The model we are reviewing is the Roomba 606, which is black. Roomba 605 comes in white.
Roomba 605 is the cheapest model available (from the current line) from the American firm iRobot, which has made a wide range of robot vacuum cleaners for twenty years.
For our test, we let the Roomba 606 loose in a 70m2 (753.4ft2) apartment as its only floor cleaning tool for a couple of months. This period of time gives us a good indication of how tidy this cleaner can keep a typical apartment long-term.
Additionally, we tested the vacuum cleaner for a few week at another location that provided a myriad of capets and other obstacles for it to manouver around.
Roomba 605 / Roomba 606 - Let's examine the device!
Roomba 605/606 sales package
The Roomba 605/606 is the cheapest option from the Roomba range, yet it is difficult to distinguish it by initial appearance from more expensive options, even up to €1,000 range.
Roomba 605 follows the same design plan as all other Roomba-branded vacuums: a round plate with a giant "Clean" button in the center.
The contents in the sales package begin to show the differences between the Roomba 605/606 and more expensive options. It comes with only the vacuum cleaner and the charging station it needs. There is nothing extra, no spare parts or virtual wall barrier, are included.
View from under the Roomba, showing the side-brush in the upper left corner for cleaning walls, and the bristles in the center that remove the dirt from the floor.
The biggest physical difference between the Roomba 605/606 and more expensive models are the cleaning rollers. In this model, there are two cleaning rollers: one silicone "flapper" and another with brushes.
Another big non-physical difference is that the Roomba 605/606 is not an "intelligent" robot vacuum, in that it cannot be controlled by a smartphone. It cannot connect to the Internet at all, making this robot vacuum cleaner the only one tested by AfterDawn that can't be remotely controlled.
|3,5 kg (7.71lb)
|34,0 cm (13.4in)(round)
|9,2 cm (3.6in)
|Dust tank size
|Supports separately purchased Virtual Wall Stations
|varies wildly, appx. $150 / €150
Deployment of the Roomba 605 is much more straightforward than other robot vacuum cleaners tested by AfterDawn.
In practice, you find a suitable space where you can locate the robot's docking station which provides enough space around and straight ahead for dismount. The dock is then connected to an outlet and the robot placed within to begin charging.
For the first charge, it is advised to allow the device to charge for several hours.
To start the device once it is charged, all you have to do is press the large Clean button and then let the vacuum do its work.
Since this Roomba vacuum cannot be controlled at all with a smartphone, it is entirely up to the setup connection to configure different settings.
Getting the Roomba 605/606 started is very straight forward, just push the big Clean button and then let it run.
The device should begin its cleaning duties immediately. As with other Roomba models we tested, the behavior of the device can be quite a strange sight: it bounces around the apartment walls in a very illogical manner and can suddenly move to the other side of the apartment before returning to the exact same spot just moments later.
Roomba 605 cleans the living room, near its charging station
Putting aside the eratic behavior, the actions of the Roomba device are very straightforward: it cleans up the entire area it has been unleashed on, and one it has finished vacuuming up the floors, it will return to its charging station and wait there.
While the Roomba 605 is supposed to go back to its charging station when it is done, we did find in our testing that sometimes it seemed up just stop in the middle of the floor instead once it had finished cleaning.
Unfortunately, the Roomba 605 does not support "recharge and resume" functionality, which would allow the device to resume cleaning from the same place it was left before the battery ran out. In practice, this means that the Roomba 605 is quite limited in the floor space range it can clean.
If you manage to spill your cereal on your kitchen floor, then the Roomba's spot-cleaning feature can certainly help you. Place the device into the middle of the mess, and press the Spot button on top of the Clean button.
The middle button starts the vacuum cleaner. A target spot will be cleaned if you use the Spot button, and Dock will instruct the device to search for its charging station and move to it.
While spot-cleaning, the Roomba device moves in a spiral shaped pattern that will gradually grow to a diameter of about 1.2 meters, and cleans the circle from within. Once completed, it will make a cheerful noise to let you know.
How to use a robotic vacuum cleaner
With a robotic vacuum cleaner, the apartment should be cleaned constantly in practice, and not only occasionally which is the case when you have to manually vacuum yourself.
If you can schedule a robot vacuum to clean every working day when the home is empty, for example, it will stay clean and the interval between emptying the vacuum tank of the cleaner decreases as such. With this constant cleaning, you will notice that dust appearing on table tops and elsewhere is visibly reduced over time.
