The many Roborock S series robot vacuums compared

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A rendered image of the Roborock S7 MaxV, visualizing how its cameras scan its surroundings.

Roborock started life as a robot vacuum manufacturer for Xiaomi. Since then, it has released several models with its own branding and even a dedicated app. However, it appears that Roborock took a leaf out of Xiaomi’s book in how it names their products and gives its robot vacuums seemingly random names. That is why I have collected all the information on the many Roborock S series robot vacuums and put together this comparison.

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Despite being an independent entity, Roborock is still linked to Xiaomi. After receiving an investment in September 2014, it became a member enterprise of Xiaomi ecological chain. Roborock’s robot vacuums are still compatible with the Mi Home app, but can also be used with the newer Roborock app. One major downside to using the Mi Home app is that it requests many permissions, such as access to your contacts and phone, while the Roborock app doesn’t.

Of the eight models, Roborock has discontinued two: The original S5 and the S4. While you might remember the S5 for nostalgic reasons, the later models are better in every aspect. Currently, the two highest specced robot vacuums are the S6 MaxV, which uses AI vision for object detection, and the S7 with its class leading mopping capability.

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Table of Contents

The Roborock S series of robot vacuums

In this article, I will only be comparing robot vacuums from the Roborock S series. The S series of robot vacuums mainly includes models that can mop in addition to vacuum, but there is also the Roborock S4 and S4 Max, which only do the latter. I did warn you that Roborock has an interesting way of naming their products.

Speaking of the S4, it was the company’s third model, released after the S5 and S6. In fact, the S5, which is essentially a Xiaomi Mi Robot, was the first-ever Roborock model released under their own name. The table below will show you the timeline of the Roborock S series, starting with the oldest model, and their MSRP at launch, so you can approximately tell where Roborock positions each robot vacuum.

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Click on any of the headers in the tables below to hide the column.

Roborock S5 Roborock S6 Roborock S4 Roborock S5 Max Roborock S6 Pure Roborock S6 MaxV Roborock S4 Max Roborock S7
Alternative
names
Roborock S50
(white)
Roborock S55
(black)
Roborock T6 (CN)
Roborock S60
(white)
Roborock S65
(black)
Roborock T4 (CN) Roborock P5 (CN) Roborock T7 Pro
Codename rubys tanos rubyplus rubyslite rubysc1 tanosv
Year Q4/2017 Q2/2019 Q3/2019 Q4/2019 Q4/2019 Q2/2020 Q4/2020 Q1/2021
MSRP
(at launch)
US$599 US$649 US$399 US$599 US$549 US$749 US$429 US$649
Current price - $452.50 - $279.99 $259.99 $438.07 $379.99 $649.99
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Roborock S series specifications

Click on any of the headers in the tables below to hide the column.

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Roborock S5 Roborock S6 Roborock S4 Roborock S5 Max Roborock S6 Pure Roborock S6 MaxV Roborock S4 Max Roborock S7
Suction 2000 Pa 2000 Pa 2000 Pa 2000 Pa 2000 Pa 2500 Pa 2000 Pa 2500 Pa
Dustbin 480 ml 480 ml 420 ml 460 ml 460 ml 460 ml 460 ml 470 ml
Water tank 140 ml 140 ml - 280 ml 180 ml 300 ml - 300 ml
Noise
(balanced mode)
71 dB 67 dB 68 dB 69 dB 69 dB 67 dB 69 dB 67 dB
Filter HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
HEPA E11
(washable)
Battery capacity 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh 5200 mAh
Run time
(quiet mode)
180 min 180 min 180 min 180 min 180 min 180 min 180 min 180 min
Charge time 240 min 5 hours 3-4 hours
Current price - $452.50 - $279.99 $259.99 $438.07 $379.99 $649.99
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Amazon
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Roborock S series mapping and navigation capabilities

Click on any of the headers in the tables below to hide the column.

