Looking for the world’s most advanced robot vacuum cleaner? One that can mop, vacuum, lift its mop to avoid wetting carpets and lift its vacuum to avoid sucking up liquid? One that then retreats to its high-tech base to empty its bin, clean its mop and dry it? Look no further than the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra. With a name like that, you know it means business.
It’s no secret that we are big fans of Roborock’s robot vacuum cleaners, especially its flagship S7 MaxV Ultra, a hybrid vac-and-mop that still hogs the #1 spot in our guide to the Best Robot Vacs. We don’t call it ‘the best hybrid robot vac-mop in the world’ for nothing. Well hold the horses because Roborock has just announced a new trio of S8 models at this year’s CES and the specs look jaw-dropping.
The new Roborock S8 series is available in three configurations: the basic S8 robot vacuum cleaner-cum-mop without self-cleaning dock; the S8+ which comes with a newly designed self-emptying dustbin built into its docking system that may or may not have been inspired by iRobot’s current J7+ series; and the flagship S8 Pro Ultra hybrid robot that both vacuums and mops before returning to its vastly improved RockDock for a thorough self-cleaning session.
Since this writer is already familiar with – and in love with – the current do-it-all S7 MaxV Ultra, for the purposes of this article I shall concentrate on the premium S8 Pro Ultra, mostly because it does everything from vacuuming and mopping to complete self cleaning in one sensational-looking package – a fully-automated one-stop household floor cleaning solution that requires almost zero user input, in other words.
I should add at this juncture that Roborock doesn’t officially distribute all of its products to the UK and that goes for the current S7 MaxV Ultra. This is a massive shame because Brits are crying out for a system like this. Let’s hope Roborock’s founder and CEO, Richard Chang, considers bringing the S8 in all its variants to the UK when it’s officially launched in April 2023.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra: improved vacuum system
Where the T3 Platinum-awarded S7 MaxV Ultra vac-and-mop has an impressive suction rating of 5,100 Pascals (a common unit used for measuring vacuum pressure), the new S8 Pro Ultra allegedly ramps it up to magnificent 6,000Pa in Max mode, and that’s about as powerful as a robot vac can be, especially when compared to, say, iRobot’s flagship S9 (an estimated 2,500Pa) and the popular J7 (around 2,200Pa).
Moreover, the new S8 Pro Ultra has also been given a whole new brush roller system that comprises not one but two newly-designed rubber rollers that automatically lift up around 6mm when in mop-only mode or when returning to the charging dock. This is a major improvement because it means that the rubber rollers and the suction port should remain bone dry when in mop-only mode, rather than remaining in place as before where they occasionally gathered speckles of water during the mopping process. It also means that the rollers won't leave any marks on the floor when mopping hard floors or returning to the dock.
To say this new dual-roller system and increased suction power is music to the ears of dog owners – especially of the high-shedding Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and Corgi variety – is an understatement.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra: improved mopping
It’s fair to say that Roborock’s mopping system is among the very best on the market. Unlike most robot vac mops that just drag a wet rear-mounted mop around behind them irrespective of whether the robot is on carpet and rugs, the S8 Pro Ultra’s VibraRise mop automatically raises by 5mm the moment its front sensor and camera detect a carpet or even the slimmest of rugs. Although the S8 Pro Ultra’s mop system doesn’t raise as high as iRobot’s Roomba Combo J7+, I’ve found that 5mm of play is plenty high enough for all medium pile carpets and most deeper rugs.
Roborock’s ingenious VibraRise system has also been given a major tweak by having not just one vibration module, but two. According to Roborock, the system ‘scrubs against floors with sonic mopping technology at a frequency of 3,000 times per minute’. Having two vibration modules in tow should improve this already efficient mopping system by quite some margin.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra: improved intelligent dock
The only thing I don’t like about the otherwise superb S7 MaxV Ultra is the design of the huge RockDock cleaning and charging base which looks like three midget grain silos. Well according to the images supplied, Roborock’s design bods have addressed this issue by hiding the previously exposed front section behind a facade of either white matt or black matt plastic, depending on which colour scheme you prefer. Its new styling is 100% better in my book and possibly now attractive enough to have the dock in the lounge rather than tucked away from view.
For those who don’t know, this amazing dock doesn’t just charge the main robot unit and empty its dustbin, it also scrubs the mop clean before depositing the dirty water into its own specified tank. However, the latest version goes a step further by including a ‘new warm air-drying feature to prevent the growth of mould and odours on the mop pad and the dock’. Another tick in my book.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra: navigation
I’m not sure if any major changes have been made to the S8 Pro Ultra’s LiDAR navigation which is already amazing in the way it almost instantly maps an entire floorspace, but the press release does mention improvements to Roborock’s Reactive 3D Obstacle Avoidance System. Well I’ve been using the similar S7 MaxV Ultra for the past few months and it has never tangled itself up in anything or driven roughshod over any dog toys which are always scattered around my home. Hence I’m not sure how much more its navigation skills could be improved.
What I will say is that if you’ve never used the Roborock app, you’re in for a nice surprise because it is an absolute pleasure to navigate and is arguably the most comprehensive and intuitive of any robot app on the market.
When is the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra available?
According to Roborock’s latest press release, the new S8 Series will be available for purchase at Amazon US and the Roborock Official Store in the United States, beginning in April 2023. Its retail price should start in the region of $749.99. We’re hoping this mean machine will also be officially launched in the UK at some point, so watch this space.