Though robot vacuums were initially made with vacuuming being its primary function, we’ve been seeing mopping be included as an additional feature for newer models; just another step towards making them the ultimate cleaning machine. One of the newest robot vacuums to also have mopping capabilities is the Roborock Q8 Max.
While Roborock is no stranger to its devices being able to do mopping — the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra being its highest-end product to have it — the Q8 Max aimed at providing that functionality at an affordable price. Indeed, the device is one of the cheapest robot vacuums out in the market that also mops. No longer is it a premium-only feature.
So, as a mid-range robot vacuum option, does the inclusion of a once-premium feature prove to make it an outperformer? We take a look.
Roborock has settled on what its robot vacuum systems should look like. Whether you’re getting a cheaper option or the flagship machine, the robot vacuums all look the same visually. So it isn’t any surprise that the Q8 Max is indiscernible exteriorly from its brethren.
It is the classic rounded design, seen with most other robot vacuums in the market, painted with either glossy white (which is what our unit has) or black colour options. Likewise, you’ll find the standard three-button setup at the top for power, docking, and spot cleaning.
The charging dock that comes with the Roborock Q8 Max is that of the regular version, so there aren’t any of the flagship features like auto dustbin emptying, but that exclusion is offset by the remarkably small size of the dock, which allows you to place it almost anywhere you want
What sets it apart is the other internal aspects. Unlike some of the Roborock systems, where the dustbin is hidden underneath a flap at the top, the Q8 Max has no flap at all and is a single solid piece. Instead, the dustbin is located at the front of the device, where it is accessible and easy to eject whenever you need to clean it out.
But the dustbin is also unique in that it also functions as a water tank, helping to enable the Roborock Q8 Max’s mopping feature. The water tank itself is pretty small though, holding 350ml of liquid — enough to probably clean a four-room apartment, but you’d need to top it up after every cleaning cycle regularly. Additionally, the opening to fill the water is quite tiny, so while the option is there to add a cleaning solution to the water, I’d imagine it will get messy.
The water tank delivers the water to the included mop mount, which can be attached to the bottom of the robot vacuum. There’s no fussing about the installation — which is great. It simply clicks in when inserting the mount, and the device even chimes in to assert that you’ve done it successfully. Taking it out is a little more tricky due to its proximity to the floor, but it gets easier once you get into the rhythm.
Overall, the design of the Roborock Q8 Max is a mix of the familiar and new, with the handling and maintenance of the robot vacuum device made simple, which is a positive point.
Like other Roborock vacuums, setting up the Q8 Max is pretty fast and simple — everything is done on the app, and the steps required are easy to follow. From here, you can start mapping your house before the device begins cleaning. The generated maps are pretty accurate and do get updated if any furniture gets moved around.
In general, the Roborock app works relatively well on the usability front. Whether it be prepping a tweaked cleaning routine or specifying a room or area to clean, the app has a lot of functionality and provides an intuitive enough way to interact and do what you need. Rather, the issues lie in the performance.
Glitches appear occasionally when using the app. In one instance, the map appeared in a strange layout, while the map was gone entirely on another day. It’s inconsistent, but at the very least, it usually resets itself whenever I’ve sent out the vacuum on a cleaning cycle.
For its vacuuming performance, the Roborock Q8 Max works excellently. Despite having a lower 5,500 Pa suction power compared to the flagship S8 line (which is at 6,000 Pa), it is more than enough to clean whatever it faces — bean-sized debris down to fine powders all get sucked up without much fuss. That translates over to carpet cleaning as well. The robot vacuum does well at getting dirt stuck deep into them, particularly at the higher suction levels.
The device is also quite thorough with vacuuming. It tries its best to clean as much of the area as possible, so it’ll adjust itself if it comes across any obstacle. Sometimes, it can be too thorough though. I’ve noticed that it’ll try to re-clean an area it thinks it has missed due to things in the way, which adds up the cleaning time unnecessarily. As much as the Q8 Max tries to vacuum up everything, it, unfortunately, isn’t able to suck up specks from the deepest edges. Still, it is a reliable performer when using the default suction setting.
Its mopping performance is a little less fantastic. Roborock officially touts a 300g active mopping pressure but doesn’t seem to have any scrubbing capabilities. Using it for general wiping is fine; however, I would not use it to clean up spills. Even with the 30 available water flow levels, it spreads everything around, adding more cleaning work.
I’m also still a sceptic when it comes to the mop pad. It is just a thin piece of microfibre cloth, and that is simply not enough to clean an entire house. A room? — possibly, but a whole four to five-bedroom apartment? No thanks.
There’s also the matter of maintenance. Even when I used the mopping function for a relatively small area, the mop pad still stunk when I absent-mindedly left it on its own overnight. There’s no self-drying feature that comes with the dock, so it is an absolute must to take care of it after every mopping routine. That again adds additional effort and time to remove, wash, dry, and then re-install the mop pad before it can mop again.
In terms of manoeuvring around your home space, the Q8 Max isn’t very good with wires. It had trouble with thicker than ordinary wires, typically getting stuck when rolling over them, especially if the wires are of the longer variety. It also takes a long time to work its way around chair legs, taking as long as a few minutes just to exit its way out when the device is in between all four legs.
The Roborock Q8 Max comes with a 5,200mAh battery capacity, translating to around 4 hours of use. The studio space we used to test the device with is about the size of two executive apartments, give or take, and the Q8 Max usually returns to charge once whenever I send it out on a default full cleaning routine with vacuuming and mopping. Going by that, I’d wager that it should be able to run through a four-bedroom apartment just fine on a full battery.
With the Roborock Q8 Max, you can now access mopping capabilities, but is that really a good thing? It is a less-capable mopping system that does not clean floors that well, and there is much maintenance to be had whenever you use the feature — sometimes, it is better to get the full feature set to save the trouble.
If you can accept the limitations of the mopping feature and adapt around it, the Q8 Max is a pretty decent robot vacuum device at a good price. Its vacuuming performance is outstanding at cleaning for most situations, and the app is simple and intuitive enough for first-timers to use; that is when it actually works.
For first-time buyers of robot vacuum cleaners looking for an affordable machine that can do the dual role of vacuuming and mopping, there may be other devices to eliminate the need for regular manual cleaning. But as something to slightly ease that burden, the Roborock Q8 Max may be worth looking into.
The Roborock Q8 Max is available on Roborock’s official merchant store pages on Shopee and Lazada. For the coming 11.11 Sale, the company is offering the Q8 Max at a reduced price of S$529.90 (Usual Price: S$569.90), so if you’re interested in purchasing the device, be sure to get in from 11 to 13 November 2023!
Photos by Brendan Tan of the DANAMIC Team.