roomba not returning to base when battery is low

Why is Roomba not returning to base when battery is low? A good question!

Such behavior from your Roomba robot is always in tight relation to a problem and in this guide, we’re about to review the issue and help you solve it.

When the Roomba robot is not returning to base when the battery is low, users need to check whether the base station is working and if the WiFi is intact. The next step would be to track the Roomba’s path and remove all of the obstructions.

Does Roomba Return To Base When Battery Is Low?

why roomba not returning base

The Roomba robot should return to base when the battery gets low during a cleaning session for a recharge before returning to duty.

When the Roomba battery dies and the robot does not return to the charging station, there could be quite a few possibilities.

Here are the most frequent reasons why the Roomba robot won’t return to its base:


If the Roomba robot is picked up and moved during a cleaning session the robot won’t be able to return to its base when the battery is low.

The Dock button wouldn’t work as well since the digital cleaning map of the Roomba robot has been disrupted.

To be able to dock, the robot has to be relocated less than 1.8m (6 ft) from the home base.

Virtual Wall

a virtual wall

When there is a virtual wall near the docking/charging station of your Roomba robot, the device could get “confused” therefore, won’t be able to navigate back to the base station.

The virtual walls should not be positioned closer than 2m (8 ft) from the docking station.

The best possible approach would be to temporarily remove ALL virtual walls.

Floor Obstructions

Sometimes the cleaner robot won’t be able to reach back to the base station when the battery is low because there are obstructions on the path.

Such items could be everyday objects that could prevent the Roomba robot from freely passing through.

Users should inspect the Roomba’s path and destination to identify and remove obstructions.

Note: Roomba will not return to base when the docking station is unplugged/not turned ON.

Roomba Not Returning To Base When Battery Is Low – Fixed

roomba not returning fixed

To solve the problem with the Roomba robot, we’ll target ALL possibilities one by one to determine where the problem is coming from.

The guide will start with some simple-to-execute solutions and proceed with more advanced troubleshooting if required.

Solution #1 Create New Mapping Run

The very first move that will help you understand the problem better is to run a new mapping run with your Roomba robot.

This way you’ll be able to observe the Robot learn and know exactly the path that your Roomba is going to take every day.

In the Roomba Home app:

  1. Tap on the Imprint Map Icon.
  2. Choose the map you want to add a mapping to.
  3. Press on the Add a Mapping Run.

This way your Roomba robot will go through the area without cleaning.

It will only learn and create a digital map to work with. Make sure that the Robot returns to base.

Note: In larger homes, the mapping could take your Robot a few runs.

Solution #2 Remove Virtual Walls

remove a virtual wall

The virtual walls are what often prevent the Roomba robot from returning to its base.

The battery of your robot could be reaching 0% simply because the cleaning robot got stuck due to a virtual wall before it could get back to the charging station.

Make sure that the virtual wall/s are not near the charging station!

The virtual walls should be at least 2m (8ft) away from the base station to prevent the cleaning robot from being stuck or “confused”.

Tip: The recommendation is to remove ALL virtual walls or turn them OFF until the end of the guide. This way you can exclude this as a possibility.

Solution #3 Remove Obstructions

When the path of your Roomba robot is obstructed by objects, the device might not always be able to navigate its way back to the charging station.

Such objects could be children’s toys, recently positioned furniture, and uneven floor areas or bumps.

  • To prevent obstructions, users should track the Roomba robot’s path.

In addition to the obstructions, another possibility for the cleaning robot to not be able to return to base is when the device has been moved.

Users should not pick up and relocate the robot during a cleaning session, which in most cases results in the inability of the robot to go back.

Tip: Perform a test run and track Roomba without relocating the robot mid-session.

Solution #4 Reboot Roomba & Station

reboot roomba and station

Now that we’ve taken all external factors under consideration, it’s time to shift our attention toward the robot and the base station.

When there is a problem with either of both instances, the Robot will not return to the charging station.

To reboot the Roomba robot:

  1. Press and hold the Home & Spot buttons.
  2. Hold both buttons for 10 seconds.
  3. Wait for Roomba to play the tone.

To reboot the charging station:

  1. Disconnect the power adapter of the docking station.
  2. Wait for 2-3 minutes for the device to power cycle.
  3. Plug the charging station back into the power source.
When both instances are restarted, you should test whether the Roomba robot will be able to return to base when the battery gets low.

In the meantime, you should check the next solution!

Solution #5 Check The Internet & WiFi

check internet and wifi

One of the most frequent reasons why Roomba won’t return to base, regardless of the battery, is when the device has been disconnected from the WiFi.

The problem you’re experiencing might be inconsistent in which case you should check your internet connection and WiFi.

Make sure that your internet and WiFi are intact before performing another test!

When the robot is mid-session cleaning, and your WiFi suddenly drops, the device won’t be able to return to the base on its own.

You’ll need to manually press the Home button on your cleaning robot for the device to go back to the base.

Tip: To solve internet and WiFi issues, users should restart their network device and reconnect Roomba to the internet.

Solution #6 Factory Reset Roomba

factory reset the roomba

In case nothing from the solutions above managed to help and your Roomba robot is still not returning to base then you should perform a factory reset.

This is the most drastic measure against the problem but in most cases, it turns out to be the only effective method.

Here’s how to factory reset your Roomba Robot:

  1. Turn ON your Roomba robot.
  2. Locate the Home, Spot Clean, and Clean buttons.
  3. Press and hold the 3 buttons simultaneously.
  4. The light ring around the Clean button should start swirling.
  5. Release the buttons and wait for the factory reset process.

After the reset, the device will be disconnected from your account and ALL personal settings will be permanently erased.

However, the Smart Maps will remain saved in your account within the Roomba application. You can re-add the robot and use your old maps.

Note: The Roomba robot factory reset process takes about 20 seconds

Does Roomba Return To Base When Full?

does roomba return  base

Users can configure how the Roomba Robot behaves when the bin gets full.

There are two general options:

  • Finish Job – default
  • Pause Immediately

Using the default “Finish Job” option, the robot will continue cleaning and pick up whatever is possible even when the bin is full.

With the “Pause Immediately” option, the device will Pause the cleaning session and return to the base until further interaction.

Tip: Users prefer to use “Finish Job” as Roomba will continue to pick up hair and dirt even when the bin-full indicator is on.

Quick Recap:

Hence when the Roomba is not returning to base when the battery is low you should remove obstructions and restart both the robot and the docking station. Further solutions include creating new mapping and factory resetting the cleaning robot.

Last Thoughts:

Now that we know why Roomba not returning to base when battery is low the problem should no longer be there.

In case your Roomba continues to behave weirdly, make sure to contact Roomba customer service for more assistance with the device’s issues.

Nicole B