Positives

More powerful vacuum motor
Vacuums and mops
Advanced obstacle avoidance
Great battery life
Decently-sized dustbin and water tank
Multi-level mapping
On-device AI object recognition
Feature-packed app
Voice activation via Assistant or Alexa

Negatives

Expensive
Not completely "hands off"
Not ideal for high-pile carpet

Bottom Line

The Roborock S6 MaxV adds dual cameras to a popular mop and vacuum combo. It's expensive, but very good at what it does, and well worth the investment if you have pets prone to leaving little "gifts" around the house.

S6 MaxV
by Roborock

The Roborock S6 MaxV adds dual cameras to a popular mop and vacuum combo. It's expensive, but very good at what it does, and well worth the investment if you have pets prone to leaving little "gifts" around the house.

There’s a good reason why more than nine out of ten robot vacuum cleaner owners would recommend them to their friends. They cost a pretty penny, but they can eliminate hundreds of hours of housework per year. I don’t know about you, but I’ll do practically anything to get out of mopping or vacuuming, so I’m all ears. This is the Roborock S6 MaxV review.

Update, September 2020: Recent updates have delivered a slew of new features including remote viewing, enhanced water flow control, and more. See the update box below for more details. 

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Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum cleaner front view top

What is the Roborock S6 MaxV?

The Roborock S6 MaxV is Roborock’s most powerful vacuum cleaner yet. As with previous Max models, it combines mop and vacuum functionality. But the S6 MaxV is Roborock’s first robot vacuum equipped with both LiDAR sensors and stereo cameras. This makes for better obstacle avoidance and more accurate room mapping and navigation.

Its on-board AI has been trained in object recognition so the robovac can better avoid things like power cords, shoes, coffee cups and, yes, even pet poop. Automatic floor recognition means you can take it anywhere in your house and it will know where it is.

The Roborock S6 MaxV is Roborock's most powerful vacuum cleaner yet and its first with stereo cameras.

For the first time, Roborock has partnered with Qualcomm, using its dedicated APQ8053 Lite chipset for IoT products. This allows the S6 MaxV to leverage Qualcomm’s Vision Intelligence 100 Platform for on-device computation so nothing the S6 MaxV’s camera sees gets transmitted via the cloud.

I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to see a future update that allow you to “enter robot” and see what it sees. This would, of course, require the data to be transmitted to your phone via the cloud though. Personally, I like the idea of being able to use my robovac like a remote sentry if I wanted to, so fingers crossed.

Roborock S6 MaxV review update notes: In August and September 2020, a few updates brought several new features, expanded upon below:

  • Remote viewing: As predicted, this feature has been added, with multiple layers of security for peace of mind (including TÜV Rheinland certification). Remote viewing has several benefits: the S6 MaxV can take photos of unknown objects it encounters while cleaning (great for finding lost items under the couch); you can use your S6 MaxV like a roving home security camera to check out bumps in the night or keep an eye on things when you’re away (via video livestream); and you can even transmit audio to use the S6 MaxV like a mobile walkie-talkie to communicate with wayward pets, scold noisy kids staying up late, or just to play practical jokes on your partner (speaking for a friend).
    • Security is clearly of the utmost importance here. You first have to enable remote viewing, both in the app and by pressing the dock, power, and spot cleaning buttons on the robovac itself, then agree to a privacy policy outlining how data is transmitted, and finally, add a pattern lock to serve as two-factor authentication if you wish. No data is stored on the device once the stream has ended. If transmitting any audio or visuals through a potentially remote server makes you nervous, you can simply not enable remote viewing in the first place (or revoke access at any time).
  • Enhanced object recognition: The S6 MaxV can now recognize more objects including fabrics like socks and other objects like dustpans.
  • Obstacle avoidance has been improved.
  • Positioning accuracy and efficiency have been improved.
  • Water flow control has been improved (which fixed my occasional streaking problem when the mop got a little dry towards the end of a clean).

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Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum cleaner docked

Roborock S6 MaxV vs Roborock S5 Max vs Roborock S6

The primary difference between the Roborock S6 MaxV and its predecessors is the addition of dual cameras. The twin cameras allow the MaxV (the “V” is for vision) to see in stereo, the same way you do.

