One of the biggest reasons I held off from buying a robot vacuum for so long is because I didn't want to risk wasting my money on a relatively expensive purchase that might not perform well for my home. On top of that, there are hundreds if not thousands of them on the market, which makes it hard to know which one to get. I recently got my hands on the Roborock S5 Max and I've been very impressed with its performance. It's super easy to use and gives me more free time since I don't have to worry as much about keeping my floors clean.
I've tested this robot vacuum for roughly 40 hours. It's an amazing cleaning device that offers powerful suction on anything from dirt to pet hair. If that wasn't enough, it's packed with smart features that make it super convenient to use right from your phone.
- Up to 150 minute run time
- Maps your home
- Home assistant compatible
- Lets you set no-go and no-mop zones
- Powerful suction
- Intuitive app
- Easy to clean brush
- Small-ish dustbin
- Must manually turn on smart features
Roborock S5 Max What I like
First off, I found the Roborock S5 Max super easy to set up and had it connected to my internet within 10 minutes. You'll find a handy instruction booklet in the box that helps guide you through the process. The dock is small and doesn't take up much room. I have mine situated under a table in my living room, so it doesn't take up any valuable space. Once that's all taken care of, you'll be good to use the unit.
The first time you run the S5 Max, it will be unfamiliar with your home and might bump around a little strangely. But once the S5 Max has mapped your home it will always vacuum in the most efficient manner. I love that it begins by outlining each room and then crosses back and forth until it's covered every reachable inch of floor. This leaves your home clean and with immaculate vacuum lines.
Another thing I love is that you get to control exactly where it cleans directly from the Roborock app (opens in new tab). For instance, when my dog tracks dirt all over the kitchen, I open the app and then draw a box around the area that needs cleaning. The unit then goes directly to the indicated room and thoroughly cleans my floors.
Using this same method, you can also make sure the Roborock avoids certain locations. For instance, if you have a hobby room where things are all over the floor, you probably don't want the vacuum going in there. Simply set up the zones in the app so the unit doesn't go in that room. Since this unit can also mop, these no-go zones are also really helpful for keeping the unit from going onto your carpets when you want your hard floors mopped.
Speaking of mopping, the unit does a good job of lightly spritzing your floors and keeping them dry instead of leaving everything sopping wet. That way you can feel better about having it mop your expensive hardwood floors without causing water damage. After that, you throw the mop into your washing machine and let another device take care of the cleaning. It's super easy. However, the S5 Max won't be able to tell if there's an especially sticky or messy section of your floor. So while it's good for a quick cleaning, you'll want to clean up big messes the old fashioned way.
There are also several sensors and a bump guard that prevent the unit from falling down stairs or bulldozing into your belongings. I mean, you'll still want to pick up power cords and small items before it runs, but it really takes a load off your mind knowing you don't have to constantly monitor it while it cleans. You also can rest assured knowing that it will do a good job cleaning your floors.
I have a Corgi and a grey tabby who regularly make messes. The S5 Max has proven itself by sucking up pet fur, kitty litter, and even the dry pet food my dog drops on the ground. I even did a test and dumped a bunch of Cheerios all over my hard floors. I was expecting there to be leftover bits, but I was wrong. The vacuum surprised me by picking up everything and making it look like there had never been a mess to begin with.
Another thing I love about it is that it has a run time of up to 150 minutes. Considering most robot vacuums average about 100 minutes, that's much longer than average. If you have a larger home, it will be able to reach more of your floors in one go. Should the battery get low before it finishes cleaning, the unit returns to the dock, charges back up, and then finishes cleaning exactly where it left off. I love this because I know that the unit will clean my entire house.
Additionally, you can set up cleaning schedules to make it so the unit regularly cleans your home. Mine always starts cleaning around 9:00 am because by then everyone is out of the house. What's more, if your home has Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa you can start or stop a cleaning session by giving your smart assistant a voice command.
As the vacuum moves from room to room you can follow its progress directly from the app. For instance, in the middle image above, my vacuum has finished cleaning all but two rooms in my home. Should it get stuck (which hasn't happened for me yet), you can easily figure out where it is by consulting the app's map.
Now on to something super important. My hair is an invasive species. I've had several people tell me that they've found a strand on their person months after they've last seen me. This being the case, my floors are absolutely covered in it, which means it inevitably ends up winding around the S5 Max's brush. However, since the S5 Max's brush is removable and since a small tool that's half razor half cleaning brush gets stored directly on the vacuum, I can easily cut my hair off of the brush. I honestly don't know how many times I've used this razor tool since I started testing this vacuum, but it's definitely come in handy and really is just a thoughtful touch.
Roborock S5 Max What I don't like
The obvious downside for most people looking at this robot vacuum will definitely be the cost. Robot vacuums aren't cheap, but considering how much convenience and smart features are packed into the S5 Max, it's very well priced. If you go out looking for a comparable option, like an iRobot Roomba (opens in new tab), you will likely have to spend a lot more for a quality vacuum of the same caliber. That being the case, if this is just too much money for you, there are plenty of other Roborock vacuums out there from entry-level units to high-end units that I would suggest you look at.
I really really like this robot vacuum, but as with most things it isn't perfect. One of the things I found odd was that several of the advanced features aren't turned on when you first get the unit. For instance, I had to go into Settings and manually turn on Map saved mode, which allows you to create no-go zones, and Carpet mode, which makes the vacuum automatically increase suction when it goes from hard floors to carpets. In my opinion, these features should default to being on from the beginning. Afterall, if you're purchasing a more high-end vacuum, you're doing it specifically for those features. Fortunately, this is something that's easily remedied.
Lastly, there's the small dustbin. The S5 Max's dustbin capacity is definitely not the worst I've seen, but at 0.46 liters, it's a little on the small side. Ideally, a robot vacuum dustbin should have 0.5 liters of space or more. That being the case, the capacity is only a hair smaller than what's preferable. If you have invasive hair like mine or if you have shedding pets, you'll probably want to empty the bin out after every cleaning session. Otherwise, you likely won't need to empty it for a few runs.
The spinning side brush also collects my hair. Sometimes it wraps around it so tightly that the brush can't even spin. But you'll experience this problem with any robot vacuum. If you've got crazy hair like mine, you'll need to make sure to regularly pull strands off of the side brush if you want it to perform the way it should.
Roborock S5 Max Should you buy it?
In the time that I've owned the Roborock S5 Max, I've grown to depend upon it. It regularly vacuums my home on a schedule that I determined and it does a fabulous job of keeping my floors clean. All of the pet hair that used to buildup on my floors magically disappears each morning, leaving my home looking immaculately clean.
If my dog tracks in dirt, I can send the vacuum to a specific location and clean everything right up. The thing that I love most, is coming into my living room and seeing perfect vacuum lines. It just makes my home feel perfect. I highly recommend this robot vacuum to anyone, whether they have a small apartment, a large house, children, or pets. It has the battery power and the suction needed to keep your home conveniently clean.
4.5 out of 5
Of course, the price is definitely something you'll need to consider. I think that with all the features this device offers the cost is definitely reasonable. However, it is still an expensive purchase. If you want a robot vacuum but don't want to pay this much, you should really consider one of the other Roborocks in the lineup. They're all fantastic.
Rebecca Spear is a staff writer for Android Central who loves following the latest tech, drawing with her Wacom, and playing video games. You can find her posting about her pets, art, and video game preferences on Twitter @rrspear.
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