Review: the Roborock S7's auto-lifting mop is what I've always wanted

This robot's no dumbbell — it can actually lift (the mop).

If you've been following the world of robot vacuums for any length of time, you probably know that the best robot vacuums have a nice little mopping pad on the underside to catch those little extra bits that tend to build-up on hard flooring. If you've ever used one — like the rather excellent Roborock S6 MaxV — you'll know that while the mopping pad does a great job of keeping floors spotless, there's never been a way to vacuum carpet while the mopping pad is attached. That is, of course, until now, as our Roborock S7 review points out.

The S7 is Roborock 's first robot vacuum with a self-rising mop pad, a rather nifty innovation that's the first of its kind in the industry. This mopping pad lets the vacuum clean hard floors to the fullest extent while simultaneously allowing it to vacuum carpet without accidentally mopping it. Not only that, but this new plush mopping pad vibrates to actually scrub those hard floors thanks to an ultrasonic motor. It's basically like a Sonicare toothbrush for your floors.

Interestingly enough — and probably to the relief of some customers — Roborock isn't including that front-facing object-identifying camera from the Roborock S6 MaxV and is using all-LIDAR navigation, instead. That, coupled with a brand new main brush design underneath and compatibility with the upcoming Auto Empty Station, means this is one of the most full-featured robot vacuums you can buy and likely the best robot vacuum choice for homes with a mix of carpet and hard flooring.

Roborock S7

Bottom line: This is the best robot vacuum Roborock has ever made, and, given the company's history, that's saying a lot. Mop and vacuum your home at the same time, thanks to the ultrasonic retractable mop that'll lift when it needs to and scrub when it's dirty. Unbelievable 3-hour battery life and super-intelligent navigation mean it'll clean your house in no time and never miss a spot.

The Good

  • Can automatically lift mop pad when vacuuming
  • Ultrasonic mop pad vibrations
  • 3 hour / 3,100sqft coverage per charge
  • Advanced mapping and navigation
  • Main brush doesn't get tangled with hair
  • Deep Google Home and Alexa integration
  • Compatible with auto-empty station

The Bad

  • No object detection (no cameras)
  • Can't use sanitizing solution in mop water tank

$649 at Amazon

Roborock S7 review: Price and availability

The Roborock S7 base model is currently available at Amazon for $649.99. The Roborock S7 only comes in white for the time being, although a black version of the robot vacuum is being released in the coming months. Alongside that black model, Roborock will be releasing the Auto Empty Station, which will automatically suck out the contents of the dustbin and pull it into a much larger container within the Station.

Roborock is running a promotion for launch week, discounting the Roborock S7 by $50, bringing the price to $599.99 on Amazon. That's a great discount and makes it quite a bit less than the previous high-end vacuum Roborock released, the Roborock S6 MaxV. That promotion runs from March 24 to March 30, when the price will return to the regular $649.99.

Roborock S7 review: Hardware and design

The Roborock S7 certainly follows the Roborock design language. The body is a perfect circle, with a LIDAR array held in another circle that rises above the top of the vacuum. In front of that, you'll find spot cleaning, power, and home buttons that you can press in lieu of using the Roborock app. The back 2/3rds of the top is a lid that lifts to reveal the dustbin, which can be easily pulled out and emptied, while the underside holds the newly-redesigned roller brush.

The theme of this vacuum is "newly-redesigned".

That roller brush is now fully silicone rather than the half-silicone half-bristle design of previous Roborock vacuums. It sits in a "floating" chamber that allows the vacuum to raise and lift the brush as it travels over different height flooring. A fully-silicone side brush is identical to the one Roborock launched with the Roborock S6 and has been using since, which lets it easily clean every corner in your home, despite the circular design. There's also a slew of cliff and carpet detection sensors under here, as well as bumpers on the front to aid in more precise navigation when the LIDAR array can't see shorter objects.

Falling in line with the theme of much of the rest of the vacuum is the newly-redesigned mopping module, called VibraRise. It's removable just as other Roborock robot vacuums are, but this one is special for two reasons. First, a new ultrasonic module vibrates the mop pad while the vacuum is working — up to 3,000 vibrations per second in deep clean mode. The mop module can also retract when the vacuum detects carpet, which means you can finally vacuum and mop your home no matter how much carpet breaks up the placement of your hard flooring.

Some improvements are more subtle, like the bristles that keep charging contacts clean.

Even the basic dock has seen some minor improvements, both of which have to do with the underside of the Roborock S7 directly. Since the mop module can lift up, there's no need for the clear plastic mat that previous docks used, as that was designed to keep wet mopping pads off the floor so as to not ruin hardwood by keeping it wet. Roborock has also added some nice little bristles in front of the charging pins, which help to sweep off the contacts on the underside of the vacuum. I've never had issues with my Roborock vacuums charging, but this will certainly keep issues from arising.

