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Since I spend many hours a day working two jobs, anything I can do to have modern technology help with chores is appreciated. Over the past couple of years I have given the task of vacuuming over to robot vacuums so my childhood image of the Jetsons floor cleaner is now my reality. The new Roborock S6 should be launching in the US this summer, but is available now in France, Germany, and Spain for €549.
Roborock was a new brand to me when I tested the S5 a few months ago, but it performed flawlessly and beat out my experiences with other more common brands. Roborock vacuums are available via Amazon from $158.99 for the C10 up to $569.98 for the S5. Expect the Roborock S6 to show up on its Amazon page in the next few months at a similar price to the S5.
Update: The Roborock S6 is now available for US customers on ebay for $599.99. This price is a promotional launch price that is $50 off the MSRP of $649. I've continued using it since my review and it has performed flawlessly while also seeing software updates to make the smartphone software even more useful and capable with advanced boundary and zone options.
I used the Roborock S5 to vacuum my lower level that is comprised primarily of acacia hardwood floors with a few area rugs. With the Roborock S6, I decided to also try it out on my upstairs carpeted rooms in addition to vacuuming and mopping the hardwood floors on the main level of my house. The S6 is clearly quieter than the S5 (advertised as being up to 50% quieter than the S5) and also has improved navigation for less redundancyand faster vacuum times (advertised as 20% faster with adaptive routing) .
Hardware and box contents
The Roborock S6 arrived in the retail package that you will find in stores. The Roborock brand appears to be gaining some recognition in this space as I see hundreds of highly rated reviews on Amazon for the S5, whish has also been selected as an Amazon's Choice product.
I've been using the Roborock S6 for about a month now and it has performed flawlessly; always cleaning thoroughly, informing me via notifications if it is stuck somewhere, and returning to charge up without failure. Previous robot vacuums I tested failed to line up on the charger so were dead most of the time I wanted to vacuum, lost the saved map of the house and constantly remapped the level, and did not perform as thorough of a job as the Roborock S6.
The Roborock S6 looks similar to the S5 at first glance with a glossy white finish on the top and matte finish around the edges. The top center power button/indicator light is now oblong instead of round with two other buttons on either side. The left button is for spot cleaning, and the right button is to send your vacuum home to the charger. I only used these occasionally, as I relied on the smartphone integration and apps for most functionality.
The top houses the LDS (laser distance sensor) in a central round area that rises above the top of the vacuum about half an inch. The S6 overall height is less than other vacuums I have tested so it is able to go underneath most of my major furniture. I was surprised that it fit under my kitchen cabinets with the foam floor mats I have in place since other vacuums required me to remove these mats before vacuuming. Behind the LDS is the lid to access the dust bin and other internal parts of the vacuum.
Lifting up the lid reveals the Wi-Fi indicator light, system reset button, main brush cleaning tool, and the dust bin with a removable filter for fine dust. The handy main brush cleaning tool works wonders at removing dog and human hair from the main brush. I discovered that the main brush bearing can be removed to facilitate cleaning with a lock/unlock indicator ensuring proper attachment.
A wall sensor sticks out from the front half of the vacuum with a rotating side brush over on the right side peeking out from under the vacuum. The side brush on the S6 has been modified from the S5 and is now composed of five silicone pieces that are split in half. The S5 side brush had long bristles, but this system appears to be more effective at gathering objects to push into the path of the vacuum suction. The speaker and an air vent are found around the back.
On the bottom, we have two large main wheels with silicone tire treads that are sure not to scuff up your hardwood or tile floors. There is a main brush, the side brush, an omnidirectional wheel, and two charging contacts. Two cliff sensors are positioned forward of the charging contacts and keep the S6 from tumbling down the stairs.
The Roborock S6 also supports wet mopping with a slim water tank (140 ml), mopping cloth, and moistureproof mat. Two reusable and 20 disposable mop cloths are included for your use. Extra water filter plugs are also included in the retail package.
