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Roomba 890 robot vacuum cleaner review

iRobot Roomba 890
PHVC Live mark
N/A
Random navigation
Return to dock
26 Wh battery
Round shape
High-Efficiency filtration
Dirt sensor
26 watts input power
1 side brush
3.6 inches height
0.6 liters dustbin
Wi-Fi Connectivity
60 minutes runtime
Smartphone App
Voice Control
iRobot Roomba 890 handles pet hair with ease, keeping your floors clean between weekly vacuumings. The balanced combination of features provides a high level of performance, making this a great choice for many customers.

Pros

  • Decent cleaning of pet hair on hard floors and carpets
  • Dirt sensors allows it to clean particularly dirty places
  • Anti-tangle system
  • Smartphone app, compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • High-efficiency filtration

Cons

  • Noisy, loud notifications cannot be disabled

Design

iRobot Roomba 890 has a sleek and modern-looking design. It’s round, 13.9 inches in diameter, and made of black and brown plastic.

iRobot Roomba 890 top

In the center of the top plate, there is a big round CLEAN button, which illuminates in green when the power is on. This is surrounded by two smaller C-shaped buttons, HOME and SPOT.

iRobot Roomba 890 buttons

Over the buttons, there are four indicators for troubleshooting, Wi-Fi, full bin and battery. Over the indicators, there is a handle with the iRobot logo on it. It lies flush when not in use and makes carrying the robot very easy. Over the handle in a protruding knob, there is a room confinement (RCON) sensor which is used to detect the home base and virtual walls.

iRobot Roomba 890 home base

On the opposite side, there is a bin release button.

The front part of the robot is covered by a semi-circular moveable bumper.

iRobot Roomba 890 front

The bottom half of the bumper is tapered outward and is made of a silicone or rubber, which protects furniture from being damaged if the robot bumps into it.

On the bottom of the robot, you will find two big spring-loaded drive wheels and one small non-drive caster wheel, which freely rotates 360 degrees.

iRobot Roomba 890 bottom

To both sides of the caster wheel there are two charging plates. Between the two big wheels, there is a spring-loaded compartment with two roller brushes made of silicon-like material. Between the caster wheel and roller brushes, there is the battery compartment. On the other side of the roller brushes there is a dustbin made of red plastic.

Four cliff sensors are distributed along the front bumper — two near the charging plates and two near big wheels. Near the right (marked with the letter R) drive wheel there is a 3-armed side brush.

The height of the robot is 3.6 inches, which is short enough to let it go under most furniture.

The robot weighs 8.4 lbs. and feels sturdy.

Cleaning Power

The Roomba 890 does a terrific job on both carpets and hardwood. It is good for cleaning cat and dog hair, and takes away the burden of having to do this mundane everyday task. It does not have the suction power of a convenient corded vacuum and cannot deep-clean carpets, but it’s great as an in-between clean up machine. Due to a random navigation pattern, it can leave certain areas unattended, but if scheduled daily will eventually cover all the space and keep your floors clean.

AeroForce 3-Stage Cleaning System

The robot utilizes a 3-stage cleaning system, which is common for robot vacuums. The manufacturer calls it AeroForce:

  1. The side brush sweeps debris away from edges and corners and into the path of the roller brushes. The manufacturer claims the side brush has a special design at a 27-degree angle for optimal performance.
  2. Roller brushes pick up dirt from the floor and from the side brush, and transfer it to the intake port of the vacuum.
  3. The vacuuming fan sucks up dirt and collects it in the dustbin.

The side brush cleans along the walls, but due to the round design, it can’t fully get into square corners. The side brush should be periodically cleaned from any tangled hair and eventually it will need to be replaced.

Dual roller brushes

The robot is equipped with two roller brushes with silicone grooves and raised portions instead of traditional bristles. The manufacturer calls them debris extractors and claims that they are tangle-free. They rotate in opposite directions towards each other to pull in pet hair, dust, dirt, and large debris.

iRobot Roomba 890 debris extractors

Debris extractors actually less prone to tangles than traditional roller brushes with bristles, but still, after some time, they can become tangled and need to be taken out of the vacuum and cleaned. Due to the low-profile design of the rollers, cleaning them from the tangled hair is an easy task.

