When robot vacuums first launched, they were clumsy and happily bumped into furniture and walls to try to find their way around while cleaning. They could only vacuum, with limited suction power and efficiency, and came with a small base that served only for charging.
They have greatly evolved over the past few years, with the most advanced models now able to mop the floors and clean themselves autonomously. This last part is why I initially gave up on robot vacuums until new, fully autonomous models made me reconsider my choice.
One of the most popular robot vacuums is the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra, which requires minimal maintenance. However, Roborock wanted to improve its flagship product further and just launched the new S8 Pro Ultra, which is even more powerful than the S7 MaxV Ultra, thanks to its 6,000Pa suction power, its two DuoRoller bristleless roller brushes, and its new mop drying system.
This makes it the most complete robot vacuum on the market, with its ability to empty its dust bin, wash and dry its mop, and refill itself with clean water while collecting the used water in a dedicated tank. It also comes with intelligent AI-powered navigation, enabling it to navigate around your house precisely while recognizing and avoiding obstacles.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is probably the most advanced autonomous robot cleaner out there. It can vacuum and mop your floors without your intervention, and even clean itself when it's done. Its navigation is also top-notch, allowing it to get around your house without bumping into obstacles or getting stuck.
If you've got the bucks for it, you'd be making the right choice buying one.
- Dimensions: 16.7 x 20.3 x 17.7in
- Battery Life: 180 mn
- Brand: Roborock
- Price: $1,600
- Color : Black or white
- Surface Recommendation: All
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi
- Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant
- Suction: 6,000 Pa
- Navigation and mapping
- Cleaning efficiency
- Self-cleaning dock
- Rising mop and brushes
- Dock design
- No spare accessories in the box
Price and availability
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is expected to go on sale in late April for a whopping $1,600. Although this may sound expensive, it's certainly cheaper than paying a cleaning service to do your floors.
Design, hardware, what's in the box
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is a high-end product, which means it ships with plenty of accessories in the box. The first is, of course, the robot itself, which is available in either black or white. It measures 350 x 353 x 96.5mm, making it a bit bulkier than other robot vacuums, but its size still allows it to clean under most furniture, despite its top-mounted LIDAR dome.
The HEPA filter and dust bin are easily accessible under a flap at the top of the robot, which prevents you from having to flip it upside down. The two bristleless rubber DuoRoller roller brushes, the VibraRise mop, and the side brush are on the S8 Pro Ultra's bottom but remain easily accessible. A 3D camera at the front helps it navigate around your house and detect obstacles along the way.
Next is the massive RockDock Ultra base station, which measures 16.7 x 20.3 x 17.7 inches and matches the robot's color. Roborock has slightly improved its design, making it look less like a giant printer cartridge tray compared to the previous generation.
That said, it's still not something you'd necessarily want to feature in the middle of your living room. Indeed, the two water tanks are directly visible instead of being concealed under a cover. There's even a water drop logo on each of them, making it easier to tell which is which. On the right, the dust bag is hidden under a plastic cover that mimics the design of the water tanks.
Despite this peculiar design, the two water tanks are solid and appear durable. They both have a built-in folding handle, as well as an assisted lid that makes them easy to empty and refill.
In addition, the dock features a plastic receptacle designed to dry the mop without damaging hardwood floors. It also houses a complex mechanism to wash the mop, with a built-in sliding brush that scrubs it thoroughly before drying it with hot air.
Besides the robot and the base station, the box includes a cleaning brush and a replacement dust bag. Unfortunately, the box doesn't include a spare mop or HEPA filter, which is a bit hard to swallow, given the robot's price. Thankfully, filters, brushes, and mops are easy to find online due to Roborock's popularity; you can find official products and compatible products from third parties.
Software, cleaning, and battery
Like other Roborock products, the S8 Pro Ultra is compatible with the Xiaomi Mi Home and Roborock apps, as well as Google Assistant and Alexa. For added convenience, three buttons at the top of the robot allow you to operate it without reaching for your phone. There are no buttons on the dock for quick operation; however, the LED changes color when it requires your attention, visually letting you know it's time to empty the dirty water tank, for example.
The first run will allow the robot to create a map of your space with relatively correct room recognition. Once the map is built, you can fully control it and split, merge, and rename rooms. You can customize the map by creating no-go zones, adjusting the floor type, adding furniture, and even defining the cleaning sequence. Too bad there is no option to remove rooms, so I'm stuck with an imaginary room that the robot thinks exists outside my bay window.
The S8 Pro Ultra can also handle up to four floor maps, meaning it can be used in different environments without having to remap places it already knows. And if you place it somewhere else in a room, it can automatically position itself and find its way back to its dock.
The app is full of features, starting with the home screen, which shows the robot's status and the latest cleaning cycle information. It lets you quickly see how long it's been cleaning, the surface it's covered, and its battery level. This information is also displayed on the map, showing its cleaning path and what obstacles it potentially encountered along its route. Using structured light, 3D imaging, and AI technology, the S8 Pro Ultra can recognize many objects, such as shoes, fabric, dog poo, and much more.
The app also lets you send the robot to clean a specific room or zone and adjust the cleaning settings. Therefore, you can select from vacuuming, mopping, a combination of both, or even customize what to do for each room.
Similarly, you can adjust the suction power and scrubbing intensity and even choose a faster cleaning route if you need a quick wipe. Unfortunately, there is no option to customize the number of passes, which means you can't set it to always clean your hallway twice. You can do that manually, though, as there is an option to choose up to three passes when sending it to specific rooms or zones, but not when running a standard cycle.
