Review: Roborock S6 MaxV shows how far robovacs have come
Robot vacuums continue to get better at both cleaning and operating autonomously, and the S6 MaxV – the latest top-end device from Roborock – is evidence of improving trends in both areas. It's worth shortlisting if you want one of the best robovacs on the market, and have a budget to match.
We've been testing out the S6 MaxV for a few weeks to check out its cleaning credentials, but reviewing a device like this isn't quite like reviewing a laptop or a smartphone. Those are pretty much essential gadgets for all of us, whereas a robot vacuum is very much an optional extra. It's not just a question of whether it's any good, it's a question of whether you need one at all.
On paper, the Roborock S6 MaxV certainly looks good. It has two cameras and LiDAR to work its way quickly and efficiently around rooms, and to enable it to avoid obstacles like lamps, chairs and shoes (it'll even report back to you through the app when it finds something it can't clean under). According to Roborock, the vac is even smart enough to avoid pet poop.
This is the most expensive device in the Roborock line-up, but it's not hard to see why: it has the highest level of suction (2,500 Pa), it can cover the most ground (250 m2 or 2,690 ft2), it lasts the longest on a single charge (180 minutes), and it's the quietest Roborock model too (67 db). There's a 460 ml dustbin here and a 300 ml water tank.
Adding to the list of features, there's support for voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you really can feel like you're living in a sci-fi future when you shout out a voice command and your robot vacuum starts cleaning up.
It's an impressive robot vacuum when you weigh up the specs and features, and it delivers in use as well. We found the device easy to set up and easy to use: you don't have to do much more than set up the charging station, turn the robovac on, and then tell it to get started. If it needs to, it'll return to the charging station automatically.
We had no complaints about the cleaning and the mopping performance, and although our floors weren't particularly dirty, we were pleased to see the S6 MaxV pick up everything put in front of it. In terms of suction these flat robots can't compete with the very best dedicated vacuums, but they're certainly good enough to keep on top of the cleaning for you.
The robot was smart in the way it avoided objects and worked its way around rooms, and it was a lot of fun to watch it map out spaces and report back on specific obstacles – you can mark out zones and rooms you don't want it to go in if needed. How loud it gets depends on the suction setting you put it on, but even at the top setting its not above a loud hair dryer level.
Battery life appeared to be decent as well, dropping about one percentage point per minute in balanced mode, but again you don't have to worry about recharging as the vacuum will do that itself. You've got five suction settings to pick from, which will give you varying levels of battery life.
Other customization options you can play around with let you set certain rooms to be just mopped or just vacuumed rather than both, and the device is even smart enough to recognize different floors in your home (Roborock does recommend putting some sort of manual barrier at the top of the stairs though).
It's good at cleaning then, it's simple to operate, and it's clever at working its way round – that all means less time on setup and maintenance for you. You will need to regularly empty out the Roborock S6 MaxV, fit the mop attachment, and so on – and maybe do a bit of tidying in advance so the vacuum cleaner can get around (picking up shoes and magazines for example).
All of which brings us back to the question of whether you need a robot vacuum cleaner in the first place. If you've already got one and you're thinking about an upgrade, we'd definitely recommend the S6 MaxV – it's clearly one of the best on the market at the moment in terms of specs and performance, and the price is reasonable for what you get.
If you've not yet taken the jump and you're wondering whether robot vacuums are worth a look, then that's really up to you. The Roborock S6 MaxV isn't going to mean that you never have to clean again, but it'll certainly mean you have to clean much less often, particularly if you live somewhere with a lot of open, empty floors and minimal dirt.
For those who live in very busy places – with a lot of clutter and crowded floor space – the S6 MaxV will have less appeal, but that's true of all robot vacuums. It's fair to say that they remain relatively expensive across the board, and won't suit everyone, but the S6 MaxV shows just how far robovacs have come in recent years: the cleaning power and intelligence of these devices is a lot better than it used to be.
As the tech has improved, so has the number of devices on the market – you've now got plenty of robovac options to pick from, including a good number made by Roborock. If you think the S6 MaxV is the robot cleaner for you, it's available now for US$749.99.
Product page: Roborock S6 MaxV