The Takeaway: Aside from vacuuming and mopping well, an easy-to-use app, and the ability to create virtual “no-go” zones, what really impressed us about the Roborock S6 MaxV is its poop-avoidance technology, which really works.
- Won’t track pet accidents through your house or apartment
- Avoids other common problem obstacles
- Learns floor plans and develops the most efficient vacuuming pattern
- Also wet-mops floors
Navigates via: LiDAR, plus vSLAM
Exclusion zones: Virtual
Run time: up to 180 minutes, claimed
Designed With Pet Owners in Mind
We’ve heard the horror stories and seen the videos on YouTube; pet accidents and robot vacuums don’t mesh. That is, until now. The S6 MaxV is the first robot vac available with poop-avoidance technology—our term, not theirs. Roborock developed ReactiveAI Obstacle Avoidance to be able to identify pet accidents and navigate around them. It accomplished this with machine learning, employing thousands of reference photos and two on-board cameras that continually capture images, enabling the vacuum to ID pet waste and other common obstacles, then respond appropriately.
This novel technology required us to come up with new test protocols—we had to simulate different types of pet poop. For the nugget-shaped variety, we used a cigar cut into segments, and we employed off-the-shelf, novelty rubber poop to look like a softer, potentially messier variety. We placed both types in the same room, in different locations, and in separate vacuuming sessions. And we repeated the tests, changing the locations of the pet accident. The S6 MaxV was impressive, and surprising—in each case, it correctly identified the faux poop and avoided it. When we referred to the accompanying app, an icon appeared showing the location on the map. With this feature enabled, it even provides a photo of the “obstacle.”
Keep in mind that, with the dual cameras constantly capturing photos, privacy issues are a very real concern. If you do turn on the setting so that photos of any obstacles are sent to the app on your phone, an individual image is saved and transferred to the cloud. Otherwise, all photos are processed on the fly locally within the vacuum and then deleted without being saved anywhere.
Roborock leverages both LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and vSLAM (visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) in the S6 MaxV to be able to navigate through your home. In low-light or dark areas, it uses infrared imaging as well. Similar to RADAR, which employs radio waves, LiDAR uses a laser to locate objects or features in a room. vSLAM, on the other hand, uses images from the S6 MaxV’s dual cameras to visually identify objects and features. Together, the two create sophisticated maps that help the unit find the most efficient patterns to vacuum a room. While vacuuming in our test rooms, we were able to watch via the app as the vacuum identified walls and obstacles like furniture, doorways, and smaller items left on the floor. Once started, the S6 MaxV began to sweep through the room in an organized fashion, building a map as it goes. Every time it sweeps through a room, it refines the map—it was interesting see it get more efficient with subsequent cleanings, making fewer adjustments and probing actions in turns and around furniture.
For regular vacuum performance, sans simulated pet accidents, we ran the S6 MaxVin three 8 x 8-foot corrals: one with carpet, one with laminate flooring, and one with bare concrete containing a chair, a Christmas tree, and a doormat. For different types and sizes of dirt and debris, we spread five grams of flour, five grams of sawdust, 15 grams of rice, and 20 grams of kidney beans in each area.
We set the S6 MaxV in “balanced mode”—what we would consider medium suction—and put it to work. We found the methodical pattern in which it sweeps back and forth across a room reassuring, giving us confidence it would cover the entire area. On the low-pile carpet, it picked up the debris in 17 minutes. Although it continued to vacuum for a while longer, we couldn’t visually detect anything that it left behind. Moving to the laminate floor, it was done a little quicker and docked in about 11 minutes. There was just a little flour and sawdust remaining in one spot—we started the vacuum again and it picked up everything left. We should note that on hard floors, the side brush, which is used to reach into corners, may hit and scatter certain types of debris. Occasionally, it can knock things into areas it’s already vacuumed—we found this to be true of all models we tested with side brushes.
In the final concrete area, the S6 MaxV did well with the obstacles. Where other units pushed the chair, this vacuum was a little more delicate, circling the legs while picking up nearly all of the sawdust we sprinkled around it. Likewise, it avoided bumping into the Christmas tree, carefully navigating around the stand. We couldn’t quite tell what it was doing on the doormat; it turned and hesitated a couple of times while on it, but motored onto and off of it without incident. Overall the S6 MaxV took longer in this area, about 50 minutes, but it did a careful, thorough job.
The S6 MaxV was just as methodical mopping as it was vacuuming. The suction still ran as it mopped, so that there was less dirt to mop up. In this test we tracked muddy footprints across our 8 x 8-foot laminate floor and then let them dry. We filled the water tank on the robot vac and set it out to mop the room. At first, it didn’t look like it was doing a very good job, leaving some streaks and crumbs of mud, but we left it alone to complete the job. It took multiple passes on its own before it docked, and while the task may have been a bit extreme, there was no trace of the mud on the floor when it was finished.
We found it easy enough to pair the app with the vacuum to take advantage of a host of useful features. There are five suction modes and four settings for how much water to use when mopping. You can use the Roborock app to create cleaning schedules, store maps for up to four floors of your home, set which rooms are cleaned first, and set and identify no-go zones for vacuuming and mopping. We also found you can use the app as a remote control to operate the vacuum manually, or to direct to a specific place to spot clean. Other features include maintenance reminders, volume control for vacuum alerts, camera settings, and the ability to update the firmware.
Aside from doing the things well that you’d expect of a robot vac, the S6 MaxV will give you—especially those of you who are pet owners—peace of mind because Roborock’s ReactiveAI Obstacle Avoidance technology really works. And it does this with a price tag comparable to other, upper-tier models. Considering the additional mopping functionality, the price seems even better still. Whether you forget shoes in the middle of the floor or your dog occasionally leaves a surprise on the carpet, you can rest assured you won’t come home to laces wrapped in the vacuum brush or poop smeared everywhere.
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