Can A Roomba Go Over Thresholds And Bumps?

Roomba vacuum can go over thresholds as long as they do not exceed maximum height of 1.6 centimeters, otherwise known as 5/8s of an inch, unless these have slopes or gradually rounded edges. Other brands of similar vacuum robots are known to be hindered by any threshold higher than two millimeters; the vacuums can get caught on sharp edges.

Roomba’s are some of the most useful marvels of modern technology. From their friendly round shape to their sweeping arms, Roomba’s are a delight to watch as they save you from a vacuuming chore.

However, because they’re so low to the ground, many new Roomba owners wonder how they will navigate thresholds.

In this article, of course we will cover everything you need to know about Roomba maneuvers, as well as how high is too high when it comes to thresholds.

We’ll answer some other frequently asked questions about how Roomba’s work, too. Let’s get started!

How Does a Roomba Work?

Roomba vacuuming rugs

A Roomba is an iRobot created for the purpose of vacuuming rooms automatically, with little to no need for manual human labor.

A Roomba is equipped with sensors that allow it to create patterns; even without “eyes,” a Roomba can learn how a room, or even a whole house complete with furniture, is shaped. From there, it can vacuum around obstacles and against walls.

A Roomba gets around by using it’s four main pieces: wheels, sensors, brushes, and bumps. It has two kinds of sensors.

One warns the Roomba of steep drops, like stairways, and another warns the Roomba of obstacles like walls. When a Roomba gets near a drop, it backs away; when it senses a wall or something immovable, it vacuums along it.

The Roomba’s two brushes lift and loosens up dirt, then sweeps that dirt toward it’s actual vacuuming channel.

Altogether, Roomba’s are a very useful and intuitive type of machinery. The problem is, they can’t exactly overcome or even go around any obstacle, as we’ll see below.

Can Roomba Go Over Thresholds?

Roomba Going Over Thresholds

The short answer to the question “can a Roomba go over thresholds,” as we’ve mentioned, is: mostly! A Roomba is equipped with wheels that can roll over some kinds of thresholds, especially if they are low or rounded.

The Roomba has two drive wheels that work to power the Roomba over low surfaces, and one wheel at the front that is meant to navigate. While these can handle low thresholds, there are limits to this ability.

Unfortunately, even the latest models of Roomba can’t handle thresholds that are over 5/8s of an inch, or low thresholds that have sharp edges. The sharp edges can either read as a type of immovable object, like a wall, to the Roomba’s sensors, or simply be too steep an incline for the Roomba’s wheels to handle.

Sometimes, this will cause the Roomba to simply vacuum along the side of the threshold the same way it would along a wall, unable to cross over into the room or floor area on the other side.

However, if a Roomba manages to get it’s front wheel stuck on a sharp threshold that was almost short enough to overcome, it might alert you that it needs help.

This is done in one of two ways. When the Roomba tries to turn around or get off of the threshold it failed to cross, it might beep loudly, then turn off to avoid wasting power.

If it doesn’t receive human help, it will send a notification of it’s last known location in the house to the HOME app of your iDevice.

As tenacious as a Roomba is, it can’t get over every kind of threshold. Let’s talk about how to handle this problem below.

How To Help Roomba Get Over Thresholds?

roomba on stairs

If your Roomba is faced with obstacles that are higher than one inch, such as a threshold between rooms, you might find yourself very frustrated when the Roomba can’t overcome these.

Instead of deciding that you’ll have to pick and choose which rooms a Roomba will handle and which you’ll have to sweep or vacuum yourself, you may be heartened to find out that there are ways to help your Roomba get over a threshold! We’ll list these methods below.

Put a Rug Over Threshold

Putting a rug over a threshold that is too sharp creates a kind of ramp; the wheels of the Roomba can get traction and push it over the threshold much more easily on the texture of a rug.

Place a Ramp Over Threshold

There are slight ramps that can be purchased and placed over a threshold that is too steep.

You should purchase at least two at a time, because the Roomba will need to get over one side of the threshold and back. It is also possible to build your own ramp.

Clean Your Roomba Sensors

Sometimes, it is the cliff sensor of the Roomba that is at fault, not the actual threshold!

If a Roomba’s cliff sensor is dirty or dusty from all of it’s hard work, clean it off and see whether or not it stops believing that the threshold is too steep a drop.

Clean the Wheels

clean roomba dirty wheels

The Roomba’s wheels are fairly powerful; if it cannot handle getting over a threshold, it may not be the threshold’s fault.

Check to see if dirt and debris is hampering the operation of the wheels, cleaning them carefully with a damp rag. Maybe this will provide the boost your Roomba needs!

