Since its inception, Roborock has mastered the art of using laser-guided navigation for its robot vacuums. But the Roborock S6 MaxV does something a little different; it adds two cameras on the front of the robot. Thankfully, this isn’t a replacement for Roborock’s historically excellent navigation, rather, it’s to enhance the robot’s ability to see the world around it. The Roborock S6 MaxV uses an on-board AI (called ReactiveAI) for one game-changing tactic: to recognize obstacles in front of it before they get run over.
Oh crap, a cord!
I’ve been reviewing robot vacuums for over half a decade now. In that time, I’ve found two common obstacles that robot vacuums stumble on: cords or cables, and pet poop. Now, while I personally don’t have pets to cause the latter issue, I’ve known enough people who do. More than once, these poor unfortunate souls have had their robot vacuum accidentally run over some pet poop (normally cats) and drag it throughout the house.
Now that’s a mess that no one wants to clean up.
Roborock has included a Qualcomm® APQ8053 processor inside the With the Roborock S6 MaxV, which is 50% more powerful than the processor found in the Roborock S6. But all that extra processing power isn’t used to create more suction; it’s used to power the artificial intelligence (AI) engine that helps the vacuum see with the two new cameras on the front.
Roborock’s AI engine, known as ReactiveAI, utilizes Qualcomm’s on-board image processing engine to recognize common household objects. Instead of just blindly running over objects, the Roborock S6 MaxV understands that they should be avoided, instead. At launch, the Roborock S6 MaxV can recognize around half a dozen different objects, including shoes, cords or cables, power strips, scales, and of course, pet poop.
When you first set up the Roborock S6 MaxV, the Roborock app will ask you if you have pets. This will enable or disable poop detection. Roborock’s idea behind this is that if you don’t have pets, they don’t want to accidentally mistake some other mess as ‘poop’ and not clean a possible dirty area.
The Roborock S6 MaxV did a perfect job of identifying cords, power strips, and shoes in the last 2 months of testing. Cords have always been one of the biggest problems for robot vacuums in my home. Whether it’s a power strip at the edge of the wall or the electronics cables behind the entertainment unit in my living room, cords always represent a huge problem. I never once saw the Roborock S6 MaxV get caught on a cable or cord during the last 2 months, and that was a massive win for Roborock in my book.
There are only a few objects that the Roborock S6 MaxV can recognize at this time, though. Understanding these limitations is the key to making the decision to choose Roborock’s most expensive robot vacuum over one of their more affordable models.
Looking toward the horizon
While the Roborock S6 MaxV best avoids objects it specifically recognizes, it can recognize any object as an obstacle so long as it’s the right size. At this time, any object on the floor that’s larger than 5cm/2in wide and 3cm/1.1in tall can be seen and bypassed. While this worked perfectly with a fair number of objects that I tested, including potted plants and dryer lint balls, it didn’t work so well with my son’s smaller toys like LEGO or action figures.
I was certainly disappointed in that last part, as I always have to be diligent about picking up things before running any robot vacuum. It’s easy to forget to look for absolutely everything around the house, particularly small toys. I’d say half the time I’ve found that most robot vacuums get stock on obstacles throughout the home before completing their run.
Roborock says that it’s working to include additional objects and categories in future software updates for the Roborock S6 MaxV. Roborock historically has been among the very best manufacturers when it comes to delivering software updates, particularly with new features. Oftentimes, Roborock vacuums retain their value because they’ve consistently received new features over time and become better vacuums over time.
Keeping your personal info private. Probably.
Since the Roborock S6 MaxV has two cameras on the front with a processor that can easily identify common objects, it goes without saying that it sees more than just these objects. In order to actually use the camera, you’ll need to remove the sticker that’s covering it.
The vacuum’s cameras capture images and process them locally, deleting them immediately after processing. Smartphone cameras have used this type of object identification for years and have a proven track record.
In fact, this existing technology is the reason Roborock chose Qualcomm for its processing partner, as it already had an established way of identifying objects while still protecting personal data. Roborock is adamant that they never duplicate images, never store images, and never send them to the cloud.
Assurances are fine and dandy, but there’s not necessarily a way to empirically prove that the camera isn’t recording anything. Unlike ECOVACS, Roborock doesn’t offer a way to block the camera physically or turn it off, so you’ll just have to take the company’s word for it. If that’s not good enough, the Roborock S5 Max might be a better Roborock vacuum for you.
Finally, more than one level
Roborock has long been the leader in superb laser-guided navigation with its robot vacuums since it began making them. But there’s one area where a few competitors have outclassed Roborock for a while now: support for multiple flooring levels. While this isn’t a feature that will help everyone, being able to clean and map multiple levels of your home is a real game-changer.
When the Roborock S6 MaxV roams your home cleaning, it will automatically map the entire home and create a floorplan. This time around, however, it will remember different flooring levels and automatically switch between them when necessary. That’s great since the Roborock app allows users to mark parts of their home’s floorplan as no-vacuum or no-mop areas. Now, you can use these vital features on every floor of your home. The vacuum will recognize each floor all by itself!