This means the S6 MaxV can calculate distance more accurately than a single camera can, enabling much better obstacle avoidance. Combine this with its on-board Reactive AI object recognition and you’ve got a noticeably smarter robovac on your hands.

Beyond this, there’s a fair bit of overlap between the three models, so I’ve thrown together a quick reference specs table below.

 Roborock S6 MaxVRoborock S6Roborock S5 Max
Suction power2,500Pa2,000Pa2,000Pa
Dustbin capacity460ml480ml460ml
Water tank capacity300ml140ml290ml
Battery5,200mAh5,200mAh5,200mAh
Runtime180mins150mins150mins
Rated power66W58W58W
Noise (dB) - Balanced mode67dB67dB69dB
Noise (dB) - Quiet mode64dB64dB67dB
Price$749$649$599

Beyond improved object detection and avoidance, the S6 MaxV provides 25% better suction than either previous model. It also ekes out an extra half hour from the same-sized battery despite its more powerful motor. The S6 MaxV has the added benefit of being able to map up to four different floors in your home and recognize them automatically.

The S6 MaxV’s advanced capabilities will cost you more. It’s $749 retail price is notably more expensive than the $649 Roborock S6 and the S5 Max at $599. Let’s dive into the specifics to see if that extra outlay is really justified.

Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum cleaner Reactive AI dual camera

How to set up the Roborock S6 MaxV

Setting up the Roborock S6 MaxV only takes about ten minutes. Insert the dust bin and roller brush, fill the water tank and slot in the mop cloth bracket and you’re good to go. Plug in the dock and position it against a wall about a half meter from any corners.

Pairing the robovac to the Roborock or Mi Home app is simple. Open the lid of the S6 MaxV and press both buttons on either side of the power button. You’ll hear a voice say “resetting Wi-Fi” and a blue light near the LiDAR sensor will start blinking. Open the app to connect the robot vacuum by tapping the “+” button and follow the on-screen steps.

Setting up the Roborock S6 MaxV only takes about ten minutes.

You’ll first need to connect the S6 MaxV to your Wi-Fi network, so enter your password for that. 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks are not supported, so make sure you’re either running a 2.4GHz connection or dual-band network.

Once your phone has connected to the robovac and the robovac to your Wi-Fi, it will ask a very important question: do you have pets? If you expect, er, poop to be one of the obstacles the S6 MaxV encounters during its daily duties, make sure to say “yes.”

This means it will be extra-sensitive to little “gifts” and make a wide berth around them. Say “no” and well, you’re gonna need that mop function. You can always change this setting later via the overflow menu at the top right under “camera functions.” This is particularly handy if a visitor brings their dog over, for example.

How to use the Roborock S6 MaxV

Once you’ve got the Roborock S6 MaxV set up and connected, it’s time to map out your home. Hit the power button on top of the robovac or start it with the app or your voice (you’ll need to add the Roborock skill to Alexa or pair the Roborock app with Google Home first). The first time the S6 MaxV cleans it will map out the perimeter of the entire area.

The same mapping occurs when you take the S6 MaxV to a different floor of your home. When you add a new floor, just be sure to go to Map settings > Edit map and ensure multi-floor maps are enabled. To add a new floor to your home’s map, tap Create map at the bottom and follow the prompts. Once all floors are mapped the S6 MaxV will be able to detect where it is automatically.

Once all floors are mapped the S6 MaxV will be able to detect where it is automatically.

The S6 MaxV divides areas into sections and cleans each one in turn. Each smaller zone isn’t necessarily a room so don’t worry if the robovac only cleans 70% of the room and goes somewhere else. Never fear, it’ll come back.

You can change the order of cleaning and create your own zones. If something gets spilled you can drop a pin and have the S6 MaxV navigate directly there to spot clean. You can create different schedules for different rooms and adjust the vacuum power and water usage for mopping (or disable it entirely).

