I’ve had the privilege to test two of Roborock’s latest products – the S5 Max and S6 MaxV. After many days of testing, I’ve written this comparison to report all of the findings.
And both of these products are excellent. The S6 MaxV is currently, Roborock’s flagship option, combining LIDAR and a front-mounted stereo camera with artificial intelligence software to help it avoid obstacles.
It is currently the pinnacle of robots that use a laser distance sensor. Another brand that has the same technology is the ECOVACS DEEBOT T8 AIVI. But the difference with the S6 MaxV is it has two lenses that give it a 3D image perspective.
In this comparison, I’ll focus solely on the S5 Max and S6 MaxV – similarities, differences, and the results of all the tests.
Here’s an overview of the Roborock S5 Max vs. S6 MaxV
Introduction to the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV
Roborock revealed new features with the release of both these models. The S5 Max was the first to have the electronic water tank where users can control the amount of water that flows to the pad via the Roborock app.
Another potential game-changing technology is the front-mounted camera in the S6 Max that also comes with the electronic water tank.
This new sensor paired with the ReactiveAI software helps the S6 MaxV with obstacle avoidance like no other robot (except for the ECOVACS T8).
It helps it “see” obstacles and avoid them outright. The latest update lets you see the obstructions through the app.
Roborock continues to improve on the software and hopefully improve on the AI when it comes to avoiding smaller obstacles.
Similarities of the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV
In this section, I’ll enumerate the similarities of both robot vacuums.
1. Shape and design
Both models have the same round shape that all Roborock robots utilize with the LIDAR sensor at the middle and interface buttons behind it. The placement of the dust bin is at the same location.
The dimensions of the S5 Max and S6 MaxV are the same at 13.8 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall.
3. Dirt capacity
Both robots have the same dirt capacity of 480 milliliters.
4. Side brush and main brush
These robots use the same five-prong, all-rubber side brush, and combo brush. You can interchange the main and side brush. Take note that the new side brush design of the S5 Max and S6 MaxV is backward compatible, meaning you can use it on the older models like the Roborock S5.
5. HEPA filtration
Both variants have a post-motor HEPA filter.
6. Electronic water tank
Each model has an electric water tank that can carry more water than the S5, S6, and S6 Pure. This means that these robots can mop a more substantial area without having to refill.
The S5 Max and S6 MaxV utilize a 5,200 mAh li-ion battery that gives it extended run time.
8. Multi-Level Maps
With the recent update of the Roborock app, the S5 Max now supports the multi-level map feature that was previously only accessible with the S6 MaxV. This upgrade gives the S5 Max a better value-for-money appeal.
9. Invisible wall, No-go, and No-Mop Zones
Both models will have access to the invisible wall, no-go, and no-mop zones, which are my favorite features of the app.
Differences of the S5 Max and S6 MaxV
Now, let’s move over and go through the differences between the S5 Max and S6 MaxV.
Other Roborock comparisons: Viomi V3 vs. Roborock S5 Max
The most significant improvement that Roborock put in the S6 MaxV is the addition of the front-mounted camera that provides it with “eyes” to see any potential obstacles in its path.
This camera is paired with the ReactiveAI software and new Qualcomm processor that enables the S6 MaxV to avoid obstacles that meet specific size criteria of 3 cm tall x 5 cm wide.
The obstacle avoidance system is the main difference between the S5 Max and the more expensive S6 MaxV.
I’ve tested this technology extensively and found that it will avoid certain obstacles well, but does poorly with others.
It can avoid obstacles like shoes and even black bags in a well-lighted area.
The S6 MaxV Avoiding Shoes
For particular objects like a weighing scale that falls below the height threshold, it’s a hit or miss depending on the placement.
The new update with the firmware improved how the S6 MaxV avoided wires but only when wrapped.
However, it will not avoid wires stretched out as it is too low for the camera to see.
The S5 Max and S6 MaxV’s navigation is similar in that it goes in a predictable back and forth pattern. It starts by cleaning the edges, then moving towards the middle portion of the room.
Also, users have the option to choose the level of thoroughness from 1 to 3. This means that the robot will go around the area between 1 to 3 times.
The only difference with regards to navigation is the obstacle avoidance system that the S6 MaxV utilizes.
It gives it the ability to take snapshots and recognize different types of obstacles it will encounter.
As Roborock continues to improve on this technology, the S6 MaxV should be better at avoiding objects.
One of the biggest surprises for me would be the airflow test results. I initially thought that the S6 MaxV would have more power because the spec sheet of Roborock says so, but that wasn’t the case.
Here are the results of the airflow tests.
Roborock S5 Max
Roborock S6 MaxV
To measure airflow, I used an anemometer at the primary brush roll to check the air velocity that flows through the main suction chamber where the dirt passes.
