Previous Roborock vacuum cleaners have used gravity-fed mopping systems, but the Roborock S5 Max introduces a pumped system that lets you control how much water is used. The results are very impressive, with the robot vacuum cleaner able to maintain a hard floor between deeper cleans. Powerful dust collection and excellent navigation makes this the best all-round robot vacuum cleaner and ideal for those with hard floors.
- Review Price: £499.99
- Robot vacuum cleaner and mop
- 350 x 350 x 97mm
- 1x side brush, 1x floor brush
- 0.46-litre bin
- Microfibre mop
- Up to 180-minutes battery life
- Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant support
We’ve been impressed with Roborock’s previous robot vacuum cleaners in all but one respect: the mopping option was extremely basic. Step forward the Roborock S5 Max, which maintains the quality vacuuming of its predecessors but takes mopping performance up by a few notches.
The result is a robot vacuum cleaner that’s ideal for hard floors but can switch to carpet when it needs to, making the S5 Max the most versatile robot cleaner I’ve tested.
Roborock S5 Max – What you need to know
- Vacuuming performance – Powerful enough to deal with the biggest spills on carpet and hard floors
- Mopping performance – The pumped water tank lets you control the amount of water used, which allows the robot deal with some fairly tough stains
- Navigation and features – Smart navigation quickly works out the layout of your home; the robot didn’t become stuck manoeuvring around any objects through testing
Related: Best robot vacuum cleaner
Roborock S5 Max design – Clean lines and a good feel to the body
Design-wise, the Roborock S5 Max doesn’t deviate too much from other models in the range. A round and slim cleaner (350 x 350 x 97mm), the S5 Max will happily slide under a lot of sofas, although it may struggle to manoeuvre between some dining chair legs.
The S5 Max comes is available in white or black, but both options look equally good, finished in a high-quality gloss plastic. This model certainly looks and feels like a premium one. Open the top of the lid and you get access to the 0.46l bin, which easily lifts out for emptying. There’s a handy brush and razor in this compartment, too, designed to cut away hair from the roller brush beneath. This roller brush is easily removed for cleaning.
A single side sweeper brush pushes dirt into the path of the vacuum from the edge. It means the robot has to plan its route carefully to get the brush against all sides, but the smart LDS scanner is more than capable of working this out.
At the back, there’s a pull-out water tank that can hold 280ml of water for mopping. Below this sits the microfibre cloth, which clips in using a separate plastic holder. Previous Roborock vacuum cleaners relied on gravity to push out water, but this model lets you decide on the amount of water you use, since it’s pumped from the tank. It provides far greater control over the clean you get.
Since the microfibre cloth will be wet when the clean is complete, Roborock ships the S5 Max with a plastic floor protector that sticks down around the small charging dock. This is particularly handy if you have wooden floors, as you don’t want to leave something wet sitting on them.
Roborock S5 Max features – Powerful room division, but a few too many vacuuming modes
Although you can start and stop a clean using the buttons found on top of the robot, full control comes courtesy of the Roborock app. This quickly takes you through connecting the robot to your home network – this took only a few minutes.
The first clean is where the S5 Max will map out your home; once done, you can save the details. Mapping allows you to zone your home, splitting it into rooms and effectively giving the option of cleaning only one area.
You can also add restrictions, including “no-go zones” and “no-mopping areas”. No-go zones are barred to the robot, no matter which mode it’s in; no-mopping areas stop the robot entering only when the mop is attached. The latter is handy if you have carpeted areas in your home. I marginally prefer the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo Deebot 930, which has a carpet sensor that makes the robot back off automatically when it’s in mopping mode.
Beyond cleaning a room or everywhere, you can also mark one-off cleaning zones, drawing a box around the area you want to clean, and setting how many passes you’d like the robot to make. It’s a handy way of cleaning up a specific mess – say, just the area immediately around where you were cooking.
For every clean you can set the power modes you want to use. There are a number to choose from, including Gentle, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo and Max. I’d prefer fewer modes, since it would be easier to work out which one to use. Typically, I found that Balanced did the job most of the times, with Max a good choice for a deeper clean.
With the mop attached you can choose to use no water, opting for the Low, Medium or High setting. It really depends on how dirty your floor gets: I found with four cats coming in and out of the house that the High mode worked best for me.
Scheduling lets you set which areas to clean and the mode to use, so you can keep your home clean automatically.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant controls are available, enabling you to start or stop a clean using your voice. This is handy if you don’t want to reach for the app or the controls on top.
Roborock S5 Max performance and navigation – Quickly finds its way around your home
I tested the robot vac by spreading a teaspoon of flour in an X pattern right up against the skirting board to start. The Roborock S5 Max moved right up against the edges and managed to get most bar a small trace at the end, which is typical of robot cleaners. Nevertheless, the performance was very good.
Hard floor test side performance: Dirty hard floor (left) vs Clean hard floor (right) – move slider to compare
Next, I put an X of flour in the middle of the room, which proved to be an easier job for the S5 Max. The vacuum moved right over all the mess, picking up everything.
Hard floor test: Dirty hard floor (left) vs Clean hard floor (right) – move slider to compare
This proved to be a slightly tougher job in Balanced mode, though. Upping the power to Max mode seemed to do the job, with the vast majority of the dust picked up. Considering this was a bigger spill than you’re likely to have at home, the vac performed well, implying it should happily cope with day-to-day cleaning.
Carpet test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare
In Max mode, I finished up with some mopping in my kitchen, which had become dirty from the cats coming in and out. The surface-level dirt and paw prints were easily cleaned away, but tougher stains required a manual mop or a hard floor cleaner instead. However, for maintenance cleaning the S5 Max works well, where you can keep the floor in a clean enough condition for a week or so before turning to a manual clean.
Hard floor mop test: Dirty hard floor (left) vs Clean hard floor (right) – move slider to compare
Should you buy the Roborock S5 Max?
If you’re after the most powerful robot vacuum cleaner then opt for the Dyson 360 Heurist, although note that it’s fiddly to set up and very expensive. What you get with the Roborock S5 Max is faster mapping, excellent control and the convenience of a machine that can vacuum and mop at the same time.
I found that the S5 Max was more impressive and easier to use than the rival Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930, and more thorough in terms of cleaning. If your home has a number of hard floors then the Roborock S5 Max is an excellent and well-priced option.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.