Here at Gamespace, we love cool tech. Usually, we focus on gaming gear but sometimes a piece of kit comes along that plays at our geeky hearts, so we’ve created a series that plays at exactly that. Today in Just Fun Tech, we’re looking at the latest in robot vacuums from our friends at Roborock with the S5 Max. It features all the suction power and cleaning capability of the flagship S6 I previously reviewed with a lower cost and vastly improved mopping functionality. If you’re ready to add a little Jetsons to your life, read on to find out if the S5 Max is worth your investment.
- Product Size: 353 x 350 x 96.5 mm
- Color: Black, White
- Navigation System: Laser Distancing Navigation
- Types of Sensors: 13
- Cliff Sensors: 4
- Max. Suction: 2000 Pa
- Voltage: 58 W
- Dust Bin Capacity: 460 ml
- Water Tank Capacity: 290ml
- Weight: About 3.5kg
- Sweeping+Mopping: Yes
- Run Time: 150 min
- Battery: 5200 mAh
- Cleaning Area: 250 ㎡
- Charging Time: <6 hours
- Obstacle Crossing Ability: Up to 2 cm
About a year ago, I reviewed my first product from Roborock and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it changed our home life. It’s not altogether common that review samples find their way into regular rotation once I’ve written my article but that’s exactly what happened there. With only rare exceptions, the Roborock S5, then the S6, completely replaced our stand-up vacuum and removed that chore from our lives.
If there was one shortcoming I could pinpoint, it would have been the units’ mopping functionality which is exactly what the S5 Max seeks to address. So much about the two vacuums is the same, but the mopping functionality has been enhanced in direct answer to consumer feedback. This version now features a water tank that’s more than twice as large (290mL versus 140mL on the S6) and can accurately control the flow of water to integrate mopping into its cleaning cycle on a per-room basis.
While the S6 allowed you to toggle between low and high dampness with a switch on the tank, the S5 Max includes an actual water pump. Using the Mii Home app, you’re able to control the actual water flow across three different levels: low, medium, and high. It’s also able to completely stop the flow of water to save it from leaving wet streaks across your carpet. You can also set up a regular mopping schedule, which is very convenient if you’d like the S5 Max to clean overnight.
This new functionality pairs perfectly with the vacuum’s navigation system and allows it to clean up stains and dirty messes. I’ve applauded this in each of our Roborock reviews. Like the S6, the S5 Max uses a laser navigation system that scans your room hundreds of times a minute. From there, it intelligently tracks the room, covering the edges last to gather any debris that’s been blown to the perimeter of the room. It then goes the opposite direction to ensure it doesn’t miss anything. When mopping with high water flow, this does a great job of first softening stains and then wiping them clean.
There are limits, of course. Just like with vacuuming, there will be stains that require a “personal” touch. Even these, however, can often be removed or vastly reduced by pairing a normal cleaning cycle with a spot cleaning in the app.
Vacuuming and Navigation
When it comes to vacuuming, the S5 Max is as good as ever. It’s equal to the more expensive S6 with 2000pa of suction power and a lengthy 150 minute run time between charges. This isn’t an exaggeration, either. On the normal suction level, we’ve used it extensively and have never once had it die on us.
The navigation method also remains one of the best in the business. There is nothing random about how the S5 Max cleans. It methodically traces the most efficient paths across the room, updating its internal map along the way. My wife and I will often pull the couch out and let it run while we watch Hulu because we can trust that it will find its way around furniture and other obstacles without making lots of noise with random bumps. When it’s done, it cleans the edges and makes its way back to the dock, all without interference from us.
The S5 Max is still a vacuum cleaner, so using the app, I’ll often direct it to the far side of the house while we’re watching TV. Since it keeps track of its location within the house and tracks its most efficient position from there, we can trust that it will still get to the whole house before returning to the dock.
So what are you sacrificing for the $50-ish dollars in price? It turns out, not very much. You have two fewer cliff sensors, one less sensor type, no more physical spot clean button (you trigger this with the app), and no additional accessories in the box. This does mean that you’ll need to head to Amazon or another retailer when it’s time for a filter change in a few months, but even buying a two-pack of accessories is usually less than $30 and includes everything you’ll need to replace over time.
The base has also been redesigned to use sticky pads on its plastic mat. Initially, I thought this was a downgrade, but it actually works better than the original grippy rubber pads on the S6 for keeping it in place. The only downside is that you’ll need to replace them if you plan to move the base’s location (a pair of 3M strips works wonders here).
Overall, I’m extremely impressed with the S5 Max. The added mopping functionality is excellent and you lose nothing in vacuuming ability or navigation to take advantage of it. It’s true that you’ll need to reinvest in accessories sooner than the S6, but even when you do, you’ll still wind up ahead on cost. This S5 Max is an excellent addition to the Roborock family and leaves me excited to see what their next release will bring.