While the water tank is the same 300mL size, the new dustbin design is a smidge smaller than what's on the Roborock S6 MaxV — 470mL capacity on the S7 versus 480mL on the S6 MaxV — but it's also been rebuilt to work with the Auto Empty Base that Roborock designed for the S7. For me, at least, it feels like this dustbin was designed to be primarily used with that accessory, as it's annoying to empty manually.

I found I regularly had to either pull clumps of hair and stuff out of the dustbin to get it completely emptied or pop off the top and pull the air filter out. These aren't huge dealbreakers, but they're steps I've not had to take on previous Roborock models. The air filter also seems to trap more dust and debris inside than with other models, which meant I had to empty it more often. Again, I don't think these things will be issues with an Auto Empty Base since that sucks everything out automatically.

Roborock S7 review: Hard floor and mopping performance

Alright, let's get this out of the way: the only robot mop that will do a better job at sanitizing your floor is the iRobot Braava jet m6. That's because it can store sanitizing solution in its tank, while Roborock still doesn't recommend you use such things. When it comes to removing tough, caked-on debris or just making your floor look shiny clean, the Roborock S7 is the robot mop to beat.

The Roborock S7 is the robot mop to beat, thanks to its ability to actually scrub the floor.

There's really no mistaking it. Ultra-sonic scrubbing is the killer app that's only eclipsed by the fact that the Roborock S7 can automatically lift the mop when it gets to carpet. One of these features would have been a good enough addition to an already-excellent line, but both of them at the same time is almost euphoric. I'm a bit of a robot vacuum geek, so you might not be quite as excited about that as I am, but it does, ultimately, mean you'll have a cleaner house when you use the Roborock S7, and it means that this mopping is experience is way better than before.

There's something incredibly satisfying about watching the vacuum move from a carpeted to a non-carpeted area, dropping its mop on the hard floor and scrubbing it immediately after sucking up all the little bits and hairs that end up there. You won't ever have to worry about the carpet getting mopped on accident or even having to choose between vacuuming and mopping if you've got a house like mine, which contains roughly 50% carpeted areas, most of which are broken up by hardwood or tile floors.

It was impossible to send a robot vacuum to mop my entryway before this, for instance, since my living room has a giant area rug blocking the path. Not only that, but when it's done mopping, it'll lift the mop, and instead of dragging that dirty cloth over all the floors, it's already cleaned or get a bunch of areas needlessly wet, which makes things just feel more sanitary.

Before the Roborock S7, it was impossible for a robot vacuum to mop my entryway since my living room has a giant area rug blocking the path.

On top of these two features, Roborock improved the construction of the mopping pad itself. This pad is significantly thicker and more absorbent than previous-generation pads, allowing it to suck in more moisture and gunk. Now, this isn't the first robot vacuum to feature a vibrating mop accessory; the DEEBOT OZMO Pro is an accessory that launched last year for the DEEBOT OZMO T8 series, but it works differently than Roborock's design.

Instead of the entire mopping accessory vibrating back and forth, the ultrasonic vibration mechanism vibrates behind the pad and makes it much more subtle than the ECOVACS design. Roborock's design has a clear distinction by acting more like a Sonicare toothbrush than a scrubbing pad. In my testing, Roborock's design did a better job of getting out grime and fine particles, in particular, just as Sonicare toothbrushes get plaque off your teeth better than other kinds of mechanically-moving toothbrushes.

Big improvement in the pad's size and overall quality (left: Roborock S6 MaxV, right: Roborock S7).

One place where I don't see an improvement is in the physical reach of the mopping pad. You'll still find that the edges of walls won't get mopped, only vacuumed. There's about a 1-inch space between the edge of the mopping pad and the outer-most edge of the robot's diameter, meaning that you'll probably find a 1-inch space against the edges of walls and cabinets that didn't get scrubbed. Not a huge deal, but certainly worth noting.

The water tank looks smaller, but it actually isn't (left: Roborock S6 MaxV, right: Roborock S7).

While vacuuming, you'll never hear the mop, even if you select the highest vibration mode in the app. The only time you'll hear that vibration is when using the deep cleaning mode, which shuts off the vacuum motor entirely and ups the rate to 3,000 vibrations per minute. At that point, because of the intensity of the vibrations combined with the lack of suction from the motor, you'll certainly hear the mop working its hardest to scrub your floors. That doesn't mean it's loud, by any means — having music or the TV on is enough to drown it out, and it certainly won't wake anyone or interrupt a conversation.

