Roborock S4 Max vs. S5 Max

Roborock S4 Max vs S5 Max

Roborock just added another variant to their line-up, the S4 Max.

It’s an upgrade over the previous S4 model with more airflow and a slightly larger dustbin.

In this comparison, I’ll be comparing it with Roborock’s most popular option – the S5 Max.

Which variant is better? Scroll down to find out.

First, here’s a quick overview of the Roborock S4 Max vs. S5 Max

Roborock S4 MaxRoborock S4 Max
Power: 22.26 cfm
Run Time: 180 mins.
Deep Cleaning: 80.2%
Dust Cup: 0.46 liters
Multi-Level Maps: Yes
No of Maps: 4

Roborock S5 Max
Power: 17.74 cfm
Run Time: 180 mins.
Deep Cleaning: 84.75%
Dust Cup: 0.46 liters
Multi-Level Maps: Yes
No of Maps: 4

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Introduction to the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max

Roborock has been busy with product releases, and the S4 Max is the latest one to come out.

This model is an upgrade to the soon to be phased out S4. The S4 Max adapts similar design cues to the S5 Max with the same interface and brush layout. It has more airflow than the S5 Max and tops out at over 20 CFM.

However, it lags in cleaning embedded sand (more in the cleaning comparison), but regardless it’s still excellent at picking up debris minus the mopping functionality.

Roborock S4 Max: Best Value for Money Roborock Option

Roborock S4 Max

As I’ve said in the review, the S4 Max offers high-end options minus the premium cost.

This model offers features like smart navigation, no-go zones, selective room cleaning, voice, invisible wall, and high airflow at a price close to an entry-level Roomba.

It lacks the mopping feature, but if this isn’t a must-have, the S4 Max is an excellent alternative if the S5 Max is too expensive.

Roborock almost has perfect the navigational algorithm with their products. And the S4 Max has this precision navigation with the laser sensor and SLAM.

Coverage and thoroughness are strong points as it can go up to three passes. It lacks the “dirt detect” of a Roomba, but it picks up debris well.

None of the robot vacuums I’ve tested in this price range has this combination of features and performance.

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01/22/2021 05:46 am GMT

Roborock S5 Max: Best Two-in-One Roborock Option

Roborock S5 Max

The S5 Max is currently the most popular Roborock option, thanks to its vacuuming and mopping prowess.

This is one of a handful of robot vacuum/mop hybrids capable of doing both tasks well.

It’s the first robot I’ve seen with a real electronic water tank, enabling it to keep the pad damp without being drenched.

The Viomi V3 offers a purer mopping function, but it doesn’t clean as well as the S5 Max on carpet.

It’s an excellent option for folks looking for a robot vacuum that can mop without having to spend an extra few hundred dollars for a different product.

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01/22/2021 12:45 am GMT

Similarities of the S4 Max and S5 Max

Next, we’ll look at the similarities between these two robots, and there are plenty.

1. Navigation

The first similarity we’ll look at is navigation as the S4 Max and S5 Max utilize LIDAR and SLAM to traverse in straight lines. Both have excellent coverage and thoroughness, providing users the option to select between one to three passes.

Navigating around tight quarters is a strength for both robots and rarely does it not find the dock.

The other brands that I’ve tested, like the 360, Dreame, and Viomi can go up to two passes.

2. Map saving and auto-detect

Users can save up to four map levels with a quick-start feature guiding users through the process of creating a new map.

The software is smart enough to detect the correct map during the initial scan and loads the right layout. Even if you move the robot to a different floor level, there’s no need to change the map.

3. No-go zones and invisible wall

You can add invisible walls and no-go zones to block the robot from off-limit areas at each map level.

These two provide folks with enough flexibility on what areas to block, and trust me; each home has these zones.

4. Dustbin capacity

Roborock S4 Max vs S5 Max dustbin

Both robots have the same dustbin capacity at 460 milliliters. Furthermore, these receptacles are interchangeable. Each of the bins has a washable post-motor HEPA filter.

