Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
Every year, I review a variety of robotic vacuums, ranging from inexpensive units intended for apartment use to sophisticated devices capable of tackling the largest and most cluttered of houses.
Imartine's Coredy R3500 is an excellent example of a budget-range robotic vacuum. It is robust, extremely agile, and benefits from strong suction and long battery life. The R3500 would be a good option for cleaning an apartment or a small house.
However, medium-sized to large buildings require a robot capable of mapping the entire house and planning a cleaning routine that ensures it is effectively and consistently vacuumed. For these situations, the Roborock S5 Max is an excellent choice. This vacuum is equipped with a sophisticated LIDAR navigational system that can produce maps for up to four different building levels. The S5 Max is also fitted with the best mopping system I have ever used.
Today I am reviewing Roborock's S4 Max. While this unit is rated for cleaning areas ranging from apartments to large, multistory houses, it is priced midway between the Coredy R3500 and the Roborock S5 Max.
The Roborock S4 Max weighs in at just over seven pounds. It spans 13.8 inches and is 3.8 inches high. Two deck-mounted pushbuttons initiates spot cleaning, routine cleaning operations, sends the vacuum back to its dock, and turns the unit on or off.
A laser rotates rapidly within a turret positioned at the top of the vacuum, and two wall sensors pierce its bumper.
A dustbin, brush tool, reset switch, and WiFi indicator reside below the robot's upper lid.
Located beneath this robotic vacuum are two large rubber-coated drive wheels, a sturdy omnidirectional wheel, a side brush, four drop sensors, and the main brush. Two metal contacts charge the battery, which resides within a covered compartment.
The 14.4V 5200mAh lithium battery can power the S4 Max for up to three hours in silent mode.
Multilevel mapping, exclusion zones, and barriers can be set up and adjusted using the Roborock application.
Unlike the more expensive Roborock models, this robotic vacuum is not equipped for floor mopping operations.
The S4 Max ships with a charging dock, power cord, user's guide, and a cleaning brush.
- Manufacturer: Roborock
- Model: S4 Max
- Country of origin: China
- Color: Black
- Weight: 3.2 kilograms (7 pounds)
- Diameter: 35 centimeters (13.8 inches)
- Height: 9.65 centimeters (3.8 inches)
- Battery: 5200mAh lithium-ion; 14.4 volts; 58 watts
- Battery charging time: ˂6 hours
- Battery run time: 180 minutes (in silent mode)
- Dock: Input (100-240VAC); Output 20VDC 1.2A
- Dustbin: 460ml (15.6 fluid ounces)
- Scheduling: Yes
- Voice control: Alexa and Google Home
- Suction power: 2000PA
- Coverage: 250 square meters (2690 square feet)
- Navigational system: LIDAR
- Mapping: Yes. Includes exclusion zones
- Cleaning technique: Suction, main brush, and side brush
- Climbing ability: 2 centimeters (0.8 inches)
- Filter: E11 rated, washable
- Accessories: Recharging base, cleaning brush, and user's guide
Beijing Rockrobo Technology Co. is based in Beijing, with R&D and branch offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Founded in July 2014, Roborock specializes in the research, development, and production of robotic vacuums and cordless stick vacuums.
The Roborock Application
This application provides the ability to read multilevel maps produced by the vacuum and adjust specific parameters. If required, barriers and exclusion zones can be set. The application also allows a smartphone to be utilized as a remote control.
The Roborock S4 Max is equipped with LIDAR (light detection and ranging). A turret-based laser illuminates objects to assist in determining their location, size, shape, and distance. The laser rotates at 300 RPM, calculating distance by measuring the laser beam's time to reach an obstruction and reflect back. This information helps build an accurate map and guide the unit as it travels from room to room.
A robotic vacuum's usefulness depends on its ability to start automatically, effectively vacuum the designated cleaning area, and then return to its dock.
To prevent the vacuum's wheels and brushes from becoming entangled, I have secured all cables and wires to nearby baseboards using clips.
Robotic vacuums sometimes sandwich themselves between the floor and the bottom of a couch or cabinet. Happily, the Roborock S4 Max can avoid these situations due to its ability to set exclusion zones and barriers.
Thresholds—the strip of wood at the bottom of doorways where rooms connect—are sometimes too high for a robotic vacuum to cross. The S4 Max navigated every threshold within my house without difficulty.
My biggest worry was the newly installed water fountain I purchased for my cat. The vacuum lightly nudged the water bowl to verify its presence and then circled around.
The Roborock, which incorporates a navigational system, requires less maneuvering room to dock than most of its competitors. Nevertheless, it is a good policy to position the dock in an open area.
Rugs and Carpets
The Roborock S4 Max maneuvered quickly across my well-secured Turkish rug and the thick wool mat located in the living room. The robot pushed around but did not attempt to ingest a thin, towel-like mat. Although the vacuum experienced a little difficulty mounting the thick memory foam mat in my bathroom, it successfully cleaned this rug.
When crossing carpeted surfaces and rugs, the S4 Max automatically increases suction power.
This robot's powerful 5200mAh lithium battery can run for up to three hours.
It takes about 40 minutes to clean the bottom floor of my medium-sized house. When I vacuum this area, the front porch, and my house's second story, the battery level drops to about 50 percent.
As the S4 Max enters each room, it circles and begins to edge clean. Then the robot switches to a Z pattern, continuing to vacuum effectively. The Roborock application can point the robot toward a specific room, direct it to spot clean a particularly dirty area, or specify the order in which the rooms are cleaned. This robot may be denied access to specified areas by setting exclusion zones and barriers.
The S4 Max can be scheduled to start at a specific time each day. It may also be controlled using the Roborock application or by simply pushing the vacuum's start button.
The first time I cleaned the second story of my house, I provided a start position for the robot by temporarily relocating the dock to the same floor. Once the level had been cleaned, and a new map was created, I returned the dock permanently to its normal position.
This robotic vacuum performs exceptionally well, and because it is agile and can take advantage of exclusion zones, it may be left unintended during cleaning operations.
Excellent battery life, combined with the robot's superb navigational system, ensure that even large cleaning areas are vacuumed quickly and competently.
While this robotic vacuum lacks the sophisticated mopping system fitted to the S5 Max, its lower price will attract potential customers who simply desire an effective vacuum. The Roborock S4 Max is strongly recommended.
© 2020 Walter Shillington