It only takes the Roborock S6 MaxV a bit over half an hour to clean one floor of my apartment, so battery life was never a problem for me. It used around 15% battery for 30 square meters of cleanable floorspace per floor. If the S6 MaxV does run out of battery while cleaning a larger space, it will return to the dock for only as long as it needs to get enough battery charge to finish the job.

In quiet mode the S6 MaxV runs for up to three hours. It can vacuum homes up to 2,600 square feet (~240 square meters) and mop up to 2,150 square feet (~200 square meters) on a single water tank and charge using low water flow. If you increase the flow of water or suction power expect that number to drop.

As with other Roborock vacuums and mopbots, you can easily remove brushes, filters and cloths for cleaning. The app tracks the usage of each component so you know in advance when they need maintaining or replacing. The app also keeps a log of your cleaning history.

How does remote viewing work on the S6 MaxV?

As mentioned above, you can now enable remote viewing on the Roborck S6 MaxV. You can do three things: take photos; live stream video; transmit audio. Exactly what you use remote viewing for (or if you even enable it at all) is entirely up to you, but I like having the option. If you enable remote viewing on the S6 MaxV, you can take photos of unknown objects the robot vacuum encounters, keep an eye on home security while you’re away, and communicate with pets or kids when you’re not in the room.

To enable remote viewing, there’s a multi-step process involved to ensure your data is protected, you’re in control, and nothing happens by accident. First, you need to make sure you’ve updated your Roborock S6 MaxV to have access to remote viewing. You’ll need software version 01.44.36 or above. 

Once you’ve got the software update, you’ll see a new icon on the map screen in the S6 MaxV’s screen in the Roborock app (right under the time remaining, it looks like a security camera). Tap it and you’ll be prompted to enable remote viewing first. You’ll need to flip a switch in the app and press the three buttons on top of the S6 MaxV simultaneously until you hear an audible notification that remote viewing has been enabled.

You’ll then need to read the privacy policy and agree to its terms once you’re aware of how data is processed and stored. You can set differing levels of “alert” when in remote viewing mode (like periodic audible reminders). A pattern lock can be added as an additional layer of security. If you want to enable audio access you’ll have to agree to that separately. “Unknown obstacle” photos can be enabled in the robovac’s camera settings menu. All data is stored locally and deleted when you exit the app and robot.

When you enter remote viewing mode you can control the robot with a basic d-pad or use the map to send it somewhere instantly. You’ll be able to see a live feed of what the robot sees the entire time and switch from standard definition to high definition depending on network strength. Once at your destination, you can start to clean, return to the dock, or transmit an audio message (you’ll need to go to full-screen mode to access these buttons as you can see in the screenshot below).

I love these additional features, as they fully take advantage of the S6 MaxV’s impressive hardware. I totally get why some people wouldn’t want to transmit audio or video to unknown servers or grant video and microphone access to yet another smart home product, especially one that can move, so it’s great to have so many layers of security and such complete control over every step of the way. And if you don’t like the idea at all, just don’t enable anything!

Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum remote viewing livestreami in app landscape mode

Credit: Kris Carlon / Android Authority

How well does the Roborock S6 MaxV clean?

With a little bit of effort you can get almost as good a clean with the Roborock S6 MaxV as you’d get with a normal vacuum and mop. For me, that little bit of effort fell into two categories: preparing the space a little and planning things out a little in the app.

I found I needed to create a couple invisible walls and no-go zones to get things just right. This came down to two main problem areas: the S6 MaxV kept trying to “hump” the bottom of my table and kept getting into a tight spot at the top of the stairs on a recessed top step. Once these difficulties were taken account of, things ran like clockwork. I also adjusted the vacuum strength and water level in different areas. 

You can get almost as good a clean as you'd get with a normal vacuum and mop.

Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum cleaner water tray removed

The other thing I found helped the process was slightly preparing the space for cleaning. Of course, you can leave everything just as it is and have the S6 MaxV do its thing, but you do get a better result if you pitch in a just a bit. I eventually got into the habit of picking up clothes, pushing chairs in and moving stray charging cables off the floor. This resulted in much more comprehensive coverage as there was less to avoid.