Unfortunately, the Roomba 605 isn't quite convenient when it comes to scheduling because you can't control it remotely (e.g., from work with a smartphone) and there is no built in scheduler. So, for the Roomba 605, you do need to remember to hit that Clean button everytime and then go about your day.
Battery life and charging times
The manufacturer states that the Roomba 605 batteries can enable cleaning for about one hour, which, according to our tests is quite good. In practice, this means that the Roomba 605 can clean up about 40 (430ft2) - 50m2 (538ft2) of cleaning area at a time, depending on the complexity of the apartment.
When the cleaning task is finished, the Roomba device will return to its charging station by itself and a recharge will take about three hours.
The device's abilities are limited by the fact that if the battery is running out during clean up and it was to return to its charging station, it is not capable of picking up where it previously left off. This means the cleaning area has to be limited so the Roomba can clean it in a single charge, typically about 40 to 50 square meters.
Carpets & Rugs
Like with other cheaper Roomba models, the Roomba 605 can struggle with carpets and rugs. If you have thick, long fibre, few centimeter thick carpets then you should forget about the Roomba 605, as it can get stuck in the middle of the carpet or fails to climb at all.
Another problem with lightweight carpets and rugs is the Roomba can climb over them and get stuck when its tires no longer are connected to the floor.
The aftermath of Roomba 605 vs. bathroom mat
Little bit heavier, flat rugs are not a problem for Roomba - it handles them with ease. Also, one of the most common problems robovacs typically have, the bristles / tassels of some rugs, aren't a major problem for Roomba. Sure, about every fifth time in operation, it has managed to "eat" those tassels and have gotten stuck because of that. Despite that, many much more expensive robovacs tend to have more problems with such rigs than this one.
All in all, the Roomba 506 is not suitable for homes that have deep carpets, or lightweight mats. With flat mats, it performs well. Carpet cleaning is OK - not the best, but good.
Roomba 606 is quite gentle on the furniture. The radar in it prevents the robot from colliding with bigger obstacles such as walls or floor-level sofas.
Roomba 605 cleaning under the kitchen table
Smaller obstacles, such as the feet of the table and chairs, it will lightly hit them. These light collisions did not mark any of the furniture in our tests, but of course the owner of a $10k designer table should pay attention to this feature.
Like other Roombas of this generation, the Roomba 605 can get stuck if its partially elevated by about 1-2cm as shown in the image below. If it climbs up onto an obstacle its tires can separate from the floor, and it cannot move.
The Roomba is partially elevated having climbed on an obstacle, and is stuck
Examples of these problems include: Drying racks with horizontal feet, shower hoses laying on the floor and children's Crocs.
The Roomba 605 is difficult to recommend for a home with pets, even though it can vacuum up pet hair. The problems are two-fold. Firstly, the Roomba 605 brush-like cleaning roll is frustrating to remove pet hair from (or hair from others living in your apartment who have long hair). Silicone rolls found in many other robotic vacuum cleaners will do better in this respect.
Secondly, Roomba 605 contains no allergy filter, so the pet dandruff (which produces allergy symptoms in humans) is partially spread back into the apartment. Also, the "old vacuum's smell" is clearly present after the Roomba vacuums the apartment.
Walls and corners
Thanks to its long side brush, the walls and corners of the apartment are surprisingly clean after Roomba has vacuumed.
Roomba 605 cleans the hallway!
Stairs and two-storey homes
Thankfully the Roomba 605 is very unlikely to fall down your stairs if it is vacuum upstairs. That is because the vacuum can recognizes edges it can fall over and will stop itself from running over them.
In a two-storey home, it is obviously a bit more work to use the robo vacuum than it is in an apartment or bungalo. It goes without saying that the Roomba 605 is not capable of climbing stairs by itself, so you will just have to occasionally move the equipment upstairs.
Obviously the best idea would be to have a separate dock station upstairs for the vacuum to use meaning you only have to move the vacuum model, but that is down to your budget. In any case, you still need to manually clean your own staircase.
The Roomba 605's noise level is average for a robot vacuum cleaning, and puts out about 61 decibels measured from one meter distance. This can be an annoying level if you are in the room while the robot is spinning for the sutation of its battery life (approximately an hour).
Therefore, it is recommended that the robot does its cleaning while the residents are away at work, school etc.
