The Roborock S5 is an excellent choice if you are looking for an affordable robotic vacuum that has the smart features and cleaning performance of a Roomba.
The S5 is actually more versatile than most Roombas because it can also mop.
Despite its much lower price tag, it comes with most of the smarts you’d normally get in a high-end Roomba or Neato Botvac.
These include smart laser mapping and navigation, virtual boundaries (new!), remote app control, zone cleaning, and smart home integration.
Suction power is impressive, and the innovative brush system makes picking up pet hair and other debris a breeze.
Battery life is better than in almost any other robotic vac, making it an excellent choice for large homes.
Overall, the Roborock S5 is a better value for your money than most name brand robot vacuums available online.
Our Impression – Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum
A surprisingly affordable robot vacuum cleaner + mop. It has the smart features and excellent cleaning performance of premium robot vacuums but costs way less. You will not get a better robot vacuum at this price point.
• Low and medium-pile carpets
• Pet hair
• Light mopping
• Large homes
You don’t need a robot vacuum that you can control from an app on your phone. If you want a more basic model with a good old remote control, the Roborock S5 is not for you.
If you look beyond the usual top names like iRobot, Neato and Samsung, you’d be surprised at the number of high-quality off-brand robot vacuums that cost way less.
The Roborock S5 is a good example.
For less than $500, it has the bells and whistles of an $800+ robot vacuum. It also cleans just as well, and in some cases better than the pricier models.
I am especially impressed by some of the innovative features that you cannot get with any other robot vacuum.
One of them is the variable speed side brush.
The side brush can change its spinning speed depending on where it’s cleaning (more on this below).
I also love the robots ultra-efficient Z-shape cleaning pattern. Users say it cleans faster, better and gets stuck less than a Roomba vacuum.
The Roborock S5 is perfect for homes with pets. Pet hair doesn’t stand a chance against the powerful suction and unique brush system.
In terms of smarts, you get almost everything that is also available in a Roomba.
You can link it to WiFi and control it away from home, and it is compatible with Alexa/Google Assistant.
It also comes with auto-recharge and resume, smart cleaning modes, smart mapping, zone cleaning and a bevy of sensors to guide it around the floor.
It does lack a few things though. For example, scheduling options are a bit more limited, and the mopping feature cannot replace good old manual mopping.
But if you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Roomba 980, the new Roomba i7+ or the Neato Botvac D7, it is the best choice.
If you don’t think the Roborock S5 is right for your needs, there are other great choices.
Sweeping and Vacuuming
The Roborock S5 is a predecessor to the Xiaomi Mi Robot.
One of the biggest improvements made is increased suction power. The S5 has a suction power of 2,000pa which is higher than almost any other robot vacuum.
More suction power means better cleaning performance.
The S5 picks up pet hair and debris without any problem. It can handle large clumps of pet hair and can pick up large pieces of debris (don’t leave small toys and coins on the floor – they will be sucked up).
It is also noticeably better on the carpet than other robot vacuums. It can vacuum thick carpets without getting stuck or losing power.
The robot can sense when it is on a rug and automatically increase suction power for a deeper clean.
Something else that makes it so good on the floor is the innovative brush system.
It has the main roller brush that agitates dirt and picks up pet hair and one side brush for sweeping and edge cleaning.
The roller brush can float up or down depending on the type of floor it is on. This allows it to remain in close contact with the floor surface at all times for a thorough cleaning.
Roomba also uses this technique to maintain cleaning performance on different types of floors.
The side brush spins at different speeds depending on where it is cleaning.
When the robot is moving along the wall, it will spin at 330 RPM to get to accumulated dirt hiding along the edge.
During normal straight line cleaning, it will spin at 130 RPM to avoid flinging dust and debris all around.
The 480ml dustbin is not the largest, but it’s big enough for most homes. You’ll have to empty it after every vacuuming.
Overall, the Roborock S5 is comparable to a high-end Roomba in every way when it comes to cleaning performance.
The cleaning is thorough thanks to the brushes and powerful suction.
Because it has smart mapping, it works fast and efficiently without missing any spots.
The 150-minute battery life and multi-room cleaning ability make it perfect for medium and large homes.
Don’t expect much in terms of mopping.
The Roborock S5 is good enough for light mopping but not much beyond that. It will only lift up dust and other loose debris on the floor.
