Our Analysis and Test Results
The Roborock E4 is an average performer that excels in the one way many users may use it most — keeping the pet hair buildup in your home down. But, it lacks the convenience and intelligent features of many other models tested.
Our review team has researched and purchased some of the most prominent robot vacuums available today. We test them via a series of standardized metrics to determine which ones lived up to the hype and deserve our recommendation.
The Roborock E4 is an excellent navigator, with the exception of its poor poo-avoidance (the Achilles heel of many robot vacuums, across the board). It recognizes obstacles well, methodically moves around furniture without abusing furniture legs, and navigates all parts of the room neatly and evenly. All things that are remarkable for how modestly priced it is. Still, it should be noted that the E4 was markedly slower than average in its cleaning runs.
This model failed to detect our smaller simulated piles of poop in our poo-avoidance challenge. It did slightly better with our larger simulated poops before ultimately recognizing it and avoiding it in future passes. Still, for a product that specializes in pet hair pickup, this is an important factor to consider if your furry friend has a weak stomach. Even if the robot runs over one pet accident, you may end up throwing out the entire unit. It is simply too hard to clean every nook and cranny effectively. If this is an important feature for you, consider one of our best poo-avoiders, the Samsung Jet Bot AI+.
When docking, the E4 successfully avoided objects on its way back, though it did have to make some occasional adjustments or a second attempt during its approach.
The Roborock E4 is limited in its home coverage features and functions. It has no multi-room or multi-story mapping features, is only decent at cleaning edges, and has no way to configure virtual barriers or user-specified no-go-zones (such as a child's playroom or particularly cluttered areas).
That's not to say the robot isn't intelligent. It does an above-average job via a spiral-based algorithmic path in covering single rooms and avoiding obstacles, resulting in fairly thorough coverage. However, its single-room coverage performance was not good enough to make up for the lack of full home coverage features that we often see in other models.
The E4 did an admittedly near-perfect job of cleaning rice, leaving no grains behind on short-pile carpeting, and only leaving a couple of grains buried deep in the fluffier carpet we used in our tests. It also did an excellent job of tackling oatmeal, leaving only one or two behind between low and high-pile carpet tests alike.
When it came to cereal, it broke the larger pieces down and left most of it behind on shorter carpet. Surprisingly, it did a very good job on the fluffier carpet, leaving only one piece behind in the form of smaller debris. In its attempt to clean flour, it did more damage than good, distributing the mess without picking up much, if any. Consider this when you evaluate what your robot vacuum is likely to encounter in your own home.
Hard Surface Cleaning
The Roborock E4 does an average job cleaning hard surfaces. It performed just ok when encountering rice. It flung the tiny grains around as much as it corralled them but did much better with the lighter, higher surface area oatmeal flakes. It performed worse on flour, though, ultimately leaving a consistent haze behind and considerable amounts of flour in the grout lines of the tiled floor.
It also failed to grab any larger pieces of our cereal test. Though, to be fair, this is another fundamental design limitation common among robot vacuums. They must have relatively low clearance for proper suction, so any larger debris will likely be missed.
In a surprising turn of events, the Roborock E4 was one of the best robot vacuums we tested when it came to pet hair performance. We cannot adequately explain why this may be, considering its fairly average performance across other test metrics, but this alone goes a long way to giving the E4 much of its value.
To test, we place a measured amount of hair and fur on high pile carpeting and then push them into the fibers with a roller, simulating a few days worth of walking over the area. It recovered more than half the hair placed, which is a huge win in a test metric that many other models have real trouble with.
The Roborock E4 earned a disappointing performance for convenience. The E4 seriously lacks some of the more useful features and standard functions among its peers. But it does include a physical remote, although it is very limited, so we recommend using a smartphone to access its downloadable app. As mentioned, the app does not provide the ability to create a virtual barrier, nor does it have a repeat function for thoroughness. The only truly useful feature we found was the ability to designate localized spot cleaning for more dirty areas.
A lack of intelligent controls from the app, combined with a docking station with no self-emptying system, makes the E4 one of the least convenient models our team tested.
Should You Buy the Roborock E4?
If your goal is to purchase a good robot vacuum that's especially good at keeping pet hair and fur managed on a tight budget, then the Roborock E4 is an excellent option. As robot vacuums are progressing technologically more every day, you may find more value in an option that costs slightly more but delivers a feature-rich interface.
What Other Robot Vacuums Should You Consider?
If you are considering the Roborock E4 for its great pet hair performance, then it is probably worth considering the iRobot Roomba j7+ instead. This model offers similar pet hair performance and incredible poo avoidance, making it the best option for pet owners. We recommend the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra for the most amount of smart features and overall great performance. The Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid is a very solid top-tier option as well, one which has highly-rated cleaning specs across the board and a myriad of convenient features to supplement your cleaning regimen.