The compartment with the debris extractors, called the cleaning head, can move up and down a little to keep the brushes close to the different floor surfaces, both hard floors and carpets.

Noise level

The Roomba 890 produces noticeable noise. It’s not as noisy as traditional vacuum, but it’s hard to watch TV in the same room while the robot is doing its job.

Navigation

The robot has improved on random navigation with the dirt sensors and wall-following algorithm. When it spots dirt, it cleans the surrounding area more thoroughly, providing better results on a single run when compared to pure random navigation. iRobot Roomba 890 cleans best when run in a single room or in an open-plan apartment. It avoids obstacles and stairs, and due to small height goes under most furniture.

Advanced random navigation iAdapt

The robot uses advanced random navigation, which manufacturer calls iAdapt. Based on the information from the sensors, Roomba 890 chooses one of the three behavior patterns:

Criss-crossing

The robot goes straight until it detects an obstacle, and then randomly changes direction and so on. Roomba 890 has IR proximity sensors in the front bumper, which allows it to detect most obstacles like walls or furniture. However, sometimes it can gently bump into thin objects like furniture legs, especially if they are dark. The front bumper works as a touch sensor then. This does no harm to the furniture since it is made of soft material.

Wall following

When the robot detects a wall or a large object on their right side, where the side brush is, it will follow the wall for some time, letting the side brush sweep along it.

Dirt Detect Series 2 with Persistent Pass

The Roomba 890 uses optical and acoustic dirt sensors to recognize particularly dirt spots. When such a spot is detected, the robot will go back and forth over the dirty area to clean it more thoroughly. This significantly improves the cleaning effectiveness of the robot since it is not just randomly wandering around, but gives more attention to dirtier areas.

The combination of different behaviors improves coverage and effectiveness compared to pure random navigation, but since the robot doesn’t map the room and doesn’t know which areas it has already cleaned and which areas it hasn’t, it may still clean certain spots multiple times and ignore other areas if run only once a week. However, if you run it daily, over a couple of days, every spot gets hit at least once, and most multiple times. Therefore, it will keep up with dust loads just fine in all areas that it can reach.

Room coverage

The Roomba 890 has a room size estimator based on the longest distance for which it went in a straight line without facing any obstacles during the cleaning. The maximum duration of the cleaning cycle is 60 minutes, which is enough to clean approximately 1000 square feet of obstacle-free floor. The robot can be run in bigger apartments; there may just be more missed spots on a single run. The cleaning time can be reduced in smaller rooms or if the battery runs low in the middle of the cycle.

Return to the charging dock

At the end of a cleaning cycle or when the battery is running low, the Roomba 890 automatically returns to the charging station to recharge.

iRobot Roomba 890 docked

It does not go directly to the home base, but most of the time it will eventually find it before the battery dies.

To be able to seek the charging base and dock, the robot should have a direct line of sight. That’s why it is recommended to place the home base in an uncluttered space, leaving at least 1.5 feet of free space on each side and 4 feet in front of it. The charging station should be placed along the wall.

To ensure the robot can charge correctly, the charging plates should be periodically cleaned.

Single room or open-plan apartment

Since the robot has random navigation, it cleans best if run in a single room or in an open-plan apartment. It can be run in a multi-room apartment, but there is a greater chance it won’t clean all the rooms equally, but will instead excessively clean one room and leave others unattended. In addition, if the battery runs low while the robot isn’t in the same room as the home base, the robot most likely won’t find it.

That’s why, for better cleaning, it’s advised to split a multi-room apartment into several zones and clean them separately, blocking access to the rest of the apartment.

Going over moldings and carpets

The robot transitions from hard floors to the medium-height area rugs and vice versa with no problem. It also goes over thresholds without a hiccup. The maximum height it can climb is about 5/8 of an inch.

