(Pocket-lint) - The Roborock S6 is a flagship robot vacuum cleaner; the updated and improved version of the Roborock S5, featuring a number of new design enhancements.
aving lived with the Roborock S6 for over two weeks we can bring you our thoughts on its performance and cleaning capabilities. Here's why this 'bot is a potentially fantastic addition to your techy cleaning arsenal.
Design and features
Design wise, the Roborock S6 has a similar outward appearance to the S5. The design is fairly standard for any robot vacuum cleaner: there are top and side-mounted sensors and navigation aids, a front bump rail, easy-access control buttons, and air venting.
But like the Roborock S5, there's a lot more to S6 than first meets the eye. The power is all under-the-hood and nestled within the outwardly easy-on-the-eye frame.
This is, after all, an all-singing, all-dancing robot vacuum cleaner. It's smartphone-controlled via an accompanying app for either Android or iOS devices, includes a new-and-improved intelligent mapping system and even doubles as a mopping bot.
The highlights for us, though, are the design facets that show every inch of this bot's functionality has been considered. For example, there's the same cleaning tool we saw on the S5 - one that's included as standard, nestled away under the top cover to help you keep the bot clean and tidy. It features a neat little recessed blade, which makes short work of cutting tangled hair and fibres from the main brush.
This bot also features a clever self-cleaning design. There are tiny little bristles built into the brush guard which wipe the edges of the main brush as it spins, ensuring it doesn't get knotted up or hindered by hair tangled on the brush tips. The updated design of this brush also includes removable tips, so any hair that does get tangled up on it can just be slid off rather than cut and teased out.
Add to that washable filters that can be easily cleaned by running them under the kitchen tap and you've got a well-rounded and easy-to-maintain bot.
Outwardly, the Roborock S6 is pleasantly designed too, the classic bold orange sensor sits neatly atop the bot underneath a protective housing and does the leg work of mapping out the room as the robot goes about its chores.
There are also three buttons for basic use of the bot: one to start/stop a clean; another for spot cleaning; and one to tell the bot to go back to its dock (which comes included in the box, including a cable tidy system to keep things nice and neat).
All this is neatly rounded off with a shiny pearl-like finish that somehow manages to stay nice and neat, even after regular use. Even if it does get dusty, a quick wipe soon gets it looking shiny and fresh once more.
Setup and cleaning cycles
- Android/iPhone app
- Remote control functionality
- Scheduled, zone cleaning and mopping system
The Roborock S6 is joyfully easy to setup; far easier than other robot vacuum cleaners we've tested in the past. Download the app to your smartphone, install and launch, then you're prompted to create an account. Once logged in, the app then automatically scans and recognises any relevant device in the vicinity and allows you to easily pair with it. Then you just need to give it access to your home Wi-Fi network and you're good to go.
The app is the hub of all the action, where you can access numerous settings for customising and controlling the Roborock S6. Sure, you can start and stop a clean with a press of the buttons on the bot, but the app allows you to control all the other settings from afar.
Basic settings include things like adjusting suction levels, with a choice between Quiet, Balanced, Turbo and Max suction modes.
Dive deeper into the settings you can set scheduled cleans via a timer which allows you to set a specific time of day for the bot to come out for a clean. This scheduling can also be tweaked with various settings, so you can not only set a specific time, but also select the suction level and even set specific zones on the map for the bot to clean. You could, say, have a full power clean at midday, with a quiet clean at 6am or even set it to clean the kitchen after breakfast.
Once the bot has finished it expertly returns to its dock. Although technically you're meant to leave space on either side of the dock we found that the S6 has no issues even when the dock had been nestled away in a tight corner of the room.
Real-time intelligent mapping
- High precision laser-detection scanning
- Real-time mapping system – every time it cleans
- Customisable map with room naming and zone creation
- Multi-floor capable with virtual barriers and no go zones
The Roborock S6 has been designed with a new-and-improved high-precision laser mapping system. This system includes no less than 14 sensors, which allow the bot to craft a virtual map of your home.
This map is useful in several different ways. It's a great way to keep track of the bot while it's cleaning and see where it's going or has been. It's also handy to see any problem areas holding the bot back from navigating properly.
The map is also editable, so can be tweaked to name specific rooms or to setup specific zones. This can then be used as part of the scheduled cleaning system or to send the robot off for a one-off clean in a certain room or area.
If the map isn't quite right, you can use drag-and-drop dividers to separate rooms, but you can also set virtual barriers or no-go zones. Whether you want to block a specific room from being cleaned or just a specific location, this digital map is good for both. This is a handy addition if you don't want the robot disturbing a snoozing dog or sucking up a child's Lego set.
The map also shows cleaning history. You won't just see a log of time taken to clean, but a map of each and every clean - which gives a much clearer picture of success or failure. If a door was closed or an obstacle was blocking the bot's path then you'll have an incomplete map. If you hit a snag with the current map not showing the entire floor plan, you can even restore previous maps to send the bot out that way. It's all very intelligent.
