This summer, we bought a Roborock S6 robot vacuum to help keep up with the messes our baby and toddler make. We love our children very much, but damn – the daily struggle against crumbs and dirt was intense.
We did a lot of research and read tons of reviews before choosing the Roborock S6, an intelligent, app-powered autonomous floor vacuum (official site). We’ve had it for 4 months now and have definitely given it a workout.
In short, this vacuum is amazing. It has relieved us of a ton of sweeping and mopping duties and elevated the overall standard of cleanliness in our home by cleaning places we didn’t (or couldn’t) regularly clean and doing a better job of it.
Before we got it, everyone was telling us to just lower our standards (and then lower them again) but our floors were getting super gross and I was really tired of trying to keep up. Plus, I love a clean home, and I didn’t want to relax my standards – especially with a baby crawling on (and eating off of) the floor!
Thanks to the Roborock S6, we didn’t have to lower our standards at all. Quite the opposite, actually – my standards are now higher than they were before.
We named it Jeff.
Note: Like all products we review here on HomeUpgraded, our Roborock S6 vacuum is something we bought ourselves and have put through extensive use before writing about it. Everything in this article is our own research and opinions.
Roborock S6 features at a glance
The Roborock S6 vacuum is an app-controlled, Internet-enabled smart vacuum for hardwood, tile, and carpet. It is circle-shaped, so you might be wondering how it reaches into corners. The vacuum has a little spinning “arm” that collects dust and dirt from corners and edges – places my traditional upright vacuum cannot reach without an attachment.
It’s both a vacuum and a mop (you decide which mode it runs in) and you can operate it either from the smartphone app or via buttons on the vacuum itself. You can even use the app when you aren’t home. It docks and undocks all on its own, but you have to empty its dustbin yourself. The dustbin looks dinky compared to what we’re used to seeing on canister and upright vacs, but it’s large enough for a full sweep of our 2700 sq. ft home. We empty it between runs.
It takes about 110 minutes and most of a full battery to do our 2700 sq. ft. home, but we often target specific rooms with the app that lets you draw no-go zones and designate room boundaries.
See the Roborock S6 on Amazon.com
Why we love our Roborock S6
We had heard of the Roomba by iRobot, but we had also heard the complaints that the Roomba sorta of drunkenly zig-zags around your house in a crazy-making way and saw someone suggesting the Xiaomi Roborock S6 as an alternative because of its mapping and stricter line-by-line approach to cleaning rooms.
That’s how we got going down the research rabbit hole and ended up picking a vacuum that lacks the name recognition of Roomba but has nonetheless made us very, very happy we picked it.
✔ Our floors are cleaner than they’ve ever been – and that’s saying something, with two messy children, my own long hair, and plenty of foot-traffic around the house. I love walking barefoot around my house again. Honestly, this thing raised the bar on cleanliness since it goes under things and into places I only scrubbed occasionally. I’m actually a little embarrassed because I thought I was doing a good job, but this vacuum finds everything.
✔ Run the vacuum from anywhere. You don’t have to be home! You can start the vacuum from anywhere you have an Internet connection. I usually run it when I’m away from home because I don’t want to be in its way, but it’s not a huge nuisance if you do run it while home.
✔ It fits in corners and goes under furniture. Let’s be honest, I rarely moved furniture or push things out of the way for vacuuming. Fortunately, Jeff has no problem gliding under our king-size bed, dining room chairs, or our bathroom vanity.
✔ Does not suck up drapes. We have long drapes that end just above the floor in multiple rooms. I used to tie them up or drape them over nearby furniture but Jeff just eats around them.
✔ Works on hardwood, tile, and carpet. Our home is mostly hardwoods and tile, but we have a number of rugs of varying thicknesses and types. Jeff handles everything from our door mats to the oversize carpet samples we use in the children’s rooms. (We have not tried it on bath mats, we pick those up before running the vacuum.) It has not chewed any corners, left any rugs curled up, or otherwise bothered them. It mounts even our thickest rug (1/2″).
