Will Roomba Fall Down the Stairs? (3 Best Prevention Tips)

Last updated on April 15th, 2024

The simple answer to the question ‘Will Roomba fall down the stairs?’ is No, a Roomba does not fall from the stairs. This is because the robot has special sensors that constantly look for nearby drop-offs or stairs. When these sensors detect a potential danger, they help guide the Roomba to a safer spot.

But there might be some instances, where a Rommba can fall down the stairs. In this article, we will discuss those issues, and provide you some tips to avoid this.

Why a Roomba does not fall from stairs?

Roomba contains cliff sensors at the bottom that continuously emits infrared light. This light gets reflected off the ground/floor and travels back to the vacuum. If the Hoover does not receive any signal, this indicates that there is an empty space or stairs ahead. The robot then modifies its path to prevent going down the stairs.

Cases when Roomba falls down from stairs

Reasons why Roomba fall downstairs
Reasons why Roomba fall downstairs

The following could be some reasons for Roomba falling down the stairs.

  • Dirty or misaligned sensors
  • Not using any virtual walls
  • The room is not mapped properly

How to prevent Roomba from falling?

How to Prevent Roomba from falling down
How to Prevent Roomba from falling down

By following these tips, you can ensure your Rooma works fine and efficiently.

Clean the Cliff Sensors

One of the primary reasons a Roomba may fall down stairs is due to dirty or obstructed cliff sensors. As said, these sensors are responsible for detecting drops or cliffs, such as stair edges. So, their regular cleaning is crucial for their optimal performance and safety. Here’s how you can clean the cliff sensors:

  • Locate the cliff sensors: The cliff sensors are usually located on the bottom of the Roomba, near the front or sides. If you can’t find them on your model, you can refer to Roomba’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website for the sensor locations.
  • Inspect for debris: Check the sensors for any dirt, dust, or debris that may be obstructing their functionality. Use a clean, dry cloth or a soft brush to gently remove any buildup. Make sure there is no residue left on the sensors after cleaning.
  • Test again: Once the sensors are clean, reassemble any parts you may have removed. Place the Roomba back on its charging dock, power it on, and test its functionality near the stairs to verify that the cliff sensors are working properly.

Helpful tip: To make sure that your Roomba always gives efficient cleaning, create a periodic cleaning schedule for sensors, tires, and other accessible Roomba parts.

What to do if the sensors are not working properly?

If you find that the cliff sensors on your Roomba are not working correctly despite cleaning them, then there could e a chance that they are damaged. You will have to replace the nonfunctional sensors. Follow these steps to replace the sensors:

  • Identify the faulty sensors: Determine which specific sensors are not functioning properly. Cover each sensor one by one, and notice the tire’s movement. If the tires are not changing their direction, then that sensor is faulty.
  • Replace the sensors: Carefully remove the faulty sensors according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Install the new sensors in their designated positions.
  • Test and verify: Once the new sensors are installed, power on the Roomba and test its functionality near the stairs to ensure that the replacement sensors are working correctly.

Note: If you are not comfortable with replacing the sensors, it’s better to call a technician or get assistance from customer support.

Use Virtual Walls

virtual walls
Virtual wall device

Virtual Wall barriers are a valuable accessory that can keep a Roomba away from stairs or other restricted areas. These devices emit infrared signals that create an invisible boundary, preventing the Roomba from crossing over. Here’s how you can use Virtual Walls effectively:

  • Set up the Virtual Wall: Place the Virtual Wall device near the edge of the stairs or the area you want to restrict the Roomba from accessing.
  • Adjust the range: Some Virtual Walls offer adjustable ranges. Determine the appropriate range based on the width of the staircase or the area you want to block off.
  • Test the Virtual Wall: Activate the Roomba and observe whether it crosses the boundaries set by the Virtual Wall or not. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure the Roomba does not cross the restricted area.

Note: Using Virtual Walls is not necessary. It just adds an extra layer of protection to prevent the Roomba from falling down stairs.

Do all Roomba models require virtual walls?

Not all Roomba models require an additional virtual wall device. The models that require it are shown in the table below.

Roomba ModelVirtual Wall Device Requirement
Roomba i7+No
Roomba s9+No
Roomba 980No
Roomba e5Yes
Roomba i1Yes
Roomba i3Yes
Roomba 690Yes
Roomba 650Yes
Roomba 770Yes
Roomba 500-900 seriesYes
Virtual device requirement for different Roomba models

Remap Your Room

In some cases, remapping your room solves the problem of Roomba falling down from stairs. Here’s how you can remap your room:

Clear the room: Ensure that the space is free of any obstacles or clutter that may hinder Roomba’s navigation.

Reset the mapping: Depending on your Roomba model, you may need to reset or clear the existing map. For different Roomba models, the process may be different. So, consult the user manual or manufacturer’s instructions for the specific steps.

Observe navigation patterns: During the cleaning session, closely monitor Roomba’s movement near the stairs. Note any patterns or areas where it tends to approach the stairs more closely. If it does, then you may need to modify the map manually.

Modify the map: Once the cleaning session is complete, use Roomba’s mapping features or companion app to modify the map and set virtual boundaries near the stairs or areas prone to accidents.

By remapping your room and setting appropriate virtual boundaries, you can keep Roomba away from stairs and reduce its falling risk.

Others

These types of factors are not universal, but in some particular Roomba models, people have experienced these as the cause for Roomba falling down the stairs. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Specific stair conditions: Well, most houses have a predefined stair height, but sometimes due to different stairs heights, carpeted stairs, uneven surfaces, or steep angles may pose a challenge for Roomba sensors, causing the robot to fall.

System malfunction: Sometimes a Roomba malfunctions, and starts cleaning the home at a very high speed. In that case, it might be able to detect the stairs, but due to high speed, it might not be able to change its direction, causing the Roomba to fall down the stairs.

Conclusion

A Roomba does not fall from the stairs. But, dirty/clogged sensors, not using a virtual wall or improper room mapping may cause Roomba to fall down the stairs. By following the tips provided above, you can make sure that your Roomba always works at its best, and does not cause any issues.

FAQs

What is the maximum step height for Roomba?

Roomba models are designed to handle a maximum threshold height of approximately ⅝ inches or 1.6 centimeters. It’s important to ensure thresholds higher than this limit are either removed or manually assisted for smooth operation.

Can Roombas go up and down stairs?

Roombas cannot navigate stairs as they cannot climb or descend. They are designed for single-level cleaning and require manual transport between different floors.

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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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