The many Roborock S series robot vacuums compared

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
A rendered image of the Roborock S7 MaxV, visualizing how its cameras scan its surroundings.

Once upon a time, Roborock embarked on a journey as a humble robot vacuum manufacturer for Xiaomi. Eventually, the company spread its wings and ventured into the world of its own branded robot vacuums, along with a dedicated app. Yet, like a young fledgling imitating its parent, Roborock adopted Xiaomi's rather whimsical product naming habits. Fear not, dear reader, for I have ventured into the labyrinth of Roborock's S series robot vacuums and returned with a comprehensive comparison.

A dance of independence and partnership

Despite cutting the apron strings, Roborock remains entwined with Xiaomi. A generous investment back in September 2014 turned Roborock into a member of Xiaomi's ecological chain. Although Roborock's robot vacuums happily coexist with the Mi Home app, they also find a harmonious home in the Roborock app. Caution to the Mi Home app user: it is a rather nosy houseguest, requesting numerous permissions, from access to your contacts to your phone. The Roborock app, on the other hand, is a more respectful companion.

A line-up of robot vacuum royalty

Among the eight models, Roborock has bid adieu to the original S5 and the S4. The S5 may hold a special place in our hearts, but the newer models have surpassed it in every way. Presently, the S6 MaxV and the S7 reign supreme in the realm of robot vacuums. The S6 MaxV boasts AI vision for pinpoint object detection, while the S7 dazzles with its unrivalled mopping prowess.

A closer look at the Roborock S series robot vacuums

Allow me to guide you through the captivating world of Roborock S series of robot vacuums. This series primarily features models that sweep and mop, except for the S4 and S4 Max – the lone wolves that solely focus on vacuuming. You see, Roborock's product naming is a bit of a delightful puzzle.

Now, let's journey back in time. The S4, Roborock's third model, made its entrance after the S5 and S6. Intriguingly, the S5, which shares its DNA with the Xiaomi Mi Robot, was the very first model that Roborock launched under its own banner. To help you navigate the Roborock S series timeline, I present to you a table illustrating the release chronology and the launch prices of each model, offering a glimpse into Roborock's strategic positioning of their robot vacuums.

Name Alternative names Codename Year MSRP (at launch) Current price Buy on Amazon Buy on AliExpress
Roborock S5 Roborock S50 (white)
Roborock S55 (black)
rubys Q4/2017 US$599
Roborock S6 Roborock T6 (CN)
Roborock S60 (white)
Roborock S65 (black)
tanos Q2/2019 US$649
Roborock S4 Roborock T4 (CN) rubyplus Q3/2019 US$399
Roborock S5 Max rubyslite Q4/2019 US$599 $379.99 Buy on Amazon Buy on AliExpress
Roborock S6 Pure Roborock P5 (CN) rubysc1 Q4/2019 US$549 $600.00 Buy on Amazon
Roborock S6 MaxV Roborock T7 Pro tanosv Q2/2020 US$749 $399.99 Buy on Amazon Buy on AliExpress
Roborock S4 Max Q4/2020 US$429 $199.99 Buy on Amazon
Roborock S7 tanoss Q1/2021 US$649 $649.99 Buy on Amazon Buy on AliExpress

Roborock S series specifications

Name Suction (Pa) Dustbin (ml) Water tank (ml) Noise (balanced mode) Filter Battery capacity (mAh) Run time in quiet mode (min) Charge time (hours)
Roborock S5 2000 480 140 71 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180 3
Roborock S6 2000 480 140 67 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180
Roborock S4 2000 420 68 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180
Roborock S5 Max 2000 460 280 69 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180 5
Roborock S6 Pure 2000 460 180 69 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180 4
Roborock S6 MaxV 2500 460 300 67 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180
Roborock S4 Max 2000 460 69 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180
Roborock S7 2500 470 300 67 HEPA E11 (washable) 5200 180

