For this comparison, we’ll be looking at two robot vacuums with Xiaomi roots – the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max.
You may think these robots are similar, but there are a lot of differences I’ve discovered for several days of testing.
First, let’s look at a quick overview of the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max.
- 1 Introduction to the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max
- 2 Design
- 3 Similarities of the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max
- 4 What’s the difference between the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max?
- 5 App Features
- 6 How does the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max navigate?
- 7 Airflow comparison
- 8 Cleaning comparison
- 9 Mopping comparison
- 10 Dust bin comparison
- 11 Run time comparison
- 12 Noise level comparison
- 13 Maintenance comparison
- 14 Spec comparison
- 15 Where can I buy these robots?
- 16 Which robot provides a better value?
- 17 The Verdict: Viomi V3 Looks Promising, But the S5 Max is Still Better
Introduction to the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max
As I was browsing through possible robot vacuums to review, I noticed Viomi being a popular model in regions outside North America, such as Germany.
So I decided to buy one and see how it compares with other models like the S5 Max.
Initially, I thought both robots were similar products, but that isn’t the case after testing both extensively.
Viomi V3: Excellent for Mopping, Not so Good on Carpets
Most robot vacuums can only map in straight overlapping lines; the Viomi V3 is unique because it does so with short back and forth movements similar to an iRobot Braava.
It’s a feature not found in most robot vacuum/mop hybrids enabling the V3 to clean stains better.
Only the Xiaomi Mop P is the other brand I know to have this feature. And I think it’s a similar robot to the V3.
It has almost as much airflow as the Roborock S5 Max, and it cleans hard floors very well.
Unfortunately, cleaning carpets isn’t a strong suit for the V3. The deep cleaning test results were disappointing – only 12.5%, easily the worst of all the robot vacuums I’ve tested.
Roborock S5 Max: Much Better Product, Very Good at Mopping
The S5 max was one of the first robot vacuums to utilize electronic water that works. This feature enables it to mop stains while leaving minimal residue.
It’s very efficient at water usage, more so than the V3 aiding it to mop a larger area despite having the smaller water tank versus the V3 using the Y-pattern.
Also, the S5 max was much better at cleaning floors overall. It was excellent at cleaning debris on hard floors and carpets, making clean passes, and picking up most of the trash in its path.
Both these robots have round frames, and the units I have has black finishes with matte and glossy areas.
The V3 only has one color option available, while the S5 max comes in white and black options.
Another similarity is the interface. These products have two buttons – clean and spot, but the placement is different.
The V3’s controls are opposite the LIDAR sensor, and the S5 Max is just above it.
Most of the features are accessible through the app, which we’ll look at in the following section.
Underneath, you’ll notice that these two have one side brush and a combo brush.
Viomi’s brush roll is closer to the front compared to the S5 max. Regardless, this relocation doesn’t have any bearing with how it cleans.
The S5 Max is better than the V3 at cleaning the carpet, as you’ll see later on in the cleaning tests section.
Similarities of the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max
This section summarizes the similarities of the V3 and S5 Max.
1. Round frame: These robot vacuums have a round shape with the same diameter at 13.5 inches.
2. Single side brush: Each utilizes a single side brush – the V3 has the bristled tips, and the S5 max has an all-rubber side brush.
3. Top-mounted dust container: The dust receptacle of both products load from the top.
4. LIDAR and SLAM: These two are smart navigating robots with SLAM and LIDAR to detect obstacles and track their location.
5. WIFI: Both robots have WIFI and an app. I like this feature since I can access the robot through a smartphone.
6. Compatible with Xiaomi Home App: Both are compatible with the Xiaomi Home App.
7. 2-in-1 functionality: You can use both robots as a vacuum and mop.
What’s the difference between the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max?
I initially thought these robots share the same components, but I was mistaken.
Here’s a summary of the differences.
1. Mopping: The biggest difference between these is the mopping pattern. Roborock does it in straight, overlapping row, while Viomi provides consumers the option to choose the Y-pattern where the robot goes in short back and forth movements.
