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Roborock released the new S8 line of robot vacuums in April 2023, and it’s already earned plenty of spots in Mashable’s robot vacuum shopping guides. The core technology in each of these robovacs is the same, and for this review, I tested the mid-range model, the S8+.

I can tell you right away — with confidence thanks to the stack of robot vacuums jockeying for space right now in my home — that Roborock has delivered one of the best robot vacuums available in 2023.

I’ve reviewed a lot of robot vacuums and contributed testing to Mashable’s review of the best robot vacuum and mop hybrids. Most days, I love reviewing products, although my partner is getting increasingly frustrated with the army of robot vacuums taking over our Brooklyn apartment. (We’ve adopted a one in, one out policy as a compromise.)

After testing so many robot vacuums, I can tell you exactly how this device compares to the competition and how this bot justifies its $999.99 price tag.

The Roborock S8 line: Just the basics

I was excited to finally give Roborock’s new line of vacuums a proper tryout for this review. The S8 lineup includes three bots:

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  • Roborock S8: A hybrid robot vacuum and mop ($799.99)

  • Roborock S8+: A self-emptying hybrid robot vacuum and mop ($999.99)

  • Roborock S8 Pro Ultra: A self-emptying, self-cleaning, and self-drying hybrid robot vacuum and mop ($1,599.99)

All three robots feature LiDAR mapping, multi-floor mapping, obstacle recognition, and sonic mopping. As a self-emptier (but not a self-cleaner), the S8+ is probably the best option for most people. The setup process couldn’t have been easier, and after a quick charge, it was ready to go. When fully charged, the S8+ offers three hours of cleaning time. Its auto-empty dustbin can store 60 days of debris.

the roborock s8+ in its box
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Unboxing the Roborock S8+.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

the roborock s8+ with accessories

Unboxing the Roborock S8+.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

Is the Roborock S8+ worth it?

I like to start off my reviews with this simple question. To answer it, I honestly ask myself if I would recommend this product to a friend, and the answer in this case is yes — with one exception.

Even when it’s on sale for $799.99, this is an expensive vacuum. For budget shoppers or people who have a smaller home, the S8+ might be overkill.

On top of that, after reviewing so many robot vacuums, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m personally not a fan of self-emptying vacuums, and if you feel the same way, the S8 offers the same experience sans self-emptying for $200 less.

However, for shoppers who can afford a $999 vacuum and have multiple types of flooring to clean, the S8+ is definitely worth the investment.

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the roborock s8+ with self-emptying dock

The Roborock S8+ charging in its auto-empty dock.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

Roborock S8+ review: Mostly impressive sonic mopping

Here’s the worst kept secret in the robot vacuum world: Most hybrid robot vacuums kind of suck at mopping. That’s why I use something I call the “Swiffer Test” when reviewing hybrid vacuums. I ask, “Does this device clean my floors better than a $20 Swiffer?” The answer is almost always no.

The S8+ is one of the rare vacuums that passed the Swiffer test, but just barely. That still puts it far ahead of most competitors. The best hybrid robot vacuums use sonic vibrations or scrubbing motions, and the S8+ uses the former. I do wish that Roborock provided a floor cleaning solution you could use with the mop for added power, but even without this, my S8+ was able to make minor set-in food stains disappear.

As I write this, my laminate floors are shining in the sunshine, no elbow grease required.

the roborock s8+ mopping a kitchen

Sonic mopping, engage!
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

Lastly, I can verify that this vacuum’s carpet detection works as promised. That’s a crucial feature for people like me who have area rugs throughout their home. Carpet detection is pretty standard with high-end vacuums, but it’s lacking in my favorite hybrid, the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1.

The S8+ does have one big drawback as a mopper — superficial zone cleaning. You can read more about this in the pain points section below, but to summarize, this hybrid only passes over a particular spot on your floor once per cleaning cycle, which inevitably leaves some smudges behind.

How well does the Roborock S8+ vacuum?

Even as brands like iRobot, Samsung, and Roborock pack their cleaning bots with fancy new features like onboard cameras and self-cleaning, at the end of the day, a robot vacuum really has one job — to vacuum.

And as a vacuum, the S8+ has three impressive abilities:

The S8 line promises 6,000Pa of suction power, among the highest in the industry. There’s really no way to test this suction power and verify this claim (which is one reason iRobot doesn’t even rate Roombas on the Pa suction scale). In practice, I don’t really care which vacuum brand claims to offer the strongest suction.

What I do care about is the lint roller test. It’s a simple cleaning test to perform. After a robot vacuum is done cleaning a carpet or rug, I use a lint roller to go over the carpet and see how much hair and debris has been left behind.

