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Roborock S5 max review: Is this the dual mop and vacuum device of our dreams?

Meet the robot that will take the hard work out of your household chores

Isobel Bryant
Tuesday 24 August 2021 13:18
<p>You can buy one machine to take on two of the most time-consuming household chores</p>

You can buy one machine to take on two of the most time-consuming household chores

Xiaomi is known for its huge variety of home electronics, producing everything from mobile phones to scooters and even toothbrushes.

The popular Roborock range of vacuum cleaners sits within this brand, with six models available and prices ranging from £299 to £549. Some are designed to vacuum only, while others can mop as well.

But the S5 Max can do both, and it sits in the middle, price-wise at £432.21.

This dual function is arguably its biggest attraction. But the brand also promises that it has a well above average battery life of 180 minutes, five suction settings, four mopping settings and a high tech app which will map out your home and create a cleaning schedule for vacuuming and mopping. So, we were very excited to put it to the test.

How we tested

We tested these key features in two different homes to make sure the robot was used across a variety of surfaces including carpet, rugs, tiles and wooden floors. We also wanted to ensure the robot had the opportunity to map out a range of floor areas so that we could check its performance in avoiding any no-go zones that were created for it.

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So does the Xiaomi Roborock S5 Max live up to the hype? Here’s our honest verdict.

Roborock S5 Max

Buy now £432.21, Amazon.co.uk

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 5.9kg
  • Dimensions: ‎35 x 35 x 10cm
  • Dustbin Capacity: 460ml
  • Water tank: 290ml
  • Charge time: 6 hours
  • Run time: 180 minutes
  • Variable power: Gentle, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, Max
  • Accessories included: Charging base, 1 x side brush, 1 x floor brush, microfibre mop

Design

This sleek-looking robot has a high gloss finish and is available in black as well as white. It’s cleverly designed and has precision laser navigation which means the robot can be controlled via an app. It can also climb up to 2cm over obstacles – a useful feature which we found successfully prevents it from getting stuck when moving across different surfaces such as a rug on a hard floor.

Both the dustbin and the water tank are a reasonable size, at 460ml and 290ml respectively, which is important to bear in mind when choosing the right model for your home – we found that this one didn’t require emptying every few minutes. When it does get full, it’s easy to lift up the lid and slide out the bin, and the water tank is located at the back of the robot which simply pulls out.

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We liked that you can leave the water tank filled, even if you’re not planning to use it straight away. There’s a plastic drip tray that attaches to the charging base, which protects it from any water drips that may escape – we didn’t notice any leaks during testing but it’s still a nice feature to have for peace of mind.

The machine itself is rather heavy, although this doesn’t matter too much as you shouldn’t have to move it around often, especially if you’re using it in a flat or on just one level of your home. It is wider than other robots we tested which is only really an issue if you have narrow chair legs. Most importantly though, it is slim in design. So, it can access those hard to reach areas, such as under the sofa or under the bed, which is often a deciding reason for buying a robot vacuum.

Usability

This robot has an impressive battery life – it can run for 180 minutes when fully charged, which is more than enough time to thoroughly clean an entire house. This makes it a good choice for larger homes, as many robots can only clean for short bursts of time. If you’re in a hurry or require a quick spot clean, you can start and stop the Roborock using the buttons on the top of the machine, but to access all of the smart features you need to use the app.

We found this simple to use. Once the robot has mapped your home you can create no-go zones and no-mopping zones, as well as select the power mode for each clean and create a cleaning schedule. You can even set up the robot with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, and it will also notify you when the brushes and filter need to be replaced.

Read more: Vileda powered steam mop review: Does the £90 appliance scrub up well?

The mapping feature is very useful to have, offering another level of control and customisation that is missing from cheaper robot vacuums on the market. We used it to draw no-go zones around specific pieces of furniture and we also created no-mopping zones across all of the carpeted areas in the house.

You can even configure your cleaning schedule so that the robot passes over the room multiple times which ensures that no area is ever missed. The robot automatically detects different floor surfaces, so it knows to increase the power setting when it moves from hard to a carpeted floor.

If you do have mainly carpeted floors, we found that the “turbo” and “max” settings were most effective on medium pile carpet and left no visible dirt behind. However, using a higher power ran down the battery far more quickly, which was the only serious downside we found with this robot cleaner.

On hard floors, the “balanced” setting was more than enough suction to remove dust and dirt, although if you’re planning on scheduling a clean every few days, the ‘quiet’ and ‘gentle’ settings provide plenty of suction to clean hard floors.

Read more: We put the iRobot Roomba i3+ vacuum cleaner to the test

Compared to other robots, the Roborock’s mopping capabilities were seriously impressive. The gamechanger with this model is that it has precision water control, which basically means water is pumped out of the tank instead of simply dripping out without any power behind it. The mop is also spring-loaded, so it presses down while it moves to provide an even clean on your floor.

You can select from four cleaning settings via the app from low-flow to high-flow. We tested them all, but a before and after check found that using the lowest setting provided a gentle clean on a lightly dusted floor. While, using the high-flow worked best in busy areas such as the wooden-floored kitchen and the tiled bathroom, with no visible streaks left behind. If your floor is stained, however, you will still need to use a good old fashioned stick mop, as this robot can’t actually scrub your floor.

The Verdict: RoboRock S5 max

If you’re looking for an easy to use yet powerful cleaner with a long battery life, the Roborock S5 max is a well-priced option. While testing, we found the dual-function capabilities to be impressive – both the vacuum and mop settings work incredibly well, delivering a thorough clean every single time.

With smart mapping, no-go zones and control via the app, you get technology with this robot which you would ordinarily expect to pay significantly more for. If you know that you will use these features and your home requires mopping as well as vacuuming, we would recommend making this robot your number one choice.

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