One of the best parts of the S6 MaxV is its dual cameras and AI-based object recognition. If you don’t want to pick anything up but still want the main traffic areas clean, the S6 MaxV can deftly avoid all kinds of obstacles. If you forgot about that coffee cup by the chair or a stray sock under the bed you don’t need to worry.

I got kind of used to my old Roborock S4 dragging random objects around the house so I really noticed the improvement. The S6 MaxV would even take shortcuts if a door got opened in the middle of cleaning and resulted in a quicker way to navigate. Watching it nimbly avoid the forest of stool legs at my dining table without bumping into anything was definitely impressive.

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OK, let’s talk about poop

Perhaps the biggest deal here though is pet waste. I don’t have a pet but Roborock was “kind” enough to include a plastic poop in the S6 MaxV box so I could test it. I’ve heard the horror stories involving “painting” when robovacs don’t avoid dog poop, so I’m happy to inform you the S6 MaxV won’t do that.

Not only did the S6 MaxV correctly identify the fake poop, it gave it a very wide berth. I have no doubt it would successfully avoid spreading around real poop. If you turn off the “pet in the home” setting though…don’t say I didn’t warn you. Turning this setting on increases the S6 MaxV’s sensitivity and helps it improve strategies for avoiding pet waste. If, like me, you don’t have pets then you can safely turn it off.

The good and the bad

Now, there’s naturally a difference in suction power between a small robovac and a big column or upright vacuum. The extra 2,500Pa of suction made short work of my apartment. Depending on the specifics of your home it might still be insufficient. Carpets, for example, can create problems for some robovacs, especially if they’re particularly plush.

I only have a couple carpet squares and rugs around the place. The S6 MaxV managed fine with them by automatically increasing suction power and cutting the mop function with No-Mop zones. I also loved being able to carry the S6 MaxV upstairs and have it do its thing without needing to bring the dock with me.

The quality of the clean you'll get in your home depends on your particular floor types.

The quality of the clean you’ll get in your home depends on your particular floor types. Another major factor is how much effort you put into setting up the app and maps. The majority of my home is parquetry so I couldn’t be happier with the results. Consequently, I activated the S6 MaxV almost every day compared to my usual twice-a-week runs with the vacuum-only S4.

The only issue I found with mopping was streaking when the mop cloth was a bit dirty, at least at first. The software update mentioned above that delivered better flow control cleared up my issues. Any uneven mopping coverage at the start of cleaning can be avoided by dampening the mop cloth when inserting the water tray and mop bracket. Filling the tank with hot water also means you can walk on the floors sooner.

More details:

  • 300ml electronic water tank
  • 300g of constant mop pressure
  • Automatic water cutoff when stopped
  • Multi-level mapping
  • Remote control via app
  • 25% more suction than predecessors
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • Smart top-up charging
  • No-Go and No-Mop zones, invisible walls
  • 5,200mAh battery
  • 460ml dustbin and washable E11 dust filter
  • LiDAR LDS navigation system
  • 30fps stereo camera
  • On-device processing

Roborock S6 MaxV robot vacuum cleaner rear view top

Roborock S6 MaxV: value for money

The Roborock S6 MaxV is a premium robovac with premium features. At $749 it’s $150 more than the S5 Max and $350 more than the vacuum-only S4. So you really have to weigh up just how valuable its advanced features are to you. It’s not quite the effortless robot-cleaning future we all want, but it’s getting there.

If all you want is a simple robovac to mop and clean your house — and you don’t have pets — then save some money and get the S5 Max. It’s not quite as powerful or advanced as the S6 MaxV but it’s still a very capable machine. If you’ve had run-ins with pet waste in the past though the S6 MaxV is a very worthwhile upgrade.

If you've had run-ins with pet waste in the past, the S6 MaxV is a very worthwhile upgrade.

The S6 MaxV is a robot vacuum for people that don’t mind investing good money to get the best. Many robot vacuums can mop and clean, many have intelligent mapping and easy-to-use apps. Some have multi-level mapping and cameras, object avoidance and smart algorithms for better resource management. I can’t definitively say you should buy the Roborock S6 MaxV because $749 is a lot of money. But what I can say is that if you do, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

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