So far, no vacuum has passed the lint roller test 100 percent, but the S8+ performed better than any other vacuum I’ve tested to date. I don’t have any pets, but thanks to the extra-strong suction, it should be a great robot vacuum for pet hair.

lint roller next to roborock s8+

Performing the “lint roller test.”
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

the roborock s8+ cleaning a carpet

The Roborock S8+ tackles my area rug.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

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Many robot vacuums struggle to clean along edges, but not the S8+. How does Mashable test robot vacuums’ edge cleaning powers? In one of her Yeedi robot vacuum reviews, Mashable writer Stacia Datskovska introduced the “graham cracker test.” Personally, I prefer the “Reese’s Puffs test,” but to each their own. I strategically placed cereal crumbs along edges, and the S8+ cleaned up these crumbs better than any vacuum I’ve tested yet.

You can see that Roborock uses a familiar dual-roller brush system, and so far it hasn’t gotten tangled up with hair.

underside of the roborock s8+

The underside of the Roborock S8+.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

Intelligent room mapping and LiDAR

Here’s yet another area where the S8+ excels. I’ve found that most robot vacuums with LiDAR are able to create an accurate room map with ease. Even considering this, the S8+ has some really cool mapping abilities. Not only can you view your map in 2D and 3D, but you can also see the path that your robot takes as it cleans.

If you look closely at the first picture below, you’ll see icons where the vacuum has identified obstacles:

roborock app showing obstacles

Roborock app with obstacle icons.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

screenshot showing how roborock app recognizes footwear

That’s a positive ID on footwear.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

As it navigates your home, the robot vacuum identifies specific types of obstacles such as furniture, shoes, and charging cables. These obstacles will be noted on the map, and my S8+ was able to identify shoes and cords with impressive accuracy.

I had no issues whatsoever with the room mapping. Likewise, I found the Roborock app to be easy to use, and I haven’t encountered any bugs or problems so far.

a screenshot of the roborock app showing room mapping

The Roborock app with room mapping.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

roborock app showing 3d model of room

The 3D map of my home.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

What are the pain points when using the Roborock S8+?

We’ve already talked about one drawback of the S8+ — the price. Assuming you’re not concerned about that, what else do you need to be worried about?

While the S8+ identifies carpets with ease, it doesn’t lift its mop pad completely out of the way like the Roomba Combo j7+. The S8+ didn’t leave my carpets damp or soaking wet, but it didn’t leave them 100 percent dry either. I found a couple of spots where my carpet was slightly wet. There wasn’t so much moisture that I was concerned about mold, but it’s something I wanted to note in my Roborock S8+ review.

My biggest complaint with this robot vacuum? It only takes a quick pass over each part of your home. Since it never passes over the same spot twice, some debris and stains will be left over. Sometimes, I wanted it to slow down and provide a more thorough clean.

roborock s8+ vacuuming on carpet

The Roborock tackles an area rug.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

the roborock s8+ cleaning along the edge of a kitchen

The Roborock S8+ excels at edge cleaning.
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth / Mashable

What this robot really needs is something like Shark’s Matrix cleaning mode. Even when I told the S8+ to clean a particular zone for spot cleaning, it only provided a superficial clean.

In comparison, the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 will rotate and back up so that its mopping pad gets as deep into edges and corners as possible. In Matrix mode, it will also spin in circles and rotate as it mops, providing an in-depth clean.

The S8+ doesn’t have a feature like this. Its suction is strong enough that it only needs one pass to vacuum up debris, but as a mop, Roborock really needs to improve its spot cleaning capabilities. Hopefully, this can be addressed in a future software update. (Are you there, Roborock? It’s us, Mashable.)

Until then, remember to wet your mopping pad before use and set the mop settings to the max.

If these sound like big gripes, they’re not. The S8+ mops better than most alternatives, and it’s one of the best hybrid robot vacuums for tile, hardwood, carpet, and combination flooring.

The Bottom Line: The S8+ is a smart robovac with a powerful vacuum and good mop

This hybrid is better at vacuuming than mopping thanks to superficial zone cleaning, but it’s a strong all-around cleaning machine. Obstacle recognition, LiDAR, and a pain-free app experience are also very much appreciated. To summarize my review in simple words, the S8+ is a smooth operator.

If you want a high-end hybrid vacuum that mops, vacuums, and self-empties, then the S8+ is a smart investment. If you’re looking for something more affordable, then I’d recommend the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1, and if you’re primarily concerned with pet hair (and avoiding pet waste accidents), then the Roomba j7+ and s9+ are good alternatives to consider.

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