Roborock’s S6 Is a Great Vacuum—I Wish It Was a Great Mop Too
The idea of a single device that can clean all of your home’s floors is an appealing one. Unfortunately, it’s still just an idea. The Roborock S6 is probably the best we can do at the moment.
The S6 is a fairly standard robot vacuum, with most of the bells and whistles you’d expect from its premium price. It’s extremely competent at the basic task of handling carpets and hardwood dirt, with a smartphone app that’s surprisingly intuitive. But its standout feature, an integrated mopping system, is a bit of a letdown.
The mopping function itself is lacking, in the limited capacity of both a home robot and one that’s attempting to be a convergence device. With all the extra steps necessary to engage the mop, and get it working in a specific area, you might as well roll up your sleeves, break out the bucket, and do it the old-fashioned way.
Like an iPod and a Dyson Had A Baby
The Roborock doesn’t look especially eye-catching as a home appliance, and perhaps that’s the point. But the all-white plastic version we were sent as a review unit is appealing, and its understated charging station should fit into most homes’ decor even if you go for black or a little rose gold trim. It’s the standard sci-fi pizza layout, with a small disc on the top of the device that acts as the vacuum’s air exhaust.
The super-simple looks belie a more complex interior. Flip up the access port beneath the exhaust and the three control buttons and you’ll find the dustbin, which comes out for easy emptying without needing to flip the robot over. (It’s not quite pricey or complex enough to do it itself, like some top-of-the-line models.) If you do need to flip it, you’ll find easy access to the roller brush assembly and the slot for installing the optional mopping components.
It’s a sharp-looking package altogether, and the exhaust port on top is as distinctive as these things can get. But here’s a tip: Go for the black option if you’re in a house with pets. In fact, that’s true of almost everything in a house with pets.
Serviceable Sucking with a Great App
The S6 can handle fairly large spaces on its own, at least for the vacuuming component. Its array of onboard laser and pressure sensors will actively map out an entire floor plan, then get to cleaning every single spot it can find. The motion is kind of weird—it looks random and disjointed—but it gets the job done.
In hours and hours of cleaning, I had only a couple of complaints about the vacuum function. One, it tends to send out “brush blocked” messages fairly easily, especially when the dust reservoir is close to full. And two, it isn’t at all obvious how you’re supposed to put it into Wi-Fi connection mode. (Hold down the home and map buttons simultaneously—you’re welcome, Google searchers.)
You can get the S6 working right out of the box, just set up the dock and press the central button. But to really take advantage of this gadget, you’ll need to install the Roborock app on your phone (Android, iOS). This will show you a live map of what it’s doing, give you alerts for when the vacuum is stuck, full, or otherwise needs attention, or even help you locate it if it’s lost.