The best all-round hybrid robot vac for loafers
The new Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is the hybrid floor cleaner we’ve all be waiting for. It has class leading vacuum power and a rear vibrating mop that not only lifts off carpets but cleans itself after every session. It is, to all intents and purposes, the most intuitive, reliable and efficient hands-free floor cleaning system currently on the market.
- +Impeccable floor cleaning performance
- +Superb mapping skills
- +Obstacle avoidance
- +Self cleaning mop
- +Can be used as a remote camera
- -It doesn’t like valances
- -It ain’t cheap
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Welcome to our in-depth review of the new convolutedly-named Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, a hybrid robot vac-and-mop that comes with a fully-automated cleaning station for effortless household crap management.
Along with iRobot, Roborock is one of the biggest players in the land of robot vacs and mops but the Xiaomi-affiliated company has truly pulled out all the stops for this model which is sensational in all disciplines, from navigation and mapping to vacuuming and mopping.
I’ve tested many of the best robot vacs to date and quite a few of the best robot mops, too, but I’ve never come across a model that is so truly hands off and such a pleasure to use.
The only major issue for Brits is that it’s not officially available in the UK at the moment though you can order one direct from some European-based stores. This is a great shame because people in the UK are missing out on what has to be the greatest do-it-all robot cleaner yet created.
$1,400 may seem an extraordinarily high price for a robot vac that also mops, but I’ve seen other models on the market that are only marginally cheaper and they don’t have the mopping and full cleaning capabilities of this household hero. Me thinks that, in the pantheon of autonomous floor cleaners, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is actually quite keenly priced. I therefore beseech Roborock to get this model in UK shops as soon as humanly possible.
Right, that’s enough eulogising for one intro – let’s look deeper and see why this hybrid robot trounces all others when it comes to household floor management duties.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra: price and availability
As mentioned above, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra isn’t officially available in the UK just yet but you can buy it through Amazon Germany (opens in new tab), priced at an extremely reasonable €1,399.
If you live in the States you’re in luck because the S7 MaxV Ultra is available direct from Roborock (opens in new tab) and Amazon (opens in new tab), priced $1,399.99.
You’re also in luck Down Under where this robot vac is available from Roborock (opens in new tab) and Harvey Norman (opens in new tab), priced A$2,699.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: design
(Image credit: Roborock)
Let me start by saying that if you have hairy pets in the home, avoid any robot vac that doesn’t come with an automatic bin-emptying system or you may regret it. This is because robot bins are tiny and dogs and cats are hairy and that means the bin will fill quicker than a Glastonbury portaloo.
Thankfully this model comes not only with a sterling auto bin emptying system, but also a mop cleaning station that scrubs the mop clean using water from its ample 3-litre clean water tank before transferring the dirty water to its equally large 2.5-litre dirty water tank.
For me, the look of a robot vac’s charging dock is aesthetically important, especially if I am to locate it in the living room. I’m more than happy to have my iRobot Roomba J7+’s low-profile dock in the living room because it’s actually quite attractive – for a bin – even though it’s also one of the loudest when emptying the contents of the vac.
By contrast, the S7 MaxV Ultra’s charging base isn’t the most appealing cleaning base I’ve ever laid eyes on so you might want to tuck it away in the hall, study, laundry room or any other area on the same floor. I guess Roborock’s tech bods were more concerned with making periodical management of the water containers more convenient at the expense of looks so I can go along with that. But I’d still prefer to see a cleaner looking package with perhaps a stylish casing with a lid that lifts off to expose the water tanks and the dustbin.
The robot vac itself? Well it looks like a robot vac. It’s round, about 8cm in height (a bit taller than average) and 35cm in diameter, and it’s got a circular LIDAR on top, a camera on the front with an LED lamp and manual controls on the top. Granted, it’s not as neat looking as the Roomba J7 but it’s no eyesore either. And besides, I prefer my robots to have different manual controls rather than just one multi-function button.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: navigation features
The Roborock’s LiDAR laser navigation in action, in the dark
(Image credit: Future)
This is one area where this robot shines. For starters, it uses LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to systematically navigate its way around a home and it does it really quickly if you forgo an initial cleaning session and opt for the mapping run instead. It takes the S7 MaxV two or three cleaning sessions to fully map a home, and the level of mapping detail it provides on the intuitive Roborock app is astounding, but more on that below.
