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Roborock S4 Max Review

An excellent performer in all of our test metrics and challenges, and has our team impressed, especially considering its low cost against its competitors
Roborock S4 Max
Credit: Roborock
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $430 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, great overall performance, navigates furniture, great at docking, excellent barrier protection
Cons:  Average edging, no dust collection system
Manufacturer:   Roborock
By Jessica Riconscente and Benjamin Hickok  ⋅  Aug 19, 2022
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Navigation - 30% 7.5
  • Home Coverage - 20% 8.7
  • Carpet Cleaning - 15% 6.1
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 15% 6.7
  • Pet Hair - 10% 8.0
  • Convenience - 10% 6.5

Our Verdict

If you are searching for all-around great performance, as well as a great value, then we think the Roborock S4 Max is a fantastic option that fits the bill. It does a great job of navigating around furniture, returns to its own docking station, handles a variety of surfaces nicely, and is excellent at cleaning pet hair. It may lack some of the convenience features, like a dust removal system, but otherwise gives other top-tier models a run for their money. We highly recommend this robot vacuum to anyone shopping for great performance and value.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Roborock S4 Max
This Product
Roborock S4 Max
Awards Editors' Choice Award     
Price $430 List$300 List
$179.99 at Amazon
$550 List
$472.00 at Amazon
$300 List$200 List
$199.99 at Amazon
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Pros Inexpensive, great overall performance, navigates furniture, great at docking, excellent barrier protectionGreat job returning to its dock, excellent pet hair pickupEasily picks up larger debris from carpets, includes dirt disposal systemCleans rice with ease, picks up fine debrisInexpensive, simplistic, great at thorough spot cleaning, good at edging
Cons Average edging, no dust collection systemNo room mapping, no barrier protection, no disposal systemAbuses furniture, no barrier limits, poor flour pickupHits furniture, no room mapping feature, no multiroom coverage, no barrier protection, no disposal systemNo room mapping, poor at docking, bad multiroom coverage, no barrier protection, no disposal system
Bottom Line An excellent performer in all of our test metrics and challenges, and has our team impressed, especially considering its low cost against its competitorsWe appreciate this model for its stellar pet hair performance and price, but not much elseWatch out for this model if you value your furniture; it tends to abuse every obstacle in its wakeThis machine doesn't have the best algorithm to clean your house effectively and lacks otherwise standard featuresWith newer technology like room mapping in apps, we'd suggest looking to another more capable product
Rating Categories Roborock S4 Max Roborock E4 iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO iRobot Roomba 675 Eufy RoboVac 11S Slim
Navigation (30%)
7.5
6.3
4.1
3.5
2.8
Home Coverage (20%)
8.7
5.6
6.6
3.5
4.2
Carpet Cleaning (15%)
6.1
6.2
4.6
6.8
4.9
Hard Surface Cleaning (15%)
6.7
6.0
6.1
5.9
6.0
Pet Hair (10%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Convenience (10%)
6.5
3.7
6.6
3.7
3.0
Specs Roborock S4 Max Roborock E4 iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO iRobot Roomba 675 Eufy RoboVac 11S Slim
Bin Capacity .46 L .64 L .53 L .6 L .6 L
Dimensions 13.9" diameter
3.8" high
13.5" diameter
3.5" high
13.25" diameter
3.75" high
13.25" diameter
3.5" high
12.5" diameter
2.8" high
Weight 7.3 lbs 6.6 lbs 7.1 lbs 7.3 lbs 5.8 lbs
Battery Lithium Ion Lithium Ion Lithium Ion Lithium Ion Lithium Ion
Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited 1 year limited 1 year limited 1 year limited
Recharge & Resume Yes Yes Yes No No
Multi-Room Navigation (Cleaning) Yes No Yes No No
Spot Clean Square Spiral Spiral Spiral Spiral
App Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Barrier Type Virtual None None None None
Measured Brush Width 6.5 6.5 6.75 6.25 5.5

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Roborock S4 Max is the best all-around robot vacuum we've tested. It consistently performed incredibly well across all of our performance tests, setting itself apart from the majority of models we tested. Amazingly, it is also one of the more affordable models we tested and, in our opinion, the best overall value in robot vacuums today. Check out our robot vacuums review to see how well it stacks up to other models.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - an all-around impressive model with an affordable price tag.
An all-around impressive model with an affordable price tag.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Performance Comparison


To determine scores for each robot vacuum and identify whether a model deserves special merit, we researched the most highly rated robots, purchased the most promising, then scored their respective performances in six sets of head-to-head challenges.

We expand upon the results of the Roborock S4 Max below, split up into six metrics, each weighted based on overall importance.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - the brush head of this model is designed for performance.
The brush head of this model is designed for performance.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Navigation


The Roborock S4 Max started out strong in our navigation set of challenges, a metric weighted to 30% of each robot's overall score due to its importance.


The Roborock S4 Max is a very intelligent robot, leading the test group in many metrics. With regard to furniture avoidance, the S4 Max was excellent. It had no issues navigating around and cleaning around furniture. Unlike many other robots, when faced with an obstacle that it can not go through or get around the side of, it circumnavigates the obstacle to an area it needs to clean. It also worked through our obstacle course efficiently and quickly, posting one of the fastest times without missing or intentionally avoiding areas.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - excellent navigation around furniture legs and obstacles.
Excellent navigation around furniture legs and obstacles.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Many lesser robot vacuums struggle with returning to a power station and docking, but the Roborock S4 Max is not one of those inferior models. In our tests, it methodically took the absolute fastest route to the docking station and avoided all obstacles without contact along the way. Even when returning to a docking station from another room, the Max takes the fastest and most efficient route back, even if it means traveling underneath chairs or other obstacles that many other robots intentionally avoid due to difficulty.

