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Roborock S5 Max Vacuum Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Aug 16, 2022 at 09:55 am
Roborock S5 Max Picture
7.8
Bare Floor
6.9
Low-Pile Carpet
6.5
High-Pile Carpet
5.6
Pets
6.0
Stairs
4.7
Cars
4.7
Workshop
Vacuum Type
Robot
Bagless
Yes
Cordless
Yes
Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
Yes
Wet Compatible
Mopping Only

The Roborock S5 Max is a mid-range robot vacuum within Roborock's extensive product lineup. It's an upgraded version of the discontinued Roborock S5, with a more advanced navigation and mapping system that allows it to clean specific rooms with custom suction and mopping settings. It also has an upgraded mopping feature that uses a larger water tank. However, it isn't compatible with self-emptying base stations and lacks the real-time hazard-avoidance capability found on newer, pricier models like the Roborock S7 MaxV.

Our Verdict

7.8 Bare Floor

The Roborock S5 Max is very good for bare floors. It sucks up pet hair and small and bulky debris with minimal difficulty and does a great job maneuvering itself on bare floors. It also feels very well-built, with a dense plastic body and durable rubber wheels. Battery performance is fantastic, with a maximum runtime of over four hours, which is plenty of time for cleaning very large areas. Unfortunately, its mopping functionality isn't especially effective, as it does little to scrub away dried-on messes.

Pros
  • Exceptional debris pickup performance on bare floors.
  • Fantastic pet hair cleaning performance.
  • Long battery life.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Ineffective mopping feature.
  • Many parts need regular cleaning.
  • High recurring costs.
6.9 Low-Pile Carpet

The Roborock S5 Max is an okay option for low-pile carpet. While its carpet-detection system allows it to automatically ramp up its suction power on carpets, it still struggles with clearing away fine and large debris on this surface type. Thankfully, it does a fantastic job of handling pet hair. Its LIDAR-based navigation system allows for quick and precise room mapping, and it does a great job of maneuvering itself. Battery performance is another high point, as it can run for over 90 minutes even in its most powerful 'Max' mode.

Pros
  • Fantastic pet hair cleaning performance.
  • Long battery life.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Many parts need regular cleaning.
  • High recurring costs.
  • Struggles with fine and large debris.
6.5 High-Pile Carpet

The Roborock S5 Max is alright for cleaning high-pile carpet. It performs passably on this surface type, as it needs to make several extra passes to clear away most fine and large debris, though it has very little trouble dealing with pet hair. It feels impressively robust, and while it does have quite a few parts that need regular cleaning, they're very easy to access for the most part. Unfortunately, it can incur high recurring costs over time since quite a few pieces need periodic swapping out. It can also struggle to climb onto very dense shag-pile carpeting.

Pros
  • Fantastic pet hair cleaning performance.
  • Long battery life.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Many parts need regular cleaning.
  • High recurring costs.
  • Struggles to climb onto shag-pile rugs.
5.6 Pets

The Roborock S5 Max is a solid option for dealing with pet hair on floors, with a few notable downsides. It's very effective in clearing away pet hair on bare floors and low and high-pile carpet, though its brushroll and side brush are very tangle-prone and can be a bit of a hassle to clean, even with the included hook-blade cleaning tool. It has a mopping attachment with different customization settings; however, it doesn't provide much surface agitation and has a very hard time scrubbing away dried-on stains. That said, the vacuum is effective at sealing in fine allergens like pet dander and makes very little noise, which is great for animals that are sensitive to loud sounds.

Pros
  • Remarkably quiet operation.
  • Fantastic pet hair cleaning performance.
Cons
  • Ineffective mopping feature.
  • No hazard avoidance.
  • Many parts need regular cleaning.
  • High recurring costs.
  • Tangle-prone brushroll and side brush.
6.0 Stairs

The Roborock S5 Max is a robot vacuum and isn't suitable for cleaning stairs.

4.7 Cars

The Roborock S5 Max is a robot vacuum and isn't suitable for cleaning the inside of your car.

4.7 Workshop

The Roborock S5 Max is a robot vacuum and isn't designed for workshop cleaning.