The S5 Nax had more airflow across all the five power settings, and it was consistent in the subsequent tests (I did two to three checks per power setting).
Cleaning Tests Results
I did a multitude of tests for both robot vacuums, and here is an overview of the results.
|Carpet (Surface Pickup)
|Carpet (Deep Cleaning)
Looking at the scores across the board, the S5 Max did better with both the surface and deep cleaning tests.
The results in the cleaning tests are consistent with the airflow results as better airflow usually translates to improved debris pick up.
Deep Cleaning Test
In the deep cleaning tests, the S5 Max did significantly better than the S6 MaxV, picking up an average of 84.75% versus the 77.65% score of the S6 MaxV.
If you live in a home with lots of carpets, then the S5 Max may be the better option as it cleans it better.
For these tests, I rubbed 100 grams of sand on medium pile carpet and selected the highest power setting. I did the tests twice to get the average score.
Cleaning Large Debris
There won’t be any issues with these two when it comes to cleaning large debris like Cheerios or Fruit loops. Both will have enough clearance to do the task without any clogging issues.
The only thing limiting both will be the below-average dirt capacity as both only have a 460ml capacity.
Sand on Hard Floor
Both robots are capable of picking up sand on hard floors. I did a test where I scattered 50 grams of sand on a test area to see how much the S5 Max and S6 MaxV cleans.
The results are close with the S5 Max picking up a smidge more with an average of 99.8% (two tests) versus the 99.7% of the S6 MaxV.
So it’s a toss-up between the two. These robots good options if you need something that will keep your floors free from sand.
Edge Cleaning Test
One issue with round-shaped robots is its inability to clean edges efficiently. And that is the case with the S5 Max and S6 MaxV. When you factor in the fast-spinning side brush that will scatter debris, edge cleaning won’t be as good as a
Results for the S5 Max
Results for the S6 MaxV
The S5 Max and S6 MaxV did a somewhat decent job, but you can see that there is a considerable amount of coffee grounds that it did not pick up. You’ll need to run it two or three times to pick up what’s left.
Hair Wrap Test
To check how well both the S5 Max and S6 MaxV deals with long strands of hair, I put it through a hair wrap testing using one gram of five to seven inch human hair (well, to be specific, a wig).
I did the test both on hard floors and low pile carpet.
S5 Max Results
S6 MaxV Results
Both robots did a decent job with most of the hair going inside the dust cup, but you’ll still need to untangle hair as part of its maintenance.
Roborock provides a brush cleaning tool for this task to make it easier.
The S5 Max and S6 MaxV come with the electronic water tank that provides users the option to control water flow with more precision via the app. When it comes to functionality, the features of these two are the same, and so are the results.
S5 Max Mopping Results
S6 MaxV Mopping Results
However, the S6 MaxV’s water tank is slightly larger than the S5 Max (297ml vs. 290ml), which I think has no bearing with the performance.
While both robots can mop wet messes, I would not recommend doing so as cleaning up the robot might take longer than the actual mopping.
These two will do best at picking up dried stains. Also, avoid adding cleaners inside the water tank as Roborock will void the warranty.
Realize that the electric water tank that Roborock uses has tight tolerances, so adding a chemical may damage the electronic components inside.
Another great robot vacuum/mop hybrid is the Viomi V3. It’s different than these two because it utilizes a back and forth motion, which I think provides better agitation.
Run Time Comparison
The S6 MaxV will run 30 minutes longer than the S5 Max despite having the same capacity battery.
- S5 Max Run Time: 150 mins.
- S6 MaxV Run Time: 180 mins.
One reason I suspect Roborock was able to extend the run time is that it has lower airflow.
The cleaning tests confirm this as the S5 Max consistently scored higher in the tests.
Noise Level Comparison
Next, we’ll look at noise levels, and it is close with both robots not exceeding the 70-decibel mark, which is good.
Please check the table below for the complete results. I used a sound meter to measure noise levels from a few feet away.
|Roborock S5 Max
|Roborock S6 MaxV
It means that you can use these robots even if you’re working or having a conversation.
The S6 MaxV is quieter in the lowest setting but recorded a higher noise level at the max setting.
Maintenance and running costs of the Roborock S5 Max vs. S6 MaxV
Many people think that robot vacuums are hands-free devices that require little to no maintenance. But that is not the case as these are machines that need upkeep to function its best.
Parts like the sensors, dust bin, and brushes need cleaning or replaced periodically for the robot to perform at its optimal level.
The good news is that Roborock parts like filters and brushes are widely available in Amazon and other online stores like GearBest.
Side Brushes [Depends]
Roborock sells two types of side brushes – the three-prong bristle and the five-prong, all-rubber versions.