2. Side brush: Viomi’s side brush has bristled tips, while Roborock’s is all-rubber.
3. Dust bin: The V3’s container is larger with a 550 ml capacity versus the 480 ml of the S5 max.
4. Main brush assembly: Roborock’s main brush has a spring-loaded system, so there are a little up and downward play. In contrast, the V3’s brush assembly is in a fixed position.
5. Water tank: Viomi has two water tanks – a 2-in-1 container plus a larger 550 ml water tank for mopping only tasks, while the S5 max only has one 290 ml water tank.
6. Pad: The V3’s pad is approximately 30% larger than the S5 max with different loading points. Viomi loads on the same side as the dock, so you’ll have to move the robot to attach it. The S5 max is opposite the dock, so there’s no need to relocate the robot.
7. Run time: Roborock’s larger 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery enables the S5 max to run longer – up to 180 minutes versus the 150 minutes of the V3 from its 4,900 mAh battery.
Both robots are compatible with the Xiaomi Home App, but the interface is vastly different.
The V3 app immediately shows the three main modes – vacuum, vacuum and mop, and mop only, along with the start and charge option.
In contrast, the S5 Max app only shows clean and dock buttons. You’ll have to tap on the mode settings to adjust the power and mop settings.
The S5 max does offer more flexibility since you can customize both settings on a per room basis. It’s a feature lacking in the Viomi app.
Users will have access to containment features like the invisible wall and no-go zones in the S5 max.
The V3 also has these features but has a different terminology – virtual wall and restricted area.
However, it doesn’t have no-mop zones, but the restricted area feature has the same functionality – it won’t matter much.
Can these robots save multiple maps?
Yes, the Viomi V3 and Roborock S5 Max provide users the option to save multiple map levels. The V3 up to 5 maps and the S5 Max can save up to 4.
Between the two, I like the S5 Max version as it has a quick-start guide that guides you through the process of creating a new map, step by step.
The process with the V3 isn’t as straightforward.
To create a new map, you’ll have to move the robot to a new location, run a cleaning cycle, then wait for the prompt asking if you want to save. After saving the map, you can rename it.
You can schedule unlimited runs with these two robots. The difference is the S5 Max app will provide additional options (check screenshot below).
You have the option to schedule every day, weekdays, or on weekends – something not available in the V3 app.
The V3 does not have those options, so you’ll have to select the days manually.
So the additional features of the S5 max offers more convenience for the user. However, you have the option to customize cleaning and power modes plus the area you want to clean.
One similarity between the V3 and S5 Max is both have LIDAR and SLAM to pinpoint the location and draw maps.
Both will start cleaning the edges first before moving towards the middle portions.
However, the S5 max is more thorough and can go around up to three times. The Viomi V3 isn’t as thorough and will go around a maximum of two times.
You’ll also have to turn on the “secondary cleaning” feature every time you run the robot, so it goes around twice.
As I’ve said in the app features section, both robots have their versions of the invisible-wall and no-go zones.
There’s no need to use physical barriers to block the robot’s path. You do it through the app, and the beauty is you can set as many virtual walls as needed.
Viomi and Roborock’s airflow results are very close. For all the robot vacuums I test, I use an anemometer to measure airflow at the cleaning head.
Here are the results
Viomi V3 Max
Roborock S5 Max
9.33 CFM CFM
12.32 CFM CFM
14.2 CFM CFM
17.1 CFM CFM
The S5 max has slightly more in all the power settings. However, the slim margins didn’t translate in the carpet cleaning results (more below).
This section will look at how well these robots clean various debris on hard floors and carpets.
Despite the low airflow disparity, the Roborock S5 Max picked up more debris in the tests.
Let’s look at the table below.
|Roborock Model||Viomi V3||S5 Max|
|Carpet (Surface Pickup)||79.8%||
|Sand on Hard Floor||99.6%||
|Carpet (Deep Cleaning)||12.5%||
The most glaring disparity is on carpets, where the V3 struggles. It had issues with picking up heavier debris like pet litter and sand on low and mid pile carpets.
Roborock doesn’t have this issue thanks to its better brush design that maintains contact with the surface better.
Also, I noticed the V3’s rear end tilting upward in several of the tests. This, along with the fixed brush roll, hurt its cleaning ability on carpets.
Which is better on hard floors?
