I tested Roborock’s most expensive robot vacuum and found 4 reasons to buy it


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pros and cons

Pros

  • High suction power for effective cleaning
  • Side-arm mop to clean edges and crevices
  • Very user-friendly app with many customizations
  • Built-in voice assistant
Cons

  • Picks up large objects that jam the brush roller
  • Larger than competitors
  • Leaves streaks when mopping

more buying choices

ZDNET’s buying advice

Roborock is to robot vacuums what Samsung is to smartphones; it has a model for every budget and every need. Between my first Roborock over five years ago and now, my cleaning needs and standards have greatly changed, as have the robot vacuum and mop combinations.

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is, by far, the company’s best robot vacuum and mop combination yet, with advanced cleaning features that make its $1,800 asking price more justifiable. 

While the vacuum cleans deep and has a slew of features, the one major caveat I found during testing is the mopping experience. Specifically, the robot’s brush leaves streaks. However, these robot vacuum and mop combinations are more for maintenance between deep cleans and are not meant to perform a thorough scrubbing on their own.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra Specifications

Maximum suction 10,000Pa
Runtime 180 minutes
Noise 67 dB (in Balanced mode)
Dustbin capacity 270 ml
Water tank capacity 100 ml
Finish Black and white

How I tested the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra

I’ve been testing the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra for a couple of weeks of almost daily use. Admittedly, I ran it manually for a good week while waiting to get whitelist access to test its app functions, but the map it created and followed upon connecting to Wi-Fi was accurate to my floor plan. 

Aside from everyday cases of dust, debris, and pet hair, my testing process also involved deliberately running the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra over different debris and substances to see how it vacuumed and mopped them up. These included coffee grounds, cracker crumbs, small pieces of mulch, and pieces of paper. Mopping included dry juice, soda, and water stains to see which got swept up more effectively, muddy footprints and pawprints, and other robot vacuum and mop tire tracks.

What are the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra’s best features?

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The hands-free dock: The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is the ultimate Roborock unit, with all the bells and whistles you’d want in a two-in-one vacuum. As such, the hands-free charging station has to deliver on these standards — and it does. You can expect an almost completely hands-free cleaning experience with the S8 MaxV Ultra, as the robot returns to the dock to empty its dustbin and wash and dry its mop pads. 

Also: The best Roborock vacuums of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

You can go a few days without refilling the clean water tank and emptying out the dirty water, and up to seven weeks without replacing the dust bag. The robot also has a detachable detergent dispenser that you can fill with floor cleaner to have it automatically dispense into the mop.

Outstanding vacuuming: And I mean outstanding. The S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop blew competing devices in my household out of the water when it came to vacuuming. It picked up pet hair from my rugs that would typically require my wired upright Bissell to clean up. In my tests, the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra didn’t leave behind a single cracker crumb or coffee grind, which made me and my floors very happy.

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Roborock says the S8 MaxV Ultra has 10,000Pa of suction, which is more than any other robot vacuum and mop currently on the market. It also has a dual rubber roller brush system for deep suctioning, and has built-in shears to cut the hair off the roller within the robot vacuum to avoid tangles.

Deeper cleaning than most: Besides knowing they have the most powerful vacuum on the market, Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra users can also kick back and relax knowing their mop can reach places others can’t. With a “FlexiArm” side brush, the robot extends a tiny mop pad on its right side that can rotate up to 185 RPMs. This tiny mop will reach not only the edges of your floors but just under appliances that are close to the floor using AI.

Also: Roborock unveils its newest fleet of robot vacuums at CES

The robot can also detect debris with sensors and a built-in camera to increase suction as it goes over crumbs or dirt, which works similarly to how it increases suction when going over carpets. There’s also a built-in fill light that the Roborock automatically turns on in dim environments to see debris. With such strong suction power, the S8 MaxV Ultra can also dock itself to empty its dustbin during cleanings so it’s never too full for the roller brushes to get stuck, ensuring the suction remains constant. 

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Don’t overlook the app features: I consider Roborock to have one of the best robot vacuum apps, if not the best. As someone who’s tested too many robot vacuum apps, I was happy to see options to customize and tweak almost every one of the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra’s features.

Also: My favorite new smart home accessory is unexpected and full of useful features

With the app, users can ask the S8 MaxV Ultra to snap photos of their pets as it cleans the floors, see photos of the obstacles avoided in its path, choose preset routines (like cleaning the kitchen and dining room after mealtimes), edit floor plans and floor types, set up AI settings, adjust the FlexiArm settings, set spot cleaning, create schedules, adjust dock settings, and much more. 

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

And now that Matter is available on robot vacuums and other smart home appliances, the S8 MaxV Ultra is the first S-Series Roborock to support the new connectivity standard.

Is the Roborock S8 better than the S7?

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is more powerful than the S7 lineup of robots, including the now out-of-stock S7 MaxV Ultra. When you consider suction power alone, the latest S8 MaxV Ultra nearly doubles the pascals in its predecessor, but you’ll have to be prepared to pay for it. 

At $1,799, the S8 MaxV Ultra is the most expensive Roborock robot vacuum and mop. If you’re looking for a Roborock with similar features that is less expensive, consider the S7 Max Ultra for $950 that’s still available when this article was published.

What I’d like to see in the next model 

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Improved obstacle avoidance: Though the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra has useful AI capabilities, its obstacle avoidance feature needs improvement. My S8 MaxV Ultra is constantly eating things it shouldn’t, having gotten its roller brush stuck on pencils, sticks, large mulch pieces, and protein bar wrappers. While my three kids challenge the S8 MaxV Ultra’s obstacle avoidance on a daily basis with random objects strewn about, they’re large enough that the robot should automatically avoid them. Perhaps a software update can patch this aspect up.

Also: The best robot vacuum deals right now: iRobot, Roborock, and more

A self-washing mop roller: There are two big new features that will soon become more popular among robot vacuums and mops: a self-washing mop roller and a dock that hooks up to your home plumbing. Roborock has an alternative plumbing dock for the S8 MaxV Ultra that connects to existing plumbing for clean and waste water available for purchase, but it hasn’t changed its mop to a roller yet. 

Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra robot vacuum and mop

The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra’s mop sometimes leaves some dry patches behind that can result in streaks.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

I’m ready to do away with microfiber pads for robot mops. My favorite robot vacuum and mop is also the one that mops the best out of all the ones I’ve tested, and it has a mop roller that is constantly washed as it spins in the robot, ensuring it only mops with clean water and keeps the dirty water separate. I wouldn’t mop my entire downstairs with a single microfiber pad, so why would I want my robot to do so?

Review: Dreame X30 Ultra: ZDNET’s new top pick for best 2-in-1 robot vacuum

Dock buttons: Buttons in the charging dock are an underrated feature. I wish the S8 MaxV Ultra had homing, start, and self-empty buttons on the dock. This would make it easier to call it home from the dock or to have it empty its dustbin after a quick spot cleaning without pulling out my phone.

Final thought  

That said, the Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra has a built-in voice assistant that can perform most tasks you want by simply saying, “Hello, Rocky.” You’ll have to be in its vicinity when prompting, and it never feels normal to shout at the robot as it’s humming and hissing over your floors, but the feature works well and is particularly helpful when you don’t have your phone and the Roborock app handy.

Alternatives to consider 

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