Roborock S8 review: Excellent robot mop vacuum cleaner with useful improvements
The Roborock S8, which was presented at this year's CES, became available to buy in Europe this week. Its colleagues, the Roborock S8+ and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra are not yet available to purchase. The Roborock 8 is the new entry-level model in Roborock's flagship S8 series and already shows many more improvements.
How well does the Roborock S8 fare in everyday use? Is it a good choice or should you wait for its better-equipped sister models with a more extensive station? These and many more questions will be answered in this review after having tested the Roborock S8 for multiple weeks.
Roborock S8's technical details
Before going into the individual functions and results of our practical test, first, a few technical facts and figures on the Roborock S8:
|Product type||Robot mop vacuum cleaner|
|Design||Round (diameter 350 mm; height 97 mm)|
|Navigation||LDS laser navigation, obstacle avoidance|
|Suction power||6,000 Pa|
|Dust/water tanks||400 ml / 300 ml|
|Mop system||VibraRise mop system|
|Runtime||max. 180 minutes|
|Features||DuoRoller, mop raising, ultrasound carpet detection|
Scope of delivery and first impressions
Thanks to its compact charging station, which used to be the case with most robot vacuums in the past, the Roborock S8's box is conveniently small. This bares no comparison to the massive boxes that come with top-of-the-range models with complex cleaning stations.
Apart from the robot itself, the box also includes the mop unit to clamp onto it, the charging station without any sort of cleaning functionality, a floor protector, a power cable and all the usual paper instructions. The manufacturer has not provided any replacement fittings such as replacement side brushes - a bit of a shame at that price.
What annoyed me even more is the fact that there is no cable winding solution on the back of the charging station. If you don't happen to use up the whole cable on your way to your nearest socket, then it awkwardly hangs about. I also find the floor protector to be a bit impractical. In my eyes, this accessory is a must-have when it comes to robot mop vacuum cleaners. However, you don't attach the plastic plate to the charging station itself - instead, you actually have to stick it to the floor. If you avoid doing this (like I did during the first few test runs), then you have to deal with the robot pushing it around the room.
There is nothing to complain about when it comes to the vacuum cleaner's finish - as to be expected from Roborock. The robot's height is very practical at just under 10 cm. The flatter the robot mop vacuum cleaner, the better it can reach under furniture and provide thorough cleaning.
Improvements in detail: DuoRollers and higher suction power
Compared to the Roborock S7, the Roborock S8 has been updated with many improvements - one of the most important being the so-called DuoRollers. The robot now features two big rubber rollers which rotate in opposite directions on the bottom of the device. Along with the increased suction power of 6,000 Pa, this is supposed to improve the robot's performance and avoid getting any hair tangled in the device.
In practical use, the Roborock S8 effectively sucks up even the finest dust - but also small stones. The side brush on the right pushes dirt in the direction of the suction opening. My first impression is that the robot does in fact struggle less with getting hairs tangled in it - but this will only prove itself to be true over a longer period of use. The noise emissions of the vacuum cleaner are acceptable - I have definitely experienced louder models.
Unfortunately, the dust tank seems to be a little smaller than before - likely a compromise for all the new improvements. The spec sheet says it can hold 400 ml (compared to 470 ml). This means you will likely have to empty it a little more frequently - otherwise, the suction quality will quickly decline. If this is going to annoy you, then the Roborock S8 is definitely not the right model for you. The Roborock S8+ and Roborock S8 Pro Ultra offer a much more autonomous experience. In turn, their cleaning stations also take up a lot more space.
Carpet detection and Carpet Boost+ system
The Roborock S8 uses ultrasound to determine whether it is currently on carpet or smooth flooring. In our test, this worked reliably.
Carpet detection is important for two reasons. Firstly, the Roborock Carpet Boost+ system ensures better and more thorough cleaning. The robot manages to suck up dirt and ensures decent cleanliness on low-pile carpets - high-pile carpets have always proven to be a difficulty for robot vacuum cleaners and it looks as if this continues to be the case. Secondly, the robot can lift its mop by 5 mm to avoid getting the carpet wet.
Compared to the flagship S8 Pro Ultra, the "small" S8 can't lift its brushes. This is supposed to be practical when the robot is just mopping and is supposed to reduce the number of streaks left behind. I don't see this as being a massive drawback and in all honesty, I haven't really missed this feature at all. "Nice to have", but not a "must-have"...
Vibrating instead of rotating mop
The Roborock S8 continues to use the trusted VibroRise mopping system. This vibrates 3,000 times a minute and manages to dislodge even slightly dried-on dirt from the floor.
In our test, the Roborock's scrubbing function worked quite well for a robot mop vacuum cleaner. It left a 2.5 cm strip of unwashed flooring behind along furniture and skirting boards. This sounds like a lot, but it is actually half of the width left behind by the Ecovacs flagship Deebot X1 Omni ($999.99 on Amazon), which has rotating mops.
When it comes to cleaning really tough stains, I preferred the rotating solution a little better - but it also came with its drawbacks in the form of visible streaks left behind by the robot. The S8 struggles with the usual problem that robot mop vacuum cleaners tend to have: It struggles to reach right into the corners - both when mopping and vacuuming.
