Roborock E4 Review

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Roborock E4 Review

What would you get from a robot vacuum below $300? Most likely, a product that would only pinball around.

The Roborock E4 is unique in this aspect – it’s probably the only robot in this price range (in North America) that utilizes a smart navigating algorithm. So it goes in straight lines instead of just bouncing around.

This variant is Roborock’s latest in their E-Series line, which is their entry-level alternative for budget-conscious shoppers. Here’s the thing, the E4 isn’t your typical entry-level robot.

How good is this robot? Let’s find out in this review.

Efficient Navigating Budget Robot Vacuum

Roborock E4

Roborock E4 Review

While the E4 isn’t the least expensive, it certainly provides a lot of value. The most impressive feature based on the tests is how efficient it navigates. This isn’t your typical robot that wanders around in a random direction after it bumps into something. It’s more sophisticated with the dual gyroscope system and opticEye sensor underneath. I’ve been testing the E4 for the past few days, and I’ve been impressed most with its navigation, which isn’t like most budget-level robots that tend to bump into furniture with force. It has as much airflow as more premium robots like the Roomba S9 and Neato D7, which helps it make clean passes.

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Pros

  • Perhaps the best navigating robot vacuum at its price range.
  • It can carry up to 0.64-liters of dry dirt.
  • The mopping feature adds to its functionality. However, you’ll have to purchase the module separately.
  • It has higher airflow than the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV.
  • It cleans hard floors well, decent on carpets.

Cons

  • The navigation isn’t as thorough as higher-end Roborock options like the S6 and St6 MaxV.
  • Not good at edge cleaning.
  • The mopping pad is sold separately.

Introduction to the Roborock E4

The E4 is the newest addition to Roborock’s E-Series robots that also includes the E20, E25 and E35.

Based on airflow tests, the E4 has the most airflow among all Roborock robots with as much as 21.51 CFM at the Max setting. It’s higher than some premium robots like the Roomba S9+, Shark IQ, and Neato D7.

This high number translates to a clean pick up on hard surfaces and carpets, which is an attribute for all Roborock products.

Roborock E4 Design

Roborock E4 top view

The E4 retains the minimalistic design cues of previous E-series robots. There are some cosmetic differences between the E35 and E4, such as button placement. The E4 takes the beveled design cues from the S6 Pure minus the LIDAR case in the middle.

Underneath, the E4 retains the same layout with the main brush sitting between the two rubber wheels, and a single side brush.

Roborock E4 bottom

Newer Roborock models utilize the all-rubber side brush that I think has better durability than the bristle brush. If you own an older variant like the S5, you can purchase the new brush since it is backward compatible.

How does the Roborock E4 navigate?

One reason why Roborock was able to bring down the price of the E-Series robots is it doesn’t use LIDAR.

Instead, it relies on a combination of two gyroscopes and an “opticEye” sensor underneath to mark its location.

Roborock E4 OpticEye sensor

Watch this short clip so you’ll have a visual of how the E4 traverses.

Unlike the Roborock options that have LIDAR, the E4 doesn’t start cleaning the middle portions before moving towards the outskirts.

It does lack the meticulousness of the S-Series robots, where users have the option to amend the number of times it will go over the area.

One advantage with this combo over an IR-sensor that most other brands use is the efficiency. To a certain extent, the E4 can pinpoint its location, but it doesn’t have the same precision as LIDAR and SLAM.

The software will draw a map, but you won’t be able to see real-time updates. It only shows up after the run.

Will the E4 scuff furniture?

One issue with random navigating robots like the Roomba 690 is its tendency to scuff furniture. These machines won’t slow down, so it’ll bump into objects hard.

The Roborock E4 will not entirely avoid furniture, but it slows down just enough so it doesn’t smash into it.

How did it do in cramped spaces?

Another issue with cheap robot vacuums is tight quarters, between chair legs. I tested the E4 in these areas, and it was able to find its way out without getting wedged or stuck.

Can it avoid wires?

I have not tested a robot vacuum that can altogether avoid wires. The S6 MaxV will be able cords to avoid to a certain extent, but it still tangles up with stretched cables out of its line of vision.

The Roborock E4 will not avoid wires. I’d recommend moving these out of the way before running the robot for the best results.

App features of the Roborock E4

The Roborock E4 is only compatible with the Xiaomi Home App. Don’t expect the same level of functionality as you’d get from the S5 or S5 Max.

However, for the price, it has one of the more feature-rich apps.

I’ll quickly run through the different features.

