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Roomba E5 vs E6 iRobot Vacuums: Ultimate Comparison

by  Lawrence- Last updated on September 10, 2020
roomba vacuum cleaner

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Choosing robot vacuum cleaners used to be easy—because there were only a few options! These days though, there are tons of amazing options on the market when it comes to robot vacuums.

If you’re tossing up between the Roomba e5 and e6 (both of which are fantastic in their own right), we’re sharing our experience testing them out and comparing them. While they are both well known for being budget-friendly Roombas with all the basic features you need, they are still different in their own ways.

Let’s take a look at which one comes out on top when we compare both of them.

Roomba E5 vs. E6 at a Glance

  • Both Roombas do not have a digital mapping that you can program for your house, but the e6 robot vacuum cleaners do come with a virtual wall to prevent your device from going into certain areas. The e5 does not have the ability to create a virtual wall
  • The two models have a run-time of 90 minutes before they need a charge
  • Color may not matter as much to you, but know that the e5 comes in all-black, while you can only get the e6 in a tan hybrid color.
  • The e6 comes with an extra filter, unlike the e5 robot vacuum
  • The e6 robot vacuum cleaner retails at a lower price point, but it is available at select retailers only
  • The two models take 3 hours to charge and will begin charging automatically
  • You can control either Roomba from an app on your phone

Roomba E5 Advantages

  • High-Efficiency Filtration

You have some great filtration when you purchase the e5 robot vacuum. This high-efficiency filter works by removing in-home allergens from your floors while preventing these allergens from going back up into the air. This extra high-efficiency filter can capture particles that are as small as 3 microns, removing 99 percent of all mold, mildew, pollen, and pet dander.

  • Pricing

If you already own a virtual wall from another Roomba, or you just don’t think you’ll need them, you can buy the e5 for a cheaper price than the e6. Since both robot vacuums can clean the same, as long as you don’t need the extra features, you’ll do great with the e5.

  • Sensors

You might not have virtual walls with the e5, but you do have sensors like the dirt detect technology to help your iRobot Roomba find the dirt and to prevent your Roomba from falling down the stairs. Because your Roomba can sense its surroundings too, it will know to change its height depending on what kind of flooring it’s on.

Roomba E5 Disadvantages

  • No Virtual Walls

Because there are no virtual walls included in the Roomba e5, this means that if you want to contain the path of your Roomba, you will need to set this up manually. This might include setting uptake or plugging in electrodes, or buying the towers that are already included in the e6.

  • Buying Filters

You will need to buy filters for both Roombas, but it is true that you have an extra filter with the e6 that you don’t have with the e5. This means that you will need to buy your filters sooner when you buy the e5 and that you’ll have to spend just a little bit more.

  • Pairing

If you have technology like Alexa in your home, the e6 can pair with that. The e5 cannot do that, so you will have to use the app on your phone or the physical buttons to give your robot vacuum commands.

Roomba E6 Advantages

  • Virtual Walls

You have two virtual walls included in this Roomba e6, which means that your Roomba won’t be banging into walls or running over rugs that it’ll get stuck on. Select how you use the virtual walls, and which areas you want to block off. You can also use what’s known as halo mode, which will put up a four-foot diameter to protect things like pet dishes and plants.

  • Second Filter

You have all the filtration in the e6 that you have in the e5, but you also have a second filter included when you buy the e6. Since you will be buying filters regularly with both Roombas, having a second one included right away with your purchase makes a big difference. This means that you can go up to a full year without needing to replace the filter.

  • Sensors

You also have sensors on the e6. It will detect dirt and places around it so that it won’t end up falling off of stairs or bumping into walls. With the two extra virtual walls that you get here, you’ll have the extra freedom to just let your Roomba do the cleaning.

Roomba E6 Disadvantages

  • Pricing

These two Roombas are incredibly similar, yet the e6 does cost you about $100 more. If you don’t need the virtual walls or the second filter, it just doesn’t make sense for you to buy the more expensive e6, especially when they both clean well, have filters, and will take a couple of hours to charge.

  • Similar to the E5

You should know that the e6 is very similar to the e5. This might be a disadvantage for you if you’re willing to spend extra money to get a good vacuum. You’ll get the same Wi-Fi, the app to control your Roomba, and good battery life.