The app (see section below) lets you determine how much water should be used from the 300 ml tank when the robot is mopping. You have to have filled the detachable tank manually beforehand. Once the robot is done mopping, it is recommended to remove the mop so you can clean it and hang it up to dry. The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra does this automatically using its station.
Navigation and obstacle avoidance tested
Up on the top of the robot, there is the usual tower for the LiDAR laser navigation. This allows the robot to recognize its surroundings, create virtual maps and navigate your house or apartment systematically. The robot also manages to easily and closely navigate around furniture and along skirting boards - this was already mastered by the earlier Roborock models and hasn't changed with the Roborock S8.
While the laser tower on the top of the robot is responsible for navigation - reactive 3D obstacle avoidance is made possible by 3D light and infrared imaging technology on the front of the device. It recognizes obstacles on the floor and can navigate around these - the manufacturer claims it can recognize a variety of different items thanks to KI 42.
In practical use, this worked better with bigger objects such as a phone case or shoe. Smaller objects like a 4x2 Lego brick were not identified by the S8. However, the manufacturer does say that the smallest identifiable object size is 5x3 cm. Still, a very handy feature - especially in households with pets.
In my house, a real endurance test for robot vacuum cleaners is always under the dining table, which has four chairs with thin, black metal legs. This means there are 16 obstacles plus the four table legs - a real obstacle course for the device. In the past, it has proven to be quite the challenge for some "less intelligent" robot vacuums. The Roborock S8 successfully identified each of the chair legs and avoided bumping into them. Navigating through this maze proved to be no problem for the robot.
Versatile and sophisticated app
There isn't much to say about the setup of the S8 on the Roborock app - you scan the code underneath the top cover, connect to WLAN and you're done. Everything is explained well and worked flawlessly in our test.
With the S8 selected on the app, you can play about with its individual settings. If you click on the small icon on the bottom right, you can choose between four levels of suction power, three levels of mopping intensity as well as the preferred route (standard, quick clean mode). Additionally, you can select whether the robot should mop, vacuum or do both - and whether it should clean the whole level or just focus on individual rooms/zones. Handy, but pretty standard not just at this price level.
Furthermore, you can create settings for each individual room. To do so, the robot first has to take a trip around your floor so it can create a virtual map. Then, you can save and edit this on the app. This means you can determine individual rooms, set restricted areas and decide on a route - even for multiple levels. There is also the option to view your map in 3D.
On the home screen, you can see your currently selected map, which also shows the route which the robot will take. Also displayed are the areas to be cleaned, the duration as well as the battery level. Handy: While the S8 is cleaning, a bar fills up showing its progress and how much is still to go.
Multiple other options can be set on the app, including language output in many different languages, the option to control the robot remotely, firmware updates and many more customizations. The only thing it doesn't have is the option to view the robot's video feed while it is cleaning, as seen on the top-of-the-range Ecovacs models.
Roborock S8, S8+ or S8 Pro Ultra? Overview of differences
This still begs the question: For whom is the Roborock S8 the perfect choice? If you are looking for a robot mop vacuum cleaner that does its job well and reliably but doesn't carry out its maintenance automatically - then the Roborock S8 is a great choice. The dust and water tanks have to be emptied/filled regularly so that the robot can do its job.
If this bugs you, then you should probably wait for the other two to be released. The Roborock S8+ comes with an extraction station, which automatically empties the dust tank's contents into a 2.5-litre bag. According to Roborock, this will give the device seven weeks of autonomy if you don't use the mop function. This model costs around $200 more, coming in at $999.99.
If you use your robot regularly and want next to no work dealing with maintenance, then you should wait for the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra with its RockDock. This will, however, set you back a whopping $1,599.99 - more than twice as much as the regular Roborock S8. For that price, you get an extensive cleaning station that automatically takes care of the S8's mop and vacuum functions.
This means that not only does it empty the dust tank - it also provides the mop function with water and even cleans and dries (a new feature of the S8 generation) the mop after each use. This means the robot can go about getting its work done for multiple weeks at a time. The only thing you have to do is empty and refill the water tanks every now and again. Another downside along with the price of this device: The all-in-one docking station takes up a lot more space than the compact S8 station - especially in height.
+ Great mopping and vacuuming performance
+ Intelligent navigation
+ Carpet and obstacle identification
+ Great app with lots of options
+ Space-saving thanks to its compact station
+ high-quality design
– More frequent manual effort due to its small tanks
– Small objects are not recognized
– The usual unwashed strip during mopping
Roborock S8 verdict: A great robot mop vacuum cleaner that comes at a price
Expecting nothing less of the Roborock S8 after the success of its predecessor, the S8 is an excellent robot vacuum cleaner that also mops well. Its improvements, such as the DuoRollers and object recognition, make a lot of sense. Aside from this, the robot also delivers additional new features, such as intelligent navigation and an extensive app with many customization options.
In my eyes, the Roborock S8 is currently the rest robot mop vacuum cleaner without an extensive docking station on the market.
This also comes at a higher price, namely around $749.99. At the time of writing, the Roborock S8 is not yet available in the US, however, you can sign up on the Roborock website to be notified as soon as it becomes available.
The present review sample was made available to the author as a loan by the manufacturer or a shop for the purposes of review. The lender had no influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.