Roborock S5 Roborock S6 Roborock S4 Roborock S5 Max Roborock S6 Pure Roborock S6 MaxV Roborock S4 Max Roborock S7
Navigation LDS LDS LDS LDS LDS LDS & Stereo camera LDS LDS
Map
storage
Up to 3 maps Up to 4 maps Up to 3 maps Up to 4 maps Up to 4 maps Up to 4 maps Up to 4 maps Up to 4 maps
Object
recognition
No No No No No Yes No No
Drop
sensors
4 6 4 4 4 6 4 6
Climbing ability 20 mm 20 mm 15 mm 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm 20 mm
Dimensions
(mm)
353 × 350 × 96.5 353 × 350 × 96.5 355 × 350 × 96 353 × 350 × 96.5 353 × 350 × 96.5 353 × 350 × 96.5 350 × 350 × 96.5 353 × 350 × 96.5
Current price - $452.50 - $279.99 $259.99 $438.07 $379.99 $649.99
Buy on
Amazon
- Buy on Amazon - Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Amazon
Buy on
AliExpress
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Roborock S5: The first and still a favourite

What you might think is an error on my side is, in fact, reality. The S5, despite the existence of an S4, was the first vacuum robot released by Roborock. Despite coming up to its fourth birthday, the Roborock S5 remains a favourite for several reasons, and it set the tone for Roborock's further design choices.

It was the Roborock S5 that introduced us to the futuristic looking pod that houses the LiDAR sensor. Especially the white edition, with its red accent, is what many will immediately recognize. You have to give Roborock credit for the striking design they chose.

The Roborock S5 robot vacuum cleaner

The Roborock S5 was an excellent entry in to the robot vacuum market, but despite boasting powerful suction and long battery life, it wasn't perfect. Brenda Stolyar from PCMag notes that the Mi Home app it used at the time was buggy and criticized its bulkiness. Based on more scientific testing, RTINGS.com came to the conclusion that the S5 was a good robot vacuum for those with bare floors and pets, while only being okay on carpets.

But what makes the Roborock popular? Partially it is the fact that it was the first robot vacuum released and would remain their only model for another one and a half years. It was cheaper than the competition and reviewers were raving about it. Add to that the ability for it to be hacked and used as a cloud-free device, and you have the perfect device for tinkerers and privacy-focused owners. Those hoping for a cheap entry in to the robot vacuum game with the S5 will, however, be disappointed, as it appears to be no longer produced.

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Roborock S6: The silent one

On the inside, not much changed when comparing the Roborock S6 to the previously released S5. Both are powered by the Allwinner R16 quad-core SoC, have 512 MB of memory, 4 GB of eMMC flash storage, and run Ubuntu 14.04 (Kernel: 3.4.x) as their operating system. Both use the 5200 mAh battery and the dustbin, as well as the water tank, are the same size.

The rose gold special edition Roborock S6

Design wise, the Roborock S6 looks very similar to the S5, with only the three buttons on the device being a clear indicator as to which is which. Both devices have the same dimensions (353 mm × 350 mm × 96.5 mm), and colour options: black, white, and a rose gold special edition, which is white with subtle rose gold accents.

With that said, It is easiest to describe the Roborock S6 robot vacuum by comparing it to its predecessor and going through the differences and similarities.

Roborock S5 vs Roborock S6: Hardware

Many new software features, that launched with the Roborock S6, were later added to the S5 using over-the-air firmware updates. One thing that can't be changed is the hardware, and the S6 had several hardware improvements that couldn't retroactively be added to the S5. After all, the S6 was meant to be the improved successor to the S5.

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

One of the main differentiators that anyone who upgraded will immediately notice, is their respective operation noise. According to Roborock's own specifications, the S5 outputs 71 dB in balanced mode, while the S6 is 4 dB quieter. However, Smart Robot Reviews found that the S6 was almost 50% quieter than the S5 in daily use. To put it in relatable words, the S5 was annoyingly loud and would distract you while working, while the S6 is only moderately loud.