Scheduling

Roborock E5 scheduling

You’ll have access to the scheduling feature that lets users specify not only the time but also the frequency – whether you want it to run every day, only on weekdays, only on weekends, or specific days and the cleaning mode.

So far, I have not seen a robot with this level of customization below $300.

Carpet boost

Roborock E5 carpet boost

When enabled, the robot will automatically go into the max setting if it detects carpets. I’d recommend turning this feature on if your home has such.

Gentle mode

Only enable this feature for mopping, it will lower the motor output to its lowest setting, so it’ll be able to mop a larger area.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase the mop module separately to gain access to this function.

Cleaning history

Roborock E5 cleaning history

Shows you how many times the robot has cleaned with the corresponding maps of each cycle.

On top, you’ll see the total time the robot has run and the aggregate area it has covered for all the cleanups.

Maintenance

Roborock E5 maintenance

It provides a heads up when to clean replace components like the filter and brushes and when to clean the sensors. Only use the information here as a guide as it isn’t 100% accurate.

Update firmware

Roborock rolls out software updates periodically to improve the functionality of the app or the robot’s navigation. So be sure to update to the latest firmware when available.

How much power does the Roborock E4 have?

One big surprise for me is the high airflow. The Roborock E4 has more than any of the other Roborock products I’ve tested so far. These include the S5, S5 Max, S6 Pure, and S6 MaxV.

Here are the results of the airflow test in comparison with the other Roborock options.

Roborock Model
E4
S5 Max
S6 Pure
S6 MaxV
Gentle
N/A
8.37 CFM
N/A
6.14 CFM
Silent
11.33 CFM
9.8 CFM
9.68 CFM
7.9 CFM
Balanced
14.20 CFM
12.49 CFM
12.49 CFM
9.8 CFM
Turbo
17.91 CFM
15.68 CFM
15.68 CFM
12.32 CFM
Max
21.51 CFM
17.74 CFM
18.17 CFM
15.68 CFM

By default, the E4 doesn’t have the “gentle” setting, which you’ll have to enable separately.

The E4 has 16% more airflow than the S6 Pure, 31.35% more than the S6 MaxV, and 19.2% more than the S5 Max at the highest power setting.

There are margins for error in these types of tests, but the figures I got were consistent in multiple occurrences.

Unfortunately, the high airflow doesn’t translate to better performance on carpets since it lacks the E4 lacks the thoroughness of the S-series robots.

Dust container design and volume

One advantage of not have LIDAR is the extra space inside the housing, which enables Roborock to put in a larger dust bin.

It has a capacity of 0.64-liters – one of the highest in the industry.

One issue with is it doesn’t have a door similar to the S5 Max.

To dispose of contents, you’ll have to remove the filter and shake the bin to empty everything, which can be tricky as dirt can trickle to the sides of the trash container if you’re not careful.

How noisy is the Roborock E4?

I used a sound meter to measure noise from a few feet away.

Here is the decibel level at each power setting:

  • Silent: 59.4 dB
  • Balanced: 61.3 dB
  • Turbo: 62.6 dB
  • Max: 64.4 dB

It’s below the 65-decibel mark, so you can still have a decent conversation even with this robot running.

How does the Roborock E4 clean?

One thing consistent with all Roborock products is the design.

All models utilize the same combo brush and side brush (except for the S5 that has the older bristle design).

The design, along with the high airflow, makes E4 quite efficient at picking up surface debris, which we’ll look at next.

Cleaning Performance

To check how well the E4 handles different types of debris, I put it through a rigorous series of tests.

Some have said these aren’t representative of daily cleaning due to the sheer quantity, but I feel it’s an excellent way to gauge the capability of a robot.

If it can handle these messes, daily cleaning will be a breeze.

I tested the E4 on stuff like Quaker oats, coffee, quinoa, pet litter, sand, hair, Cheerios, and Fruit loops.

In a test area, I scattered the debris, used the default cleaning cycle, and weighed the bin before and after the test to get the final scores.

First, here are the complete results.

  • Overall: 91.05%
  • Hard floor: 99.8%
  • Carpet (Surface pickup): 97%
  • Carpet (Deep cleaning): 69.83%

The mediocre score in the deep cleaning test dragged the overall total down. However, it was still excellent with the surface pick up experiments.

Hard floor results

  • Quaker oats: 99.4%
  • Coffee: 99.8%
  • Quinoa: 100%
  • Pet litter: 100%

Roborock E4 cleaning quaker oats on hard floors

Roborock E4 cleaning coffee on hard floors

Roborock E4 cleaning quinoa on hard floors

Roborock E4 pet litter on hard floors

The high airflow of the E4 reveals itself with how well it did on hard floors. It was able to pick up 100% in two of the tests with the other two in the high 90s.

