Roborock S8 Review: Inexpensive Robovac Cleans Almost Everything - Except Itself
Roborock's S8 series vacuuming and mopping robots are among the best on the market for robotic floor cleaning. The S8+ (review) and S8 Pro Ultra (review) models take care of almost all cleaning tasks, but they are also very expensive. Is the cheaper basic model without a name suffice for you? You can read about its drawbacks in this NextPit full review.
- Quickly set up and easy to use
- Functionally rich and at the same time clearly arranged app
- Precise navigation leads into all corners and spares furniture
- Artificial intelligence bypasses odds and ends and saves tidying up
- Excellent suction performance
- Lift function leaves carpets dry while mopping
- No self-cleaning station with suction and washing function
- No surveillance camera function
Roborock S8 in a nutshell
The Roborock S8 is exclusively available without a suction or washing station. Its wiping technology is a bit less motorized. Otherwise, it basically offers the same talents as the higher-priced offshoots. These include a vibrating mop for stubborn scrubbing, laser nav for precise maneuvering, and AI detection to protect against collisions with odds and ends. To what extent this inexpensive package is completely sufficient as a comfortable cleaning aid is clarified in the Roborock S8 review.
The Roborock S8 is currently one of the best vacuuming and mopping robots thanks to its high-quality cleaning and navigation technology as well as its simple and optional operating concept. Only the lack of self-cleaning separates it from the absolute top. This comfort is reserved for the more expensive robots in the S8 series. Conversely, the impressive performance of the basic model is available at an affordable price. Roborock recommends $749.99 as the MSRP. That is money well spent.
There are no real alternatives. Robots that also offer a comprehensively equipped suction and mopping station for the same price do not clean just as well. If you want to save even more, wait for discount offers for the S8.
Unpacking and setup
The Roborock S8 is easy to install and can be extensively configured according to your preferences in the app. In the test, its rotating navigation tower mapped a cleaning area of about 60 square meters with laser beams (LiDAR) in less than ten minutes, while robots from other manufacturers need many times that. As a result, Roborock's high-tech cleaning force is quickly ready for operation and help right away. Because of the interaction with the Xiaomi app, the Roborock S8 can be very well integrated into smart home automations.
- Quick setup and mapping.
- Extensive settings for individual cleaning.
- Nevertheless, app remains clear and intuitive.
- Practical smart home automations via the additional app.
- No friction - Roborock simply works.
- Quite short power cord.
- Camera without video streaming.
A few simple steps are enough to jump-start the Roborock S8 after unpacking. Plug the power cord into the charging station, fill the robot tank with 300 milliliters of water—that's all it takes. The only annoying thing is the short power cord. With a length of one meter, it is tight. Without an extension cord, the charging station must not be far away from the nearest power outlet.
Once set up, pressing a button on the top is enough for the cleaning aid to automatically start its cleaning job. However, contacting the Wi-Fi network is necessary to use the app control and all configuration options. Furthermore, the software must first create a floor plan of the home if you only want to control selected rooms or particularly dirty areas. Fortunately, the Roborock S8 in the test does the mapping in one go during the first full cleaning. This saves you time.
To use voice commands for the job description, the manufacturer's app suggests room categories during the subsequent optional map editing. The software uses the outlines of beds, sofas, kitchenettes, and toilets as clues. The command sets of the voice assistants rely on fixed room names. Assigning individual names is therefore not recommended.
The operation of the app is basically simple. However, adjusting the cleaning settings in all details requires a certain learning curve. The patience is worth it. After all, the Roborock S8 then cleans the rooms at the right times in the preferred order in a mode adapted to the floor conditions.
If desired, it mops and vacuums in one go or uses only the mop module while the suction technology remains off. You adjust the suction power and water flow to the degree of soiling in several stages and combinations. In addition, the app makes it easy to spontaneously mark individual areas in the floor plan when the whole room doesn't need to be cleaned. As a bonus, the Roborock app even offers remote control elements that you can use to direct the cleaning flounder to a specific location.
If you want to start and stop the S8 by voice, you can pair the software with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant or store Siri shortcuts. You can also integrate the robot into Xiaomi's Smart Home app. There, the S8 can be coupled with a motion sensor, for example. It then starts when no one is in the home office, for example.
The downside is that not all cleaning settings of the Roborock app are necessarily available in the Xiaomi app. Parallel interaction with both apps is not possible. Alternatively, you can use Alexa routines in combination with the Roborock app. Linked accordingly, the S8 can be perfectly integrated into a smart home concept.
