I've tested more than 20 robot vacuums, but $650 Roborock S6 has the best suction I've seen

Roborock S6Malarie Gokey / Business Insider

  • A high-quality robotic vacuum should do an excellent job of cleaning hard floors and carpet without much hassle or getting stuck, be easy to schedule, and have programmable features to customize your cleaning experience.
  • I like the Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum ($649.99) because it has better suction than any robot vac I've tested, runs quietly, and comes with a bunch of extras that make cleaning up cat hair, cereal, and dust a breeze.
  • Though it's expensive at $650, I personally see the value because the S6 also mops floors, has an app with several high-end features, and works with Amazon Alexa. All these features make cleaning my messy house so much easier.

Robotic vacuums have come a long way in the last two decades, and there are plenty of Kafka-esque cleaning beetles that get the job done. But if you want all of the whistles and bells like smart home connectivity, programmable zone cleaning, mopping, and more, you should expect to pay top dollar.

The Roborock S6 ($649.99 on Amazon) is one of those top-of-the-line robotic vacuums that is truly worth the investment. It does an excellent job at the basics and has impressive suction power while still being quiet, and it has a ton of bonus features like extra filters, mopping, an app, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

The Roborock S6 comes with a charging dock, extra filters, mop cloths, top-access dustbin, and more

In addition to the usual vacuum unit and charging dock, you'll also get a mat that connects to the dock and keeps your floor from getting wet, an extra filter, extra water filters, adjustable water tank, two reusable mop cloths, disposable mop cloths, a mounting plate for the disposable cloths, and a user manual.

Here are some more features (based on the manufacturer's information):

  • 2000Pa maximum suction
  • 3 hours run time on quiet mode
  • Zoned cleaning including selective room cleaning, and virtual no-go zones and barriers
  • Carpet boost mode
  • Recharge and resume capability
  • Climbs over 0.8-inch lips
  • 8 inches in diameter and 3.8 inches tall
  • Top-access dustbin
  • One-year warranty

Read more: The best robot vacuums you can buy

Set up took about 15 minutes and the robovac was at 100% battery within an hour

Setting up the vacuum only took me about 15 minutes.

Just plug it into the charging dock and position the robot vac over it so it charges; you'll hear a notification sound when the vacuum connects to the dock. While you wait for it to get juiced up, you can download the app and connect the unit; this was seamless. The app automatically recognized that I had a Roborock product and prompted me to connect it to the WiFi.

The device was fully charged and ready to go within an hour.

The Roborock S6 can be used manually or programmed via app; scheduling the vacuum only takes a few seconds

roborock black 1Amazon

I don't own an upright vacuum, so when I (or usually my kids) make a mess, I turn to my cordless handheld or robotic vacuum. With the Roborock S6, I can just press the elongated button on top of the unit. Or when I don't want to do it manually, I can use the app to direct the vacuum to only clean the specific area where my five-year-old dropped his Corn Flakes. The mapping function takes a few runs before you can do zoned cleaning, but once the device has the layout of your home, you can clean with minimal effort.

When I don't have dire cereal emergencies, scheduling the vacuum for an overall cleaning is a cinch. In a few seconds, I set the S6 to run every day at 10:30 am. The only hiccup is finding where to do this in the app - instead of being listed under "schedule," which isn't an option, you can find it under the "timer."

Read more: This $570 robot vacuum doubles as a mop - it cleans all the mud my 2 sons track into our house

The Roborock S6 cleaned without getting stuck in my house around 75% of the time, and picked up around 90% of the flour I'd thrown on my carpet as a test

About 75% of the time, the Roborock S6 finished the job and returned to the charging dock without getting stuck somewhere. In my messy house with both human and cat toys strewn over hardwood floors and carpet, that's pretty good.

