At first sight
Maps in 2D and 3D Many options to customize cleaning jobs Automatically empty the trash when it returns to its slot
Unable to start spot cleaning from Roborock app Users have to manually start automatic emptying when the bin is full Editing maps can be challenging
The Roborock Q5+ is a high-performance robot vacuum with self-emptying, but its inability to recognize when its dustbin is full will limit its appeal to users who want fully autonomous cleaning.
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Roborock’s Q5+ robot vacuum is its mid-price model (currently priced at $479.99 at some online retailers and on Roborock’s website), but that belies its wealth of premium features. It comes with a self-emptying trash can, can map multiple rooms and floors in 2D or 3D, and supports cleaning customizations such as no-go zones and area cleaning.
Unfortunately, it also has a major flaw that undermines the self-contained nature of self-draining robot vacuum cleaners.
There is nothing extraordinary about the Q5+’s design. The vacuum measures a fairly standard 3.78 x 13.78 x 13.78 inches (HxWxD), so it’s narrow enough to squeeze between chair legs and short enough to fit under sofas and beds. There are two buttons at the top, Power and Home, along with the bin/filter assembly, which lifts easily off the body of the vacuum cleaner. Most notably, the filter is washable: just remove it from the bin for a rinse, then reinstall it, eliminating the extra cost of buying replacements every few months. The roller brush on the bottom is also removable in case you need to remove some debris or detangle pet hair using the provided cleaning tool.
The self-emptying dock is 16.5 inches tall and consists of two pieces, the docking platform and container, that slot together. The top of the bin detaches so you can access the 2.5 liter dust bag, which will hold around 7 weeks worth of cleaning, depending on the size and condition of your floors.
This review is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage best robot vacuum cleaners.
You need the Roborock app to operate the vacuum and use its many features. After registering for an account, select the Q5+ from a list of Roborock products and follow the prompts to pair it and connect to your Wi-Fi. The Q5+ maps the room the first time it cleans it, using LiDAR along with its bumpers and sensors to navigate.
After my first cleaning job, I was presented with a map that divided my downstairs into two color-coded areas: the living room and the kitchen/bathroom/entry. I was able to divide that second area into three distinct rooms using the map editing features, which also allowed me to merge rooms, assign floor types, and add virtual barriers and no-go zones to limit the void’s access to spaces designated. Some of these changes can be tricky given the size of the map, and it often took multiple attempts to divide a room or place a virtual wall in exactly the right spot. But customizing the map like this gives you the ability to include or exclude particular rooms when cleaning, send the vacuum cleaner to specific areas, and designate times and vacuum modes for cleaning jobs.
The vacuum has a maximum suction power of 2700 Pa and four suction modes: quiet, balanced, turbo and max. It will automatically increase suction power when transferring from hard floors to carpet. While it has slightly less suction than premium models — Roborock’s Q7 Max boasts 4700 Pa — it has plenty of power to tackle dust, food crumbs, dirt, pet hair, and other common household debris. The battery has an autonomy of approximately 180 minutes on a full charge.
For each cleaning, the Q5+ plans a route based on its scan of the room. Divide the room into zones, first cleaning along the edges of the zone and then inside the zone in a zig-zag pattern. This zone-by-zone approach offers far more efficient cleaning than typical non-mapping robots. The Q5+ can also do spot cleaning; curiously, however, you can’t launch it from the Roborock app. Instead, you have to hold down the Home button on the top of the vacuum, which prompts you to clean the 4.9-square-foot area where it’s centered.
The vacuum cleaner automatically empties the bin every time it plugs back in after a cleaning job. If the trash can fills up before the Q5+ has finished cleaning, however, you’ll need to manually press the Home button to send it back to the dock to trigger the emptying, then start cleaning again. This is one of the major shortcomings of the Q5+. Most other self-emptying vacuum cleaners have auto-empty sensors that recognize when the bin is full and automatically send the vacuum back to its dock to empty the bin. This feature is perhaps the biggest attraction of self-emptying vacuum cleaners, because it frees you from having to supervise the robot. It wouldn’t be surprising if its absence here was a deal breaker for many potential users.
And that’s a shame because the Q5+ otherwise offers the features needed to make vacuuming a less onerous job at an attractive price, and if you can put up with a little manual intervention, you’ll be happy with the results. But if a completely self-contained cleaning is enough, you’ll have to look elsewhere.