  • Colors

Especially if you want your robot vacuum to blend in with your apartment, you might not like that your only color option for the e6 is tan. You can get a black option when you get the e5.

Winner: Don’t want to read the full article? The editors choice is product the E6

What’s the Difference Between Them?

Roomba models can vary vastly from model to model. Other times, some Roomba models are quite similar, with a couple of small differences. Today, we’re looking at some newer Roomba vacuums, in particular, the Roomba e5 and e6.

We’ll go through the most important features for any robotic vacuum, and see how each of these E series Roombas stacks up next to one another.

Overall Design

First, let’s look at the overall design. As you might expect, Roombas have a typically sleek, rounded design with a low profile. The e5 and Roomba e6 is no different.

While there are slight design differences from other models, the basic Roomba shape remains the same. Between the two, there’s one major design feature that distinguishes them. It’s in color. These two vacuums have a similar height of 3.6 inches.

The newer Roomba e6 has a standard black body, but with silver accents and trim. The older e5 model comes with an entirely black outer shell.

Some retailers might also carry the e6 Roomba in the pale gold color, although that depends greatly on the retailer and availability. In short, if the look of your robotic vacuum is weighing heavier on the important side, Roomba e6 has a couple more options than the e5.

The color might not matter to everyone. However, if it does matter to you (the Roomba is a moving fixture in your home, after all), consider the fixed colors and design for each model.

Colors aside, it’s very difficult to tell the two apart based on appearance alone. They both have three main buttons on their top surface – Clean, which starts or stops a cleaning cycle, Home, and Spot.

Verdict: If colors matter to you, Roomba e6 gives you more options. Otherwise, they don’t differ a lot in terms of their overall look.

Functionality

When it comes to function, both models do have a lot of similarities. Both work well on either hard floors (like hardwood and tile) as well as carpet.

Also Read: 5 Top Robot Vacuums for Hardwood Floors: Reviews & Buying Guide

Some people say the dust bin on the Roomba e5 model seems smaller. When it comes down to it, there’s not a significant difference. However, it might mean emptying the e5 just slightly more often. They both have a run-time of 90 minutes.

However, both E series models do have washable filters and a washable dust bin, which ultimately saves money (and hassle) in the long run. Likewise, you can also order extra filters for either model when the reusable filters wear out.

When it comes to navigation and mapping, the Roomba e5 and e6 have very similar, if not identical, abilities. They both feature smart navigation, which is a huge improvement over past navigation systems that seemed to go around in random circles.

They both have dirt detector technology built-in, so they can sense problem areas. Not only that, neither model will fall off ledges and ultimately become damaged (and if you’re spending this much for a robotic vacuum, you want to protect your investment).

They both have cliff detection technology, which prevents them from falling off a ledge or down the stairs. However, Roomba e6 has a virtual wall while Roomba e5 does not.

As far as battery power goes, both models are more or less identical. You can expect a solid 90 minutes of cleaning time from each when they’re in regular mode. Because they both include lithium-ion batteries, edge cleaning brushes, the side brush does not miss a spot, whether it’s floors or framing.

Verdict: Both are quite similar in terms of navigation, mapping, and cliff detection. The e5 has a slightly smaller bin which can mean more regular emptying. Also, Roomba e6 comes with a virtual wall. Thanks to these, we’ll name the Roomba e6 the winner.

Cleaning Effectiveness

Whenever you look at a vacuum, whether robotic or not, you’re probably most concerned about how well it cleans. You shouldn’t be concerned with suction alone, however. With a run-time of 90 minutes, you should also look at what kinds of areas the robot vacuum can clean.

Roombas have a distinctly slim, low profile in general. This allows them to get under low furniture and hard to reach areas. Roomba e5 and e6 perfectly fit the description.

While they’re almost identical in form, the newer model does weigh in with a couple of extra ounces (considering you don’t really have to carry it around, we consider this negligible).

However, we should still consider how well they clean other areas, like corners and edges. Both of these E series models have edge sweeping brushes built-in, along with rubber brushes that are gentle on the carpet, the side brush picks up hair better.

