Can You Use a Virtual Wall with a Roomba? (2 Modes)

Last updated on February 15th, 2024

Roombas tend to maneuver around all the nooks and crannies of your homes. But you might want to keep them out of certain areas. That corner with your pet’s water bowl or the new house plant could do well without a vacuum bumping into them. This is when virtual walls come into the picture.

Yes, you can use a virtual wall with your Roomba. There’s no restriction on how many virtual wall devices you can use with a single robot. However, there are two modes in which you set them up – virtual wall and halo mode. If not a virtual wall, then you can use set no-go zones in new Roomba models and use magnetic tape for old Roomba models.

Read a similar article: Can You Leave the Roomba Virtual Wall Barrier Turned ON?

Do all Roombas work with the virtual wall?

Virtual wall device
Virtual wall device

No, all Roombas do not work with virtual walls. The table below indicates Roombas from which series are compatible with virtual walls and which are not.

Roomba seriesCompatible with virtual wall?
Roomba 500Yes
Roomba 600Yes
Roomba 700Yes
Roomba 800Yes
Roomba 900Yes
Roomba eYes
Roomba iYes
Roomba jNo
Roomba sYes
Roomba series compatible with virtual wall

Only the Roomba j series models like Roomba j7, j7+, and Combo j7+ do not work with virtual wall barriers. The reason is the advanced obstacle recognition feature in the j series. This series is pre-trained to recognize potential hazards and avoid going near them unless directed otherwise.

How many virtual wall devices can I add to my Roomba?

There is no restriction on the number of virtual wall devices you can add to your Roomba. You can use multiple virtual walls at different locations within your house. As these devices are not directly paired with the vacuum. They simply emit an IR ray which the vacuum detects are turns around. So, there is no restriction on how many of them you can use.

You don’t need to use more than one virtual barrier for a single spot, but you can place them at different spots within your home. You will, of course, need to purchase them separately, as most models provide only up to 2 barriers in the box.

Dual modes of virtual wall barriers

You can set the Roomba virtual wall device in one of the two following modes:

  • Virtual wall mode
  • Halo mode
Dual mode of virtual wall device
Dual mode of virtual wall device

The mode totally depends on you and the area you want to shut off the vacuum. There’s a switch on the device to select between the two modes or turn it off.

  • When the switch is in the middle position, the barrier is off
  • When the switch is up, virtual wall mode is turned on, and
  • When the switch is down, halo mode is turned on

Halo mode

Using the Halo mode of a virtual wall device
Using the Halo mode of a virtual wall device

In the halo mode, the virtual wall device casts an invisible circle of IR rays around itself. The Roomba will not cross this circular barrier. The circle can be around 2 feet in diameter. This mode is perfect for protecting a vase or your pet’s food bowl.

Virtual wall mode

Using the virtual wall mode to avoid Roomba's entry
Using the virtual wall mode to avoid Roomba’s entry

In the virtual wall mode, the device will cast a similar invisible cone-shaped barrier in the forward direction. This cone shape can extend up to 10 feet in length. As the barrier gets further from the device, it gets wider. It is perfect for blocking off doors or certain rooms you don’t want the Roomba to enter.

Alternatives to virtual wall device

If you don’t want to use a virtual wall device, there are a couple of alternatives to it. These alternatives will carry out the same task – keeping your Roomba away from spots it shouldn’t be in. Two such alternatives are no-go zones and magnetic tapes.

No-go zones

Protecting a Roomba from falling down the stairs
Protecting a Roomba from falling down the stairs

If you have a Roomba with Smart Imprint Mapping Technology, then you can set up no-go zones for it. You cannot set these zones for Roombas that don’t have this technology. Your iRobot home app gives you map personalization options where you can add such zones on the map itself. These are rectangular zones whose sizes can be adjusted as per your needs.

Note: Your Roomba will not enter these areas marked as no-go zones unless you reset the map.

Magnetic tapes

Magnetic tapes are broad strips having a magnetic element. You can stick these tapes on the ground. All Roombas detect these tapes and prevent going over them. So you can create a physical boundary with this tape to block off certain areas in your house. These tapes are reusable, so you can stick them in some other place when needed.



Do old virtual walls work with new Roomba?

Yes, you can use your old or used virtual walls with your new Roomba. There are no different versions of iRobot virtual walls so you can use any device with any model.

Does Roomba i3 work with virtual walls?

Yes, Roomba i3 works with virtual walls. You can use these devices to set up boundaries for your vacuum.

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Sarah Williams

I love writing stuff that's easy to read and fun to learn from. Beaches are my happy place—I just can't get enough of the sand, the waves, and the salty breeze. And you know what else? I'm totally into smart home gadgets! They're like magic tricks that make life easier at home.

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