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How To Use Roomba Virtual Wall & Lighthouse

Your Roomba will happily wander around your home, cleaning as it goes. While Roombas are designed with sensors that will keep them from tumbling down the stairs, you may need to set up other restrictions. 

Virtual walls block off areas of your home while lighthouses sets up a hierarchy.

Roomba Virtual Wall Vs Lighthouse

Virtual Wall

roomba virtual wall
The Roomba virtual wall will temporarily block your Roomba from entering a particular space.
For example, if you plan to run the vacuum overnight but want it to stay out of the bedroom areas, you can set up a virtual wall to block access to the hall leading to the bedrooms. See also How Does a Robot Vacuum Cleaner Work?


  • Install 2 AA batteries
  • To select the Virtual Wall mode, move the switch to the upper position. Note: The units light will pulse a few times, but after that it will still be active.
  • Ensure the line on the top of the unit is pointing in the direction that you want blocked.
  • Replace batteries if you see the lights pulsing repeatedly.

Limitations of the Virtual Wall

Per the iRobot Roomba customer support, there are some manual steps to your lighthouse setup.

Because the Roomba iRobot logo needs to be facing your lighthouse when you set the blocking or cleaning mode, this cleaning process is not one you can do remotely.

If you're serious about protecting items via lighthouse or virtual wall mode, you'll probably want to run your Roomba while you're home for the first few times until you can be sure it will act as you intend. 


robot vacuum Lighthouse

The Roomba lighthouse serves as a temporary barrier to focus cleaning power.

For example, if the living room is carpet and the kitchen is vinyl, you can place your lighthouse controller in the doorway to keep the Roomba from traveling over the threshold repeatedly.

If the lighthouse placement is correct, your Roomba will stay on the carpet until it's done, then move to the kitchen.

Halo Mode

The halo mode can create an invisible 4 ft. diameter barrier to protect items such as pet bowls, shoes and other items.

Roomba Lighthouse Compatibility

While some Roombas can be purchased with the lighthouse tool included, owners of older Roombas can purchase the lighthouse tool separately.

Be very careful in this selection and make sure you're getting a lighthouse that is compatible with your Roomba.

Many users find no problems with the 500 series being compatible with other versions, but owners of 600 series Roombas have had problems with some versions of the lighthouse.

If you're not certain or confused with the information you're finding, contact and consider purchasing from the manufacturer to make sure you're getting the right lighthouse.

This also increases the chance you'll get all the necessary documentation and manuals. Setting this up properly may take some research.

Roomba Lighthouse Setup

The lighthouse and virtual wall functions occur are changed via a switch on the lighthouse tool.

If your Roomba is traipsing into areas you thought you'd blocked via the virtual wall, you're either dealing with:

  • an improperly set lighthouse, or
  • an improperly set Roomba. When you start your cleaning process while using the virtual wall set up, make sure the Roomba logo is pointed at the lighthouse tool.

You may also have a compatibility problem between the Roomba and the lighthouse. If you're buying a lighthouse separately, be sure and make this purchase with the help of technical support.

Other Uses For Lighthouses

Many Roombas come with multiple lighthouses so you can set up barriers and protected areas in different areas of your home.

Experts with Popular Mechanics suggest using a lighthouse to protect items that can get messy if bumped, such as pet food dishes and water bowls.

Other applications might include delicate or antique furniture, potted plants at risk of tipping, or areas where electrical cords run.

While your Roomba will dock and recharge its own batteries when it needs more oomph, your lighthouse functions on two C batteries.

If you notice your Roomba ignoring your instructions or acting oddly around the lighthouse, check the batteries to make sure the Roomba is getting accurate instructions.

Final Thoughts

Roombas are ideal tools for homeowners of all ages. You work all day; wouldn't it be nice to know that your vacuum is too?

If you need to keep your Roomba out of some spaces, or if you want to focus cleaning power, learning lighthouse setup is worth your time. See also The Benefits of a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner