The S5 Max is a combined robot cleaner and mop from Roborock, a brand that’s roughly one-quarter owned by Xiaomi. The brand’s first robot vacuums worked in conjunction with Xiaomi’s Mi Home app, but now there’s a dedicated Roborock app that’s well designed and easy to use.
We’ve reviewed a number of Roborock cleaners, including the S6 and the S6 Max V, both of which got a thumbs-up from us.
Although the S5 Max isn’t the newest, the most powerful or the most fully-featured device of the bunch, it’s by no means basic. In fact, it’s an excellent all-round robot vac with all the cleaning options you could want.
One of its selling points is its large water tank (for a robot vac anyway – 290ml is still tiny in real terms) and the customisable mopping settings which allow you to designate mopping zones and choose the amount of water the S5 Max uses to clean.
But if you’re looking for a good value robot vac and even if you aren’t planning on using its mop function regularly, it should still be a contender for your cash.
It has now dropped to a decent price point and if you can pick it up when it’s on offer, you’ll be doing very well indeed.
Design and set up
Allows saved maps and scheduled cleaning
Can designate areas for mopping
The S5 Max has a characteristic robot vacuum cleaner design. It comes in black or white and it’s disc-shaped, with a raised Lidar tower in its centre. It has a single spinner on one side that pulls in hair and fluff and ensures that the robot can clean right to the edge of the room.
Unfortunately, the spinner also attracts hairs which will wrap around it and need to be cut off every now and again. It’s not a pleasant job.
Tower included, the S5 Max is under 10cm tall, which is pretty standard for a robot vac.
Still, if you’re planning on buying a robot vac, we’d suggest you measure the clearance height under the big pieces of furniture in your home. You’ll be frustrated if it can’t clean under the sofa and even more so if it can – just about – but keeps getting stuck.
Set up is straightforward. Follow the onscreen prompts and once the S5 Max is online, there are plenty of ways to customise how it cleans. You can also connect to your Alexa to use voice commands and schedule cleaning. There’s even a tutorial on how to connect in the app.
You can save a map of your home and, once you have that, you can designate no-go areas, choose spots for deep cleaning and rooms (or parts of rooms) for mopping. This means that you can fill the water reservoir and schedule a cleaning plan that ensures the S5 Max mops your kitchen floor but not your bedroom carpet. You can save up to three maps, for different floors or parts of your home.
Four suction settings
Max 2,000 Pa suction
The S5 Mac can vacuum and mop at the same time, but in practice this is more like a proper vac with a quick wipe down afterwards.
The S5 Max has four suction settings: quiet, balanced, turbo and max. Its stated noise level is 58 dB. On the quiet setting, it’s not too irritating to be in the same room but if you’re watching TV, it’ll still make it hard to hear the dialogue. In any case, one of the best things about a robot vac is the option to schedule it to work while you’re not around.
But the efficacy of that does depend on a couple of factors. One is the way you live. If you have lots of things on your floors (kicked-off shoes, nests of wires) you might be better off opting for the S6 Max V, which can identify and avoid objects.
Leaving the robot vac to vacuum in your absence also requires it to be able to move around without running aground on lamp stands and doorway thresholds. Some robot vacs are better at this than others.
The good news is that the S5 is a decent climber that shouldn’t require a lot of rescuing. During the testing period, it only got stuck once – and it was in a fiendish snare between a cabinet that caught it from above and a wire that wrapped around its cleaning spinner. It was easily able to cope with a 2cm high door threshold that’s wide enough to beach some of its competitors.
Its suction (maximum 2,000 Pa) is more than strong enough for hard wood floors and, on one of the higher settings, strong enough for carpet. Bear in mind, however, that it’ll remove fluff and surface crumbs from carpet but you’ll still need an ordinary vacuum cleaner to pull out ingrained dirt from carpets and shaggy rugs.
You’ll get a maximum of 2.5 hours of cleaning time but a higher power setting will use up its battery life much more quickly. I was easily able to clean my entire flat on a single charge but it’s all hard flooring.
3 water level options
290ml water tank
Only gently effective
And what about its mop function? The S5 Max will give you more mopping options than most robot vacs and it’s easy to use. Just fill the reservoir, clip on the mop bracket and it’ll automatically go into mopping mode. There are three water level options to choose from (plus a no-water option) and I found that, to get any kind of a result, I had to use the highest.
The S5 Max has the best mop function I’ve tested in a dual-function robot vac but – and this is the kicker – it’s still not great. It’s lightly effective and will leave your floor looking much better, with a nice sheen. But it can’t scrub a floor to remove a tea stain.
I would honestly prefer more space inside the machine for a larger dustbin as the bin itself is only 460ml. But to be fair, the 290ml water reservoir takes up very little space and some will find it a useful add-on.
Price and availability
The Roborock S5 Max is widely available. In the UK, there are plenty of buying options, but the best price is from My Robot Centre, where you can opt for a model in either black or white for £379. This makes it a very competitively priced robot vacuum.
In the US, you can buy it from Roborock, Amazon or Wal-Mart. You can check out all options on the Roborock site. The cheapest option at the time of writing is on Wal-Mart, where you can buy it in either black or white for $379.99. It’s not clear if this is a limited-time offer, so don’t delay if you’re interested. Buy form either Amazon or Roborock, you’ll be paying $549.99.
If you’re in India, you can also buy it from Amazon. The best price we could find is ₹45,950.
This is a well-priced robot vacuum cleaner with both high-quality hardware and software. We’d recommend it, as long as you aren’t buying it for its mopping capability alone.
If you’d like to check out some other options, have a look at our round-up of the best robot vacuum cleaners we’ve tested.
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