Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum review

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REVIEW – If you don’t already have a robot vacuum in your home, what the heck are you waiting for? Seriously, robot vacuums in my house have saved me countless hours over the course of the last few years. I very rarely use a manual vacuum to clean my floors because I don’t have to. If you’ve been considering buying one or upgrading to a new one, I have another one to consider. It’s the Roborock S5 Max. Let’s check it out.

What is it?

The S5 Max is Roborock’s latest robot vacuum that is designed to clean the dirt from your carpets, hardwood, vinyl, tile, and other hard surface floors.

What’s in the box?

  • Roborock S5
  • Non-skid floor mat
  • Charging base
  • Power cord
  • Mopping cloth and plate
  • User manual

Design and features

The Roborock S5 has a standard robot vacuum design. It’s round with a protruding laser eye on top. I was sent the white version which is a nice departure from all the black robot vacuums that I usually review. The glossy white plastic housing does not show dust like black versions will. But, if you like black, you can get the S5 in black too.

On the bottom of the S5 robot vac, you’ll see the wheels, main brush, and side brush.

A plastic guard over the brush lifts off so that you can remove the brush if you need to clean it.

The brush has soft bristles and rubber flaps which make this vacuum able to clean carpets and hard surfaces.

The side brush isn’t like other side brushes on robot vacs that I’ve reviewed in the past. Instead of being made of actual brush “whiskers”, the Roborock side brush is made of long rubber arms. And also unlike many robot vacs that I’ve reviewed before, the side brush is attached to the bottom of the vacuum with a screw. That means it won’t pop off on its own which might sound like a good thing, but I’m not so sure. More about later in the review.

The top of the S5 has a hinged lid that lifts up to reveal the dirt bin and WiFi status LED.

There’s also a small cleaning brush with a string cutter that snaps into a holder under the lid.

The dirt bin is easily removed when you need to empty it.

Compared to some other robot vacs, I find the S5’s dirt bin to be a little on the small side. It’s also a little awkward to open it in dump out the dirt.

The S5 is designed to vacuum dirt from carpets, rugs, and hard floors, but it can also mop hard floors. There’s a removable water tank and in included mop cloth which snaps to the bottom of it.

The water tank is made to be filled with plain water. You should not add soap or other cleaning fluids.

The mop cloth attaches to the bottom of the mop cloth bracket which in turn snaps into the bottom of the water tank.

Then the whole mopping assembly slides back into the vacuum.

The app

To customize cleaning sessions, you’ll need to install the Mi Home app and connect to the S5 Max. When you do that, maps are saved for each room.

You can use the app to set up scheduled cleaning sessions.

You can also control the vacuum with Google Assistant, Alexa, and even advanced controls using IF…Then… type of programming.

How much does the Roborock S5 suck?

My first test of the Roborock S5 Max was on the only carpeted floors that we have in our house now – in our basement. The carpet has a low shag and I’ve tested every robot vac I’ve ever reviewed on this floor with no issues, so I didn’t expect any with the S5 Max.

I started the cleaning session using the app. While the vac was running in the main part of the basement, I went back into my office to work on this review. At one point, I noticed that it sounded like the vac was not moving anywhere. So I went into the room where it was cleaning and noticed that the S5 Max was running but it was sitting still.

When I tried to pick it up, I couldn’t because the side cleaning brush has wound it’s “arms” into the carpet. To detach the vacuum from the floor, I had to get a screwdriver to remove the side brush. This is where it would really help to make this side brush automatically detach but using a magnet instead of a screw.

I thought the problem was probably a fluke because I’d not had this ever happen with other vacs before. So I attached the side brush and ran it again. Within minutes the same thing happened. As a result, I’ve removed the side brush because I worry that it will ruin my carpet.

For my next test, I took it upstairs where we have luxury vinyl plank floors and a couple of area rugs.

On this level of the house, we have a cat litter box in one of the bathrooms. We use wood pellets for litter and sometimes a few pellets get kicked out of the box. I’m happy to report that the S5 Max had no issues picking up the wood pellets which was great!

Another nice feature is that the vacuum will adjust the suction when it goes from a hard surface to a carpet or rug. It did a great job picking up pet hair (I have a long-haired cat) and regular everyday dirt.

The next test was of the mopping feature. For this test, I used another feature in the app that will allow you to specify exactly where you want to clean by drawing a rectangle on the room’s map that was captured during a previous cleaning session. The only problem is that these zones that you create aren’t saved so that you can use them in a future cleaning session. At least I didn’t see any way to do that.

It’s important to know that the S5 Max doesn’t scrub your floors, it’s more like a lightly damp mop with just water. You can not add any cleaning solution. You can only fill the cleaning reservoir with plain water.

The mopping feature worked fine and I think it would be useful for dusting the floors… but again, it isn’t going to be useful for cleaning up sticky or dried-on dirt on the floors.

What I like

  • Strong vacuum suction
  • Mopping feature
  • Advanced features in the app to customize cleaning sessions

What I’d change

  • Allow the side brush to pop off if it gets tangled in carpet or rug fringe
  • Save cleaning zones in the app

Final thoughts

Other than the issue with the side brush getting tangled in my carpet, I really like the Roborock S5 Max. It has insanely powerful suction so it is able to easily pick up even heavier objects off the floor like coins or small rocks. Add in the mopping feature and the ability to customize the cleaning sessions through the app and the S5 Max has become my favorite robot vacuum.

Price: $599.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Roborock.

2 thoughts on “Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum review”

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  2. We had one that was great while it lasted, but the laser died in less than a year and the manufacturer wouldn’t warranty it. Switched to a Roomba, which will hopefully last longer.

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