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Roborock is a big name in the world of robot vacuuming, although perhaps not quite as big in the UK as elsewhere. The brand immediately sets itself apart from the other major Chinese manufacturers through the fact that it is not shy about tackling the likes of iRobot and Eufy at their price points – the Roborock S5 is significantly more expensive than the likes of the ILIFE V3S Pro, for example. What you can always count on from these brands, however, is value for money. The S5 actually sits around a rather unique price point. It is noticeably more expensive than the likes of the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX and iRobot Roomba 671, but significantly less than the Roomba 981 and Neato Robotics D7. At first glance, it appears more than capable of rivalling every single one of them in some key areas, and all the key features will be covered in detail over the course of the full review below.
- Top level suction at any price point with 2,000 Pa on board
- Excellent battery life with 150 minutes of cleaning on a full charge
- Support for virtual walls and boundaries for a focused, efficient clean
- Washable HEPA filter included – ideal for pet owners and allergy sufferers
- Comes with a water tank to effortlessly switch between vacuuming and mopping
- Will automatically recharge as required and pick up where it left off
The Roborock S5 is a sleek, good-looking model that gets off to an excellent start in our estimations thanks to a good profile and relatively low weight. At 3.5 kg, it is not the lightest robot vacuum you will find, but few buyers will have any trouble moving this one between floors. At under four inches tall, it is also capable of reaching under furniture and in those nooks and crannies that can be painful to reach with a regular vacuum.
Roborock has opted to keep things relatively simple in the box, and you’ll find all the essentials and not much else. Along with the S5 unit itself, you’ll also receive the base unit and charging cable, water tank and mop pad and the user manual. It does not exactly have spare parts and replacement brushes coming out of its ears, but that is testament to the build quality and efficiency of the overall product.
The mopping functionality is unique enough that it makes sense to start the main section of our review there. There are not many robot vacuums that are capable of mopping, and even fewer that can claim to do a good job. ILIFE included a mop function on the original V3s, which was subsequently dropped for the V3S Pro revision. Coredy also elected to make a water tank available as an extra feature on the R500+ but ditched that functionality altogether on the superior Coredy R650 robot vacuum.
Crucially, and unlike any of those models, the Roborock S5 can mop and vacuum at the same time. Among the outstanding features you receive for your money is a comprehensive package of sensors, some of which accurately detect the current surface. If you want the robovac to mop as well as vacuum, it will do so when on hard floors, without any risk that you’ll unwittingly get your carpets wet.
As noted, we are yet to encounter a robot vacuum and mop combo that can claim to replace manual mopping, but the Roborock S5 comes closer than anything we have seen thus far. It still cannot quite compete with the real thing, but this is the first hybrid robot vacuum and robot mop where we feel confident in saying that most people will be happy with the results to the point that the mop and bucket can stay safely locked away.
If you consider the mopping function as a bonus or simply something you may never use, it is important also to appreciate the quality of the standard vacuum here. The current robovac generation tops out at 2,000 Pa of suction, and that is precisely how much you can expect to find here on this model. That ensures that it is capable of handling any dirt on pretty much any surface. From hard floors to low and medium-pile carpets, the results are outstanding, and only the thickest rugs will present anything resembling a problem to this unit.
According to the marketing materials, the Roborock S5 is not explicitly designed with pet owners and allergy sufferers in mind, but it performs well for one main reason. There is a HEPA filter inside the unit, which does an excellent job of taking care of hair and dander. As mentioned, there is no replacement filter in the box as you’d expect from many competing models, and that is because there does not need to be. The onboard unit is washable and while cleaning it may not be the most pleasant job in the world, it can cut down on replacement costs rather significantly going forward.
We always mention the quality of the battery when we review Roomba models, and it is an area in which iRobot clearly stands out. However, the Roborock S5 could well be the closest that we are yet to come to a competitor, as the 5,200 MaH battery used here is fantastic. It will charge fully within four hours and then last for 150 minutes of cleaning on that single charge. If two and a half hours aren’t quite enough to cover every bit of floor space in your home, then that’s not a problem either. The S5 is among the cheapest robot vacuums to boast return and recharge functionality. If the job is not finished, but power is low, this robovac will head back to base, charge up as much as is necessary and then head back to pick up where it left off. If you’re doing multiple floors in one go, it makes sense to leave the floor with the base unit until last to get the most out of this feature, but most homes will be cleaned thoroughly on just a single charge.
We would expect outstanding connectivity from any device at this price point, and Roborock has opted to follow a similar path to the likes of Roomba. Specifically, the S5 is supremely connectable, but there is no remote control in the box. In practice, this means that the Roborock S5 joins the ranks of robot vacuums like the Neato D7 and Roomba 960 where fantastic robot vacuums become slightly less impressive for anyone that does not use a smartphone or tablet.
Nevertheless, if you want a robot vacuum that you can control from anywhere and even instruct with your voice, the S5 checks all the boxes. The Roborock app is fantastic and not only takes care of starting and stopping cleans, along with regular scheduling but also boasts excellent mapping. During the initial clean, the S5 will go about its business and build a floor map as it goes, before referring back on the next job. App users can also set boundaries to keep the robovac out of individual rooms or away from specific areas. Incidentally, the physical magnetic strips that set limits for various robot vacuums are compatible with this model too.
There is a slight downside to the mapping in that it is only perfect for those that occupy a single floor. The robot vacuum can only store a single floor map at a time and will commence drawing a new one when you take it upstairs. Fortunately, the impact on cleaning efficiency is minimal, and only the reduced usefulness of the virtual walls makes a massive difference to those that use them.
Roborock S5 – Pros and Cons
- Excellent cleaning power suitable for virtually any surface throughout the home
- Leading connectivity at this price point, including real-time tracking of the vacuum’s progress
- Designed to vacuum and mop at the same time for truly outstanding results
- The relatively small water container means that mopping does not quite keep up with sweeping in homes with mainly hard floors
- Mopping function is good compared to competing robot vacuums, but does not quite beat the manual option
- Only stores a single floorplan at a time, requiring a redraw on separate floors
Roborock S5 – The Verdict
We have to say that the Roborock S5 is a very impressive robot vacuum. We were unsure of exactly what to expect based on price alone – as mentioned, it fits snuggly in between some of the most popular models, and we were very interested to see in which direction it took the technology and cleaning power. There are various elements to this package that resemble significantly more expensive models, such as the mapping and laser-based guidance, together with genuinely outstanding battery life. At the same time, there are parts of the robot vacuum package here that are not difficult to find at a lower cost, such as the same suction power and connectivity.
Roborock S5 Review
Perhaps the primary consideration, as outlined in the full review above, is the mopping function. It adds to the price, and much of its usefulness will come down to personal preference. If you want a robot vacuum that mops at the same time, it does not get much better than this. At the same time, if you hope for a robovac that will mop the floors to the same standard that you do with some elbow grease, the chances are that you may be disappointed. When it all comes down to it, few hybrid robotic vacuum mops can outdo a living, breathing human on a wet clean. If you want some added shine on your wet floors, then the Roborock S5 does the job but this arriving on your doorstep is not the signal to ditch the bucket just yet. For robotic vacuum cleaning and connectivity, however, this model is difficult to beat at this price. If you can make full use of all the features, like mapping, virtual walls and extensive connectivity, then it can potentially be worth the increased investment over lower-priced Roomba and Eufy models. With that said, if the mopping is not essential, you will find something fairly similar in the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX – for comparable power and connectivity – and RoboVac 30C – for connectivity and boundary strip support – at a significantly lower price.
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