For homes with allergy sufferers, both models are ideal. They’re both designed to remove dust and allergens with a filtration system that contains even the tiniest particles and is ideal for pet hair. This is a huge benefit for not only allergy sufferers but also pet owners.

One of your biggest questions is certainly whether or not the suction power differs from one model to another. However, both have seemingly equal suction in regular mode (for small and larger particles).

Both models have rather good suction power on regular mode, although they each also have power suction to take care of tough messes. When they get the mess up, virtually none of it escapes either.

Verdict: It’s a tie.

Navigation

Both E series Roomba models have Smart Navigation, to keep them on track and cleaning where you need it. With the Smart Navigation feature, they have various sensors like cliff detect sensors, dirt detect sensors, etc to help them navigate around objects around your home.

When it’s run out of battery or it’s done its job, they’ll both navigate their way back to their charging station.

Not only that, they both have cliff detection, unlike some earlier models, which keeps them from falling off ledges and downstairs.

Paired with the dirt detection technology, they don’t miss a spot or waste battery on spinning around when there are messes to clean up.

Verdict: Both models are on par with one another. We have to call this round a draw.

Accessories

Perhaps the biggest difference between Roomba e5 and e6 is what each comes with. We’re talking about accessories.

When we compare  e5 vs Roomba e6, unfortunately, the Roomba e5 doesn’t really come with any extra accessories. However, it does still work as programmed with virtual wall barriers, but you’ll have to purchase those separately.

Roomba e6 is compatible with virtual wall barriers as well and it actually comes with them included. In fact, Roomba e6 comes with a dual-mode virtual wall to block off areas where you don’t want your Roomba cleaning.

Verdict: The e6 comes with 2 virtual walls and even an extra filter.

Value for Money

What’s our number one criteria for buying any appliance, and especially robot vacuums? Value for money, of course! What really stands out at first as the bigger difference between the Roomba e5 and  Roomba e6 is the price tag.

Considering that there are few major differences between the two, this can be a hard divide for some people to justify. However, we also need to take into account the accessories each model comes with.

When we compare Roomba e5 vs e6, Roomba e5 does include a washable filter, although you’ll need to purchase additional filters separately. Roomba e6 may cost more, but it also comes with an extra filter (aside from the original) as well as two virtual walls to block off areas you don’t want your Roomba cleaning.

That said, you can also buy virtual walls and filters separately if you choose the e5. However, you might not get the same deal buying them separately.

Verdict: We crown the Roomba e6 the winner here. But if you have a one-level home with unrestricted areas, the e5 is a better buy for you. If you have pets, areas you don’t want to be cleaned or want to block off specific areas, the Roomba e6 is a better buy.

Connectivity

We love technology, but when it isn’t user friendly, it can be more of a burden than a boon. We had to pair each model side by side to see how easy each was to hook up and work with.

Our first impressions were positive for both Roomba e5 and Roomba e6. Truly, the technology is basically the same and gives you the same results.

When we compare Roomba e5 vs e6 Roomba, they both connect on Wi-Fi and offer hands-off control. You can also program either model with the iRobot HOME app, and is also compatible with assistants/ voice commands like Alexa or Google, which allows mapping, scheduling, charging, maintenance information, and more.

In terms of the ease and speed of connection, both models connect rather quickly. They each also maintain a steady connection, without the blips that so many devices have these days.

They’re both easily controlled with your phone. Your experience using the app doesn’t really differ from one model to another, at least between the E5 and Roomba E6. The interface and controls are basically the same.

Verdict: Between the E5 and E6, this round is a total draw. They both connect and maintain the connection equally well. Not only that, the HOME app offers the same controls for each model, and it’s very user friendly.

Conclusion

Both Roomba vacuums will clean your home well, and both have many useful features that ensure that they pick up the dirt and debris in your home effortlessly.

It’s the e6 that really stands out though. The e6 not only has all the tools that the e5 has, but it includes extra accessories and virtual walls too. If the price is not a problem and you want those accessories, the e6 is the perfect option for you.

However, if you’re on a tighter budget and don’t care for the extras, the e5 is great value for money and isn’t too different from the newer e6 model in terms of its features and functionality.

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