Roomba 655 vs 650: A Detailed Comparison of iRobot‘s Popular Vacuums

iRobot‘s Roomba robot vacuum cleaners have become a ubiquitous name in home cleaning. As some of their earliest smart vacuum models, the Roomba 655 and 650 continue to have legions of satisfied owners. However, with slight differences in accessories and features, buyers may wonder—which one is better for my home?

In this comprehensive, 2000+ word guide, we‘ll outline the key differences between the Roomba 655 and 650 across critical categories. Read on to determine which model suits your cleaning needs.

Overview and Main Differences

The Roomba 655 and 650 have identical dimensions (13.4” diameter) and very similar weights around 7-8 pounds. As baseline 800 series models lacking some newer navigation technologies, both vacuum in a semi-random pattern utilizing cliff and wall sensors to avoid falls and collisions.

However, the 655 model was released specifically for households with pets. As such, it comes with a few additional accessories tailored to picking up pet hair. The main differences between the two models are:

FeatureRoomba 655Roomba 650
NavigationGets stuck less frequentlyTends to get stuck more often
Cleaning ToolsExtra rubber brush, bristle brush, side brush and beater brush for petsComes with flat cleaning tool only
BatteryX-Life NiMH batteryAPS NiMH battery

Now let‘s explore some key categories in-depth to reveal all the details prospective buyers should know.

Accessories and Tools for Effective Cleaning

One major difference that sets the Roomba 655 apart is its inclusion of extra cleaning tools. In addition to its flat cleaning head, it also adds:

  • Rubber pet hair brush
  • Bristle brush
  • Side brush
  • Beater brush

These accessories give it superior cleaning capabilities compared to the 650, especially in homes with shedding pets. The rubber brush attracts and pulls in pet hair with ease compared to bristle brushes prone to tangles.

In contrast, the 650 only comes with a single flat cleaning head. This limits its versatility for homes needing extra scrubbing power on carpeted areas or tackling pet messes.

Both utilize a standard 3-stage cleaning system combining agitation, brushing and suction for solid debris pickup from different floor types. However, the variety of brushes makes the 655 the clear winner when it comes to adaptability.

Cleaning Performance Comparison

With its single flat cleaning tool, the 650 performs respectably on hard floors and low to medium-pile carpets. However, some owners note issues with hair wrap and report the need for frequent manual brush cleaning.

The 655‘s rubber pet hair tool minimizes tangles and improves cleaning on carpets. Between the two brushes, powered side brush, and standard 3-stage cleaning system, the 655 picks up debris more efficiently.

However, both models may miss some spots due to their lack of visual mapping compared to newer Roombas. They utilize dirt detection sensors to concentrate on high-soil areas but clean in a random pattern. The 650 in particular has a tendency to repeat over cleaned areas, draining its runtime.

For cleaning performance alone, the accessories make the 655 the winner, especially for homes with shedding pets.

Charging Differences Between the Models

Runtime for both vacuums caps out around one hour, suitable for tackling an average room or two before requiring a recharge.

The Roomba 650 comes equipped with an APS charger and the convenience of automated docking. Once its battery dips below 15%, it will search out and return to the charging dock on its own.

Comparatively, the 655 utilizes an X-Life NiMH battery but lacks automatic docking capabilities. Owners must manually place it on the charger when power runs low. However, thanks to its more efficient cleaning route, the 655 conservesruntime and covers more ground per cycle.

For those desiring automated charging, the 650 holds the edge. But the 655 makes up for this with potentially longer cleaning cycles between charges.

Navigation Technologies in the Roomba 655 and 650

One common owner complaint around older Roomba models is their tendency to get "stuck" – whether wedged under furniture, tangled in cables, or stranded by obstacles.

Unfortunately, as two of iRobot‘s early smart vacuum attempts, neither the 655 or 650 includes visual mapping or the most advanced navigation. Instead, both utilize an older iAdapt system with the following aspects:

  • Dual wall sensors to avoid collisions
  • Infrared cliff sensors to detect and avoid drops
  • Bumper switch to trigger a change of direction upon impact
  • Four debris detection zones to focus cleaning where it‘s needed most

In practice, this allows the vacuums to transition between floor types and steer clear of potential traps. However, since they lack "sight" of the room, performance falters around narrow furniture legs or black carpeting (which can confuse cliff sensors).

Between the two, the 650 seems to get stuck more frequently. Owners report issues with it requiring frequent rescues or struggling to locate its base if the pathway isn‘t clear.

The 655 avoids immobilization better in most home layouts. For navigation prowess alone, the 655 rate as the better option. But new buyers should be aware both models lack modern mapping features.

Bin Size and Indicators

The dust bin capacity matches between the two models at 400ml – suitable for light debris cleanup but fills quickly for homes with lots of dirt or pet hair.

Sadly, neither model features a full-bin indicator. So determining when to empty relies fully on the owner periodically checking it.

For larger homes or convenient operation, this proves a troublesome shortcoming. But if manually emptied regularly, owners can maintain sufficient ongoing suction.

Filtration Differences Between the Roomba 655 and 650

In the battle for cleaner indoor air quality, robot vacuums with true HEPA filtration reign supreme. Unfortunately, neither the 655 or 650 qualifies as a HEPA vacuum.

Instead, both utilize a standard AeroVac filtration system. This does block many allergens and prevents debris escaping back into the air, but doesn‘t satisfy HEPA standards. The good news is both filters are washable, saving on replacement costs.

For allergy sufferers, neither rates as a top choice. However, their filtration surpasses basic vacuums for trapping dust and irritants when maintained properly.

Which Roomba Is the Better Buy?

For most users, the Roomba 655 Pet Series takes the win for its additional accessories, battery life and navigation. Dog and cat owners struggling with embedded pet hair will also appreciate its specialized rubber brush.

However, the 650 satisfies with respectable pickup and automatic charging – provided it doesn‘t get immobilized frequently.

Ultimately, measuring your home size, mess levels and cleaning convenience needs sways the decision. Homes exceeding 1,500 square feet stretch beyond the capacity of these entry-level models in either case.

But for small apartments and spaces under 1,000 square feet, the 655 makes keeping floors fur-free much easier.

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