  • 7.8 Bare Floor
  • 6.9 Low-Pile Carpet
  • 6.5 High-Pile Carpet
  • 5.6 Pets
  • 6.0 Stairs
  • 4.7 Cars
  • 4.7 Workshop
  1. Updated Sep 23, 2022: We've set the 'Scheduled Start Buttons' field in the 'Physical Automation' section to 'No', as you need to use the vacuum's companion app to schedule a cleaning session in advance. All relevant scores and text have been updated.
  2. Updated Aug 16, 2022: Review published.
  3. Updated Aug 09, 2022: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Roborock S5 Max feels very well-built. Its glossy top cover and matte plastic bumpers give it a similar look to the Roborock S6, but without the brushed-metal finish for its LIDAR sensor. It uses a slightly different brushroll design than the older Roborock S5, with softer, more flexible bristles. It feels sturdy, as its body doesn't creak or flex when picked up. There are a few small weak points, however. The top cover to its dirt compartment will break if you overextend it while removing the dirt compartment, and the mop pad attachment can wear out over time.

Out-of-the-box setup isn't too difficult. You have to download the Roborock companion app to complete the setup process and pair the vacuum with its docking station. You'll also need to screw its side brush into place.

6.0
Design
User Maintenance

The Roborock S5 Max has quite a few parts that need regular cleaning, but thankfully it's designed in such a way that makes it easy to access these components.

  • Dirt compartment: The dirt compartment can be removed by lifting the back cover of the vacuum and pressing the single release tab. The vacuum provides an audio notification to tell you when the dirt compartment has been removed or re-seated in its housing. You should empty it once a week or whenever you notice that it's full. You can also wash the dirt compartment under water to remove any stuck-on debris.
  • Brushroll: You can access the brushroll by flipping the vacuum over and removing the brushguard, after which you can pull the brushroll free. It's pretty tangle-prone, and longer strands of hair can get wrapped not only around the middle of the brush but also the brushroll's cylindrical bearings, which can be quite tricky to clean, though they can be twisted free. You can use the included hook-blade cleaning tool to cut away any tangled hair from the brushroll's bristles. The brushroll needs cleaning twice a week or whenever you notice a significant debris buildup.
  • Side brush: The side brush is a little trickier to remove than most other components, as you'll need to flip the vacuum over and remove the retaining screw holding it in place with a Philips-head screwdriver. Unlike most other robot vacuums' side brushes, like that of the Ecovacs DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI, tangled hair gets wrapped tightly around it and can't be slid free. You should clean it once a month or whenever you notice a degradation in sweeping performance.
  • HEPA filter: The filter is clipped onto the dirt compartment, and can you can pull it out with minimal effort. It has a simple design with well-spaced vanes, so clearing away any stuck-on dirt isn't too hard. You should wash it under water every two weeks, but make sure to let it dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling it.
  • Front wheel: The front wheel is another difficult-to-clean component. You'll probably need to use a pair of pliers to gain sufficient leverage, but be careful not to damage it by squeezing too hard. You have to clean it once a month, and it helps your vacuum move more smoothly.
  • Mop cloth: The mopping cloth is velcroed to the mop mounting plate, which can be slid onto the vacuum and removed from the vacuum by pressing the two release tabs on either end. You should clean it under water after each use.
  • Water tank: You can pull the water tank out from the back of the vacuum. You can clean it as required by rinsing it out with clean water.
  • Sensors: If dust and debris are building up on the sensors, you can clean them with a dry cloth.

Any part washed with water should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before being put back in the vacuum.

4.5
Design
Recurring Cost
Bag Part Number No bag
Filter Part Number E11
HEPA Filter Part Number E11

The Roborock S5 Max incurs high recurring costs.

  • Brushroll: The brushroll needs replacing after 300 hours of use. You can buy a replacement here.
  • Side brush: The side brush has a service life of 200 hours. You can buy a replacement here.
  • HEPA filter: The filter needs replacing following 150 hours of use. You can buy replacements in packs of two here.
  • Mop cloth: You should replace the mop cloth every three to six months. Replacements can be bought in packs of two and are available to buy here.

Most parts are also sold through Roborock's Amazon store.

