

iRobot Roomba 761 Vacuum Cleaning Robot
  • Just press CLEAN on the robot vacuum, no programming required. With just the press of a button, Roomba gets to work.
  • Patented 3-Stage Cleaning System and Dual Multi-Surface Brushes pick up everything from small particles to large debris
  • Dirt Detect sensors alert Roomba to work harder on concentrated areas of dirt, such as high-traffic zones of your home
  • Full suite of intelligent sensors guide the robot under and around furniture to help thoroughly clean your floors
  • Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head automatically adapts its height to effectively clean carpets and hard floors
iRobot Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum
  • iAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home
  • 3 Stage Cleaning System agitates, brushes and suctions floors
  • Conveniently schedule up to 7x per week, or just press CLEAN on the robot
  • Automatically docks and recharges; At just 3.6 inch tall, Roomba has been specifically designed to fit under most furniture and kickboards so dirt has no place to hide
  • Automatically adjusts to all floor types of carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate and more
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