I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials for robot vacuums – the “set it and forget it” cleaning solution that does all the work for you. But there are some caveats. They don’t have very powerful motors, they aimlessly bump around your home, and they don’t work well with pet hair. Here we review the Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum, the robot vacuum that actually works like you expect a vacuum to.
On first impression, this thing is huge – at least compared to the other robot vacuums I’ve seen before. The packaging was very nice, and I’m pleased that they included an extra filter with the unit. The filters on robot vacuums are quite small, so they easily get completely bogged down with debris.
The shock of the size starts to go away when you realize that this is a very high-quality product, and that there’s been a lot of great work that’s gone into it. The charging dock is also well-built and seems like it’ll actually really do its job. Plus, it comes with a velcro retention strap to keep extra cables managed, which is important when you’re working with a robot vacuum.
Wi-Fi setup is very simple, and the app is very intuitive. As you start to poke around with the S4 Max, you start to notice that the product is meant to give you a great experience when setting it up and using it for the first time. It’s an impressive package.
There are a couple of things that help to set the Roborock S4 Max apart from other robot vacuums. The primary one for me is the Lidar sensor. It helps the vacuum really understand what’s in its way and identify walls and other objects without actually having to bump into them and map them physically. It’s so cool to watch it navigate from one room to another without having to even guess where a door is.
I also really like the invisible walls and no-go zones. The invisible walls are great for a room that often has things on the ground you usually have to worry about with a general cleaning. The no-go zones are perfect for avoiding pet food dishes or particularly tricky spots for the vacuum, so you can really set it and forget it.
The first thing I noticed is that it’s fairly loud. It’s not the kind of vacuum you’d want to run around a small apartment in the middle of the night or in a meeting while working from home, but it’s perfectly tolerable. It’s still quieter than a full-size vacuum, which may not seem like much, but that does mean that it can run in another room or on another floor without much disruption. Plus, the volume is a great sign that it has a very powerful motor for suction, which means that it’ll actually pick up all the pet hair and other debris that I have around my home.
When it enters a new room, the vacuum will spin around and say, “Locating, please wait.” This means that it’s using that Lidar sensor to figure out the rough dimensions of the room and is beginning to find obstacles like furniture legs and plants on the ground. It’s not a catch-all solution, and it will still bump around a little to find the exact edges, but once it knows where it’s going, it’ll just keep to the spots that are fair-game.
The next thing I noticed is that it boosts its suction on carpet. The carpet boost function is priceless for me, because I used to clean up after my old robot vacuum on the carpet in my home. Now, I feel pretty confident that the S4 Max is doing it for me, which is a huge feat – I have two small pets that shed all over my home, and letting a robot clean up after them saves me so much time and energy throughout the day.
The Roborock App
The Roborock app deserves its own section. When I tell you that the app is very simple to use and doesn’t require any extra work to understand, I mean it. While having the S4 Max connected to Wi-Fi doesn’t always give me the greatest peace of mind, being able to use the app to control and monitor the progress that the vacuum is making is priceless.
You can see a map of your whole home in order to see where the vacuum is, where it has cleaned, and what walls, no-go zones, and rooms you’ve designated. It’s cool to watch the vacuum work around your home because it’ll draw lines on where it has gone so you know it’s keeping track of what it’s done. You can also tell it to clean particular zones, which is great for when there’s a spill or something like that.
Overall, the Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum is an absolute joy to use. It’s not like any other robot vacuum that I’ve used, and that’s a great thing. It actually picks up pet hair and debris, and it really truly leaves my home feeling extremely clean.
However, there is one slight downside: the price. While I firmly believe that the value is there, the $500 MSRP is a little stiff. Amazon has it available for $430, and at the time of writing, there’s an additional $50 coupon to bring the price down further. It seems expensive, but this is the kind of vacuum that will actually pay for itself, putting time back in your day. I absolutely think that this vacuum is worth the price.