Roborock Problems: Everything you Need to Know

written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on June 26, 2020
updated on April 29, 2021

You’re in the right place if you read about the carpet problems of the Roborock S4 or S6 MaxV and want to learn more. Or if you want to know if there’s a Roborock that can clean shaggy or dark rugs. And assuming there aren’t any Roborock that can clean along black borders–at least there should be some kind of workarounds, right?

Which Roborock bots have the most issues with carpet, and what do these issues look like?

First there’s the Roborock S4 that struggles with anything but low-pile carpet. It’ll spin in circles before shutting down with error 5 or 8. It’s the only one in the line with a reduced barrier climbing ability (0.6″ vs. 0.79″ of the others in the line).

Here’s a video of the Roborock s4 struggling to clean carpets:

The S4 Max, essentially the S4 with increased clearance (from 0.6″ to 0.79″), is Roborock’s response. This one clean low and mid-pile carpets without complaints.

Other Roborocks with known carpet troubles include the S6 and S6 MaxV. Similar issue to the S4 except this time they won’t shut down operation; their main brushes will, eventually, when it encounters a carpet. For most affected users, it’s worse because no matter what they do (remove water reservoir for instance which my logic is that it could be adding additional pressure on the brush) or regardless of the carpet thickness (low piles even), it still won’t work. For others, like Natalie from smartrobotreviews.com (video linked below), it’s a much better experience considering the brush spins on low carpet and with the water reservoir on. The brush only tends to shut down on medium pile carpets with a filled tank. Here, take a look:

For now, Roborock insists this is a protection mechanism for the brush roller motor. If you have primarily hard floors with pets that are prone to accidents in a busy house where things get left behind–while the obstacle recognition and avoidance feature isn’t perfect yet–the S6 MaxV is the one for the keep seeing as it excels in navigation, mapping and actual cleaning. 

Stay away from the S6 MaxV if you have full length carpets or consider utilizing your return window if you already own one. 

See the Deebot T8 AIVI if you returned the S6 MaxV and are considering a like-for-like alternative. 

Related: Roborock S6 MaxV vs. Deebot T8 AIVI

Lastly, consider the S7 (this one’s brush doesn’t stall on carpet) or the S5 Max if you want to stay within the family and more so if you have advanced mopping requirements. 

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Which Roborock bots have issues with dark carpets and black borders?

All Roborock bots (S7, S6 MaxV, S6, S6 Pure, S6, S6 Pure, S4, S4 Max, S5 Max, S5, E4, E3 and E2) have issues with dark carpets and black borders although this isn’t exclusive to the Roborocks. Other models from competing brands have this problem as well. Black bodies absorb light which then triggers the four cliff sensors, causing the bot to back off thinking it’s about to take a tumble.

Are there workarounds for the cliff sensor issues of the Roborock?

Officially and currently Roborock doesn’t have a solution. You also can’t disable this feature. They do however recommend taping the four cliff sensors. See how in the video below (starts from 4:23):

While taping the cliff sensors ensure it’s now able to go over dark borders and carpets, this is actually at a risk of a fall especially if you live in a multi-level home. The best option would be to create keep-out zones around the culprit through the App. But that’s assuming you have the S series Roborock (S5, S4, S4 Max, S6, S6 Pure, S6 MaxV, S7) since the E line (E4, E3, E2) doesn’t support this feature. You’ll do just fine with this feature if it isn’t a wall-to-wall carpeted area, or if the marked zones rarely get walked on. 

Can Roborock bots clean deep, dense, shaggy rugs?

Currently, no Roborock vacuum cleaner–not even the S7–can handle dense, shaggy rugs. There aren’t many bots in the market or from competing brands that can, either. Here’s, for example, a video of the Roborock S5 and iRobot Roomba S9 struggling on a 1-inch shaggy carpet:

The Shark IQ if it helps to mention is the only floor bot I know that can cross and clean shaggy carpets.

Which Roborock won’t mop my carpet?

The S5 Max and S6 MaxV will not mop your carpet. They have a feature in the App where you can mark carpeted areas as no-mop zones. The S7 has the VibraRise function that automatically lifts the mopping bracket up to 5mm when on carpet.

Conclusion

Roborock bots are great but not flawless. Focus in this article is on areas where they’re lacking, that need improvement, or that you need to pay some attention (mostly the carpet department) since this will potentially save you money and time with customer support, as well help you utilize your return window considering some of these problems are hardware and design related. Plus, Roborock has made their position clear on the cliff sensor and brush stalling problems. 

Understand that while the inability to cross black borders or clean gray rugs have workarounds (tape the sensors or create no-go lines), the lack of intelligent mop lifting or the no-mop zones in some hybrid models is just how they’re designed. Which is why you should pay attention to the units with these capabilities (S5 Max, S6 MaxV and S7) if you have hardwood, tile, vinyl, etc.

Further reading

With everything written so far, Roborocks clearly aren’t the best for homes with wall-to-wall carpets. That’s because suction is just about decent, plus not a lot is going on with the airflow considering the brush design. Talking about the brush, the bristles and carpet fibers don’t mix (except of course the S7 which has an all-rubber design), resulting in a jam followed by an error notification. There’s however the more expensive Roomba with less efficient navigation but with a superior carpet cleaning ability. Check out this review of the iRobot line, or see this comparison of the Roborock and the Roomba.