The smart vacuum scene has exploded in the past few years, and we’ve come a long way since the first models came onto the market. There’s a huge range of options now ranging from basic automated vacuums to high-end robots that will even empty their own bins. The biggest name in the industry is Roomba, but there are a growing number of competitive options from other manufacturers like ILIFE that give their vacuums a run for the money. The ILIFE A4 offers most of the same features as the Roomba 650 and is available for a much lower price, making it one of our top picks for an affordable, high-performance smart vacuum.
In pretty much every category, the ILIFE A4 exceeds the capabilities of the Roomba 650 and has a lower retail price. Roomba has better name recognition and is able to charge a premium for their devices, but the only real reason you should opt for the 650 is if you’re looking to make heavy use of the virtual wall barrier feature.
We’ll go into detail on the similarities and differences of the ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650, but feel free to jump to the section that interests you most using the navigation bar below.
ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 — Things in Common
Smooth Navigation – Both the ILIFE A4 and Roomba 650 feature smooth navigation that expertly guides the robot around obstacles and avoids damaging furniture.
The ILIFE A4 accomplishes this through an anti-collision system sensor that will detect objects in the way long before it makes an impact. On the off chance that your vacuum does make an impact, you won’t have to worry about damage due to the included bumper that cushions the blow.
The Roomba 650, like most other Roomba models, uses iAdapt technology which is iRobot’s signature combination of sensors and software. iAdapt ensures that your Roomba will vacuum every corner of the room while easily guiding it around obstacles. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the technology isn’t quite good enough to recognize small objects like furniture legs — so you’ll frequently see your vacuum crashing into them at high speeds.
Ultimately, both vacuums have some issues with their navigation, but the ILIFE A4 appears to be a little more gentle when it does make a collision.
Anti-Fall System – Sometimes your bedroom needs a little vacuuming attention, but giving a robot vacuum free rein of the second floor can potentially lead to disaster when it starts to approach the stairs. Fortunately, both the ILIFE A4 and Roomba 650 feature an anti-fall system that will keep your robot from taking a tumble.
The ILIFE A4 detection, however, isn’t exactly flawless. It sometimes has difficulty detecting stairs if the carpet continues from the floor onto the steps, and it will also struggle if the sensor becomes dirty or the floor is particularly reflective. So if you do decide to opt for the A4, you may need to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t throw itself off the second floor!
Scheduling – The best perk of any smart vacuum is the ability to let it handle the vacuuming without any micro-management on your part. Both vacuums support scheduling so your robot will clean automatically at times that are convenient for you. We recommend setting your vacuum up to clean while you’re away at work, so you can avoid the noise and come home to perfectly tidy floors.
All-Type Floors – Chances are that your home has more than one type of floor. It’s important, then, that your vacuum be able to roll with the punches and navigate expertly from carpet, to floor, to tile and back again. You shouldn’t have an issue with either vacuum, as both are designed to flawlessly transition between floor types while keeping up an thorough clean.
Self Charge – Your convenient smart vacuum would be a whole lot less convenient if you had to worry about tracking down a dead robot. Chances are that there will be times that your vacuum can’t finish a clean without charging its battery, and both the A4 and 650 will navigate back to their base when they detect that their power is getting low.
Random Cleaning – One downside of both of these models is that their cleaning pattern is relatively random. Unlike more premium models, they don’t feature any ability to learn the layout of your room and adjust their vacuuming accordingly, so you’ll generally get a less efficient clean. They both do a decent job of cleaning a room, but they may take a long time, repeatedly bump into obstacles, or miss certain areas that are out of the way. If you’re looking for a vacuum that is intelligent enough to remember the layout of your home and make each run as efficient as possible, check out or take on the iRobot Roomba 960 vs. 980 — these two vacuums are equipped with coverage maps that allow you to monitor the exact path of your robot and easily see if it misses any spots.
Spot Cleaning – From time to time, there might be an area that needs a little extra attention. Whether it be a recent spill or simply an area that was neglected through scheduled vacuuming, it’s nice to be able to take advantage of both the ILIFE A4 and Roomba 650’s spot cleaning functionality.
With the A4, simply put the robot near the dirty area and press SPOT on the remote control in order to start a localized cleaning. On the 650, press the SPOT button on the robot itself and watch it clean outwards in a 3 foot diameter spiral, before heading back towards the center for a thorough clean of a specific location.
ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 — Differences
Difference #1: Suction Power – One of the primary differences when comparing the ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 is suction power. The ILIFE is significantly more powerful with suction of up to 1000 Pascal. There are also two modes you can choose from based on the needs of your current project — normal suction or max suction.
The Roomba 650 is significantly less impressive with only 650Pa of suction.
There’s no doubt that the A4 is a significantly more powerful vacuum. It’s especially useful if you have pets, as it’s a pro at dealing with stray clumps of fur.
Difference #2: IR Remote Control – Another advantage that the ILIFE A4 has over the Roomba 650 is its support for a remote control.
The ILIFE uses a remote in order to control all the various settings and features, and you can issue commands from up to 15 feet away. The Roomba 650, on the other hand, only offers control on the robot itself, meaning that you’ll have to bend over if you want to start a manual clean or adjust the schedule.
We find the ILIFE A4 a lot more convenient since you can easily issue commands from the couch rather than having to press physical buttons on the actual robot. For those nervous about misplacing the remote, worry not as it’s quite simple to get it replaced through Amazon.
Difference #3: Cleaning Area – For larger homes, there’s no doubt about it: the ILIFE A4 is the superior choice.
While the Roomba 650 is equipped to handle average sized spaces with a cleaning area of 120 square meters, the ILIFE A4 can cover a significantly larger distance with a range of 180 – 200 square meters.