8.9
Design
Storing
Height
3.94" (10.0 cm)
Width
15.35" (39.0 cm)
Depth
16.54" (42.0 cm)
Cord Storing
Not Needed
On-Board Tool Storage
Not needed
Vacuum Rack/Station
Yes

The Roborock S5 Max is very easy to store. The vacuum has the same overall dimensions as many other Roborock vacuums and is consequently small enough to squeeze under most tables and chairs. Its charging station is also very low-profile, and it comes with a moisture-proof pad, so you don't have to worry about the vacuum's mop cloth soaking the floor when not in use.

6.9
Design
Dirt Compartment
Volume
0.09 gal (0.35 L)
Full Indicator
Yes
Bag Included
No Bag Needed

The Roborock S5 Max has a reasonably large dirt compartment. It has a larger capacity than pricier models like the Roborock S7 MaxV; however, it's important to note that some pricier models are compatible with self-emptying stations, where internal dustbin capacity isn't as relevant since the vacuum will empty itself whenever it fills up. You'll receive an audio alert through the vacuum's companion app to let you know when it's full.

Design
In The Box

  • Roborock S5 Max vacuum
  • 1x E11 filter
  • Dirt compartment
  • Main brushroll
  • Brushroll guard
  • Main brushroll cleaning tool
  • Water tank
  • Mopping adapter attachment
  • 1x Microfiber mop cloth
  • Charging dock
  • Charging cable
  • Moisture-proof mat
  • User guide

10
Design
Range
Cord Length
N/A
Hose Length
N/A
Minimum Wand Length
N/A
Maximum Wand Length
N/A
Total Range
N/A

The Roborock S5 Max's range is limited only by the room left in its dirt compartment and the charge status of its battery. However, it can't climb or descend staircases.

7.9
Design
Portability
Total Weight
7.78 lbs (3.53 kg)
Weight In Hand
0.00 lbs (0.00 kg)
Carrying handle
No

The Roborock S5 Max is pretty portable. Its onboard water tank and all other associated mopping hardware make it heavier than vacuum-only models like the Roborock S4 Max, but it's still lighter than the flagship Roborock S7 MaxV.

8.7
Design
Battery
Minimum Battery Life
92 min
Maximum Battery Life
243 min
Recharge Time
264 min
Recharge Dock
Yes
Battery Life Indicator
Yes
Removable Batteries
No

The Roborock S5 Max has excellent battery performance. It can run for more than four hours in a single charge in its most energy-efficient 'Gentle' mode, which gives it plenty of time to deal with lightweight debris on bare floors. Its runtime drops to a little over an hour and a half when used in its high-power 'Max' mode, but this is still sufficient for dealing with larger stubborn messes. The vacuum stops cleaning once its charge level drops below 20%, at which point it refuses to take any more cleaning jobs and attempts to make its way back to its charging station.

Design
Quality Of Life Features
Rotating Head
No
Power Adjustment
Yes
Self-Propelled
Yes
Headlights
No
Easy On/Off
Yes
Head Surface Type Adjustment
Only Automatic

The Roborock S5 Max robot vacuum has a handful of quality-of-life features. There are five different power suction modes: the low-power 'Gentle' mode, the slightly more potent 'Quiet' mode, the default 'Balanced' mode, the 'Turbo' mode for cleaning heavier debris, and 'Max' for dealing with stubborn messes or debris embedded deeply within carpet fibers. You can also tweak the water flow for its mopping attachment through four settings: 'Close', 'Low', 'Medium', and 'High'. The 'Carpet Mode' feature allows the vacuum to automatically detect when it's cleaning the carpet and increase the suction power mode to 'Max'. This feature is turned on by default, but you can turn it off in the app.

Design
Tools And Brushes
Brushroll
Yes
Brushroll On/Off
No
Removable Brushroll
Yes
Turbo Brush
No
Crevice Tool
No
Upholstery Tool
No
Soft Bristle Brush
No
Hard Bristle Brush
No
Extension Wand
No
Ceiling Fan Tool
No
Pet Grooming Tool
No

The Roborock S5 Max has a five-arm silicone side brush to direct debris into the path of its brushroll. It also comes with a hook-blade cleaning tool for cutting away tangled hair. There's also a washable mop cloth attachment for scrubbing away stains. You can place the included rubber floor pad under the charging dock to keep water from its mop cloth from dripping onto your floor when it isn't in use.