As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to keeping your Roomba useful as it works to save you vacuuming trouble, even if there are high thresholds in it’s way!

What Happens If Roomba Gets Stuck On A Threshold?

There’s no need to constantly monitor your Roomba robot vacuum to check if it gets stuck on a threshold. The device is equipped with various methods to communicate when it requires assistance.

When the Roomba encounters difficulty navigating a threshold, here’s how it will notify you:

  • Turn Around and Find Alternative Path: Roomba vacuums are programmed to navigate around obstacles it encounters. If it encounters a threshold that poses a challenge, it will reverse its direction and attempt to find an alternative path. After multiple attempts, if it is unable to overcome the obstacle, it will prioritize cleaning other areas instead.
  • Sound an Alarm and Shut Off: When Your Roomba will try to go over the threshold and will get stuck, it will try to free itself for a few minutes. When the devices is unable to free itself, it will sould an alarm and shut itself off.
  • Send a Notification: Sometimes, you may be too far from the Roomba to hear its alarm calling for help. However, the iRobot HOME App provides an alternative means of communication. Not only will it notify you when the Roomba is stuck, but it will also indicate its location for easy retrieval.

When you notice that your Roomba has become stuck, you’ll need to lift it up in order for it to continue and finish the ongoing cleaning cycle.

Can Roomba Go Over Bumps?

Roomba robot vacuum cleaners are designed and equipped with technology and sensors that allow them to navigate over minor bumps without issue.

If a bump is too high for the cleaning head to roll over, the robot will detect it and adjust its path accordingly. Its cliff sensors also help to prevent it from going off ledges or down stairs.

It’s important to make sure that all cords, rugs, and other obstacles are tucked away so the Roomba can clean as efficiently as possible.

Additionally, you should avoid using a vacuum on an uneven surface like gravel or sand. This could damage the robot’s sensors and cause it to malfunction.

Can Roomba Go From Hardwood To Carpet?

Roomba can go from hardwood to carpet and vice versa because the Roomba has sensors that detect changes in floor surfaces, so it knows when to switch between different types of floors.

For detailed information on how roomba work on Carpets, check por post “Do Roomba Work on Carpets?”

The Roomba vacuum will also adjust its suction power and brush speeds according to the type of surface it’s cleaning.

Some roomba models like the Roomba i7 and s9 come with a feature that allows users to create virtual walls that will help the robot vacuum cleaners stay within certain areas of the home.

This is helpful for hardwood to carpet transitions because it can be used to keep the Roomba from going into certain rooms or areas.

Can You Adjust Roomba Height?

You can’t adjust the height of a Roomba as each model is designed with a fixed height and any changes to this one point could interfere with its operation.

However, you can purchase accessories that can help reduce the Roomba’s overall height, such as a lift kit which works by raising the base to give it more clearance over obstacles like furniture legs or carpet tassels.

You may also be able to find other aftermarket accessories that can help with the height issue. For example, some models come with optional wheels that can make it easier to move around in tight spaces.

In addition, many Roomba models offer adjustable suction power which helps to reduce the amount of dirt and debris picked up by the robot vacuum.

This means you don’t need to worry about the height of your Roomba when vacuuming, as it can adjust its suction power depending on what flooring type you have.

This is particularly helpful for carpets and rugs with deep pile or intricate patterns that may be difficult for a Roomba to navigate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Maybe all of this information regarding Roombas and other robot vacuum cleaners has answered your first question, but opened up several new ones.

In anticipation of this, we have prepared answers to the web’s most Frequently Asked Questions on this topic below.

Can robot vacuums go over doorsteps?

As previously stated, most robot vacuums can go over doorsteps that are very low. These need to be lower than 1.6 centimeters, or, if they are higher than 1.6 cm, they should be gradual doorsteps with rounded edges.

When doorsteps fit this description, the wheels of robot vacuums are usually powerful enough to handle them, providing the vacuum with access to the space on the other side of the door.

However, if they are sharp-edged or higher than 1.6 centimeters, the vacuum will likely get stuck or avoid the doorstep.

Does Roomba go over transition strips?

One of the types of thresholds that some Roombas can encounter in a home with lots of wooden floors is a “transition strip” of wood. These are not often higher than 1.6 centimeters, and are almost always rounded to avoid injuring the feet of the home owner.

These two factors make it very easy for Roomba’s to go over transition strips without a problem, cleaning up the wooden floors on either side without getting stuck.

Can a Roomba go over an area rug?