One particularly useful new feature is the ability to change the cleaning order for rooms right within the app. That means you can prioritize cleaning one room over another. Cat owners, in particular, will probably find this to be a very useful feature. Being able to clean the entire house and save the litterbox room for last, for instance, could be a godsend.
As the Roborock S6 MaxV cleans your home, it will regularly update the floorplan map with any objects it found that needed to be avoided. Typically, the Roborock S6 MaxV noticed cords, power strips, slippers in my home. Every now and then it would display an unknown object, represented as a traffic cone, letting me know something got in the way of a 100% clean floor.
Quieter, stronger, smarter
As I’ve said on many occasions, Roborock’s navigation is generally second to none. That doesn’t mean it’s historically been perfect, of course. But Roborock has taken one step closer to perfection with the S6 MaxV.
Here’s an example to prove the point. If I pulled out the dining room chair in front of its docking station, the Roborock S5 Max would sometimes get confused. When this happened, it would often take a few minutes to properly orient itself before continuing on its cleaning cycle.
For the Roborock S6 MaxV review, I actually used the S5 Max’s docking station since they’re identical. With this same dock and identical chair placement, I performed the same test. No matter if the chair was pushed in or pulled out, the Roborock S6 MaxV never once got confused when undocking.
Mopping is also even better than the Roborock S5 Max, despite sharing the same external design and software functionality. While the mopping performance is identical, there’s one massive difference between the two models: The Roborock S6 MaxV is dead silent when mopping.
One of my complaints with the Roborock S5 Max over time was that you could hear the pump working any time it needed to wet the mopping pad. When I first started using the Roborock S6 MaxV, I thought it was broken because the pump made no noise at all. Seeing the results of the mopping proved that it worked just fine.
Dead silent isn’t an exaggeration either. It’s not a quiet noise or maybe a little noise; it’s literally dead silent.
Just like the Roborock S6 and S5 Max, the Roborock S6 MaxV has several different vacuuming suction levels. This also translates into noise levels, which can be helpful when running the vacuum at night, while someone is on the phone, watching TV, or even while a child is sleeping.
Even with carpet boost enabled, the default balanced cleaning mode is only 67dB loud. Roborock’s quiet mode is significantly less than that. If you just want to only mop, you can set it to “gentle” mode.
Gentle mode is only available on the S5 Max and S6 MaxV. It represents a super-minimal amount of suction that’s akin to silence, at least from the vacuum motor. On the Roborock S6 MaxV, this mode is truly silent since the mopping pump no longer makes noise. That makes the Roborock S6 MaxV one serious cleaning ninja!
Cleans for longer, yet takes less time to clean
The Roborock S6 MaxV shares an identical mopping tank design with the Roborock S5 Max. These two family lines sport significantly larger mopping tanks than other Roborock robot vacuums, with a 300mL water capacity. That’s double the size of the mopping tanks on other Roborock vacuums.
When the vacuum detects the presence of the detachable mopping pad, the robot will recognize no-mop zones from the app. In order to denote places in the home that shouldn’t be mopped, you’ll need to define a no-mop zone in the Roborock app. The Roborock S6 MaxV can mop up to 200sqm or around 2150sqft of floorspace before needing to be refilled.
While mopping performance is identical between the S5 Max and S6 MaxV, vacuuming performance is significantly better. The Roborock S6 MaxV features 25% stronger motors than previous Roborock vacuums. At a rated 2,500Pa suction, you can be sure even the heaviest messes will get cleaned up.
The bin is the same design and size as the Roborock S5 Max with a large 460mL capacity. This bin lifts out and is easy to empty without causing messes. You can even wash out the bin and the air filter to keep them clean for longer.
The Roborock S6 MaxV is rated to clean up to 240sqm or 2580sqft on a single charge. Balanced mode will net somewhere in the vicinity of a 3-hour battery life. The Roborock S6 MaxV can even return to the dock for a partial charge. That’s perfect if it runs out of juice and just needs to finish one or two rooms.
The price could still be a deal-breaker
There’s no doubt that this is the biggest, best, smartest, and most powerful robot vacuum that Roborock has ever made. It’s got better navigation, more features, stronger (and quieter) motors, and even better mopping performance than ever before. It can even avoid pet poop! That tends to cause more messes and headaches than many owners would like to admit.
But that price is quite a bit higher than we’ve seen from the company in the past. Significantly so, even. At $749, the Roborock S6 MaxV is around $150 more than Roborock’s previous priciest vacuum, the Roborock S5 Max. It’s hard to fathom how the latest model is more than twice as expensive as Roborock’s original robot vacuum. That launched in 2016 for $350.
But make no mistake. While the price is certainly a hike, it is still $50 cheaper than the most comparable competitor vacuum, the ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI. It’s also more capable than just about anything else in this price range, maybe with the exception of the iRobot Roomba i7+. That vacuum can’t mop floors, but it can empty its own dustbin so you don’t have to.
All in all, the Roborock S6 MaxV is the very best robot vacuum that Roborock has ever made. But it won’t make sense for every person. Don’t need the object identification functionality? The Roborock S5 Max offers similar performance and mopping capabilities for at least $150 less.Roborock S6 MaxV at Amazon