Does my Roomba need a new battery?

Is it time to replace your Roomba’s battery? ¹

Batteries have revolutionized modern gadgets and all of our most treasured pieces of tech are powered by them.

But considering how important a battery is to the proper functioning of a device, we probably don’t give them the care and attention that they need or indeed deserve.

And, of course, sometimes these batteries become weaker and might fail completely. 

Which is true for some of our most hardworking devices, such as Roombas.

And so in this article, I’m going to be discussing how to tell if your Roomba needs a new battery. 

To start with, I want to set out some reasonable expectations of how long the average battery should last in a Roomba.

How long should your roomba battery last?

If properly used and maintained, your batteries are easily supposed to work efficiently for two years or around four hundred cleaning cycles.

And by cleaning cycle I mean when the battery is fully charged and then used until it is empty. 

But, in order to get the most from your battery, it will need a little tender loving care.

These are quick little tasks that you can do which will keep the battery within your robotic vacuum working in the most efficient way possible.

Does it surprise you that you can’t expect your battery to provide excellent service if all you do is recharge it when it is running low?

And one of the most important things to do is to regularly clean your Roomba- making sure that there are any fibers or hair snagging any of the brushes or rollers or any clumps of dust or dirt blocking the filters or the tubes leading to the bin. 

It is recommended that this be done at least once a month but you might need to do it far more if your Roomba is in use most days and if your house contains more dirt or debris than other houses. 

I am thinking here of homes that have at least one pet and families that include young children!

Which, of course, begs the question “are there any other tips and tricks for maintaining or extending a Roomba’s battery life?”

Five hints to help maintain Roomba batteries

Don’t lose heart, you are in control.

Apart from cleaning your Roomba, there are some specific things that you can do to keep a Roomba battery fighting fit.

  • Always use brand recommended batteries, preferably bought from the brand website.
  • Put your robot to use as often as possible. It is designed to charge and discharge regularly. If it needs to be unused for a while, keep the batteries fully charged and disconnected from the robot for that period. This is also known as the vacation mode.
  • Leaving your batteries uncharged and the robot unused for a long time is one sure way to deteriorate the battery’s lifespan. 
  • The appropriate condition to use roomba batteries is to charge at room temperature. Your batteries should not be too cold or too warm while charging. It is also important to store them at room temperature just like other regular batteries.
  • Don’t charge a full or nearly full battery. Use the battery or drain it before charging it. Charging the battery before it is fully drained is another fast way to run down the battery sooner than usual.

It is important to note that not all roomba battery problems require a replacement.

Your device will run smoothly when all these maintenance routines are religiously followed.

But sometimes, no matter how careful we are, a battery will just need to be replaced.

So what are the “tell tale” signs to look out for?

Three signs that your Roomba needs a new battery 

If you have been noticing a disturbing decline in your roomba battery’s performance, then it might be time to consider a replacement. 

But not without doing the following checks. 

[1] Your running time has drastically reduced.

A properly functioning Roomba battery should last for approximately two hours before getting fully discharged. 

Even though the running time may vary depending on various factors, such as the layout of your home, your floor types and size, or if you possess a pet(s). 

If you run the previously mentioned maintenance routines and your vacuum goes off in no time as soon as it starts running, then you might need to consider getting new replacement batteries.

[2] A well used battery suddenly dies

It might be that instead of slowly becoming weaker, the battery on your Roomba suddenly stops working altogether. 

If this happens and you know for a fact that your Roomba has been working hard, it might be time to go battery shopping. 

[3] Lights, Roomba, no action!

My third and final sign that your existing Roomba battery is dead is when none of the usual indicator lights are on.

Lights such as a green solid light (showing that the battery is fully charged, and a flashing orange light to show that the battery is charging. . 

Four reasons why your Roomba doesn’t need a new battery

Just because your Roomba isn’t behaving as it should, doesn’t mean that it will need a new battery in every situation.

I offer four possible workarounds for you to check.

The first solution on my list is the most likely cause of your battery issue with the last item mentioned being the most unlikely cause!

[1] 16 hour refresh charge

If your Roomba has been woefully underused for the past few months, then its battery isn’t dead, it is just being lazy.

A usual charging time of two hours won’t be enough to shock your Roomba from this malaise- the battery needs to be charged for much longer. 

Although in many cases a Roomba will automatically detect when it is in need of a 16 hour power hibernation, there is a way that you can trigger this manually. 

You can do this by pressing and holding the CLEAN button for about 20 seconds to start up the robot. Press and hold the SPOT and DOCK buttons simultaneously for about 30 seconds for roomba series that do not have the CLEAN button. 

[2] Check the contacts

Each Roomba has two contacts (or metal squares) on their belly which need to be in contact with the two metal squares on the dock in order for the battery to charge successfully.

Quickly check these for squares for any signs or dirt, dust, grease or rust that might be stopping your battery from charging properly. 

[3] Check the power lead 

Our next check when it comes to battery problems is the charging cable that powers the dock. 

Do you know for sure that this lead is working properly?

I have just bought a second hand Roomba which has a charging problem and this was one of the checks that I carried out in order to find out what the real problem was. 

And the trouble is that it is a simple check to make as long as you have an identical lead lying around.

And that is not always the case. 

The power leads that powers my Roomba home base has a pretty ancient shape.

In the UK, the shape is described as a “figure of eight” but fortunately it is the same lead that powers my printer.

These leads are cheap and easy to get hold of online but that means you have to wait a day or two to figure it out! 

[4] Check the electrical socket

For most of us, our homebase stays in the same place for months or years on end.

Could it be that it isn’t the battery or lead that is cousin the problem but the electrical socket itself.

Now a broken or faulty electrical socket is very unlikely to be the cause of your vRoomba battery issue but it is a simple check to complete.

Just plug an item that you know is working, such as a phone charger, into the socket to test that it works. 

And hopefully you will find that there isn’t anything wrong with the socket.

And I say this because it would probably cost more to have your socket repair than to have to buy a new battery!

Is it worth buying a new battery for my Roomba?

Hopefully, my guide has helped you pinpoint exactly what the problem is with your Roomba.

But if you are 100% certain that your Roomba does need a new battery then something to think about is whether you might be better off buying a new Roomba vacuum instead.

Now this depends partly on how old your current Roomba model is and how much it gets used.

If your Roomba is several years old and it gets a lot of heavy use in your house, it might be worth upgrading.

The difference between what the latest generation of Roombas can do and their predecessors of a few years ago is massive.

If you are a Roomba fanatic then the latest model will work even harder and smarter for you providing you value for money for years to come. 

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Karlis Dambrans on Flickr