Roborock S series mapping and navigation capabilities

Name Navigation Map storage Object recognition Drop sensors Climbing ability (mm) Dimensions (mm)
Roborock S5 LDS Up to 3 maps 4 20 353 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S6 LDS Up to 4 maps 6 20 353 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S4 LDS Up to 3 maps 4 15 355 × 350 × 96
Roborock S5 Max LDS Up to 4 maps 4 20 353 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S6 Pure LDS Up to 4 maps 4 20 353 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S6 MaxV LDS and stereo camera Up to 4 maps 6 20 353 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S4 Max LDS Up to 4 maps 4 20 350 × 350 × 96.5
Roborock S7 LDS Up to 4 maps 6 20 353 × 350 × 96.5

Roborock S5: A trailblazer that stood the test of time

Behold the Roborock S5, a pioneer that defies the numerical order and was the first robot vacuum released by Roborock. As it approaches its fourth anniversary, this beloved vacuum remains a fan favourite and has profoundly influenced Roborock's design choices.

The S5 introduced the world to the sleek, futuristic pod that cradles the LiDAR sensor. The white edition, adorned with a striking red accent, is instantly recognizable. Roborock deserves applause for its bold design choices.

The Roborock S5 robot vacuum cleaner
The Roborock S5 in black

Although the Roborock S5 made a grand entrance into the robot vacuum market with powerful suction and impressive battery life, it had its imperfections. Brenda Stolyar from PCMag commented on the buggy Mi Home app and the vacuum's bulkiness. In a more scientific evaluation, found the S5 to be a great choice for those with bare floors and pets, but only adequate on carpets.

So, what keeps the Roborock S5 in the hearts of many? It was the first robot vacuum released by the company and remained their sole model for one and a half years. With a lower price tag than its competitors and rave reviews, it quickly gained popularity. Its hackability and potential for cloud-free usage made it a dream for tinkerers and privacy-conscious owners. However, those seeking an affordable entry into the robot vacuum world with the S5 may be disappointed, as it appears to have reached the end of its production run.

Roborock S6: The whispering virtuoso

Peering inside, the Roborock S6shares much in common with its elder sibling, the S5. Both are powered by the Allwinner R16 quad-core SoC, boast 512 MB of memory, 4 GB of eMMC flash storage, and run Ubuntu 14.04 (Kernel: 3.4.x) as their operating system. They share the same 5200 mAh battery, and their dustbin and water tank capacities are identical.

Aesthetically, the S6 bears a striking resemblance to the S5, with the trio of buttons on the device being the primary distinguishing feature. Both models sport the same dimensions (353 mm × 350 mm × 96.5 mm) and come in three colour options: classic black, pristine white, and a sophisticated rose gold special edition, which features subtle rose gold accents on a white base.

The Roborock S6 robot vacuum cleaner
The rose gold special edition Roborock S6

To truly appreciate the Roborock S6 robot vacuum, it's best to examine it side by side with its predecessor and explore the nuances that set it apart.

Roborock S6
  • Suction: 2000 Pa
  • Dustbin: 480 ml
  • Water tank: 140 ml
  • Noise (balanced mode): 67 dB
  • Navigation: Save multiple maps, along with No-go Zones for each level, all recognized automatically by the robot

Roborock S5 vs Roborock S6: Hardware upgrades

While many new software features introduced with the Roborock S6 eventually made their way to the S5 through over-the-air firmware updates, hardware upgrades are another story. The S6 boasts several hardware improvements that couldn't be retrofitted to the S5, as it was designed to be the superior successor.

The most noticeable difference between the two models is their operation noise. According to Roborock's specifications, the S5 emits 71 dB in balanced mode, while the S6 is 4 dB quieter. However, Smart Robot Reviews discovered that the S6 was nearly 50% quieter than the S5 in daily use. In simpler terms, the S5 could be a noisy distraction, while the S6's hum is far more tolerable.

Enhancements to the cleaning and side brushes made the Roborock S6 more durable and user-friendly. The S6's cleaning brush features detachable tips for easy hair removal and boasts 250% more ultra-fine bristles than the S5's standard brush, ensuring better dirt pickup. The S6 also swapped the S5's ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the same polymer used in Lego bricks) side brush for a longer-lasting silicone version. Fear not, S5 owners longing for the upgraded brushes: they are compatible with the S6's accessories. However, even with the new brushes, the S5's noise level will remain unchanged.

