In this review, it’s all about one of the best robot vacuum cleaners, that you need to know about. And we’ve tested other robot vacuums this year even at twice the price. Some are nowhere near as good. We were a little bit skeptical, we have to admit, but after using this robot vacuum for over a month now, we are definitely convinced that the Roborock S5 Robotic Vacuum and Mop Cleaner is the best value that’s out there right now, especially when it comes to price and the feature set.
What’s in the Box
There’s a lot to talk about, but we want to focus on what makes Roborock’s second-generation robot vacuum cleaners different from the competition that’s out there. But for people who want to know what comes in the box, here it is. You get quite a bit when you open it up. You get some paperwork and QuickStart guides if you need them. You get the wet mop attachment with the filter, and yes, the Roborock S5 model can both do wet and dry vacuuming which is a huge bonus. They provide two microfiber cloth attachments that can be cleaned and reused. It’s really easy to apply and remove with Velcro.
Of course, you get the robot vacuum itself. A base for charging along with the plastic circular base attachments. If you use the wet mop, and the vacuum returns home, it won’t get your base area floor wet. And finally, you get a washable HEPA filter and a power cord. That’s a lot of stuff.
The first thing we want to talk about are the sensors on the Roborock S5 and how they make a real difference. On the top, there is a laser distance sensor that detects any type of collision. If you’ve used any type of robot vacuum, then you know how annoying that is; when they get stuck underneath the couch or in another piece of furniture.
You wake up the next morning; the job wasn’t completed, then what’s the point of a robot vacuum? And it happened to us a lot with previous robot vacuum models, but we can say after a month, the Roborock S5 never got stuck underneath the couch at all, and the jobs have always been completed when waking up. That sensor works, and it’s pretty interesting to watch when you see the robot go around corners and different pieces of furniture. It’s fascinating to see how agile this robot is with all of the sensors.
The approach to clean up is also different because the S5 uses that laser sensor to kind of scope out the area first. What it does is, the robot goes and maps out the area or the room that it’s in first and it goes back and cleans up. So we noticed that this one definitely doesn’t go back and clean the same sections again as some other robot vacuums do. It’s a lot more efficient.
And the battery life is also really good on this model, 2.5 hours, and we’ve never seen the robot stop in the middle of a cleaning schedule, but we guess it depends on how big your house is. If for some reason, the vacuum doesn’t complete the task, it will go back to the dock, charge up, and finish the cleaning job. So you don’t have to worry about if it’s going to finish the cleaning job or not.
There are also collision sensors on the front with edge detection, and we like the fact that it has a rubber bumper on the front. When it lightly bumps against edges, it won’t stain. We also like how close the vacuum gets to the walls when it cleans.
It has four anti cliff sensors on the bottom so it won’t fall off the stairs. We wanted to do an extreme test on a table, and the Roborock had zero issues. It’s really impressive.
Look and Feel
For the rest of the design, it’s well thought out. The wheels are nice and large and could clear the carpet and rugs at home with no issue, even on shag. There’s one spinning brush on the right-hand side with three buttons at the top: the middle one to start cleaning, the second one to spot clean, and the third one to return home. The main brush on the bottom is easy to remove and clean. There’s even a tool tucked away in the front.
We also like the fact that the dustbin is in the front. It’s really easy to remove, and it can hold a lot of dirt. You will be shocked to see how much the Roborock picks up on the first run. This shows how legit this robot vacuum is.
Where it all ties together, though, is through the Mi home app. It’s available on iOS or Android, and yes, you can control it by voice, so it has Google assistant and Amazon Alexa support. You can tell the S5 to start cleaning and all that stuff through voice, which is great, but there are a lot of features on the app that we want to show you.
The app is simple to use, and it gives you a lot of options. You can find out where your vacuum is if for some reason you lose it. And the most important feature, in our opinion, is zone cleaning.
Using the App
But let’s take a look at what truly separates the Roborock S5 from most other robot vacuums: the app. The interface is quite different from the first generations, with quick buttons to clean the whole house, return to the dock to charge, clean specific spots in the house, or even clean specific zones of the house as well. The difference between these last two might not be terribly obvious but here it is.
Spot cleaning is the same functionally as before, however, now you can tell it to go to a specific place and clean that spot instead of having to drag it over there yourself. It’s a manual control of sorts and it also doubles as a bonus since it can return to the dock and keep the map of your house intact without having to rediscover and redraw everything all over again.
Zoned clean up allows you to draw a box over any area of the map and the vacuum will then clean all the available space within this box. Multiple boxes can be drawn too and you can tell it to make one, two, or even three passes in each of these spaces. This situation has pretty much pinned itself out a couple of times now, although with less bonbons.
All this is possible because the app now actually saves the map of your home and allows you to use it for these tasks in the future. This isn’t the first robot vacuum that does this. We’ve already reviewed quite a few that have. But it does it in a way that’s more consistent with keeping the historical data instead of redrawing it every time.
You can zone out the living room, have the Roborock S5 go in there and clean it up. You can even tell Roborock to clean it two times or even three times, just in case your pet or kids ultra-wreck the floor. But what you will like is that you can make multiple zones. If you don’t want your living room to be cleaned, maybe that night, and you only want the bedrooms, you can zone those rooms out. You will have a good amount of control here.
You can also schedule cleaning times, which we like as well. We have it cleaning at night right for example. And with the Roomba 980, the previously tested robot vacuum, you couldn’t run it at night because it was so loud. It used to wake up everyone, and that’s the one thing that we like about the Roborock S5: It’s very quiet, especially in balance mode. We can’t even hear it upstairs when it’s running downstairs.