5. Button interface

Roborock S4 Max vs S5 Max button interface

These two models have the same button layout with the home and dock switches above the LIDAR sensor. I doubt you’ll often use these buttons as Roborock has a responsive app, now with the room naming feature (after the latest update) compatible with Alexa.

6. Brush layout

Roborock S4 Max vs S5 Max brush layout

The S4 Max and S5 Max have the same brush layout with a single, all-rubber side brush and combo brush. All next-generation Roborock S-series robot brushes sit at the same position.

7. Dimension

Both have the same measurements of 13.8″ wide and 3.8″ tall.

8. Run time

Expect a run time of up to 180 minutes as both variants come with a 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery.

Differences between the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max

In this section, I’ll enumerate the differences between these two smart robot vacuums.

1. Mopping

Roborock S5 Max mopping results

Of the two, only the S5 Max has an electronic water tank, which is quite accurate at dispensing water to the pad. In various tests, the S5 Max excelled at cleaning dried stains while leaving minimal residue.

The water tank did its job keeping the pad damp without oversaturating it. So the result is only a slightly damp floor that dries up within minutes, with little streaks (if any).

The S4 Max doesn’t this feature and is a primary reason why Roborock could bring the price down at its current level.

2. No-mop zone

Roborock S5 No-Go, No Mop, and Virtual Wall

Since the S5 Max comes with a mop, it also has access to the no-mop zone feature, while the S4 Max does not.

It’s not a big deal since the no-go zone has a similar function – to block the robot from square or rectangular zones.

3. Airflow

Despite having the same rated suction, the S4 Max recorded higher airflow levels with over 20 CFM, while the S5 Max was 17.74 CFM. Surprisingly, despite the higher airflow, the S4 Max didn’t deep clean carpet as well, picking up 80.2% of fine sand.

4. App compatibility

The S5 Max is compatible with both the Xiaomi and Roborock app, while the S4 Max is only compatible with the Roborock app.

With the room naming feature added in Roborock’s latest update, this shouldn’t be an issue as it was previously, as both apps have the same functionality.

How does the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max navigate?

Both robots will navigate the same manner – after the initial scan goes around the edges before moving to the room’s middle portions in straight lines.

The algorithm is dynamic, meaning it will choose the most efficient path after scanning the area.

These robots are excellent at traversing around narrow spaces and avoiding obstacles.

Users have the option to choose between one and three runs. This feature adds a layer of thoroughness you don’t often see with other brands.

The S5 Max will traverse the same way in mopping mode. It lacks the back-and-forth mopping pattern available with the Viomi and Xiaomi Mop-P.

App features of the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max

These variants have similar app features except for the mopping tab only found in the S5 Max app. Only the S5 Max is compatible with both the Xiaomi and Roborock app. In contrast, the S4 Max is only compatible with the Roborock app.

I’ll enumerate these features below.

1. Live map

Both apps have a live map, providing real-time updates to users about the robot’s current position, room size, and battery status.

2.Containment features

Roborock S4 Max invisible wall and no-go zones

Users will also have access to containment features like the no-go zones, no-mop zones (S5 Max only), and invisible wall.

I believe these are essential features for any smart robot vacuum since most homes will have areas not suitable for a robot vacuum.

Having a tool to block these areas through the app takes away the inconvenience of using a physical object.

3. Save up to 4 map levels

Roborock S5 Max map saving feature

I live in a three-story home, so the ability to save maps is invaluable to me. The ability to detect the correct plan further enhances this feature since there’s no need to select the right floor plan every time you move the robot to another level.

Both the Xiaomi andRoborock are similar since each offers a step-by-step method to create a new map, making the process straightforward to users.

You can add as many no-go zones, no-mop zones, and invisible walls as needed for each level.