✔ Easy to empty and easy to clean the brush. I’ll go into detail more on this later but basically emptying out my upright vacuum always squicked me out because I had to reach into it and pull the globs of dust and out of the canister with my hand. I’m happy to say that the dust and dirt just falls out of the Roborock’s bin, and the brush is easy to snap in and out of place for the occasional de-hairing.
✔ Goodbye, tedious chore. With two small kids, sweeping and vacuuming was consuming a small part of my life. I was vacuuming and sweeping after every meal and snack and I was just really tired of it.
How it works: using the Roborock S6
Preparing to vacuum
We pick up any toys, laundry, shoes, cables, etc. from around the floors and then start the vacuum using the app. We don’t move furniture for it, but if you do, it’ll figure out the room has changed and adapt to the new layout.
Note: You can also carry the vacuum to the room you want it to vacuum and push a button on the vacuum to run it.
Using the Roborock app
The app is easy to use and [as of October 2019] lets more than one person “own” the vacuum and manage it via their own smartphones. This lets both my husband and I start, stop, or view the vacuum’s current progress.
You don’t have to be on your home WiFi to use the app or control the robot. To start the vacuum, open the app and tap “Enter robot” to see the current map of your home.
Here, you can pick rooms to vacuum, have it clean the whole house, or define a box-shaped area for it to vacuum. You can set no-go zones (shown here as red boxes) and partition rooms. You can also access settings and drop a “pin” to tell the vacuum to vacuum a particular location.
The robot generates and saves a map of your house the first time you run it. You can generate a new map at any time, and you can save up to 3 separate maps. You can divide spaces into separate rooms, set no-go zones, and more. A saved map retains its no-go zones. Saved maps are useful for bringing the robot to a different floor. You have to pick it up yourself and take it to the new floor, but it should figure it out from there. [Note: We live in a one-story home and have not tried this feature.]
I usually target a specific room to vacuum. This is because some of our rooms get dirty at like ten times the rate that other rooms do. The app makes it easy to pick a room and start the cleaning cycle. The robot leaves the dock on its own and heads to the room(s) you picked.
The rooms don’t have to be adjacent to each other. When it’s finished, it plays a recorded announcement and returns to its dock.
The whole process is completely hands-free and can be monitored in real-time through the app.
You can use the app from anywhere you have an Internet connection. Yes, this means you can run the vacuum while you’re at work or out running errands. I usually run it when I’m out with the kids so they don’t interfere with it. Coming home to a clean home is the best.
October 2019 update: They just updated the app to allow more than one person to operate and monitor the vacuum! This was, by far, the biggest problem with the app (the fact that only one person could “own” and manage the vacuum) so I look forward to sharing the responsibility of running Jeff with my husband, haha.
It runs quietly enough that you can have a (somewhat loud) conversation in the same room as it, but it’s also loud enough that I wouldn’t run it while trying to watch a movie or while someone is sleeping. Ours goes cu-clunk, cu-clunk as it passes over the grout between our large kitchen floor tiles, and it becomes noticeably louder when it’s working on carpet, but overall I would describe it as less noisy and intrusive than our upright vacuum.
It’s definitely slower than I am with an upright, but it’s also way more thorough and goes places I don’t bother with.
When it’s done with the area(s) you assigned it to, it finds its dock and puts itself back on its charger. The whole process is very hands-off, but you do have to dump out the dust bin yourself.
The Roborock S6’s cleaning capabilities and maintenance are covered later in this review.
Scheduling the robot vacuum with “Timer”
You can schedule the Roborock S6 to run at a set time, which is called “Timer” in the app, and you can also tell it when not to run with “Do Not Disturb”, but we have not used the scheduling feature because our floors are constantly covered in a smattering of toys that we have to manually pick up right before running the vacuum.
However, I will say this – everyone in the house is eager to pick up “for the robot”. Before we got this robot vacuum the floors only got picked up maybe once a week (by me, moments before I vacuumed the room myself). Now, since we run the robot vacuum basically every day and since not that much clutter has accumulated since the last time we ran him, the floors stay a lot less cluttered overall, and I no longer have to pick up so much clutter from the floors myself! HUGE WIN!
