iRobot 560 Robotic Vacuum Review

iRobot 560
Click to see on Amazon

Avg. consumer rating = 75/100 

The iRobot Roomba 560 is the third generation of Roomba and is one of iRobot’s “middle-of-the-road” models.   iRobot indicates that there are many improvements over previous models.  Consumers seem to like the product but also indicate that, while it is a step forward, it still has some issues.


With respect to improvements, iRobot 560 literature states:


- The counter rotating brushes move faster and are easier to remove and clean
- Better filtering system
- Larger dirt container
- More effective anti-tangle technology
- Better cleaning of corners and edges via an improved sidebrush
- A built in scheduler (can be scheduled to clean once per day up to 7 times per week)

The 560 also has a sealed chassis.  The chassis contains the infrared sensors and in some previous models these would often become obscured with dust causing the bot spin and move around haphazardly.  IRobot claims the sealed chassis reduces these kinds of problems.  The Roomba 560 also has bigger wheels and a better suspension than previous models.


The iRobot 560 comes with 2 Virtual Wall Lighthouses.  These devices can be set to either “virtual wall” mode or “lighthouse” mode.   In “virtual wall” mode the unit sends out an infrared beam that the Roomba will not cross.  This mode is used to limit the Roomba to certain areas.  In “lighthouse” mode the unit confines the Roomba to a certain room until the room vacuuming is finished then sends the Roomba on to the next room.  This approach provides for “room to room” cleaning. 

Other 560 features include an easy to empty dirt container (consumers have indicated that it is indeed easy to empty) and anti-tangle technology which can sense when the machine may be tangled and will run “escape algorithms” to try and free itself.  The Roomba 560 also detects when it is nearing and object and slows down to a speed in which the impact is a gentle bump, and it can detect and avoid a dropoff such as stairs.  Another feature is “dirt detection” that allows the unit to detect areas that are particularly dirty and spend more time vacuuming these areas.  The 560 has two cleaning modes - Clean mode for basic room cleaning and Spot mode for cleaning in a localized area (within a three foot diameter).  The iRobot Roomba 560 dimensions are 16.8 x 21 x 5 inches and it weighs 8 pounds.  It also comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

When one purchases an iRobot Roomba 560 the box contains the following:

- 1 iRobot Roomba 560
- 2 Virtual Wall Lighthouses (Each requires two C batteries, not included)
- 1 Self-charging Home Base
- 1 Power Supply (three hour charge time)
- 1 Brush Cleaning Tool
- 1 Rechargeable Battery
- 1 Extra Filter

Consumer ratings and sentiment

With respect consumer ratings/reviews, the iRobot Roomba 560 scores above average – typically 70% or greater.  However, as we mentioned in our well-publicized article “Are vacuums being built to fail? Helping consumers avoid the clunkers.”, it is important to consider the time the consumer has had the product before they post their reviews.  Don’t be taken in by “honeymoon reviews”.  This seems to be particularly true for robotic vacuums.  Consumers are thrilled at first, then several months later when the machine develops problems, their opinions often drop.  Robotic vacs are quite fascinating so this may explain some of the initial exuberance.  Having said that there are still quite a few comments from folks that have had a robotic vacuum for months and simply love it (reviews from folks who have had a robotic vacuum for a year or more are reasonably rare).  A snapshot of consumer ratings at several quality sites can be seen in the table below:

 Source Consumer Rating  #Ratings
 Amazon  3.8 stars out of 5  346
 Epinions  3.5 stars out of 5  32
 Sears  3.5 stars out of 5  23

Highest Scoring Vacuums
#1 CORDLESS VACUUM:   Dyson V8 Absolute (94/100)
Top Cordless Vacuum
#1 UPRIGHT VACUUM:      Shark NV752 TruePet (94/100)
Top Upright Vacuum
  Also see Shark NV801 (94/100) 
#1 CANISTER VACUUM:    Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor (93/100)
Top Canister Vacuum



Common consumer likes and dislikes related to the iRobot Roomba 560 are provided below: 

- Quiet
- Vacuums under furniture easily
- Small
- Easy to operate
- On-board scheduling is a popular feature

- Dirt container fills quickly and no “full” notification.
- Requires frequent cleaning of filters, brushes, sensors
- Side brushes sometimes break (a common problem that consumers really do not like)
- Auto-docking is very hit and miss
- You must “prepare” the area (remove throw rugs, cords, etc.) typically before use (same for most robotic vacs)
- Lighthouse feature doesn’t work that well (often ignored by bot)


An iRobot 560 video showing vacuum features is provided here - it does contain a URL for some outlet in lichtenstein of all places but the video itself is quite good (it is official iRobot marketing material I believe).




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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.