will a roomba fall down stairs

Wondering will a Roomba fall down stairs? No need to worry about this at all.

The iRobot Roomba is equipped with so many sensors and features that it would be silly if our robot breaks due to falling downstairs.

iRobot has thought of this many years ago, even with the very first Roomba models. In this guide, we’ll unwrap this topic and provide some answers!

The iRobot Roomba will not fall downstairs due to its Cliff Sensor which is constantly checking for drop-offs and immediately avoids them. However, further measures could be taken to prevent Roomba from entering a dangerous area so keep reading!

Let’s next learn more about how iRobot Roomba’s cliff sensors work!

About Roomba’s Cliff Sensor?

about the roomba cliff sensor

Besides the Roomba’s *eyes” that allow the robot to navigate in your home, the iRobot has also included an IR sensor (photocell) on ALL Roomba models.

The so-called “Cliff Sensor” constantly checks whether the iRobot Roomba is near stairs, a balcony, or a drop-off location.

The IR (Cliff-Sensors) has to be cleaned regularly to ensure the robot’s security!

The sensor is advanced enough to guarantee that Roomba will not jump, even when the cleaning is right next to a cliff.

When the sensor detects a cliff, Roomba will immediately back off in the other direction, preventing a fatal drop. 

Can You Turn OFF Cliff Sensor?

While there is no option in the Roomba’s Home App that will allow users to turn OFF the cliff sensors there is a workaround.

When the cliff sensor is causing trouble, when there are no dangerous areas, the cliff sensor can be turned OFF.  

This can happen in a bit of a homemade way by using duct tape and some aluminum foil, which we’ll discuss a bit later in this guide.

Let’s next proceed with the most important question!

Will a Roomba Fall Down The Stairs?

will the roomba fall down stairs

The short answer is NO, your iRobot Roomba will not fall downstairs, even when left without human observation.

The IR Cliff Sensor will protect Roomba from reaching the edges of cliffs such as stairs, balconies, and more…

  • The iRobot Roomba will not fall downstairs as long as the cliff sensor is working!

When the iRobot Roomba already fell downstairs or according to user observation the cleaner is getting dangerously close to the edge, there are not many possibilities.

Let’s learn more!

When Do Roombas Fall Down Stairs?

Since ALL iRobot Roomba models are equipped with a cliff sensor, the robot will only fall downstairs when this particular sensor is not working or obstructed.

This can happen when the iRobot Roomba hasn’t been cleaned in quite a while, which is mandatory for the users!

However, don’t be upset if your Roomba already fell down the stairs.

Test the robot’s work and in case everything appears to be working normally, next we’ll review how to prevent this!

Tip: Make sure to temporarily obstruct the edges to prevent Roomba from falling!

How To Prevent Roomba From Falling Down Stairs?

how prevent roomba to fall down

Even though we know Roomba will not fall downstairs due to the Cliff Sensor, new users still want to make sure that this is not going to happen.

There are a few precautions that we need to take that will guarantee that your iRobot Roomba will not jump downstairs even again!

1. Clean The Cliff Sensors!

When the IR – Cliff Sensor on iRobot Roomba is smudgy, dirty, or obstructed by knobs of hair, chances are that your cleaner robot might get a little bit off the edge and sometimes fall.

We’re speaking here of a complete obstruction that prevents the entire functionality of the sensor which is rare, but not excluded.

Here’s how to clean the Roomba’s Cliff Sensor!

  • Turn the Robot upside down!
  • Using a slightly wet cloth (microfiber) wipe ALL sensors.
  • The Cliff Sensors are on the very tip (front).
  • There are either 2x more or fewer sensors on the side (model-based).
  • Wipe clean ALL sensors before turning on your Roomba!

This will make sure that the navigation and cliff-detection sensors will be operating if functional.

2. Avoid Using Dark Carpet

avoid the dark carpet

Roomba’s sensors require light, this is a well-known fact.

However, a dark surface or carpet in combination with low ambient light can disrupt some sensors’ functionality.