Area rugs are often very frustrating when trying to vacuum a home manually. Their edges can be disturbed by the vacuuming motion and subsequently get sucked up, jamming the vacuum and halting the whole chore. Luckily, however, Roombas do not suffer from the same hassle when they encounter an area rug.

A Roomba can go over an area rug without much issue, in general. This is because the motion and wheels of a robot vacuum are often a little less abrasive and slower than a human using a vacuum, so the rug’s edge isn’t always lifted by the vacuum and then sucked up.

However, it can sometimes depend on the thickness of an area rug. If it is much higher than the surface it is sitting on, a Roomba may suck up the edge of the area rug. When this happens, it will typically stop it’s progress and signal it’s owner for help through an alarm and a notification sent to an iDevice.

Is Roomba supposed to go in a straight line?

A Roomba is not necessarily “supposed” to go in a straight line, especially if there is furniture in the way. A Roomba is made to default to a straight-line path when there are no obstacles present.

However, it is also equipped to alter it’s path or even vacuum in a spiral depending on obstacles and where in the room it starts it’s chore.

Also, if your Roomba is leaving marks on floor, check our guide Why is My Roomba Leaving Marks on Floor?

3 Robot Vacuums That Can Go Over Thresholds in 2024

As of now, if you’re in search of the finest robot vacuum for uneven floors, you’ll discover it right here on this list.

Each robot featured here possesses the ability to navigate obstacles up to 0.78 inches in height, meeting the industry’s standard for all-terrain capability.

Irobot Roomba 880 – Best Overall

roomba 880

The Roomba 880 by Irobot is a top of the line robot vacuum cleaner. It uses sensors to detect dirt and debris on its way, and automatically adjusts its brushes accordingly.

The three-stage cleaning system ensures that even uneven surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, whether it’s carpets or hardwood floors. The 880 also features edge-sweeping brushes that make it effective in corners and along walls.

Plus, with its powerful battery, the 880 can provide up to 75 minutes of continuous cleaning per charge. And if you need a break from vacuuming, use Irobot’s advanced scheduling feature to set your robot on autopilot.

If you’re looking for an efficient robot vacuum that can handle even the most difficult terrains, the Roomba 880 is an excellent choice.

Roborock E25

The Roborock E25 is another excellent option for cleaning uneven floors. This robotic vacuum uses a specialized system of sensors to detect obstacles and automatically adjust its brushes, making it ideal for navigating hardwood, tile, or carpeted surfaces.

What sets the E25 apart from other robot vacuums is its powerful suction capability. On carpets it can generate up to 2000Pa of suction power, making it one of the best robot vacuums for thick and shaggy carpets.

The E25 also features multiple cleaning modes, allowing you to customize the robot’s performance based on your needs. Whether you want to do a quick clean or deep clean, you can choose from different settings for the job.

For an all-terrain cleaning solution that can handle even the toughest terrains, the Roborock E25 is a great choice.

Neato Botvac D5

The Neato Botvac D5 is another new robot vacuum cleaner designed to tackle uneven floors with ease. It features advanced laser navigation technology that allows it to scan its environment and create detailed maps of the area.

This makes it especially effective at navigating around obstacles, while also ensuring a thorough clean on carpets and hardwood floors. The D5 also features deep-cleaning technology with its extra-wide brush, giving you an impressive performance every time.

The Neato Botvac D5 also comes with a variety of useful features, such as its intuitive app and voice control compatibility. Plus, it has a powerful battery that can provide up to 90 minutes of continuous cleaning.

If you’re looking for an advanced robot vacuum that can navigate even the toughest terrains, the Neato Botvac D5 is worth considering.


Roomba can cross a threshold as long as it is not taller than 1.6 centimeters or 5/8d of an inch. In fact, other competing robot vacuums can really only handle thresholds that are 1 inch at the highest, even when considering the latest models.

The reason for this is, as we discussed, vacuum robots use low-to-the-ground mobility so that they can accurately sweep or suck up dirt and debris without expending too much power.

With such small wheels, the lip of the main body of most robot vacuums can get caught on thresholds that are in their path, higher than an inch.

This is especially true for thresholds that have sharp edges. However, there is good news; we established that placing a rug or otherwise creating a “ramp” for a vacuum robot to travel over a threshold can solve the problem, granting the Roomba access to all the other rooms you need vacuumed!

Robbert Randy

Robbert is an expert in vacuums. He graduated from the University of Applied Science with a degree in Commercial Economics in 2019. He tests and provide troubleshooting tips to vacuum users on his website. He don’t do this for profit–he simply want to research the best models out there and share his findings.

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