Roomba charging problems and solutions

Have you ever tried to start your Roomba without success or waited for it to start on schedule and nothing happened? It’s annoying, to say the least. iRobot Roombas are known to be dependable, and they’re supposed to work with minimal attention from you.

One reason why your Roomba failed to start might be that it didn’t charge properly. Roombas have rechargeable batteries that charge when the unit is docked. If your Roomba won’t charge, there are several steps you can take to find the problem. 

Is the dock working?

The first thing to check is the dock, also called the Home Base or Clean Base of your iRobot Roomba. These bases have a power cable that plugs into the dock and a wall outlet. Check this cable to see that it’s firmly seated at both ends.

Is the Roomba docking properly?

Next, see if your Roomba is docking properly. Set your Roomba a short distance from the dock and press the “Home” or docking button. Does the Roomba dock? If it doesn’t, the dock might be askew, there could be dirt on the charging contacts or there could be a software error.

Check the charging contacts

Underside of robot vacuum that shows charging contacts

Remove your Roomba from its dock. Check the dock’s charging contacts to see if they’re clean and there’s no dirt or debris blocking them.

Turn your Roomba over and do the same with the charging contacts on the underside. You can clean both sets of contacts with a cloth or a melamine sponge like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Check the app

If you have a Wi-Fi-connected Roomba, check the iRobot Home app. This can tell you if there’s something wrong with your vacuum, especially if it needs to reboot. The app might also be able to tell you if your Roomba has experienced an error by showing you an error code. That code can help you narrow down the problem.

Reboot your Roomba

Rebooting is the same as restarting your Roomba, a bit like turning it off and on. This refreshes the software without deleting any programmed settings or schedules. You can reboot the Roomba from the iRobot Home app or by holding down the “Clean” button for nine to 20 seconds. (For Roomba 600-series models, hold down the “Home” and “Spot” buttons for 10 seconds.)

Once your Roomba is rebooted, try charging it again.

Check the battery

Roomba on charging dock with finger on button

Battery issues might be preventing your Roomba from charging. If the battery is two to three years old, it might need to be replaced. If it’s new, it might not be installed or seated correctly. Turn over your Roomba and use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the bottom cover or battery door. Pull out the battery and then carefully put it back in. Replace the cover or door and try charging the Roomba again.

Reset your Roomba

A factory reset returns your Roomba’s software to the state it was in when you got it. It will erase all your settings, schedules, Wi-Fi information and maps. After a factory reset, you’ll need to set up your Roomba all over again. This is a little drastic, but can help with some problems that can’t be solved in any other way.

The easiest way to reset your Roomba is to use the iRobot Home app. Go to Product Settings, then About Roomba. Choose the option Remove Device from Account, then Factory Reset Roomba.

Resetting without the app keeps some data and account info intact. To reset a Roomba without the app, hold down all three main buttons (“Spot,” “Clean” and “Home”) for seven, 10 or 20 seconds depending on your model (j-series Roombas just need the “Clean” button held down). A tone or flash of light tells you the reset was successful. 

Contact customer support

You can contact iRobot customer support if your Roomba has trouble charging or experiences other issues.

From the web

Have your Roomba nearby and its serial number handy.

  • Go to and choose Support from the top of the homepage. 
  • From the options offered, try Troubleshooting to get guidance on things you can do yourself.
  • Or choose Contact Us for help from iRobot. You can choose to speak to a customer service representative over the phone or fill out a web form to send iRobot a message. 

From the app

From the iRobot Home App, choose Help, then Contact iRobot Support. The app displays your Roomba’s full serial number and three options: talk to a customer support representative over the phone, use a contact form or go to iRobot’s Support page on the website. 

When to replace your Roomba

Finger on Roomba's "Clean" button

Roombas can last at least two to five years, but with proper care and parts replacement, some can last a decade or even longer. You might need to replace your Roomba if

  • You can no longer find parts for it, such as batteries, rollers or filters.
  • You repeatedly get error messages regarding its vacuum motor or circuit board.
  • Its outer shell is cracked or significantly damaged.
  • It doesn’t suit your needs any more.

There have been 10 generations of Roombas since they first debuted in 2002. While older models might still be able to clean effectively, newer Roombas can have features like row-by-row cleaning, smart mapping, zone cleaning and Wi-Fi. These might be worth the upgrade if you’d like more control over how and when your vacuum cleans.

Roomba warranties

Roombas come with a one-year limited warranty, which covers defects in materials or workmanship but not such things as wear and tear, rough handling, misuse and deliberate damage. The warranty should cover charging issues as long as those issues don’t arise from a third-party battery or a battery that has short-circuited or been tampered with.

To make a warranty claim, contact iRobot and give them your Roomba’s serial number and proof of purchase. iRobot might repair or replace your Roomba.


Can I charge my Roomba without a dock?

Some Roombas, like models in the 500 and 700 series, have a power socket or battery-charger socket that allows them to plug directly into a power cable. However, most Roombas, including Wi-Fi-enabled 600-series models, the i series, j series and s series, lack this port and can only be properly charged with a Home Base or Clean Base charging dock.

What is a Roomba battery’s lifespan?

A Roomba battery has a lifespan of about two to three years. As rechargeable batteries, their lifespan can also be measured in the number of discharge/recharge cycles they go through, which is about 350 to 400. Avoiding full discharges, keeping the Roomba on the charging dock when it’s not in use and using the Roomba regularly all help keep the battery healthy.

How do I make sure my Roomba is charging?

A quick way to make sure your Roomba is charging is by tapping its “Clean” button while it’s on the charging dock. This should wake it up and show an indicator light with the charging status. For more information, see How to tell if a Roomba is charging.

Keeping your Roomba healthy

Finding out your Roomba isn’t charging can be annoying. It could also be a sign that something is wrong with your vacuum. Following the steps outlined in this article should help you get a handle on what might be going on with your little robot friend and figure out how to fix it.

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Jmar Gambol writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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