Roborock S5 vs Roborock S6: Software distinctions

Initially, the Roborock S6 boasted several exclusive software features. Its improved navigation algorithm enabled the S6 to clean the same area 20% faster than the S5, thereby increasing the coverage it could achieve on a single charge. The S5 eventually received this feature through a firmware update, a move that earned Roborock well-deserved admiration. The S6 launched with the ability to divide maps into individual rooms and schedule room-specific cleaning. Both features were later added to the S5.

One feature that remains unique to the Roborock S6 is its robust multimap support. While the S5 does accommodate two “backup maps” in addition to the default map, it does not allow for no-go zones in these backups. In contrast, the S6 can store up to four floor plans without any limitations. Given that both robot vacuums share the same internal hardware, this disparity is likely an artificial constraint imposed by Roborock.

Roborock S4: Same power but no mopping

There are three factors that differentiate the Roborock S4 from the previously released S5 and S6: the pricing, mopping capability, and dustbin size. The S4 does still have the same design and navigation capabilities as its more expensive siblings, which is why I assume it is part of the S series and not the budget E series. Stylistically, the main differentiator is that the buttons are hidden underneath a round plate.

The black Version of the Roborock S4
The Roborock S4 in black

The Roborock S4 borrows from both the S5 and S6: It has the same silicone brush as the S6, but can only store backup maps like the S5. New features to the Roborock S series include two speed settings for the brush and the ability to drive backwards.

Roborock S5 Max: Evolution or revolution?

The Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum
The Roborock S5 Max

The Roborock S5 Max stands as the first “upgrade” to an existing model, yet it is technically the successor to the S6. When compared to the S5 and S6, it features a slightly smaller dustbin (460 ml vs 480 ml) but boasts double the water tank capacity (280 ml vs 140 ml). The rest of the specs appear quite familiar, with its official noise level falling between the S5 and S6. However, tests indicate that the S5 Max is quieter than the S6 in all modes except MAX. The same review also demonstrates that the vacuuming performance is nearly identical, with the S5 Max edging out its predecessor in most categories.

The S5 Max truly outshines the S6 when it comes to mopping. Not only is the water tank twice the size, enabling it to mop twice the area (100 m² vs 200 m²), but it is also customizable through the app. While the S6 offered two options set using a switch on the water tank, the S5 Max allows users to select the amount of water used via the app, with room-by-room configuration. This means, for example, that the Roborock S5 Max can use more water on tile floors than on wooden floors.

Roborock S5 Max
  • Suction: 2000 Pa
  • Dustbin: 460 ml
  • Water tank: 280 ml
  • Noise (balanced mode): 69 dB
  • Navigation: Multi-floor mapping, virtual no-go and virtual no-mop zones, ideal for carpets or rugs and multi-level homes

Roborock S5 Max vs S6 and S5 showdown

When comparing the Roborock S5 and S5 Max, which launched at the same price, the choice is clear: opt for the S5 Max. The original S5 offers no advantages over the S5 Max and generates considerably more noise, becoming a nuisance.

When it comes to the S5 Max and the S6, the S5 Max is once again the recommended choice, particularly if you can find it at a lower price. Both models deliver outstanding vacuuming performance, with the S5 Max even outperforming the S6 in some tests. Furthermore, the S5 Max boasts significantly more advanced mopping capabilities. The only advantage of choosing the S6 is the inclusion of additional accessories in the package.

Roborock S6 Pure: A budget-friendly alternative to S5 Max and S6

When you strip the Roborock S6 of features deemed unnecessary and cost-increasing, you get the Roborock S6 Pure. With a smaller water tank, fewer accessories, and two fewer drop sensors, it's a more budget-friendly option. Although it's slightly louder, it remains reasonably quiet for a robot vacuum. The S6 Pure swaps the ultra-fine bristles for standard ones, but the improved brush can be purchased separately.

