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Roborock S5 Max Review: A Great Mopping, Vacuuming Companion!

Rating: 9/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $379.99
Roborock S5 Max charging on dock while sitting on moisture proof mat
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

If you’re like me, the chore of vacuuming—and especially mopping—frequently gets forgotten or purposefully procrastinated. Roborock’s S5 Max vacuum is the handy companion I’ve been looking for because I get clean floors without having to do any of the work. It’s a win-win.

I previously had the chance to review Roborock’s S7 MaxV Plus vacuum, which is a premium option that comes with an auto-empty dock. But for a lot of people, the S7 MaxV Plus is just too expensive to justify. Since I enjoyed my experience with the Roborock company and mobile app, I was hopeful that the S5 Max would deliver a similarly awesome experience at a more affordable price. It didn’t disappoint.

Here's What We Like

  • Pretty affordable, especially when it’s on sale
  • Can set up schedules for automatic cleaning
  • Not too noisy
  • It’s fantastic at both mopping and vacuuming

And What We Don't

  • Have to spend time setting up no-mop zones and personalizing where the vacuum can go (or not go)
  • Need to keep your floors relatively clutter-free

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The Setup: What Setup?

Setting up Roborock’s S5 Max is incredibly simple. The actual vacuum unit is already put together, and doesn’t require any assembly from you—aside from adding on the mop cloth mount when you’re ready to mop. The biggest physical task during the setup process is finding the perfect location for the vacuum’s moisture-proof mat and charging dock. You have to find somewhere on hard floors so you can stick the mat to the floor and prevent it from moving when the S5 Max docks after cleaning.

If you want to mop first thing, there are a few more setup steps. You have to fill the water tank and attach the mop cloth mount to the tank, and then attach both pieces to the S5 Max. But if you just want to test out its vacuuming capabilities, the rest of the setup process is in the app.

The App: Lots of Options

After downloading the Roborock mobile app (Android/iOS), it’s time to get the S5 Max added to your devices and connected to your network. To connect the vacuum to your Wi-Fi network, you press and hold the power button and home button on the S5 Max until you hear it say, “Reset Wi-Fi.” Then, you should be able to easily locate and add the S5 Max in the app, entering your personal Wi-Fi password to allow communication between the app and the vacuum.

Once your vacuum is properly paired, you’ll need to download any available firmware upgrades and let your S5 Max update first. I remember also having to do this when I reviewed Roborock’s S7 MaxV Plus. After that, it’s ready to go!

With the app, you can start, pause, and resume cleaning, as well as stop cleaning completely and tell the vacuum to return to the charging dock. There are also buttons on the vacuum itself you can press to execute commands, just in case you lose your phone or something. (You can also control the vacuum with Alexa voice commands, which may be more convenient than using your phone or the S5 Max’s buttons.)

Pressing the power button starts cleaning, while pressing the home button returns the vacuum to the charging dock. If you press and hold the home button, it starts the spot-cleaning process. Then, as you might expect, holding down the power button turns the vacuum off.

When you first open the app, you’ll have to select the icon for your S5 Max. Because Roborock sells other products and you could own more than one—though the products are all vacuums—they show up on your home screen in thumbnail form. After choosing the S5 Max, the app shows the mapped area the vacuum has traveled in the past and has buttons at the bottom of the screen you can tap to control when the vacuum starts and stops. You can also swap between a full view of your home, specific rooms, or customized zones you’ve created.

There’s also a tiny square button above the larger buttons at the bottom of the screen, with just a fan icon or both a fan icon and a water droplet icon, depending on whether you have the mop mount and water tank installed. This small button brings up a menu that lets you customize the vacuum’s suction power and water flow for the mop. Here are your options:

  • Suction Power: Gentle, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, and Max
  • Water Flow: None, Low Water Level, Medium Water Level, High Water Level, and Customized

Then, tapping the three vertical dots in the top right corner opens up the S5 Max’s settings. Here, you can enable Map Saving—which allows you to name rooms and schedule cleaning for specific rooms—and set up customized cleaning schedules. You can adjust the robot’s voice volume, use the remote control feature to manually direct the vacuum to a spot you want cleaned, and view its cleaning history.

There’s even a maintenance section that estimates how many hours your vacuum’s parts have left in them before needing to be swapped out. The app recommends changing the filter every 150 hours, the main brush every 300 hours, the side brush every 200 hours, and the mop as needed. The vacuum’s sensors get dusty over time, and there’s a 30-hour countdown until the app recommends you wipe them clean.

I love that this maintenance feature is based on the amount of time you’re actually running the vacuum, and not an average time frame, like six months. Some people might vacuum once a week, and others might need to vacuum multiple times a day, so this is super helpful.

Performance: Not the Most Powerful Suction, But It Gets the Job Done

When the Roborock S5 Max is first mapping an area, it outlines the room’s borders first and then fills in the virtual lines it created. It’s able to clearly define walls with its camera and sensors, and then you can individually name the rooms it detected.

You can definitely notice when the S5 Max is running—I mean, it’s a vacuum—but it’s not as loud as many upright vacuums. Granted, an upright vacuum is always right beside you but a robot vacuum isn’t. That said, even when the S5 Max was right beside me, I could still carry out a conversation at normal speaking volume and didn’t have any trouble.

As the S5 Max moves from hard floors to carpet, there’s a noticeable increase in sound because the suction power increases. When I changed the suction power in the app from Balanced to Turbo, and then Max, there wasn’t much of an audible difference.

In a single day, I ran Roborock’s S5 Max for about an hour and a half, running the battery from 81% down to 25%. The S5 Max advertises a three-hour battery capacity, and I think that’s pretty accurate. For most average-sized homes, this is plenty of time to cover every inch.