I am astonished at how much dust our Roborock S6 picks up in just one run. I’m actually a bit embarrassed, because I thought I was doing a good job with the sweeping and mopping.
My biggest resistance to getting a robot vacuum in the first place was I assumed it wasn’t as powerful as my upright vac, but we run it far more frequently and it’s way more thorough than I was and it reaches into little places I wasn’t, so maybe it wasn’t power that mattered so much but overall meticulousness. Either way, I have zero complaints about its power.
It picks up glitter, leaves, Cheerios, corn flakes, dried rice, dried Play-Doh and other annoying-to-sweep things so I’m very happy with its ability to keep up with our kids.
The Roborock’s methodical, line-by-line approach to cleaning is what initially drew us to it. First, it outlines the room, then it goes “line by line” down the room, like an inkjet printer. (It uses its saved map as a “starting point”, but it doesn’t follow the map blindly – if your furniture has moved that’s fine, it’ll figure it out.)
We moved into this house in July and got Jeff a month later and as we set it up I thought, There’s no way the house can even be that dirty yet – but it came back from its maiden voyage packed with dust and dirt. I think I could sweep and mop before running the vacuum and it would find loads of things I missed.
Some of this is because Jeff goes places I don’t or can’t, such as under the bed and some of our furniture, but some of it is also because it goes slower and more methodically than a human. It also doesn’t seem to kick up much dust as it goes, so maybe that helps it capture more as well.
Either way, it’s clear that the Roborock S6 does a way better job than I do with a traditional upright vacuum and mop.
We use vacuum mode as our default and only switch to mopping on occasion. (If you’re wondering whether you even need vacuuming if your home has no carpet in it, yes you do. The vacuuming takes the place of sweeping in that case, and you definitely need to sweep before you mop.)
The mopping mode is for “light mopping”. I’m not sure how light is “light”, and we haven’t truly put it through its paces yet. (I’ll report back once we’re through a winter with this thing.)
The Roborock S6 comes with two reusable mop pads and several disposable mop pads.
Rugs and irregular objects
The Roborock S6 seems to have no problem going from our hard floors to our rugs. It doesn’t curl the edges or get trapped.
Our rugs include:
- Rubber-border “utility” rugs by our service door and front door
- Carpet sample style rugs in our children’s rooms and play areas
- Vinyl anti-fatigue mat at the kitchen sink
- Decorative rugs under the master bed and living room sofa
Here’s a weird place in our house that I didn’t like to vacuum myself – the baby jail on top of one of our rugs. It’s also crumb central. The vacuum had to switch between tile mode and rug mode as it worked its way around the baby jail, but it managed to get all of the crushed Cheerio dust that bedazzles this general area.
Tables and chairs – The Roborock S6 pivots around the legs of tables and chairs to get every last crumb from under the table. I just love not having to move the chairs to vacuum like I used to.
Beds – I didn’t fully appreciate the Roborock’s short stature until I realized it was going under our bed every time it vacuums our bedroom. Let’s just say I almost never vacuum under the bed. Now, the space under the bed is getting vacuumed all the time. I love it.
Kitchen cabinets – This is another place that tends to get really gross because it’s harder for me to clean it (or even see that it’s dirty). Jeff fits in the space under the cabinet faces and vacuums up every crumb from in front of the toe kick without scratching or damaging the wood.
What about small stuff left on the floor?
I feel like the “hazardous item” size threshold is about that of a toddler sock. Anything smaller or shorter than a small sock and the Roborock S6 is either going to roll over it and try to suck it up or get trapped on it somehow.
Obviously, we haven’t tested this exhaustively (we don’t want to break our robot), but we have had a few mishaps…
Phone charge cable – I once found Jeff trapped, unable to leave our room because my phone’s charge cable had wrapped around the brush and was holding him in place. He kept trying to turn around, run the length of the cord back to its source and then try to leave again, but the cord kept him tethered. He was stuck in a loop trying to free himself.