As was said before, you can't really sanitize floors with the Roborock S7, as the water tank is only supposed to be filled with — you guessed it — water. That means you'll still want to occasionally break out the old mop or Wet Swiffer to sanitize your floors, but the Roborock S7 will keep them at least spotless between these rare events. Something certainly worth noting is that you can toss the mopping pad in the washing machine between runs, which at least keeps the pad from collecting too many germs.

Roborock S7 review: Carpet performance

At first, I was a bit skeptical of how well the Roborock S7 would perform compared to previous Roborock models. That's not because of anything Roborock did with the motor — which is actually 500Pa suction greater than the previous best — but because of the all-silicone main brush. See, while I've often been annoyed with the amount of hair I've had to clean off of those intertwined silicone-and-bristle main brushes of the past, I could see their effectiveness. When the Roborock S7 is done cleaning, there's absolutely nothing stuck to the brush, not even a small hair or twine from the carpet.

That's because, I came to realize, it all went into the dustbin where it's supposed to go. Running the Roborock S6 MaxV next to the Roborock S7 proved this was true. Everything I put down for both vacuums was sucked up but, while the Roborock S6 MaxV's main brush had a few hairs that wound their way around the brush. As I've found in my many years of using robot vacuums, too much of this kind of hair around the main brush will make it work less effectively.

The dustbin isn't much smaller, but it is more difficult to empty manually (left: Roborock S6 MaxV, right: Roborock S7).

Not having to clean these off regularly isn't just more convenient; it means that the Roborock S7 will continue to work as well as day one throughout its lifecycle. While hair won't get caught on the brush, it will get pulled into the brilliantly-designed hollow space within the main brush, making it as easy to remove as popping the ends of the brush off and sliding the hairs out.

All-in-all, I found that the Roborock S7 was able to clean up even more than the Roborock S6 MaxV, which is impressive in and of itself. In all of my tests, the Roborock S7 left no discernable debris behind, even after a single run. Automatic carpet boost certainly helps with this, but I think the combination of that more efficient brush and the 500Pa additional suction power just gives it the edge it needed.

Ever since the Xiaomi Mi Robot Vacuum came out — which, by the way, was actually made by Roborock and not Xiaomi — Roborock has led the world in having robot vacuums with the best navigation. Since then, Roborock's own app and vacuums have improved tenfold, adding in support for per-room cleaning, mopping, and vacuuming settings for each room, support for multi-story homes, and, finally, the addition of voice activation by your favorite virtual assistant.

You can ask your home to clean itself, which makes it feel like a smart home ripped straight from sci-fi movies.

This last one is my personal favorite and, while it's not exclusive to the Roborock S7, it did launch alongside this robot with support for several of Roborock's vacuums. Being able to ask Google to vacuum the living room or mop the bathroom is a game-changer, to say the least. In reality, you're asking your home to clean itself, which makes it feel like a smart home ripped straight from sci-fi movies.

An even larger battery this time around means the Roborock S7 can run for 3 hours at a time in standard suction mode, which equates to over 3,000sqft of coverage on a single charge. 2,100sqft of mopping can be done on a single charge, as well, which means the S7 will clean your home in half the time of many other robot vacuums. That's because it won't need to go back to the dock and charge up before finishing.

Roborock's app got another upgrade with the Roborock S7's release, this time including special markers for the areas it mopped and anywhere it found carpet in your home. That makes it much, much easier to draw no-go areas and other boundaries, and it also means you'll know exactly where the Roborock S7 vacuumed or mopped, as it's clearly denoted in the path the robot took during cleaning.

Within the app, you can denote which rooms should be cleaned first and which should be last. This was handy in specific situations with previous generations, but I didn't find myself using it very much. With the Roborock S7, I've found that this feature comes in handy, particularly for mopping bathrooms, because, you know, it's kind of gross to mop the kitchen if the robot was just mopping the bathroom.

The Roborock S7, like all other Roborock vacuums before it, utilizes a LIDAR array up top to navigate with laser precision. For note, this is the same tech that's used in many self-driving cars. Something interesting about LIDAR is that, unlike a camera, LIDAR sees things like curtains as "walls," which, for me, is preferable. My Roombas tend to get stuck on my floor-length curtains because they're designed to treat them as something to clean behind rather than a barrier.