Roborock S6 robot vacuum review: in pictures
The charging dock has a rear cover that hides the cable management compartment so you can setup the S6 and have a professional setup where the cable runs to an outlet for charging up the vacuum.
The dust bin, same 480ml capacity as the S5, has proven to hold one to two vacuum sessions for the approximate 700 square feet of coverage on my wood floors with a few raised area rugs. My floors look pretty clean, but it is stunning to everyone how much dog hair and other things are picked up by this vacuum on a regular basis. There is a washable E11-grade strainer/filter in the dust bin that is rated to provide 95 percent filter performance after a year of normal use. It's easy to rinse the filter out too.
Software and services
You can control the vacuum using your iOS or Android device by downloading and installing the Mi Home app. This is the same app used to manage the electric scooter that I tested in 2018, along with other products from Xiaomi. Once you have everything setup, you can choose to have a Mi Home shortcut appear on Android that takes you directly to the Roborock controls and bypasses the general Mi Home app interface.
Simply walk through the setup of the Mi Home app to connect your phone or tablet to the Roborock S6. The great thing about this Mi Home app is that you can install it on multiple devices, which can all control the Roborock S6 with the same login. Unlike some other robot vacuums I have tested, the Roborock S6 map translates over to all connected devices. This is great for a phone reviewer like me, but also for employees or family members who need control over the office/home vacuum.
The Mi Home application launches with the floor plan (after it creates it the first time), history of last cleaning event, and quick controls below the map. The area below the map has been improved with new software since I last tested out the Roborock S5. There is an Edit Map option in the lower left that lets you edit the area, setup no go zones, or restore the map. Editing the area lets you split the map up into rooms for complete custom room/area control. This fine control even lets you set timers for each room so that you can fully control your cleaning experience. This could be helpful for businesses with customers or clients in certain areas of a store or for parents with young children who need to take a nap.
On the right side you will see a small icon of a side brush. Tap this and options for quiet, balanced, turbo, and max vacuum modes appear. These handle menus have improved the overall user experience of the Roborock S6.
In the center you will find options for room, all, or zone cleaning with buttons below that to dock/charged or clean. Zoned cleanup lets you designate one or more square zones for targeted vacuuming. This can be useful for high traffic spots or if you have a particularly dirty area that needs some immediate attention.
No-go zones and barrier tape settings are available in the edit map option. I use these for excluding areas of my dining room that have curtains that hang onto the floor, a very thick area rug under one table, and an area where we have dog pens setup.
The smartphone software provides the ability to control the vacuum volume, carpet mode, level of suction (higher levels are louder), setup a cleaning schedule, update the firmware, monitor the status of accessories, and much more. It is a full-featured software application that is easy to use.
I did not think that anything could beat out the Roborock S5, but it turns out that the S6 did just that. The S6 was able to clean my entire downstairs wood floors with its large 5200mAh battery in one charge. I also ran it upstairs on carpet, but it did need to charge up once to finish the job in more area than the lower level.
I appreciated using the floor wet mopping feature, as the system adds just enough to wet and clean the floor without soaking it or leaking water everywhere. It was very easy to fill the water tank and then as soon as you slide it into position, the vacuum recognizes the water tank is attached so that it will both vacuum and mop the floor at the same time. You are advised to only use water with the tank to prevent clogging, but even basic mopping seems to help out. I still use a mop with floor cleaner for deep cleaning.
The smartphone application is much improved with color integrated to make it easier to designate rooms or areas for cleaning. Settings for the vacuum are easily managed and you can even see the maintenance details for the vacuum. It was very easy to clean and maintain the Roborock S6, but a bit inconvenient to remove the rotating side brush with a screwdriver.
The Roborock has a very high rated suction, advertised that it can lift AA batteries, and I clearly saw full dust bins with every session, despite the overall impression the wood floors were clean. The main brush bristle density has increased when compared to the S5 so more may be getting picked up too.
As a busy person working two jobs, finding the time to vacuum can be a challenge. Robot vacuums used to be a Jetsons fantasy, but products like the Neato Botvac D7 Connected are capable, functional, and make chores enjoyable.