Roborock S5 Max Review: Easily the Best Robot Vacuum We've Used to Date

Techaeris has been running a series of Roborock articles over the past few weeks as the company has been offering some decent sales on their robot vacuum devices. One of those devices is the Roborock S5 Max. We've partnered with Roborock to bring you a review of their latest robot vacuum and tell you whether or not it's worth your investment.

The truth of it all is that not everyone will want a robot vacuum and not everyone will be able to even use one. There are several factors you have to take into account before buying a robot vacuum from Roborock or any other manufacturer. The major factor is, the Roborock S5 Max will not pick up your floors for you. If you're going to buy a robot vacuum, you have to learn to keep things off your floors in order for it to do its job.

Robot vacuums like the Roborock S5 Max have come a long way with technology like LiDAR mapping and no go zones, but they lack the arms to actually pick up objects from your floor. So, if you're really bad at basic pick up, then a robot vacuum may not be for you. The other factor is, you just don't think a robot vacuum is worth your time. In your case, I'm probably not going to change your mind, but feel free to read our full Roborock S5 Max review.

Specifications

The Roborock S5 Max has the following features and specifications:

  • Product Size: 353 x 350 x 96.5 mm
  • Package Size: 489 x 403 x 152mm
  • Colors: Black, White
  • Navigation System: Laser Distancing Navigation
  • Max Suction: 2000 Pa
  • Voltage: 58 W
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 460ml
  • Water Tank Capacity: 290ml
  • Weight: About 3.5kg
  • Functions: Sweeping and Mopping
  • Run Time: 150-minutes
  • Battery: 5200mAh
  • Cleaning Area: 250 ㎡
  • Charging Time: <6-hours
  • Obstacle Crossing Ability: Up to 2 cm

What's In The Box

  • Roborock S5 Max
  • Charging Dock
  • Mopping head
  • Brush to clean out dust bin and other parts
  • Setup guide, warranty, and documentation
Roborock S5
Typical robot vacuum appearance, but still looks good. Techaeris

Design

The Roborock S5 Max has your typical round robot vacuum look which has only slightly changed over the years. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the design as it has held up and is still going strong. Aesthetically, I prefer the white version more than the black version as it hides dust, fingerprints, and dirt better than the black one.

On top of the Roborock S5 Max, you'll find the spinny LiDAR device. This is where the guts of the LiDAR system are housed, and this is how the S5 Max sees its environment. The home button and power button are also on top of the unit in easy view and providing easy access.

The top also has a flip-up panel that reveals the dust bin, a cleaning brush, the reset button, and the Wi-Fi indicator. Around the perimeter of the Roborock S5 Max are its sensors, fans, and the water tank, which also holds the mopping pad under it.

Turning the Roborock S5 Max over, you'll find its sturdy and stout wheels which are very well made. The third swivel wheel is what the robot uses to pivot and move itself about your floors. There is also a side brush located on the bottom, though it's more of a soft rubber bristle than a normal brush.

The roller brush and spades are located on the bottom as well and are easily accessible for cleaning. The whole unit has a decent weight to it. It's not heavy by any means, but it is also not light. It has a solid build quality and all of the materials used feel very good and robust, nothing feels cheap on the Roborock S5 Max.

The included battery charging unit is also a great improvement over other vacuums I've tried. First off, it's slim and does not take up much floor space like some others I've used. It stays out of the way. The cable is a decent length but not overly thick and has a large, normal plug. The thinness of the unit and size of the plug make it really nice to tuck away.

Overall, the Roborock S5 Max has a design that is not unfamiliar but is also still very much current. The design also highlights the basic controls and is very easy to manage.

Roborock S5 2
Inside the S5 Max Techaeris

Ease of Use

Robot vacuums have become very simple to use over the years and the Roborock S5 Max is one of the easiest. You will need to download the Mi Home app on your Android or iPhone to connect and get to cleaning. We will go over the app and software in the next section.

Once you have the app connected and your new robot vacuum is cleaning your floors for you, there's little else that needs to be done. Of course, as we mentioned, you'll need to be sure to keep your floors picked up of obstacles and large debris. The S5 Max can do a lot of things, but picking up your dirty clothes and children's toys aren't within its capabilities. For it to do its job well, you need to get things picked up.

Once you have the floor cleared, it's as simple as hitting clean, choosing a no-go zone or mopping zone if you're going to mop. After cleaning is done, you just open the top, remove the dust bin by the locking tab, empty and replace the bin. The rollers under the Roborock S5 Max are also very easy to clean. The included cleaning brush comes with an integrated razor blade that allows you to cut strands of hair or other materials caught in the rollers.

Overall, the Roborock S5 Max is pretty easy to use and very easy to clean up. The roller on the bottom is so easy to disassemble and reassemble that you don't mind at all cleaning it after just a few runs.

Software

Update: We are updating this section to reflect that Google Assistant and Alexa integration are only available using the Roborock app (not the MiHome app) and that Alexa integration is ready but Google Assistant is not online yet.

The Roborock S5 Max is controlled through the Mi Home app that is available for both Android and iOS. One thing to note is that you will need to make sure your iPhone or Android is operating on a Wi-Fi network that is on the 2.4GHz band. The Roborock S5 Max will not work on 5GHz networks. If you have an older router, you're likely just fine. If you have a newer router, most of them are dual-band routers so you'll need to be sure you're on the 2.4GHz band. If your network is set to choose the band itself, it may not work.