Take note that even the newer five-prong side brush will fit in older Roborock models. So just in case you need to replace it, I’d recommend getting the newer ones as these are more durable.
The older version bristle brush tends to wear out faster because it relies on bristles.
Make sure to regularly check to see if hair wraps around the base as this part is a catch basin for such.
Main Brush Roll [Depends]
All Roborock robots use a blade and bristle combo brush that is durable. Just make sure to remove any hair or dust that may wrap around the brush or axles.
With proper upkeep, this part will last for years.
HEPA filter [Once or Twice a Year]
Roborock says that the HEPA filters are washable, but it doesn’t hurt to buy an extra so that you have something to use while waiting for the dirty filter to dry thoroughly.
I trick I like to do to extend the life of these filters is using a handheld with a brush tool to clean any dirt trapped on the creases.
You may need to replace the filters once or twice a year. It would depend on how the paper element is holding up and the performance of the robot.
Water Tank Filter [Depends]
The electronic water tank that the S5 Max and S6 MaxV utilizes has a filter that you need to replace occasionally, especially in areas with hard water coming out of the faucet.
Pads [Wash After Every Cycle]
Most of the Roborock robot vacuum options come with one washable pad out of the box. These pads dry within a few hours, but if you want extra pads, Roborock also sells it through their Amazon store.
Make sure to wash the pads after every mopping cycle and air dry.
Disposable pads are also available, but I wouldn’t recommend it since it’ll soil up quickly and it’s money down the drain.
Currently, Roborock does not sell replacement batteries for any of their robots, so it’s a wait and see.
Castor wheels [Once or Twice a Month]
The castor wheel is the small wheel in front of the robot that’s responsible for the steering. You’ll need to use a clean microfiber towel to clean any dirt that may stick on the surface. Do this at least once or twice a month.
If you maintain this part, there’s no need to replace it.
Other Roborock comparisons
Where can I Buy the S5 Max and S6 MaxV?
These two models are available in various online storefronts – namely Amazon and Walmart. Please check the links below for the latest prices.
Take note that I will earn a commission when you purchase through any of the links, but at no additional cost do you, so it’s a win-win.
Which Roborock Should You Buy?
Choosing between these robots will depend on your preference. Do you need something with better obstacle avoidance but pay a premium for it? Or do you want something cheaper that cleans carpet better without the fancy camera?
The S6 MaxV’s primary selling point is its ability to avoid objects thanks to the front-mounted camera and AI software.
If this is a priority for you, then the S6 MaxV may be the better option despite the higher cost.
The S5 Max is better overall at cleaning, especially embedded dirt on carpets, and is less noisy in the max setting.
It mops as well as the S6 Max, and users will also have access to the advanced features such as the multi-level map features and no-mop zones.
So I think the S5 Max will provide better value for the money you’ll spend.
4 Reasons Why You Should Buy The S6 MaxV:
- Better at avoiding obstacles: The S6 MaxV will avoid objects better thanks to the camera upfront, fast processor, and artificial intelligence software that brings it all together.
- Runs longer: It will run for up to 180 minutes, which is one of the lengthiest in this category.
- Efficient navigation: Roborock products are known to be one of the more efficient options, and the S6 MaxV is an excellent example of it. Rarely did it get lost or not find “home base” in all the tests.
- Mops well: The electronic water tank with its larger capacity will cover more area than the Roborock S5 and S6 Pure. If mopping is a priority, then have a look at the S6 MaxV.
3 Reasons Why You Should Buy The S5 Max
- Better value for your dollar: The S5 Max will clean floors better than the S6 MaxV while being cheaper and less noisy.
- Deep cleans better: One of my biggest surprises during this comparison is how the S5 Max cleans embedded dirt better. It’s not just a one-off but consistent in all the tests.
- Convenience features: You’ll have access to features like no-go zones, no-mop zones, invisible walls, and multi-level map features.
The Verdict: S5 Max Provides Better Value
Despite the hype that the S6 MaxV had, the S5 Max, I feel, provides better value because it has most of the features of the S6 MaxV minus the obstacle avoidance.
Whether or not that compels you to opt for the S6 MaxV will boil down to preference.
S6 MaxV’s technology is still a work in progress, and some bugs need to fixed. There’s no doubt that it can avoid particular objects with enough mass like shoes and bags.
It still has trouble with smaller objects like pet poop and stretched wires. I’m confident that Roborock is at this and already heard my feedback about it.
So they’re working hard to improve the way it avoids objects.
For now, if you’re in the market for either of these two products, the S5 Max is the model that I would recommend because it’s less expensive, cleans better, and has most of the features of the more premium S6 MaxV.