Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
Is the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock Worth It?
I love my Roborock S7 robotic vacuum. It’s a quality product that maneuvers effortlessly throughout my house, enjoys long battery life, and vacuums well.
This robot features a vibrating mop pad that automatically rises from the floor whenever the vacuum encounters a rug or carpet. These innovations represent a significant improvement over past systems, providing a truly practical mopping system.
What the Roborock S7 lacked was an auto-empty dock. That didn’t bother me. It seemed absurd to incorporate a complicated vacuum system into a dock simply to save a minute’s work.
I changed my mind the first time I reviewed a robotic vacuum equipped with one of these fancy devices. It might consume little time, but the mundane chore of emptying a dustbin is one daily task I am happy to avoid.
The auto-empty dock completes the cycle of vacuum automation. Provided the robot is set to start cleaning each day automatically, it can now be totally ignored for periods of up to two months.
Happily, Roborock has designed an auto-empty dock for use with the S7. In the following review, I will explore how well it functions and describe its setup.
The Roborock Auto-Empty Dock features a pair of tall cylinders which crouch atop a black plastic ramp. The docking unit is 15 inches tall, 12.2 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. When attached to the accompanying ramp, the dock’s depth increases to 18 inches.
A semi-transparent cover wrapped around the right cylinder allows a view of the enclosed vacuum bag. The left cylinder is composed of black plastic and encloses a dust filter, HEPA filter, and the main vacuum assembly.
Beneath the set of cylinders sits an infrared emitter. The associated robotic vacuum uses this signal to locate the dock.
A pair of charging contacts and an air duct, used to carry debris from the robotic vacuum’s dustbin to the dock’s vacuum bag, are fitted to the ramp.
Also included in the package are a power cord and a specially constructed dustbin which is intended to replace the robotic vacuum’s original unit.
- Manufacturer: Roborock
- Name: Auto-empty dock
- Model: AED01LRR/AED02LRR
- Compatibility: Roborock S7 robotic vacuum
- Colors available: White or black
- Vacuum bag capacity: 3 liters (100 fluid ounces)
- Input: 100–120 VAC
- Rated power (charger): 28W
- Rated power (dust collector): 1000W
- Rated output: 20VDC 1.2A
- Charger usage: Used to charge 14.4V 5200mAh lithium battery
Roborock is trademarked by Beijing Rockrobo Technology Co., Ltd., which was founded in July 2014. This company specializes in the research, development, and production of robotic home cleaners. Roborock is based in Beijing, with R&D and branch offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
My first step was to turn the docking unit upside down on a stable surface and attach its ramp using the ramp’s five captive screws.
I then placed the docking unit against my kitchen wall and connected it to a power outlet. A white light in the front of the docking unit lit, indicating a proper connection.
After removing the original dustbin from my S7 robotic vacuum, I noticed a label entitled ‘Air Inlet’ pasted to the side of the compartment. It was a simple matter to pry away the tiny plastic piece that neighboured the label, revealing the air inlet.
As I inserted the new dustbin, I noticed that it incorporated a small air inlet that pressed directly against the newly revealed hole in the robotic vacuum’s dustbin housing.
The last steps in the setup process included removing the original dock from service and transferring the robotic vacuum to my kitchen floor. I then pressed the home button and watched as the robot glided toward its new dock.
The first time the robot backed away from the dock to begin cleaning, it paused for a few seconds to locate its position. This was because the original dock had been located in a different room. Once the robot established its position, its map was updated, and the robot no longer hesitated as it left the dock.
Each time the robot returns to its dock, it climbs atop the ramp and begins to charge. Then, for about 15 seconds, the dock’s vacuum loudly sucks debris from the robot’s dustbin.
Suction drags fresh air into the robot’s dustbin through its air inlet. Debris, along with this air, is forced from the dustbin and down to the main brush. Then it is sucked through the ramp’s air duct, up the dock, and into the fitted vacuum bag.
Most auto-empty docks simply exhaust the relatively clean air pulled through the vacuum bag. Roborock, however, has added both a large dust filter and a HEPA filter into their system.
This extra filtering will be appreciated by those allergic to dust particles. And, of course, if the vacuum bag were to become torn, these filters would protect the vacuuming mechanism and prevent dust from being expelled into the air.
After the robotic vacuum completed its first run and had been emptied by the dock, I examined its dustbin. The bin was pristine.
Four days later, disaster struck. Unbeknownst to me, my cat had coughed up a hairball and some wet cat food onto my brand-new living room rug. And, unfortunately, the robotic vacuum had already tackled this area before I noticed.
While I had to clean up the wet spot on the rug and wipe some squashed cat food from the robot’s wheels and main brush, the auto-empty dock was able to successfully suck out all the damp crud that had accumulated within the dust bin. All that remained were two small pebbles—I have no idea where they came from—and a couple of cat hairs twisted together and clinging to the filter.
I usually wash the dustbin and its filter under tap water once a week. However, since the new auto-empty dock works so well, pulling dust from the filter, I plan to change my cleaning routine to once every three weeks.
This dock is equipped with a three-liter vacuum bag. I expect this bag will last about two months.
I don’t believe the air duct that carries debris from the robot and along the ramp will require frequent maintenance. As this duct is composed of transparent plastic, any buildup of debris will be noticed well before a possible blockage.
Neither the dust filter nor the HEPA filter should need to be often cleaned because the vacuum bag will trap most of the collected particles. I plan on washing them under tap water once every six months.
This is a high-quality device that functions exceptionally well and should enjoy a long lifecycle. If you own either a Roborock S7 or S7 MaxV robotic vacuum and would like to avoid the unpleasant task of emptying its dustbin every day, the Roborock Auto-Empty Dock will be a welcomed accessory.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Walter Shillington