The Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra is the best robot vacuum I’ve ever tested

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Roborock S8 MaxV Ultra ($1,799.99, available in April) The name is a mouthful, but this iteration of the S8 series wins every syllable. Roborock’s new flagship retains everything I loved about the S8, adds a voice assistant, improves the cleaning base, increases suction power, and allows the brush extension arm to reach the edges of the room. The result makes the S8 series my favorite. My favorite robot vacuum cleaner, and the best robot to beat.

Better concealed water tank and additional cleaning solution reservoir

This version of the S8 isn't fundamentally different from the S8 I've reviewed before. The tower is large, although not as impressive as recent Eufy or Ecovacs vacuum cleaners. The important difference here is that the S8 is now available in a traditional base (which has a clean and dirty water tank) or an R&D (flush and drain) version, where the base is very small but is plumbed directly into the water pipes so it can fill and drain on its own. For this review, we tested a traditional base.

Roborock offers the S8 in black or white, with the same matte and gloss molded plastic details on the base and robot. Tanks are now more hidden within the base than part of the building. From the front you only see a solid panel, but the water tank is still easily accessible from the top of the unit. In fact, the front of the unit holds on magnetically and pops out so you can use the vacuum bag behind it, as well as another new feature - a dedicated tank for cleaning solution. I love this feature; it means I don't have to add it to the water every time I add it. The robot itself looks just like previous Roborock entries - it's only when you turn the robot over that the upgrades become apparent.

Easy to set up and integrate

I've never had a problem connecting the Roborock models; they basically work right out of the box, and connecting the device is as easy as pressing a few buttons. The machine will announce the steps it goes through in setup, and the app will guide you as well. As with previous floor robots from the brand, I never had an issue with the machine going offline during my testing. I was able to easily pair the vacuum with Google Home, and the Roborock also works with Apple Homekit and Alexa. Like the Q Revo I reviewed earlier this week, the S8 MaxV Ultra comes with Rocky, the voice assistant. As I pointed out before, the voice assistant is an interesting feature, but its vocabulary and command list are very limited. If you know the exact wording required, you can ask the robot to clean a specific room, the entire house, or return to base by getting its attention with "Hello, Rocky." Supposedly, you can ask Loki to have a robot come to you and clean up where you are, but all my tests of this failed - the robot drove right past where I was standing. I think Loki will be in the future.

Excellent vacuum power

The previous S8 model earned my respect for how good it was at mopping and vacuuming. Often, floor robots only excel in one area, like the Switchbot K10+, which is a great vacuum but poor at mopping. Like its predecessor, the S8 MaxV Ultra performs well as a vacuum on deep-pile carpets, good enough to leave you with the distinctive mark that a good vacuum leaves on your carpets. The same goes for the S8 Pro Ultra, but with the MaxV Ultra's suction power almost doubling from 6000Pa to 10000Pa, one of the highest in the industry, you'll notice the difference. While the S8 was vacuuming, I occasionally heard something rattling around inside, which isn't necessarily a bad thing - it means the robot doesn't shut down all the time, and it can handle the foreign stuff and keep running. Sometimes I get called out to clean the rollers, but that's to be expected. Even less happens with this model than with the previous S8.

On both hard floors and carpet, the S8 MaxV Ultra continues to impress. The latest models of nearly every floor robot come equipped with brushes and give them extension arms (Roborock calls them "flexible arms") so they can shoot out from under the robot and reach into corners, under toe kicks, or under nearby items. This is a huge leap because it allows the robot to cling to walls where the few inches along them were previously a blind spot. It's mesmerizing to watch the brush kick up the debris to capture it.

Enhance mopping performance

While the S8 is a great vacuum cleaner, there are other great robot vacuums on the market, but the Roborock has the best robot mopping on the market. My floors often have muddy paw prints and stains from unknown outdoor sources. My kitchen floor is often a battlefield for dried peanut butter or dog toy yogurt. The S8's mop pad continuously flushes as the robot moves and then rinses with clean, hot water to tackle even the toughest stains on your floors. Sometimes it takes an extra pass, but the job is done. The mop pad has also been improved: it's now larger and also extends a bit for edge-to-edge coverage. The Q Revo MaxV has rotating brushes instead of mop pads, and they extend far away from the robot. I thought they would work better than mop pads, but the S8 still surprised me. The mop pad vibrates to remove dirt and stains. As with the Q Revo, you'll occasionally need manual assistance, but less so with the S8.

How to choose a Roborock sweeping robot model

The Q Revo is a powerful and reliable floor robot that's significantly cheaper at $1,199. Still, I think what makes the S8 unique is the extra convenience and functionality. If you could connect it directly to a water pipe, the S8 would be a no-brainer. Even without this feature, the extra suction power makes a difference, and while it may seem small, the cleaning fluid tank is a very handy addition that makes the mop work even better. The Q Revo has a spin brush and mop pad, but both extend onto the wall. Only the S8 features high-speed sonic mopping to help remove stains and dirt from your floors. You'll be happy with the Q Revo, but the S8 is Roborock's flagship for a reason.

Other robot vacuums to consider:

  • Switchbot K10+ is a compact vacuum that can get into tight spaces: $499.99

  • The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is my old favorite mop/vacuum combo: $1,399.99

  • Roomba Combo J9 critically acclaimed: $1,399.99

  • The Eufy X10 Combo is a good mid-range entry: $799.99

  • Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni has many of the same features as the Q Revo: $999.99

The app remains easy to use

Roborock's app is still easy to use and offers at least as much functionality as any other robot I've found without being overwhelming. You can have the robot clean your entire house at a time, but it's easy to edit the map and set up rooms and zones so you can clean selected areas. There's a choice between four intensities for mopping and vacuuming, although the only reason to use less than the maximum intensity is the noise, which isn't loud (67 decibels) but you won't want to do that while the S8 is running at your feet Zoom. You can set timelines and get very satisfying field reports. The S8 MaxV Ultra has a remote control feature that I really like and adds onboard video to the floor robot.

Bottom line: This is the flagship model for a reason

I firmly believe that robots are a way for us to reduce the burden of household chores in the future, but this is only true if the robots can work well and autonomously. Over the past two years, I've seen floor robots take huge steps toward this goal, and while even the best robots require occasional intervention, the Roborock robot requires less intervention. The S8 MaxV Ultra is the most reliable vacuum/mop combo on the market today, delivering excellent performance in both areas and being able to continue working even if minor issues arise later that need to be addressed (such as cleaning the drum). This cleaning power becomes truly limitless, bringing you one step closer to never having to mop or vacuum again. The app and integration with most voice assistants and multi-system hubs means you can easily ask the robot to do what you want, and Rocky, the onboard voice assistant, only continues to improve. $1,799 is a lot to pay for a vacuum, but the S8 is a vacuum and mop that's ready to serve you and is reliable. If you can afford it, hiring a competent home assistant is reasonably priced. The S8 MaxV Ultra will be available in early April.