When I set it loose in the kitchen—which is a combination of a fairly large kitchen and the laundry room—it took about 13 minutes to complete the clean with Balanced suction power and Medium water flow. I then changed the water flow to High, and the S5 Max went over the same area in roughly 11 minutes. Since I didn’t have any no-mop zones set up yet, I just manually blocked off the path to the carpet so it wouldn’t try to mop there.

I love that the mop cloth is reusable, though Roborock recommends replacing it every three to six months to ensure you’re still getting an optimal clean. After mopping the kitchen, which probably hasn’t been mopped in a while, the mop cloth was pretty dark and grody. I took the cloth off the mount, drizzled some dish soap on it, and worked up a lather. In only a few minutes of scrubbing, rinsing, and repeating, it looked practically brand new.

Overall, I think it did a fantastic job of vacuuming the whole house and mopping the one room that desperately needed it. Roborock’s S5 Max automatically detects when it’s done cleaning and heads back to its dock to charge until you request its assistance again. You do have to make sure that your floor is clean of any cables, cat toys, LEGO pieces, hair ties, or anything else you don’t want it trying to suck up.

A lot of people think that investing in a robot vacuum means that you can just set it loose in your house right off the bat because it’s smart enough to avoid cords and other junk on your floor. That’s definitely not the case—at least, not immediately.

You have to block off certain spaces manually or create no-go zones if you don’t want your robot vacuum to go somewhere when you’re not there to monitor it. Any robot vacuum—the S5 Max included—essentially has to be trained to some extent in order for it to learn your home. Unfortunately, robot vacuums aren’t that smart yet.

Maintenance: Quick and Painless

For context, I have two cats that shed a lot, and my husband and I both have long hair that inevitably clogs up a vacuum’s roller. About halfway through an extensive cleaning of the entire house, I flipped the S5 Max over to see what the damage was.

The side brush—the one that looks a bit like a spider—actually caught quite a bit of human hair, though there was also some tied up in the roller. As long as you’ve got a pair of scissors handy, it’s super easy to detangle the hair from the roller. I used the small scissors on a Swiss Army knife, and it worked beautifully. After making a few quick snips down the middle, the hair came out with ease. Then, once the S5 Max had vacuumed the entire house, I popped the roller out for a more thorough clean.

When I stopped halfway through the cleaning to pull out all the hair, I also emptied the dustbin. It was full, which I love to see. The S5 Max pulled up so much dust and cat hair and left the carpet feeling fluffy. Even though the dustbin on this robot vacuum has a smaller capacity than upright vacuums do, the process of dumping it out is so easy that I don’t care.

It’s also easier to clean the roller on the S5 Max than any upright vacuum I’ve ever owned. To thoroughly remove all the hair wrapped around the roller of upright vacuums, you often have to unscrew a plastic piece to pull everything out. With the S5 Max, it just pops out and clicks back in when you’re done cleaning it.

S7 MaxV Plus vs S5 Max: Is One Better?

roborock vacuum cleaner in its dock station on a wooden floor
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

There are quite a few differences between the S7 MaxV Plus and the S5 Max, and in practically every way, the S7 MaxV Plus comes out on top. It’s more expensive, so as you’d expect, the S7 MaxV Plus has more intelligent features and greater suction power than the more affordable S5 Max. But depending on your specific needs, the S5 Max may be perfectly suitable for your home, providing mopping and vacuuming services at a much lower price.

Both the S5 Max and the S7 MaxV Plus use LiDAR Navigation, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging and is considered the gold standard for navigation in robot vacuums. Also, both vacuums use the Roborock mobile app, where you can find a lot of the same customizable controls and helpful features. You can even use Alexa voice commands with both vacuums (but not Google Assistant).

Roborock S5 Max charging near open doorway
Sarah Chaney / Review Geek

Roborock’s S5 Max has 2000Pa suction, can automatically detect when it’s on carpet and boost suction, and is able to map out multi-story homes. The S7 MaxV Plus has 5100Pa suction and can do everything the S5 Max can do. But it also comes with an auto-empty dock, so you don’t have to worry about constantly emptying the dustbin, has a sonic vibrating mop that knows to lift when on carpet, and other premium features.

If all you need is a robot vacuum that doubles as a robot mop, the S5 Max provides plenty of suction power and lets you customize your clean quite a bit. But if you want the ultimate hands-off experience, go with the S7 MaxV Plus.

Verdict: If You Have Hard Floors, The S5 Max Is Perfect

If you only have carpeted floors, it doesn’t make sense to invest in Roborock’s S5 Max. You’re better off paying less for an option that only vacuums and caters specifically to carpets. But if you have at least one or two rooms in your home with floors of tile, hardwood, laminate, or any other hard flooring, having a two-in-one robot vacuum and mop like the S5 Max is a lifesaver.

Rating: 9/10
Price: $379.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Pretty affordable, especially when it’s on sale
  • Can set up schedules for automatic cleaning
  • Not too noisy
  • It’s fantastic at both mopping and vacuuming

And What We Don't

  • Have to spend time setting up no-mop zones and personalizing where the vacuum can go (or not go)
  • Need to keep your floors relatively clutter-free

Sarah Chaney Sarah Chaney
Sarah Chaney is a professional freelance writer for Review Geek, Android Authority, MakeUseOf, and other great websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing concentration. Her degree, paired with her almost two years of professionally writing for websites, helps her write content that is engaging, yet informative. She enjoys covering anything Android, video game, or tech related. Read Full Bio »