More impressive was how the E4 was able to achieve this score even with fewer passes than the S5 or S5 Max.

Sand on hard floor test

Roborock E4 sand on hard floor test

One of the toughest elements to clean on hard surfaces is sand. And to check the capacity of the E4 to tackle it, I scattered 50 grams. I did two tests, one using the balanced setting and another with the max setting.

There were no issues with the E4 cleaning sand on hard floors. It was able to pick up an average of 99.4% on the two runs.

The pick up was clean on both runs with minimal traces of sand left.

Hard wrap test on hard floors

For this test, I spread one gram of five to seven inch human hair on a test area. I believe this is a good barometer whether or not a robot vacuum has an excellent anti-tangle system.

The E4 was decent, with most of the hair going into the dust bin. Unfortunately, portions of the seven-inch strands got caught up around the edge of the brush.

Roborock E4 hair wrap on hard floor

This test reveals that while the E4 brush has a decent anti-tangle system, but it isn’t wholly tangle-free.

Edge cleaning

Roborock E4 edge cleaning

One issue with circular robots is its poor edge cleaning. The E4 is no exception as the round shape, rapid spinning brush, and navigation hamper it from cleaning on this area.

While it was able to clean a decent portion, it left a chunk of pet litter on the edge and corner. The fast-spinning side brush also scattered pieces of it towards the middle section.

Carpet results

Next, we’ll look at how the E4 did on low and mid pile carpets. I used the same set of debris from the earlier experiments on this surface.

Low pile results

  • Quaker oats: 95.8%
  • Coffee grounds: 92.4%
  • Quinoa: 100%
  • Pet litter: 99.6%

Roborock E4 cleaning quaker oats on low pile carpet

Roborock E4 cleaning coffee grounds on low pile carpets

Roborock E4 cleaning quinoa on low pile carpet

Roborock E4 cleaning pet litter on low pile carpets

The E4 struggled most with cleaning minuscule particles like coffee grounds on low pile carpet.

One issue I see here is the navigation, as it only went around the test area one and a half times.

If Roborock can tweak the algorithm, so it goes around twice or thrice would improve cleaning performance.

Mid pile results

  • Quaker oats: 98.4%
  • Coffee grounds: 89.8%
  • Quinoa: 100%
  • Pet litter: 100%

Roborock E4 cleaning quaker oats on mid pile carpets

Roborock E4 cleaning coffee on low pile carpets

Roborock E4 cleaning quinoa on mid pile carpets

Roborock E4 cleaning pet litter on mid pile carpets

The scores on mid pile are similar to the low pile results. It did very well with cleaning quinoa and pet litter, but not so well on coffee grounds.

Again, the issue is the lack of passes as the E4 only went over the area twice at most.

Deep cleaning test

To check how well the E4 does at cleaning embedded dirt, I rubbed 100 grams of sand on mid pile carpet and ran it one cycle to see how much it picks up. I did the test three times to get the average score.

The E4 was able to pick up an average of 69.83%, which is a mild disappointment given the high airflow numbers.

Hair wrap on carpet

I did a separate hair wrap test on carpets with the same amount of hair – one gram of five to seven inch strands.

The E4 did worst on carpet than on hard floors with more hair wrapping on the brush.

Roborock E4 hair wrap on carpet

Granted, this is an extreme test, however, it reveals you’ll need to check the brush roll and cut the strands that wrap around it.

Large debris test

Picking up large debris won’t be a problem with the E4. It has excellent cleaning dynamics and ample clearance to fit even extra-large stuff like Fruit loops without clogging.

Can the Roborock E4 mop?

Yes, the E4 can mop. It comes with a gravity tank similar to the S6 Pure. However, it lacks the electronic water tank found in the S6 MaxV and S5 Max. So it can only cover a smaller area.

To test how effect the E4 is at mopping, I scattered droplets of red wine and grape juice overnight.

Roborock E4 mopping

The E4 was able to clean most of the stains, but it left residue and tire marks not visible on the photo.

It was a bit sticky and definitely needs more mopping to clean entirely. The water tank was empty after cleaning this small area. So you’ll need frequent refills and extra pads to mop a larger area.

If you’re looking for an effective robot and mop combo, I would still prefer the S5 Max over this with the more thorough navigation and electronic water tank.

How long with the Roborock E4 run?