Reviewers have observed that the mopping feature is nearly useless, a problem common among most robot vacuums until Roborock launched the S7 with its ultrasonic mop. However, the Roborock S6 Pure's vacuuming capabilities are far from useless, efficiently picking up dirt, dust, and pet hair.

The Roborock S6 Pure robot vacuum
The Roborock S6 Pure

For those who don't require light mopping, the Roborock S4 Max is a more economical choice. If your budget allows for it, and you need a robot vacuum with mopping capabilities, the Roborock S7 is the cutting-edge choice for both vacuuming and mopping.

Roborock S6 Pure
  • Suction: 2000 Pa
  • Dustbin: 460 ml
  • Water tank:> 180 ml
  • Noise (balanced mode): 69 dB
  • Navigation: Precision LiDAR Navigation & Z-shape Cleaning Route: Effective, detailed home-mapping and comprehensive cleaning

Roborock S6 MaxV: Enhanced Vision and AI-Powered Navigation

The “MaxV” in Roborock S6 MaxV likely stands for “Max Vision,” as it is Roborock's first robot vacuum to utilize cameras and AI for navigation. It is powered by a Qualcomm APQ8053 SoC, featuring a robust video processor and on-device machine learning, along with a full gigabyte of memory. The S6 MaxV also runs on the Android operating system, which is unique among Roborock robot vacuums.

The Roborock S6 MaxV with its two front-facing cameras for AI object recognition
The Roborock S6 MaxV

The Roborock S6 MaxV is not directly comparable to the S6 or S6 Pure, and in some ways, it even surpasses the latest Roborock S7. Priced higher than other models in the series, the S6 MaxV launched for $150 more than the S6 and $100 more than the S7.

The dual cameras on the S6 MaxV enable object recognition. By using two cameras, the robot vacuum can estimate an object's location and size, much like human vision, and then adjust its route to avoid collisions. While some users may have concerns about cameras roaming their homes, Roborock ensures that the S6 MaxV does not duplicate, store, or send any data to remote servers. The vacuum has even been certified according to an EU cybersecurity standard.

Roborock S6 MaxV
  • Suction: 2500 Pa
  • Dustbin: 460 ml
  • Water tank:> 300 ml
  • Noise (balanced mode): 67 dB
  • Navigation: Equipped with Precision LiDAR navigation, onboard maps can be made accurately, which means more efficient cleaning and more cleaning customization options

The Roborock S6 MaxV is particularly suitable for homes with pets that might frequently leave messes on the floor or for those with valuable, fragile items placed on unstable surfaces. Its advanced vision and navigation capabilities help avoid unwanted accidents and provide a more efficient cleaning experience.

Roborock S6 MaxV vs S5 Max and S6: Features and Performance Comparison

The Roborock S6 MaxV stands out from the S5 Max and S6 due to its unique features, particularly its AI-powered navigation system using dual cameras for object recognition. Here's a comparison of the three models to better understand their differences:

  1. Suction power: The S6 MaxV boasts a 2500 Pa suction power, a 25% increase compared to the 2000 Pa suction of the S5 Max and S6. This makes the S6 MaxV more effective at picking up dirt, dust, and debris.
  2. Dustbin and water tank capacity: The S6 MaxV shares the same dustbin size as the S5 Max (460 ml), but has a larger water tank (300 ml) compared to the S5 Max's 280 ml and the S6's 140 ml. This allows the S6 MaxV to mop a larger area without needing a refill.
  3. Navigation and object recognition: The most significant difference between the S6 MaxV and the other two models is its advanced navigation system using dual cameras and AI for object recognition. This feature helps the S6 MaxV avoid collisions and navigate more efficiently around obstacles, while the S5 Max and S6 rely on more traditional sensor-based navigation.
  4. Price: The S6 MaxV is the most expensive model among the three, priced at $150 more than the S6 and $100 more than the S7 at launch. This premium pricing is due to its advanced features and improved performance.