It has the best suction I've seen and tested from a robotic vacuum. I put each vacuum I use through a series of tests to see how it well it picks up all-purpose flour, coffee grounds, and kitty litter on hardwood flooring and low-pile carpeting. The S6 picked up all the coffee and litter on both surfaces, sucked up all the flour off the hardwood, and got an impressive 90% of the flour from the carpet. When it comes to pet hair, the S6 also does a great job. After a cleaning cycle, I'll find cat hair in the dustbin and not on the floor - as it should be.

I also looked at the hardwood and carpeted corners to see how close the vacuum can get to them. On both surfaces, the S6 came within a quarter of an inch - that's the best I've tested.

The Roborock S6 does all this while remaining impressively quiet. On its highest suction setting, the S6 registered 70 decibels from 12 inches away, which is about the equivalent of listening to the radio softly.

One cool feature that I rarely use but found that it works as advertised is the Alexa voice control. I can tell my light switch to vacuum the living room, and it'll let the S6 know that it's time for work.

Maintaining the S6 itself is effortless - after each cleaning, I just empty the dustbin (which is on top of the unit). And every week or so, I take out the filter and wash it in warm water. You'll want to dry the filter completely before using it again, otherwise dust can get stuck, but the vac comes with an extra filter so you'll always have a second on hand.

The mopping function works well, but I only find it marginally useful since I still need to run the vacuum without the mop first to clean up most of the dirt. Otherwise, any dirt it misses gets on the cloth and spreads throughout the house. However, I do like that you can adjust how much water the mop dispenses so your floors don't get flooded.

At 13.8 inches in diameter and 3.8 inches tall, the Roborock S6 is larger than a lot of models I've tested. This doesn't present a problem for me, but if you're looking for a vacuum that can get under furniture with a low clearance, you might want to consider something else.

Read more: 12 smart home gadgets that practically clean the house for you

The Roborock S6 is undeniably expensive at $650, but it takes seconds to start a cleaning session and can be controlled via app so there's minimal effort on your end

roborock 2Roborock/Instagram

Despite their ubiquity, robotic vacuums are still a luxury item. They're all somewhat expensive but don't necessarily clean better than traditional canister or upright vacuums. Yet for people like me who would rather live in absolute filth than spend a second cleaning, a robotic vacuum is an essential item. With programmable features, scheduling, and app and voice control, it also makes cleaning easier and almost fun.

At $650, the Roborock S6 is for people who want all of the fancy features and have a good chunk of money to spend. That said, for what the S6 does, it's reasonable. There's only one robotic vacuum that I can think of that I like more (which I list out below), but it costs $300 more.

But depending on your budget, I think there are pretty solid alternatives

I've lost count of how many robotic vacuums I've tested. I currently have seven in my possession and more on the way. Based on my experiences, here are some solid alternatives to the S6:

  • iRobot Roomba i7+ ($999): This is my all-time favorite robotic vacuum. What sets it apart? The i7+ comes with a "Clean Base" that automatically empties the vacuum's dustbin, so you can truly "set it and forget it." As far as I know, this is the only robot vacuum that does this, though I know there are several that haven't launched yet. Additionally, iRobot has one of the best apps, and the i7+ features Alexa voice control. You can read my full review here.
  • iLife V8s Robot Vacuum Cleaner and Mop Combo ($176.79): This is about as good of a deal as you'll find on a robotic vacuum and mop combo. It comes with a remote control, six cleaning modes, a 12-month warranty, and extra parts. But it isn't supported by an app. Check out my full review here.
  • Neato Robotics Botvac D7 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner ($599.99): The D7 is unique in that it's shaped like a D, rather than the classic circle. This allows it to get deep into corners. It also has great suction, zoned cleaning, runs quietly, and works with Alexa. It's pretty similar to the S6, except it doesn't mop and I had a hard time setting it up. Read my full review here.
These are three great alternatives, but none of them give you the full package of mopping, vacuuming, smart connectivity, and zoned cleaning that the Roborock S6 does. If you are looking for an excellent robotic vacuum and mop combo, and can afford it, I'd strongly recommend the S6.

Buy the Roborock S6 Robot Vacuum on Amazon for $649.99 (black and white) and Ebay for $599.99 (white)

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