Roborock Q8 Max Plus review
Image: Chris Button.

Roborock Q8 Max Plus review: harder, better, faster, stronger

It’s not lost on me that Roborock is one of the coolest-sounding names responsible for one of the worst tasks ever: cleaning. Every time the brand name pops into my head, I can’t help but start humming Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”. It’s apt then that the Roborock Q8 Max Plus robot vacuum glided across my home’s floors as smoothly as the French duo’s disco beats.

More suction power and better navigation were the headline features when Roborock announced its latest mid-range device. Pleasingly, both are absolutely true. This robot vacuum had no trouble moving around a cluttered household, picking up plenty of cat fur along the way.

In its price bracket, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus competes closely with the $999 Ecovacs Deebot N10+, a solid performer and one of the cheapest devices to include an auto-empty station. A little pricier than its Ecovacs competitor, the $1,299 Q8 Max Plus provides similar functionality, albeit with more suction power and smarter navigation.

As such, it sits a little awkwardly in terms of price. Spend a bit more and you can get stronger mopping performance. Meanwhile, saving a couple of hundred dollars won’t lose any features. That being said, if your home has lots of furniture to navigate, and pet fur to clean, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus might be worth the fewer headaches in the long run.

Roborock Q8 Max Plus review

First impressions

Like many robot vacuums, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus has a fairly paint-by-numbers setup process. One of the first things you need to do is install the included auto-empty dock, charmingly referred to as the “RockDock Plus”.

Here, the dock comes in two parts: the main unit that houses the dust bag, and a small ramp for the robot. You need to screw the ramp in place, and Roborock includes an Allen key for the task. Some robot vacuum docking stations have ramps that just clip into place, sometimes resulting in unwanted movement when the robot returns to charge. Fortunately, the screw-in design makes for a sturdier design.

Once the dock’s ready to go, it’s time to pair the robot vacuum with the Roborock app. I encountered a snag during this step because I couldn’t get the robot to connect to the Wi-Fi. Thinking there was some interference between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands, I set up a guest network specifically for the device. No dice.

After some sleuthing and finding other people encountering the same problem, the simple solution was to briefly disable my phone’s mobile data. When the robot vacuum pairs with a phone, it creates its own network to complete the process. My phone confused this for an internet dropout and used mobile data, which interrupted the pairing. As soon as I worked this out, everything was rosy.

Specifications

CleaningUp to 5,500Pa suction power
Rubber DuoRoller Brush Mop
Docking stationRockDock Plus Auto-empty station with 2.5L dust bag
Battery5,200mAh Up to 240-minute runtime
Price (RRP)$1,299
WarrantyOne year
Official websiteRoborock Australia

Smarts

Before entering the premium device territory of $2,000 and above, the Q8 Max Plus navigates better than most devices I’ve tested. After the initial setup, the first task for any robot vacuum is to generate a map of your home. Equipped with LiDAR technology, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus certainly lived up to its Quick Mapping promise.

In less than 10 minutes, it produced a decent map of my home’s main living area. To put this into context, some robots have taken nearly three times as long to perform the same task. Along the way, it also labelled potential obstacles in the app, which you can tell it to ignore or confirm as a legitimate obstacle, like furniture.

Roborock app screenshot map
Image: Chris Button.

Not once did the Q8 Max Plus ever get stuck between dining chairs or caught spinning in circles behind a curtain. Upon sending it on its merry way, the robot vacuum dutifully followed its programming without fuss. After doing a perimeter sweep of the designated area, it then zigged and zagged to clean the surface in between. It even passed the test of not tumbling down a set of stairs when left alone.

If you’ve used any robot vacuum app before, you’ll know your way around Roborock’s software. Many of the standard features come included, like setting schedules, editing maps, and setting no-go zones. As far as smart device apps go, it’s intuitive and easy to use – no complaints here.

I also appreciated how easy it was to send on spot-cleaning tasks. Simply tap on the saved map where you want cleaning, and away it goes.

Cleaning performance

With a peak suction power of 5,500Pa, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus sits firmly in the mid-range category. That means it’s great at picking up dust, hair, and pet fur on tiled floors. On carpets, it does a reasonable job of picking up surface-level debris.

You’ll definitely want to use the app to crank up the suction power for thicker carpets, though. Particularly if you play servant to any animal overlords.

While our cat is a short-hair breed, she still leaves behind plenty of fluff after her many rigorous grooming routines. To get most of this out of our carpets – notorious for trapping fur and long strands of my partner’s hair – the Roborock needed a couple of laps. It does automatically crank up the power when detecting carpeted flooring, but it’s worth manually adjusting power levels via the app to give some rooms more love than others.

Roborock Q8 Max Plus robot vacuum
Image: Chris Button.

When it comes to mopping, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus performs similarly to other mid-range and entry-level robot vacuums. From my experience, any mid-range or entry-level robot vacuums struggle beyond the core purpose of vacuuming. Only the most expensive devices handle mopping with any reliable efficiency, which remains true here.

Better suited to daily maintenance than a deep clean, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus uses a single detachable mopping pad to do some wet cleaning. It doesn’t apply much downward force, so it’s unable to scrub stubborn stains away. When I spread a bit of margarine and Vegemite on the kitchen floor, the robot managed to clean up the former using the medium water setting, but it only further smeared the denser substance around.

However, that’s just the limitations of robot vacuums right now. If mopping is a priority, devices with rotating mops and more downward force cost closer to $2,000.

Who is the Roborock Q8 Max Plus for?

A serviceable robot vacuum, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus is ideal for those who need help with vacuuming, wrapped in a streamlined user experience. Its navigation and software smarts are among the best at this price, and the rubber brushes make cleaning up hair and pet fur just that bit easier.

You won’t pick this one up for the mopping ability, nor would you any other device before you start spending more than $1,600. Instead, you get a robot vacuum that manoeuvres around homes with greater ease than plenty of others.

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Roborock Q8 Max Plus
A smarter and more powerful mid-range robot vacuum, the Roborock Q8 Max Plus won't get lost in your home or tangled with cat fur.
Features
8
Value for money
7.5
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
9
Design
8
Positives
Smart navigation and quick map generation
Easy-to-use software
Rubber brushes are effective at reducing hair tangles
Negatives
Mopping doesn't do much
A bit more expensive than similar models
8.2