When deciding between the Roborock S6 MaxV, S5 Max, and S6, it's essential to consider your specific needs and budget. If you're looking for the most advanced navigation, object recognition, and powerful suction, the S6 MaxV is the best choice. However, if you're mainly interested in excellent vacuuming performance with advanced mopping capabilities and don't need the AI-powered navigation, the S5 Max might be a more budget-friendly option. The S6, on the other hand, offers a balance of performance and features but lacks the advanced mopping capabilities of the S5 Max and the advanced navigation of the S6 MaxV.

Roborock S4 Max: An S5 Max without a mop

You're right; the naming convention of Roborock's vacuum models can be confusing. To make it simpler, here's a summary of the main differences between the Roborock S4 Max and the Roborock S5 Max:

    1. Mopping capability: The S4 Max does not have mopping capabilities, while the S5 Max does. This is the most significant difference between the two models.
    2. Design: The S4 Max and S5 Max have a very similar design, except for the absence of a water tank in the S4 Max. From the top view, they can be easily confused for one another.
The Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum
The Roborock S4 Max

Other than these differences, the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max share many similar specifications, including a 2000 Pa suction power, a 460 ml dustbin capacity, and comparable noise output levels.

Roborock S4 Max
  • Suction: 2000 Pa
  • Dustbin: 420 ml
  • Noise (balanced mode): 68 dB
  • Navigation: Laser Navigation, Multi-Level Mapping, Invisible Wall and No-Go Zones

Roborock S7 vs S6 MaxV and other models: Performance and Features

The Roborock S7 brings significant improvements to the mopping capabilities of robot vacuums, making it the most advanced option in this area. However, its main brush, which uses rubber fins instead of bristles, may not perform as well as expected when it comes to cleaning carpets, particularly those entangled with pet hair.

The Roborock S7 with sonic mopping shown from the side. Visible is the LiDAR sensor on top of the robot vacuum cleaner and the water tank.
The Roborock S7

Comparing the S7 to the S6 MaxV, the S7 has superior mopping performance, while the S6 MaxV has advanced vision capabilities for navigation and object recognition. If you prioritize mopping and are willing to sacrifice the AI-based navigation, the S7 would be the better choice. However, if object recognition and avoidance is important, the S6 MaxV may be more suitable.

When comparing the Roborock S7 to other models, it's essential to consider the specific features you need in a robot vacuum. If mopping is a high priority, the S7 is the clear winner. On the other hand, if mopping isn't essential, and you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, the S4 Max or S5 Max might be more appropriate.

Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum and Mop
  • Sonic Mopping Technology: Roborock S7 robot vacuum mops with the power of sound, scrubbing up to 3,000 times per minute.
  • Intelligent Mop Lifting: S7’s VibraRise mop lifts when a carpet is detected, so you can mop hard floors and vacuum carpets in a single clean.
  • Powerful Performance: With 580g mop pressure and 2500PA HyperForce suction, Roborock S7 easily lifts dust and hair from floors and pulls it from deep inside carpets.

Roborock Robot Vacuum Buyer's Guide: Choosing the Right Model for Your Needs

  1. Roborock S7: Best for excellent mopping and good vacuuming performance. If you need a robot vacuum that excels in mopping and has good vacuuming capabilities, the Roborock S7 is the top choice. Its hypersonic mopping feature sets it apart from other models, ensuring thorough cleaning of your hard floors.
  2. Roborock S6 MaxV: Ideal for pet owners and advanced navigation. If you're a pet owner and want a robot vacuum that can detect and avoid pet messes, the Roborock S6 MaxV is perfect for you. With AI-based navigation, powerful suction, and object recognition, it delivers an exceptional cleaning experience.
  3. Roborock S4 Max: Best for budget-conscious buyers without mopping needs. If you don't require mopping capabilities and are looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Roborock S4 Max is an excellent choice. It offers strong vacuuming performance and a good set of features at a lower price point than the S7 or S6 MaxV.

Ultimately, the right Roborock robot vacuum for you will depend on your specific cleaning requirements, budget, and preferences. By considering the strengths and weaknesses of each model, you can make an informed decision and choose the one that best meets your needs.

Leave a comment

Share to...