One minor drawback to the incredible intelligence exhibited by the S4 Max was its lack of ability to avoid our simulated pet feces in our poo-voidance test. It smashed the small simulated poop and treated it sort of like an obstacle, so it actually returned and tried to tackle it again, making a bigger mess. It also had to nudge the larger simulated poop before avoiding it.



Due to poor poo-voidance, while it's generally a very competent navigator, the S4 Max isn't the greatest for pet owners with pets that struggle with house training.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - the s4 max was unable to avoid our simulated pet feces.
The S4 Max was unable to avoid our simulated pet feces.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Home Coverage


On the home coverage set of challenges, weighted to 20% of the overall score for its significance, the Roborock S4 Max performed exceptionally well. It again led the field alongside another more expensive Roborock product.


The S4 Max handles multiple rooms without issues, allowing users to set up multiple rooms and even multiple stories of your home in the app. It also does a great job of spot cleaning and thoroughly handling tasks by making a square cleaning motion. However, there is no repeat function, requiring the spot clean to be requested again if any improvements are desired after a first attempt.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - easily set up virtual barriers and no-go-zones in the app.
Easily set up virtual barriers and no-go-zones in the app.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The app allows the designation of virtual barriers and no-go zones, which the S4 not only respected quite well but also did not shy away from and adequately cleaned up to the wall. It even approached barriers under chairs, which many robot vacuums tend to avoid altogether.

When dealing specifically with single rooms, the S4 Max offers great single room coverage and does not miss any part of the test room while cleaning.

Overall, we were very pleased with the Roborock S4 Max's excellent performance in our home coverage set of tests.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - the s4 max in our edging tests.
The S4 Max in our edging tests.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Carpet Cleaning


We challenged each model's strength in cleaning carpets with a series of challenges that simulate everyday use. We weighted carpet cleaning performance to account for 15% of every robot vacuum's overall score.


Our carpet cleaning test challenged the S4 Max to measured amounts of rice, oatmeal, cereal, and flour on low-pile and high-pile carpets. It proved it could do a great job cleaning rice, leaving little or nothing behind, but only did an average job when cleaning oatmeal and flour, where it left behind some material and fine dust.

It also did a less than stellar job cleaning cereal off of low pile carpet, leaving a lot behind and even pulverizing some of the cereal into finer dust — although it did a better job on high-pile carpet.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - cleaning rice in our carpet cleaning challenge.
Cleaning rice in our carpet cleaning challenge.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Hard Surface Cleaning


Much like the carpet cleaning metric, we challenged each robot to a set of hard surface cleaning challenges and again weighted it to account for 15% of each one's overall score.


We repeated the carpet cleaning challenges on hard surfaces and again got a mixed but still above-average performance.

The Max did a good job of cleaning rice, leaving little behind, and an excellent job of cleaning oatmeal, leaving virtually nothing behind. However, cereal proved challenging for the S4 Max, as it is for many products we tested. It could not lift or break down the cereal and dragged it around instead.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - cereal proved to be a challenge for the s4 max.
Cereal proved to be a challenge for the S4 Max.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Flour also proved difficult to clean off hard surfaces, and the Max displaced and left behind what seemed to be most of the flour used in the test.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - other than our frosted mini-wheat challenge, the s4 did well in our...
Other than our frosted mini-wheat challenge, the S4 did well in our hard surface tests.
Credit: Jessica Riconscente

Pet Hair


This robots ability to pick up pet hair placed it well above average, and just behind some of the best performances exhibited by our test group. It lifted nearly 2 grams of the pet hair used in our test, whereas the best performances were able to lift 2.95 grams, with the average for the whole group about 1.25 grams.


Convenience


The S4 Max earned a very good performance for convenience, our last of six test metrics, weighted to 10% of each vacuum's overall score.


The Roborock S4 Max offers almost everything you could want from a robot vacuum, like in-app remote controls, the function to define no-go zones and invisible walls, spot cleaning, and even multi-level mapping. The robot itself leaves little to be desired from a convenience perspective. However, what it lacks is the robust support of a docking station that has a dust receptacle, like other Roborock, iRobot, Samsung, and Sharks offer as a standard feature. Conversely, the lack of a dust removal system makes the docking station very small, allowing it to fit underneath furniture or hide away nicely.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - the lack of a dust removal system is inconvenient but it does make...
The lack of a dust removal system is inconvenient but it does make for a low-profile docking station.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This requires the robot to be manually emptied with less than convenient frequency and brings down the convenience performance of an otherwise incredible robot vacuum.

Roborock S4 Max robot vacuum - the s4 max is easy to empty.
The S4 Max is easy to empty.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Roborock S4 Max?


Absolutely, yes! No other robot vacuum can offer the balanced performance of the Roborock S4 Max, intelligence, and convenience for a similar price. Even much more expensive models fail to perform nearly as well as the S4 Max. Unless poo-voidance is an absolute requirement for you, we can positively recommend the Roborock S4 Max to anybody shopping for a new robot vacuum.

What Other Robot Vacuums Should You Consider?


The Roborock S4 Max is all-around an incredible robot vacuum and is also very affordable compared to most others. However, if you are looking for next-level intelligence, specifically a robot that can identify and avoid objects like a pet's poop, and you are willing to spend a significantly larger sum of money, then consider the S4's sibling, the Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra.

Jessica Riconscente and Benjamin Hickok
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