You can change the modes in the settings. Even at turbo setting the Roborock S5 is still relatively quiet. There’s a carpet mode as well, so the robot will amp up the suction for carpets. While the spoken commands are great, you may not want to hear this at night, so it’s also good that Roborock gives you a chance to turn it off.
There are a few other notable things like voice packs, depending on your region. You can also look back at your cleaning history, and you can get a live breakdown of hardware. This is handy, for example, when parts need to be cleaned or replaced. It is a nice feature to have. If you just want to control the vacuum, you can do this with the remote control feature.
When it comes to the wet vacuuming, it works the same. We suggest you do a zone clean when you’re choosing the wet mop option. It worked better than we thought it would. It’s really easy to fill the water tank. We like how easy it is to insert the tank into the robot as well.
To sum things up, if you’re looking for the ultimate smart home robot vacuum then look no further. We don’t think you’re going to find anything else out there on the market that does what the Roborock S5 does, especially at this price.
You’ll still find times that the map gets erased, though, such as if someone picked it up and moved it around physically and then started a spot cleanup or something similar. And this is one of the only true annoyances I had with the vacuum at all.
Just as we wished for on the Deebot R95, we wish there was a way to permanently save the map data of your dwelling and use it at any when the map gets messed up or erased. Navigation overall, though, is as good as ever and that new refined design ensures that the vacuum gets stuck far less often than the previous generation, if for no other reason than that the radar hump on the top is more centered instead of positioned all the way to the back.
I still had it get stuck on two of the radiators in my house though, as they’re just the right height for the vacuum to run under and subsequently get itself lodged in as it tries to turn and get out. For these moments and likely in any number of others too, manual control can be taken straight from the app without much hassle.
It’s a bit more buried than it should be. You have to go to the remote controls under the settings menu within the vacuum’s own section in the Mi home app. Got all that? Yeah. It’s a bit much but it’s really cool once you get there.
Two different kinds of manual controls are available: buttons for moving forward and then turning left or right and then a joystick that gives you slightly more control over these. The obvious missing piece of the puzzle is that there’s a complete lack of ability to simply just move backwards. No idea why that’s not an option but it makes things annoying if it gets stuck somewhere and just needs to back up a bit.
Among the improvements Roborock made between its first and second generation robot vacuums, the new functionality in the Mi home app is certainly at the top of the list. You may have seen from our first and second gen compared video that the cleaning power of the Roborock S5 is identical to the first generation model, also known as the Xiaomi Mi robot vacuum. Where it clearly differs is the ability to traverse thicker carpet without issue, thanks to those newly designed wheels, and the overall design is a bit more efficient as well.
It’s pretty safe to say that this is still one of the best robot vacuums for general cleaning of your home. The new mop accessory is cool. It adds a bit of a twist to the usual vanilla robot vacuum experience. But without a way for the vacuum to identify carpet quickly and try to not mop it, it’s really only useful for a spot cleaning in a small area if you have any sort of carpet in your home at all. Those with hardwood floors all throughout the home might find this a little bit more useful.
There are other more universally positive improvements, though, like the inclusion of a little cleaning tool under the hood for removing hair or strings from the roller for instance. There’s also a larger dustbin versus the first gen vacuum, 100 milliliters to be exact, which is good in any scenario making it 500 milliliters in total.
Battery life seems to be about the same as the original so not much of an improvement here, but it does clean the same amount of space more quickly, as pointed out in the comparison article. For reference, it cleaned about 750 square feet or 70 square meters with about 60% battery left at the end of the cleaning cycle. It’s, of course, going to vary wildly depending on how many objects you have in your home for it to navigate around versus simple, straight, and square areas so take my particular numbers as a single possibility only.
There’s a few things that could boost battery life significantly in your home too and sanity as well. By default, the vacuum runs in balanced suction mode which provides a pretty quiet operation with a good amount of suction. If enabled, the vacuum can automatically detect carpet and jack that suction up to maximum helping to better clean out carpets and not waste this suction needlessly on hard floors. It worked relatively well in our testing but the vacuum takes a few seconds to detect the carpet before it kicks that suction up.
In comparison, something like a Roomba 980, which has a dedicated sensor changes suction almost immediately upon jumping on the carpet and certainly could make carpets cleaner overall because of it. Still, it’s nice to have this feature in any capacity and it keeps general noise down and battery life longer at the end of the day.
The Roborock S5 is an incredibly well-rounded product that improves some key areas over the original, and for about $100 more, you’re getting a vacuum that’s easily among the top tier of robot vacuums on the market, which for the price, is absolutely impossible to beat. Brains, beauty, and brawn make up this package and it’s a total must buy for anyone that’s looking to upgrade from a cheaper dumber robot vacuum or even someone who just wants something extremely good from the get-go. There’s no official smart home integration, though, and no support right now for systems like Alexa or Google assistant, so if these are must-haves, you might want to take a look at other robot vacuums and what they have to offer instead.
– It does both wet and dry vacuum.
– It’s quiet.
– It has a superb cleaning pattern.
– It has a great app that gives you a lot of function.
– You can tie the vacuum with Amazon Alexa or Google assistant for smart home control.
– It’s easy to get the dustbin out. The maintenance is easy.
– It’s half the price of the Roomba 980.
So if we had to choose one, we would, hands down, pick the Roborock, especially for this price. Now, hopefully, through a software update, they can add a few things, like adding virtual walls. We know that’s possible. And adding multi-floor support. So right now, if we pick up the robotic vacuum and we go upstairs, it can’t remember both of the maps so it just has to remap upstairs again. So hopefully Roborock can add that through a software update.