Going under furniture and between furniture legs

At just 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba 890 is able to clean under most furniture, such as beds, sofas, toe kicks, and other hard-to-reach areas. These areas are rarely cleaned manually with a traditional vacuum and often collect lots of dust. Using the robot helps to keep them clean without a hassle.

However, furniture with a clearance close to the robot’s height can cause problems as the robot might squeeze under it and get stuck.

The Roomba 890 won’t get trapped in small areas, such as between furniture legs. After spending some time bumping and changing direction, it will eventually find a way out the maze. But of course, having a cluttered room doesn’t help with cleaning.

Cliff sensors

The Roomba 890 has four cliff sensors in the front side. They prevent the robot from falling off the stairs. Unfortunately, the cliff sensors recognize black surfaces as cliffs and the robot won’t go over them. Consider this if you have black area rugs or black flooring.

Over time, the cliff sensors can be covered with fine dust, so to keep them functioning correctly they should be periodically cleaned.

Spot mode

Aside from the automatic clean mode, the Roomba 890 has a spot mode to clean a specific area. In this mode, once placed in the center of the localized debris, the robot will spiral outward about three feet and then spiral inward back to where it started.

Anti-tangle system

iRobot Roomba 890 has an anti-tangle system that will try to release a cord or a rug fringe that may occasionally picked up with the debris extractors. When the robot detects that the debris extractors can’t spin freely, it will try to reverse them so the tangled object can get out.

Usually it works, but it’s not bulletproof. Sometimes the robot gets caught and needs assistance.

Battery

The robot is equipped with the Li-ion 14.4V 1800mAh 26Wh battery, which provides approximately 60 minutes runtime on hard floors. On carpets, the runtime will be slightly shorter. Knowing the battery energy and runtime, we can estimate the input power 26Wh /1 h=26 Watts including drive wheels, roller brushes, side brush, and electronics.

It takes 3 hours to fully charge the battery when the robot is docked in the home base. It should be left on its base after the charge so it will be ready to clean any time you need it.

The battery can be replaced with either the same one, or you can update it to Li-ion 3300mAh 47.5Wh which will give you almost twice as much runtime as the original. However, remember that one cleaning cycle will still not exceed 60 minutes as this is defined in the robot’s firmware.

Operating

Controls on the vacuum

Three buttons on the vacuum allows it to run / pause an automatic clean cycle, spot cleaning or send the vacuum to its home base for charging.

Wi-Fi connectivity

The Roomba 890 can be connected to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network to allow it to be controlled via the smartphone application or voice activation. The home base should be placed in an area with good Wi-Fi coverage.

Smartphone app

The iRobot HOME App for Android and iOS allows you to fully control the vacuum from your smartphone once it has connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the robot, or as long as both your phone and the robot are connected to the internet.

iRobot Roomba 890 smartphone app

Aside from the options available through the controls on the vacuum itself, the app allows you to set a 7-day schedule so your floors are cleaned every day, view the robot’s status, and review a lifetime log of the cleaning jobs, total job time and dirt detect count. The app will also notify you when the cleaning is completed or if the robot needs your assistance to rescue it when it’s stuck or needs maintenance. There is a care section that shows you how to clean the bin, the core of the robot, and the debris extractors. You can even buy parts and accessories right from the app. There is also an option to name your robot, which may be convenient if you have more than one.

Voice-activated control

After being connected to a Wi‐Fi network, the Roomba 890 can be controlled with your voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. After coupling your voice device, you can ask Alexa or Google Assistant to start, stop, or dock the robot.

Sound and voice notifications

The Roomba informs you about the start and completion of the cleaning cycle, and notifies you in case of trouble. It uses a series of beeps and talks to you using a woman’s voice that sounds pleasant and only slightly robotic.

These notifications are quite loud and cannot be disabled.

