Sunday, May 29, 2022

Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum Cleaner review: This premium vacuum busts dust and mops, too

It might not have the name-brand cachet of iRobot’s Roomba or Samsung’s Powerbot, but the Roborock S5 can hold its own with both those robot vacuums. The Roborock S5 comes with laser navigation, floor mapping, and both vacuuming and mopping functions, so you can tackle all your floor cleaning from the comfort of your couch.

The Roborock S5 impresses right out of the box with its bright white finish, a welcome change from the samey shades of black common to most robot vacuums. On the top is a button that activates automatic cleaning, another for spot cleaning, and a third for recharging, which essentially works like the “home” button on other robot vacuums, sending the Roborock back to its charging dock.

A turret on the top of the vacuum houses the Roborock’s laser distance sensor and brings its total height to about 3.8 inches. A 0.6-liter dustbin is located under a lid just behind it. A cleaning tool for the untangling hair from the main brush is latched into a slot right next to it—a thoughtful detail as these tools are easily misplaced.

roborock s5 2 Roborock

The Roborock S5 includes vacuuming and mopping functions.

On the underside are a roller brush and a single spin brush for edge cleaning, two main wheels, and an omnidirectional wheel at the front. For mopping, the vacuum comes with a separate water tank and cloth that you attach to the bottom when you’re ready to clean hard flooring.

Setup and usage

Another welcome design detail is the inclusion of a moisture-proof mat. You snap this onto the charging doc so that residual water from your mopping won’t drip on your floor while the Roborock is recharging. You then just plug the dock in and set the vacuum on its charging pins. While it’s charging, download the Mi Home companion app, add the Roborock, and follow the prompts to connect it to your Wi-Fi network.

For the initial cleaning, I turned the Roborock loose on a 50-plus-square-foot area that included carpet, hardwood, and linoleum littered with everything from pet hair to paper scraps. The vacuum methodically cleaned a small area of floor thoroughly before moving onto another, building a map as it went.

mi home map Michael Ansaldo/IDG

Zoned Clean Up lets you scale one or more areas on the map using a resizable box and then dispatch the vacuum there to clean.

It’s a determined little bot, too. Where some robot vacuums will change direction as soon as their front bumper encounters resistance, the Roborock attempted to push through most obstacles when it could. Sometimes, that actually helped as when it encountered a pair of my kid’s shoes and just pushed them along until they moved out of the way. It could also be potentially disastrous, like when it insisted on getting under a guitar stand until it met enough resistance to change direction just before tipping over an expensive axe.

The Roborock had no problem navigating the transitions between the different floor types, nor did it get hung up on any furniture. Its height prevented it from getting under my couch and kitchen cabinets, but it left the wide-open spaces free of debris. That includes wall edges, which are tough for some circular vacuums. The spin brush deftly swept any dirt into the path of the main brush so it could sweep it into the suction. And the whole cleaning took just 21 minutes according to the app.


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