However, since the S7 MaxV’s LiDAR navigation system treats anything solid in appearance as a barrier, it won’t venture under beds and sofas that have a valance or bedspread that reaches the floor. The bot may nudge into the soft material but it will invariably refuse to venture beyond. The best thing to do in this instance is to lift up the valance before it sets off.
iRobot’s Roomba J7 was one of the first vac bots to boast obstacle avoidance, even of the doggy doo kind. Thankfully the Roborock S7 MaxV’s Reactive AI2.0 obstacle-avoidance software performs the same task, avoiding wires, toys, stray shoes and solid pet mess with deft skill. And amazingly, it never seems to bump into furniture or scrape along skirting boards like most non-LiDAR robot vacs and that means the machine tends to remain in better condition even after a few months of intensive use where others are covered in ugly scuff marks.
Since this vac is equipped with laser navigation, a front-mounted camera and a front headlamp, it will happily perform its cleaning duties in complete darkness – and that’s something that’s rarely possible with standard camera-style robot vacs. It also means you can set a cleaning schedule to run before sunrise or middle of the night.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: vacuum features
The Roborock S7 MaxV works brilliantly on both rugs and hard floors
(Image credit: Future)
Where the T3 Award Winning Roborock S6 Max V had a suction rating of 2,500 Pascals (the unit used for vacuum pressure), the new S7 MaxV hits the magic 5,100Pa mark so you can be sure this model sucks like a limpet – on steroids. Mind, you only get the full monty by selecting vacuum-only mode and choosing the highest Turbo setting with the Max+ button engaged. I started the first few days of my test on Balanced (medium) mode which seemed easily good enough but I’ve since changed it to Turbo because, well I can. Heading beneath the unit, there’s a single ribbed rubber roller that batters the carpet while being quite gentle on hard flooring.
I’m not sure if it’s as efficient a cleaning roller as the twin rollers fitted to most iRobots but it’s picked up everything I’ve thrown in its path so I can’t complain. I also suspect it might be a bit more gentle on delicate hard floors like polished concrete which some robot vacs have been known to scuff, but I can’t vouch for that. One thing I do know is that the 17cm roller bar is a lot shorter than iRobot’s flagship S9+ which has two 23cm rollers that almost cover the width of the unit. That said, it seems that most robot vacs – the excellent iRobot Roomba J7 included – use shorter 16-17cm rollers and they’ve all managed to do the job well.
Like all robot vacs, the S7 MaxV has a small dustbin on board that is thankfully emptied automatically every time it returns to its base station. Without the auto-emptying system you would have to do the emptying yourself and if you have dogs and cats, that could be every 15 minutes or so.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: mopping features
(Image credit: Roborock)
Quite a few robot vacs are coming out with flat mop heads attached to their rears. The idea is that, as they vacuum the floor, the mop – which is continually dampened via the robot’s small 300ml water tank – follows behind keeping any hard floors spick and span. However, the trouble with most hybrid systems of this nature is that they are not capable of detecting carpet and those that can will refuse to go on any fibrous flooring. Hence, if you have rugs on the floor that divide sections of hard flooring, you will almost certainly have to lift the bot off one section of flooring and move it to another.
My current review of the iRobot Roomba Combo J7+ extols the virtues of its retractable mop head that lifts completely off the floor to rest on top of the machine whenever the bot detects carpets or rugs. The system works very well, even on deep pile carpets.
Well the Roborock S7 MaxV also lifts its rear mop when it detects carpet or rug but only by 5mm. This might not sound like much but I’ve been watching it closely on my rugs and medium pile carpet and the mop has always raised well clear of the fibres. However, it might not raise high enough when used on deep pile carpet so you may need to select ’vacuum only’ on the app and forgo the mopping.
On the plus side, the Roborock’s mop incorporates sonic vibration technology that ‘scrubs hard floors up to 3,000 times per minute’. This is an excellent idea because it genuinely loosens floor stains that need a bit of extra elbow grease to remove. By contrast, the iRobot Roomba Combo J7+’s mop simply presses to the floor.