Roborock S7 review: Competition

Last year's Roborock S6 MaxV introduced the concept of a vacuum that has a camera and LIDAR to improve navigation, but in a different way than you might initially think. The camera is situated up-front and is used to identify objects via onboard AI and customize the cleaning routine based on what it sees. It'll avoid any objects it sees — something that's particularly well-suited for homes with pets — which could save your bacon if it were to run across pet waste on the floor. Any pet owners who have had robot vacuums stumble onto their cat or dog's poop will tell you how awful that can be. If you regularly find your pets leaving "presents" for you to find, you might want to consider this vacuum instead.

If you've got pets and don't want to spend a ton of money on a robot vacuum with a self-emptying base, the iRobot Roomba i3+ will get the job done for $400. That price gets you the vacuum and the self-emptying base, which the vacuum will use to empty its dustbin as it cleans around the house. The Roomba i3 isn't as smart as the Roborock S7 and doesn't have advanced navigation features or per-room cleaning, but it will clean in straight lines and returns to the base automatically, so at least the basics are covered.

Roborock also makes several very inexpensive robot vacuums that'll still work with its app and clean in neat, organized patterns. One such example is the Roborock e4, which sells for a mere $189 and still does a great job in homes with low-pile carpet and hard flooring. You won't get the mop or any of the advanced features of the Roborock S7 but, unlike most other cheap robot vacuums, this one won't get lost on the way to the next room and never end up cleaning anything.

Roborock S7 review: Should you buy it?

You should buy this if ...

You have hard flooring and carpets.

The Roborock S7's auto-lifting mop is a thing of wonder. It can vacuum and mop-like no other robot vacuum can, thanks to its ability to detect carpet and retract the mop before beginning the vacuuming process. Once it hits hard flooring again, it'll put the mop back down and scrub those floors clean as it sucks up debris.

You want spotless floors.

The new VibraRise mop doesn't just lift; it also scrubs. An ultrasonic motor in the mopping attachment vibrates up to 3,000 times per minute, getting your floors truly spotlessly clean. Stubborn grime doesn't stand a chance against the scrubbing pad, and you can toss that pad in the washing machine between runs to keep it extra-clean, too.

You want to ask your home to clean itself.

Hooking the Roborock S7 up to Google or Alexa is as easy as a few clicks in the app, and within no time, you'll be telling your house to clean itself. The best part is that it actually will do it, too! You can ask Google or Alexa to clean the whole house, or just clean one room at a time, making the idea of manual vacuuming an ancient relic that can be left in the past.

You should not buy this if ...

You have pets that like to leave "presents" around the house.

There's no getting around it; without a front-facing camera and on-board object-identifying AI, the Roborock S7 will run into pet poop like every other robot vacuum on the market. Every other robot vacuum, that is, except for the Roborock S6 MaxV or the DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI. You'll be giving up the self-living and ultrasonic mop capabilities, but at least they will avoid poops like the plague they are.

You want sanitized floors.

The Roborock S7's ultrasonic mop is a thing of wonder and can scrub even the most stubborn grime off your floor, but what it can't do is sanitize those floors like a traditional mop. That water tank is only meant for water — hence, the name — and shouldn't be loaded with cleaning solution. If you want a robot for that, the iRobot Braava jet m6 will do the trick, but it's only a mop (not a vacuum) and can't traverse over rugs, so keep those limitations in mind.

You need to save some cash

$649 isn't the most you could ever spend on a robot vacuum, but there are plenty of other options that you can find for significantly less money. They won't do everything the Roborock S7 can, which is typical when there's a big price difference. Still, vacuums like the Roborock S5 Max or even the Roborock S4 offer the same great advanced navigation and per-room cleaning for a few hundred dollars less.

Whether or not you should buy the Roborock S7 comes down to a few things. If you're willing to spend a decent bit of change, you'll get the most advanced robot vacuum on the market. No other robot vacuum can navigate this well, scrub floors this well, or lift its mop when it gets to carpet. Compatibility with the Auto Empty Station means it can also empty its own dustbin. Still, if you only need one of these things — and not all of them — you might be able to get away with spending less money on another robot vacuum instead.

4.5 out of 5

For me and my house, we'll be using the Roborock S7 for the foreseeable future. With a difficult combination of carpets, hardwood, tile, and area rugs scattered throughout the house, the Roborock S7 is the only vacuum that can clean every single part of my home without me needing to do anything at all. When I come home, I know I don't need to take off the mopping pad so it can vacuum or throw another one on so it can mop. It's already done all those things, and it did them better than other robot vacuums, too.

Roborock S7

Bottom line: The Roborock S7 is the most advanced robot vacuum you can buy. The self-lifting mop can also scrub floors clean thanks to the ultrasonic vibration motors, and Roborock's ultra-smart laser-guided navigation will clean every inch of your home without missing a spot or getting lost.

$649 at Amazon



Source: androidcentral

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