When it’s cleaning, your Roomba usually requires little assistance from you. It returns home to its dock when it’s finished vacuuming or when its battery is low and needs to recharge. Self-emptying models head back to home base whenever their bin is full.
But in some cases, you may want to send your robot vacuum home before it’s done cleaning. At BestReviews, we’ve tested many Roombas and can help you figure out how to get your robot home via its app, manually or with voice commands when you need to get it out of the way quickly.
If you have a Wi-Fi-connected Roomba compatible with the iRobot Home app, you can send it back to its base quickly and easily with the app. Best of all, the app allows you to send your robot home even when you’re out of the house as long as you have access to your mobile device.
It’s easy to download the iRobot Home app for Android or iOS devices, including smartphones and tablets. When you set up a Wi-Fi-connected Roomba, the instructions explain how to access the app and connect your robot to the same Wi-Fi network as your device.
In addition to sending the Roomba home, the app lets you schedule cleaning, map your home, customize smart maps and adjust cleaning preferences.
Your robot must be out cleaning for the “Send Home” option to appear in the iRobot Home app. To start vacuuming, you can select the “Vacuum Everywhere” option in the app, press the “New Job +” button, or choose a specific room or series of rooms for it to vacuum from your Favorites list.
When your Roomba is out cleaning, the “Send Home” option appears beneath the image of your robot. Press the button, and your Roomba will return to its base.
Send your Roomba home directly from the robot by pressing its home or dock button. The location of the button varies from model to model.
If your Roomba is connected to a home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can use voice commands to send your robot home. To connect your Roomba to your home assistant, select “Smart Home” from the main menu in the iRobot Home app. Next, click “Voice Assistants,” and choose your desired assistant from the list. You will then have the option to connect your Roomba to your assistant.
When using Amazon Alexa, you can send your robot home by saying, “Alexa, have Roomba go home,” “Alexa, tell Roomba to go recharge” or “Alexa, tell Roomba to return to its dock.” If you’re a fan of “The Wizard of Oz,” you can even say, “Alexa, tell Roomba there’s no place like home.”
With Google Assistant, simply send your Roomba home by saying, “Hey Google, tell (robot name) to go home” or “Hey Google, dock (robot name).”
Your Roomba’s home base should be located in a spot with consistent Wi-Fi coverage, so the iRobot Home app can communicate with the robot. That ensures the robot will have an easier time finding its base when returning home.
Your home base should also be placed on a level surface, with its back flat against a wall. If the base is on an angle, your robot will move in a diagonal direction rather than in straight lines.
Additionally, the base should be in a spot free of clutter. Make sure you have at least 1.5 feet of space on each side of the base and 4 feet of space in front of the base. It should be at least 4 feet from any stairs, too.
Several issues can prevent a Roomba from returning home when it’s sent. Fortunately, most of these problems are easy to fix.
Your Roomba needs to communicate with its base when it’s out cleaning, so the base needs power to help the robot return home. Check that your home base is plugged in and its indicator light is illuminated. If it is plugged in but lacks power, make sure the outlet is functional. You may want to move the base to another outlet to check that it’s receiving the power it needs.
If the path your Roomba needs to take to return to its base is blocked with items, it can’t return home. Remove any toys, clothing, socks, wires, cords or other objects your robot might get stuck on from the floor around the base.
If you move your robot while it’s cleaning, it may get confused and have trouble finding its base. To help your Roomba, place it so it’s facing the base at a distance of approximately 4 to 6 feet. Use the app or press the dock button on the robot to send it home again, and it should be able to find the base without any problems.
Your Roomba may have trouble getting home if the charging contacts on the robot and its base are dirty. To clean these contacts, first, unplug the base. Turn your Roomba over, and use a lightly dampened cloth or melamine foam sponge, such as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, to wipe the two contacts on the underside of the robot. Next, clean the contacts on the base with the same cloth or sponge.
When the contacts are clean, your Roomba should be able to successfully dock once more.
If your Roomba has smart mapping, you can send it to a specific room. Models like the i3, i4, i5, i6, i7 and i8 as well as the j-series and s-series Roombas feature advanced navigation that allows them to learn and map your home, identifying specific rooms for cleaning.
Once a smart map is established, you can use the iRobot Home app to create a cleaning job for a specific room. You can also use voice commands to send your robot out to a certain room. For example, you can say, “Hey Google, start vacuuming the living room” or “Alexa, ask Roomba to vacuum my kitchen.”
Your Roomba will return home at the end of a vacuuming run, when it needs to charge or when it’s time to empty its bin, but sometimes, you may need to get it back to base right away. Whether you use the iRobot Home app, voice commands through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa or just do it manually, sending your Roomba home is very easy. If your robot won’t return to its base, there’s usually a quick fix that will get it to go home.
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.