Roborock’s new vacuums take on one of Roomba’s best features

3 weeks ago 37

Roborock, arguably Roomba’s biggest competitor in the world of robot vacuum cleaners, launched a new line of flagship robot vacuums at CES this week. The S8 Series starts at $750, and its big new feature is straight out of Roomba’s playbook: dual roller brushes. 

While brushes may not sound as impressive as lidar mapping, AI-obstacle avoidance, or automatic emptying docks, a big problem with most robot vacuums is they have one small brush trying to pick up all the dirt. Often, this is a bristle brush that quickly gets tangled up with hair.

In my experience testing robot vacuums, Roomba’s superior cleaning power is largely down to its dual rubber roller brush system that rotates in opposite directions to get up more grime and is less prone to tangling. The brushes are also much bigger than most of the competition. Now, the new Roborock S8 vacuums have gone from one rubber roller brush to two. 

The new dual roller brush system comes to the S8 and the S8 Pro.

The new dual roller brush system comes to the S8 and the S8 Pro.

Image: Roborock

It’s a different design from the Roomba version, using paddles rather than plastic nubs, and they also don’t appear to be as long. We’ll have to wait to see them in person to judge how similar — and how effective — they are. The new Roborock vacs also boast an impressive 6,000 Pa of suction. Roomba maker iRobot doesn’t publish the Pa levels of its vacuums. 

The new S8 Series includes: the S8 robot vacuum and mop ($749.99); the S8 Plus ($999.99), which comes with the RockDock auto empty dock; and the S8 Pro Ultra ($1599.99), a more advanced version of the S8 with the RockDock Ultra dock, which empties the bin, washes the mop, and refills the water tank while emptying the dirty water.

Both the new S8 bots have AI-powered obstacle avoidance and a built-in mop that automatically rises a few millimeters when it detects carpet so as not to drag a damp cloth across them. The S8 Series should be released this April.

The redesigned Roborock auto empty / wash / fill dock has a slightly cleaner profile than the first-gen version.

The redesigned Roborock auto empty / wash / fill dock has a slightly cleaner profile than the first-gen version.

Image: Roborock

The S8 Pro Ultra is the top-of-the-line bot and is the next generation of the S7 MaxV Ultra that debuted at CES last year, featuring AI-obstacle avoidance and that all-singing, all-dancing dock. The main new feature of the dock is warm air drying to prevent mold growth on the mopping pad and a redesign that makes the dock look slightly less hulking.

The S8 Pro vacuum also has 6,000 Pa suction compared to 5,100 Pa on the S7 MaxV, and its new dual brush system has an auto rise feature that can retract the brushes when mopping to tackle bigger spills without damaging the vacuum. Roborock says the mopping system has also been improved. These seem like minor upgrades, however, considering the price went up by $200.

The S8 with the new RockDock auto-empty base.

The S8 with the new RockDock auto-empty base.

Image: Roborock

The standard S8 also has increased suction power and AI-powered obstacle avoidance. I tested the S7 last year and was impressed with its mopping prowess — it oscillates 3,000 times per minute to actually scrub your floor. But it lacked obstacle avoidance, meaning it would get tangled up with stray shoes or socks. The S8 plus fixes that. The S8 is compatible with the newly redesigned RockDock auto-empty dock but won’t work with the Ultra dock, so you have to clean your own mop. 

The Dyad Pro is a wet / dry vac that cleans itself.

The Dyad Pro is a wet / dry vac that cleans itself.

Image: Roborock

Roborock is also adding to its line of manual vacuums with the $449.99 Dyad Pro, a wet-dry vacuum that can suck up spills and well as vacuum your carpets and floors. With 17,000 Pa suction power, Roborock says the Dyad Pro can pick up messes from as close as 1mm to the wall, and it automatically adjusts cleaning power and water flow and dispenses cleaning solutions according to different floor scenarios, according to the company. While you have to push it, it’s not all manual labor. After every cleanup, the Dyad Pro automatically cleans itself and self-dries. It will be available in January.

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