There's also an impressive number of settings to choose from, including creating detailed cleaning schedules, customizing the obstacle avoidance system, and choosing what to do when encountering carpets. This can be as simple as automatically boosting suction power, raising the mop, or avoiding them entirely. In addition, you can set it to automatically deep clean carpets after running a regular vacuuming cycle.
Roborock's innovative VibraRise and DuoRoller Rise features allow the S8 Pro Ultra to intelligently lift its mop or roller brushes according to the cleaning mode and surface. This means it can automatically raise its mop to avoid wetting carpets. It can also do the opposite and lift the roller brushes while in mopping mode.
Similarly, you can customize the dock settings to adjust the mop wash frequency, how thoroughly to clean it, and how long to dry it. You can also let the dock automatically gauge when and how to empty the dust bin or pick a different setting yourself.
Now that we've covered most of the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra's software features, let's talk about its cleaning efficiency. I was very curious to see how well it could deal with a house where we go on several forest walks a day with my Samoyed, often in muddy conditions. To be fair, people take their shoes off, and the dog's paws get wiped when we come in, but there's still a significant amount of dirt, dust, and hair to deal with.
I also tested the robot in different conditions: deep cleaning my floors once or twice a week, with all the small furniture put away to clear its path; cleaning up the kitchen or dining room several times a day after a meal; and cleaning the hallway after coming back from a walk with the Samoyed on a rainy day.
Regardless of the conditions and environment, the Roborock proved efficient and reliable. When maxing out its cleaning settings, it is relatively noisy, but sucks most of the dust and dirt from uneven floors, while also cleaning edges and corners with its side brush. For a daily clean, its lowest setting is so quiet that you can be on a call next to it without any disturbance.
The mopping is relatively efficient for a daily clean, thanks to the two vibration modules that deliver 3,000rpm scrubbing while applying a 6N pressure on the floor. Most importantly, the robot can automatically wash its mop after cleaning each room or after a customizable run time has elapsed. This avoids mopping the whole house with a soiled mop and spreading dirt all over the floor. While the robot manages to clean floors without leaving marks, it's not a magic device and cannot get rid of tough stains with a single pass, though.
Also, the dock is designed to be used with regular water and doesn't have a detergent cartridge, so it's built to clean lightly soiled surfaces. However, I tried adding a few drops of cleaning detergent in the water tank, and this slightly improved the cleaning effect without causing any issues, even though Roborock doesn't recommend doing this.
When it comes to navigation, the Roborock S8 Pro Ul does an excellent job and never got stuck in my testing, despite being used intensively for about a month. It brilliantly avoided cables, shoes, curtains, and other obstacles. The robot also managed to get out of tricky situations, especially when cleaning under chairs and stools.
The Roborock S8 Pro Max is designed to clean large areas without any issues. It can clean up to 3,230 square feet on a single charge, with a runtime of about 180 minutes in quiet mode, thanks to the 5,200mAh battery. With the settings maxed out, these figures fall to a little over an hour, which is still impressive. In addition, the vacuum can automatically recharge itself when the battery is low and resume its task when it has enough power to complete it. Also, the app lets you define off-peak hours, allowing the robot to recharge itself at that time, saving you some money and helping put less pressure on the grid.
Maintenance and care
The S8 Pro Ultra promises a minimal maintenance experience, which it absolutely delivers. All you have to do is empty its dirty water tank and fill the clean one with fresh water — and potentially a few drops of detergent if you're a clean freak like me. Both tanks are also big enough for the robot to clean large surfaces without your intervention.
More importantly, the mop-washing functionality is the best on the market. Combined with the built-in air-drying, it ensures no residual mildew or smell. The dock itself remains clean, even after extensive use. You can see for yourself in the picture how the dock appeared after being used for several weeks without being wiped or cleaned manually.
The mop is removable, allowing you to occasionally throw it in the washer. But, there's no spare mop, so you can't swap it for another while you wash it unless you buy another one.
Finally, when it comes to maintenance, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra requires less than five minutes of your time. Its bristleless roller brushes mean no hair gets tangled in them, and you only need to take them out and remove debris from the sides and underneath. The same goes for the small wheel, which you can pop out to clean hair and debris from it. With all this, the S8 Pro Ultra is awarded for being the smart robot vacuum and mop with the least maintenance, providing a truly automated cleaning experience.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is, in my opinion, the most advanced robot vacuum and mop combo to date. There are some similar products from competing manufacturers, however. The Dreamebot L10s Ultra ($1,000) is probably its fiercest rival, with similar features such as auto mop washing and drying. Its dock is taller, slimmer, and better looking. Plus, it comes with rotating mop pads (instead of a vibrating mop), which do a great job keeping your floors clean, thanks to the detergent cartridge housed in the dock. However, the dock's design means you have to clean it much more frequently than the Roborock's.
Alternatively, you can consider the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni ($1,550), which has similar features but comes with a futuristic and expensive-looking base station. It can also vacuum and mop simultaneously, but can't lift its mop pads automatically. Therefore, while it does avoid carpets, it requires you to manually remove the mop pads for it to vacuum them after cleaning hard floors.
Should you buy it?
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is definitely the best vacuum and mop combo robot on the market. It has plenty of cool features, including excellent navigation and great cleaning efficiency, while requiring minimal maintenance.
Since it's the leading product, it's also the most expensive, costing a whopping $1,600, which isn't realistic for many households. Luckily, cheaper options such as the S8 and S8+ exist if you're willing to get your hands dirty more often.