Improvements to both the cleaning and side brush made the Roborock S6 more durable and easier to clean. The cleaning brush on the S6 has detachable tips, making it easier to remove clogged hair, and it has 250% more ultra-fine bristles than the standard brush on the S5, allowing for better dirt pickup. A longer lasting silicon side brush replaced the S5's ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the same polymer used in Lego bricks) side brush. For S5 owners wishing they could have the new brushes too, I have good news: it is compatible with the S6's accessories. Sadly, those new brushes won't change the amount of noise it produces.

Roborock S5 vs Roborock S6: Software

At launch, there were several software features that were exclusive to the Roborock S6. Roborock improved the navigation algorithm and the S6 cleaned the same area 20% faster than the S5, thus increasing the area it could clean on a single charge. The S5 later received this feature in a firmware update, for which Roborock deserves to be respected. The S6 launched with the ability to divide maps in to separate maps into individual rooms, and also allowed scheduled cleaning of the rooms. Both features were later added to the S5.

One feature that is exclusive to the Roborock S6 until today is support for proper multimap. While the S5 does support two “backup maps”, beside the default map, you can't set no-go zones in the backups. The S6 can save up to four floor plans without any limitations. Considering both robot vacuums have the same internal hardware, this is most likely an artificial limitation 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 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: Upgrade or successor?

The Roborock S5 Max is the first “upgrade” to an existing model to be released, but is technically the successor to the S6. Compared to the S5 and S6, it has a slightly smaller dustbin (460 ml vs 480 ml), but double the water tank (280 ml vs 140 ml). The rest of the spec sheet reads quite familiar to the S5 and S6, with its official noise level sitting somewhere between the two. However, tests have proven that the S5 Max is quieter than the S6 in all but the MAX mode. The same review also shows that the vacuuming performance is almost identical, with the S5 Max being slightly better in most categories.

The Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum

Where the S5 Max absolutely wipes the floor with the S6, is mopping (pun intended). Not only is the water tank double the size, allowing it to mop double the area (100 m² vs 200 m²), but it is also configurable using the app. With the S6, you had two options that were set using a switch on the water tank itself. The S5 allows you to choose the amount of water it uses the app, and it can even be configured on a room by room basis. That means you can, for example, have the Roborock S5 Max 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 Max

Both the Roborock S5 and S5 Max launched at the same price, and at that price, there is no question about which one to go for: the S5 Max. The original S5 has no advantages over the S5 Max and is much louder, to the level of being an annoyance.

Comparing the S5 Max to the S6, I would once again recommend the S5 Max, especially if you can find it at a cheaper price. They both have excellent vacuuming performance, with the S5 Max even beating the S6 in some tests, but the S5 Max has much more advanced mopping capabilities. The only benefit in opting for the S6 is that you get more accessories in the box.

Roborock S6 Pure: Cheaper than the S5 Max and S6

What do you get when you take the Roborock S6 and remove everything you deem unnecessary and cost-increasing? The Roborock S6 Pure. It has a smaller water tank, ships with only the necessary accessories, and has two fewer drop sensors. It is also slightly louder, though it is still fairly quiet for a robot vacuum. Standard bristles replace the ultra-fine bristles found on the S6's brush, though the improved brush can be bought separately.

The Roborock S6 Pure robot vacuum

Reviewers have noted that the mopping feature is almost useless, though this is something most vacuums until the Roborock launched the S7 with its ultrasonic brush hadn't nailed down. Not useless at all is the Roborock 6 Pure's vacuum. The same reviewer notes that it is powerful enough to pick up dirt, dust, and dog hair.

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

Unless you insists to having your floors lightly mopped, I recommend the Roborock S4 Max as a more economical purchase. If your budget allows it, and you must have a vacuuming and mopping robot, the Roborock S7 is the state of the art in both.

