There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the Roborock S5 model. When you see the S5 on sale right next to the Roborock S50, you will probably scratch your head and wonder what the differences are.
This Roborock S5 review article will explain what is actually going on with the model numbers, to clear up any confusion. We will then continue on and detail the Roborock S5 to find out if it is a good robotic vacuum for your home.
- 1 Differences Between the Roborock S5 and S50
- 2 The Roborock S5 (and s50) in Detail
- 3 Breaking Down the Roborock S5 (and s50)
- 4 Specifications Chart
- 5 In Conclusion
Differences Between the Roborock S5 and S50
The honest truth is that there is zero difference between the Roborock S5 and the Roborock S50. They are the same model, with the same accessories and the same price. So what gives?
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The answer is an abbreviation. The technical model number of Roborock robotic vacuums are four digits long; the first two are often the only ones used. So, for example, you will see the Base Model Number as “S5.”
When the first two digits are different, then you have a different model. For example, the S5 is a different model than the Roborock S6. For the S5 robot, there are a total of nine different model numbers. Sounds confusing, right? It really isn’t. Let’s clear it up.
The Third and Fourth Digits Will Change
The technical model number, as stated, is four digits long. “S501” is the whole model number. You will also see S502 and S503. The third digit (in this case a “0”), refers to the robot’s color. The zero is the default color for that line, and in the case of the S5, the default color is white. So, an S50 is an S5 model in white color.
The fourth digit refers to the country code where the model is sold (and accordingly, the type of power cord supplied in the box). A “1” in the fourth spot is for North America, a “2” is for Europe and a “3” is for Asia.
To complete the confusion, there are three color options to choose from White, Black and White with Rose Gold trimming. Respectively, the third digit will be a 0, 5, or 1 to represent which color is in the box.
It’s Simple When You Know How
As you can see, the S5 and S50 are the same robots. The S50 and S55 are the same robots, except the S55 are black. The S551 is an S5 model, black in color and sold in North America.
All you have to remember is the model identification:
Base model number (2 digits) – Color Code (1 digit) – Country Code (1 digit).
I hope that clears up the model number confusion for you. Let’s continue now, with our new knowledge and find out how well the S5 (in any color) performs.
The Roborock S5 (and s50) in Detail
The S5, S50, S501, whatever you call it, used to go by an even different name. It wasn’t until the S6 was being released that Roborock took over the majority share of the company and changed the name. In the beginning the name was Xiaomi (generation 1 models).
Roborock contributed more to the second generation robots, and got their name on the faceplate. The Roborock Generation 2 was born. After Roborock took over, they re-released the Gen 2 under the name Roborock S5.
For a complete review of the machine, and a deeper understanding of the names this robot has gone through, see our review here.
For a brief overview of the re-released version features, continue reading below.
Breaking Down the Roborock S5 (and s50)
The Roborock S5 was redesigned from the ground up to answer a lot of issues the previous models had. How do the new features hold up under scrutiny? Let’s have a look.
Wet Mopping Gets a Complete Overhaul
The new wet mop allows you to transform the S5 into a mopping robot without having to flip it over. The water tank slides into the back of the robot, like a drawer, keeping the water inside without sloshing.
The updated features though include two small filters that control the water flow from the tank to the cloth and the microfiber cloth itself has more surface area to attach the tank with.
The filters help purify the water, so you aren’t leaving dirty water behind on your floors. The cloth is redesigned to attach more firmly, so it doesn’t roll up, making the cloths last longer and perform better.
Does it Work?
The general consensus is that the wet mop feature does work a lot better now. You will get between 45 and 60 minutes of wet mopping time. “It works a lot better” is like saying burnt dinner is better than charred dinner. It may be better, but dinner is still ruined.
The mopping feature gets the floor wet and then wipes it up. Similar to a Swiffer Wet, just without the clean afterward. Roborock focused on getting clean and pure water to the cloth when they should have focused on how well the cloth actually mopped.
Bottom Line: No, it didn’t work. You could clean better with a paper towel and a spray bottle.
The S5 uses LIDAR much as the Neato BotVacs do. It will scan your home with five 360 degree scans every second. It will create a map that will appear on the mobile app where you can then have added control (we will cover the app soon enough).
Once the floor has been mapped, the robot will clean along the edges of a single room, then go over the floor in back and forth parallel lines cleaning the rest of it. Once a room is complete, the Roborock S5 will continue to the next room.
The LDS laser system also allows the robot to scan around for the charging dock instead of running along the walls until it runs into it. So, you will see the robot return to the dock from the middle of the room, like it knows what it is doing.
Did it Work?
The upgrades to the mapping functionality and the wide-angle scan do allow the S5 to create more intricate maps. These maps then allow the robot to follow a smoother pattern for cleaning. When the robot is moving, it will hug the wall and it will navigate expertly around obstacles.
