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Roborock’s sixes and sevens – What’s the difference?

Every Roborock owner seems to love their robot (and often likes to tell you all about it). After a few generations, they’ve become a mature and dependable product. The range is excellent across the board, and the announcement of the S7 MaxV is definitely exciting for any robot vacuum geek. However, it’s now harder than ever to choose which model is right for you. We’ve done separate reviews on the S6 Pure, S6 MaxV and the S7 Plus, but we thought it would be good to do some spec and feature comparisons, and really focus on explaining what this means in real life and some recommendations of what model is suited for who. As at the date of this article,  the S7 MaxV is not released yet.

1. Navigation

All of the Roborock’s use LiDAR or LDS for positional navigation (the little turret on top of the robot which covers a spinning laser). This is a very accurate system that uses light waves to take constant three hundred and sixty degree measurements of the surrounding area. The S6 Pure and S7 Plus are both backed up by an infrared sensor on the bumper. The term MaxV on the S6 Maxv and S7 MaxV specifically refers to the additional camera system which replaces the infrared sensor. This camera is on the bumper near the ground, and is specifically looking for objects below the height of the main LDS sensor that may get the robot stuck… and yes, it’s designed to help avoid pet poop on the floor. You can remotely access and view live footage through the MaxV camera. It’ll also send photos of potential hazards that it could get stuck on after each clean.

Overall, the positional navigation across all 4 models is likely to be very similar. There are likely a few improvements on the S7’s, however even I have not really noticed a difference. The MaxV is nice to have, particularly if you have young kids or a messy home, although there will need to be very significant improvements on the new model for it to be totally fool-proof. Not having the additional camera does NOT mean the robot randomly crashes into furniture and walls – it’s still very methodical and gentle, and personally, I’m pretty happy with the navigation of the S6 Pure or S7 Plus.

2. Suction and vacuuming performance

This is possibly the most misunderstood concept around robot vacuums. Better suction does not always mean better cleaning, although in this case, it’s more likely as the vacuuming mechanism is identical.

The S6 Pure has 2,000 pascals of suction and the S6 MaxV and S7 Plus both have two and a half thousand. Both S6’s use a semi-bristled roller brush which is slightly more effective at removing hair or fur, but it will need to be cleared a lot more frequently than the all-rubber brush on the S7 range… the all-rubber brush is definitely a pretty big net improvement in convenience.

The upcoming S7 MaxV boasts a whopping 5,100 pascals of suction – over double that of any previous Roborock. Now as I said, this can sometimes be a confusing spec… I have seen really high suction robots with pretty poor cleaning performance. Often the roller-brush design and aerodynamic delivery of the suction is more important than just bolting on a powerful suction motor. Because the brush design and housing is probably the same as the S7 Plus, it is likely to be really good, but I would be pleased if it was 20-30% improved and shocked if it was actually twice as good. The other models do a really good job so after a point you do enter the territory of diminishing returns.

3. Mopping

The S6 range has static mopping pads. The Pure has a 180ml water tank with a physical switch for high or low water flow rate, while the S6 MaxV has 300ml that is electronically controlled. One notable thing to consider is that the S6 models don’t use ultrasonic sensors to detect carpet so you will need to set up virtual barriers through the app.

The mop on the S7 Plus and S7 MaxV is the same, except the MaxV has 200ml water tank as it can refill itself. The mop on these S7’s is unique – it is the first (and only, I believe) hybrid robot that can raise the mop up when it detects that it is going onto carpet. This allows you to leave the mop attached all the time which is honestly a pretty big deal. It only raises 5mm so if you have thick or deep-pile carpet this may not be enough. The mop on the S7s are also ultrasonic, which just means that the pad vibrates while it’s cleaning. Roborock claim this is 4 x more effective, but don’t actually state which model they’re comparing it to, and we found that the static, drag-around mops on the S6 were surprisingly good compared with other options available.

4. Auto-empty station

The S6 Pure and S6 MaxV are not compatible with an auto-emptying dock, which was first released on the S7 Plus. (A Plus usually refers to this auto-empty capability by the way). The S7 Plus comes with an auto-empty dock which holds up to 30 cleans, and in Australia and New Zealand it can be either bagged or bagless…I believe the option is the best solution that other brands need to pick up too.

The S7 MaxV comes in 3 separate options: on the standard option you have a basic charging dock that you empty manually. The S7 MaxV Plus includes an auto-emptying dock that just empties the dust from the vacuuming container, and finally the S7 MaxV Ultra comes with a very special dock. It will empty the vacuum contents, refill the water tank, and even clean the mopping pads.

Summary 

Roborock have always been known for their excellent navigation and app. All of these models have advanced mapping features so you can customise the clean and set-up rather sophisticated cleaning schedules. You can also set up virtual barriers and walls in the app. The battery capacity across all these models is 5,200mAh and Roborock claim they can clean up to 300m² if it recharges to complete the clean. I do wonder how long the run-time will be if running at over 5,000 pascals if it the same battery capacity, but you will be able to adjust that on a room-by-room basis.

There are a number of other spec and feature differences, but I have narrowed it down to the key factors that you should base your decision on. All the other specs and features announced for the Roborock are impressive but probably unlikely to make a huge material difference for YOU.

Advice

So to summarize, I’ll make some recommendations for who I think each model is suited for:

  • The price on the S6 Pure has now come down to a very mid-range price point, and it will still do a very good job at keeping your floors clean. If you don’t always demand the latest and are happy to empty it every few days, and intend to vacuum more regularly than mop, then this is definitely still an option. Roborock are very good at continuing to keep updating their robots even when a later generation has been released. If you have multiple levels in your home… well, you could buy 3 of these for the predicted S7 Max Ultra price.
  • The S6 MaxV is great if you have kids or if you sometimes leave stuff on the ground, but don’t want to make the big investment for the S7 MaxV.
  • I suspect that the S7 Plus will remain the best option for most people. It has the convenience of the mop-raising feature and an auto-empty dock, and the navigation is still excellent. The object detection of the MaxV is helpful but not perfect, and the base model does just fine without it in most homes.
  • I would personally prefer the standard S7 Plus to the S7 MaxV without an auto-empty dock, and once you’ve talked yourself into the auto-empty dock… you may as well buy the Ultra so that it looks after the mopping too. As you know, you need to clean a mop quite regularly, so having it done for you will be awesome although we haven’t tested how effective it is at removing syrups and sticky liquids. It’s also relatively easy to put the mopping pads in the washing machine – a quick cycle usually gets it really clean. This is definitely a sign of what the future looks like and it should be a genuine set-and-forget floor-cleaner that we’ve been waiting for for 20 years now. It’s just a question of budget and how much the extra convenience is worth to you, as the other models will still exceed most expectations.
Lachlan Murray

Lachlan Murray

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