The results on hard floors were close, with the S5 Max having slightly higher scores. One reason why is Roborock provides that extra pass. Viomi can only go around a maximum of two times.
But the cleaning dynamics of both robots are excellent on hard surfaces. Each can sweep up debris in its path with clean passes.
Sand on hard floor comparison
Again, the results are close with the S5 Max picking up 99.8% and V3 99.6%. Those are averages with the mid and high power settings. If you use the highest setting, both can pick up 100%.
Viomi and Roborock are excellent options for cleaning sand.
Edge cleaning comparison
Cleaning edges will be decent at best for both robots. The round shape and fast spinning side brush somewhat hinder the V3 and S5 Max from cleaning everything in this zone.
Here’s the results of the Viomi V3 after the test.
And the S5 Max.
Carpet cleaning comparison
First, let’s look at the results of the V3 and S5 Max.
|Roborock Model||Viomi V3||S5 Max|
|Carpet (Surface Pickup)||79.8%||
|Carpet (Deep Cleaning)||12.5%||
It’s not close. The S5 Max is much better at picking up surface and embedded dirt picking up in the high 90s. In comparison, the V3 didn’t do so well, struggling with heavier debris like pet litter and sand.
The issue with the V3 isn’t airflow, but the fixed brush design, which didn’t agitate as well.
Deep cleaning comparison
Viomi didn’t do well in the deep cleaning test. It only picked up 12.5% of sand on mid pile carpet. It’s the worst score of all the robot vacuums I’ve tested so far.
The subpar brush dynamics and unevenness on this surface contributed to this low score.
In contrast, the S5 Max did well, picking up a respectable 84.75% – at par with other high-end robots like the Roomba 980 and even higher than the I7.
Cleaning large debris
Viomi and Roborock are capable of cleaning large debris like Cheerios and Fruit loops. Both have enough clearance and airflow for the task.
However, the S5 Max is better at on carpet because the spring-loaded system keeps the brush connected on the surface.
Hair wrap test
I scattered one gram of hair between five and seven inches long to see how much will wrap on the brush for this comparison.
The S5 Max was much better on both surfaces, with fewer strands of hair wrapping on the brush.
Viomi didn’t do well with more hair sticking on the brush after the hard floor test. On carpet, it was worst as it hardly picked up any strands. Again, it’s an agitation issue.
Next, we’ll look at how these robots mop. Each robot comes with an electronic water tank with the option to control water flow via the app.
However, the similarity ends here. The S5 Max can only mop in straight lines, while the V3 has the option to do short back and forth movements like the Braava.
The forward and backward motion provides better agitation. It will clean dried stains better.
I tested the V3 on dried red wine stains, and it was able to clean it with hardly any residue. I didn’t have to mop it manually because it was clear.
One downside to this mopping motion is it takes longer to finish and use up more water.
The S5 Max’s water tank is more efficient with water usage. Its smaller water tank should cover a larger area than the V3 using the Y-pattern.
Dust bin comparison
The Viomi V3 has a larger dust bin with a 550 ml capacity. Larger than the Roborock S5 Max and S6 MaxV that only has a 480 ml capacity.
I like the matte black finish over the transparent design of the S5 Max. You can see the size difference between the two in the photo above.
Run time comparison
The S5 Max will run longer – up to 180 minutes thanks to the 5,200 mAh Li-ion battery. In contrast, the V3 runs 30 minutes shorter (150 minutes) with its 4,900 mAh battery.
Since these robot vacuums have recharge and resume, the difference shouldn’t matter because each one will resume cleaning where it left off after recharging if it didn’t complete the task.
Noise level comparison
To check noise levels, I use a sound meter and measure noise a few feet away.
Here are the results.
|Power level||Viomi V3||Power level||Roborock S5 Max|
The V3 is the louder option across all the settings, topping at 66.4 dB versus the 62.4 dB of the S5 Max.
All robot vacuums will require upkeep to maintain a high level of cleaning and mopping performance.
The process for both is similar.
Parts for the Viomi and Roborock are available online. You can buy S5 Max parts from online stores like Amazon. Viomi parts are available on websites like GearBest and AliExpress, where there are a ton of merchants setting.