The S7 MaxV provides three cleaning modes: Light, Balanced and Deep. Light mode uses the least amount of water and is best for delicate wooden floors while the Deep mode is ideal for tiles and linoleum.
In the case of most other systems, you would need to periodically remove the mop to give it a good clean under a tap. But not here because, as mentioned above, the charging dock contains a full mop cleaning system. Let’s take a closer look.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: Empty Wash Fill Dock
There’s a lot going on in the mop-cleaning department
(Image credit: Future)
This is what it’s all about and why the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is the most complete floor cleaning system currently on the market. Granted, the dock is much larger that normal robot vacs – it’s 41cm wide, 41cm in height and 50cm in depth – but that’s because it not only has a large dust bag, but also two water tanks, one for clean water (3 litres) and the other for the dirty stuff (2.5 litres). Both tanks have lift-up handles for easy carrying.
How does it work? When the S7 MaxV has finished its vacuuming and mopping, it returns to the Empty Wash Fill Dock where the robot’s internal bin is emptied into the main 2.5-litre dust bag. After this, the dock starts to wash the pad with a vigorous scrubbing motion that releases more dirt than you could possibly imagine. The dirty water from this cleaning session is then ported to the dirty water tank. And, believe me, it’s dirty.
What this means for you and me is that we rarely ever need to remove the mop to give it a manual clean while inevitably splashing soapy water all over the shop. It means we can simply set it and forget it. After two weeks of testing, I’ve emptied the dirty water tank twice and filled the clean water tank once. I call that a result!
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: vacuum performance
(Image credit: Roborock)
I’ll cut straight to the chase. This is the best performing robot vac I’ve ever tested – as good, if not better than the world conquering iRobot Roomba S9+. It cleans impeccably well, it manages to avoid the vast majority of obstacles, it doesn’t bang into furnishings and it doesn’t snatch the edges of rugs nearly as much as most other models. Its suction power is really impressive, especially in Max mode, and it’s not too noisy either. After two weeks of testing I’ve had zero issues with it leaving areas untouched and, to date, it hasn’t tangled itself up or jammed under furniture. To date it is far and away the most reliable robot vac I’ve ever used.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: mopping performance
The Roborock S7 MaxV won’t replace a mop and bucket when it comes to dealing with spills or ingrained stains but once it’s running a regular schedule, it’ll keep all your hard floors in tip-top condition without you having to lift a finger.
I always have muddy paw prints on my wooden floors but this thing’s vibrating mop sorts them in a thrice. I can even command the bot to do a spot clean by tapping ‘Pin n Go’ in the app and selecting an area in one of the rooms. I’m actually looking at my floors right now and I don’t think they’ve ever looked cleaner, and with zero effort on my part. Top marks for mopability.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: Roborock app
Roborock’s app is extremely intuitive and full of wondrous things
(Image credit: Future)
The Roborock app (iOS and Android) is a revelation. It’s just so intuitive and so easily navigable. Aside from the accurate mapping – which can be viewed in 2D or 3D – the app lets you create different rooms and zones, divide them if the home is open planned and even place furniture in a room a la ‘Sims’. And since you can name each room in the app, it’s very easy to command the S7 MaxV to just clean the living room or kitchen. Scheduling the machine to clean different rooms at different times is a little more complex but not remotely taxing. Above all, I loved the fact I could watch the bot on the screen in real time and then see its completed map of where it vacuumed, where it mopped and which areas are carpeted.
Another brilliant thing about the app is that it provides the wherewithal to control the S7 MaxV like a remote controlled car from wherever you happen to be. I tried it out in a restaurant to keep an eye on the dogs and was mightily impressed. I simply tapped on the app’s camera icon and steered the bot along the floor. Yes the dogs looked a little surprised but since I didn’t have a house camera set up in that area I found this solution to be surprisingly effective. What’s more, I could have spoken to the dogs via the S7 MaxV’s built in speaker but refrained from doing so lest they freaked out.
Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra review: verdict
(Image credit: Roborock)
If you can afford the admittedly steep outlay, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra is the first robot vac-cum-mop that is truly hands off. Just leave it to its own devices, safe in the knowledge that all floors will be regularly cleaned, the bin emptied and the mop thoroughly cleaned in readiness for the next outing. With all due respect to its competitors, this one is in a different league.