Scheduling

The Roomba 890 can be scheduled to clean your home up to seven times per week using the app. You can set a different time to start for each day of week.

iRobot Roomba 890 schedule

Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier

To restrict the robot from accessing certain areas in your apartment you can use virtual walls – a special device run on two AA batteries that creates invisible barrier that the robot won’t cross. It can work in two modes: virtual wall or halo.

iRobot Roomba 890 virtual wall

In the wall mode, it emits a straight invisible beam that can be used, for example, to restrict the Roomba from leaving the room.

In the halo mode, it creates an invisible circle 24 feet in radius around the device, which can be used, for example, to protect pet bowls.

One virtual wall is included in the package, but you can buy more.

Before cleaning

The Roomba 890 is designed as an autonomous robot vacuum that can be run without any human assistance. However, it still can be caught under furniture of the same height as the robot, or get wrapped up in a cord or a sock, or even pick up a small Lego block.

To ensure the robot can do its job seamlessly, it’s a good idea to prepare the apartment:

  • Block access under the furniture where the robot may stuck, using some boxes or a virtual wall.
  • Pick up all cords, socks, toys, etc. Tuck in the fringes of area rugs.
  • Fragile items like vases or pet bowls should be picked up or protected with a virtual wall in halo mode.
  • To make navigation easier you can also take chairs off the floor.

Dustbin

The Roomba 890 has an AeroForce dustbin with the vacuum motor and the filter inside.

The capacity of the bin is 0.65 liters which is generally enough to collect the dirt from a one-hour cleaning cycle. However, if you run the robot in a particularly dirty room— for example, if your pets shed a lot and you haven’t cleaned for a while— the dustbin can get full after only 30 minutes of cleaning.

iRobot Roomba 890 dustbin

There is a full bin indicator, which alerts you when it’s time to empty the bin. You can also see it in the smartphone app. It’s recommended to empty the bin after each cleaning to maintain the maximum performance of the vacuum.

Emptying the bin is quite easy. First, press the bin release button to take the bin out of the robot, then open the red latch and throw away the collected dust.

iRobot Roomba 890 dustbin release

There is a chance of spilling the dust when you get the bin out, especially if it’s a bit overfull. In addition, the dirt sensors are quite sensitive, and dust tends to collect inside the main unit on the two vertical black plastic sensor bars. Sometimes this can cause the robot to indicate that the dirt bin is full when it isn’t. In such a case, a thorough cleaning of the sensors is needed before you continue instead of just a quick emptying of the bin.

Filtration

The pleated high-efficiency filter inside the dustbin is made from a special material that captures 99% of dust particles as small as 10 microns. This prevents most allergens from getting into the air, which is particularly good for people who suffer from allergies.

iRobot Roomba 890 filter

The filter should be cleaned after every three to seven cleaning cycles. You can hit it against the outside trashcan to get the dust and debris out, or sometimes use a traditional vacuum to clean the filter thoroughly.

The filter should be replaced after some time. One extra filter comes with the robot.

What’s in the box

iRobot Roomba 890 what is in the box

  1. iRobot Roomba 890
  2. Home Base Charging Station
  3. Power Cord
  4. One Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barrier (two AA Batteries included)
  5. One Extra Filter
  6. Owner’s Guide and Documentation Package

Roomba 890 specifications

TypeRobot
Bag typeBagless
Navigation PatternRandom
Return to dockYes
Roller brushDual
Battery energy26 Wh
ShapeRound
Filtration EfficiencyHigh-Efficiency
Dirt sensorYes
Input power26 watts
Side brushes1
Height3.6 inches
Weight8.4 pounds
Dustbin capacity0.6 liters
Wi-Fi ConnectivityYes
Runtime60 minutes
Smartphone AppYes
Voice ControlYes
Battery replacementYes
Battery typeLi-ion
Virtual BoundaryVirtual wall
Warranty period1 years
Full bin sensorYes
Warranty typeLimited
Cleaning path7 inches
Length13.9 inches
Width13 inches
BrandiRobot

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