Maybe you started with the Philips Hue lights and your apartment transforms into a Honolulu sunset at the tap of a button. Maybe you’re plugged into EcoBee or Nest and maintain a perfectly temperate environment in your house year-round. Perhaps you’ve sprung for an Alexa or Google Home, which seem like obvious first-picks for getting a smart home off the ground.
These are all the wrong choices for pretty obvious reasons.
All the savvy coffee makers and the voice assistants and the refrigerator that shows you the weather — they’re fun, yes. They’re cool, yes. But are they actually smart approaches to life?
When we think “smart” outside of the context of technology, what we’re talking about is the ability to quickly and effectively solve problems.
What problems do smart lights solve? How much time does your smart thermostat really save? Does having that cup of coffee ready right when you wake up even marginally impact any part of the rest of your day?
“Uh, yes,” you might be thinking. “I need my coffee.”
Of course you do. We all do. But you may be surprised that the bulk of the benefit you get from your morning coffee is actually part of having life patterns.
We’re creatures of habit, innately, evolutionarily. Having a morning ritual signals to your mind and body that it’s time to start the day, and maybe making a cup of coffee is part of that pattern for you.
Cutting the coffee entirely, of course, is a different story altogether. That’s both breaking a pattern and failing to introduce chemicals into your bloodstream with which you’re used to functioning. The utility of the smart coffee maker isn’t that it supplies coffee; it’s that it takes a step out of your pattern, giving you time and energy to focus on the things you really want to do. It’s an expedience. And that’s smart.
But it’s not very smart. Think about how much time not making coffee really saves you. Unless you’re really surprisingly bad at making coffee, you really won’t find yourself saving much time week to week, month to month, year to year.
It’s smart, but not very smart.
What, then, is the cornerstone to the modern smart home?
A smart solution is something that takes the time you typically spend doing something you don’t like and does it for you. Repeatedly. The smartest solutions are going to take the most menial, time-intensive tasks and give you your time back. In a sense, give you your life back.
So from our perspective, the foundations of any smart home worth its salt are…
The dishwasher and the laundry machine
“But wait,” you’re saying. “I already have those. And besides, they’re not modern technology at all!”
And you’re right. However, it’s impossible to argue that, minute to minute, these two pieces of albeit fairly standard tech save you the most time every year by doing things you don’t want to do. In that vein, then, when you look to start building your own smart home your first step should be finding the most time-consuming tasks that are better fielded by machines.
Before Google Home, before the fancy lights, before the microwave that can hold a conversation, the most and practical obvious choice for a smart home starter is a robot vacuum. It outsources a job better suited for a machine to a device that is highly qualified to accomplish it.
Robot vacuums have been around for a while, but a surprisingly large portion of the population has yet to adopt. There are several reasons for this. First is that there’s a glut of options available for the consumer, and those with the most aggressive marketing tend to be the higher-budget options.
Those who balk at the price tag might resort to buying a cheap knockoff product, become disappointed with the results, and write off the whole enterprise entirely.
If your only options for a washing machine were heinously expensive commercial-grade laundry wizards and buggy appliances that only got your clothes 70% clean 50% of the time (which was the case for a while), you’d probably be frustrated with them as well.
Okay... dishwashers and washing machines don't count.
So finding the right robot vacuum is absolutely crux. If you have a mix of hardwood and carpet, you’re going to want a device that can do both. If your budget is already lean, you’re not going to want to invest in the kind of industrial beasts that field biohazards in Walmart.
We’ve spent a lot of time with smart home tech, and Roborock caught our eye not because it was the biggest innovator, not because it had the fanciest gizmos attached to it, and not because it had a bargain basement price. The Roborock stands out because it does its job and it does it well. No more, no less.
The Roborock S5 line impresses with consistent efficacy on tile, carpets, and rugs. It’s low, quiet enough to run in the middle of the night, and equipped with LDS laser navigation and a high precision map so it’s not just bouncing around your house like DVD screen saver come to life.
App control: yes. Voice control: yes. It has everything you need to integrate it with your home and promptly forget about it.
Because that’s the point, isn’t it? The less time you have to spend thinking about your robot vacuum, the better. It should do its job so well and so inconspicuously that you sometimes forget that you have it. But when you think of all the time you’re not spending cleaning your floors, you’ll be grateful that you do.
The Roborock S5 checks all the boxes without dipping its toes in gimmicky features or marketing stunts. It has a standard circular design which, for however much those U-shaped vacuums try to spin extra plastic casing as innovation, is perfectly efficient for rooms and decor of practically any arrangement.
The price point of the Roborock isn’t the cheapest, but it’s not egregious either. You get what you pay for with these devices, and anyone who has impulse-bought a cheap robot vacuum knows they might as well have stuck with the Dust Buster and broom. What you’re paying for here is quality design and a robust build that will remain a staple of your household for years.
Roborock’s most advanced model, the S6, has adaptive route algorithms and selective room cleaning, which makes managing larger households more efficient. However, the newest offering is an improved version of the more popular S5, the S5 Max, which promises even higher durability and cleaning prowess.
In short, if you don’t want to overpay for a robot vacuum but you do want something that will actually clean your floors, check out Roborock.
For more information about the Roborock S5 Max and comparisons between their products to choose the one that’s right for you, click the button below!