Especially the IR cliff sensor might not be able to detect a depth when everything is so dark!

Avoid using dark carpets or rugs near staircases!

This will help us make sure that Roomba’s cliff-detection sensor will be able to catch the reflected light of a depth and prevent the device from falling downstairs.

Without a dark surface, the transition would be clear and your cleaner robot will be secure. What’s next?

3. Install a Virtual Walls

This might be a little costly but the Virtual Walls are one of the safest ways to keep Roomba away from danger even in the complete dark.

You only need to get one Virtual Wall Device to prevent the iRobot Roomba from falling downstairs!

The installation is simple!

Plug the Virtual Wall into the power and viola! It’s now working. What’s left is to position the front-facing side of the device pointing toward the other end of the stairs.

Imagine the barrier line to determine the best position for the device. The Roomba robot will not even go near it!

Tip: Find a compatible Virtual Wall for your Roomba model at the very bottom of this guide!

4. Replace Broken Sensor

replace the broken sensors

Here comes the hard part...

In case you’ve cleaned the sensors and Roomba is still falling downstairs, this means bad. 

The Cliff Sensors might not be working anymore, which means that we need to perform a replacement operation.

It’s not that simple, but with the steps below you can’t go wrong!

Here’s how to replace a broken Roomba Cliff Sensors:

  1. Remove the Side Brush > Back Panel > Battery and its Contact Points.
  2. Undo the 13 x Front Bumper screws with a Philips head screwdriver.
  3. Turn the Roomba robot upside and release the Front Face Plate.
  4. Undo ALL screws to remove the Internal Faceplate!
  5. Remove the Display as well as the holder beneath.
  6. Unscrew and remove the Motherboard.
  7. Unclip the Motherboard Wires.
  8. Unclip the wires of the Cliff Sensors.
  9. Remove the Cliff Sensors.

You can find replacement Cliff Sensors for any model Roomba online for as low as $16,99 at the time of writing.

The installation is then simple by following the reversed order of the steps above and only plugging in the new Roomba Cliff Sensors.

Then you can turn ON the robot and test it.

Tip: When purchasing Cliff Sensors, watch out for which Roomba models are supported.

How To Turn OFF Roomba’s Cliff Sensor?

Now that we know will a Roomba fall down stairs and that the Cliff Sensors are an excellent invention for some users, it might be the opposite. 

In case you didn’t know there is an easy way to turn OFF the Roomba’s Cliff Sensors.

This method might come in handy when your Roomba is getting stuck or not working properly because of an uneven floor in your home.

how turn off roomba sensor

This can be easily overcome!

Since there is no option in Roomba’s Home App that allows users to stop or modify the functionality of the Cliff Sensors, we need to find another way.

Let’s learn more!

Here’s how to disable Roomba’s cliff sensors:

  1. Locate the Roomba’s Cliff Sensors (they are 3 x on the very front).
  2. Use duct tape or aluminum foil to cover the sensors entirely.
  3. Make sure to be gentle and not damage the components.
  4. Ensure that the cover will not fall off.

This will not damage the sensors at all. They will simply not work.

However, your Roomba should now move freely and won’t surround any uneven parts of the floor!

Alert: Without the Cliff Sensors the iRobot Roomba might fall downstairs!

Quick Recap:

Hence, Roomba will not fall downstairs because the Cliff Sensors on the front of the device will detect the depth before the device reaches it. ALL iRobot Roomba models are equipped with Cliff Sensors but they have to be regularly cleared to work properly!

Final Thoughts:

Now that we’ve learned will a Roomba fall down stairs we know that the iRobot has thought of everything.

However, we now know that there are some measures we can take against Roomba’s curiosity and take off some worries out of our minds!

To protect your iRobot Roomba from entering a dangerous area such as staircases, basement, or outside we strongly recommend purchasing a compatible Roomba Virtual Wall online.

Simply install the Virtual Wall and watch your Roomba never cross the line!

Nicole B