Important note: Only the S5 Max has access to the no-mop zones feature since it has a mopping feature. The S4 does not, but the no-go zone has the same functionality, so it shouldn’t be a sticking point.

4. Four power settings

All Roborock S-Series options have four power settings – Quiet, Balanced, Turbo, and Max. Previously, there were five settings.

This feature allows users to use a lower setting if they don’t want to deal with the noise. Or a higher setting for surfaces like carpet.

5. Carpet boost

These robots also have a carpet boost feature that automatically increases suction on carpet, and returns to a lower setting on hard surfaces. This provides the best balance to maximize run time and suction, as the robot will only increase power as needed on carpets.

6. Scheduling

Roborock S5 Max scheduling

Both robots have unlimited scheduling per day, which allows users to run the robot at their preferred time.

This tab provides the option to select weekends, weekdays, or specific days, plus the corresponding power levels. So folks can set a lower power setting for nighttime cleanups or a higher mode when they’re out.

7. Maintenance

The Xiaomi and Roborock apps also have a maintenance tab, providing a heads-up to users to change the filter, side brush, or combo brush. But you’ll still have to check these components, especially the brushes, as hair can accumulate and cause unnecessary friction.

Airflow comparison

I used an anemometer to check how much each robot has at the brush roll to check airflow.

Here are the results

Power settings
Roborock S4 Max
Roborock S5 Max
Quiet
11.95 CFM
9.8 CFM
Balanced
15.33 CFM
12.49 CFM
Turbo
18.87 CFM
15.68 CFM
Max
22.26 CFM
17.74 CFM

The S4 Max has more airflow across all the power modes, topping out at 22.26 CFM at Max. In comparison, the S5 Max maxes at 17.74 CFM.

Having more airflow enables the S4 Max to pick up stuff like sand on hard floors better. If you the video comparison above, you can see it had a cleaner pass in the sand on hard floor test.

Cleaning comparison: Roborock S4 Max vs. S5 Max

First, let’s look at the overall results.

Roborock ModelRoborock S4 MaxS5 Max
Overall94.45%
94.68%
Hard Floor99.7%
100%
Carpet (Surface Pickup)98%
99.31%
Sand on Hard Floor
99.9%
99.8%
Carpet (Deep Cleaning)80.2%
84.75%

The difference is minimal, with the S5 Max having better results across the board.

However, the S5 Max seems to have better agitation on carpet as it picked up more sand in the deep cleaning test (more details below).

Both robots are excellent on hard floors, even in the lower settings, making clean passes. There was minimal debris scattering as the side brush spins at a slower rate than a Roomba.

Which is better on hard floors?

Even if the test results reveal pointing to the S5 Max, it’s too close to declare as an outright winner.

Both picked up various debris types well cleanly and passed the eye test.

The S4 Max was slightly better in the sand on hard floor (99.9% vs. 99.8%) and edge cleaning test because it had more airflow.

Here’s a before and after shot from the S4 Max.

Roborock S4 Max sand on hard floor result

And the S5 Max.

Roborock S5 Max sand on hard floor

One wrinkle of the S5 Max absent in the S4 Max is the mopping feature. If you need this, then the S5 Max is the better option.

Edge cleaning comparison

I scattered coffee grounds in one corner of the room to check how much each robot picks up after one three-pass cycle.

Here are the before and after shots for the S5 Max.

Roborock S5 Max cleaning edges

And S4 Max.

Roborock S4 Max edge cleaning

The S4 Max did better picking up more than the S5 Max, picking up most of the debris even in the quarter inch crevice, which proves it has more airflow.

Hair wrap comparison

I tested both robots, how well each resists tangles from five and seven-inch hair strands. One wrinkle I added to more recent tests is weighing hair inside the dustbin and around the brush.