Obstacle detection and room cleaning
- Multiple cleaning modes: Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, Max
- 5200mAh lithium-ion battery
- 2000Pa suction power
- Z-shape cleaning pattern
- Up to 50 per cent quieter than the Roborock S5 (58dB noise level vs 67dB)
- 480ml dustbin
- Capable of cleaning up to 250 metres squared
As well as the intelligent mapping lasers, the Roborock S6 also has other sensors to detect walls, objects and steep drops at the edge of staircases. All these sensors mean this robot vacuum cleaner is more than capable of making it around your home with relative ease. In fact, we found it managed to do so with style and finesse - rarely bumping into anything, nevermind getting stuck. The only occasions we encountered problems were where the bot had accidentally sucked up a child's sock or got stuck in a pile of toys that had been left strewn across the floor.
Side note here: this bot has 2000Pa of maximum suction power, meaning it's capable of sucking up AA batteries, steel ball bearings and more. Small toys and other items left on the floor invariably end up in the dust tray. But since that's see-through it's not the end of the world as they can be rescued before they make it into the bin proper.
We found the S6 made its way from room to room with ease and completed regular satisfactory cleans. The bot starts by passing along the edges of the area before moving up and down the room in an orderly fashion. The result is a room that's been cleaned edge-to-edge. Once that's complete it uses the large wheels to pass over thresholds and onwards into other areas.
The large main brush and single side brush get the job done well. The variable speed side brush does a lot of the legwork in sweeping the edges, but it's the main dual-action brush that gets the most dirt up.
This brush system is compromised of a mix of standard-bristles and rubberised fins. This design is meant to be able to tackle both hard floors and carpeted areas with comparable results. An intelligent setting within the robot's software also allows it to sense when it's on carpet and increase suction accordingly.
The results are impressive. We found we were regularly emptying the dust bin and marvelling at just how much dust and dirt the S6 had picked up. "Are we really this filthy?" we asked ourselves as we emptied the dirt into the rubbish bin and washed out the filter (invariably blaming the construction work at our house on the dust volume).
This robot vacuum cleaner is a goer as well. Backed by a 5200mAh lithium-ion battery it's apparently capable of up to three hours cleaning before needing extra juice. In the real world, we found it usually finished up in just under an hour - but that was enough to cover four or five rooms thoroughly.
We usually stick with max power suction, but the S6 also boasts a Quiet cleaning mode that's perfect for an early morning or late night clean. This suction level is the one to use if you want the bot to clean for the longest possible time. It's also 50 per cent quieter than the Roborock S5, putting out less than 58dB total. We can certainly attest that it didn't disturb our slumber as the robot busied itself downstairs.
Even on max suction, the S6 is hardly obnoxious - and since you can set it to come on when you're out of the house (either via timer or the press of a button within the app), it's not likely to impede your daily life.
For a more manual clean, you can make use of the remote control within the app. This includes joystick-based controls to send the bot off in a certain direction or there's the option of simply putting a pin in the virtual map and telling the bot to "go there".
Mopping and drying
- Advanced hard floor mopping system
- Disposable mopping cloths or washable microfibre mops included
- Uniform water seepage
- 140ml capacity water tank
- 45-60 minute mopping time
As well as standard cleaning, the Roborock S6 also doubles as a mopping bot. All it needs is the attachment of a slimline mopping system/water reservoir and it can carry out a damp cleans of hard floors.
This mopping system includes two microfibre mop heads or disposable mop cloths that need to be attached to the reservoir. The system is then easy to use: simply fill the water reservoir, attach a damp microfibre cloth, block off entrances to carpeted rooms, then set the robot off in mopping mode.
You can also adjust the water flow on the reservoir to get the right amount of moisture for your surfaces. The resulting clean isn't a replacement for a full standard mopping, but is a great cursory clean that if used regularly will help keep your home looking shipshape.
All told, the Roborock S6 is one of our favourite robot vacuum cleaners. It's clear that nearly all the design aspects have been carefully mulled over during the creation process and it's nicely improved over the previous model.
This bot is more than capable of delivering impressive cleaning results throughout the home. Its intelligent mapping system is one of the best we've seen and is remarkably easy to use and customise. The result is a bot that works for you, with very little hassle and plenty of customisation options.
We wholeheartedly recommend this robot vacuum cleaner to anyone looking to add some automated cleaning to their home. It's also a lot less cash than you'll have to pay out for some of the big-name brands' competitors.
Roborock E2 Xiaowa
If the price tag of the Roborock S6 makes you baulk then there's good news. The Xiaowa E25 is a cheaper alternative. It's not quite as feature rich or powerful, but it's still surprisingly capable considering the price.
Ecovacs Deebot 710
The Ecovacs Deebot 710 is another affordable cleaner with surprising smarts. It's highly affordable, features a large dustbin and has an excellent navigation system to boot.