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Our current favorite budget robot vacuum is $95 off its usual price at Amazon right now. iRobot’s Roomba 694 usually retails for $274 but is seeing a 35 percent discount, putting it just $4 above its all-time low of $174, which the vac dipped to in advance of Black Friday. If you’ve been curious about automated floor cleaning, but were waiting for a good deal, now might be a great time to see whether a robot vac is for you. We’ve tested a number of these machines over the years and this model is our current “best overall” pick in our budget robot vacuum guide.
What really sets the Roomba 694 apart from other budget vacuums is the easy-to-use app. While the unit has three physical buttons that allow you to start, stop and dock the unit, you’ll mostly be controlling it through the app via a WiFi connection and your smartphone. After following the setup instructions, you can set schedules so the vac runs regularly and keeps your floors clean with minimal input on your part.
The 694 can run for 90 minutes on hard floors, but we got about half that using the vac on a mixed landscape of carpet and tile. It automatically returns to the dock when the battery runs low, so it can handle larger homes with a pit stop to recharge. We found the Roomba 694 did a good job picking up dirt and debris, but it did get tripped up if charging cables were left on the floor. Getting those out of the way and emptying the unit when it’s full are two of the times you’ll need to physically interact with the unit. Keep in mind that this one doesn’t come with extra brushes, you’ll need to order them when the time comes.
If you want to interact with your robot vac even less frequently, you could opt for a self-emptying model, like the iRobot Roomba j7+. You also get better obstacle detection and customized room mapping options. Of course you’ll pay more for these upgrades, but right now the j7+ is 25 percent off, bringing the $800 unit down to $600. The Roomba s9+ is also on sale. It’s our current pick for a premium robot vacuum in our guide, and right now the $1,000 unit is down to $800, or 20 percent off.