Here are the results for the S4 Max

Roborock S4 Max hair inside dustbin and brush
  • 5-inch test: 0.8 grams (or 80%) inside the dustbin and 0.2 grams (or 20%) around the brush
  • 7-inch test: 0.8 grams (or 80%) inside the dustbin and 0.2 grams (or 20%) around the brush

And the S5 Max results

Roborock S5 Max hair wrap test
  • 5-inch test: 0.95 grams (or 95%) inside the dustbin and 0.05 grams (or 5%) around the brush
  • 7-inch test: 0.48 grams (or 48%) inside the dustbin and 0.52 grams (or 52%) around the brush

With the five-inch test, the S5 Max was much better with most of the hair inside the dust container.

The S4 Max wasn’t bad gobbling up 80%, which is above-average.

However, the S5 Max did worst in the seven-inch test with only 48% inside the dustbin.

In comparison, the S4 Max did equally well with the same 80% pick up.

Again, this might be a result of the higher airflow.

One feature I like with Roborock products is the detachable axles, so it’s easier to clean long hair.

Mopping comparison

Only the S5 Max has the mopping feature. It’s one of the first robot vacuums I’ve tested with an actual electronic water tank. It’s good at dispensing water, keeping the pad damp without soaking it too much.

Roborock S5 Max mopping results

I tested it on red wine stains dried overnight, and it cleaned these stains well, leaving minimal tire marks and residue. The floor was dry minutes after the run.

In contrast, the S4 Max doesn’t have any mopping pad – a big reason why Roborock was able to bring the price down to its current level.

If mopping is a need, the S5 Max is the better option.

Which is better on carpets?

Next, we’ll look at how well the S4 Max and S5 Max cleans carpets. I put it through the same tests, and both did well.

Even if the S5 Max had better scores on carpet, the difference isn’t much. The S4 Max was adept at cleaning surface debris thanks to the high airflow.

It did worse with cleaning embedded sand, picking up 80.2% versus the S5 Max’s 84.75%. I tried using the S5 Max’s brush, but the score dropped to 76.13%.

One reason for this could be the S5 Max sitting lower to the ground, so it has better agitation.

Run time comparison

These robots have the same 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery and will run for up to 180 minutes in quiet mode. I tested both in the quiet setting, and each has enough airflow and agitation to pick up surface debris on hard floors.

So both robots have usable power even in the lowest setting.

Regardless, run time shouldn’t be an issue for these robots as each has recharge and resume. If the robot doesn’t finish cleaning the entire area for some reason, it’ll automatically resume cleaning at the same spot it left previously.

Also, it has a smart top-up feature where it recharges just enough to complete the tasks to minimize the waiting time.

Noise comparison

The S5 Max is the quieter option, producing only 62.4 decibels at the highest setting.

Power settings
Roborock S4 Max
Roborock S5 Max
Quiet
60.6 dB
58.2 dB
Balanced
62 dB
59.3 dB
Turbo
62.4 dB
61.2 dB
Max
64.1 dB
62.4 Db

In comparison, the S4 Max is a couple of decibels higher at 64.1. One why and it’s pretty obvious, which is the higher airflow. But for a robot vacuum with a high number, the S4 Max is relatively quiet.

As a point of comparison, the Roomba 980 is noise at over 70 decibels and still has less airflow than the S4 Max.

Maintenance

A certain level of upkeep is needed to keep these robots running efficiently over the long haul. I’ll enumerate the list of parts that needs regular maintenance.

  1. Combo brush: This part takes the most beating and needs constant TLC. You’ll have to check and clean it once or twice a week and remove any hair wrapping around it.
  2. Side brush: The all-rubber construction improves durability, but you’ll have to clean it weekly to remove accumulated hair to prevent unnecessary wear.
  3. Dustbin: Empty the container after every run or at least once daily. This prevents dust mites from breeding inside.
  4. Filter: Both the HEPA filters of the S4 Max and S5 Max are washable. Another method of cleaning is tapping it on a solid surface to dislodge dust trapped in the folds.
  5. Wheels: Use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe the side and caster wheels. I like using microfiber since it has enough grab to remove dirt sticking on it without scratching.
  6. Drop sensors: Wipe the four drop sensors with a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid using a wet towel as it could damage it.
  7. Exterior: Overtime, the surface of these robots will have fingerprint marks all over it. Use a clean microfiber towel to wipe the body.