Side brush [depends]
This part takes a lot of beating and should be replaced when it wears out. There’s no time frame when, but you’ll have to do a visual check on occasion to check.
Watch out for hair that can wrap under the brush. Viomi’s side brush pops out, so it doesn’t require a screwdriver to remove. The bristled tips of the V3 may wear out faster – check more often.
A screwdriver fastens Roborock’s side brush. The all-rubber construction should last longer – wipe it down on occasion to remove any oil or grime build-up.
Main brush roll [depends]
Viomi and Roborock products use a combo brush that works well on hard floors and carpet.
Check this part regularly for any hair wrapping on the brush and axles.
Over time, the suction port will accumulate debris as well. Use a handheld with a brush attachment to clean this area.
There’s no fixed time frame when to change this part. It will depend on wear and tear. So it’s best to check at least once a week.
There’s not much maintaining to do with the water tank. Roborock’s tank does have a filter you need to replace if you use hard water.
Avoid using any cleaners in the water tank as chemicals may damage the electronic and rubber components inside, thus voiding the warranty.
Don’t rinse the exterior part as well because there are electronic contact points that may rust.
Castor wheels [twice a month]
Another neglected part of a robot vacuum is the castor wheel. This part is responsible for steering, and gunk tends to accumulate on the surface, consequently increasing friction.
Use a slightly damp microfiber towel to wipe this part.
Sensors [ once a month]
All around these robots are sensors that help the robot avoid obstacles and pinpoint its location.
Wipe down the cliff sensors underneath the robots using Q-tips. Avoid poking the LIDAR sensor as it can misalign and damage it. I use a handheld vacuum to clean this area on occasion, but I’m careful not to put any weight on it.
Roborock S5 Max
|Run time (Turbo mode)|
|Recharge and Resume|
|Number of Maps|
|Water tank capacity|
Where can I buy these robots?
You can buy the Roborock S5 Max in online stores like Amazon or GearBest. Viomi isn’t available on Amazon, but it’s available in AliExpress and GearBest, who also offer international shipping.
GearBest is having a global launch of the Viomi SE. It’s a similar product to the V3, but with a smaller battery and minus the 550 ml water tank. Check the link for details.
Which robot provides a better value?
With the current prices of these robots, the Roborock S5 Max offers more value. It cleans hard floors and carpets better with more thoroughness than the V3.
If you prioritize vacuuming over mopping, the S5 Max is something you should consider.
The larger 5,200 mAh battery enables it to run longer, so it covers a larger area.
Roborock is also a bigger brand and a different company from Xiaomi. From what I’ve seen, they’re committed to making high-quality robots and further improve their brand.
Viomi is better than Roborock when it comes to mopping floors. In a way, the Y-pattern is a game-changer and may force other manufacturers to do the same.
People that prioritize mopping but still need a product that can clean hard floors, the V3 is an excellent alternative.
5 Reasons to choose the Roborock S5 Max
- Better at cleaning floors: The S5 Max will do better than the V3 at cleaning hard floors and carpet. It’s more versatile in this regard.
- More thoroughness: It has a more thorough algorithm and can go around the area up to three times.
- Better app: I like the S5 Max app better because it has more customization options.
- Deep cleans better: The difference between the V3 and S5 Max here is night and day.
- Still good at mopping: Even without the Y-pattern option, the S5 Max can mop floors with a high level of thoroughness and efficiency.
4 Reasons to choose the Viomi V3
- Better at mopping: The back and forth motion gives the V3 an edge over the S5 Max to clean dried stains.
- Larger dust bin: It has a larger 550 ml bin – it can hold more dirt. The thin filter sheet also helps keep dust from sticking on the primary filter.
- Two water tanks: You’ll get two water tanks for mopping only and vacuum and mopping tasks.
- Better at avoiding obstacles: Viomi will not smash into furniture hard. It slows down, and once it detects it in the initial pass, it will elude it in the subsequent passes.
The Verdict: Viomi V3 Looks Promising, But the S5 Max is Still Better
I had high hopes for the Viomi V3 before testing it. One reason why I purchased it is the overwhelmingly high amount of positive reviews.
It exceeded expectations for mopping, but I was disappointed with the lack of cleaning on carpets.
So for now, the S5 Max is the better product.