If you want to sit back and relax on chore day and let your robot vacuum cleaner do the hard work, both the Roborock S4 Max and Q5 Series are excellent choices. Both these clever robot vacuum cleaners have a good reputation for being able to tackle hard floors and carpets around your home and work well to pick up fine dust, pet hair and dander. Average in price compared to what's available online in the way of the best robot vacuum for 2022, the S4 Max and Q5 Series both offer premium features to make cleaning floors at home easier than using a stick, cordless or cylinder vacuum.
The S4 Max came out in 2020 with an impressive spec including an ample 180 minutes run time, an easy to navigate app and LiDAR navigation for fast mapping. Meanwhile the Q5 Series launched in the Spring of 2022 includes two models - one robot vacuum with a self-cleaning dock and one without the self-cleaning feature. As the successor to the S4 Max, the Q5 Series naturally has the upper hand, but depending on your needs there are good reasons to invest in either options.
Here we take a closer look at the Roborock S4 Max vs Q5 Plus so you can decide which one best suits your household and daily routine.
Roborock S4 Max vs Q5 Plus: price
Compared to your average robot vacuum cleaner, the S4 Max and Q5 Series are reasonably priced. You can expect to pay anything from $100/£89/AU$151 to $1,000/£841.56/AU$1,513 for a robot vacuum online, with a Roborock model costing from around $300/£254/AU$ 453. The Q5 Series has everything that the S4 Max has and a little more such as 3D Mapping and stronger suction power.
While the S4 Max has been recently discontinued on the Roborock site, you can still find it online at Amazon for $299/£254/AU$533. Meanwhile, there are two robot vacuum options in the Q5 Series and the only difference is whether it comes with a self-cleaning dock. The Roborock Q5 costs from $329.99/£278.67/AU$498 and the Roborock Q5 Plus with self-emptying dock costs from $599.99/£508.13/AU$907.36.
Both are only available to buy in the US, however, through the Roborock Amazon Store or direct from the Roborock Store. At the time of writing, availability was pretty sparse which could have been owing to the Black Friday deals and although shipment outside the US looked like it was a possibility, we had no way to check this.
Roborock S4 Max vs Q5 Plus: key features
The Roborock S4 Max and Q5 Plus robot vacuum cleaners come with many useful features to tackle all types of floor – including vinyl, laminate, carpet and real wooden floors. Both the S4 Max and Q5 Plus are designed to give you precise cleaning both day and night, thanks to LiDAR navigation that makes it easy for the robots to know where to clean.
Each of these robot vacuums can be controlled remotely by the accompanying Roborock app so you can spot clean or select zones to tackle. Using the app you can see vacuuming routes and cleaning schedules - so the vacuum starts and stops when you want it to - and adjust the suction power and vibration strength - for when it gets a bit noisy. You can also pin-point ‘no-go’ zones.
The S4 Max has fast mapping technology to learn its way around your home and clean effectively – and this can be viewed in the accompanying app in 2D. You can choose to have up to four areas of your home mapped out and automatically recognised.
The Q5 goes a step further, however, and gives you 3D Mapping for a clearer view of the rooms in your home. It also allows you to customise your cleaning schedule for more in-depth control. Once your home has been mapped out by the vacuum, you can add furniture and floor materials to create a very accurate view. This means the Q5 robot vacuum knows exactly where to go and what obstacles to avoid when cleaning.
Roborock S4 Max vs Q5 plus: design and performance
In terms of design, the S4 Max and Q5 Series look very similar – with sleek bodies that can glide smoothly around your house without scratching floors. The S4 Max comes in a black finish, while the Q5 Series is finished in dark grey. The main bodies of the robot vacuums also have the same 3.8 x 13.8 x 13.8 inch / 8.3 x 35 x x 35 cm (h x l x w) dimensions.
In terms of suction power, the Q5 Plus has the upper hand. The S4 Max has a 2000Pa strong suction, which can tackle a host of dirt and fine dust effectively, but in comparison, the Q5 Plus is rather more powerful with a 2700Pa high power suction.
If you opt for the Q5 Plus model, however, it comes with the 'Auto-Empty Dock Pure' self-cleaning dock that ensure you don't have to empty the 2.5 litre dust bag regularly. You can go up to 7 weeks without having to change the dust bag, for example. If you opt for either the Roborock S4 Max or the Q5, you’ll have to empty the vacuum yourself when it gets full. While you can buy a separate self-cleaning dock for the Q5 for an extra $280/£237/AU$423.40, the Q5 Plus robot cleaner comes with one included in the price.
Tested to filter 99.7% of pollen as small as 0.3 microns in the air, the Q5 Plus dust bag is also an effective air filter that helps to keep your environment clean. In comparison, the S4 captures up to 95% of particles with its E11 rated air filter as it travels around your home.
Both the S4 Max and Q5 Series robot vacuums have child-safety features and a main ‘hairy’ brush and one side brush for optimum pick up. And while both are designed to tackle a range of hard and soft floorings, neither can handle wet spills. The S4 Max and Q5 Series vacuums automatically boost suction power according to what they are cleaning - particularly when they reach carpet - for impressive results.
In terms of battery life, the S4 Max and Q5 Series are equal as both offer a 180 minute run time, before they need to be recharged.
Roborock S4 Max vs Q5 Plus : which should you choose?
In terms of style and design, there’s not that much difference in the black S4 Max and dark grey Q5 Series robot vacuums. They are both similarly effective in terms of functionality too and have app compatibility with smart-home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home. While they both enable you to create a map of your home, highlight no-go zones, set cleaning schedules and spot clean, the Q5 Series does, however, have slightly superior customisable features.
If you don't have space for a self-cleaning dock and aren't that bothered about app functionality, the S4 Max will be suffice. As it's been discontinued by Roborock you may find some excellent offers for it online in future too. That said, if you're someone who likes to keep up to date with the latest gadgets, you may prefer the latest model in the Q5 Series.
While the vacuums are very similar in design, the Q5 Series also has 25% more suction compared to the S4 Max and is therefore more powerful in performance. This means it may be a better option if you have a lot of pet hair and dander to tackle, or young kids who like to make a lot of mess.
The Q5 also has 3D mapping, which will give you a clearer picture of your home. If you buy the Q5 Plus bundle you’ll also get the self-cleaning dock, which will not only make charging easier, but means you’ll have to empty it less frequently. And having to clean less is, after all, really the main point of buying a robot vacuum cleaner.
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Emily is a lifestyle journalist who writes for a range of publications including TechRadar, Livingetc, Wired, Ideal Home and GQ. She writes about interior design and smart home, gardens, wellbeing, food and fitness and has tested everything from food processors to paddleboards, and bee hives to the best beds. When she’s not typing away at her computer, she can be found tending to her Dorset-garden, trying the latest water sport at the beach or acting as chauffeur to her two young kids.