Just be warned, that lighter obstacles will be pushed around, such as pet dishes. If you have lighter objects on the floor, you may want to move them prior to a cleaning cycle.
Bottom Line: Yes, the upgrades to navigation and mapping are a win.
Vacuum Cyclone 3D Cleaning System is More Powerful
Roborock upgraded the motor and improved the performance of the airflow and filtration. Their new system, which they call Vacuum Cyclone 3D, outperforms previous models.
The new version can produce up to 2000pa of airflow while the “floating head” brush roll stays in contact with the floor regardless of the flooring type or height.
The filter is an E-11 HEPA filter that is coated in Teflon so you can wash it off. The airflow chamber is also hollow, allowing you to run water through the chamber (with filter and dust bin removed) to rinse out the robot.
More power, better filtration and faster maintenance. What more could you ask for?
Did it Work?
To answer the above question, we could ask for a cleaning system that picks up more dirt, dust and debris. While 2000pa sounds impressive, if the system supporting that type of suction power isn’t capable of maintaining it throughout the collection process, it loses.
The Roborock S5 is a loud (64 dB) machine while cleaning and it sounds like it will suck the carpet pad right off of the foundation. However, real-world tests show that the robot has similar overall suction power as that of the Roomba 690. It will pick up most larger debris (cereal, dirt clods, etc.) but finer particles (sand, rice, etc.) will remain on the floor.
The filter does its job, though, reducing in-home allergens by up to 99% of what passes through, and the maintenance is easy. Just ensure the entire thing is completely dry before putting it back together for another cleaning cycle.
Bottom Line: No, it didn’t work. While the filtration and maintenance get a boost, the motor and suction could use that boost more.
The Mobile App Sees and Upgrade While the Roborock S5 Gains Voice Commands
The mobile app isn’t new, and it still isn’t standalone. Part of the Xiaomi system, the app is designed to control multiple smart home items together. The Roborock robots are just a small part of that.
However, getting to the vacuum section of the app is much easier now, and it is ported for English during its first release. There are only four screens in total. You can upgrade the software, enable a digital remote control, view the map or set cleaning schedules.
Through the app, you can also use virtual containment. If you only want specific rooms cleaned, select them. If you want only a portion of a room cleaned you can pinch-zoom the containment area and the S5 will only clean in that area.
You can also use voice commands through Amazon Alexa. There is finally a version for Google Assistant devices, now. A feature that has been in Beta testing for what seems like multiple years.
Did it Work?
The app works. It is quite difficult to get into and setup, though. If you aren’t familiar with multiple-screen mobile apps, you may get lost at first.
The screens, when you do get to them, are fairly straightforward though. If there is an update, you can select it. You can view the map or use the remote control. Using the virtual containment though is still hit or miss.
While it does work a lot better than Neato’s first attempt at this feature, it may not always work for you. The robot won’t go on a rampage, but it may go outside the selected area, or clean more than the selected rooms.
You also should not be excited about the voice commands either. What took Xiaomi just over two years to complete, has resulted in two spoken commands for Alexa devices (three for Google). You can tell the robot to turn on (start a cleaning cycle) or turn off (stop a cleaning cycle).
Google Assistant adds “Return to Dock” as a command because the stop feature here will only work to pause the cleaning cycle in progress.
Bottom Line: No, it didn’t work. Perhaps another two years under development and we will finally get a stand-alone app that is easy to navigate and understand.
Smaller Upgrades You Might Not Have Heard About
There are several other aspects of the S5 that you might not be aware of. I’ll cover these really quickly to get you up to speed.
The robot can climb higher now. If thresholds were a pain before, they aren’t any longer. The wheels will extend to allow the robot to cross heights up to 1.5 inches.
Roborocks answer to Carpet Boost is called Intelligent Carpet Identification. It does the same thing, though. When the robot recognizes it is on carpet, the motor increases speed to create more suction power.
Did it Work?
In short, all of these smaller features work as expected. Thresholds and area rugs can be climbed more easily now, and the motor noticeably picks up speed when it gets on carpeting.
Bottom Line: It is a win, no matter how small.
Below you will find a chart detailing everything the Roborock S5 (or Roborock S50, or Xiaomi Roborock Gen 2, whatever you call it) has to offer.
|Runtime||Up to 250 minutes|
|Charge Time||5 hours|
|Filter||E-11 HEPA, washable|
|Motor Suction||Up to 2000pa|
|Real Time Location and Programming||Yes|
|Collection Bin Capacity||0.5L|
|Water Reservoir Capacity||0.15L|
|Containment||Yes (app only)|
|Price||Check on Amazon|
As you can see, changing names is a detrimental and confusing aspect to any manufacturer, let alone doing it multiple times. It seems that Roborock has a firm grip on the company now and we shouldn’t see many name changes going forward.
However, that shouldn’t take away from the actual robot performance. With 14 total sensors, a 5200mAh monster battery and the ability to sweep, vacuum and mop, the Roborock S5 holds up under pressure.