Availability of parts

The rise in Roborock’s popularity has spawned more third-party manufacturers to sell components like filters and brushes.

Buy these parts in bundles as it offers the best bang for your buck. However, the options for replacement batteries isn’t as vast as a Roomba.

Product Specifications

Model
Roborock S4 Max
Roborock S5 Max
Roborock S4 Max
Roborock S5 Max
Width
13.8"
13.8"
Height
3.8"
3.8"
Filter
HEPA
HEPA
Navigation
Smart Navigation
Smart Navigation
Run time (Turbo mode)
180 mins.
180 mins.
Recharge and Resume
Yes
Yes
Map Saving
Yes
Yes
Number of Maps
4
4
Dustbin capacity
460 ml
460 ml
Water tank capacity
N/A
290 ml
Airflow
22.26 CFM
17.74
CFM
Warranty
1-year limited
1-year limited
Price

Where can I buy these robots?

You can purchase the Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max on sites like Amazon. Please check the links below for the latest price (and discounts).

Disclosure: I’ll earn a commission if you purchase through any of the links above, but at no extra cost to you, so it’s a win-win for us!

Which is better, the Roborock S4 Max or S5 Max?

There isn’t much difference between these two robots with navigation, features, and cleaning performance. While the S4 Max has better airflow, the S5 Max provides better agitation, negating the S4 Max’s advantage.

The advantage goes to the S4 Max on hard floors with its superior airflow, while the S5 Max is better on carpet.

Another advantage the S5 Max has is its mopping feature, providing an extra layer of functionality to clean dried stains on surfaces like tile.

4 Reasons to choose the S4 Max

  1. Better on hard floors: The high airflow of the S4 Max enables it to pick up sand more cleanly on hard surfaces. It was better than the S5 Max in the sand on hard floor test.
  2. Less expensive alternative: This model offers high-end features at a mid-level price point and one of Roborock’s best bang for the buck options.
  3. Above-average in cleaning hair: In both the five and seven-inch tests, the S4 Max picked up 80% of hair. This shows excellent resistance to hair tangles.
  4. High airflow: With over 22 CFM, the S4 Max has one of the highest airflow scores, which helps it clean hard floors well.

4 Reasons to choose the S5 Max

  1. Better on carpet: Despite the lower airflow, the S5 Max was better in cleaning embedded sand.
  2. Ability to mop floors: Between the two, this is the only option capable of mopping floors with its electronic water tank. In tests, it did well cleaning dried red wine and coffee stains.
  3. Compatible with both the Xiaomi and Roborock app: This model is compatible with the two apps, providing users more options. While these apps are similar in functionality, the Xiaomi app offers integration with other Xiaomi products – something the Roborock app lacks.
  4. Excellent at cleaning shorter hair: The S5 Max was excellent at the five-inch hair test, picking up 95%, with only 5% wrapped around the brush.

The Verdict: Too Close to Call

These robots bring a lot to the table – highly efficient navigation, excellent airflow, great cleaning performance, and high-end app features at a more affordable price point than a Roomba.

Test results are too close to declare one a hands-down winner – both score high marks with navigation, coverage, and cleaning. The S5 Max is better at deep cleaning carpet, while the S4 Max is better in the sand on hard floor test, but the difference isn’t much.

For daily cleaning tests, both will do well in cleaning floors with efficiency using its sophisticated algorithm.

One deciding factor is the S5 Max’s ability to mop, something absent in the S4 Max.

If this is a need, then the S5 Max is the better option. Otherwise, save the $$$ and go with the S4 Max.

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