Roborock S6 MaxV: It can see

It's safe to assume that the MaxV stands for Max Vision, as this is Roborock's first robot vacuum that uses cameras and AI for navigation. To be able to do what it does, the Roborock S6 MaxV uses a Qualcomm APQ8053 SoC, which features a powerful video processor and on-device machine learning, alongside a full gigabyte of memory. Also new, and unique, to this robot vacuum is the use of Android as its operating system.

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

How this robot vacuum came to be part of the Roborock S6 series is, once again, a mystery to me. It is in no way comparable to the S6 and S6 Pure, and is, in some ways, superior to the latest and greatest Roborock S7. The S6 MaxV is also Roborock's priciest robot vacuum to this day, launching for US$150 more than the S6 and $100 more than the S7.

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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

So, why would a robot vacuum require two cameras? It uses them for object recognition. By using two cameras, the Roborock S6 MaxV can, just as we do, estimate an item's location and size. Once it has done so, it will adjust its route to not bump in to them. You might be wary about having a camera constantly roam your home, but Roborock guarantees that it never duplicates, stores, or sends to a remote server. They have even gone as far as to certify the S6 MaxV according to an EU cybersecurity standard.

I suspect that the best use-case scenario for the Roborock S6 MaxV is if you have a pet that frequently defecates on the floor. You might have seen the consequences of such a scenario in one of the many videos shared online. Or perhaps you have many valuable and fragile items placed on wobbly stands.

Roborock S6 MaxV vs Roborock S5 Max and Roborock S6

As mentioned, the Roborock S6 MaxV doesn't compare with any of the previously mentioned models in terms of features and pricing. It is Roborock's first vacuum to have a suction of 2500 Pa, 25% more than its predecessors. It has the same size dustbin as the S5 Max (460 ml), but a larger water tank (300 ml).

Roborock S4 Max: An S5 Max without a mop

At this point, I am completely lost when it comes to Roborock's naming convention. The standard S4, which was released after the S6, is essentially an S6 without mopping capabilities. The S4 Max, is a slightly upgraded S4, making it essentially an S5 Max without a mop. Even the design of the S4 Max is strikingly similar to that of the S5 Max. Obviously, the former is missing the water tank, but looking at them from above, they are easily confused for one another.

The Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum

Instead of describing the individual specs, I would ask you to read through the Roborock S5 Max chapter above, but omitting any parts mentioning the mop. The S4 has the same suction of 2000 Pa, the same 460 ml dustbin, and the same noise output, as the S5 Max.

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: The latest and greatest (but without vision)

In terms of raw cleaning capabilities, the Roborock S7 is far and away the leader of the pack. Not only did it introduce hypersonic mopping, but also a new brush design that, according to Roborock, is better at picking up dirt.

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 main brush on the Roborock S7 doesn't have bristles, but features rubber fins. Despite Roborock's claims, scientific testing has shown that the new brush isn't all it's hyped up to. It struggles to remove dog hair from carpets, with even the S4 Max delivering better results. Besides that, the S7 doesn't score exceptionally high, but in line with comparable models.

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.

What does live up to the hype, though, is its mopping capability. It can apply a force of 600 g on the mop and manages to remove even dried drink stains. The Roborock S7 will also detect carpets and retract the mop before cleaning them. Thanks to that feature, the mop can be permanently attached and used on non-carpeted areas.

Which Roborock robot vacuum should you buy?

If you want a robot vacuum that is good at vacuuming and excellent at mopping, the Roborock S7 is the way. Previous models won't do much more than slightly wet your bare floors. The 6 MaxV has the ability to detect nasty surprises your pet might have dropped on the floor, making it perfect for pet owners. Besides that, it has a powerful suction, and will do an exceptional job at cleaning your home. If you do not wish for your robot vacuum to have any mopping capabilities, the S4 Max is your best option.

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