When you open the app, you'll probably need to create an account to continue. Once you have that done you'll tap the + button and add a device. Choose the home appliance tab and then find the Roborock S5 Max on the list and choose it. The app will then walk you through setting up the S5 Max on your 2.4GHz network. It is important that your phone is on the network you'll be using to connect the robot too. Once connected, you're ready to start using the app.

You can also connect Google Assistant and Alexa to your Mi account allowing you to ask Google or Alexa to start the Roborock S5 Max cleaning or mopping cycles. This is totally optional and does not need to be done for the robot to work properly. I didn't find it too much of a problem just grabbing my phone, opening the app, and tapping the clean button.

The app allows you to set your mop and no-go zones on the LiDAR map that the robot generates after its first run. I would recommend letting the S5 Max have a few runs in vacuum mode to give you a few maps to work with. The LiDAR map runs in real-time as well so you can watch the robot map out the environment and see where it is cleaning. It's actually pretty fun to watch the map populate before your eyes.

Besides the obvious functions from the app, you also get battery levels as well as a calculation of area the vacuum has cleaned. It even keeps logs of the times and dates it cleaned and how long each cleaning took. The first few cleanings will likely be longer than the rest as the vacuum learns your home's layout.

Overall, the app is dead simple to use. The only thing some users may have a problem is with the network. Some users may be clueless on how to make sure they're using the 2.4GHz band and not the 5GHz band. Still, once you're connected, the app and software do most of the heavy lifting. Basically, set it and forget it.

Roborock S5 3
A washable HEPA filter is included. Techaeris

Performance

The Roborock S5 Max is hands-down the best performing robot vacuum that I have reviewed. Its mapping performance alone is worth the price of admission as this thing literally never got lost under chairs or corners. I have reviewed other robot vacuums that seemed to fall into a black hole when they got under tables and chairs. The Roborock S5 Max seems to have no issues whatsoever navigating under, around, and out of things. I only had to rescue it a few times when it went under our Christmas tree and got stuck on some books under the tree.

Another great feature that makes this vacuum worth buying is its zoning capability. You can draw a box around the areas of your home you want the robot to mop and it will only mop in those areas. This is helpful when you have a home that has both hardwood and carpets. It's nice not having to worry about getting your carpets wet. The mopping feature is activated when you install the mop head on the back end of the Roborock S5 Max. The water tank is big enough to do a few mopping sessions with no problem.

The mopping zone feature also works without the mop head installed. In this case, the Roborock will see the boxes you draw as no-go zones and will not vacuum in those areas. This is super helpful for things like, well, Christmas trees. To keep the vacuum from going under the tree, just draw a box around the tree on the map and it will not touch that area. Problem solved.

The suction power of the Roborock S5 Max is also impressive. It pulls up dirt and dust which our US$400 upright vacuum does not. What's even more impressive is that the S5 Max knows the difference between carpet and hardwood. When it senses it is on the carpet, it increases the suction power and decreases on the hardwood.

The Roborock S5 Max also has advanced fall protection sensors so it knows when it's near steps or a drop-off. The only time it fell down our stairs was when we accidentally left something too close to the top step. The Roborock S5 Max caught the edge of the bag we left near the top and sucked some of the bag up, but the weight of the bag brought the vacuum down. Had we not left that bag there, it would have been just fine.

Battery life is also very good on the Roborock S5 Max. We have a split level home, and we had Roborock cleaning only one level, as the other level is the family living area and we have 4 kids who aren't always efficient in keeping their things picked up. The Roborock S5 Max easily cleaned our one level in an average of 40-minutes and had about 60% battery left in the tank. It finds its own way back to the charger, so you never have to worry about forgetting to charge it.

Now that we have all of the highs out of the way, there are a few lows, though I wouldn't call them deal-breaker lows. Here's the thing. The Roborock S5 Max is designed to maintain your home to a certain extent, but it's not intended to be a deep cleaning machine. You're still going to need to sweep out the corners of your home and get some edges. I mean, the thing is round and not square, so getting into corners isn't a strong point.

I think if you go into buying the Roborock S5 Max knowing that you still have to put some effort into maintaining your home, then you'll have a stellar experience. If you're going in thinking this robot is going to do it all for you, then you won't be happy. There's nothing on the market that will keep your floors clean if you can't pick up after yourself.

Overall, the performance of the Roborock S5 Max is the best I've seen on a robot vacuum period. Of course, there are plenty of alternatives I have not tested, but until I do, the Roborock S5 Max takes the cake.

Price/Value

The MSRP on the Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum is $599.99 and can be purchased on Google right now. This price point is a pretty standard price for a robot vacuum, but I think the S5 Max offers up some other great features and performs better than many other vacuums. There is certainly a lot of value here.

Wrap Up

I've said it before, robot vacuums aren't for everyone. But for those who are looking for such a device, the Roborock S5 Max is the best robot vacuum we've tested and it gives you a great bang for your buck. It's for this reason the Roborock S5 Max gets a "top pick" from us.

Alex Hernandez is the editor-in-chief and founder of Techaeris. Follow him on Twitter, @daAlexHernandez. Follow Techaeris on Twitter, @techaeris, and visit its website for the latest tech reviews and news.