Remember when Roborock introduced their latest tech marvel, the roborock S7, a robot vacuum cleaner that had us all excited? They also hinted at an upcoming feature that would make our lives even lazier – a dock that would automatically empty the vacuum's dustbin. Well, the future is here, folks, and it's called the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock. And guess what? You can snag one right away!
A roborock S7 exclusive
But brace yourself for a bit of disappointment. The Roborock Auto-Empty Dock is exclusively compatible with the high-end Roborock S7. We can keep our fingers crossed that future models will also enjoy this feature, but Roborock is keeping mum about that for now. Furthermore, the dock isn't exactly a steal, with a price tag of US$299.99. Plus, the robot vacuum itself will set you back a few bucks, so it would be wise to know what you're signing up for before making a decision.
One dock, different models
As I delved deeper into the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock, I stumbled upon a curious fact. It seems there are two versions of the dock, each featuring different technologies. One version, sold in the USA and possibly across North America, makes use of a proprietary bag system capable of holding up to eight weeks' worth of dust. With this model, you're looking at recurring costs (besides electricity, of course) as you'll need to replace the bag every few months. And let's be honest, if you've got pets, that eight-week timeline is more of a pipe dream.
The second version, which I, personally, find more appealing, uses a bagless cyclone design that's reminiscent of vacuums invented by, well, you know who (hint: he moved his company's HQ to Singapore). This model is earmarked for the European market and, according to a YouTube comment (so take this with a grain of salt), the Asian market as well. The Korean Roborock website and a French review both display the cyclone model. With its red bottom part and clear acrylic glass, you can easily see how full it is.
Although Roborock designed this version to be used without a bag, you still have the option to use one, offering the best of both worlds. Granted, the cyclone container provides only ¾ of the capacity, probably because the cyclone takes up more space than a bag, but it still gives you a solid six weeks of use. But, as with the manufacturer-provided eight-week expectation for the bagged version, I suspect reality might be a bit less rosy.
Whether this variation is due to regulations or market research conducted by Roborock remains to be seen. But it's safe to say that buyers outside the U.S. are getting more bang for their buck. Plus, the cyclone version has the added bonus of continuing to work even if Roborock stops producing the bags.
How the roborock Auto-Empty Dock works
The Roborock Auto-Empty Dock works by sucking dust and debris in the Roborock S7's dustbin through an opening that houses the rotating brush. This partially explains their decision to give the brush more movement when compared to previous models. A new dustbin, which is included with the Auto-Empty Dock, is required, and a small latch needs to be opened on the inside of the robot vacuum, to allow air to pass through.
According to the YouTube channel Vacuum Wars, the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock does a stellar job. The only issue presented itself after giving the Roborock S7 an artificial and extreme situation to deal with. They didn't do any vacuuming for two weeks as their shedding cats roamed about their home. Following that, a lump of cat hair did get caught in the brush as the Auto-Empty Dock attempted to suck it out. But it has to be noted that this was an extreme test and under normal circumstances you wouldn't leave your Roborock S7 dormant for two weeks. They also noted that compared to other docks, the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock leaves the dustbin impeccably clean.
Other niceties about the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock
The Roborock app allows you to configure how long the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock's suction lasts. You do also have the option of having the dock decide on the duration itself, based on how long the Roborock S7 was in use. As the emptying process lasts a maximum of 30 seconds, I don't know why you would go for anything shorter. If you were to forget to replace the dock's dustbin after emptying it, a sensor will prevent it from spewing dust back in to the air.
All parts of the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock that need to be cleaned, can be cleaned, without needing any replacements. Both the front and rear filters are removable and reusable. If neatness is a concern of yours, you're in luck because the dock also has built-in cable management hooks.
Finally, the dock doesn't just empty the Roborock S7's dustbin, but also cleans its electrodes. This can get mucky in time, which will prevent it from being charged. This again removes maintenance you would otherwise have to perform every now and again.
The nitty-gritty of the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock
So, how does the roborock Auto-Empty Dock work its magic? It's all about suction. The dock pulls dust and debris from the Roborock S7's dustbin through an opening where the rotating brush lives. This explains why the brush has a bit more wiggle room in this model. You'll need a new dustbin (which comes with the dock), and a small latch inside the robot vacuum needs to be opened to let the airflow.
According to the tech gurus over at the YouTube channel Vacuum Wars, the roborock Auto-Empty Dock is pretty darn good at its job. The only hiccup they experienced was when they let their shedding cats have free rein for two weeks and then tried to vacuum up the resulting furball. But let's be honest, that's not a standard vacuuming scenario. They also noted that this dock leaves the dustbin sparkling clean compared to others on the market.
Sweet extras with the roborock Auto-Empty Dock
The Roborock app allows you to tweak the duration of the dock's suction. You can let it decide for itself based on how long the Roborock S7 has been in action. But with a max suction time of 30 seconds, why would you opt for less? Moreover, if you happen to forget to replace the dock's dustbin, a sensor steps in to prevent a dust storm in your living room.
Cleaning your roborock Auto-Empty Dock is a breeze – all the parts that need a good scrub are easily accessible, and there's no need for replacements. Even the front and rear filters can be removed and reused. Plus, if you're a neat freak, you'll love the built-in cable management hooks.
The cherry on top? This dock doesn't just empty the roborock S7's dustbin, it also cleans its electrodes. No more gunk build-up leading to charging issues. This is one less maintenance task for you to worry about.