The E4 utilizes the same 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery as the S-Series robots like the S5, S5 Max, and S6 MaxV.

It will run for up to 200 minutes in a single charge.

Does the Roborock E4 have recharge and resume?

Yes, according to Roborock, this feature is available in the E4.

This most useful inside large homes. If the battery runs low, it recharges just enough then resumes cleaning to complete the job to save time.

Roborock calls this the “top-up charge’.

What comes in the box?

The Roborock E4 comes with the following out of the box.

  1. E4 Robot
  2. Charging dock
  3. Power cable
  4. Quick start guide and manual

It doesn’t have an extra filter and side brush, or the mopping pad/water tank. So you’ll have to purchase these separately.

Maintenance

All robot vacuums will require some upkeep to keep it running smoothly. The E4 is no exception. Fortunately, such as the filter and brushes are readily available in sites like Amazon and Walmart, if you live in North America. Or stores like GearBest and AliExpress for those living in Europe and the Far East.

The Xiaomi Home App has a “maintenance” tab that alerts users when to replace brushes and filters or to clean the sensors. So it’s something to look at on occasion to check.

Product Specifications

ModelRoborock E4
ManufacturerRoborock
Battery5,200 mAh Li-ion
Run timeUp to 200 mins.
Water Tank Capacity180 ml.
Dirt Capacity (dry)640 ml.
Weight7.8 pounds
Diameter12.62 inches
Height3.5 inches
Smart NavigationYes
Recharge and ResumeYes
HEPA FiltrationYes
Side BrushYes
Extra FilterNone
Manufactured InChina
Warranty1 year
PriceCheck Price

Where can I buy the Roborock E4?

The Roborock E4 is available in online stores like Amazon. Please check the links below for more details.

Disclaimer: If you buy through the link above, I will earn a commission, but at no extra cost to you. So it’s a win-win for both of us!

Does the Roborock E4 Offer Excellent Value?

The E4 is one of the better value for money robot vacuums available.

You’re getting a lot of functionality for the price. It is perhaps the most efficient navigating budget robot with a decent amount of thoroughness.

It isn’t as thorough as Roborock’s premium options like the S6 Pure or S6 MaxV, but it may be the only option capable at this price range capable of cleaning multiple rooms with proficiency.

The large capacity 5,200 mAh battery and recharge and resume enable it to tackle even large houses. And the twice gyroscope and “opticEye” enable it to do so without getting lost.

Another feature I like is the app. You’ll have access to features only found in premium options, like unlimited schedules per day with multiple frequency options (weekdays, weekends, custom, etc.).

I have not found this level of customization in other brands at this price range.

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09/17/2020 09:53 pm

The Verdict: One of the Best Budget Robot Vacuum Options

I’m impressed with the Roborock E4 when you factor everything it brings to the table. It’s got high-end airflow, efficient navigation, large dust bin, long run time, and an app with features only found in premium models.

It’s the only alternative below the $300 range I know of with recharge and resume, meaning if it runs low and hasn’t completed the cycle, it recharges then resumes to finish the task.

To summarize here are reasons to buy the Roborock E4:

  1. High airflow: The E4 has excellent airflow at over 20 CFM, which is at the same level as premium options such as the Roomba S9+ and Neato D7.
  2. Superb on hard floors: The high airflow translates into an excellent pick up on hard surfaces where it scored close to 100%.
  3. Efficient navigation: Even without LIDAR, the E4 will navigate efficiently, even around cramped spaces around chairs. It’s the only option (aside from the E25 and E35) I’d recommend at this price range for cleaning large homes.
  4. Extended run time: The 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery will run for up to 200 minutes.
  5. Feature-rich app: The Xiaomi Home App has lots of functionality, with features only found in premium options.
  • Navigation - 94%
    94%
  • Surface Cleaning - 98.73%
    99%
  • Deep Cleaning - 69.86%
    70%
  • Quality - 95%
    95%
  • Design - 94%
    94%
  • Value - 98%
    98%
92%

Summary

The Roborock E4 is one of the best budget robot vacuums I’ve tested below the $300 mark. It’s the only one so far I’d recommend for cleaning large homes because of the large 5,200 mAh battery, efficient navigation, and recharge and resume. It’s got high airflow rivaling high-end robots, but the navigation, I feel, lacks thoroughness, which hurts it somewhat in the cleaning tests. The app is also on feature-rich with advanced scheduling features and customizations only found in premium options. This is an excellent option for folks looking for a budget robot capable of navigating efficiency in larger spaces.