Design
Alternative Configuration
Blower Mode
No
Performance
10
Performance
Bare Floor Performance (Hardwood, Laminate, Tiles)
Setting Used "Balanced"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 99%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 100%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

The Roborock S5 Max performs exceptionally well on bare floors in its default 'Balanced' mode. It easily clears away small debris like rice and bulkier material like cereal.

5.4
Performance
Low-Pile Carpet Performance
Setting Used "Max"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 44%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 33%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

The Roborock S5 Max's performance on low-pile carpet is middling. It has a hard time with large debris like sand and finer material like baking soda.

6.3
Performance
High-Pile Carpet Performance
Setting Used "Max"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 44%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 38%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) N/A
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

The Roborock S5 Max performs passably on high-pile carpet. It clears away a fair amount of larger debris like sand and finer material like baking soda, but it'll still need to make an extra pass or two to fully clear away all of it.

9.7
Performance
Pet Hair Floor Performance
Bare Floor
100%
Low-Pile Carpet
96%
High-Pile Carpet
99%

The Roborock S5 Max is remarkably effective in dealing with pet hair. While its brushroll and side brush are both quite tangle-prone, the vacuum itself has no trouble collecting pet hair on bare floors or low and high-pile carpet.

0.3
Performance
Suction
Maximum Suction
0.3 inHโ‚‚O (0.08 kPa)
Setting Used For Maximum "Max"(App)
Normal Suction
0.2 inHโ‚‚O (0.05 kPa)
Setting Used For Normal "Balanced" (App)
Hose Diameter
N/A

The Roborock S5 Max has relatively good suction force for a robot vacuum, though not quite as much as pricier models like the Roborock S7 MaxV. Like most other robot vacuums, its suction inlet is positioned too high above the contact surface to create a tight seal, so real-world suction measurements are low.

9.5
Performance
Noise
Bare Floor
60.7 dBA
Low-Pile Carpet
55.7 dBA

The Roborock S5 Max is exceptionally quiet. You'll hear what people nearby are saying when the vacuum is running in its most powerful suction mode, and when you use it in its low-power 'Gentle' mode, you'll have little trouble carrying on a normal conversation even when the vacuum is very close to you. It's substantially quieter than the more powerful Roborock S7 MaxV.

8.0
Performance
Maneuverability

The Roborock S5 Max's maneuverability is great. It cleans in an organized pattern that ensures pretty comprehensive coverage, but it's worth noting that its movement is noticeably choppier than newer Roborock vacuums. Still, its side brush is effective in dragging debris from the edges of a room into the path of its primary brushroll. It's also short enough to clean under most couches. It's capable of mapping out its coverage area as it cleans, but it's important to remove its mopping attachment before letting it do so for the first time. Unfortunately, it can have a hard time cleaning tasseled rugs, which can get tangled in its brushroll, and shag-pile carpeting, which it has trouble climbing over.

0
Performance
Pet Hair Furniture Performance
Sofa Pickup Post Test
Performance
Air Quality

The Roborock S5 Max does a good job of sealing in fine allergens. Unlike the Roborock Q5+, fine particles aren't blown free of its LIDAR sensor while it cleans.

5.0
Performance
Cracks
Wood Cracks Post Test

Like most other robot vacuums, the Roborock S5 Max has a hard time dealing with debris in cracks. It lacks the necessary suction force to draw out debris from deep within crevices.

5.0
Performance
Stains
Stain Pickup Post Test

The Roborock S5 Max does a poor job scrubbing away stains. Unlike the pricier Roborock S7 MaxV, which uses a separate motor to vibrate its mop pad and physically scrub away stains, the S5 Max uses an entirely passive system that effectively consists of a damp mop cloth being dragged behind it. Even running multiple cycles does little to impove its stain-cleaning performance, and you can see the result of eight passes here.