Sound machine cable – We set Jeff loose in the baby’s room, forgetting about the white noise machine under her crib. The machine has a very fine, thin cord, which Jeff pulled it hard enough to unplug it from the wall and dragged it a few feet from its starting position. Fortunately, the cord itself was perfectly fine, despite being thin and delicate.
Toddler-size sock – Jeff pushed this small sock around a bit but did not consume it.
Puzzle piece – This foam puzzle piece gave Jeff some trouble. The vacuum mounted it and switched to carpet mode in effort to suck it up. We were present and able to pause the robot and pull it out. The puzzle piece and the robot were both fine.
Sheet of paper – A sheet of paper got wrinked as Jeff pushed it into the table legs but there no damage to the vacuum.
Crayons – Another time, we found a half-chewed crayon that was had gotten worn down by Jeff’s brushes. (The vacuum itself was fine, but the crayon looks pretty wild and seems to have some bristles stuck to it now). Crayons are definitely a hazard to the Roborock.
This is basically why we don’t use the Timer (schedule) feature – we need to manually clean up the floors before running our Roborock S6, because while it’s pretty good at avoiding hazards and hasn’t gotten into any real trouble yet, it’s not perfect, and our kids leave everything on the floor.
What’s in the box?
The Roborock S6 comes with its dock, power cable, instruction manual, two reusable mop pads, a small stack of disposable mop pads, and a replacement air filter.
Like any vacuum, the Roborock S6 needs periodic maintenance and part replacement. The app tracks the vacuum’s usage and suggests maintenance of various components every so often. Note that this isn’t based on the actual degradation of the components, just an assumption of their state after X hours of use.
We’ve run ours for a grand total of 33 hours so far, and we’ve got a long way to go before we need to replace anything. (I left the sensors one at 0% so you can see what it looks like when it gets to zero on something.)
Replacement parts and accessories are inexpensive. They’re typically sold as a bundle on Amazon. You get multiples of each part (two brushes, six spinning feet, four filters, etc.) in the bundle.
Roborock S6 replacement parts on Amazon.com
Emptying the dustbin
Emptying the canister on my upright vacuum was a disgusting experience: I often had to reach into the canister to loosen the jammed-up dust and hair wads using my fingers. (Barf.)
So far, the Roborock has not made me touch any of the crud it picks up. It falls out of the dustbin with a few knocks against the inside of our trash can.
Cleaning the roller brush
We’ve only had to clean the main brush twice in 3 months of owning it so far and I’m not sure if that’s a normal cadence or exceptional or what. I have hair that reaches about halfway down my back and I’m losing it at a rate that indicates I should be bald by this time next year, so my hair tends to be a challenge for any vac we own.
Fortunately, my long hair doesn’t seem to jam the Roborock and since the brush can be lifted out of the vacuum it is easy to clean the roller (at least, compared to my upright vac where the roller is not removable, so I get down on the floor with some scissors to cut my hair off the roller).
Washing the mopping pads
When it’s time to mop, you attach a mopping pad. There are disposable mop pads and reusable mop pads. We’ve only used the reusable mop pads so far. The mopping pads are supposedly machine washable but we have elected to hand wash ours.
Here’s a brand new pad vs. a pad after one mopping. You get two of these with the Roborock, so if you do a lot of mopping you could have one in use and one in the laundry.
The bottom line
So that’s it – we love our robot vacuum! It took a daily chore I was sick of doing and turned it into something I could automate and have done when I wasn’t even home. Before we bought our Roborock vacuum were considering a cleaning service, but those run about $75/week where we live. We quickly “broke even” on this vacuum purchase, and it’s still going strong after 4 months of regular use (we run it about every other day). I’ll come back and post an update if the vacuum ever fails or requires a major repair, but so far we are thrilled with it.
Roborock S6 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Smart and efficient
Workhorse smart vacuum that keeps up with kids, long hair, and daily messes. Works on tiles, hardwood, and carpet, and manages the transitions with ease. Control it from anywhere with an easy to use app.
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