You still have to mop by hand, but at least now you can do it only once a week instead of every day.
The robot comes with the mopping pad included. Just attach it at the bottom before mopping and then fill the tank with water.
The tank has a capacity of 140ml. It holds enough water for a 45-60 minute clean.
It has a controlled water release mechanism which ensures the pad doesn’t get too wet and leave streaks or water stains on the floor.
Here are the cleaning modes available in the Roborock S5.
- Auto cleaning– the default mode. The robot will first clean along the wall and then move in a Z-shape pattern. You can select this mode on the robot as well as on the app.
- Spot cleaning– the robot cleans around a specific area. There’s a dedicated spot cleaning button on the robot, and you can also select it on the app.
- Zone cleaning– the robot only cleans a specified zone. You select the cleaning zone using the generated map on the app.
- Carpet boost – activating this setting allows the robot to increase suction power when it encounters a carpeted area automatically.
- Four suction modes – they include quiet, balanced, turbo and max.
- Mopping mode.
As you may have noticed, there’s no dedicated edge-cleaning mode. But you don’t need it. The Robot does a great job cleaning along the edges.
The only area it has trouble with is in corners. But that’s a problem all around models (which is almost all robot vacuums) have.
On top of the robot, there is a turret sticking out above the surface.
This is the LDS or Laser Distance Sensor.
It’s what the robot uses to scan the room and generate a virtual map. It does this during the first run.
You can see the map on the app and use it to define cleaning zones for zoned cleaning or specific spots for spot cleaning.
The LDS does make the Roborock a bit taller (3.8” overall height) which limits its ability to navigate under certain furniture.
But there’s little risk of getting stuck.
The robot constantly scans its environment and will not go under an area it knows it cannot fit.
It also has multiple sensors to keep it from banging into furniture and to prevent it from tumbling down the stairs.
The smart mapping feature is awesome and to be honest, a bit surprising to see in a robot costing less than $500.
Like the Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 930 and Neato Botvac D7, you can draw virtual boundaries or no-go zones right on the generated map.
One limitation is the lack of multilevel mapping. You cannot map another floor without deleting the first map. If you have multiple levels, your only option is to get another robot vacuum.
But this limitation is not surprising considering the price point.
Automation and Scheduling
The Roborock S5 has all the smart features you’d find in a pricey Roomba.
It can auto-recharge and resume, it has remote app control and monitoring, and you can link it to Alexa or Google Assistant for convenient voice control.
As with most WiFi-connected robot vacuums, set up takes a bit of time.
But once you successfully link the robot to your phone, the app is easy to use.
There have been some complaints about connecting the robot to Google Assistant/Alexa. Contact customer support if you have any issues. They are very helpful.
You can set an auto-cleaning schedule, but it’s a bit inflexible.
My main quibble is that you cannot schedule the robot to clean specific sections on different days. You can only select the day and time of cleaning.
Considering that the robot has smart mapping, it should be possible to specify cleaning zones when setting a schedule.
What it Misses
I love the mapping feature, but I wish it offered multiple level maps.
They should have also made the scheduling more versatile.
When it comes to cleaning ability, however, there’s nothing to criticize. It cleans better than some robots that cost a lot more.
The mopping is not very thorough, but that is always the case with robotic mops. You still have to mop manually now and then.
Maintaining the Roborock S5 is easy.
The brushes and wheels are designed to avoid tangling. But if there is some hair caught in the brushes, there’s a cleaning tool included.
Remember also to empty the bin after every cleaning.
The filter needs to be washed about once a week. You also need to wipe the sensors and charging contacts weekly.
Check the user manual for specifics on when you should replace various parts.
- Great value – affordable with plenty of advanced features and excellent cleaning performance.
- Smart mapping and navigation with virtual boundaries and no-go zones.
- Powerful suction.
- Versatile cleaning and suction modes to suit different situations.
- Easy app control and monitoring from your office or vacation.
- Auto recharge & resume.
- Easy to maintain.
- No multi-level mapping.
- Limited scheduling options.
Dimensions: 13.9 x 13.78 x 3.8 inches
Running time: 150 minutes (45-60 minutes when mopping)
Remote control: no
Multi-room navigation: yes
Entire level cleaning: yes
Smart home integration: yes
Water tank: 140ml