Difference #4: Run Time – Backing up that wider cleaning area is a longer run time. The A4 can vacuum for 110 – 120 minutes on a single charge, while the Roomba 650 only has a 90 minute run time.
For small homes, you might not notice much of a difference between the two brands. As soon as the vacuuming area starts to become larger, however, you’ll start to notice the advantage that that extra 30 minutes of battery life can offer.
Difference #5: Filters – For a number of reasons, the ILIFE A4 is one of our top picks overall for homeowners with pets. One advantage that makes it so great is the included HEPA filter.
While the Aerovac filter on the 650 is certainly powerful and can block dirt and debris from floating up into the air during a vacuuming section, it isn’t powerful enough to block the transfer of allergens. The A4’s HEPA filter collects allergens, dust, and other dangerous particulates which can be a godsend for those with allergies.
Your home will feel fresher and cleaner after each use if you opt for the ILIFE model, and a significant part of that is the superior filtering.
Difference #6: Side-Brushes – Early models of smart vacuum would leave a trail of debris behind them due to the vacuum’s inability to gather everything in one go. More recent vacuums have added in side brushes that sweep debris into the path of the suction for a more comprehensive clean. They are also an excellent perk when it comes to cleaning corners, as it allows your robot vacuum to get into spaces it would otherwise have issues reaching.
The ILIFE A4 has two side brushes while the Roomba 650 only has one. This gives the ILIFE a bit of an advantage when it comes to cleaning every last inch of the room.
Difference #7: Noise – Another reason why we prefer the ILIFE A4 for pet owners is that it’s significantly quieter than the Roomba 650. At 55db vs. 68db, it’s much less likely to stress out pets and you can actually have a conversation while it’s doing its job.
If you’re planning on being away from home while your vacuum is making its rounds, it might not be a noticeable advantage. But for those of us with furry friends at home or who plan to have the cleaning session run at times when we’re relaxing in the living room, the lower noise levels are a major plus.
Difference #8: Virtual Walls – This is the main advantage that the 650 has over the A4. The appeal of a robot vacuum is allowing it to do the vacuuming for you, but these robots aren’t exactly that intelligent and they can end up getting into trouble or straying towards areas that you’d rather they avoid. Most modern models have support for some sort of system that will keep the vacuum contained, but this feature is only present on ILIFE’s high-end models while it comes standard on most Roombas.
The Roomba 650 comes with Virtual Walls, which allow you to set up a little node that transmits an infrared beam. When your vacuum detects the beam, it will turn itself around and avoid that area. It’s also possible to set it to project a beam in a radius, which is perfect for blocking off your robotic cleaner from a specific area within a room that you’d like it to bypass.
Difference #9: Design – When it comes to the efficacy of smart vacuums, design can actually play a large part. The best models are compact and low to the ground in order to provide easy clearance under obstacles like furniture.
The ILIFE A4 has an advantage in this area with 12.2 x 12.2 x 3 inch dimensions and a weight of 4.9 pounds. It has a gray color and has a beautiful, minimalistic look that is actually one of the most attractive that we’ve seen. There’s a single button on the top of the robot that is used to activate or deactivate it, and all the other settings are managed through the remote control.
The Roomba 650 is also pretty small, with dimensions of 13.4 x 13.4 x 3.6 inches and a weight of 7.9 pounds. It is noticeably bigger than the ILIFE A4, but we don’t think you’ll run into any major issues if you do decide to opt for this model. It’s still compact enough to navigate under pretty much any furniture, and the situations where that extra 0.6 inches of clearance will make a difference are probably few and far between.
Overall, it looks like pretty much any other smart vacuum. It has a minimalistic look as well, although there are a few more buttons on this model since you have to control the settings on the device itself rather than through a remote or app.
Ultimately, we think that the ILIFE A4 has the edge in terms of design, but we don’t anticipate the slightly larger dimensions of the Roomba 650 causing you any major hassles.
ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 — Comparison Chart
|ILIFE A4||Roomba 650|
|Cleaning Area||180 – 200 sq.m.||120 sq.m.|
|Run Time||110 – 120 mins.||90 min.|
|IR Remote Control||Yes||No|
ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 — Accessories
The main you’ll want to keep in mind when purchasing either model are largely focused around maintenance. While both models are built with premium construction that is built to last, you will have to maintain components from time to time to ensure that your vacuum continues operating optimally.
For the ILIFE A4, you can purchase a 10 Pack of Filter Replacements to ensure that your HEPA filtering is working effectively. You should aim to replace the filter at least a couple times a year, so a pack of 10 should last you quite a long while. Outside of that, you might want to look into the Replacement Filter and Side Brush Kit to give you pretty much everything you need to keep the vacuum health in one convenient package.
The Roomba 650 has an all-in-one Replacement Parts package as well, so that’s probably worth a buy. You might also be interested in buying a few more Virtual Wall Barriers if there are multiple areas you want blocked off.
ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 — Our Thoughts
Ultimately, we feel the choice when comparing the ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650 is pretty clear. The ILIFE A4 is the superior vacuum in almost every sense of the word.
The only real reason we would recommend buying the Roomba 650 is if you have a lot of areas that you need blocked off, but you can usually get past the A4’s shortcomings in this area with a few strategically placed barriers. The Virtual Wall Barriers are definitely nice, but we don’t feel that it’s enough of a benefit to make it a better buy when compared to ILIFE’s vacuum.
With powerful suction, excellent filtering, a superior runtime, and a lower price, there’s truly no competition.
Let us know what you think!
Have you noticed other differences between ILIFE A4 vs. Roomba 650? Feel free to add them or share your experience with the products in the comments section below. Your input can help other people make the right choice!
Last update on 2019-10-20 at 03:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API