0
Performance
Water
Water Pickup Post Test
Automation
7.1
Automation
Physical Automation
Automatic Recharging
Yes
Automatic Bag Emptying
No
Pathing Algorithm
Smart
Physical Boundary Markers
No
Scheduled Start Buttons
No
Cycle Control Buttons
Onboard Only
Navigation Control Buttons
Return to Base Only

The Roborock S5 Max has a decently wide range of physical automation features. You can technically use the vacuum with its two control buttons without needing an internet connection and its associated companion app, but you're losing out on most of its features by doing so. Pressing and holding the power button turns the vacuum off while tapping it has it start and stop a cleaning session. Tapping the 'Home' button sends it back to its dock, and you can hold it down to have the vacuum spot-clean a small area. Unlike the Roborock Q5+, it isn't self-emptying compatible, so you'll have to empty its dustbin manually once it's filled up.

9.0
Automation
Companion App Automation
App Name
Roborock
iOS Availability
Yes
Android Availability
Yes
Software Boundary Markers (No Go Zones)
Yes
App Scheduled Start
Yes
App Cycle Control
Yes
Navigation Control within App
Yes

The Roborock S5 Max's companion app is fantastic. The vacuum offers multi-level mapping, letting it store up to four different floor plans, meaning you can use it on any floor of your home. Its LIDAR sensor can recognize what floor plan it's on based on the furniture within. You can access its coverage map though its easy-to-use companion app to set up virtual boundary lines and 'No-Go' zones that you don't want the vacuum to enter, or even set up 'No-Mop' zones for areas that you don't want mopped. You can tweak the suction mode and water flow rate for its mopping feature for specific rooms or even create a custom schedule for cleaning individual areas.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Roborock S5 Max is available in two color variants: 'Black' and 'White'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see its label here.

Let us know in the discussions if you come across another variant of this vacuum, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Vacuums

The Roborock S5 Max is a mid-range robot vacuum. Compared to the older Roborock S5, it offers a significantly upgraded mapping and navigation system that allows you to split its coverage area into different areas with tailored suction and mopping settings. It also has a larger water tank that won't need refilling as often. It sits alongside the newer Roborock Q5+ in the lineup, with a less powerful suction motor and no self-emptying capability. However, it feels noticeably better built and has a mopping feature.

If you're looking for an alternative, look at our lists of recommendations for the best robot vacuums for hardwood floors, the best robot vacuums for pet hair, and the best robot vacuums for carpets.

Roborock S7

The Roborock S7 is better than the Roborock S5 Max. The S7 feels better built and provides a more hands-off cleaning experience, as it's compatible with a self-emptying station out of the box. Its ultrasonic mopping feature also does a much better job of scrubbing away stains than the S5's entirely passive system. It clears more debris on carpets thanks to its more powerful suction motor. While it's harder to clean, the S5's bristled brushroll does a much better job handling pet hair than the S7's rubber roller. The S5 also has a bigger internal dustbin.

Roborock S4 Max

The Roborock S5 Max and Roborock S4 Max are very similar vacuums that share the same overall mapping and navigation system, suction motor, and dirt compartment capacity. The only significant difference between the two is the inclusion of a mopping feature, as the S5 has a mopping attachment while the S4 does not. Ultimately, the S5's mopping attachment isn't very effective, and unless you need it, you're better off spending less on the cheaper S4.

Roborock S5

The Roborock S5 Max is a big upgrade over the Roborock S5. It has a more advanced navigation system that allows faster mapping, and you can specify different suction and mopping modes for specific rooms. It also has a larger water tank that won't need refilling as frequently.

Roborock S6 MaxV

The Roborock S6 MaxV is better than the Roborock S5 Max, though the S5 is a better option for value-conscious buyers. They deliver similar overall cleaning performance; however, the S6 MaxV feels better-built and has a dual-sensor navigation system, which uses LIDAR to quickly map out its coverage area and front-facing cameras to let it identify and avoid hazards like pet waste in real-time.

Roborock Q5+

The Roborock S5 Max is a little better than the Roborock Q5+, though the two vacuums are somewhat similar overall. The S5 feels better built and does a much better job of sealing in fine allergens. While the S5 also has a mopping feature, it isn't very effective when it comes to scrubbing away dried-on dirt. The Q5 could be a better option if you don't mind its terrible air filtration performance, as it delivers similarly superb performance on bare floors and does fractionally better on carpets thanks to its more powerful suction motor. Unlike the S5, it's also fully self-emptying compatible, helping to reduce hands-on maintenance requirements.

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