Dust bin and emptying
The dust container is Roomba's conventional half-liter container, which is easily detatched from the device by pulling it out. The contents can be tapped into an empty waste bag or basker before it is easily clicked back in.
Remember when emptying that Roomba 605 has no allergen filter, which becomes very clear in the long run. Roomba 605 is one of the few robotic vacuum cleaners we tested where the smell of "old vacuum cleaner" becomes apparent over time.
For the price, the Roomba 605's cleaning results are quire good. This is particlarly true for hard floor cleaning, even though the cleaning rolls do not remove quite the level of dirt that their most expensive siblings do.
The long side brush and wall-to-wall operation ensure that the walls and corners are cleaned out pretty well too.
For carpet cleaning, the results with this affordable Roomba model are "ok". Not great, not good, but it works. Occasionally, slightly thicker carpets may have some hair or dirt left over after the Roomba 605 has vacuumed once, but this is typically caught by a second run over with the vacuum.
One big drawback in cleaning performance, however, is Roomba 605/606 using first generation navigation that sometimes can leave a patch of the floor unclean. For some reason, sometimes it just doesn't cover a section of the room / house, and will leave dirt accumulate there. In our test, this affected about ten percent of the floor area.
Roomba often misses dirt/dust close to its charging station
Another downside is that sometimes the ROomba 605 will leave a small dust deposit at the dock. For some reason, it lets out this dust when it gets close to its dock, probably it has disabled its vacuum and any dirt or other material captured but not in the tank will fall out, as shown above.
In many ways, Roomba 605 is really the "affordable" model in the range in operation. The lack of a scheduling option is a major drawback that stands out, because we recommend that you use robot vacuums on a regular schedule, preferably daily.
The small battery, the weakness of the filters and the tendency for the vacuum to get lost in a more complicated floor plan are also bad features that limit the scope of recommendation for the product.
The mediocrity of the carpet cleaning performance and the requirement to clean the paddles also hurts the Roomba 605 rating. On the other hand, the affordable price is a big upside.
While the Roomba 605 is hard to recommend for many consumers, there are scenarios where it would be a suitable and wise purchase:
- If there are no pets in the dwelling (lack of allergy filters and difficulty cleaning hair from bristles)
- If the the apartment has a maximum floor area of 50m2 (538lt2)
- If the apartment has only a hard floor or thin flat carpet
- The homeowners are somewhat technophopic and want a basic robot vacuum
The Roomba 605 is really best suited for scenario where there are no pets, no thick carpets and so forth. It could be a wise purchase, for example as a Christmas present, if the critera matches our recommendations.
The lack of scheduled cleaning is the worst deficiency of the Roomba 605 compared to other robot vacuums, but this isn't really a problem if the target apartment already doesn't have wireless network or if the owner doesn't use a smartphone anyway.
However, even with the relatively low cost of the device, it is hard to recommend the Roomba 605 for most scenarios because even with an additional €100 spent, the options are far superior.
- Easy on Budget
- Very easy to use (in practice, one giant button!)
- Cleans walls and corners very well
- Cleans hard floor surfaces very well
- Doesn't jam on every carpet
- Can't resume cleaning from the same spot after charging
- No scheduling feature
- No remote control
- Sometimes fails to find its way back to the charging station
- Problems with thick carpets
- Problems with very light mats / rugs
- Carpet cleaning overall is below average performance
- Sometimes fails to clean parts of the floor
Roomba 605 is exactly the same as Roomba 606 or Roomba 620 . The only difference between devices is their color.
Overall Star Rating
The affordable price tag is noteable but doesn't do enough to give this a high star rating. The lack of scheduling features is a real drawback because one of the main points of a robot vacuum cleaner is it will perform the task long-term for you with minimal intervention. Roomba 605 also has issues with carpets that are significant.
The tendency for the device to be stranded away from its charging dock is also worth reducing the rating (in practice, the device runs out of battery charge while waiting for the owner to manually bring it back to the charging station). In addition, the "old vacuum's smell" is a surprising - and somewhat "nasty" - feature of the vacuum cleaner.
You might also want to read these articles, too:
- Review: Samsung Jet Bot 90 AI+ robot vacuum - Self-emptying robot vacuum that can avoid obstacles
- Samsung Jet Bot 80+ - Surprisingly good robot vacuum from Samsung
- Roomba model comparison chart
Written by: James Delahunty @ 14 May 2019 13:17