Over the last few decades, there have been a lot of movies about robots taking over the world and I, for one, am OK with that future. I’m not saying I want terminators coming back from the future, but I’m so very OK with robots taking over my household cleaning duties.
I’ve been testing the Roborock S6 vacuum cleaner for the last month and putting it through its paces. Not only does the S6 suck up dust and debris, it also brushes and mops floors.
The Roborock S6 is a classic cylindrical shape we now associate with robot vacuums. The S6 has won design awards and is a matter of function over form, but it has a distinctive look that doesn’t look out of place in a home.
The unit has a physical spring-loaded bumper on the front that works with the laser sensors to detect objects and obstacles. It comes with a charging dock and plastic base that sits under the S6 when it’s charging. This protects the floor from a damp mop when it has finished its cleaning routine.
On top of the S6 are three buttons for manual use. One of these is for on-the-spot cleaning, the second to start/pause cleaning, and the third is to start loading. The access to the bin container is also found on the top of the S6. It will speak in a female voice that you’ve removed the dustbin. If you forget to put the bin back into the unit, the S6 will tell you to replace the bin and wait until you do. It will also speak to tell you ‘cleaning started’ or ‘cleaning paused’.
I won’t pretend to be an expert in mopping and cleaning, but I can tell you my floors have never looked so good and although the Roborock S6 has done all the heavy lifting, robot cleaners like the S6 do create some extra work for their owners.
Let me explain. I schedule the S6 to clean once a day and mop every few days. In advance, you have to ensure there’s nothing on the floor that will allow the roller or wheels to get stuck. This includes cables that might stick our or small items of clothing like socks or plastic bags. Also, after each cleaning session, you need to empty the bin container, although in my case, it wasn’t always full. To be fair, these are tiny chores that take seconds, but if you have a busy household with young children you’ll probably set the S6 to run at night to avoid the chaos.
On first powering up my test Roborock S6, I had to do a firmware update and download the MiHome app, which is part of the Xiaomi Mi Ecosystem. Once you’ve installed the app you then go through a simple setup that configures the Roborock S6 and connects it to your WiFi.
One of the key features of the S6 is its laser navigation system that systematically maps the area you place it in.
There are six sensors used to accurately map a floor area including large objects/obstacles, but also smaller ones like the legs of a kitchen chair. It works out the most efficient route to take to maximise cleaning in the shortest time, ensuring it doesn’t miss a spot in doing so. You also get a real-time visual map of the area it has scanned in the app and even where the S6 is at any time during cleaning.
The Roborock S6 has an impressive suction power of up to 2000 Pascal and 58 dB of noise.
But there’s a quiet mode ideal for cleaning at night, but if you’re vacuuming carpets then you’ll probably want maximum power; set this manually or set it to automatically detect carpets. There are four modes, Quiet, Balanced, Turbo and Max.
Unlike a lot of other robot vacuums, the Roborock S6 has a single side brush with five silicone brushes, which brushes the dirt from the floor to the central roller brush and main suction area. The main brush, a roller with a spiral distribution of bristles and rubber is designed to be easily removed and cleaned.
The 5,200mAh battery is rated to last up to three hours on a single charge, but this will depend on the suction power, whether it’s on a carpet or hard floor and, of course, the area it has to cover. When the unit finishes a cleaning session it returns to the charging station. If you have a really big house and it runs out of battery during cleaning, it will go back to the base station to charge when low on power and, when finished charging, return to where it stopped and finish the job.
It’s incredibly impressive watching the Roborock S6 navigate its way around objects. It looks like it can actually see where it’s going. It has the ability to detect drops and can climb over objects like saddle boards or high pile rugs up to two centimetres.
The S6 is a joy to use and incredibly effective at keeping the floors clean and tidy but what really separates it from the crowd is the mop attachment that slides under the S6 and clips into place.
This contains a water reservoir that has a rubber, water sealed opening that you use to fill it. You don’t use any cleaning chemicals, just water and it comes with two reusable cloth mops and ten disposable cloths.
I found that I was able to get a lot of uses out of the disposable cloths, but the reusable ones are thicker and more effective.
This worked really well on tile floors and even wood floors, but harder spots of dirt will require manual mopping. The cloth never gets really wet and so I never worried about there being too much water when using it on my wooden floors.
By leaving the doors open and letting the S6 do its magic, it will scan a virtual map of the entire area. I did this and was then able to create the floor space into virtual rooms. By doing this I was able to schedule the S6 to clean specific rooms at different times with different settings.
You can also create customs zones to clean or avoid, but this feature is in beta and was a little buggy. The software also shows you a history of each cleaning session which includes the time it took and the area the robot covered.
The app also shows you a percentage and hours before you need to replace a filter, side brush, filter element and when to clean the sensors. And when you do replace something like a filter, you can reset the time to start from scratch again. Further updates to the firmware irons out bugs and add new features.
It’s worth mentioning that you don’t get too many spares apart from an extra air filter that you can wash when needed.
Overall, the Roborock S6 is a dream to use and takes the pain out of regular chores. I love the simplicity of its ease of use, the easy maintenance but most especially, the final results.
Roborock S6: Price €549 from Gearbest.com