Unlike previous top models from Roborock, the manufacturer does not install a conventional camera in the current S8 models. This means that it is not possible to use the robot as a mobile surveillance camera to keep an eye on things from afar.
Suction and wiping performance in the test
The Roborock S8 vacuums and wipes almost perfectly. In this respect, it is practically not inferior to the more expensive offshoots with "Plus" and "Pro Ultra" as name additions. Only when it comes to subsequent self-cleaning is the inexpensive basic model hopelessly inferior to them.
- Navigates systematically and leaves out practically nothing.
- Curves around small debris reliably.
- Sucks almost perfectly.
- Wipes at a very high level.
- Liftable wiping module spares carpets in combo mode.
- Heavily soiled floor remains partly sticky after mopping.
- No replacement mop included.
Thanks to its good sense of direction, the Roborock S8 cleaned very thoroughly in the test. Its laser navigator guides it systematically over the cleaning surface. As a result, it hardly misses a spot. Due to its flat design, the robot also cleans under sofas or cabinets that are difficult or impossible to reach by hand. It does not jostle the furniture but spares it by stopping in time.
The fact that the S8 does not use a color camera for collision protection is not a problem. Instead, an optical sensor on the front detects small obstacles very well with the help of two cross readers. In the test course, it cleaned around cables, socks, slippers, and dummy animal droppings with aplomb. The fact that it touched a champagne glass and dragged Playmobil figures along at times was forgivable. This caused no damage and did not affect the cleaning performance.
In the suction test, the S8 removed a whopping 95 percent of the test dirt, achieving a similar result to the more expensive Roborock models. In the mopping test, it removed dried ketchup with very few passes but left a slightly sticky floor. Therefore, there is no way around the S8 Pro Ultra for a flawless result. It vibrates the mop with two motors to thoroughly scrub away stubborn dirt. The basic S8 only has one. That quite obviously makes a difference.
If decorative carpets are to be cleaned in addition to hard floors, the S8 offers a practical lifting function, just like the other models in the series. If the robot detects carpeting, it raises the mop module by up to five millimeters before passing over it. That's enough for low-pile fabrics. Again, the S8 does not have a liftable suction brush. That is reserved for the S8 Pro Ultra. Retracting the brush is useful when the robot is supposed to mop up a puddle in front of the shower, for example. Otherwise, the feature is dispensable.
After cleaning, you'll have to empty the 400-milliliter dust bin and refill the 300-milliliter water tank on your own. The fact that the dust container holds 50 milliliters more than the other two models is hardly noticeable. You will still have to empty it very often. If you opt for the Roborock S8, you will have to do without the comfort of self-cleaning.
It costs Roborock additional sympathy points that the manufacturer does not pack a second wipe in the box. If the existing one is in the washing machine, you can only clean the floor with the robovac. This is not noticeable in the Pro-Ultra model, which cleans the mop automatically. The lack of self-cleaning technology is therefore the biggest weakness of the standard model on several levels in the comparison.
The only function of its base station is to charge the battery. In this respect, the S8 is equally equipped. According to Roborock, a 5,200 mAh battery is sufficient for a runtime of up to 180 minutes on the lowest cleaning level.
Conclusion: How comfortable and thorough is the Roborock S8 in the test?
This is supposed to be "just" a basic model? With state-of-the-art cleaning features and ease of use, the Roborock S8 has all the essentials to prove a very good addition to your floor cleaning routine.
Compared to the more expensive models with Plus and Pro Ultra in the name, you won't have to sacrifice much. Navigation and AI-assisted small-stuff detection work just as well. As a result, the S8 cleans very efficiently and does not require you to clean up the floor before use. Dirt is removed by the standard S8 on par with more expensive models, making it very convincing. It vacuums extremely thoroughly and wipes away stubborn stains very quickly. Like the S8+, however, it leaves a sticky floor in parts. Only the Pro Ultra mops flawlessly.
Without difference, the Roborock app offers a very good compromise of functionality and intuitive operation in the case of the S8. As a bonus, intelligent automations can also be easily implemented via an additional app. Due to the lifting function of its mop module, the S8, like the related models, is perfectly suited for combined suction and mop use on hard and carpeted floors.
The biggest drawback: As the basic device of the series, the S8 does not offer autonomous operation because it lacks an extensive self-cleaning function. If you only use the cleaning robot occasionally and can bear to clean the robot yourself every time after the end of a shift, the S8 is an unreservedly recommendable option.